Tell me a little about .35Whelen.

I am a 35 caliber aficionado, but since I got my 9.3x62 my Whelen doesn’t get out much any more.

W/ inexpensive PPU factory ammo, for practice and to harvest the quality brass, and Speer and Norma bullets, makes for a versatile and affordable round.

Tricky to find a rifle chambered in it, but was fortunate, and have never looked back.
I'm of the opinion that anyone who has a dozen or more rifles one of them should be a .35 Whelen. I have two, one being a .35 Whelen Improved. The improved version adds a bit more zip and more shape to the round's shoulder, thus reducing, if not eliminating, headspace problems that long plagued the Whelen because ot it's shallow, sloping shoulder, especially with questionable gunsmith chambered rifles when it was a popular wildcat. During which, it was a favorite home workshop project because war trophy '98 type Mausers were an easy comversion. Speaking of which, both of my Whelens, showh here, were built around milsurp Mauser actions.View attachment 1151894 View attachment 1151895 View attachment 1151896 View attachment 1151897 View attachment 1151898 View attachment 1151899
Beautiful rifles! I would be proud to own either of them.
I was remembering that Col. Whelen didnt actually design the .35 Whelen, so I asked google, and Wiki suggested it was designed by James Howe of G&H while both men were at the Frankford Arsenal....I cant remember where I actually read about it originally, tho it MIGHT have been a 90s G&A or the Speer #12 reloading manual.

Its one of those rounds I've always kinda wanted, as VT says its hard to justify in a practical sense, but still its a want.

I have the two early 1920's articles written by Townsend Whelen: American Heavy Caliber Rifles for Large Game. What date they are, I don't know as the page was larger than the Xerox copy, so the date is not recorded.

I also looked at the Wiki article:

The first of Townsend Whelens articles is one on the 400 Whelen, and in that he stated he designed that. He also uses "I" when talking about that cartridge. "The first cartridge that I designed was one of the maximum possible caliber considering the limiting factors of the rimless 30-06 case. This cartridge my friends have insisted in calling the ".400 Whelen"."

The next month he is writing about the .35 Whelen. In that article he uses "We" when talking about that cartridge. Such as "We started out in much the same way as we did with the .400 cartridge, taking all those precautions necessary to assure a powerful, accurate, safe, and dependable cartridge. At first we planned to use the 250 grain guilding metal jacketed bullet of the 35 W.C.F cartridge, but after we got well under way we found that we could obtain a better 250 grain bullet with a spitzer open which would be more satisfactory in many was particularly in having less air resistance and thus giving a flatter trajectory over long ranges, so we switched to it."

People want authenticity. It is a particular human trait to want a hero. A hero, who all alone, killed all the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Our stories from the beginning of time, from Gilagmesh to now, follow this trope. We desperately believe in, and want, "the big man" who conquers all. Our histories are stories of BIG MEN who by themselves defeated evil, changed history, etc.

Real life is more complicated. People work with people, and big projects take the skills and efforts of thousands to hundreds of thousands, and even so, we still attribute the success or failure to one BIG MAN. It is easier, makes things simpler. The guy at the top makes a big difference, but so does the guy at the bottom who does his job correctly, even though in the big scheme of things, that job was small and of little duration.

So maybe after creating the 400 Whelen, James Howe brought up the idea to Townsend Whelen, and they both added ideas, and worked together to develop a final project. If later Townsend Whelen claims that Mr Howe alone deserves credit for its development, we have to ignore the "we" statements in the first article. In the 1920's, the project sounds like a collaboration. Maybe by 1940 Mr Whelen feels his contribution was far less than Mr Howe's to the point the cartridge was Mr Howe's.

This was before the modern "selfie" era. Today narcissists reign and take credit for every success, and narcissistic behavior is front and center in the entertainment world. In 1940, a self centered, grandiose, horn tooting braggart was shunned. Today, that same individual would have a huge following on line. We have lots of people who are famous for being famous, and legions of no talent individuals seeking to be famous anyway they can.

Mr James Virgil Howe lived to 1969, if this is the same James Howe: I cannot recall reading anything by him on these cartridges, maybe Mr Howe liked to stay in the background.
Anything in CONUS.
Lots of folks in the great frozen north.
Anything with "Townie's" name on it is well thought out.
There was a 400 Whelen but the almost absent shoulder made headspacing difficul.
35 W is a potent round. I've fired a few and in a seven pound rifle it is not fun from the bench. About like my Rossi Rio Grande 45-70 with Marlin loads.
If I were going to AK for moose and bear I would feel well armed with a 35.
My brother and I both tried 35 Whelen and decided it didn't do anything we couldn't do better with 30-06.
Horse hockey. It's mighty interesting that in the handgun world, an increase of 0.05" in diameter and 25% heavier bullets is considered to be significant, enough so to change the class of game the cartridge is effective on. In rifles, some think it makes no difference at all. Of course, this is the same person who thinks the .30-30 is more effective than the .45-70.

