Oh Boy another Vs thread! .338 federal vs .35 Whelen


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Kirby86
October 5, 2010, 12:20 AM
So before the fur starts flying, I figured id say exactly what im planning on doing with said rifle. I currently live in Texas, and I mostly do a lot of predator calling, with some deer and hog hunting when its available. Right now im using a custom made P.O. Ackley .243 that was handed down to me by my grandfather that covers that. Being Texas (or anywhere in the lower 48) there are ALWAYS hogs around. So in the future i plan on getting a Gen 2 Night Vision Scope Converter (http://www.cabelas.com/fryprod-0/product--ATN-PS-22-Night-Scope-Converter--731215.uts.shtml) and giving porky pig some hell on the property we own. The .243 is a real tack driver, but I would like to go the semi-automatic route for follow up shots. I would really love to keep my arsenal as small as possible, since my grandpa always told me "Beware the man with one gun". Its getting to the point now where I tend to worry about that gun every time the slightest bit of rain hits it, so I'd like to get a rifle without as much sentimental value, because Im not sure i could live with myself if something happened to it.

I also plan on going on a hunt in Montana in the foreseeable future. Depending on the lottery it'd include elk, but at a bare minimum muleys and whitetails. Id also love to get to hunt Alaska at some point, but right now thats just a dream.

So this brings me to my current quandry. Regardless of what rifle I get im going with a Zeiss Conquest 3-9, as this seems perfect for both these rifles in that ill be keeping my shooting inside 300 yds. If i were to get the .338 fed, id go with the DPMS 338 LR (https://www.dpmsinc.com/store/products/?prod=5293) shooting Federal Vital-Shok Nosler Partition 210 Gr. (http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/rifle.aspx?id=632) Being realistic, I doubt I will ever shoot a grizzly, but as Captain Woodrow F. Call put it, "Better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it". This is why I have decided against the .308 route just in case I ever wanted to, though i do realize that this is on the low end of the spectrum for Bruins.

So this brings me to the .35 Whelen. The only .35 Whelen I can find in automatic config is the Remington 750 Woodmaster. If i were to order one, id consider something around the 250 gr mark. Im currently in the process of ordering a Remington 750 in .308 for my father to replace a gun that was stolen many years ago. His 7400 that he had jammed enough to think that you had oiled it with Elmer's Glue. But he did love that rifle.

So when i saw it offered in .35 whelen i began to ponder. Does anyone here own a 750 in 35 Whelen? How does it handle in high volume shooting situations? I would think that the .338 would be better in this situation, due to the shorter chamber casing, but i would sure as hell hate to have a jam at an important moment. The Whelen definitely seems to have the wallop advantage with the right loads and I havent really checked much on the 10 round mags for this gun, but ive seen horrible reviews all over cheaper than dirt for the off brand ones. By comparison, the LR 338 has a 19 round mag (though im not entirely enthusiastic about shooting 40 some odd dollars worth of ammo in one encounter.) And the other plus side is that if i ever start reloading, I would be able to use the same casing from the .243. The .338 is also a hell of a lot more expensive than the 750. Plus theres the horrid backorder to deal with. I know the .338 fed cartridge itself gets labeled as a gimmick, while the 35 Whelen cartridge seems to get lots of love from its owners, and i know you can handload it to hit like a mack truck.

I would love to hear what you guys think, or hear from any of you who own a gun in either cartridge.

Thanks and God Bless!

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roklok
October 5, 2010, 08:24 AM
I own a .35 Whelen, actually I own three .35 Whelens, so I guess I am a bit biased. It is my go to cartridge for most big game hunting. To date I have killed whitetail, mule deer, black bear, grizzly, moose, muskox, caribou, and wolf with a .35 Whelen. You are correct, with handloads it hits very hard, I consider it at least the equal of the .338 Win Mag in effectiveness out to 300 yards. I am not sure about the 750 platform though, especially with handloads. I prefer bolt and Ruger #1 rifles.

I think the AR-10 style rifles chambered in the .338 Federal will tend to be a fair bit heavier than a 750, which can be a factor if covering a lot of ground.

