It's Whelen Time

filmjunkie4ever

Handloader
May 4, 2011
1,668
543
My Spring 2023 rifle project is going to be a .35 Whelen, IF the action I want to use proves to be sound. I do have a 1903 Custom Sporter that needs a new barrel as well, but it's not going to become a Whelen.

Long story short a 1958 vintage Savage 110 action has come into my possession. It needs some work as it's a bit rough. Am wanting to convert it to the newer style of bolt-head with the push feed and plunger type ejector. Going to be having another chat with the gunsmith as soon as he gets back from Colorado.

I have yet to decide certain of the particulars but rest assured, I will.

My two questions for the forum regarding this build are simple. What barrel length and what twist rate are optimal? I was thinking a 22-23" #4 contour barrel and a 1-14" twist. I have no desire whatsoever to shoot the .358 handgun bullets as I have a super cool Model 1892 Winchester chambered in .38/.357 that I will shoot those through. Was primarily planning to shoot the 200-220 grain bullets, but in certain hunt venues I could easily be persuaded to shoot the 250 grainers.

What say ye?
 
I concur with your thought on the barrel length and twist. I built my Whelen with a 12 twist, but that was because I was intending to shoot heavier bullets in the rifle. As it turns out, I use 225 grain pills, and the 14 twist would have been just fine. I'll be watching as you progress on this build.
 
I'm with Dr. Mike, 22-23" 1:14 twist would be a solid choice. I have a M700 Classic in 35 Whelen and a 1:16 twist. It shoots 200, 225 and 250 gr bullets sub MOA. The 250 gr bullets hit my 250 yard gong hard!
You will love the 35 Whelen, it's a hammer.

JD338
 
A new law was recently passed through the house and senate, expected to be signed by the President this week. Sounds like Canada will implement within weeks too. Any .35 Whelen must be loaded with at least a 250 grain bullet. I suggest the Partitions or Speer. Just trying to help you stay legal…😁
 
I have three rifles chambered to the .35 Whelen. The Remington M700 Classic and Ruger M77 have a 1 in 16" twist. The third rifle is a custom Mauser with 14" barrel. Rugr and remington shot MOA or slightly better with 250 gr. bullets. The Mauser is sub MOA with everything I've tried with the best results regagrding accurace and velocity going to the 225 gr. Barnse TSX bullet. Groups with the TSX are all sub MOA and velocity 2710 FPS at the muzzle.

I do have a small supply of the long gone Hornady 275 gr. round nose bullet. The only data shown is in Hornady's load manual number one circa 1964 and shows the bullet as discontinued. Number two does not show this bullet at all. I haven't tried them in anything due to the limited supply I think they should work in the 1 in 14" barrel but may not in the 1 in 16" guns. They might be a good solution when facing one of the great bears. I doubt I'll ever get the chance to find out.
Paul B.
 
A new law was recently passed through the house and senate, expected to be signed by the President this week. Sounds like Canada will implement within weeks too. Any .35 Whelen must be loaded with at least a 250 grain bullet. I suggest the Partitions or Speer. Just trying to help you stay legal…😁
One more reason this is the greatest forum ever!! 😉😉😂😂
 
I bet you will love it. The Whelen is a big boy thumper with that 35 caliber bullet but is quite behaved even on the bench in my limited experience shooting it. Doesn't kick like I thought it would compared to what you know it's delivering on the other end.
 
A new law was recently passed through the house and senate, expected to be signed by the President this week. Sounds like Canada will implement within weeks too. Any .35 Whelen must be loaded with at least a 250 grain bullet. I suggest the Partitions or Speer. Just trying to help you stay legal…😁
Well that sucks , mine won’t shoot 250’s just 225gr BTs🙁
😂
 
I bet you will love it. The Whelen is a big boy thumper with that 35 caliber bullet but is quite behaved even on the bench in my limited experience shooting it. Doesn't kick like I thought it would compared to what you know it's delivering on the other end.
What would you most nearly compare it to recoil-wise? I've heard everything from heavy loaded .30-06 to .338 Win Mag in comparison. I've never fired one. One more good reason for this build I guess.
 
