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350 Legend VS 223 Rem

Ammo/Ammo Guides
350 Legend VS 223

Comparing 350 Legend VS 223 Rem requires some research. The cartridges have different applications, however, they share a few similarities. If you’re considering building out a rifle chambered in either caliber, we’ll walk you through the pros, and cons of making that decision. The overall length of the two cartridges is nearly identical, with the .223 edging out the .350 Legend by just 0.01 of an inch.

The .350 Legend is a straight-walled cartridge, while the .223 Rem retains a traditional bottle-neck design. More importantly, the rim diameter of the two is identical to the thousandth of an inch. As a result, anyone can easily integrate the .350 Legend into the AR-15 platform. 

But before starting your rifle build, read on – because there are some distinct differences you need to know about first. Check out this head-to-head comparison of the 350 Legend VS 223 Rem to see which cartridge best fits your needs the best.

All About Performance

a photo comparing 350 Legend VS 223 cartridges

350 Legend VS 223: The bottleneck 55gr .223 Rem (Left), and the straight wall 145gr .350 Legend (Right).

Before we get too far, let’s talk about what really matters: performance. A cartridge’s performance will vary based on several factors, including the quality and configuration of your rifle and which cartridge you run. To simplify things, I chose a standard FMJ round for each caliber to compare. A 24″ test barrel and optic zeroed at 100 yards are used to collect the following data.

FMJ Comparison

Unsurprisingly, the larger and heavier (145-grain) .350 Legend projectile packs more punch out to 200 yards. At that point, both cartridges become basically equal in energy, with the .223 Rem eclipsing it at distances beyond. The .350 Legend bullet does exactly what it’s designed to do, deaccelerating and losing energy as it drops. 

The .350 Legend is known for being incredibly flat out to 200 yards. It drops only 8″ at that distance, with the lightweight .223 Rem staying level with its natural curvature. At 300 yards, the .350 Legend dips 31.2″ as it safely dumps its energy, while the .223 Rem drops only 8.6″ at the same distance. 350 Legend ammo provides similar performance to many .30 caliber bullets with a flatter trajectory. 

Caliber Bullet Type Bullet Weight Velocity (Muzzle) Energy (Muzzle) 100 Yards (Velocity/Energy) 200 Yards (Velocity/Energy) 300 Yards (Velocity/Energy)
.223 Rem FMJ 55gr 3,240 FPS 1,282 FT LBS 2,874 FPS/1,008 FT LBS 2,536 FPS/785 FT LBS 2,222 FPS/603 FT LBS
.350 Legend FMJ 145gr 2,350 FPS 1,778 FT LBS 1,916 FPS/1,182 FT LBS 1,539 FPS/763 FT LBS 1,241 FPS/496 FT LBS

Soft Point Comparison

With soft point, heavy grain-weight hunting rounds, the .350 Legend comes out swinging. At around the 200 yard mark, both cartridges level off in energy, with the edge going to the .350 Legend. By 300 yards, the .223 Rem overtakes the heavier bullet, continuing on its intended path. 

The soft-point .223 Rem reaches velocities far beyond that of the heavier .350 Legend bullet. The performance of both calibers is admirable, with the .350 Legend only dropping 5.5″ at 200 yards, and the .223 Rem staying level. At 300 yards, the .350 Legend drops 29.5″ while the .223 Rem gives up 7.7″ at the same distance.

Caliber Bullet Type Bullet Weight Velocity (Muzzle) Energy (Muzzle) 100 Yards (Velocity/Energy) 200 Yards (Velocity/Energy) 300 Yards (Velocity/Energy)
.223 Rem SP 62gr 3,000 FPS 1,239 FT LBS 2,697 FPS/1,001 FT LBS 2,413 FPS/802 FT LBS 2,148 FPS/635 FT LBS
.350 Legend SP 180gr 2,100 FPS 1,762 FT LBS 1,926 FPS/1,240 FT LBS 1,466 FPS/859 FT LBS 1,230 FPS/604 FT LBS

Case Size Comparison

The .350 Legend is slightly smaller than the .223 Rem, yet it uses a larger bullet. Despite this, the .350 Legend casing holds more powder. This increase in the powder helps propel the heavier grain bullet, increasing its velocity, and flattening it’s trajectory.

Cartridge Size Comparison: 350 Legend VS 223 Rem

In this section, we’ll look at some of the specs on the cartridge size for the 350 Legend VS 223 Rem.

Cartridge Specs .223 Rem .350 Legend
Parent Casing .222 Remington None
Bullet Diameter .224″ .357″
Neck Diameter .253″ .378″
Base Diameter .376″ .390″
Case Length 1.76″ 1.71″
Overall Length 2.26″ 2.25″
Grain Weight 36gr-77gr 145gr-255gr
Max Pressure (SAMMI) 55,000 PSI 55,000 PSI

Best Uses For Each Cartridge

a macro photo of 350 legend ammo

There’s a lot to like about the .350 Legend. It thumps targets, has a flat trajectory, and is compatible with the AR-15 platform.

As you can see, both projectiles have their strengths and weaknesses. Now let’s talk about the best applications for each:


The .350 Legend is a fairly popular hunting cartridge. It’s prevalent in states where hunters must use a straight-walled cartridge. The .223 has a tapered cartridge, and many jurisdictions restrict its use as a hunting round. That being said,  it does punch above its weight class when it comes to taking small to medium-sized game. 

