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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > Warming up to the .35's

Warming up to the .35's

29 Nov 2014
@ 12:42 pm (GMT)

Randal Graham

Nathan suggested I have a look at the .35 whelen as a contender for my next hunting rifle, after looking at both the .35 whelen and .358 winchester in great detail I must say I am feeling the pull towards them.

One stubling block is lack of rifles available in either. Although I'm not opposed to a build in any case.

What I have come to is this; the Browning BLR is a rifle I have many many years of expirience with, and it is available in .358 winchester. In this caliber it has a 20 inch barrel only available.
I would prefer longer on one hand, for sight radius, but a 20 inch BLR would be a very handy rifle, so I'm not entirely opposed.

The .358 winchester seems to me would be the better choice in the instance of a 20 inch barrel, with the .35 whelen being more suitable in a longer barrel, say 24 or 26 inches.

Also from what I am studying it would seem the practical difference between the two would be roughly 100 yards in effective ranges, given the .358 in a 20 inch, and the whelen in a 24.

I realize these are generalities but for those who have more expirience with these calibers, would my assumptions be close to the mark?

Read the threads here regarding these two and the 9.3 with great interest.
Great forum and folks here!

Randal[b]

Replies

29 Nov 2014
@ 03:48 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Hi Randal, I think to some extent this is a personal choice. To my way of thinking, a bolt action rifle is a simple and effective proposition. The bedding, trigger and bore can be worked on with ease. The ejection port can be cleared easily. The comb of the stock on a bolt action can be made to have better alignment. So on the one hand, while a lever can be faster to cycle, the bolt action will not recoil in the same manner and recovery from recoil is very fast. Such a rifle can be made both portable and highly accurate to the point that what once may have appeared to be a woods only cartridge, is now more than suitable for cross valley shots.

On other hand, if you have a preference for the BLR, then that is your call. And this is where personal choice comes into play. I have only known you for a short time but I think that you are the type of person who, if you discover something is not up to scratch, will set about working on the rifle in your workshop until you are satisfied that (for example) the trigger and forend assembly are optimal.

The question is, based on your "fix it" mindset (like mine)- do you want a workshop project that may involve many weeks of experimentation. Or do you want something that is more straight forwards (although it will still need bedding etc).

I don't think any input from myself can answer this.

As for barrel length and portability- again, this is highly subjective. We started out with Lee Enfields. Perhaps you did the same. We never had short barrels and we never thought we had a less than ideal bush rifle.

There is no correct answer to this thread. One person may prefer a BLR lever (or even a BAR), another may prefer a modern bolt action. Yet another may prefer a Lee Enfield (even a .35-303 if the feeding issues can be overcome). Another may prefer a Marlin 45-70. Some prefer to have one of everything. Reasons may be based on nostalgia or function or whatever...

My personal preference for large bodied medium game in brush conditions is a .35 Whelen, bolt action, 24" barrel. I am not adverse to the .358 Norma either, whether loaded to full capacity or downloaded to Whelen velocities. I do not believe my preferences should bear any weight on your decision making.
29 Nov 2014
@ 05:15 pm (GMT)

Randal Graham

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Thanks Nathan

Not actually hung up on the BLR, other than it is a very familiar rifle already in a .35 caliber.
I'm also familiar with what comes with a BLR :0) not entirely sure I want to go through all that again.
In reasearching the .358 winchester did seem like an outstanding cartridge in it's own right, so the BLR in .358 is on the list out of simple availability.
The 20 inch barrel is a black mark for me though.
The cartridge tweaked me as it's based on the .308 so my assumption was that it would be well suited to the shorter barrels, if I ended up going that way.

I really should go with a longer sight radius though, to follow through properly with shooting longish with iron sights.
If the new Highwall was available in .35 Whelen it would be a done deal.
But alas, looks like boltgun custom build is the way forward for a win in the .35 Whelen column.

Final open question, anybody have time behind the butt with the Thompson Center encore based rifles?
I have shot a couple with glass, and found them quite harsh in recoil in both 7 rem mag and .300 win mag.
They do have a .35w barrel listed at 28" and I'm wondering what that would be like with iron sights.
I certainly could build my own buttstock if nessecary.
Not opposed to single shot, my .45-70 was a highwall and I quite enjoyed it.

