Straight-walled cartridges are versatile and offer hunters in caliber-restricted states with greater options during deer season. And while there are quite a few excellent cartridges on the market that do their part to fill that niche, there’s always room for a cartridge that delivers the benefits of modern technology and innovation. The 400 Legend is such a cartridge: a straight-walled design created to outperform similar predecessors and offer versatile use for hunters and sport shooters alike.
The History of Winchester Ammunition
Winchester Ammunition has a storied history as one of the founding members of the firearms industry. The company is quite well known for their part in the production of firearms during the Old West and is often associated with lever-actions. Of course, they do far more than that. Not only does the Winchester name come up repeatedly in the annals of firearms history but they continue to make great strides in ammunition thanks to advances in technology and a dedication to innovation.
Winchester Ammunition is part of the Olin Corporation, a company with ties to Winchester firearms and Browning. The Olin Corporation can trace its roots back to 1892, when Franklin Olin founded the Equitable Powder Company in East Alton, Illinois. At that time, Olin’s goal was centered around the coal industry; he created his company to supply explosives to mines and quarries. Their foray into ammunition didn’t get going until 1898 when OIin founded the Western Cartridge Company, intent on competing with Remington and Winchester (yes, Winchester already existed as a separate entity).
It was a challenge for Franklin Olin and his sons to get the company going thanks to stiff competition from Remington and Winchester. But in the long run, Olin managed it. They acquired a paper manufacturer, primer and lead shot facilities, and businesses that made brass cases and shotgun wads. Eventually, they turned a profit, and in 1931 they bought Winchester, rebranding both companies as Winchester-Western.
Fast-forward past a series of business ventures and events, and the Olin Corporation was officially formed in 1969.
Here’s where it gets tricky. In 1980, Olin was forced to leave the gun-making business and sold Winchester firearms to their employees. This is when US Repeating Arms was formed to cover the firearms side of the Winchester empire. By 1989, US Repeating Arms had gone bankrupt and was promptly sold to a French holding company who then sold it to Herstal Group, the Belgian company that owns FN and Browning. Now the firearms arm of Winchester is known as Winchester Repeating Arms. Through all of this, Olin hung onto Winchester Ammunition and kept on designing and producing ammo.
Highlights of Winchester Ammunition’s History
- 1873 introduction of 44-40 Winchester Centerfire (the company’s first centerfire cartridge)
- 1886 entry into the shotshell market
- 1895 design and launch of the first smokeless powder cartridges
- 1939 creation of Silvertip line
- 1921 Super-X shotshells
- 1952 branded 308 Winchester for the civilian market
- 1955 introduction of 243 Winchester
- 1963 introduction of 300 Winchester Magnum
- 1970 introduction of 270 Winchester
- 2019 introduction of 350 Legend
- 2023 introduction of 400 Legend
Winchester Ammunition headquarters are located in East Alton, Illinois, as they have been since the beginning. The company also has manufacturing facilities in Oxford, Mississippi.
400 Legend Background
The 400 Legend was specifically created with hunters in restricted states in mind. Certain states don’t allow the use of bottleneck cartridges—such as the 223 Remington or 5.56 NATO—for deer hunting, but hunters understandably still want a portable platform, whether a bolt-action rifle or AR-15. Enter straight-walled cartridges, which are allowed for hunting in states where certain bottleneck cartridges are not. Winchester solved this problem and gave hunters greater options with the creation of the 400 Legend, so hunters can participate in deer season with their favorite rifle.
This cartridge was officially launched in 2023 and quickly gained popularity among gun owners. While it was targeted to hunters, it didn’t take long for shooters in general to enjoy what the 400 Legend has to offer.
Did the military use the 400 Legend?
No, the 400 Legend is not a military round. It was designed by Winchester specifically for hunting, not military or tactical applications.
Is the 400 Legend a good long-range round?
For true long range, it’s best to use something other than the 400 Legend. Although the ballistics of this cartridge are solid, it wasn’t created for long-range use.
Can the 400 Legend be used for hunting?
The 400 Legend is a great option for hunting all types of game. It was created with whitetail deer in mind, but it’s capable of ethically taking all manner of varmints, predators, and medium-to-large game. This means the following animals are some that can be hunted with 400 Legend:
- Feral hogs
- Whitetail deer
- Blacktail deer
- Pronghorn antelope
Winchester designed this cartridge to have an edge over the 350 Legend, so it’s safe to say you can use it for everything you’d use 350 Legend on, and then some. The 400 Legend is said to be effective on feral hogs out to about 300 yards and deer to approximately 200 yards. Of course, the specifics depend on the gun and ammo being used, as well as the skill of the shooter.
Hunters nationwide can benefit from including 400 Legend in their hunting season lineup. The ballistics are undeniably good and performance on target is impressive. Suffice to say, the 400 Legend is here to stay.
