.400 Legend, a new rifle cartridge from Winchester

A ban on hunting bottleneck cartridges has been introduced in some U.S. states because they are considered to have an excessive and dangerous range. One of the first concrete results of this ban has been the study and designing of new cartridges compatible with the new rules, such as the .350 Legend unveiled by Winchester in 2019 and featuring precisely the rimless straight-walled case and performance similar to that of the .30-30. 

Winchester's new .400 Legend rifle cartridge

For now, the .400 Legend is available only with a 215-grain Power Point bullet. The package graphics confirm that this is a cartridge designed for hunting whitetail deer.

Now Winchester raises the bar further by introducing the new .400 Legend, which, as you might guess, uses a 215-grain Power Point type bullet with a diameter of .400 thousandths of an inch, pushed to a V0 of 685 meters per second with an energy of 3,275 joules. At 100 m velocity is 570 m/s and energy is 2,270 joules. The recommended rifling twist is 1 in 16 inches.

Let's make some comparisons. According to Winchester's claims, at 100 yards (94 meters) the new cartridge has twice the energy than a 12-gauge slug, while recoil is 55 percent lower. Energy is 20 percent higher than a .30-30 and 25 percent higher than the .350 Legend, with deeper penetration.

The .400 Legend cartridge was made for use in bolt-action or semi-automatic rifles, and among the several companies that have already announced the upcoming market launch of firearms chambered for this cartridge, in addition to Winchester of course, we find Ruger, Savage Arms and Mossberg. It is easy to imagine that they will be joined by the many small and medium-sized custom and semi-custom rifle manufacturers active in the U.S.

According to the manufacturer's intentions, the new .400 Legend cartridge is intended as an ideal bridge between the .350 Legend, considered to be too underpowered for long-range shooting by some hunters, and the .450 Bushmaster, another straight-walled cartridge that is quite popular in the U.S. but criticized for its decidedly punishing recoil. The search for an alternative to the long-lived .30-30 cartridge used by generations of U.S. hunters to stalk classic prey such as whitetail deer is just beginning, at least in terms of gun maketing. We shall see whether it is yet another meteor destined to disappear after a short time, or whether it will become a great classic. Let time run its course.

Winchester .400 Legend specs

Winchester USA
Rifle cartridge
Intended Use: 
Bullet Diameter: 
Bullet Weight:
215 grains
Case Length: 
1.650”/41.9 mm
Muzzle Velocity: 
685 m/s
Muzzle Energy: 

3,275 joules

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