The list is getting shorter :0)
29 Nov 2014
@ 06:22 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Warming up to the .35's
G'day Randal
I have a 358 Winchester built on a L579 Sako, McMillan stock, 22" Maddco barrel, x6 Zeiss, 8 1/4 lbs. I love it!
I make my cases from Lapua .308 palmer cases with the small primer, 225gn Sierra game kings or 225gn Woodleigh's and ADI AR2206H powder at 2620 FPS. It has all the power I need and extremely accurate.
Cheers
Bob
29 Nov 2014
@ 08:15 pm (GMT)

Randal Graham

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Hi Bob!

Yes, saw your posts in the 9.3/.35 whelen thread, found them quite enlightening. Sounds like a beautiful rifle as well, always been quite fond of Sako rifles, I owned a Sako carbine for a short time and it was one of the nicest guns I've owned, but was not in a caliber I could easily load for...and an offer came along. How I ended up with the damn BLR actually, and an auto-5 to boot.

Wow, 225 at 2600+ , that has gotta be a deer hammer.
Hmm, that would hit pretty hard a fair ways out I'd bet!
I originally looked at the .338fed/.338-06 as a way to up the bullet weight just a bit from the .30-06 to prop up on the top end a bit for moose, and for western bear. The more I look into the .35's though the more I think that's where I need to be.
Looks like ideal catridges for cast bullets also which was a passion of mine, I competed alot when I was young with a .38-55 and hunted with .45-70 quite a bit.
Bob, have you tried some cast pills in the .358 at all?

Nathan, as a matter of fact, my first deer was with an old marlin 30-30... My second deer and first bear was with a .303 enfield, family guns. I have a young nephew just now starting to shoot with the enfield, will be his turn next fall

Fine old dependable rifle.
The old marlin is hidden away with an uncle now. Everybody wants it.
Have to say,had a brand spankin marlin put in my hands just a few weeks ago, opened and closed the lever once and handed it back laughing. Junk.
Lotta stuff has gone downhill badly, sad really.

Dammit you guys. i can see two bloody rifles in my future....wait, .358 norma you say?
Bugger.
:0)
29 Nov 2014
@ 08:34 pm (GMT)

Bob Mavin

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Randal
I haven't tried cast projectiles but I was talking to a guy in the Northern Territory who only used cast pills in his 358W, even on big bulls.
My mate uses a 358 Norma but its too much gun for me.
29 Nov 2014
@ 09:04 pm (GMT)

Randal Graham

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Bob, took a quick peek at the .358 norma stats....yeah, looks like a ton of fun but I think that'll be bad medicine on my old shoulder lol!

I quickly came to a place with the .45-70 where all I shot with either of the rifles I had was cast. I hunted with pure lead paper-patched in the highwall for deer and bear and hard cast for a few moose.
None of the jacketed bullets I tried at the time seemed to be in even the same class, although the old remington 405 round was decent.
The papered soft 400 was absolutely murderous on whitetail and black bear both. Almost too much really. No tracking nessecary however.

Quite an excellent selection of lead bullets and molds in .358, so I can see going that way for sure. This whole thing amounts to "one last gun" for me, and fun is my main priority, casting and loading are all parts of the gig I loved as much as the hunt, the Whelen would seem to be ideal for this, as well as jacketed modern stuff.
Well, the .358 win also.
If I end up with two one-last-guns it's your fault. :0)
29 Nov 2014
@ 10:20 pm (GMT)

Jared Thibodaux

Re: Warming up to the .35's
If I cannot get this darn 7 mag to group better after fire lapping I have given some thought to making it into a 358 Norma Magnum, I am not recoil shy but I think I might steer clear of max loads maybe stout 35 Whelen speeds, that would be tough to beat in the woods, if anything should ever happen to run after the shot it should leave a blood trial you could follow blindfolded.
Always seemed to me that larger calibers made more free bleeding wounds, small calibers regardless of their speed just don't seem to have the same effect, anyone else notice this?
29 Nov 2014
@ 11:18 pm (GMT)

Randal Graham

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Jared, just my opinion, but if things have come to the point where you are looking at fire lapping, you will be way better off lapping it by hand.
Firelapping is one stroke at a time, and although it does polish the bore, it is a huge waste of time and resources when compared to old school hand-lapping.

