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Thread: Why not the 35 Whelen?

  1. #1
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    Default Why not the 35 Whelen?

    I just ordered a couple of MRC left handed actions as they were on sale and one of them has the .473 bolt face and 3.4 mag box length.
    Lately it seems all the buzz word is about the 338/06. This was what I was going to have built but then I started doing some reading on the 35 Whelen and it smokes the 338/06 in all categories except .35 caliber bullets are limited compared to .338 offerings.
    Nosler reloading manual is reporting 200 fps increase (2,800 vs 2,600) over the 338/06 shooting 225 bullets. Factory headstamped brass is cheap, dies are cheap, it holds as many down as the 338/06.
    I already own a .338WM and a couple of .375's so the .35 seems to fit right in the midde. Sight it in 3 inches high at 100 with the 225's and it is dead on at 200 with about 8 inches drop at 300. 99% of our shots are under 200 as it is.
    This is ironic. Over a decade ago I hunted deer on Kodiak with a gent who used a Win 70 in 35 Whelen. I found his choice not in line with my tastes. And now in the last ten years I have watched myself sell off every centerfire Remington I owned to acquire mostly W70's (and MRC's) and the occasional Ruger. And now I think his choice in caliber is outstanding.
    What do others here think about the 35 Whelen being a better round than the 338/06 for Alaska hunting?
    Tennessee

  2. #2
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    Default no practical difference between the 2

    I have a 35 Whelen. My dad has a 338-06. Whatever the differences are in the loading manuals and on paper, no animal you ever shoot will ever know. While the 338 has an advantage in bullet selection (which is not nearly as big a deal as it used to be), all you really need is one good bullet anyway. I use 250 gr. Kodiaks (that I bought from Murphy). They look good on paper, and do the job in the field. What more can you ask?

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Loaded to the same pressure, the whelen has about a 100 fps advantage over the 338-06 with the same weight bullets. As I've stated before, the 338-06 sounds sexy, the 35 whelen makes a bigger hole. At 300 yds the sleeker 338 bullets are traveling the same speed as the whelen bullets, so beyond 300 yds the 338-06 has an advantage, but I don't think many folks consider either round as one they'd use for 300+ yd shots.

    I've never figured out the alure of the 338-06 as you can buy a factory 338 win mag for much less than you can build a 338-06, the win mag has a 200 fps advantage, factory ammo, and can be dowloaded to the 338-06 levels if you need reduced recoil.

    Personally I picked up one of rugers 350 rem mag all weathers, the short action 35 whelen, and consider it an outstanding gun. A good 225 gr @ 2700 fps is all you need in AK.

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    Default

    being a better round? differences are not that much and for me I just did not see the need to buy other bullet dia. just to fill the "niche". I already have 2 .338 win mags and when I opted for a medium bore for less than "magnum" power I had 2 .338-06's built up. My reasons were simply due to the availability of bullets on hand. My personal use of the said caliber was exceptional to say the least. My wife can easily handle either of 2 .338-06's and my other mediums now are in the pro-cess of being built are 2 9.3's.

    I done what you also have done, sold out on my Remingtons. Lots of Win 70's, couple of Rem. 30's and a number of M98's-nothing to fancy, just fine working and truly reliable tools.

    The history/use of the Whelan is great and if you must satisfy the "itch" to own one then due er-have fun.

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    Default

    Thanks. Not 100% cetain but leaning towards the Whelen. I have learned to value the opinion of others who have done it first.
    Some good comments about long range energy but to be honest I don't think I ever shot an animal in my life in excess of 250 yards.
    Tennessee

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Loaded to the same pressure, the whelen has about a 100 fps advantage over the 338-06 with the same weight bullets. As I've stated before, the 338-06 sounds sexy, the 35 whelen makes a bigger hole. At 300 yds the sleeker 338 bullets are traveling the same speed as the whelen bullets, so beyond 300 yds the 338-06 has an advantage, but I don't think many folks consider either round as one they'd use for 300+ yd shots.

    I've never figured out the alure of the 338-06 as you can buy a factory 338 win mag for much less than you can build a 338-06, the win mag has a 200 fps advantage, factory ammo, and can be dowloaded to the 338-06 levels if you need reduced recoil.

    Personally I picked up one of rugers 350 rem mag all weathers, the short action 35 whelen, and consider it an outstanding gun. A good 225 gr @ 2700 fps is all you need in AK.
    Ditto on the comments by Paul.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Whelen

    With the Whelen you can also load up .357 pistol bullets for varmints, plinking and cheap fun. Lots of possibilities with the round.

