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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A 2+ year effort finally came to fruition yesterday. In 2019, I spec'ed out a Shaw MK-VII in .35 Whelen. I have been intrigued by the history and power of this round for a long time and (finally) decided to have a bolt rifle built. I mounted a nice Leupold VX-5HD CDS and started cycling every factory load I could find through it.
Very frustrating, very inconsistent results. With multiple factory rounds between 180gr and 200gr, 100 yards groups bottomed out at 1.5", zero was not repeatable, and any shot over 200 yards was futile. My "go-to" brands (Hornady, Barnes, Buffalo Bore) that produced optimum results in every other rifle I own were hopeless in this boomer.
I had talked myself into the position that something was wrong with my scope mounting or possibly even the Leupold itself. On the last morning before beginning the tear down, I decided to try the solitary box of Nosler Trophy Grade 225gr rounds that I bought in 2019 and never opened.
Wow.
After an initial shot to clear the bore, this round returned a 3-shot, .63 MOA group at 100 yards. An hour later it hit the 12" steel at 405 yards. Yeah, I messed up the math a couple times setting the elevation (so the steel had a fair amount of dirt sprayed up on it before the hits..), but the last 3 rounds were solid hits. With an old-fashioned low BC bullet and a 10X scope magnification.
I'm stoked. The rifle/scope combination has been validated and the hitting power remains eye-opening even at 400 yards. Time to purchase a lifetime supply of this round when Nosler runs another batch and start researching brown bear hunts!
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Congratulations on a fine rifle and finding a great load for it!

Partition or Accubond? My SS Ruger Hawkeye seems to like most any round I've tried in it. I'll admit, however, that it's seen a bit less use since I got my SS Hawkeye in .338RCM.

Sounds like you're set for anything you'd like to hunt with the Whelen, which is whitetail and up for me 馃榿


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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Congratulations on a fine rifle and finding a great load for it!

Partition or Accubond? My SS Ruger Hawkeye seems to like most any round I've tried in it. I'll admit, however, that it's seen a bit less use since I got my SS Hawkeye in .338RCM.

Sounds like you're set for anything you'd like to hunt with the Whelen, which is whitetail and up for me 馃榿
The "magic" Nosler round uses the AccuBond spitzer. The difference between this round and everything else I tried is night and day. Heavier and slower than than the Barnes, Hornady, BuffBore and the rest, but maybe that's what been needed all along. So rewarding to get modern accuracy results from a ".30-06 wildcat" (apologies to Col. Whelen and Mr. Howe).
Thanks for the reply, and yeah I'm looking forward to taking an animal with this baby.
 

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Enjoyed your post.......keep posting more on this interesting cartridge and rifle!
 

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Just a recommendation, but you should start hand loading for it.
You鈥檙e going to burn a lot of money just buying factory ammo.

There are several premium bullets out there you should be able to get really good results, and equal factory ballistics, or better a little bit.

I鈥檓 going to buy an aftermarket ER Shaw barrel to switch out the .270 Win barrel on my Savage 111 Hunter XP.

The .35 Whelen is an outstanding cartridge.
It is extremely powerful, even at ranges like you鈥檝e shot.

Congratulations on the rifle, and finding factory ammo that it loves!


Hawk
 

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I second the motion on learning to handload if you already do not do it. I have three rifles chambered to the Whelen. A Ruger M77, Remington 700 Classic and someone's custom based on a Mauser action. The factory rifles have 1 in 16" twist barrels and the Mauser 1 in 14". When I got mine the only ammo available was Remington factory 200 and 250 gr. bullets and Federal had a premium load with a 225 gr. bullet. The 2oo gr. bullet ran about 1.5" at 100 yards and the 250 gr. bullets were about 1.25" so while not bad for most hunting I decided to handload my ammo. I picked up some Nosler Accubonds, partitions and the Barnes TSX, all bullets in the 225 gr. weight. Started with the Barnes and struck gold in the Mauser. Half inch groups at the max load and 2710 FPS at the muzzle. So far, six elk have landed in my freezer, all taken with one shot each. The Remington and Ruger are gathering dust at the back of the safe.