I had a H&R handi rifle in 44mag it was great to about 75yds, one day I shot at a deer at 90yds and couldn't recover it.
That makes little sense. The cartridge is capable way beyond the average person's ability to accurately place a shot, due to trajectory. The .44Mag has always been considered a 100-125yd cartridge out of a handgun and 150yds out of a rifle. If you hit a deer at 90yds and did not recover it, either the bullet failed or you failed to accurately place it.
I got a Remington 700 Classic in 1988, the year (and rifle) in which the cartridge was standardized. It is reasonably accurate, but I have always thought of it as a collectible. There was a problem with some of the early Remington factory unprimed/unfired brass (shoulder too far back) that did not show up in the factory loads for 200 gr. bullets.

I worked up some handloads with 225 gr. and 250 gr. per published data. The cartridge did help me identify my recoil tolerance threshold. 225 gr. bullets were ok but the 250 gr. bullets were too punishing.
Great cartridge with a lot of history behind it. Reading Whelen's pre-war writing as a kid back in the early 60's, it sounded like just the ticket to me if I ever got out to Colorado. At the time, with only a .22 Winchester single shot and a Remington 722 .243 for woodchucks, I knew I was under-gunned.

Then later when Remington came out with their model 700 in .35 Whelen, I had the bucks and immediately indulged in one of my boyhood fantasies. I had the gun glass bedded by Gary Roman, here in Louisville, & began load work ups. Sierra 225's were flat shooting out to ~250 for me, and I found I could easily boost them to over 2550 fps with the then available IMR 4320. With that bullet I've killed three elk, one at a paced off 250 yds; the others much closer in, as well as several deer. The gun truly loved them, and if I didn't shy away too much, they'd go into inch and a quarter for the first three.

But the gun, while a bit heavy for deer in the timber, is quite as good with 200 gr Remington RN Core Lokts, Sierra 200 gr RN's, and Hodgen's equivalent. Loaded to ~2500 fps, these are comfortable to shoot and practice with and will flat out hammer whitetails. While I'm a long time fan of Marlin's in .35 Rem with these same bullets the Whelen will push the easily 200+ fps faster giving some spectacular expansion. As a result, that old 700 still gets some local use. It's been my one and only elk rifle since '88, but now at 77 yo, those days are behind me. Son #1 will probably get it one of these days.

The .35 W is a reloading round, always has been & yeah, you've got to pay attention to die adjustment with regards to head space. For the most part, I make my own cases from LC match brass, fire forming them with Unique and RCBS's 35-200 gr FN. That bullet, BTW, pushed over 2000 fps is a heck of a deer killer. Gas Checked, and cast from 50/50 wheel weights & pure lead, it'll mushroom nicely on ~130 lb. (dressed) KY whitetails and give through and through penetration no matter where you hit them. I load mine to ~2300 fps and get no leading either. SR4759 is my powder of choice with any low velocity cast bullet in the .35 Whelen and 4895 or 3031 will do for faster velocities.

Lastly, if you've got a supply of .357 bullets revolver bullets, any of the 158 gr SP or JHP's make up into great practice rounds, and are also great woodchuck killers. I've not tried any that are lighter, but suspect they'd do OK too. For my .38's and .357's, I cast up a lot of Lyman's famous 358156GC, and have found that it's a suitable, light recoiling practice round. Unique is good for this as are Herco, and 2400. I size them to 0.359" and cast with a straight wheel weight alloy sweetened with a bit of tin for good mold fill out.

Overall, IMHO, the .35 Whelen is a good choice for the guy looking for one rifle from the big bears down to whitetails...IF: he's a reloader and accepts that this cartridge is not for cross the canyon shots. Shots to 300 yds are the limit IMHO, and only then if the shooter's done quite a bit of range and wind estimation to place his shots well. A bit heavy for deer when scoped properly, that same weight is a plus with heavy recoiling 250 gr spitzers. And with 200 grainers, it's down right pleasant...about the same as an '06 with standard 180's.

Just a last thought: For a one bullet for all uses, Hornady's 220 gr FN, pushed a bit will do well on both elk and deer inside 250 yds. I've had good/great accuracy with it, and killed several deer, tho no elk.

Best Regards, Rod
At one time I had a Remington 7400 auto loader in 35 W. Only shot it a few times, once for groups. Off a shakey picnic table I got slightly over an inch three shot group. Recoil was moderately heavy. Nothing brutal. I suspect the semi auto tamed it.

