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A good hunting load for 250g .35 Whelen? (Deer, HOG, elk) [pics]

Discussion in 'Handloading and Reloading' started by Matt G, Jan 9, 2006.

  1. Matt G

    Matt G Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2002
    N. TX
    A decade and a half ago or so, I bought a heavily-sporterized '03 Springfield for $90. It had a dark bore and many things wrong with stock and even the bolt. After fixing the stock (and finally painting it), putting Williams receiver sights on it and a bead-on-post front sight on it, and replacing the bolt, I finally decided that it needed a new barrel. (The bore was not just "dark"-- it was badly pitted, and threw wide patterns after 3 or 4 shots.) I had it rebarreled to .35 Whelen, for a lark, and found that, in at least one way, the Whelen is even easier to reload for than the .30-'06 that it used to be: In expanding the brass (done during sizing), the case shortens slightly, requiring no trimming. :) One less step!

    I played with 220g Speer loads and 224g Sierra loads, and even 180g and 158g Hornady XTP .357 loads (which are great fun, BTW!). I got decent 100 yd accuracy from the Speer 220g flat-nosed loads, but never worked up a 250g load.

    Well, moderator Johnny Guest so admired my .35 Whelen, that he did some swapping with fellow moderator JShirley, and came home from a deer hunt with a very nice Remington Custom 700 .35 Whelen with an old faded Weaver scope on it in Conetrol mounts. After topping it with a nice crisp VariX-III, he sighted it in for his new handload: a 250g Speer bullet over 52g of Reloader 15. I don't even bother to look that load up to see if he's over-juiced, because he mentions the prospective velocity (he hasn't chrono'd, I don't think) at about 2200. (Sounds like a yawner, right?) He said that he was getting as good as 1.25" at one hundred yards with that load. He then went hunting with our friends Rich Lucibella and Ashley Emerson.

    If it weren't for the fact that I've known Johnny Guest for over a third of a century (damn, but we're both getting old...), I'd have called it false modesty when he said that he felt that he hit the hog too far back. The hog didn't seem to know the difference, dropping DRT at a (later lasered) distance of 122 yards. As it was, I'll take his word for it, and delight that the bullet did its job, through thick boar's hide. Johnny had figured around 300 lbs, Ashley speculated about 250 lbs. Ashley, being the experienced guide, wins out.

    So here's my question: I have an IRON-SIGHTED Springfield. I'm not going to be taking shots over 200 yards, ever. I think I need to move up to the 250g load. But I think that Johnny Guest's loads are a little conservative. Who has a good 250gr load (or even a 275g load) that has a little more mustard on it, but still gives reasonable accuracy? Johnny Guest got decent accuracy with his [yawn] 2200fps load, but I'll just bet that someone out there has a nice 2400fps load for their 250g load.

    Anyone? Anyone?

    Oh. You want to see pictures of Johnny Guest's hog? Okay.... [ :D ]


    Johnny said that it knocked a good 2-inch exit wound. . .
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2006
  2. Matt G

    Matt G Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 21, 2002
    N. TX
    NOBODY has a favorite 250g hunting load for .35 Whelen? And here, I rather thought that it had a following around here... :eek:
  3. BigSlick

    BigSlick Member

    Feb 12, 2005
    Texas of Course
    Looks like a great hunt guys ;)

    Where did you go to get the hog ?

    I got my last one outside of Bandera, but understand there are a few decent places in N. Tx.

    I'm jonesin' to drop one with the 500

  4. Ron45

    Ron45 New Member

    Sep 8, 2006
    250 Hornady, Reloader 15 @ 2700 fps

    250 gr. Hornady Spire Point for .35 Whelen I've found Reloader 15 the best bet. Their loading manual indicates their max load only produces 48,400 - leaves a lot of potential.

    I have loaded past 2800 fps without pressure signs, but settled on a load that gives me 2700 fps. That's two tons plus at the muzzle. I do use an 18" drop tube and trickle slowly to find the space in the shell.

