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Thread: Brown bear bullet for 35 Whelen?

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    Default Brown bear bullet for 35 Whelen?

    If you were hunting coastal bears w/35 whelen, what bullet would you want to load?

    I'm thinking 250 gr. It's on the bottom end of acceptable SD (.279), but bullets w/less SD than that have completely passed through big bears.
    Next step up is the 280 gr. A-frame, and there's no way that it'll expand at those velocities.

    So, for 250 gr. there's A-frame, Woodleigh, etc.

    Even the 250 gr. A-frame is probably too tough for Whelen velocities. The Woodleigh has an advertised velocity range of 1800-2500 fps... sounds like a winner to me.

    What do you think?

  2. #2

    Default 35 Whelen

    I would consider the 225 grn Barnes TSX a good match for the 35 Whelen. It will expand and yet may get complete penetration.
    The 225 grn TSX is about the same length overall as most 250 grn bullets. It has a good SD and BC.
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    I saw a recepie for a 225 gr. TSX and RL15 that went over 2800fps. Should be just the ticket for anything you want to shoot with a .35 Whelen.

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    What's the tsx velocity expansion range? Never used them before... I'll admit, I'm a little leery of them... the all copper things is just so unorthodox...but I know that many guys swear by them.

    And, I know that they get equal penetration at lower SD's, but an SD of .251 is REALLY pushing it. Will this bullet really make it through a Coastal BB?

    I do appreciate your help... anybody else want to pitch in about the 225 gr. TSX?
    Or, any other ideas?

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    For fall moose season (which includes brown bears) I've pretty much switched over to X's and TSX's for the past seven or eight years. Don't let the all copper design give you concern. I have shot three brown bears with X's/TSX's (taking one of my own & backing-up friends), and all shots have blown right through the animals...leaving bigger exit wounds...hence, expanding as designed. All of my shots were within 100 yards from a 375H&H, shooting 270 grainers that are loaded at the top of the scale with RL-15, so my velocity is pushing the 2800 level at the muzzle.

    Looking at the Barnes manual (#3...I haven't bought #4 yet), my 270grn FBX's have a SD of .275 and BC of .503, while your 250 X's are .279 and .458, respectively. Your 225's are .250 and .405, and there is a load listed for the 225 X's with RL-15 that shows just over 2700 fps. The TSX's can be pushed a grain or so further than the X's, which gets you even further into the velocity ballpark. If you squeeze out all the velocity you can (yet maintain accuracy/safety) and keep your shots within 100 yards, I think you'll be fine...but I don't know for sure. This is all conjecture on my part, and you may be justified in your concern with the SD and expansion of the 35's at the Whelen velocities. I'd recommend that you email Ty at the Barnes website and ask his opinion. He seems to be responsive to folks, honest in his comments, and his technical tips are helpful.

    BTW, it's nice to see someone using the Whelen.

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    If I were using a faster 35 (Norma, etc.) I'd use the 250 gr. A-frame. But the Whelen is going to put that out at only 2500-2600 fps (actually, 2600 is really pushing it), and I think the A-frame's just too tough for that.

    I'd like to use the woodleigh...but with an advertised range of 1800-2500, I'd be nervous about sending it into a heavy-boned Brownie @ 2550 fps, if it got up-close-and-personal.

    I'd like to avoid the partition... I know it's a great bullet and all, but without that front part being bonded...it makes me nervous too.

    I'll consider the tsx...I'm not sure yet, though.

    Anybody know anything about Kodiaks? I've never even seen one. I heard they're pretty soft... would they make it through a dense body at 2550?

    Anywhoo, thanks for all the help... I'll keep considering.

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    I use 250 gr. Kodiaks in my Whelen. I haven't had the opportunity to shoot a grizz with it yet, but it certainly does the job on moose and caribou.

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    I'd look no further than the Swift A-Frames. 225 or 250 grain would be where I start. I personally use the 225-grain.

    Exit wounds are large, btw.......

