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Thread: Which Rifle Brand to Bore-Out to 35 Whelen?

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    Default Which Rifle Brand to Bore-Out to 35 Whelen?

    At first I was thinking of re-barreling a stainless Savage 116 30-06 to 35 Whelen. A fun project I could do myself and learn a bit in the process. But when the Savage trigger went to pieces I discovered just how junky it is, and I no longer want to use the 116! Then I turned to a blued Savage 111 in my safe that's been bored-out to 9.3X62. This rifle has a clip, a decent plastic stock, is pillar bedded and the trigger assembly seems a bit different to that of the 116- a slightly better design in the way it's held together? But it still could use a Timney!

    So I thought my Whelen project was still on and all I needed was a stainless McGowan 35 Whelen barrel kit at $199 and I could create my 35 Whelen. But, I would be dismantling a perfectly good 9.3X62... which I haven't even scoped/shot yet!

    I may still convert the 111, but doing so is starting to make less sense to me. Yesterday I contacted JES in Oregon and confirmed that I could have just about any 30-06 bored out to 35 Whelen, for a very reasonable price. The light bulbs lit! All I need is a 30-06 and I can name my poison!

    If you were going to bore-out an 06 to 35 Whelen, which rifle would you choose... a Remington 700? Winchester 70? Ruger 77 MKII or Hawkeye? Browning A-Bolt?

    I just want a working 35 Whelen and not some Hi-Tech all-out custom job... yet! I'm also not looking for a dangerous game gun and do fancy a 35 cal Thumper for Black Bear, elk and moose to say 350 yards. The Whelen is considered the Poor Man's Magnum, so building this rifle on The Cheap appeals very much. I like my rifles on the lighter side and am leaning towards an 06 A-Bolt blued Stalker in plastic. Why? because the price is right for this project. A-Bolts have a decent trigger and are lighter weight.

    On the other hand a stainless 06 Ruger Hawkeye looks inviting... however I despise the Ruger plastic stock. I suppose the easiest thing for me to do would be bid on a Remington 700 classic in 35 Whelen- but I'll be pushing $800 just for the non-bedded wooden stocked rifle. All opinions are much appreciated.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabochris View Post
    At first I was thinking of re-barreling a stainless Savage 116 30-06 to 35 Whelen. A fun project I could do myself and learn a bit in the process. But when the Savage trigger went to pieces I discovered just how junky it is, and I no longer want to use the 116! Then I turned to a blued Savage 111 in my safe that's been bored-out to 9.3X62. This rifle has a clip, a decent plastic stock, is pillar bedded and the trigger assembly seems a bit different to that of the 116- a slightly better design in the way it's held together? But it still could use a Timney!

    So I thought my Whelen project was still on and all I needed was a stainless McGowan 35 Whelen barrel kit at $199 and I could create my 35 Whelen. But, I would be dismantling a perfectly good 9.3X62... which I haven't even scoped/shot yet!

    I may still convert the 111, but doing so is starting to make less sense to me. Yesterday I contacted JES in Oregon and confirmed that I could have just about any 30-06 bored out to 35 Whelen, for a very reasonable price. The light bulbs lit! All I need is a 30-06 and I can name my poison!

    If you were going to bore-out an 06 to 35 Whelen, which rifle would you choose... a Remington 700? Winchester 70? Ruger 77 MKII or Hawkeye? Browning A-Bolt?

    I just want a working 35 Whelen and not some Hi-Tech all-out custom job... yet! I'm also not looking for a dangerous game gun and do fancy a 35 cal Thumper for Black Bear, elk and moose to say 350 yards. The Whelen is considered the Poor Man's Magnum, so building this rifle on The Cheap appeals very much. I like my rifles on the lighter side and am leaning towards an 06 A-Bolt blued Stalker in plastic. Why? because the price is right for this project. A-Bolts have a decent trigger and are lighter weight.

