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  • 35 vs 338

    An old debate, but I'd appreciate any direct experience:

    I have an old .270 I plan to rebarrel, trying to decide between 338-06 and 35 Whelen.

    I plan to shoot 225s out of the new build, primarily for moose and for deer in brownie territory. (I have an '06, usually shoot 180s.)

    Will probably go with a 21 or 22 inch barrel.

    I'm new to reloading, but plan to load for this rifle, so am not concerned about commercial ammo availability.

    What's your take?

  • #2
    Ok,,,,, well if it were me, I'd send it down to Jess in Cottage-Grove OR., just have your existing Barrel Cut too 22" and Bored for the .35 Whelen, get some appropriate loading equipment, and your set to go,,, Easy-Peasy.
    TG
    [ USMC 1st Marine Div. 7th Engineers, VietNam 69-71, Semper-Fi ] :topjob:

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    • #3
      Originally posted by The German View Post
      Ok,,,,, well if it were me, I'd send it down to Jess in Cottage-Grove OR., just have your existing Barrel Cut too 22" and Bored for the .35 Whelen, get some appropriate loading equipment, and your set to go,,, Easy-Peasy.
      TG
      Any discussion on why Whelen vs 338-06? I plan to rebarrel for a variety of reasons, but if I went the rebore route JES could do either caliber.

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      • #4
        .35 Whelen was once factory loaded so if you needed ammo in a pinch you might find some. There was a box on the shelf of the Native store in Elim back in 1999. Why, I don't know as I was probably the only one there with a .35 Whelen. There are only 2-3 manufacture's of .338/06 that I see, the expensive brands.. With the Whelen I can load .357 pistol bullets for small game right up to 300 grains. I have settled on 225's for the every day game round now. It makes a nice big hole, doesn't damage a lot of meat and is easy to reload.

        Patriot Life Member NRA
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        • #5
          I have put together 2 different .35 Whelen rifles both with 22” barrels. Very handy length, the loss of a couple more inches wouldn’t be noticed. I don’t have any exciting performance stories. So far they have accounted for a bull elk around 100 yards and a Sitka deer roughly the same with neither taking a step. It’s widely known that Elk can be a bullet sponge but at those distances anything will work with good placement. <br/><br/>I believe it is the finest cartridge based on the ‘06 case ever devised. I have no experience with .338-06 but it should more than do the job as well, there certainly are more bullets to choose from in .338. <br/><br/>Speer has some load data on their website for their 250gr Hotcore that will really open eyes to the potential of the .35 Whelen with some of the new powders. If I had to choose one it would be the Whelen.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by gbflyer View Post
            Speer has some load data on their website for their 250gr Hotcore that will really open eyes to the potential of the .35 Whelen with some of the new powders. If I had to choose one it would be the Whelen.
            I have always used 4064 for the Whelen. Just curious what are the new powders you are talking about. The reason I use 4064 is because it works in several of the calibers I load for and I could hide a small can in the luggage when I worked in the villages.

            Patriot Life Member NRA
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            • #7
              Originally posted by Daveinthebush View Post
              <br/><br/>I have always used 4064 for the Whelen. Just curious what are the new powders you are talking about. The reason I use 4064 is because it works in several of the calibers I load for and I could hide a small can in the luggage when I worked in the villages.
              <br/><br/>

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              • #8
                I looked into the two options as well and went with the Whelen.

                For moose, I don't think it really matters 30- 06, 338-06, 35 Whelen. Maybe if you are expecting long range shooting over 300 yards or have a recoil issue you would lean one way or the other. However, if you are looking to have bear medicine, the choice is easy. Put as much lead out of the barrel at the highest velocity is the equation that works. So, the Whelen takes the nod. I have a 35 Whelen in Ruger M77 control round feed. Puts a big hole in hairy critters. They all die. And, I can shoot reduced load 38 bullets for plinking. A 225 partition or TSX will kill with authority. The 250g Partition even more so.

                Since you reload, there is no reason to pick a cartridge that you can find ammo for. You might never find it for the 338-06 and a lot of the Whelen loads are anemic, if you can find those either.

                Great discussion. I read a post by a long time contributor to this forum many years back that the only cartridge that might be better that the 30-06 is the 338-06. Not sure I entirely agree. Still like the 35 better.

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                • #9
                  I was caribou hunting up north once. Came upon a bull that a friend had wounded with a .338. It was still standing so I put a .35 225 grain about 4" over from the first shot. Bull dropped and I went to look at the holes. Unless you got out a micrometer their wasn't a lick of difference in the holes. I have two .35's and love the round. I loaded up some custom 225 grain loads for the Encore to try on my March moose permit. Can't wait to see what they do.

                  Patriot Life Member NRA
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Daveinthebush View Post
                    I was caribou hunting up north once. Came upon a bull that a friend had wounded with a .338. It was still standing so I put a .35 225 grain about 4" over from the first shot. Bull dropped and I went to look at the holes. Unless you got out a micrometer their wasn't a lick of difference in the holes. I have two .35's and love the round. I loaded up some custom 225 grain loads for the Encore to try on my March moose permit. Can't wait to see what they do.
                    Yup, the only real world difference is (potentially) bullet selection/availability, and the fact the 338 has more shoulder in the chamber.

                    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
                    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
                    The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

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                    • #11
                      I have also have a 270 and am planning on reboring (when reloading supplies are on the shelves again) and chose the 338-06. The 338 has a wider selection of bullets and sizing up the 30-06 brass is a little easier since it's only going to .338 instead of .35.
                      I don't need a brush gun, but wanted something good from 50-400 yards.

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                      • #12
                        Just by way of update, the decision made itself. A ruger m77 all weather found its way into my hands, so that’s that. Looking forward to getting to know it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by luckyak View Post
                          Just by way of update, the decision made itself. A ruger m77 all weather found its way into my hands, so that’s that. Looking forward to getting to know it.
                          I'll bite. 35 or 338?

                          ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
                          I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
                          The last thing Alaska needs is another bigot. ~member Catch It

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by iofthetaiga View Post
                            I'll bite. 35 or 338?
                            Lol apologies, I meant to say: 35 Whelen

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                            • #15
                              Well you picked the better of the two. If you reload for it you can do quite a bit. 158 grains - 300 grains.

                              Patriot Life Member NRA
                              Life Member Veterans of Foreign Wars
                              Life Member Disabled American Veterans


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