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As a big bore fan I can say that a 400 Whelen is very interesting. Having such a short shoulder could create headspace problems. That was the same issue with the Desert Eagle 440 Corbon which they fixed with it's replacement: Desert Eagle 429. I personally have a 35 Whelen built on an old K98 action and stocked by me. I do have a Timney Sportsman trigger on it and it is way better. Other than that the only other mod was a low profile aftermarket safety for scope clearance.
There is a lot of misinformation about the 400 Whelen. It is not a straight case and it does have enough shoulder to properly headspace. Anyone who opts to comment on the 400 Whelen ought to read Michael Petrov's articles on the 400 Whelen that were linked earlier in this thread. I was friends with Michael and he was the inspiration to build mine. Michael is gone now and we are poorer for it. I miss him. I used to stop by his gun room and we would discuss all things Whelen and he'd show me his incredible collection of custom and historic Springfields.
The 400 Whelen, in its original form, was one of our first improved wildcat cases. It never was the 30-06 simply necked up to 40 caliber. The 30-06 has a shoulder diameter of .441 and the 400 in its original design has a shoulder diameter of .458. The Brown-Whelen has a shoulder diameter of .461. I don't have a Hawk drawing in front of me to know its diameter. I do know there is less than a 5% difference in case capacity between all three.
I have over 1200 rounds through my 400 in load development, practice and hunting. I love to shoot mine. It has two caribou to its credit and one moose. In all that shooting there has never been a failure to fire, no headspace issues and none of the supposed problems commonly extolled by those who read about it in an old article somewhere and regurgitated what they read. I have even super annealed case necks and shoulders, placed the case in front of the extractor and tried to drive the shoulder back to create a headspace problem. The extractor just snapped over the rim and the case dimensions remained unchanged. I tried several times with several cases.
I am in contact with several devoted fans of the 400 Whelen and none of them have ever reported headspace issues with any of their rifles. It's odd. The guys who actually own and shoot 400 Whelens never have any of the issues reported by the guys who have never owned or shot a 400 Whelen.
I have some experience with the 25 06, 30 06, 338-06 and 35 Whelen. After reading the above about the 400 W, somebody must have done a 375 Whelen . Anybody have any information on it ?
Team 1894 member #67 1977 44 mag.
Team 35 member #256 1964 Sears M45
Team 444 member #355 1981 444S
Team 30 30 member #830
1980 Marlin 3080 Trail Rider & Win 94 Custom Trapper
I have a 375 Whelen Ackley Improved.
With a case full of RL-17 I can push a 270 Hornady SP at over 2500 fps.
Got the barrel and dies for a good price with a package deal.
If it wasn't for that, I would have built a 9.3x62
John in Oregon
"An elk don't know how many feet a horse has" - Bear Claw Chris Lapp
Team 45-70 member #1209
Team 444 member #614
Team Mauser #15
Team Browning #22