Abel
October 5, 2010, 09:00 AM
I see bolt action 35 Whelens on Gun Broker all the time.

Kachok
October 5, 2010, 09:03 AM
+1 for the 35 cal. While I do not think that the 338 Fed is all hype, the 35 Whelen is a time tested proven game getter, the only real weakness that the 338 fed has is lack of case volume, in order to achieve the advertised speed and energy figures you have to use heavly compress loads according to the new Nosler reloading manual. The Whelen has aprox 24% more volume and is a little better ballenced round IMHO. That said you do have one more option that I am not sure you knew about. The Browning BAR Safari is available in 338 win mag. Better reputation then the Remington semi auto, equal killing power to the 35 Whelen with a flater trajectory, and a more common caliber. I love the 35 but for what you are looking for that is the gun to get. Besides you cannot use those high performance .35 handloads in a semi auto anyway they are picky about pressures.

nelsonal
October 5, 2010, 10:17 AM
I love the Whelen cartridge. The .338 federal sounds quite a bit like the .358 win which isn't quite as hallowed as the Whelen but it's a good cartridge (and I've heard good things about the .338-06 which would be closer to the .338 federal though I'd think the larger bullets might not be as useful given the powder capacity of a 308 sized case).

However, I've never heard a good report from someone with the Remington semi-autos and a long action cartridge. That would be my only major concern about the Whelen.

I'd also be concerned (at least enough to do further research) about case neck splits in going from .243 to something larger than .308 (you'll probably need to do it in a couple of steps, and might have to anneal them after you're done).

natman
October 5, 2010, 10:50 AM
If you plan to go pig hunting at night, a 3-9 is too much scope. You are going to want less magnification on the low end in order to find targets in the scramble. A 2-7 would be plenty.

You can get shots off faster with a semi, but you can make hits just as fast with a lever. I'd get a BLR in 358 Win. In fact I have one that's my favorite pig gun.

If you do go semi, check your local game laws very carefully. Some states limit semiauto magazine capacities for hunting.

Abel
October 5, 2010, 06:18 PM
If you must have a semi auto, go with an AR model like the Remington R-25 in 7mm-08 or 308.

Kirby86
October 5, 2010, 06:24 PM
Thanks for the input.

Im a huge browning fan, as I have a belgium made super posed O/U 12 ga. that was handed down to me as well. Before that I hadnt really put the .338 win mag into consideration, as my grandfather used to tell me about how his .270 weatherby mag used to blow holes the size of his fist in deer. And I had a friend of mine shoot a spike last year at about 50 yds with his 7mm mag and completely destroyed the meat in both shoulders... but then again thats what a nosler ballistic tip will do. I know the .35 whelen and .338 would probably have the same results...

Whats the weakest you could load a .338 win mag down to to minimize meat pulverizing, but wont completely screw with the performance? Im not really worried about the recoil, but i hate throwing away good deer meat.

Abel
October 5, 2010, 06:40 PM
Whats the weakest you could load a .338 win mag down to to minimize meat pulverizing, but wont completely screw with the performance? Im not really worried about the recoil, but i hate throwing away good deer meat.

????? Why would you want a 338 Win Mag? The BAR comes in 30-06. I think you have confused me.

Kirby86
October 5, 2010, 06:57 PM
Kachok Wrote:
That said you do have one more option that I am not sure you knew about. The Browning BAR Safari is available in 338 win mag. Better reputation then the Remington semi auto, equal killing power to the 35 Whelen with a flater trajectory, and a more common caliber.


Well if i ever did want to hunt Alaska, the .338 has an obvious edge.
In either case, the .30-06 is a step down from either the .338 fed or the .35 whelen, within 200 yds. Not by much, but enough to make me uninterested. Again, im trying to keep this all within a single battery.

JShirley
October 5, 2010, 07:04 PM
Kirby,

Welcome to THR. Glad to have ya.

