Sunday, March 27, 2016

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.

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