I feel incredibly fortunate to be one of the first people testing new, innovative products from Winchester. Engineers come up with amazing ideas, and in-the-field testing is an important step in validating product performance. When Winchester let me in on the new 400 Legend, I instantly knew the perfect place to put it to the test, Alberta, Canada, where some of the biggest-bodied big-game animals roam. I already had a hunt booked for both mule deer and whitetail a perfect opportunity for me and the new cartridge.
For my rifle, I used a Winchester Repeating Arms XPR prototype chambered in the new 400 Legend. I was using a 215-gr. Power Point bullet. I seldom shoot beyond 200 yards, but I knew this hunt could present longer shots because of the terrain and style of hunting. The 400 Legend has 20 percent more energy than a 30-30 Win. and 25 percent more energy than 350 Legend, with greater penetration.
The hunt took place just after Thanksgiving and temperatures had dropped significantly. In fact, it would end up being the coldest hunt of my life, with temps dropping to minus 46 degrees Fahrenheit before the hunt was over. I’m a Minnesota girl, but 46 below is almost unbearable for anyone—including myself!
We started the hunt chasing big mule deer, with my goal to get into close proximity. The light was fading fast and we ran out of real estate for our stalk. I had shot this round enough though and was confident in what it could do downrange, so I squeezed the trigger on a monster mule deer at 280 yards. This buck weighed in over 350 lbs., and the 400 Legend at that distance had a perfect pass through with an excellent blood trail. Scoring right at 180 inches, this was one of my more spectacular bucks in every sense, but it was also such a wonderful experience to take something Winchester had worked so hard on and put it to use in the field. To say I was proud would be an understatement, and I immediately called in with my results right from the field.
Next up were whitetails. After sitting on stand most of the week, a beautiful buck finally stepped out, giving me a broadside shot at 200 yards. The temperature that day was minus 20, so the moment I saw this dark chocolate-racked deer, I knew this was the reason I came to Alberta. I was super confident in the 400 Legend, and once again put it to the test. This time I made a heart shot, putting down one of the darkest chocolate-racked bucks I had ever seen. His neck was so huge that it literally looked like it went from his head to his shoulders. Again, the knockdown power made tracking a piece of cake. The hardest part of the entire hunt may have been taking photos, as our cameras wouldn’t stay functioning in the cold. I honestly thought my teeth might freeze solid.
Overall, I’m grateful to have the opportunity to hunt all over the world and test out the most innovative products in the industry. As a little girl, deer hunting in central Minnesota, I dreamed of these types of experiences, My one takeaway after this hunt, the Winchester 400 Legend truly is legendary. I believe this cartridge will be a big hit and can’t wait for everyone else to take it to the woods this fall. Whether you hunt in a state with straight-walled cartridge requirements, compared to some of the more popular rounds for big deer, the 400 Legend offers some extremely impressive ballistics. Check out Winchester.com to learn more about the 400 Legend.