Had a friend that bugged the heck out of me to buy that rifle. Every time I’d see him he’d beg to buy it, so I finally sold it for a relatively cheap price to do him a favor. Told him I wanted it back if he decided to get rid of it. Found out he traded it away less than three months after I sold it to him
Is it suitable for cast bullets? What game is it well suited for? Who's hunting what with it?
A lot depends on what you reasonably expect to hunt.

The .35W is just a .30-06 necked up to .35-caliber but its long history from the early 1900s as an effective wildcat cartridge that killed all sorts of game is what made its reputation. It can send big wide 200grn, 225grn, 250grn, and 270grn bullets thumping really hard into really big critters, like Moose and Grizzly bears. Definitely more ‘ooomph’ than the ‘06 above 200grns.

The cartridge was once called “the Poor Man’s Magnum” since for the cost of a barrel-swap on an existing ‘06 rifle (e.g., a “sporterized” 1903), you’d get a low-end magnum class rifle with the same magazine capacity as your former ‘06.

Back then the other magnum choices, like the .300 or .375 H&H, were typically available only in the pricier custom or factory rifles.
Never had one, have no real need for one, and probably never will have a .35 Whelen. But it has a certain charisma and I love reading other folks' opinions and experiences about this round. I suspect it will still be discussed and appreciated long after some other wildcat rounds have been largely forgotten. Likewise I've always been intrigued by the .358 Winchester, which has some similarities with the .35 Whelen. The only thing I can add is I think it's cool to be able to use alternative projectiles in parent cases. Kind of like having .308 bullet molds and gas checks that I can use for a .308 or a .30-30 or...?

Thanks to the OP and everyone who is has contributed to this thread so far.
I gotta admit it is hard to choose between my BLR in 358 win, or my Remington750 in 35Whelen or my CZ 550FS in 9.3x62. Not to mention my Mannlicher Schoenauer model 1905 in 9x56 MS or the Marlin336 in 35 rem. Like I said I have never met a 35 caliber I didn't love!!! All leave 2 holes and short copious blood trails.
I gotta admit it is hard to choose between my BLR in 358 win, or my Remington750 in 35Whelen or my CZ 550FS in 9.3x62. Not to mention my Mannlicher Schoenauer model 1905 in 9x56 MS or the Marlin336 in 35 rem. Like I said I have never met a 35 caliber I didn't love!!! All leave 2 holes and short copious blood trails.
With a list of rifles like that it would be hard to choose...
I gotta admit it is hard to choose between my BLR in 358 win, or my Remington750 in 35Whelen or my CZ 550FS in 9.3x62. Not to mention my Mannlicher Schoenauer model 1905 in 9x56 MS or the Marlin336 in 35 rem. Like I said I have never met a 35 caliber I didn't love!!! All leave 2 holes and short copious blood trails.

A 550FS in 9.3 is probably my grail rifle (no idea why) and I whiffed on probably the only chance I'll get to own one at a reasonable cost.
I got mine when there were a reasonable$750.00 now I see them going on GB for $2000 and up. Great rifle I would use on any game on any continent. Otto Bock was really onto something when he invented this cartidge.
The 30/06 apologists are telling you right but I love my .35 Whelen. I hand load running a 250 grain Sierra spitzer 2200fps. I did a crude penetration test with a cardboard file box and tightly packed newspaper, front half wet and back half dry. This was more than 20 years ago but I recall measuring 21” penetration.
I have an old Weaver fixed 4x mounted. I built this rifle but that is a long story that doesn’t address the original post.
I have killed deer and wild hogs with this .35 Whelen and did not get to practice my tracking skills.
What are the specs and performance on your 9.3 Varget load.

Would like to try it, if I ever find any.

I just checked and Powder Valley has 1#ers. Once you throw in the hazmat and shipping it ain't going to be cheap. That seems to be the new normal, you're going to have to pay to play.
After the War (WWII) you could buy an ‘03-A3 or a K-98 for $10, have it rebored to .35 for $50. For $60 you had a poor man’s .375 H&H. Suitable for Great bear, Moose, Elk, Caribou. Surplus .30-06 was available by the rail car (giving reloaders primed brass and powder) making it very affordable to shoot.
90 years of advances in ballistics have given us many cartridges with greater range, greater energy, but the Whelen in the hands of a rifleman is a fine choice.
a great load is 56 grs of varget with a .366 nosler 250 gr accubond bullet(not a top load), it shoots into moa out of a custom 98 mauser.


But have 270 gr. Speer and 286 gr. assorted premiums.

Hodgdon says 59.0 gr. of Varget will produce ~ 2350 fps at the muzzle for the heavies.
I just checked and Powder Valley has 1#ers. Once you throw in the hazmat and shipping it ain't going to be cheap. That seems to be the new normal, you're going to have to pay to play.

Not in any rush, as I have quite a bit of PPU factory ammo to disassemble in the mean time.

Heard primers may be available soon.