    Work up slow and watch signs. For me 2700 fps gives good life for the shell and no pressure signs.
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2006
  5. AgCatJHS

    AgCatJHS New Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    .35 Whelen

    I use a 250-gr Hornady with 58.0-gr of RL 15 in R-P brass and a WLR primer. I get 2525 FPS with ES running around 10 FPS.
  6. pvtschultz

    pvtschultz New Member

    Aug 28, 2006
    I don't shoot it, but this is what Hodgdon says:

    250 gr. Hornady SP COL: 3.220"
    H380 57.0-59.0 gr 2300-2416 fps 41.0k-44.5 kCUP
    Varget 50.0-55.0 gr 2348-2486 fps 44.9k-50.0 kCUP
    BL-C(2) 56.0-59.0 gr 2380-2500 fps 43.0k-48.9 kCUP

    There are others but these are the quickest.
  7. Johnny Guest

    Johnny Guest Moderator Emeritus

    Dec 20, 2002
    North Texas
    Nothing new on my end . . .

    I'm glad y'all revived this older thread. I've been neglecting some of my pending load development projects and this has reminded me.

    I was out of Sierra 225 bullets but had a box of the 250 Speers. My research suggested RL15 as a good powder. I had some on hand to try in .45-70 and this is why I chose it. In the Speer manual at hand, the range shown was 50 gr for 2134 fps, up to 54 gr for 2284. The Hornady manual showed very close to the same information. I had been getting unreliable readings from my chronograph and didn't have time to send it back to Oehler for service. I therefore simply split the difference and estimated that 52.0 gr should give me about 2200 fps. (I'm fairly careful about this sort of thing. ;) )

    I was unexpectedly invited on a hunt in Baja Panhandle and so didn't have time to work up the load any further. In a rushed trip to an informal range (a friend's pasture,) I verified the sight setting. From a rolled blanket rest, three rounds went into about 1.2", two inches high at 100 yards. I called it good and went hunting. The one blood shot I fired that trip worked out FINE.

    AgCatJHS, I'm very interested in your results. May I ask about your rifle and barrel length? Frankly, I'd be very happy if I was getting 2500 fps with the 250 bullet. I'm also using R-P brass, but those were loaded with Remington primers. My Rem 700 has a 22" barrel, and for once, this is the very barrel used as test bed by both Speer and Hornady manual staffs. And, (a purely subjective observation) that load FELT like more than 2200 fps. :D

    Ron45, I may even try inching up on your load levels, if my shoulder will hold out. Frankly, though, I should be satisfied to work up an accurate load at 2400, to match the Remington factory 250 gr load.
  8. lukefenech

    lukefenech New Member

    Jul 8, 2007
    ADI/Hodgdon and Hornady

    Hello, I have just worked up some loads for my Rem 700 BDL with 22"barrel

    250 gn Soft Point Round Nose Hornady pills doing 2475 fps (average over 12 rounds). Accuracy is outstanding.

    Now I use 52 grains of ADI 2206H Powder which is an Australian made product but have found out that it is sold in the U.S. as Hodgdon H4895 (Exactly the same). This is not a max load in my firearm and I'm getting no signs of excessive pressure. Please work up for yours though, I'm sure you are sensible.

    By the way, This rifle goes with me EVERYWHERE and I struggle to pick anything else these days for hogs and Asiatic buffalo, feral mules, Horses etc. I am a true fan of this excellent chambering. Hope I'm not answering way too late, All the best, Luke
  9. Smokey Joe

    Smokey Joe Senior Member

    Jan 2, 2003

    Nice nice hog, Johnny. I hope one day to have (and shoot) a .35 Whelen AI at the piggies. Currently have a M-48 Mauser sporterized up (in its original 8mm) but haven't gotten out to shoot pigs with it.

    Big honkin' tough bullets, for big honkin' tough critters. ("Honkin'" is a technical term! :D )

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