Remington's Game-Changing 360 Buckhammer Cartridge
By Randy Wakeman
Considered one of the big hits of the 2023 Shot Show, Remington's new 360 Buckhammer white-tail cartridge fulfills a need. It isn't the need for speed or the need for high recoil, it is the need to be a legal and effective hunting cartridge in as many “straight wall” deer hunting states as possible.
In many states east of the Mississippi, deer hunters have been related to the expensive to shoot, high recoil shotgun slugs for many years. That includes my home state of Illinois. The straight wall legalization for hunting is often restrictive beyond just a cartridge having a straight wall, for in southern Michigan for example the case length can be no longer than 1.8 inches.
In the case of Michigan, on June 12, 2014 – The NRC authorized a three year review to allow the use of straight-walled cartridges in the southern zone (limited firearm deer zone) for deer hunting. On May 11, 2017 – After the conclusion of the review process, the NRC approved the use of straight-walled cartridges permanently, restricting the size of the cartridge to 1.80” (legal use) for the taking of deer. Various states have their own convoluted regulations, but often the parameters are straight-walled, .35 caliber minimum, and 1.8 inches case length. In Illinois, the state invariably late to the plate, 2023 is the first year for straight-walled cartridges, with the bizarrely stupid single-shot provision on top of that. For years, Illinois has let everyone blaze away with semi-auto slug guns, but now for no legitimate reason, it is single-shot only with straight-walled cartridges.
In any case, the Winchester 350 Legend has been a spectacular hit. However, those who wish to use lever-action rifles have been left out of the picture. Remington Ammo and Henry Repeating Arms have rectified that for 2023. The rimmed 360 Buckhammer is designed to be ideal for both lever-action and single-shot rifles.
Hunters in western states will scoff and wonder what the big deal is. For them, it isn't. For Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, and Ohio or those who intend on hunting these states, it is a very big deal. Numerous studies show that most whitetail east of the Mississippi are taken inside 100 yards, under 50 yards in deep woods. Remington's 360 Buckhammer, easily a 200 yard cartridge, takes care of things quite nicely.
Right now, the 360 Buckhammer has been announced in two Core-Lokt loadings: a 2200 fps 200 grain round (.181 static BC), and a 2400 fps 180 grain round (.178 static BC). Sticker price is $36.99 for either round for a box of 20 cartridges. The 180 grain round appears slightly flatter shooting: sighted in at 4.8 inches high at 100 yards, Remington shows a 200 yard zero.
For those who prefer “Maximum Point Blank Range” hunting, like me: the sight-in at 2.98 inches high gets you to 209 yards with a 6 inch kill zone. It is center of the body to 209 yards, hit the switch, and go pick him up.
Invariably, we like to compare cartridges, even if it isn't necessary. There isn't much point in comparing to the .30-30 or the .35 Remington in great detail, for they are bottle-necked cartridges. Others, like the .45-70 and the .444 Marlin, have cases that are too long to be legal white-tail cartridges in all straight-walled states. As a footnote, the 200 grain .35 Remington Core-Lokt load is far more expensive than the 200 grain 360 Buckhammer at $61.99 MSRP, with a slower launch velocity of 2080 fps vs. 2200 fps. The 360 Buckhammer is faster and far less costly than the .35 Remington throwing a 200 grain bullet: ther more you dhoot, the more you save.
The obvious comparison here is to the 350 Legend. Yes, the 360 Buckhammer is substantially faster with the same 180 grain weight bullet, 2400 fps vs. 2100 fps for the 350 Legend. At 100 yards, though, no deer could live on the difference. However, the 350 Legend 150 grain Deer Season XP round is 2350 fps, with a higher static BC bullet of .223. Those two rounds are very close ballistically, with the 350 Legend offering less recoil with its lighter bullet and slightly slower launch velocity.
Henry Repeating Arms, who partnered with Remington ammo in developing this round, is way ahead of the pack with four 360 Buckhammer rifles already in production, three lever-action models and the Henry Single-Shot break-action which is “Illinois-ready” right out of the box, and is all straight-walled states ready as well.
Copyright 2004, 2023 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.