    On the other hand a stainless 06 Ruger Hawkeye looks inviting... however I despise the Ruger plastic stock. I suppose the easiest thing for me to do would be bid on a Remington 700 classic in 35 Whelen- but I'll be pushing $800 just for the non-bedded wooden stocked rifle. All opinions are much appreciated.
    I like the Weatherby Vanguards. If I ever bought another new factory rifle, I wouldn't settle for anything else.

    Tika's are very popular.

    You could perhaps find a used 30-06 at a gunshow.I Only problem there is most rifles are overpriced, IMO.

    Out of curiosity, why do you want a 35 Whelen, when you've got at 9.3x62 ?

    You can shoot 200 to 220 grain bullets, so again, why make one a 35 Whelen?

    Thanks for the threads on this subject, it's been educational.

    Smitty of the North
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    Member hodgeman's Avatar
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    Interesting...

    I'd very likely bore out a Ruger '06 (77 or Hawkeye). They're reasonably available on the used market for cheap and re-stocking one isn't a big deal if the stock doesn't suit you.

    I'd call JES and ask him about a Browning, Tikka, or Vanguard beforehand since it's my recollection that these all use metric threads on the barrel shanks and not all smiths will deal with it. Nothing wrong with any of those but metric threads can make custom work problematic since some gunsmiths just refuse to work on one.

    I'd likely not go for either a Winchester or Remington just to chop on unless you pick one up for really cheap.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    I like the Weatherby Vanguards. If I ever bought another new factory rifle, I wouldn't settle for anything else.

    Tika's are very popular.

    You could perhaps find a used 30-06 at a gunshow.I Only problem there is most rifles are overpriced, IMO.

    Out of curiosity, why do you want a 35 Whelen, when you've got at 9.3x62 ?

    You can shoot 200 to 220 grain bullets, so again, why make one a 35 Whelen?

    Thanks for the threads on this subject, it's been educational.

    Smitty of the North
    That's a very good question- Why? Heck if I know... I guess the Whelen bug bit me! I'm just impressed with the ballistics of a 225 Accubond in the Whelen. The most likely not maxed out factory Nosler loading @2750 fps breaks 2000 ft lbs energy at 400 yards and shoots nearly as flat at 400 as my 325 WSM or my 338 Win Mag. I read one can push the 225 AB or Nosler to 2800. For a non-magnum I'm impressed- especially for a 35!

    While I've shot further, 400 yards is my personal limit. I envision using the Whelen for everything out to 400 yards if needed- that with a round many say is only medium range. I have no idea if the 9.3X62 could match that? The 9.3 apparently is a great round for larger game. I like it... but why not just go for the 375? Or better yet the 416 Rem? I might be wrong, but the Whelen with modern components just seems more versatile. I suppose on could do the same with an 06, but from my experience bigger bullets hit harder... or perhaps I should say big game seems to go down quicker more often. My 338 win Mag certainly smacks elk much harder than any 30 cal I've seen. But even the big guns may not put em down quick as I experienced shooting an enraged bull moose with a 375 H&H- at 40 yards he was not impressed! (What a story!) And that's how I know a 375 is not a stopping gun-not at all! Neither is the 9.3. The 416 seems much better for that.

    I see the 35 Whelen as a great all-rounder. Kind of like the 06s big brother. Now do I need a Whalen... why yes!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    Interesting...

    I'd very likely bore out a Ruger '06 (77 or Hawkeye). They're reasonably available on the used market for cheap and re-stocking one isn't a big deal if the stock doesn't suit you.

    I'd call JES and ask him about a Browning, Tikka, or Vanguard beforehand since it's my recollection that these all use metric threads on the barrel shanks and not all smiths will deal with it. Nothing wrong with any of those but metric threads can make custom work problematic since some gunsmiths just refuse to work on one.

    I'd likely not go for either a Winchester or Remington just to chop on unless you pick one up for really cheap.
    I spoke with JES yesterday and asked him if he could bore the A-Bolt? YES. I also asked if from they're past experience one particular rifle turned out better? NO. They all turn out very good and JES had no action preference. I was also surprised they would return the rifle within a week or 2!