Even if your state allows you to hunt with the .223, the .350 Legend may be the better choice if you work inside 200 yards or less. It absolutely thumps targets at that distance. It delivers more power than the .223 for medium-sized game and carries plenty of energy for expanding in soft targets. 

Home Defense

Again, both cartridges are a viable option. But the .223 edges out the .350 Legend, in my opinion. 

The .223 has less recoil, making it easier to control, especially in a high-stress home defense situation. With that said, the .350 Legend does not kick like a mule. An experienced, confident shooter could handle the larger caliber with relative ease. Winchester makes a 160gr HP Defender round, and at rifle velocities, it makes a valid argument for home defense situations. 

Other than that, you’re only other real option is the 255gr OTM round, intended to be used in suppressed rifles. This is why the .223 Rem remains my round of choice in this category. You have options, lots of options. Options from many manufacturers with as many bullet types and grain weights as you can imagine. The .223’s availability, ease of control, and shooter-friendliness make it the better choice.

Target Shooting

Call it an unfair advantage, but the .223 Rem wins this category too. Three simple reasons why. First, the ammo is way cheaper, meaning you can practice more without taking out a second mortgage. Bulk prices make it even more affordable, and if you’re ok with shooting steel or bi-metal cartridges, it becomes an even better deal. It still isn’t as cheap as it used to be, but that’s a conversation for another time. 

Secondly, the .223 cartridge offers less recoil. That means you can shoot all day without wrecking your shoulder. If you’re plinking or training regularly at the range, it can be a big deal. Getting in more reps, with less wear and tear on your body, is going to put you ahead in the long run. 

Thirdly (and most importantly) the .223 cartridge has a better bullet flight than the .350 Legend at long distances. If you like to stretch at the range, the .350 Legend isn’t the best option. It’s intentionally designed to slow down as it passes the 300-yard mark. The .223 cartridge breezes well past that mark, and beyond. 

Selecting A Cartridge: 350 Legend VS 223

a photo comparing 350 Legend VS 223 ammo

When it comes to availability and options, the .350 Legend lags behind the .223 Rem.

Still on the fence about both cartridges? We were, too, since the 350 Legend VS 223 each have some great qualities. If you’re comparing them at 200 yards or less, and keeping in mind that they can both run on the AR-15 platform, there’s a lot to like. They can share a variety of accessories, including magazines, optics, and lower receivers. 

Still, if there can only be one, decisions must be made. When selecting a cartridge the factors considered were the following:

Ammo Availability

The concept of availability is pretty straightforward. Can you find the ammo and components you need without spending hours driving around or searching the far corners of the internet? 

Technically, ammo and components for both are available, or at least they are at the time of conducting our research. However, as mentioned above, there are vastly more options for the .223 Rem. You can always find .223 Rem ammo at places like Widener’s. Parts like bolt carrier groups and barrels are easier to find, too.

This isn’t all that surprising. Manufacturers want to target the widest audience of buyers possible. Since most ARs are chambered in .223, they’ll produce most of their parts for owners of these weapon systems. 

Pricing: 350 Legend VS 223

Quality components aren’t cheap and cheap parts don’t provide exceptional quality or performance. To be clear, I’m not knocking all the budget AR builds out there. I own several myself for plinking and training.

Having an affordable AR is way better than not having one, regardless of what caliber you choose to run in your platform. Besides, most gun owners don’t need a premium build, even if they’d like one.

However, if you aim to build a top-performing AR, you’ll need to fork over some cash. That holds true whether you go with the .350 Legend or .223 cartridge. On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a budget gun, you can find reliable options under $800. 

That makes the price factor a wash in our head-to-head match-up. 

Intended Applications

What do you want to use your gun for? If you want a fun recreational rifle that’s great for shooters of all sizes, ages, and skill levels, go with the .223. 

Do both cartridges align with your intended application, making it tough to choose just one? Experiment with both. You can purchase both lever action rifles, and semi-auto rifles chambered in both calibers. 

Are you an avid hunter that lives in a state which prohibits hunting with tapered cartridges? The .350 Legend is a great cartridge you can easily run on a standard AR-15 platform.

Remember, you can keep the bones of your AR system intact and switch BCGs and barrels. If you’re feeling really froggy, build two complete uppers and reuse the same lower. This approach gives you “two guns” without costing as much as building two full ARs.

350 Legend VS 223: Which One?

a photo of a man shooting an ar-15 rifle

It’s the t’s. The versatility, affordability, and availability of .223 Rem make it the obvious choice for most gun owners.

If you can only choose one caliber, the answer is simple, take the .223 Rem, seven days a week and twice on Sunday. It’s versatile, relatively affordable, and there’s a huge selection of cartridges and parts. The only real downside to the cartridge is it’s lack of power when compared to the .350 Legend at certain distances. 

The .350 Legend cartridge makes the most sense as an alternative hunting option. Its design is specifically suited to comply with hunting regulations in states which require straight-walled cartridges. The idea being, an efficient energy transfer of the bullet happens at set distances to limit, or reduce the risk of over-penetration.

When making your decision, do a little online research to gauge pricing and availability in your area. Also, if you’re new to hunting, brush up on the cartridge restrictions in your state. 

Doing your homework will make it much easier to find your ideal cartridge, whether it be the .223, .350 Legend, or another option entirely.

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