Wednesday, March 30, 2016

35 Whelen Factory Ammunition

Nosler 35 Whelen

One of the complaints about the 35 Whelen is that there isn't a good choice of factory ammunition.  I'm not sure that that's the case.  Sure, Whelen ammunition isn't available in the vast array of choices as offered by, for example, the 30-06.  But, there are a number of outstanding choices of 35 Whelen factory ammunition.

If I had a complaint, it would be that there isn't a good choice of budget ammunition for the Whelen; but that can be countered with the argument that the 35 Whelen is not the kind of rifle one spends a lot of time with, plinking.  And, should anyone be buying "budget" ammunition for hunting when the goal is clean and lethal kills?

The following is a list of factory ammunition available in 35 Whelen:

Federal Premium:
Remington: High Performance Rifle 250 grain PSP

Remington: Core-Lokt 200 grain

Barnes: Vor-TX TTSX 180 grain

Nosler Handloaded Custom: 
  • 200 grain Accubond
  • 225 grain Accubond
  • 225 grain Partition
  • 250 grain Partition
Nosler Trophy Grade: 225 grain Accubond

Hornady: 200 grain SP Superformance

Buffalo-Barnes Premium: 225 grain TSX 

Doubletap Ammunition:
  • 180 grain Barnes TTSX
  • 200 grain Barnes TSX
  • 225 Grain Swift A-frame
  • 250 Jacketed Soft Point
  • 310 Grain Woodleigh Weldcore 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Remington Model 700 Classic: My First Ever Bedding Project

My Favorite: Remington M700 Classic in 35 Whelen

The Remington M700 Classic in 35 Whelen is an accurate rifle; but it is a one shot deal.   The stock is light and thin and has a pressure point at the forend, so the zero moves after the first two shots.  Two shots are generally enough to heat the barrel and begin to change the harmonics.

Remington Model 700 Classic
Ready for Bedding
What this means is that if you let the barrel cool completely after placing a shot, the accuracy is outstanding for the next shot.  But, the barrel must be cooled all over again.

Another issue with the rifle is that the zero moves over time or with extreme weather changes. This is typical of wood stocks which have not been free floated or properly bedded.

My own M700 Classic grouped minute of angle with just about any factory ammunition I put through it.  But, it only did so out of a cold barrel and it seldom held it's zero from season to season.

In an attempt to make the rifle more consistent I free floated the barrel by filing down the pressure point and opening up the barrel channel to make sure there was absolutely no contact with the barrel.  This solved the changing point of impact when the barrel warmed up.  I now had a rifle that would shoot consistently even out of a warmed up barrel.

35 Whelen Reborn: As a Primitive Weapon

CVA Scout 35 Whelen
The CVA Scout in 35 Whelen is considered a "primitive" weapon in some US states.
Those of us who use the 35 Whelen to efficiently kill moose and elk never think of it as a "primitive" cartridge ... what with 225 grain Barnes TSX bullets exiting the muzzle at up to 2800 feet per second with a crushing force of over 3300 foot pounds of energy, the Whelen is right up there with the 338 Winchester Magnum.

Yet, an interesting twist in primitive weapons seasons in some US states has breathed new life into the Whelen.  It turns out that in States like Louisiana and Mississippi the 35 Whelen qualifies for primitive weapons season if it is used in a single shot rifle with specific qualifications.

John J. Woods writing for Mississippi Sportsman explains:
Of course, in Mississippi the allowed weapons during the "primitive" season include archery gear, crossbows by special or general Permit, and primitive firearms. It’s the later category that seems to get all the attention these days, especially the centerfire cartridge, single-shot, exposed-hammer, breech-loading firearms of .35 caliber or larger.
Some of the rifles that qualify the 35 Whelen for primitive weapons seasons are as follows:

* I think that only CVA has manufactured a 35 Whelen configuration for 2016. 
  • H&R Handi-rifle 
  • CVA Scout
  • Rossi Wizard
  • Thompson Center Encore and Pro-Hunter
For some of us it's hard to wrap our head around the notion that a rifle capable of killing a moose stone dead at 300 yards with little difficulty is considered a primitive weapon.  If careful ranging is done, the Whelen will do the deed at 500 yards. But hey, if it brings the 35 Whelen to the attention of a whole new group of hunters, I'm all for it.

Increased use of the 35 Whelen will inevitably lead to more rifle configurations being offered and more factory ammunition options as well.

There is a reason why the 35 Whelen didn't go quietly into the night along with so many other wild-cat cartridges ... it's just too effective and versatile to become extinct.

35 Whelen: Simple All Business Cartridge

Hits like a freight train out to 300 yards but doesn't require a magnum action or bolt face!

 In a January 2014 piece, Major Van Harl USAF Ret discussed his 35:
For five years where ever I went in Alaska my 98 Mauser/35 Whelen was with me to include some of the thickest alders you could imagine. I was in places that if my rifle and ammo failed me I was not going to get out alive. 
Read the whole thing at Ammoland.