Monday, November 18, 2019

Jonesing for a new firearm

One of the hunters in our party brought a new firearm.

It was an AR platform weapon in .450 Bushmaster.

I was sharing a blind with my youngest brother. He was using a muzzle loader. He loves his muzzle loader. He is exceptionally accurate with it. It does, however, have limitations.

In our party, we are expected to "finish" wounded deer. Whether we wounded them or some other hunting party wounded them. It is a matter of respecting animals and not allowing them to face a lingering death. A muzzle loader with one shot and an extended reload time is not optimal for that task.

That got me to thinking.

Southern Michigan's deer hunting rules are Byzantine. I can hunt coyotes, woodchucks and red squirrels with a .300 Magnum or an elephant gun but I cannot hunt deer with a 30-30 Winchester.

To hunt deer, I am restricted to shotguns (which can have rifled barrels and launch 300gr, saboted bullets at 2200fps), muzzle loaders, revolvers or center-fire rifles with cartridges less than 1.8" and without shoulders.

There are at least two cartridges that meet southern Michigan requirements that fit in the AR platform: The .450 Bushmaster and the .350 Legend.
Speer 180gr, 0.358" bullet designed for impact velocities of the .35 Remington. Speer # 2435

I was leaning toward the .350 but as I read more I learned that the groove diameter is 0.355" while most of the bullets available for reloading are 0.357 or 0.358" diameter. It is possible to take 0.358" bullets and pass them through a resizing die but that is one more step I really don't want to do.

The .450 is similar. Most ".45" rifle bullets are 0.458" while the Bushmaster uses 0.452" bullets.

I will keep my eye on this. I just may end up buying a bolt action .350 Legend to replace the firearms I lost canoeing with Mr B. But I don't want to do it until one of the major bullet manufacturers (Hornady, Nosler, Sierra, Speer etc.) offers a slippery, 170gr or 180gr bullet designed specifically for .350 Legend groove diameters and impact velocities.


  1. I recently found out about the 350 legend and did a little reading on it. I too saw a page that talks about it having a .355 diameter. I then went looking at ammo found that Winchester ammo for it has a.357 dia. So I am a little confused. I think the early company that was involved got the .355 dimension but now that bigger companies are invovled it got changed. Here is the official SAAMI chamber specs page and it shows .357

  2. Probably a dumb question but can you use a .44mag or.357 mag marlin? I'm hunting in Alaska so it doesn't matter to me but I managed to fill both of my caribou tags with one shot of .265 gr .44mag. I load 180 gr hard lead in the .357 Nd I'm confident it would do one carboy at 100 yards.

    1. .44Mag and .357Mag are both legal in long guns and handguns for deer in southern Michigan.

      I took a doe with a .357 out of a Ruger Blackhawk and terminal performance was fine. 158gr Remington half-jacketed hollow-point and 7 grains of Unique. Chrono-ed at about 1170fps

      According to the Hodgdon Reloading website, the .350 Legend can push a 180 bullet at about 2000fps. One caveat, the Hodgdon data uses a 24" barrel instead of the 16" barrel more commonly found on modern sporting arms or the 20" on a bolt action.

    2. If you reload, you can push the .357 to a bit higher velocities. I have a load that will go about 1780 out of a 20 inch Rossi '92 with a 158 grain hollowpoint.

      Still won't stabilize much past 120 yards though.... But it hits hard inside it's envelope. Stops just under the skin of a coyote at 90 yds. DRT though.

      email me for the load data if you want....

    3. I do reload.

      7gr of Unique is my fun load in the .357 Mag.

      I had loaded up some with a stout load of Alliant 2400 and was ready to put them in the fanny pack when a little voice spoke to me. It said "Dance with the one that brung ya"

      Deer aren't hard to kill. They are hard to hunt.

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