8x57 or 35 Whelen for a North American Beater


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cal30_sniper
February 22, 2013, 02:36 AM
Hey all,

I've been looking for something to extend my caliber range upwards a little. Currently, the largest thing in my safe is a .30-06, and I'd like to move up a bore diameter or two. It'll probably be a long while before I can finagle a hunting trip up North, so the rifle will be used for the lower 48, at least for the time being. Whitetail hunting and smaller fry are already nailed down real good with a battery of 6.5x55s and 7x57s, and I've got a .270 and a 7x57AI for long range work. I'm really looking for something with a bit more brutish power, that can be mounted with a peep sight or low powered scope for general woods use.

I've got a shot at two rifles right now in the same price range. One is a .35 Whelen built off of a Gew 98 Mauser action with very nice vintage sporterization. The other is a very nice Husqvarna 640 in 8x57. The .35 Whelen is about $50 more, but is already D&T for a scope. The Husky is not D&T for a scope, and neither rifle is D&T for peeps. I know the Husky is a quality action, and likely to be very accurate. By the looks of the work done on the .35 Whelen, it's also going to be a real shooter.

So, for a medium bore all-around North American rifle, which would you choose? Where would you put the upper limits of practical use for each cartridge? Ammunition cost is not a factor, as I'd be reloading for either one. Recoil might be a consideration, but I don't know, as I've never shot a .35 Whelen before. I've never been bothered by the recoil of an '06 or the 8x57 before though. Also, my 3rd option would be to hold off for a 9.3x57 or 9.3x62, both of which I have wanted for a long time. Opinions?

Also, anybody have any experience with the Gew 98 actions? How is the quality on them? Most of my experience is with small rings and pre-WWI South American Mausers, which I love. I also love the action on my .270 Husky 640. Will the German 98 be in the same class?

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Kachok
February 22, 2013, 02:43 AM
I went 9.3x62, but if you would consider a 338-06 that would be even better.

critter
February 22, 2013, 06:57 AM
I have 2 .35 Whelens built on M98 actions. Since the .35 is simply a necked up '06, the rounds feed, fire, extract and eject perfectly with no problems whatsoever.

Both mine have A&B barrels from Midway. They are not bench rest tackdrivers, but are well accurate enough for the intended purpose. (NOT going to hunt at 600 yds anyway!)

I like the .35 for hunting in the 'lower' 48. Accuracy is great, trajectory is flat enough for anything I can hit and the 'payload' is big enough to do whatever job is needed.

Ammo is more readily available than some of the other 'semi-exotic' calibers. Reloading is a breeze as 30-06 brass works wonderfully.

Good luck with your quest.

(BTW, both mine were made on Czech VZ24 Mauser actions. -Good choice IMHO.)

Cryogaijin
February 22, 2013, 07:18 AM
More than suitable for hunting in alaska as well.

jmr40
February 22, 2013, 07:32 AM
The 30-06 you have will equal or outperform either chambering you are considering. If you just want something different either the 35 Whelen or 338-06 are good choices. I especially feel the 8X57 is a step backwards.

I've owned both 35 Whelen and 338-06 and found the 338-06 appealed to me more, but admit that it really just personal preference between the 2. But as I said earlier, especially as a handloader your 30-06 will do anything the others will do and easily beat the 8X57. If you don't feel comfortable with a 30-06 the next real step up in performance is 375 mag.

Sav .250
February 22, 2013, 07:56 AM
You`ve got an 06 so get the "big" loads for that puppy. There`s your "brutish" power.
If you just "want" to buy something new,that`s different story. Get a 375 H/H.
The 06 is still capable of taking almost everything under the sun. Almost. It can still get the job done!

45Fan
February 22, 2013, 08:19 AM
Bigger bore beater woods gun, brutish power? The .375 H&H would fill that bill a bit better. Or, since you mentioned a peep sight, maybe a Marlin lever gun in 45-70? either of these rounds will, when loaded to their full potential, plant anything in North America with authority. The 30-06 can serve this role just as well for the most part, but the bullet weight will fall short of the larger bore options. The 35 would only serve to stretch the upper weight limit of the '06, and give a slight better margin in the heavier game you would normally hunt with a .30 caliber rifle.

Robert
February 22, 2013, 08:31 AM
I voted for the 35. It is on the list of calipers I want but for my last hunting rifle I went with 375H&H.

303tom
February 22, 2013, 09:34 AM
None of the above, I say stick with the old tried and true .30-06. It will kill anything.......

MARKMALL
February 22, 2013, 01:47 PM
20 some years ago I wanted a 35 Whelen bad! The problem was at that time it was still a wildcat and only made in custom guns. I then bought the next best thing, 358 Win. .

Kachok
February 22, 2013, 02:13 PM
Guess I stand alone on the 9.3x62, mind you not really a hoot of difference between that and the 35 but I have a soft spot for some of the old oddball metrics.

