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.350 Legend vs. .223: Straight vs Bottleneck Compared preview image
Oct 17 2023
9 min read

.350 Legend vs. .223: Straight vs Bottleneck Compared


Are you a fan of hunting who’s looking for the right cartridge to use? Well, you’re in luck because today we’re going to talk about two popular cartridges you might be considering: .350 Legend and .223 Remington.

These cartridges are both great options, but they have different strengths and weaknesses. By the end of this article, you’ll have a better understanding of the key differences between these two cartridges so that you can make an informed decision on which one is best for your hunting needs. We’ll even talk about some alternatives that you may want to consider as well.

Ready to take a closer look? Then grab your favorite beverage, sit back, and let’s get started!

Overview of .350 Legend

Winchester USA 350 Legend 145gr FMJ Rifle Ammo

Introduced in 2019 by Winchester, .350 Legend was designed as a versatile and straight-walled cartridge suitable for hunting in states where such cartridges are mandated. It was intended to offer the power of a rifle round with reduced recoil and improved terminal ballistics.

.350 Legend fires a .355 caliber bullet, typically weighing between 145 and 180 grains, at moderate velocities. It is known for its straight trajectory and relatively mild recoil.

.350 Legend performs well at short to medium distances, making it ideal for hunting deer and other similar-sized game. It is also popular for self-defense purposes due to its effectiveness and reduced risk of over-penetration.

Overview of .223

Federal Premium Gold Medal Sierra MatchKing Rifle Ammunition .223 Rem

.223 Remington, introduced in 1957, is a rifle cartridge derived from the military’s 5.56x45mm NATO round. It gained popularity due to its versatility and widespread use in both military and civilian applications.

.223 fires a .224 caliber bullet, typically weighing between 40 and 77 grains, at higher velocities compared to .350 Legend. It is known for its flat trajectory and relatively low recoil.

.223 is commonly used for varmint hunting, target shooting, and competition due to its high accuracy and availability of ammunition. It may lack the necessary power for larger game hunting, such as deer, but is still capable of taking down smaller animals.

Specification Chart for .350 Legend and .223

Specifications.350 Legend.223 Remington
Parent CartridgeNone.222 Remington
Bullet Diameter.355 inches (9.017mm).224 in (5.7 mm)
Case Length 1.71 in (43 mm)1.76 in (45 mm)
Overall Length2.25 in (57 mm)2.26 in (57 mm)
Cartridge Capacity36.5 grains H2O28.8 grain H2O
SAAMI Max Pressure55,000 psi55,000 psi
Typical Bullet Weight145-180 grain36-77 grain
Approx. Muzzle Velocity2,100-2,300 ft/s2,750-3,750 ft/s
Approx. Muzzle Energy1,762-1,879 ft-lbs959-1,338 ft-lbs

Key Differences Between .350 Legend and .223 Remington

Alright, let’s get to the juicy stuff—the key differences between these two cartridges:

Cartridge Design

.350 Legend flaunts a straight-walled case design, while .223 sports a bottleneck case design. What does that mean? Well, with .350 Legend, the diameter of the case remains consistent from base to mouth, resulting in parallel walls. This design facilitates reliable feeding and extraction in firearms chambered for .350 Legend.

.223 has a bottleneck case design, where the case neck is narrower than the base. This design is optimized for higher pressures and efficient powder combustion, contributing to .223’s higher velocities.

Ultimately, these differences affect how the two rounds feed and extract, and their compatibility with different firearm chambers. So, keep that in mind when choosing your preferred cartridge.

Case Dimensions

The case dimensions of the two cartridges also differ significantly. .350 Legend has a case length of 1.71 inches, a case diameter of 0.378 inches, and a rim diameter of 0.394 inches.

In contrast, .223 cartridge has a case length of 1.76 inches, a case diameter of 0.378 inches, and a rim diameter of 0.378 inches. These variations in case dimensions contribute to differences in overall cartridge length, chamber dimensions, and compatibility with specific firearms.

Bullet Weight

.350 Legend typically employs heavier bullets compared to .223. .350 Legend commonly utilizes bullets weighing between 145 and 180 grains, whereas  .223 uses significantly lighter bullets, ranging from 40 to 77 grains. The heavier bullets of .350 Legend contribute to increased energy transfer upon impact, enhancing stopping power and penetration.

On the other hand, the lighter bullets of .223 are designed for high-velocity varmint hunting and target shooting, offering explosive expansion and limited penetration on small game.

Power and Velocity

.223 is known for its ability to achieve high muzzle velocities, typically ranging from 3,000 to 3,900 feet per second, depending on the bullet weight and barrel length.

These higher velocities make .223 better suited for long-range shooting and varmint hunting, where minimal bullet drop and maximum accuracy are crucial.

.350 Legend achieves velocities ranging from 2,200 to 2,500 feet per second, making it more suitable for short to medium-range engagements.


On a related note, recoil, or the backward force generated upon firing a cartridge, also differs between .350 Legend and .223.

Due to its moderate velocities and heavier bullets, .350 Legend generally produces slightly more recoil compared to .223. However, the recoil of both cartridges remains relatively manageable and is not excessively punishing, making them suitable for shooters of varying experience levels, including those sensitive to recoil.

Legal Considerations

One significant distinction between the two cartridges is the legal regulations surrounding their use.