29 Nov 2014
@ 11:35 pm (GMT)

Jared Thibodaux

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Can you hand lap a barrel without a lead melting pot? I don't have any casting equipment yet and the only way I have seen to hand lap is casting a lead plug.
30 Nov 2014
@ 08:49 am (GMT)

Randal Graham

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Hi Jared

Simple shop stuff is all you need, torch and a small iron pan or ladle, no special equip required other than soft lead. Don't use wheel weights or anything like that but fishing line weights, or old lead flashing would work.

Check out this vid....

http://youtu.be/ml-9oLLKYsM

02 Dec 2014
@ 03:51 am (GMT)

Alex Langley

Re: Warming up to the .35's
I have Brno in 35 W that started life as a 270 and was redone to the Whelen - that being done by the previous owner not me. It has a 20" barrel and is a joy to carry and shoot. So much so that it is my go to rifle (as much as I love my finnlight 25-06 the 35 is just so much fun and there is not much that will stand up to it - yet I find it very comfortable to shoot). Most recently I have been using it on camels (out to 500m), pigs (mostly <100m) but I have also used it on fallow (inside 50m). The fallow are light enough in the body for the meat damage to be not too bad. With a 225gn woodleigh it is traveling around 2400fps. It shoots the 250gn very well but the 225 is just that bit easier on the shoulder

Alex

02 Dec 2014
@ 08:56 am (GMT)

Randal Graham

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Thanks Alex

Yes, the more I read and study on the .35's, the more baffled I am by the lack of popularity. I was originally thinking of one of the .338's to move closer to the "middle", to add a little on the top end over the .30-06, but it seems to me the .35whelen would be hold a much wider range of use in that regard.

For my own needs, on a practical level, it has every indication of being a one round fix from top to bottom.
Can't wait to smack a coyote with it! Lol!
02 Dec 2014
@ 06:00 pm (GMT)

Alex Langley

Re: Warming up to the .35's
I rolled a dog and a cat with the 35Whelen a few weeks ago. I reckon if I was to go down the 338 path it would be 338-06 but really it would only be part of an 06 collection - not that that is out of the question - that probably would not get a lot of use
03 Dec 2014
@ 01:54 pm (GMT)

Randal Graham

Re: Warming up to the .35's
I was looking at the .338 fed pretty hard initially, a whole lot of that had to do with firearm availability though, I really like Tikka rifles so having a factory offering in the chambering with a rifle I know and like was tempting.
Then found out here in NS I was looking at 1100 bucks and perhaps a year wait to get one, which is kinda stupid imo.

What tipped me over to the .35's for sure was when I took a look at moulds available...happy day! Lol! I like casting, and I think the Whelen or winchester .35's either one will be ideal for expirimenting with cast bullets.
I worked with cast loads alot with .45-70 and am looking forward to the possibilities loading cast in the .35's.

The .30-06 never let me down honestly, but with moose in particular, I always was just a teeny bit unhappy with terminal performance...never lost a moose or had one hang on for too long...but, they never quite went down in a pile either and that ultimately is my personal goal.
With the 180's it seemed like I had lots of velocity but not quite enough weight, and with the 200's had just barely enough of both...tried 220's and got to the other end, lotsa weight, but not quite enough velocity.

Looking at the .35 whelen from every angle it seems it's probably going to be ideal in these regards, bumping me up to 200-250 range, with the same velocities I got in the .30-06, more or less.
Which is exactly what Nathan suggested.
Good to hear other folks having positive results with the .35's also.

Only thing that concerns me is how hard it is to get reloading supplies around here. Hope things loosen up a little over the next year.
03 Dec 2014
@ 03:37 pm (GMT)

Brian Schmidt

Re: Warming up to the .35's
My experience with 35's started about 15yrs ago with a 350 Rem magnum, which is also a great cartridge.

However, I've been hunting with a 358W for about 5 years now. I went through the same exercise as you, weighing bullet weight, velocity, and terminal performance. My terminal requirements, however, did not include any animal greater than 350lb in weight, and I was looking for a relatively compact/lightweight platform.

I settled on a ruger frontier with a 16.5" bbl, and a 180-200gr projectile pushed at 2400fps. Overall length of the platform is about 34", with a loaded weight, with optics, of a little over 7lbs. It drops whitetail deer with authority, and is essentially a more compact and lighter weight, bolt action 35 Remington... that can shoot pointed bullets.