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  8. #8

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    Just some extra thought to support and demonstrate the advantage that Paul was talking about. If you load the 35 Whelen to the same pressures as the 338-06 you not only have a 100fps difference in favor of the 35 Whelen but the feet fps makes up for the coefficient difference and negates the slight advantage of the .338 bullet but still makes a bigger hole while doing so from 0-300yds, and does so with also more energy for those close in pucker up shots. On top of that, you could do this and more with a short barreled 350 Rem mag.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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    Just to throw my plug in here for ...well you all know what caliber. From a purely scientific stand point, bullet weight vs velocity vs bore size vs pressure. From that same 30-06 case regardless of neck diameter, bullets of equal sectional density at equal pressure will be at equal velocity from rifles of equal barrel length. You know, all else being equal.

    So apply that accordingly and it will be easy to calculate any advantage of one over the other. (There ain't any.) So it is a personal warm fuzzy thing and the availability of ammo, if that matters.

    I have always disliked the 350 rem Mag. For no particular reason, I just don't like it. Its' ballistics are fine, its even kind of cute, in that Beartooth photo, but I just can't warm up to it.

    The biggest reason to own a 35 Whelen is because of Col. Townsend Whelen. Why else. What can the 375 H&H do that the 375 Weatherby or the new 375 Ruger can't do. Nothing but we cling to it because of its heritage. Pretty cool!

    I think it is wrong thinking to say; "If you want a 338 get a 338 mag" one of the reasons for the 338-06 (or the 35 Whelen) is to get away from the recoil and heft of the magnum rifle and still retain the killing power of the bigger bore. Both of these will do that. Not with the ranging capability of the mag, but they will get the job done.

    I have an old Whelen made on a model 54, recut and rechambered from an '06 and I shoot cast bullets in its' very smooth barrel. Pistol bullets sized to .358" make good ammo for turkeys, grouse, hares ya' know, where legal.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



  10. #10

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    Best reason to own the 35, is cuzz you already have the 33's and 375's. Differences in terminal ballistics will mean more to you than to the animals you hit with any of them.

    Biggest reason not to go with 35? Cuzz it's one more bullet diameter to buy and stock, without any consideration of molds and accessories. I kinda have my favorite diameters (.257, .284, and .358) so I have lots of cartridges in each of those. Gives me lots of options in any one of them while simplifying the purchases when you find a good deal. That's pretty thin soup, but no one said gun nuts were sane.

  11. #11

    Default Whelen

    I have always liked .35 cal rifle cartridges. I used a .35 Remington and a .350 Remington Mag on pigs, black bear and deer down below and a .35 Whelen here in Alaska while homesteading. It is a very efficient cartridge. You do your job and it does too. I used the 250gr. Hornady Interlock bullet on everything I shot and they always went down without an argument. I think the 250 gr. bullet weight is the best for this cartridge. A little extra velocity isn't necessary for it to perform well. There is a good array of bullets in .35 cal. these days. That being said, if you already had a .338 cal. cartridge, it would only be a matter of what you want for something new, not what you need, as others have said. I believe the cartridge is excellent for 200 to 250 yards, but for me, that's plenty long enough, especially up here. Just my 2 cents worth.

  12. #12

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    I don't know if your dislike for the 350 Rem Mag is only emotional or if there are other factors worth considering. I can understand why we all like certain cartridges and rifles because all of us find ourselves emotionally attached or detached to certain cartridges and platforms to deliver their punch in the field. Although, a warm fuzzy feeling should not and is not a valid reason for the advantages or disadvantages of any give cartridge. I like the 35 Whelen over the 338-06 because there are matters of physics that give one a slight advantage and I do like the 350 Rem Mag because it exceeds both in advantages of physics, and use in operational platforms for quick and effective close in use as well as medium range game taking. I do respect anyones choice of cartridges because he finds himself emotionally attached them. Everyone has that right and should enjoy a certain cartridge or rifle just because he likes it. But let me say to all who read this, that I have over the years of hunting and shooting think there are some cartridges that are over looked. Because of perception and biased press promoting the feelings or sway of a given time during shooting history, a long with the preferences of the main writers who are commenting on cartridges and rifles of the time; real treasures or ignored or over looked. It is apparent by the performance in the field and as well as the ballistic realities of the 350 Rem Mag, that it is one of those treasures that waits to be discovered by those today who give the 350 Rem Mag it's long and over due credit.
    A GUN WRITER NEEDS:
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  13. #13

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    Wow, beartooth! It just occurred to me that if you substitute 358 Winchester every time you said 350 Rem Mag, and it would be just as true. Or 358 Norma each time. And as a matter of fact, 35 Whelen.

    For whatever reason, 35 cals have always been the stepchildren of the American gun world. Probably always will be.

    And Mauserboy, I agree on the choice of 250's for the Whelen. They're a little heavy for optimum in the 358 for my tastes, with better performance coming from 225's in that shorter case. But the Whelen has enough more powder capacity to do real dandy with the 250's.

    Anyone know the 338/06 well enough to comment on the relative merits of the 250's?