    I guess if I wanted to be more traditional the Ruger or Winchester with CRF would be the choice. But both of those would weigh more than the Browning and I would have to re-stock the Ruger or Winchester. I do accept the Browning plastic stock. It fits me well and the action is bedded... so 1 less thing to do. I want to keep this project in a low budget because this will be a fun gun. Perhaps down the road I'll consider a lightweight 35 Whelen on a 700 action- but that would cost some $2K! First I want to see if I like the round and putting together a decent working 35 is a good start. I actually have a lead on a Browning 30-06 around $300. Most likely I'll do this and if so will post photos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabochris View Post
    I spoke with JES yesterday and asked him if he could bore the A-Bolt? YES. ..... I actually have a lead on a Browning 30-06 around $300.
    That would settle it for me.... $300 for a used A-Bolt, $200 to punch it out, stick a spare scope you've got laying around on it and you're all done for $500.

    Easy decision.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Well, with a 9.3X62 I wouldn't bother building a 35 whelen, and I'm a huge fan of the 35 bores. I could see building a second 9.3X62.

    That said, of the rifles you mentioned the two I'd choose would be the Ruger M77 mkII and the Win M70. I think it's tough to top the M77 mk II as a rough duty rifle, it's a straight forward well executed design. The trigger is one of the best designs for a hunting rifle due to it's simplicity, and with the proper touch of a stone, sometimes a lighter trigger return spring and an over travel screw it is capable of a fine trigger. The action is a little bit rough and can use a polish to the rails to smooth it out. But since it's such a rock solid hunting rifle, you'll likely be hard pressed to find a used one in a .473" bolt head. The 300 and 338 mags seem to show up now and again, but I don't ever recall coming across and all weather in -06.

    The a-bolt would be way down on my list. I've heard of way to many failures from the actions rusting to the point they wouldn't function to the cast trigger guards breaking.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hodgeman View Post
    That would settle it for me.... $300 for a used A-Bolt, $200 to punch it out, stick a spare scope you've got laying around on it and you're all done for $500.

    Easy decision.
    Here are some seller photos of the A-Bolt. I'm also looking at another Stalker. Obviously someone painted or treated this Browning stock. I find it interesting and utilitarian looking. This would add to the uniqueness of this project- as a working gun. I have an DNZ scope mount for an A-Bolt and a Leupold 3-9X40 and 2.5-8X36. But perhaps a straight 4X on the 35 Whelen makes more sense? OK, I may not get the best groups with a 4 power, but it seems like most of my shots at game the scope was set on 4X- even once a 400 yard moose shot. Yes the moose looked small but I had no time to change power, or problem making the shot on 4X.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabochris View Post
    I have an DNZ scope mount for an A-Bolt and a Leupold 3-9X40 and 2.5-8X36. But perhaps a straight 4X on the 35 Whelen makes more sense? OK,.
    I've used all of those scopes and all would work just fine. I love fixed powers, especially a 4x but nothing wrong with any of it. For load development on a Whelen I'd likely want that 3-9x on there. Whelen is easily a 300yd gun.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

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    Bullets in 358 are easier to find at the LGS that 9.3. If all you can find is a mag bolt gun you could always go 358N and load to what level you need.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Well, with a 9.3X62 I wouldn't bother building a 35 whelen, and I'm a huge fan of the 35 bores. I could see building a second 9.3X62.

    That said, of the rifles you mentioned the two I'd choose would be the Ruger M77 mkII and the Win M70. I think it's tough to top the M77 mk II as a rough duty rifle, it's a straight forward well executed design. The trigger is one of the best designs for a hunting rifle due to it's simplicity, and with the proper touch of a stone, sometimes a lighter trigger return spring and an over travel screw it is capable of a fine trigger. The action is a little bit rough and can use a polish to the rails to smooth it out. But since it's such a rock solid hunting rifle, you'll likely be hard pressed to find a used one in a .473" bolt head. The 300 and 338 mags seem to show up now and again, but I don't ever recall coming across and all weather in -06.

