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Thread: 35 Whelen vs. 9.3x62

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    Default 35 Whelen vs. 9.3x62

    I'm looking at having a 30-06 rebored to either a 35 Whelen or a 9.3x62. Has anyone noted a significant benefit to one over the other? More bullets available for the 35 Whelen is a difference.

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    Member mainer_in_ak's Avatar
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    Having shot animals with both a 35 caliber, and the 9.3 caliber, they're both great. I don't own a 35 whelen, but shoot a 358 winchester when a lighter rifle is needed. I bypassed the 35 whelen all together, and went with the 9.3 for a substantial difference than the .358.

    The 9.3x62 has less case neck, and more body for powder. The power difference is substantial. My preferred powder is mr-2000 with 300 grain bullets. This powder is slower than reloader 15, but slightly faster than reloader 17. From a 20" barrel, I'm getting 2,460 fps from a 300 grain A-frame with a full case of 64 grains.

    Chronograph results with various factory loads have been unacceptable, this is a handloader's cartridge. Lapua 285 grain megas were the worst, barely making 2000 fps. Nosler Custom with the 286 grainer pushed 2200 fps. Nosler custom with the 250 grain Accubonds were pushing 2300 fps.

    I have yet to find a bullet in any animal with either the 358 or the 9.2x62 when shooting bullets larger than 250 grain. The 35 caliber 275 grain woodleighs will drive completely through moose at 358 win velocities (front quarters n all). I'd imagine with an additional 100-150 fps from the whelen would give similar results.

    The whelen would make a better mountain rifle because of the 200 grain tipped triple shocks and the 200 grain accubonds. My preferred twist rate for the 35 caliber is 1:14" twist rate. This gives the best accuracy with the 200 grainers, but will still stabilize the 275 grainers.

    My preferred twist rate for the 9.3 is either a 1:12" or a 1:10" for short barrels. I have no long range-aspirations for a 9.3, so the 300 grainers are the only bullet I use.

    One old hunter with probably a half century of shooting animals in the north, has the ole 9.3x62 as his preferred cartridge. He calls it: "A 357 HnH, but with five in the magazine."

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    Thank you. You've given me a great deal of useful information to help with this decision. Looks like I'll be packing up either a Mauser or a Ruger to JES.

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    Mauser in 9.3 would be classic Euro and Ruger 35 classic American.My pick would be Euro
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    I would research the forum for the .35 Whelen. I have 2 of them now, a 7600 Remington and an Encore. Did have a H&R Rocky Mountian Elk Foundation .35 Whelen but sold it. I like working guns and it was too pretty.

    Factory loads are still available and if you reload, your options are many. I have bullets from 150-250 grains. Pistol bullet are an option too. I am going to work on a single, do-it-all load for the Encore based on 225 grain bullets. I have some Beartooth, Nosler and Sierra that I want to work with.

    I have read some on the 9.3 which I think within the bullet range of the Whelen is almost a twin.

    The 7600 is going back to the open sights and a 250 grain round for moose and big bears.

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    Member The Kid's Avatar
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    I did this about 4yrs ago now and went with the 35. The bullet selection is much broader and cases are cheaper if you buy headstqmped stuff, or freeish if you just neck up 30-06 or my favorite 270. I have shot game with a range of bullet weights and just settled on the 250 exclusively, just plain works.

    Either is a grand old cartridge but my Ruger wears a 35 Whelen barrel.

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    I like the Whelen. But I have never been one to chase the last FPS out of a cartridge. Because of that, the edge the 9.3X62 has over the .35 Whelen doesn't matter to me.

    If you are comparing the two calibers to see which is the best ballistically, then you might also want to look at the .358 Norma Magnum, the .375 H&H or the .378 Weatherby.

    But if you are looking for a non-magnum mid bore, the .35 Whelen and the 9.3 are great cartridges, each with their own history, advantages and strengths. Amigo Will said it well. If you are looking for something mid-bore that is not a magnum, think of these two as choices in American vs. European flavors rather than in which is the "best".

