Medium bores


Nov 25, 2013
Another article I found interesting the latest edition of Petersen's Hunting is on medium bores "Stuck in the Middle".
The thread on Bigger Bores and Bullets has been a great conversation, that I think everyone has been enjoying, and I think this article on the medium bores and cartridges is very useful and enlightening.

The article talks about the performance of medium bore cartridges between the 30-06 and grand old 375 H&H. It highlights the 35 Whelen (and we know there are a number of fans here!), the 350 Rigby and the 9.3x62. There is mention of the 318 Westley Richards and the comparable 338-06.

While I do not own a 35 Whelen, I have used a friend's to take a cow elk in the past, and spent some time shooting his old Remington pump and helping him find a load that it liked. While not the most accurate platform out there, it did shoot acceptably well at his normal hunting ranges and served him well over the years.

I did consider the Whelen when I was looking to replace my trusty old 338 Win Mag during the height of my shoulder issues, and eventually settled on the 338-06, as I had plenty of 338 caliber bullets on hand for handloading and am a fan of the caliber. I also knew no one else who had one, which for me added to its appeal. I have been very happy with it since building one on a left handed Rem 700 action with a 22" King barrel bedded into a Wenig nutmeg laminated stock. It will shoot 1/2" groups at 100 yards with both Wby's factory 210gr NP ammo and my handloaded 215gr SGK's, both doing 2750 fps. And is comfortable to shoot as compared to the 338 Win Mag.

It was after this that I acquired my pre-81 BLR in 358 Win which has become one of my favourite rifles and cartridges, and gets carried and used a lot, or at least taken along on most hunts as backup. My daughter harvested her first big game animal with it,a young mule deer buck. Also have a couple of 356 Win's; a 94 Big Bore that DrMike graciously gifted to me a number of years ago and a Marlin 336ER that I finally acquired after more than 24 years of searching for one.

I have been interested in the 9.3x62 for many years, and became even more so after my Dad guided John Barsness to a moose with one. John wrote the story up in a couple of hunting magazines, and wrote the bio for the cartridge in the Nosler Reloading Guide #6, where he reiterated my Dad's comments on the cartridge's effectiveness. I have finally acquired one in a left handed Sako 85 Hunter and it shoots the Nosler factory 250gr AccuBond ammo into 1/2" groups at 100 yards. I look forward to many years of hunting adventures with this rifle!

Not mentioned in the article, but is another favourite of mine, is the old 375 Win! Have used a Marlin 375S for years on moose and black bears with great results. The old girl is fondly referred to as "Thumper" as whatever she shoots, "thumps" the ground! LOL
My new to me 94 Big Bore should be here next week sometime!

Another great cartridge that I am enjoying is the 376 Steyr! Built on a left handed Ruger M77 with a 21" King barrel bedded into a full length Wenig pepper laminated stock, she will put 3 into 1/2 groups at 100 yards with the 260gr AccuBonds at 2632 fps. And she is a pussycat to shoot of the bench! I have harvested a bull elk and a bull bison with it to date, and can say that she is very effective!

There is just something satisfying when using these cartridges and their effectiveness on big game that appeals to me. Animals are harvested quickly and cleanly, without a lot of fuss, recoil and bloodshot meat. You just can't get any better than that!


May 18, 2011
This is something I'm interested in right now.

I have an old M70 on my bench that is in 270 Win. The rifle was apparently not used for a long, long, long time. I haven't committed to a purchase yet, and I'm suspect that the bore may be a bit further gone than desired. It had some rust near the crown that a good cleaning removed, but I have permission to work up a load with it and see what it does prior to committing to buy. Long story as to how/why, but it's nice situation to be in, lol.

if it doesn't shoot, though, I had started thinking of having JES make it into a 338-06AI. I have an M70 Classic that he made into a 35 Whelen. My thoughts on going to 338-06 are simply to get something that is a little flatter than a Whelen but still is in the medium bore realm.

I shot a doe with the Whelen yesterday, actually. I'm not sure I'd describe the reaction she had as "bang-flop." More "bang-smack" because she seemed to hit the dirt faster than simply falling down would happen. Her hooves flung dirt and leaves out from springing free from where they bore her weight, and she never kicked nor even twitched. Boom, down, still. Done.

Put me in the medium bore fan camp, for sure. Third deer I shot with that rifle, and I like it more with each deer it drops.


Sep 29, 2004
Pretty solid thinking on your part in choosing some of your calibers. I’ve used a .35 Whelen on a black bear that virtually anything would’ve killed. But what really sold me on it was the game I shot in Africa. A 250 grain Nosler Partition just hammered my Kudu and Blue Wildebeest. The Professional Hunter I was with carried a 9.3x62. What I really like about those cartridges are the gun platforms they are chambered in. I packed a .338 Win Mag for a few years but didn’t care for the heavier weight of the rifle. If I ever get to hunt moose again it’ll definitely be my .35 Whelen that goes. I too have a .375 Win. While I have only shot a couple of Whitetail with it I’m itching to try it on a nice black bear.


Jul 27, 2015
Got the dust off my 9.3x62 and took it hunting over Thanksgiving holidays.
That 286 NPT just hammered 2 deer and a big hog - DRT.

Guy Miner

Master Loader
Apr 6, 2006
Blkram - I've read that story of John's hunt with your father several times!


Ray, I'm glad you got out with the 9.3 and took game.

Good stuff guys!