I have also experimented with cast projectiles, in particular the 200gr RCBS FN with great accuracy and terminal performance at 1800 - 2000 fps on whitetail deer size game taken within 100yds.

Good luck in your search!
03 Dec 2014
@ 04:05 pm (GMT)

Randal Graham

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Thanks Brian, that sounds like a wonderful little stalking rifle!

With the cast 200grn FN, did you run that as a hard cast bullet?
06 Dec 2014
@ 05:09 pm (GMT)

Glenn Edwards

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Hey Randal this is well off topic but I can't help but think you might shed some light here. I have a friend messing round with a 7.62 x 39 and cast bullets at subsonic velocities. He shot his first walking target with that rifle yesterday, a chamois at 40 yds with 186 gn soft point. Did not strike bone and exit looked just like entry suggesting no expansion. Anyway that chamois fell over so all good but some expansion might be the go for instilling confidence in it. Currently not casting his own pills but does have a 150gn hollow point available. Any suggestions would be appreciated. I understand this caliber at these velocities might be outside of your experience, we don't have any bears here :) By the way you guys have sparked my imagination for the larger bores, I'm wondering how a 470 NE might go on deer??? :)
06 Dec 2014
@ 07:09 pm (GMT)

Randal Graham

Re: Warming up to the .35's
I hunted blackpowder alot with all kinds of calibers and both round and conical, and tried cast in .30 cal a fair amount early on.

I can say that if subsonic is a nessecity, biggest bullet you can use, and strictly point of shoulder, neck, or head shots, soft tissue or lung shots will almost always be slow and dissapointing. I would not bother with a hollowpoint at subsonic, better to use the space for more lead and more weight.
Like 200grain flat or round nose, or bigger. Can't be heavy enough in .30 cal subsonic. Unless you hit bone, there will be no appreciable expansion with any bullet that slow. All about weight into hard structure way down there.

If he can live with the sonoc crack on the other hand, a 150gn hollowpoint cranked up to 2400-2500 will work good if he anneals the fronts, down to 1800fps or so.
06 Dec 2014
@ 07:55 pm (GMT)

Glenn Edwards

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Thanks Randal! that's great info.
14 Dec 2014
@ 01:21 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Warming up to the .35's
Quote:
I was looking at the .338 fed pretty hard initially, a whole lot of that had to do with firearm availability though, I really like Tikka rifles so having a factory offering in the chambering with a rifle I know and like was tempting.
Then found out here in NS I was looking at 1100 bucks and perhaps a year wait to get one, which is kinda stupid imo.

What tipped me over to the .35's for sure was when I took a look at moulds available...happy day! Lol! I like casting, and I think the Whelen or winchester .35's either one will be ideal for expirimenting with cast bullets.
I worked with cast loads alot with .45-70 and am looking forward to the possibilities loading cast in the .35's.

The .30-06 never let me down honestly, but with moose in particular, I always was just a teeny bit unhappy with terminal performance...never lost a moose or had one hang on for too long...but, they never quite went down in a pile either and that ultimately is my personal goal.
With the 180's it seemed like I had lots of velocity but not quite enough weight, and with the 200's had just barely enough of both...tried 220's and got to the other end, lotsa weight, but not quite enough velocity.

Looking at the .35 whelen from every angle it seems it's probably going to be ideal in these regards, bumping me up to 200-250 range, with the same velocities I got in the .30-06, more or less.
Which is exactly what Nathan suggested.
Good to hear other folks having positive results with the .35's also.

Only thing that concerns me is how hard it is to get reloading supplies around here. Hope things loosen up a little over the next year.


Years back, after taking a moose and an elk annually for 18 years with a 30/06, I traded a revolver for a featherweight Husqvarna that had been rebarreled with a 22" barrel and chambered in 35 Whelen. That year I shot a large bull moose standing facing me at 225 meters. Hit it dead centre at the base of the neck, took out the upper heart and some lungs, and found the bullet just short of its urinary bladder. That was a whole lot lot of penetration for a 225 grain Speer. Bull simply dropped where he stood. Tried to locate the load that I used but unable to do so.
 

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