    The a-bolt would be way down on my list. I've heard of way to many failures from the actions rusting to the point they wouldn't function to the cast trigger guards breaking.
    Yes I sure like the looks of the Rugers with CRF. But the Ruger is a heavier rifle. So is the 70. I know... we can all carry a 10lb rifle all day. It's just I tend to concentrate more on the hunt with a rifle under 8lbs. Seems like I'm constantly aware of a heavier weight rifle in my hands. My thinking was if I went with a Hawkeye, then perhaps why not just get one in 375 RCM at around 8 lbs? But I could be sold on the Hawkeye as a 35 Whelen.

    Only I read the MKII triggers are poor and there are still complaints about the newer Hawkeye trigger. Obviously that could be worked with. As for the A-Bolt... In the past I was neither here nor there on the AB, as a Remington Fan (because I could work on Remingtons- replace trigger, stronger bolt-stop Holland spring, speedlock pin...) But still I've owned a few A-bolts and they have grown on me- Why? Because so far for me the A-bolt is the only rifle I do not have to do a thing to. The rifle is bedded. The triggers are very good- so far. The rifle weighs less and mine have been accurate enough. That's funny... give me a Remington and I'll want to change things right away. Give me an A-Bolt and I want to go shoot it! I have no idea what the most reliable rifle is- perhaps a mauser? The newer CRF Model 70? Most production rifles seem to have some cheap/faulty parts thrown in... like the Remington 700 trigger which can go bang just flipping the safety off! How bout the bolt stop spring on the 700? What an anemic spring! A replacement Holland spring looks twice as beefy and assures better function. Or what about the safety on the Tikkas? Those rifles were not built for rough hunting because that safety could easily be knocked-off going through brush. Great rifles, but they really need to make the safety more positive. I've only had one mishap with an A-Bolt- and that was de-cocking in the field on a second shot. This because of that slick wheel I think rides the sear. Any contact with the shroud while bolt is out and the A-bolt de-cocks, rendering the rifle useless! I deepen the wheel groove a bit to prevent that. If I wanted an lighter Whelen I would go with the 700 and custom. Yet even the 700 may not be that reliable. I've had the floor plate open on a 700 while shooting and why I use a double springs on mine. You're right- the A-bolt may not be the most reliable, but I'm thinking it's about reliable as average and the price is right. Why I may have to do 2 Whelens! The stainless Hawkeye in a lightweight stock- nice but more money. The last Brown Precision stock I got broke $600!

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbuck351 View Post
    Bullets in 358 are easier to find at the LGS that 9.3. If all you can find is a mag bolt gun you could always go 358N and load to what level you need.
    Yes, the 358N is wonderful! But then I would be tempted with a 26 in BBL. Heck, with the Whelen I can buy several boxes of Federal Fusion 200 grain and go plinking! Right- plinking with a 35! That's the beauty of the Whelen as a non-magnum... deer to Moose and fun to shoot. Truth be told, I found that PRIVI 9.3 ammo pretty cheap- less than $20 a box! I'm not set-up to load either yet- but will have too.

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    If you are going to have to buy a rifle and then pay to have it rebored to 35 Whelen, why not just buy a factory made 35 Whelen?

    Both Rugers and Remingtons are usually available for not much more than was estimated in a previous post for creating one. I saw a Ruger 35 Whelen advertised on 24 hour campfire earlier tonight.
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    Quote Originally Posted by boliep View Post
    If you are going to have to buy a rifle and then pay to have it rebored to 35 Whelen, why not just buy a factory made 35 Whelen?

    Both Rugers and Remingtons are usually available for not much more than was estimated in a previous post for creating one. I saw a Ruger 35 Whelen advertised on 24 hour campfire earlier tonight.
    I guess that would make the most sense... only how much time does one spend online looking for a 35 Whelen? I've looked a bit and it seems the 35 Whelen is becoming more popular than ever. The ones on GB and GA pushing $800 for a Remington Classic, depending on condition/accessories. I believe Wild West Guns has a 35 Classic on GB now. I'm watching it, as well as a few others and I do like the looks of the Classic- that is if one is OK with a non-bedded wood stock with pressure point. I believe the only wood rifle that ever warped on me was a Classic.