.350 Legend was specifically developed to comply with regulations in states that require the use of straight-walled cartridges for hunting. These regulations aim to ensure safety and effective energy transfer while hunting in specific regions, particularly in parts of the Midwest and some southern states.

.223 cartridge is widely unrestricted and can be used for hunting and shooting sports in most jurisdictions without any special legal considerations.

Ammunition Availability

.223 has been widely available for many decades and offers an extensive selection of ammunition options from various manufacturers. This availability ensures a wide range of bullet types, weights, and purposes, catering to the diverse needs of shooters and hunters.

.350 Legend is a newer cartridge, so it’s not as easy to find. However, its popularity has been growing steadily, resulting in an increasing selection of ammunition choices over time.

.350 Legend Pros & Cons

  • Excellent stopping power for medium-sized game
  • Mild recoil, making it accessible to a wide range of shooters
  • Compliant with straight-walled cartridge hunting regulations
  • Ammunition readily available in most locations
  • Versatile cartridge for hunting and self-defense purposes
  • Limited range compared to some other cartridges
  • Smaller variety of bullet weights and ammunition options
  • Less suitable for long-range precision shooting

.223 Pros & Cons

  • High velocities and flat trajectories for improved accuracy
  • Wide range of bullet weights and ammunition options
  • Perfect for varmint hunting and target shooting
  • Low recoil, allowing for comfortable extended shooting sessions
  • Cost-effective ammunition options
  • Limited stopping power for larger game
  • Potential for over-penetration due to light, high-velocity bullets
  • Not compliant with straight-walled cartridge hunting regulations
  • Susceptible to wind drift
  • Less effective at longer distances

Other Alternatives to Consider

.243 Winchester

Federal Premium 243 Winchester 95gr Berger Hybrid Rifle Ammo

243 Winchester is a versatile cartridge with flat trajectory, manageable recoil, and a range of bullet weights.

Whether you’re after varmints, predators, or medium-sized game like deer and antelope, .243 Winchester offers flexibility with its range of bullet weights. From 55 to 105 grains, you can find the right load for your specific hunting needs.

6.5mm Creedmoor


6.5mm Creedmoor is known for its exceptional accuracy, mild recoil, and excellent ballistics. The round especially shines at long ranges, making it a go-to choice for precision shooting and hunting.

Whether you’re targeting medium-sized game or even larger species like deer and elk, this cartridge delivers remarkable energy retention, minimal wind drift, and reliable terminal performance.

.308 Winchester

.308 Winchester

If power and versatility are what you’re after, look no further than .308 Winchester. This cartridge has a long-standing reputation for its reliability and availability. With a wide range of bullet weights from 110 to 180 grains, .308 Winchester is a popular choice for hunting larger game.

Whether you’re pursuing deer, elk, or even bears, this cartridge packs a punch. Its excellent accuracy, effective terminal performance, and widespread use make it a trusted option for hunters and military personnel alike.


Hornady Black 7.62x39mm Ammo

7.62x39mm is a budget-friendly option with a rich history, ideal for short to medium-range hunting and self-defense scenarios, particularly for medium-sized game. This cartridge gained fame through its association with the AK-47 rifle and is still widely used today.

It offers reliability, affordability, and versatility. While it may not have the long-range capabilities of some other cartridges, it’s perfect for short to medium-range hunting and self-defense scenarios.

Whether you’re targeting medium-sized game like deer or hogs, 7.62x39mm provides ample power within its effective range. Plus, the availability of surplus ammunition and a variety of bullet options adds to its appeal.


Can you shoot 223 out of a 350 Legend?

No, it is not possible to shoot .223 ammunition out of a .350 Legend firearm. The cartridges are different in their dimensions and are not interchangeable. Attempting to fire a .223 round in a .350 Legend chamber could result in dangerous malfunctions or damage to the firearm.

Is 350 Legend bigger than 223?

In terms of bullet diameter, .350 Legend (.355 inches) is slightly larger than .223 (.224 inches). However, when considering overall cartridge dimensions, the two cartridges have similar sizes.

Is 350 Legend powerful enough for deer?

With its moderate velocities and heavier bullets, .350 Legend is certainly capable of humanely taking down a dear. It delivers sufficient energy and stopping power for ethical and effective deer hunting within appropriate distances. However, shot placement and bullet selection remain important factors for ensuring humane kills.


The .350 Legend and .223 cartridges offer distinct characteristics and performance capabilities.

.350 Legend excels in compliance with straight-walled cartridge hunting regulations, delivering moderate velocities, and heavier bullets for medium-sized game hunting. In contrast, .223 offers higher velocities, flat trajectories, and versatility for varmint hunting and target shooting.

Overall, it’s impossible to say that one is better than the other, so consider your intended purpose, legal requirements, and specific shooting preferences when choosing between these cartridges, and explore alternative options to find the best fit for your needs.

So, choose wisely and enjoy your shooting adventures!

Written by Megan Kriss
Megan Kriss photo Megan has been an avid recreational shooter since she was a young child and she's thrilled to have the opportunity to combine this love with her passion for writing. Megan Kriss is a seasoned writer and firearms enthusiast with contributions to a variety of publications, including Pew Pew Tactical, American Firearms, A Well-Armed Woman, Recoil, and Faxon Firearms. In addition to firearms, Megan also enjoys writing about pets, outdoor recreation, and other lifestyle topics. When she's not busy writing, Megan enjoys tabletop games, reading, and being outdoors. She shares her Georgia home with her partner, dog, and two cats.


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