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    I too have always been leery of the Barnes, especially for big animals, but I have enough friends that have used them on bear now without my hearing of a single failure that they are what I'm going to make my "go to" bullet for my 358 Norma (providing they shoot well in it). I'd prefer a 250 gr just because I like heavy bullets, but that's not a choice right now. Friend of mine put two into a nice bear on Kodiac this fall (270s in a 375 H&H) at 100 yds. One went thru with a nice exit. The 2nd went through several feet of bear then broke the spine & lodged under the skin. After cleaning it up he said the retained weight was 269. (something)gr., & the pic he sent me showed a perfect mushroom. That's when I finally made my choice for one bullet to do it all for me. I have two boxes setting here waiting for me to get around to getting started. Supposedly I can get well over 2900 fps with them. We'll see.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBC View Post
    If I were using a faster 35 (Norma, etc.) I'd use the 250 gr. A-frame. But the Whelen is going to put that out at only 2500-2600 fps (actually, 2600 is really pushing it), and I think the A-frame's just too tough for that.

    I'd like to use the woodleigh...but with an advertised range of 1800-2500, I'd be nervous about sending it into a heavy-boned Brownie @ 2550 fps, if it got up-close-and-personal.

    I'd like to avoid the partition... I know it's a great bullet and all, but without that front part being bonded...it makes me nervous too.

    I'll consider the tsx...I'm not sure yet, though.

    Anybody know anything about Kodiaks? I've never even seen one. I heard they're pretty soft... would they make it through a dense body at 2550?

    Anywhoo, thanks for all the help... I'll keep considering.

    I tend to agree with your assesment of bullets and velocties. The A frame is tough and though I've used it extensively for nearly twenty years I've not taken anything with it in the Whelen that I can remember. I did hunt with 250 grain A-frames in a 35 caliber based on the 376 Steyr case but it ups the Whelen velocity about 200 fps. The 338-06 with 225 grains is another story and they are about 2700 to 2750 fps. Swift Aframe bullets almost always exit except in really big critters like cape buffalo and moose shoulder. The reason for the exit is that it expands less or at a slower rate. The same could be said for the TSX's less expansion, more exits. An exiting bullet will leave a much larger hole than it's expanded diameter, due to velocity and all that stuff set in motion that goes with it. I have heard and seen very good reports with the 250 partition and the Whelen, but here again it isn't as tough as the A-frame or TSX. The Kodiaks are a soft tapered jacket with a fully bonded core and though it is different from the partition it performs right along with it (killing power) until velocity gets too high. They will expand rapidly and will not exit in most situations. The faster you drive them the less they penetrate (they expand more). Woodleigh is a tougher bullet but similarly constructed with a fully bonded core. The Woodleigh jacket is not tapered and is not as soft and just holds together better when over driven. Exits are rare except with heavys at slow to moderate velocities. Understand if you want exit holes, velocity needs to be slower to reduce early expansion. If you shoot the TSX drive it as fast as you can drive it. Ditto for the A-frame and the NorthFork.

    I believe if I were to hunt big bears with a Whelen, and that is certainly on my list of usable calibers for the purpose, I would use a 225 Swift or a 250 grain Woodleigh, Partition or Kodiak. I have alot of experience with all these from moderate velocity guns such as 9.3x62, 338-06 and similar velocities. I would normally want the 250 or heavier but with the A-frame and TSX the 225 will allow me to up the velocity without over expanding and this will compensate for the lower SD of the 225 grainers. I'd load the 250 grain Woodleigh, Kodiak or partition at 2500 fps and the 225 grain A-frame, TSX's, NorthForks or TBBC's to max 2700ish and not worry about anything but making the shot..

    I believe bullet weight, design and sectional density control the depth of penetration. Velocity can increase or decrease penetration depending on design. I know four people in this state who have taken 9 foot class brown bears here with the 35 Whelen. Three used the 250 partition and one used the 250 pp Kodiak. I loaded all the ammo.
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    So Murphy, in light of bullet availability, would you rather hunt BB w/a Whelen or a 338-06?

    Take the 250 gr. @ 2500 fps:
    Would you rather hit a charging bear with a .338 caliber bullet with SD .313, or a .358 caliber bullet with SD .279?

    Or, w/the 338-06, you could send a 225 gr. bullet (SD .281) @ 2700+

    See, my rifle isn't a Whelen yet: it's a mauser that I'm currently sporterizing. I'd like to continue the project by converting it to something else (I know this isn't necessarily cost effective: it's a project).
    I had decided on 35 Whelen... but, is the 338-06 the way to go?

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    I would never shoot a BB with a partition. I killed a blackie with a 225gr partition once (35whelen) and it totally disintegrated. Killed the bear and totally mutilated the innards doing it. I didnt even hit any thick bones.

    I also killed a blackie with a partition out of a 300winny and it worked as advertised, but that one time is still in the back of my mind.