If you decide to reload your brass, and I highly recommend you do so, look at Rl15 as one of the best powders around for the Whelen. It worked so well for me with that TSX bullet that I've never looked at anything else. FWIW, there isn't anything in North or South America I wouldn't take with that load and frankly that includes most African game as well.
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This is good information, Winklerrob, and I'll try the Noslers in my temperamental 700 Classic .35 Whalen. I am interested that yours is another accurate Shaw barrel and I have had good luck with two rebarrels they did for me a few years ago. One is a .243 that will do consistent 1/2 MOA on a Springfield action. The other is a .338 barrel on a '98 action that will do just over an inch. Please keep us posted on other tests
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just a recommendation, but you should start hand loading for it.
You鈥檙e going to burn a lot of money just buying factory ammo.

There are several premium bullets out there you should be able to get really good results, and equal factory ballistics, or better a little bit.

I鈥檓 going to buy an aftermarket ER Shaw barrel to switch out the .270 Win barrel on my Savage 111 Hunter XP.

The .35 Whelen is an outstanding cartridge.
It is extremely powerful, even at ranges like you鈥檝e shot.

Congratulations on the rifle, and finding factory ammo that it loves!


Hawk
Oh, hand loading for this rifle is definitely a future project! But getting a factory load that allowed me to validate the rifle/scope was critical to my way of thinking. Otherwise I would be trying to solve the 15 variable hand loading equation without even knowing if my setup was true. Now I have a baseline and I can try to improve on that! For sure, I want my .35 Whelen to be shooting 250 grain bullets. But until I can work up an accurate load for that, I feel pretty good having a sub-MOA factory solution for western bear or elk.

I will be sure to report on my hand loading project at some later date, as long as you tell us about the results of your Shaw re-barrel project!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I second the motion on learning to handload if you already do not do it. I have three rifles chambered to the Whelen. A Ruger M77, Remington 700 Classic and someone's custom based on a Mauser action. The factory rifles have 1 in 16" twist barrels and the Mauser 1 in 14". When I got mine the only ammo available was Remington factory 200 and 250 gr. bullets and Federal had a premium load with a 225 gr. bullet. The 2oo gr. bullet ran about 1.5" at 100 yards and the 250 gr. bullets were about 1.25" so while not bad for most hunting I decided to handload my ammo. I picked up some Nosler Accubonds, partitions and the Barnes TSX, all bullets in the 225 gr. weight. Started with the Barnes and struck gold in the Mauser. Half inch groups at the max load and 2710 FPS at the muzzle. So far, six elk have landed in my freezer, all taken with one shot each. The Remington and Ruger are gathering dust at the back of the safe.

If you decide to reload your brass, and I highly recommend you do so, look at Rl15 as one of the best powders around for the Whelen. It worked so well for me with that TSX bullet that I've never looked at anything else. FWIW, there isn't anything in North or South America I wouldn't take with that load and frankly that includes most African game as well.
Paul B.
Thanks for the dope on the powder choice! I will be sure to try it...
My Shaw is also 1:14 twist, and the factory loads with the 200 gr and lighter bullets just didn't cut it (they were all 2800+ fps). The 225 gr Nosler lists at 2700 fps (I haven't chronographed anything yet), so maybe my barrel has a speed limit..... Finding a hand load that betters .63 MOA is going to be a helluva challenge, and I'm truly looking forward to it.
 

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@winklerrob

You already have most of the guess work out of the way, since it loves 225 gr Accubonds.

Believe it or not, Winchester makes some really good brass. You can usually get 鈥06 brass for cheap, and run it through the full length sizer, and you will have ready made 35 Whelen cases.

The powders that work well in the 35 Whelen are the same that work well in the .308, such as RL-15, as mentioned above. Varget, IMR 4064, and CFE 223 seem to work very well too.

A lot of good friends on another site have had excellent results with RL-15, and CFE223.


Hawk
 

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"I feel pretty good having a sub-MOA factory solution for western bear or elk."

