Handloads: A Faster .35 Whelen

by
posted on July 15, 2023
.35 Whelen

.35 Whelen specsHandloaders are always on the watch for new bullets or propellants that improve the performance of their favorite cartridges. One such advancement that caught my eye was in the Speer Handloading Manual Number 15 that listed the .35 Whelen shooting 250-grain bullets at a velocity of 2,709 f.p.s. from 66.2 grains of Alliant Power Pro 2000-MR.

That velocity is about 300 f.p.s. faster than any safe handload I’ve shot in my .35 Whelen, and I immediately set to work at the reloading bench. To start, 63.0 grains of 2000-MR fired Speer 250-grain Grand Slam bullets at 2,538 f.p.s. and 64.0 grains launched them at 2,570 f.p.s. I stopped at 65.0 grains because accuracy was good, and bullet speed was more than respectable at 2,610 f.p.s. The recoil was quite substantial. In fact, it seemed just as stout as a .338 Win. Mag. also firing 250-grain bullets.

The Whelen has always produced even velocities and a good return on propellant burned to attain velocity with a variety of handloads. The 65.0-grain charge of 2000-MR and the Speer 250-grain bullet adds another example. The propellant filled a Whelen case up to the bottom of the neck, and seating a bullet slightly compressed it. A tight propellant column aids in a uniform burn, shown by a low standard deviation of 8 f.p.s. over nine shots.

Thirty-five cal. 250-grain bullets carry a relatively low ballistic coefficient, however, the listed Whelen load’s trajectory is within 2" of the trajectory of the .30-’06 Sprg. shooting 180-grain bullets at 2,700 f.p.s. out to 350 yards. Way out there, the Whelen bullet also packs nearly 400 ft.-lbs. more energy than the .30-’06 bullet.

This load’s advancement in velocity will make the Whelen all that more effective on game from prairie antelope to black-timber elk.

Latest

Norinco 84S right-side view rifle semi-automatic gun wood stock white background
Norinco 84S right-side view rifle semi-automatic gun wood stock white background

I Have This Old Gun: Norinco 84S

The Norinco 84S presents the same general appearance as the Chinese-made 56S because it has the same overall length, is built around a stamped sheet-steel receiver and uses the same hooded front sight base, the same 45-degree gas block, the same fire-control components, the same wood furniture and the same high-polish blued finish.

Rifleman Q&A: Boattail Bullets And Barrel Erosion

In the recent spate of “long-range” boattail bullets presented to the market, I’ve observed the boattail’s degree of departure from the bullet’s cylindrical axis varies substantially from one design to another.

Quick Hits On 10 6.5 mm Cartridges

With so many 6.5 mm cartridges from which to choose, deciding on the one that’s right for you can be a challenge—so here’s a quick guide to help sort them out.

The Armed Citizen® Feb. 19, 2024

Read today's "The Armed Citizen" entry for real stories of law-abiding citizens, past and present, who used their firearms to save lives.

FBI Reportedly Harvesting Publicly Available "Weapon" Info

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is initiating Project Tyr, an effort to employ Amazon’s artificial intelligence-driven Rekognition cloud service to identify firearms—among other things—and the people associated with them.

Preview: Browning Backcountry Rifle Cover

Weighing in at a mere 5.29 ozs., the Backcountry Rifle Cover from Browning is a versatile must-have for any hunter hoping to protect a long gun from the elements.

Interests



Get the best of American Rifleman delivered to your inbox.