    I'm a barnes guy. I really like how an x or tsx performs.

    as for the 338-06 or 35whelen, you really cant go wrong with either. alot better bullet choices for the 338. I wouldnt feel undergunned going after a big bear with either of them.

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    Personal choice, but I'd go with the 35 Welen or 358 NM (preferable to me if you don't mind it being primarily a handloading affair. If I were building a custom 98 359NM is the way I'd go.).
    Love the .358s!!!!!
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  15. #15

    Default 35 Whelen

    I heart/ lunged a 6'blacky with Hornady 250 grain and a max load of IMR 4064. Passed througt. It still ran 75 yards.

    Anyone spare some IMR 4350?

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    Default 35 Whelen

    250 gr. Nosler or a big Woodleigh pnp , there are too many light weight bullet guys around here . Long live Elmer .

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    Quote Originally Posted by SBC View Post
    So Murphy, in light of bullet availability, would you rather hunt BB w/a Whelen or a 338-06?

    Take the 250 gr. @ 2500 fps:
    Would you rather hit a charging bear with a .338 caliber bullet with SD .313, or a .358 caliber bullet with SD .279?

    Or, w/the 338-06, you could send a 225 gr. bullet (SD .281) @ 2700+

    See, my rifle isn't a Whelen yet: it's a mauser that I'm currently sporterizing. I'd like to continue the project by converting it to something else (I know this isn't necessarily cost effective: it's a project).
    I had decided on 35 Whelen... but, is the 338-06 the way to go?
    If you had been around this forum earlier on you would have read as I expound on the virtues of the wonderful 338-06, those SD numbers are on eof the reasons. Given the choice between the two I'll always go to the 338 caliber. Nothing against the Whelen, I know it works very well, I just give an edge in performance to the 338. Flatter trajectory, higher sectional density and a greater choice of bullets. I have said it is the only improvement ever made on the '06 case.

    I also think the 25-06 and the 270 are a waste of brass. The 6.5-06 is the winner of the smal bore '06's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blink View Post
    I would never shoot a BB with a partition. I killed a blackie with a 225gr partition once (35whelen) and it totally disintegrated. Killed the bear and totally mutilated the innards doing it. I didnt even hit any thick bones.

    Sounds like that partition did a helluva job.

    I also killed a blackie with a partition out of a 300winny and it worked as advertised, but that one time is still in the back of my mind.

    I'm a barnes guy. I really like how an x or tsx performs.

    How does the TSX kill deader than the partition?
    Or is the field dressing just not as messy?

    as for the 338-06 or 35whelen, you really cant go wrong with either. alot better bullet choices for the 338. I wouldnt feel undergunned going after a big bear with either of them.
    I get your point about the partition. It may not work when hitting heavy bones. Probably would do better in a 250 grain. Velocity would be lower and more bullet to start with would give better results. That is my point about when using lighter constructed bullets, go heavier and slow them down. The TSX in a 225 can be shot at higher velocity and will take it. It will not out perform a Swift A-frame at Whelen/338-06 velocities.
    Is there nothing so sacred on this earth that you aren't willing to kill or die for?



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    Another vote for the .338-06. I had one made for my son's college graduation. He really enjoys shooting his, and it is super accurate. It is a fantastic round for the handloader...30-06 brass and a whole bunch of different bullet types and weights to try. Furthermore, the more pronounced shoulder on the 338-06 eliminates the headspacing problems that I have read may happen with the Whelen. I had mentioned earlier that it was good to see someone using the Whelen. I said that because I am typically more a fan of the older cartridges, and I thought that SBC already had one. However, that was not the case.

    Professor Murphy...I'd enjoy hearing more about your experimentation with the 6.5-06...new thread?

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    Default Brown bear bullet for 35 Whelen

    I kind of had the same question on mind as well. I guide hunters here and have a 35 Whelen Akley Impoved with a 21" barrel. Mostly it is my interior moose grizzly rifle. I decided to use 250 Northforks @ 2580 muzzel. Think they should expand nicely and still penetrate to least to 225 yards, but I can't prove any of this. Would also condsider 250 Nosler Part. Coastal BB I use a 416 Rem mag and it lets the air out of them pretty fast. But that said I had a 400 grain Aframe bullet @ 50 yards stop at the hip ball, but guess that is about as tough as it gets. 9 1/2 foot bear. Hit twice through the lungs once in the hip and once through the neck which put him to sleep. No perfect bullets only very good ones.

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