Well that's all well and good. But think about this. Even a cow elk is a pretty big animal. I got lucky when I got that TSX bullet to shoot .50" one the first try series of handloads. But let's say the best it would do is 1.25" at 100. The kill zone on a cow elk is something like 9 or 10". At the worst, that 1.25" load will still be a 3.75" group at 300 yards, more than good enough to hit even the small Mule Deer in the chest at 300 yards. Besides, that half inch group was off the bench. There ain't any benches out in the boonies. FWIW, my load gives the same trajectory as the 180 gr. load from a 30-06.
There's a You Tube video with Ron Spomer where he compares the 30-06 vs the .35 Whelen v3 the .375 H&H Mag. I think you can goole it up as he gives some interesting number comparisons.
Paul B.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Just out of curiosity what is the length and twist rate of your Shaw barrel?
24" Sporter profile, 1:14 twist. Chrome Moly steel, rather than stainless (to each his own). That was the twist that Shaw offered as standard for the caliber, and it is consistent with other similar rounds (like the 9.3 x 62). My brother and I originally went down the (false, I guess) path that this slow twist would do better with bullets on the lighter side of historical convention. Boy, were we off base! My barrel seems to be better suited to 225 grains at the minimum. And all of the feedback we get from 9.3 shooters suggests we explore heavier yet....
 

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24" Sporter profile, 1:14 twist. Chrome Moly steel, rather than stainless (to each his own). That was the twist that Shaw offered as standard for the caliber, and it is consistent with other similar rounds (like the 9.3 x 57). My brother and I originally went down the (false, I guess) path that this slow twist would do better with bullets on the lighter side of historical convention. Boy, were we off base! My barrel seems to be better suited to 225 grains at the minimum. And all of the feedback we get from 9.3 shooters suggests we explore heavier yet....
I use 200 grain for white tails but go to the 250 grain round nose for hogs and bear as it tends to make a more emphatic impression on them when hit inside 300 yards if shooting further I would recommend spritzer bullets.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I use 200 grain for white tails but go to the 250 grain round nose for hogs and bear as it tends to make a more emphatic impression on them when hit inside 300 yards if shooting further I would recommend spritzer bullets.
Thanks MS9x56!
This rifle is intended for big elk and bear in North America, and large plains game (eland, etc.) if I manage to get back to Africa in the next decade. A 250gr handload is an imperative in my mind for brown bear and the big African (non-dangerous) game species. The Nosler 225gr hits pretty damned hard, so I think it will be my baseline on an elk hunt in the next 2-3 years.
"Emphatic impression". Love it, going to have to steal that!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It sure does make for a nice looking rifle! Shaw makes the process really rewarding as well. Near custom-rifle results for less than $1400.
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24" Sporter profile, 1:14 twist. Chrome Moly steel, rather than stainless (to each his own). That was the twist that Shaw offered as standard for the caliber, and it is consistent with other similar rounds (like the 9.3 x 57). My brother and I originally went down the (false, I guess) path that this slow twist would do better with bullets on the lighter side of historical convention. Boy, were we off base! My barrel seems to be better suited to 225 grains at the minimum. And all of the feedback we get from 9.3 shooters suggests we explore heavier yet....
You have a wood stocked Savage rifle.
I have a Savage 111 Hunter XP in .270 Win that I鈥檓 going to take the barrel off, and buy an aftermarket ER Shaw pre-fit, 24 inch, 1 in 14 inch twist, stainless steel barrel, in 35 Whelen that I will put on.
Your experience has pretty much told me that the 1 in 14 inch twist likes the 225 gr bullets and heavier.
There鈥檚 a guy that says he can get his 225gr Nosler AB鈥檚 up past 2900fps with CFE223. That generates well over 4000 ft-lbs of muzzle energy. With the Accubond at those velocities, that鈥檚 the Hammer of Thor. He said it works wonders in Africa, and he has had more one shot kills with that combo, than anything else he took to Africa in the past, even.
Shaw makes a really nice rifle, and barrel exchange kit.
Congratulations on your rifle, and finding a great factory load!


Hawk

 

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" found a dusty box of 100 Hornady 275 grain round nose 358 bullets at an estate sale still had the seal on the box. Going to work up a load for that to use on bear this fall."

I have a few of those bullets. The first edition of the Hornady manual had data and also state the bullet is discontinued. Copyright date 1966.
At the time of printing the powders available were 3031,4064,4895,4320,BL-C2 H380 and 4350. Except for BL-C2 abd H380, I think the rest of the powders were IMR as made by DuPont. All except 4350 gave a max speed of 2300 FPS. The 4350 did 2200 FPS. Frankly, I'm too lazy to type out all the data but I can give specific data for one or two powders if you want.
Paul B.
 
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