    Searching for a 35 I read where one guy claims he picked a Classic up for $300! I discovered some obscure gun auction sites where several Classics were sold at decent prices- too late for me though. So if anyone wants to sell me their 35 Whelen Remington Classic for $400-500... Sold! I do not care if it has hunting marks. Just no rust and the open sights would be nice, but if missing not a deal breaker.

    Now I see for a while Remington listed a stainless 700 35 Whelen in their catalog, yet have never seen one for sale. I've yet to see the Ruger for sale, but will check out your lead- Thanks! I almost went for a stainless Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter frame and stock and a used Custom Shop 22 inch 35 Whelen barrel. That combo for around $800. I like the TC concept but am not sure a single shot is the way to go?

    I once had a great 375 H&H Classic. I had the metal Teflon coated and put it in a Brown Precision stock... I also installed a Jewell trigger and speed lock pin. It was a lighter rifle and really didn't kick much at all- even off the bench with 300 Noslers! That Brown stock must have absorbed the recoil? Like a dummy I sold it because I fell into the trap that a 375 should be CRF! Yes, I could see a 35 Whelen Classic built the same way- only there might be a 6 month wait to get the Brown stock! One thing I do not like about the 700 is that the bolt is not locked.

    For my first Whalen, going for the A-Bolt bored, I get a lighter rifle in bedded plastic, a decent trigger with locking bolt, tang safety and the ability to reload from top, with floor plate open and via clip. Plus I think a Browning 35 Whalen would be rare- unique? My main concern is that there is enough metal in the barrel. JES says yes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cabochris View Post
    For my first Whalen, going for the A-Bolt bored, I get a lighter rifle in bedded plastic, a decent trigger with locking bolt, tang safety and the ability to reload from top, with floor plate open and via clip. Plus I think a Browning 35 Whalen would be rare- unique? My main concern is that there is enough metal in the barrel. JES says yes.
    Well, there ya go then. For YOU, this seems like a viable choice.

    We all have our likes and dislikes, and fears for the various actions. You seem to be considering nearly everything.

    Smitty of the North
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smitty of the North View Post
    Well, there ya go then. For YOU, this seems like a viable choice.

    We all have our likes and dislikes, and fears for the various actions. You seem to be considering nearly everything.

    Smitty of the North
    I've caught a strong case of "Rifle Disease"!- again... Well it comes and goes. The problem is... in the process I split too many hairs? When I first got into hunting and couldn't decide on what rifle/caliber, my non-hunting father said... "Just get an 06 and go hunt!". I recently read somewhere online a fellow said he hated the 30-06... because once you have one you really don't need anything else!

    I do like interesting working rifles and am still searching for the perfect gun. Just when I figure things out... I see that video online where a Woman shoots an elk at some 700 yards with a 243. Boom and the elk goes down! I know... special gun and VLDs Makes me wonder...

  17. #17

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    JES Reboring did a Sedgley Springfield with a rough bore from 30-06 to 375 Whelen for me last year. It was ten days from the time I dropped it in the mail t the day I got it back. Great shooter. Jesse does great work. I've never heard a bad thing about his jobs. One of my buddies just had one done by him and got the same fast turn around and great work. Why did I opt for the 375 Whelen over the 35 Whelen you ask? Because I already had a 35 Whelen that Cliff La Bounty rebored for me 12 years ago. Another great shooter. Good luck and enjoy. You're going to love the Whelen.

  18. #18

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    I'm pretty sure I held a factory stainless Ruger 35 Whelen at Gator Guns in Kenai a few months back. I liked it and thought it was a good Alaskan rifle. Looked like it had a 22" barrel. No messing around, get some ammo and shoot away!

  19. #19

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    JES re-bored a Win Model 94 to 35-30/30 for me and it was the same 10 days from the time it left my hands until it was back in them as others have mentioned. Great guy, and great work.

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