I think maybe, despite understanding how you think, I'd suggest two rifles. If a .243 is working fine for your hogs, you DO NOT need the hammer of Thor for them. There are lots of inexpensive semis that should do the trick for you: hell, you can probably find an SKS for $200, and a receiver mount for well under $50. And then you'll have your quick, close (to 125 meters or so) hog gun, and will still have plenty of money left for a real, go-anywhere in the US, hunt big stuff, rifle. And it shouldn't be a semi.

Understand: semis are heavier, are more likely to malfunction in the field, are more expensive, and can rarely take the high pressures a good bolt-action can take. Now, don't get me wrong: I have two .35 Whelens, a slide-action and a custom bolt gun. But for your goals, something like the rifle I picked up today would work great.

I'm eccentric, maybe, just a little, so I think the P14 and 1917 actions are great for hard-working guns. I got a P14 Centurion in .300 WM for $353, including shipping and transfer fees. For you, any good stainless bolt-action in .300 WM, .338 Magnum, or .35 Whelen should work fine for Montana. And any of these rounds and rifles will work a lot better in the wilds of Alaska than the autoloaders you mention. And I sure as HELL wouldn't want to take on a big bear with a .338 Federal. (Except for your mention of wanting to go to Alaska one day, I'd also suggest the 7mm rem Mag)

When it comes to not destroying a lot of meat, bullet design, not the horse-power the round delivers, is the key. Generally speaking, heavier-for-caliber bullets will penetrate more, with less violent expansion and fragmentation. A close-range shot to a deer with a 150-grain .300 WM may be a total mess if you're not using a premium sturdy bullet, but a 190-grain bullet is likely to cause a lot less tissue damage, while still penetrating deeply.

John

336A
October 5, 2010, 07:54 PM
From reading your post it sounds like you are lokking for a rifle with the following taits. You want fast follow up shots, a cartridge that fires .338" or .358" bullet. hard hitting and the ability to take elk/moose sized game. However it's main purpose will be for deer and wild pigs.

Have you given any thought to the .338 Marlin Express round? It sounds as it and either of the rifles chambered for it will be more than capable for your needs. For your reading enjoyment here is a good read from a registered Maine guide that used a .338ME at 338yd on a moose. http://www.marlinowners.com/forums/index.php/topic,51781.0.html

If you ever do get the chance to go to Alaska to hunt the big bears Remington is now making this cartridge with 250gr bullets. This loading replicates if not betters the highly respected and much vaunted .348 Win 250gr loading. The .348 Win with it's 250gr loading earned a very good reputation as a bear load before being dropped from production.

Kirby86
October 5, 2010, 10:56 PM
Guys, thanks so much for your responses. This has been a real eye opener and is actually my first time ever posting on any gun forum, so its been a welcome experience.

John, great point.

336, that sums up what im looking for, with far less words haha.
Definitely gonna do some research on the .338 ME

Thanks again guys

natman
October 6, 2010, 04:30 AM
Im a huge browning fan, as I have a belgium made super posed O/U 12 ga. that was handed down to me as well.
BLR. 358.


Before that I hadnt really put the .338 win mag into consideration, as my grandfather used to tell me about how his .270 weatherby mag used to blow holes the size of his fist in deer. And I had a friend of mine shoot a spike last year at about 50 yds with his 7mm mag and completely destroyed the meat in both shoulders... but then again thats what a nosler ballistic tip will do. I know the .35 whelen and .338 would probably have the same results....

The 270 WM and 7mm mag problems are due to too much velocity combined with too fragile a bullet. The 338 WM is not quite that fast and most bullets for it are tough enough. Still it's a bit much for deer and a 338 Fed, 358 Win or 35 Whelen would be a better choice for what you have in mind.

Coal Dragger
October 6, 2010, 05:01 AM
Honestly any bolt action rifle in .270, .280, or .30-06 pushing a good quality bonded core bullet will do anything the original poster needs it to do. For that matter any of the three mentioned, when using modern bullets, will probably do them better than a .338 Federal or a .35 Whelen over a wider variety of situations and ranges.

They will offer more than adequate power, penetration, and overall performance at shorter range, while also shooting quite a bit flatter and carrying more power at longer distances.