NWcityguy2
February 22, 2013, 02:49 PM
I voted 35 Whelen. I'd take that over a 30-06 because bigger bullets still make bigger holes.

ExAgoradzo
February 22, 2013, 04:17 PM
338 WM b/c you can buy bullets all over the place.
Greg

joeschmoe
February 22, 2013, 04:24 PM
So, for a medium bore all-around North American rifle, which would you choose?

30.06

I'm really looking for something with a bit more brutish power

45-70 or 375 H&H

JShirley
February 22, 2013, 04:29 PM
The 30-06 you have will equal or outperform either chambering you are considering

The '06 is a terrific all-around N American cartridge- like the 7mm Magnum- but the .30-06 will absolutely never be .35" or be capable of delivering the weight bullet the .35 Whelen can.

John

CraigC
February 22, 2013, 05:21 PM
The only thing that could ever possibly make the .30-06 the equal of the .35Whelen is to neck it up to .35 caliber. ;)

Yes, I'd also rather have an 8x57 than an `06. Not everybody drinks that Kool Aid and believes that ".30-06" is the answer to every rifle question imaginable.

The 9.3x62 is another class entirely, nipping at the heels of the .375H&H.

cal30_sniper
February 22, 2013, 05:54 PM
Thanks for all the replies guys, sounds like the consensus is about as undecided as I am on the issue.

I do agree that the '06 would likely do everything I'm trying to accomplish here, aside from perhaps being the absolute best thing to use on some of the nasty big critters up North that like to bite back. Only problem is, my '06 is built on a Savage 110 with a big honkin' scope and a laminate stock for long range work. Not exactly something I want to pack around or use for quick handling work. If I could find a Husky or nice Mauser 98 sporter in '06, I'd probably jump on that, but then I'm still left with the problem of having to sort out my Garand friendly ammunition from heavier loads that would only be shot in the bolt for dirty work. I'd like to add another caliber to the ammo cabinet. If this shortage has taught me anything, its that if you have enough different rifles in enough different calibers, you're always going to be able to find something to shoot.

I'm really not interested in stepping up to a belted magnum. I had a 7mm Rem Mag for a long time, and eventually sold it and bought a .270. It was a powder hungry sucker, as are the .338 Win Mag and .375 H&H. I think both of the big belted magnums are overkill for what I want to do, especially in North America. I'd rather have a .338WM than a .375 though, I'm not interested in a dedicated magnum length action at all.

Nothing against the .45-70, but I really don't like the Marlin lever guns. Every lever gun I have is a Winchester, and I'd like to keep it that way. If I could find a Model 1886 in .45-70 or a Model 71 in .348, that would be wonderful, but those are very expensive rifles.

CraigC, I agree with you about the 8x57. I think it gets a bum rap from the "not built here" syndrome, as well as the extremely anemic American commercial loadings. Loaded to full 60ksi potential, I think it's indistinguishable in performance from the .30-06, and only slightly behind a .338-06. I'd love to find an old 8mm-06 conversion, but those are rare. I think the 8x57 would give me the equivalent of the .30-06 in a lighter rifle like I'm looking for. Only problem is, I think it might be a little too light for the biggest stuff, just like the '06.

I like the idea of the .338-06 as much as I like the idea of the Whelen, particularly because I have lots of brass laying around that could be used to load either one of them. I also wouldn't mind finding a 9.3x62, but that's another rare rifle. I'd love to find one of the Huskys chambered in that round.

Vern Humphrey
February 22, 2013, 06:00 PM
Bigfoot Wallace, my custom '03 Springfield, is in .35 Brown-Whelen. I get an honest 2,800 fps over my Chrony with 225-grain Nosler Partition Jackets. This is the rifle that broke both front legs on an elk, and took out the heart and lungs between them.

cal30_sniper
February 22, 2013, 06:06 PM
Bigfoot Wallace, my custom '03 Springfield, is in .35 Brown-Whelen. I get an honest 2,800 fps over my Chrony with 225-grain Nosler Partition Jackets. This is the rifle that broke both front legs on an elk, and took out the heart and lungs between them.

Vern, that's movin'. How's the recoil on that beast?

paintballdude902
February 22, 2013, 06:14 PM
get a 95 winchester in 405.... thats what i want and heck i even have a marlin .45-70

Vern Humphrey
February 22, 2013, 06:22 PM
Vern, that's movin'. How's the recoil on that beast?
The rifle was built by C.W. Fitch of Phoenix in the late '60s or early '70s. Fitch knew how to build a rifle -- among other things, it has the original Springfield barrel, reamed out, re-rifled and re-chambered.

It's heavy -- a bit over 8 lbs without scope. It has a broad, soft, thick butt pad and a forward-sloping cheek piece. All of that mitigates recoil.

