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The Rising Popularity of Bolt Action Rifles Chambered in .350 Legend for Arkansas Deer Hunting: An In-depth Analysis

Hornady 350 Legend

The Rising Popularity of Bolt Action Rifles Chambered in .350 Legend for Arkansas Deer Hunting: An In-depth Analysis


Arkansas, known for its diverse wildlife and scenic landscapes, has long been a prime destination for deer hunters. Recent regulatory changes by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) have sparked a renewed interest in bolt action rifles, specifically those chambered in .350 Legend. These changes have broadened the scope of permissible firearms during the hunting season, allowing for more flexibility and choice for hunters. This article delves into the reasons behind the rising popularity of the .350 Legend cartridge, its ballistic performance, and the advantages it offers to Arkansas deer hunters.

AGFC Rule Changes and Their Impact

In a significant update, the AGFC has redefined the firearms permitted during the Alternative Firearms season, previously known as muzzleloader season. The new rules now include non-semiautomatic centerfire firearms that fire a straight-wall cartridge of .30 caliber or larger, which encompasses handguns with barrels 4 inches or longer, lever-action rifles, single-shot rifles, pump-action rifles, and bolt-action rifles. Notably, semiautomatic rifles that have been converted to bolt-action are also allowed, while shotguns with slugs and .30-30 cartridges with shoulders are not permitted.

Furthermore, in Deer Zones 4 and 5, rifles chambered specifically for straight-wall centerfire cartridge cases are now allowed during modern gun deer season, provided they use lead, lead alloy, soft-nose, or hollow-point bullets no less than .30 caliber. These changes have opened the door for the .350 Legend to become a popular choice among hunters.

Understanding the .350 Legend Cartridge

The .350 Legend, developed by Winchester Repeating Arms, is a straight-walled intermediate rifle cartridge designed to meet the specific requirements of various states that regulate deer hunting to straight-walled cartridges. Introduced at the 2019 SHOT Show, the .350 Legend quickly gained attention for its unique characteristics and hunting performance.

Ballistics Overview

The .350 Legend is designed for effective deer hunting out to a maximum range of 250 yards (230 meters). It shares several similarities with the .223 Remington, including an overall cartridge length of 2.26 inches (57 mm) and a rim diameter of .378 inches (9.6 mm). However, unlike the .223 Remington, the .350 Legend is built to fire larger, heavier bullets, making it a formidable choice for big game hunting.

Winchester offers various loads for the .350 Legend, each tailored for different hunting needs:

These loads provide a range of options, from high-velocity rounds for flatter trajectories to subsonic loads for suppressed firearms, ensuring versatility in different hunting scenarios.

Design and Performance

The .350 Legend was developed to deliver sufficient energy to achieve lethal terminal effects on large deer, even at extended ranges. One of its significant advantages is the reduced recoil compared to other popular deer hunting cartridges like the .243 Winchester, making it accessible to a broader range of shooters, including those who are recoil-sensitive.

The design of the .350 Legend includes a slight body taper to aid in extraction, a feature that enhances its reliability in various firearm platforms. Additionally, the cartridge’s case length and volume have been optimized to maximize terminal performance while maintaining compliance with state regulations.

Advantages of .350 Legend in Arkansas Deer Hunting

The .350 Legend offers several distinct advantages that align well with the needs and regulations of Arkansas deer hunters. These advantages include compliance with AGFC regulations, superior ballistics, versatility, and accessibility.

Compliance with AGFC Regulations

The .350 Legend meets the new AGFC requirements for non-semiautomatic centerfire firearms with straight-wall cartridges of .30 caliber or larger. This compliance ensures that hunters can legally use bolt action rifles chambered in .350 Legend during the Alternative Firearms season in Arkansas, providing them with a powerful and effective option.

Superior Ballistics

The .350 Legend’s ballistic performance makes it an excellent choice for deer hunting. Its ability to maintain high velocity and energy over extended ranges ensures that hunters can effectively take down deer at distances up to 250 yards. The cartridge’s flatter trajectory compared to other straight-wall cartridges also helps in making precise shots, increasing the likelihood of a successful hunt.


With a wide range of bullet weights and loads available, the .350 Legend is highly versatile. Hunters can choose from lightweight, high-velocity rounds for longer shots or heavier, subsonic loads for closer encounters or suppressed hunting. This versatility allows hunters to tailor their ammunition to their specific hunting needs and preferences.

Accessibility and Reduced Recoil

The .350 Legend’s reduced recoil compared to other popular deer hunting cartridges makes it more accessible to a broader audience. This is particularly beneficial for younger or less experienced hunters who may be recoil-sensitive. Additionally, the ability to practice with low-recoil rounds helps new shooters build confidence and proficiency.

Suitable Rifles for .350 Legend

Several rifle manufacturers have embraced the .350 Legend, offering a range of bolt action rifles chambered for this cartridge. Some popular models include the Ruger American, Savage Axis, and the CVA Scout. These rifles are known for their reliability, accuracy, and affordability, making them excellent choices for hunters looking to capitalize on the benefits of the .350 Legend.

Ruger American

The Ruger American is a well-regarded bolt action rifle known for its accuracy and value. Chambered in .350 Legend, it offers a lightweight and ergonomic design, making it easy to handle in the field. The Ruger American features a cold hammer-forged barrel, a Marksman Adjustable™ trigger, and a reliable rotary magazine, all contributing to its exceptional performance.

Savage Axis

The Savage Axis is another popular choice among hunters, offering a combination of affordability and performance. Chambered in .350 Legend, the Savage Axis provides a rugged and durable platform with a precision button-rifled barrel and an adjustable AccuTrigger™. Its ergonomic synthetic stock and detachable box magazine make it a practical and reliable option for deer hunting.

CVA Scout

The CVA Scout is a single-shot rifle that has gained a reputation for its simplicity and accuracy. Chambered in .350 Legend, the CVA Scout is lightweight and easy to carry, making it an excellent choice for hunters who prefer a straightforward and dependable firearm. Its break-action design and stainless steel barrel ensure reliable performance in various hunting conditions.


The rising popularity of bolt action rifles chambered in .350 Legend for Arkansas deer hunting is a testament to the cartridge’s versatility, compliance with state regulations, and superior ballistic performance. The recent rule changes by the AGFC have further solidified the .350 Legend’s position as a top choice for hunters looking to enhance their deer hunting experience.

With its reduced recoil, wide range of available loads, and suitability for various hunting scenarios, the .350 Legend offers a compelling option for both seasoned hunters and newcomers alike. As more hunters in Arkansas embrace this innovative cartridge, its reputation as a reliable and effective tool for deer hunting continues to grow, promising many successful and enjoyable hunting seasons ahead.


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