What would you most nearly compare it to recoil-wise? I've heard everything from heavy loaded .30-06 to .338 Win Mag in comparison. I've never fired one. One more good reason for this build I guess.
Stock design and weight of the firing system play a major role in felt recoil. My Whelen (based on a Ruger Hawkeye) and my former Whelen (a Remington Classic) each had a Limb Saver pad. On firing, neither felt as if recoil was any more than would be experienced with a 300 WSM.
 
What would you most nearly compare it to recoil-wise? I've heard everything from heavy loaded .30-06 to .338 Win Mag in comparison. I've never fired one. One more good reason for this build I guess.

Limited experience, but with 200 grain bullets and H4895, in all honesty it compared directly with 30-06. And I can say that because I was comparing apples to apples.........using the same rifle that was a 30-06, re-bored to a 35 Whelen. That rifle is a sporterized Springfield, that I bedded, so weight is around 9 lbs scoped, and I have a limbsaver on it. Very easy to handle on the bench, but again, same as it was when it was an -06, and I honestly didn't feel noticeable difference with that load.
 
Don't get me wrong, go to heavier bullets and hefty charges and the Whelen would be no slouch in the recoil department, but based on what I've experienced I'd rather shoot it unbraked than any magnum I've worked with. The slower velocities produced compared to magnums with sizzling velocities of even their heavier bullets, surely helps.
 
Well that sucks , mine won’t shoot 250’s just 225gr BTs🙁
😂
When I picked mine up I grabbed some Speer 250’s. It shot so well I’ve never experimented with anything else until SPS had some 250 Partitions for sale. They shot equally as well so I loaded up and never looked back. My buddy bought a Springfield action from me and had it barreled for the .35. He’s been bouncing back and forth between the 200’s and 225’s just trying to decide what to stick with. hes getting decent accuracy with both but I suggested the 225’s. If I’m going to shoot a 200 grain bullet I’d just use a .30 cal gun.
 
I bought my 700 classic back in 1982 and have had a lot of success with it. Lots of power, accurate and well behaved in the recoil department.
Just do it. You will fall in love with it.

JD338
Hmmm. I do have a Mossberg patriot 30-06 with a walnut stock that's never really excited me, it could be a good candidate to send to Jess to rebore/chamber. Might be a good way to dip my toes into the Whelen.
 
Maybe brinky72 will chime in and tell you about his 35 Whelen build.

JD338
 
Well, I have three rifles chambered to the Whelen The Ruger M77 is slightly heavier than the Remington M700 classic and the custom Mauser is probably a pound heavier. I run the Ruger with cast bullet loads only and the Mauser strictly with the 225 gr. TSX bullet. The M700 is in sort of a limbo stage right now but I have been five some though to using it with the Speer or Hornady 250 gr. bullets. I can't come anywhere near the TSX load for the Mauser in the Remington. Same with the Ruger thus one of the reasons for the cast bullets. The other is the Ruger has a slight headspace problem so seating the cast bullets slightly into the rifling and fireforming the brass to fit solves the problem. I also bought a separate sizing die especially for the Ruger so I don't have to bother resetting the die back and forth. It shoots the 200 gr. RCBS bullet reasonably well and I have a good practice load. Well I do at least as ong as my supply of SR4759 holds out. I'll be trying AA5744 when it's gone. Recoil with the cast is mild in the Ruger. In the Ruger and Remington, top loads will certainly get your attention but not as bad as you might think. The Mauser with the TSX load is about like a 30-06 with a stout 200 gr. load and not much worse with a hot 250 gr. load. Naturally, YMMV.
Paul B.
 
I owned a M700 Classic that shot very well but had to replace the factory recoil pad since it would get your attention very quick and was not a rifle that you would creep up on the scope with because it would leave you with a scope ring eye.
I sent a M70 30-06 with a 26" barrel off to JES for reboring and had him chamber it for the 35 Whelen Ackely Improved. I had JES cut a 4 groove 1-12" twist for shooting heavier bullets.
The dang thing thinks it's a sniper rifle with 200gr and 225gr ABs.
I get a little more horsepower from the Ackely than the standard 35 Whelen but the recoil isn't bad as long as you keep the weight in the 9lb rifle range. If you want a 5lb hunting rifle don't make it a 35 Whelen since you won't like it killing on one end and crossing your eyes on the other when you touch it off.
 
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