Although I must admit when I bought it, I asked the previous owner for loading data. He said, "I only have cast bullet loads. It had some full-charge loads with it when I got it and it almost tore my head off."

roklok
February 22, 2013, 06:36 PM
.35 Whelen ! I like the 30-06, and have two, my wife has one, but the 35 Whelen is in a different class on big critters. No 30-06 load will push a 250 grain bullet to 2600 FPS. I have killed nine species of big game with my .35 Whelen, and the effect of a .358 diameter 250 grain bullet at a decent velocity is dramatic. I shot lengthwise through a decent interior grizzly, 7.5 foot, with a 250 grain partition, in the front shoulder, out the opposite rear leg. The spine was not hit, but the bear crumpled and never moved, except for some twitching.

I have no experience with the 8mm Mauser, but really dont consider it a step up from a 30-06, a slightly larger bullet, but really very similar.

MCgunner
February 22, 2013, 08:25 PM
8x57 is the European .30-06, do all cartridge. It can be loaded impressively in a modern action. I've got a couple of not so modern milsurps, but nothing I'd hunt with. My SIL has a NICE sportered K98, though, and he loves the thing. He has a .308 and a 270WSM, both 700 Remingtons, among a few others and he takes the old K98 hunting most of the time.

I've got no experience with the other two. My impression of the .35 Whelen is, most rounds on necked up cases don't improve the original round. I guess some folks like slow and big, but if I went bigger than .30 caliber, I'd go probably with a .338 Win Mag and be done with it. If big a slow is good, big and fast is better. :D

wlewisiii
February 22, 2013, 09:37 PM
I voted 9.3 as a 9.3x62 is what I want :) for that purpose. It can do anything you want in North America and it's suitable for certain of the African nations as well, just in case for someday ... ;) I'll need to find another VZ-24 action first though.

rojocorsa
February 23, 2013, 02:45 AM
,35 Whelen.


8x57 is still too close to 30/06 territory so it's almost pointless.

303tom
February 23, 2013, 12:34 PM
There ain`t no other cartridge that can be loaded with as many different weight bullets as the .30-06.................

Browning
February 23, 2013, 12:48 PM
I'm really looking for something with a bit more brutish power.
My vote would be for the .338 Win Mag or the 375 H&H.

You already have a 30-06, that covers the niche for a general purpose hunting rifle better than the 8mm Mauser or the .35 Whelen.

I know very little about the 9.3's, so can't comment there.

CraigC
February 23, 2013, 02:29 PM
There ain`t no other cartridge that can be loaded with as many different weight bullets as the .30-06.................
Who cares? There are better cartridges for medium game and he has that covered. There are better cartridges for bigger game and that's what he's looking for. Funny how all the rules regarding ballistics do not apply to the magical and mystical .30-06. :rolleyes:

WoodchuckAssassin
February 23, 2013, 02:42 PM
I went Whelen.

The largest caliber I'll ever need is my .270, but I've always wanted a 35 Whelen - it's bassed off a great case, and has developed a well deserved following (including Jeff from Gunblast, a man whose opinion I trust and respect).

I love the history and documented effectiveness of the .375 H&H as well, but if I had to choose one, I'd probably still go with the 35 Whelen.

What distances will you be shooting at? Something in the area of a .45 Long Colt might be something to consider if you're within 100 yards...especially if you plan on using open sights

Float Pilot
February 23, 2013, 03:02 PM
I have been going through the same thing lately... because I have a couple of rifle actions that needed a new barrel and I have more calibers than I really need.

Here in Alaska almost everybody has a 30-06, 300 win mag or a 338 win mag and you can buy 30-06 ammo in ANY village.. And more than likely find a few hundred rounds in any parking lot full of cars/trucks.

For the next step above a 30-06 I have been using a 358 Norma Mag and 350 Remington mag... The 35 calibers really work well up here...

So I too have been thinking about a 338-06 or a 35 Whelen.... Just because I have a rifle that needs a new barrel.... But neither did anything that my other rifles need not already do,,,,,

So I went ahead and went with a 375 Ruger chambered into a 1917 action... That puts it between my 35 caliber magnums and my 416 Taylor.

If I lived down in the lower 48, I would go with a 35 Whelen... Factory ammo and brass can be found,,,, it holds 5 rounds in the mag (unlike the magnums) and it does not have a horrible recoil. And you can make ammo from 30-06 brass.

ExAgoradzo
February 23, 2013, 03:45 PM
Nobody commented on it, prob cause it is hard to read... I tried to clean it up, but nevertheless, if you're interested in my thoughts you can go to
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=691774
Greg
I like the Federal for what you're talking about.

morcey2
February 24, 2013, 10:59 AM
My main gun is an 8x57 and I'd put it up against anything in its class. BUT...

As everyone else has said, you already have a 30-06 which is so close to 8x57 that it would be somewhat pointless to buy another. I voted 35 Whelen, but either of the 9.3 would be a good addition also.

Matt

watergun
February 24, 2013, 11:09 AM
So get a .338 Win Mag. You can use it for ANYTHING in the 50 states. Use 200 gr for deer and 250 for anything bigger.

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