Can the 400 Legend be used for self-defense purposes?
Although it was designed for hunting, the 400 Legend can also be used for defensive applications. That makes it a nice option for gun owners who prefer or require a versatile, multi-purpose platform. As with any cartridge, be aware of the risks of over-penetration. The 400 Legend is favored by some gun owners for use as a home defense long gun or as a truck gun, the latter of which is especially effective for those living or working on open property where the available gun needs to serve as defense against both two and four-legged predators.
400 Legend Specifications
|Country of Origin||United States|
|Case Type||Straight Wall|
|Cartridge Type||Centerfire Rifle|
|Bullet Diameter||0.4005-0.0030 inches|
|Neck Diameter||0.4267 inches|
|Base Diameter||0.440 inches|
|Rim Diameter||0.422 inches|
|Rim Thickness||0.049 inches|
|Case Length||1.65 inches|
|Overall Length||2.26 inches|
|Suggested Rifling Twist Rate||1 in 16|
|Primer Type||Small Rifle|
|Maximum SAAMI Pressure
Available loads for 400 Legend
At the time of this writing, the 400 Legend is just getting started. There’s currently one load offered for deer hunting by Winchester with more to come in the near future.
Winchester Power Point 400 Legend 215 grain
- New brass cases can be reloaded.
- According to the manufacturer, this load produces 100% greater energy than a standard 12-gauge slug does at 100 yards.
- Energy produced is similar to that of the 450 Bushmaster.
- Produces 20% less felt recoil than the 450 Bushmaster, translating to improved accuracy and more comfortable trigger time.
- Designed for hunting whitetail deer but can be used for varmints, predators, and medium to large game.
- Produces 55% less felt recoil than a standard 12-gauge slug.
- Produces more energy than 350 Legend.
- Penetrates more deeply than 350 Legend.
- Impressive energy transfer on target.
- From Winchester: “The 400 Legend is a high-performing straight-walled cartridge that is ideal for hunters and sport shooters. Offering high velocity and low recoil, 400 Legend is fun to shoot at the range and very effective in the field.”
|Distance (yards)||Velocity (feet per second)||Energy (foot-pounds)||Trajectory (inches)|
|Muzzle||2250 feet per second||2416 foot-pounds||Not available|
|100 yards||1872 feet per second||1673 foot-pounds||1.8 inches|
|200 yards||1540 feet per second||1132 foot-pounds||-4.9 inches|
|300 yards||1270 feet per second||770 foot-pounds||-26.4 inches|
400 Legend Manufacturers
Although it’s a young cartridge compared to most, the 400 Legend is well on its way to becoming a favorite of many gun owners.
- Savage Arms
Barrels for 400 Legend
Barrels are being made for the 400 Legend, making it possible for shooters to build their own rifles. These are a few of the manufacturers producing 400 Legend barrels:
Frequently Asked !uestions
When was the 400 Legend designed?
The 400 Legend was designed in 2022.
Does the 400 Legend have a parent cartridge?
No, the 400 Legend doesn’t have a parent cartridge.
What’s the 400 Legend’s bullet diameter?
The 400 Legend has a bullet diameter of 0.4005-0.0030 inches.
Is the 400 Legend good for deer hunting?
This cartridge was made for deer hunting and is an ethical, accurate option for hunters.
What’s the effective hunting range of 400 Legend?
According to the manufacturer, the effective range of 400 Legend on animals like feral hogs is 300 yards while its effective range on deer is 200 yards.
What company invented 400 Legend?
Winchester designed the 400 Legend as a straight-wall option for hunters with better ballistics than its predecessor, the 350 Legend.
When did the 400 Legend go into production?
The 400 Legend has been in production since 2023.
Are there AR-15s in 400 Legend?
At the time of this writing, there are not yet AR-15s available chambered in 400 Legend, but they should be arriving any day.
What is the overall length of 400 Legend?
The 400 Legend has an overall length of 2.26 inches.
What can the 400 Legend be used for?
The 400 Legend was designed for deer hunting but can be used on a wide variety of pests, varmints, predators, and game animals. It is also possible to use 400 Legend for home defense.
What’s the effective range of 400 Legend on steel?
The effective range for 400 Legend on steel is around 300 yards although it is certainly possible to adjust significantly for its drop rate and hit steel at greater distances. The shots simply won’t be precise.
Is there a 400 Legend handgun?
No, there aren’t any handguns chambered in 400 Legend.
Is the 400 Legend better than the 350 Legend?
This cartridge was created as a slightly larger round than 350 Legend, and one capable of greater terminal performance. Both the 400 Legend and 350 Legend are solid hunting options, but the 400 Legend does have an edge for ballistics.
Is the 400 Legend a straight-walled cartridge?
Yes, the 400 Legend is a straight-wall cartridge, meaning it can be used in restrictive states where certain bottleneck cartridges are not allowed for hunting purposes.