    I went with the Whelen in my Ruger as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g5m View Post
    I'm looking at having a 30-06 rebored to either a 35 Whelen or a 9.3x62. Has anyone noted a significant benefit to one over the other? More bullets available for the 35 Whelen is a difference.
    The two cartridges in question are very similar in external and terminal ballistics. The Whelen has huge array of available handgun and rifle bullets as well as ubiquitous brass--the 9.3 not so much. I've rarely seen 9.3x62 factory ammo in any gun store and it can be difficult to find online. Whelen factory ammo is not common, but I'd guess I've seen 20+ boxes of Whelen ammo for every box of 9.3x62 ammo I've laid eyes on. I remember when a rifleman carrying a 9.3x62 would be unusual, but there has been something of a revival among the 9.3 crowd in the last few years and the 9.3x62 has become en vogue. How long that will last or if it will continue is hard to judge, but Whelen brass is never more than a tapered expander plug away and I've never been one to ride on a bandwagon..........

    There are hunters that need the latest, greatest, fastest thing that's out there--neither cartridge will ever satisfy them. There are hunters that need panache and style above all else--that's leaning heavily into 9.3 territory. However, there are some hunters that simply need a rifle that is light to carry, easy to load/reload and kills with extreme prejudice--that's the Whelen's forte.....
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    I've never seen a factory box of 9.3x62. So, handloading would be it.
    I think the recent resurgence of 9.3 popularity came from the importation 5-10 years ago of hundreds or more of rifles from Scandinavia. They were selling for $250-$350 5 or so years ago.
    Anyway, you gentlemen have given me much to consider. And I thank you for it.

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    Choosing between the two would be very difficult. I own a MRC action with a Lilja barrel dropped into a McMillan stock in 35 Whelen and a stainless Ruger that was rebarreled to 9,3x62 as well as a Zastava left handed Mauser in 9,3x62.

    Power wise the edge has to go to the 9,3 as it can be loaded close to 375 H&H territory with slightly heavier bullets than the Whelen. Just be sure you go with a 1-10 twist with the rebore. The 9,3 is becoming more and more popular every year and has a proven track record as does the 35 Whelen.

    In my limited experience reloading both of them I would give the nod to the 9,3 for accurray. It just doesnt seem to care what powder or bullet put in it and spits them all out at MOA or better. Plenty of bullets to pick for both of them.

    If I were forced to choose between the two I would keep my 9,3 and sell the Whelen.

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    Member pinehavensredrocket's Avatar
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    truthfully i haven't shot the 9.3 but own 3 .35 whelen's. my first a custom m700 with a douglas 22" no.4 contour has taken 7 elk with 8 shots, and crono's 200gr bullets @ 2808fps. this rifle also loves 225's and 250gr loads at velocities i won't publish, w/o pressure signs ( bolt lift, primer pockets and case base measure) and is very accurate in a medium weight hunting rifle. with it's h-s precision stock and 1.5X5 leupold it is a squeak over 8 lbs trailside.

    as mentioned by "the kid" this caliber is easy and cheap to load for...utilizing any '06 size case or buy new whelens' it is also frugal on powder consumption. mine likes aa2015, hodgedon 335, and reloader 15 just to name a few, usually in the low to mid 50gr.

    this rifle and caliber are as close to a "magnum" as you can get in a standard case, suitable for deer through bears in any size. if you get a whelen you will have a classic american rifle that will take game cleanly on any continent. good luck with your choice.
    happy trails.
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    Did a quick check for rifle bullets between the two calibers on midway:
    358 was showing 39 bullets.
    9.3 was showing 30 bullets.
    Either way, availability of components is a bit of a non-issue if yah ask me, lot's to choose from.

    I've seen factory ammo at chimos, boondocks, wild west, and great northern guns for both the whelen and the 9.3x62.