  14. #14

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    I have heard and read numerous times that there is a headspace issue with the .35 Whelen and realoding. I have also read that this is not true. How about someone with significant experience reloading and shooting the .35 Whelen chime in and put the issue to bed if that is possible.

    Incidentally I have never heard this about the 9.3x62 which must have a similarly small shoulder. Or to stretch things, how would the .411 Hawk or whelen not simply fall out of the barrel when chambered? (kidding)

    Cheers

  15. #15

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    I've never had a headspace issue with any 35 Whelen, including the 760 Remington. But I'm meticulous about setting up my sizing dies for reloading, so I never set back shoulders or even reduce them with full length sizing. The one fellow I know personally who had problems turned out to have an old custom gun with excess head space compared to "correct" dimensions. Smoking some cases and readjusing his sizing die outward slightly solved the problem completely. Save him buxx too, because he was pulling his hair and considering a rechamber to an AT version, along with the required new custom dies.

  16. #16
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    Default .35 Whelen and such

    I going to put one together a .35 Whelen on a '03 double heat or A3 action just 'cause I've always wanted one and never got around to building one until now. I've still got the first '06 I owned from way way back then and I stumbled across a nearly identical gun in the same Herter's stock so I'll have nearly matching pair in '06 and .35 Whelen.

    Barrel I picked up to build it on has a 1-12" twist so I'll see how it works. If it doesn't work out I'll do it again with a 1-14' or 1-16" until I get what I want. Friend down south will fit it up for me for next nothing so here we go. It is obvious the faster twist will work with the heavier bullets but which twist seems to work best with the pistol bullets - anyone checked this out?

    A few more thoughts come to mind on the .35 caliber. One is the obvious lack of a .35 caliber on the full length H&H case. They made the 8mm Rem Mag - another unpopular bore size in the U.S. - but I don't seem to recall a full length .35 caliber although I'm sure its been done and I guess there is not a real need for it.

    I also have a .40 caliber barrel I picked up threaded for a M98. I've been tinkering with the idea of chambering it out for the .40 Whelen. Anybody have any experience with that caliber?

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    THere is definately nothing wrong with the 35 whelen, I've had a couple and had one made up for my dad a few years ago. They make an excellent all around big game rifle. I'd opt for the 9.3x62 or 9.3x64-66. Your stepping up the recoil a little bit but they sure are slick. I have a 9.3x62 scout and really like it. 250-286gr bullets at 2600-2400 will do anything you would ever want. components are easier with the whelen though.

  18. #18
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    My thoughts on the headspace issue regarding the 35 whelen is you need to understand the historical perspective of the round. The experiments that lead to the development of the 35 whelen occured in the 20's. So when custom shops started building rifles for this round the dimensions that were held were not what would be heald in this day and age. I.e. back then you didn't call up PTG and have them grind a reamer holding it tollerances of tenths of a thousandth. You had some smiths that would make their own reamers, others that would use an '06 reamer to cut the body then go back to cut the neck and throat, and the same state of affairs regarding the reloading dies.

    So if your smith cut the chamber on the long side, your sizing die was perhaps on the short side, and you at the reloading press didn't have a full grasp of the tollerances and just set the sizing die to sizer er all the way, headspace issues were pretty much guranteed to creep up now and again.

    As far as the design of the round having an insufficient shoulder, absolutely not true.

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    Smile

    [quote=Murphy;202505] Just to throw my plug in here for ...well you all know what caliber. From a purely scientific stand point, bullet weight vs velocity vs bore size vs pressure. From that same 30-06 case regardless of neck diameter, bullets of equal sectional density at equal pressure will be at equal velocity from rifles of equal barrel length. You know, all else being equal.


    Murphy, I thought it an imposibility that I may disagree with you on a physical matter. (Meaning that your knowledge has been most impressive, and much greater than mine). In this case its actually hardly a disagreement as a "pointer outer". Its not the actual barrel length, but the volume of the barrel. I don't have time to do the calculations at this time, but, as an example, I calculated that the volume of a 20" .375 barrel is more than that of a 24" .338 barrel. Therefore, the 35 Whelen barrel could be "X" amount shorter than the 338-06 and still have the same volume. Then all would be equal.

  20. #20
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    Question 35 Whel vs 338-06

    I have used both over the years, the 338-06 has been traded off long ago, but the 35 Whel is still here. A rem 7600 Pump that really likes my Handloads of IMR 4320 and Speer 250 Spitzer. Used the 338-06 alot in the lower 48 hunting elk....with the same powder and 210 Nosler Part. Sweet little rifle .....but a 338 win Mag has replaced it!

    I would like to see a Rem 7600 pump Carbine in 35 Whel................my vote goes to the 35 Whel I like the little better bullet diameter with .358 bullets.

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