As for the semi-autos if forced to choose a gas operated centerfire rifle for hunting I would lean towards the Browning BAR, or Benelli R1. I love AR platform rifles, but they just get too heavy and awkward when scaled up to AR-10 dimensions for me to want to pack one all over the countryside. Either way an auto is still an auto, and therefore has a much narrower window of acceptable operating pressures.

Float Pilot
October 6, 2010, 09:51 AM
I have had and currently shoot some 35 caliber rifles including the 35 Whelen and 350 Rem Mag . It works great here in Alaska. The 338 Federal is not catching-on up here, since it offers nothing that a 8mm Mauser or 358 Winchester can't already do. Too bad because I too was thinking of a 338 Fed chambered AR-10 Armalite. Not because I like the 338 Fed, but because the 308 is a tad light for some Alaskan use.

As far as usable semi-autos, the ones I see up here are either either Browning BARs in 30-06 or 338 Win Mag, and of course old Garands and M1As. The Remington auto loaders are not all that popular due to their trigger mechanism (which is about the same as an rem Shotgun) and how they act when dirty.

Due to weight and the possibility of a loner range shot, bolt guns tend to rule the hunting grounds up here. The 30-06 and 338 win mag being the two most popular cartridges. Being followed by the 300 Win mag, 375 H&H, 35 Whelen and 45-70.

davidfletcher
January 16, 2011, 05:38 PM
Buy a 338 fed., or a 450 Bushmaster in a AR10 or AR15. It is ugly so you won't get to close to it, you get a second, third, forth, shot, or how ever many your clip holds and the guns are made for lasers, lights, or nightvision too.

BrocLuno
January 16, 2011, 11:20 PM
.338 Marlin Express, but ammo might be scarce. You hand load so you can make up all you want, but if it get lost or is in the other truck/boat/whatever - what do you do?

BLR in .358 - yup that's a big 10-4 for the big game up north :)

But, gotta say - the old 06 will do it too. Don't pass up a fine used rifle if one comes wandering along and it fits like a glove. Handy and fit to shoulder are real important in a field gun. Maybe more so that technology?

davidfletcher
February 18, 2011, 09:31 PM
Buy the 35 whelen. Hits hardest.

cal74
February 19, 2011, 10:11 AM
I just skimmed through the responses, but there's usually quite a few Whelens available on gunbroker and the other auction sites.

I'd personally stick with a bolt action, but Ruger No.1's are nice as well.

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=216020990


Another option if you reload, you might consider a 338-06?

Rich223
February 19, 2011, 12:01 PM
The one with the most range of course :P

35 Whelen
February 19, 2011, 12:25 PM
If you're wanting a semi-auto for fast follow-up shots on hogs, you can forget anything in the .338- .35 range. Anything shooting a 200 gr or heavier bullet at 2500 fps and on up is not going to be easy to control for follow up shots due to recoil. And since it's recoil due to bullet weight (as oppossed to recoil velocity) a muzzle brake won't help much.
One poster mentioned something like an SKS for hogs and though I'm not a fan of them (even though I own two), they'd be OK for hogs.
Regarding to the two cartridges you mentioned, I think the 338 Fed is a neat little cartridge. I'd love to have one chambered in a 99 Savage for elk hunting. But until then, I'll keep using my old '98 Mauser chambered for the Whelen. I know semi-autos are all the rage these days, but in over 30 years of hunting, I've never needed one.
To me, the Whelen with proper bullets kills all out of proportion to its cases size. Anyhow, here's a small photo essay as to the effectiveness of the Whelen (sorry, never took any pictures of deer I killed with it):
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/Hunting/ElkHunt200524-Small.jpg
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/Hunting/PA060174-1.jpg
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/Hunting/ElkHunt200436red.jpg
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/Hunting/Gregbull-reduced.jpg

This bullet went from the rectum to the shoulder of the first bull pictured above:
http://i60.photobucket.com/albums/h6/308Scout/Hunting/Elkbullet1smallest.jpg

Regards,
35W

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