    In regards to brass, Graf and Sons sells very good brass that is cheap. In fact, most of the domestic 35 whelen brass runs 10 dollars more per 100 ct. bag. Cheapest I see is the Remington brass for $57 whereas the graf brass is $47: https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog...roductId/12661

    Of course, the price doesn't matter at this point in time because midway is completely out of stock on all 35 whelen brass.......and the more affordable stuff (remington) is out of stock and only available as a seasonal run:
    http://www.midwayusa.com/find?newcat...mensionid=5971

    Tell yah what, you get yourself some privi brass and the speer 270 grainer or the hornday 286 grainer, you'll have a very affordable big game cartridge for anything in North America.


    I know this may sound a bit contradictory to what others are saying, but for this instant in time, the 9.3x62 has far more availability of in stock brass, and the cheapest (if you go the PRIVI route):
    https://www.grafs.com/retail/catalog...categoryId/823

    http://www.midwayusa.com/find?sortby...mensionid=5984

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    I believe the number of bullets available is fine for either cartridge. 30, 40 bullet choices....that's an embarrassment of riches when you look at those choices...good plain cup and cores for practice, bonded and mono metal for hunting, various weights suitable for the bores.

    You've got bullets suitable for anything walking.
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    Default if you only handload...

    I've got a couple of .35 Whelens and haven't bought any brass for them - there is just too much free '06 brass around. I don't recall ever picking up a piece of 9.3 x 62 brass at the range however.

    Another consideration IF you only handload would be the .375-'06 AI. I picked one of those up a year ago and it gives bit more punch than the .35 Whelen and still has the advantage of cheap brass. Mine also seems to shoot cast bullets well; that is a plus for me as I have a number of .375 molds. I've still got to finish bedding mine and tweak it a bit before I take it out in the field next year or this Spring.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    Did a quick check for rifle bullets between the two calibers on midway:
    358 was showing 39 bullets.
    That's not counting pistol bullets is it? To me that's why .358's are the bore diameter to beat.

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    Any opinions as to twist rate on the two? There was 1 in 10 mentioned by Snowwolfe. JES mentioned 1 in 12 as most popular and some going to 1 in 14. This was for either chambering..
    Last edited by g5m; 11-11-2012 at 16:03. Reason: clarifying

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    Quote Originally Posted by evandailey View Post
    That's not counting pistol bullets is it? To me that's why .358's are the bore diameter to beat.
    No, it didn't inlclude pistol bullets, definitely validity there. I have a ton of resized 308 brass picked up from the range. These guys have factory blem pistol bullets, how about 500 pistol bullets for 53 dollars shipped?
    http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...sku=002853572B

    Makes for very cheap range sessions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by g5m View Post
    Any opinions as to twist rate on the two? There was 1 in 10 mentioned by Snowwolfe. JES mentioned 1 in 12 as most popular and some going to 1 in 14. This was for either chambering..
    Ive got 1in14" in both my .358 Norma and my 35-30/30 that JES did for me and they've done well for me.

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    Default or cast bullets...

    Cast bullets are even cheaper and offer an inexpensive fun alternative in either caliber. Cast bullets do tend to work better with the standard rifling rather than the "micro-groove' however, so that would be a consideration if you plan to shoot cast bullets.

    I haven't checked on bullet molds in 9.3 but I would expect a much larger variety in the .358 and .375 calibers - they have been around for a long time in the US.

    Quote Originally Posted by mainer_in_ak View Post
    No, it didn't inlclude pistol bullets, definitely validity there. I have a ton of resized 308 brass picked up from the range. These guys have factory blem pistol bullets, how about 500 pistol bullets for 53 dollars shipped?
    http://www.midsouthshooterssupply.co...sku=002853572B

    Makes for very cheap range sessions.
    Living the urban lifestyle so I can pay my way and for my family's needs, and support my country. And you?
    ".. ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" JFK

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    Y'know, if it was me, I'd be looking at a 338-06
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    you both get dirty;
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