35 Whelen pre-64 model 70 project

Discussion in 'Up To .375' started by Mekaniks, Aug 2, 2017.

  1. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Because I can not be with out a project gun.... I picked up a Winchester pre-64, 1955 production, Model 70 barreled action in .270 win a month or so ago. What to do with it????......I went around and around and around.... Lots of possibilities???? Refinish it, leave it .270 and put a short stock on it for the kid??? Or, leave it in the back of the safe until I "need" it??? Or, rebarrel it and build a rifle I can use??? So, after much angst, reading load manuals, drinking merlot, reasearching google, drinking beer, talking to friends, shots of fireball, and finally have decided to build a 35 Whelen.
    "The Plan" is to rebarrel the action to .35 Whelen with a 24" 1-14 twist medium contour stainless barrel with rear leaf fold down sights and a front hood sight. Have it all coated with Nitride flat black. Stock it with a HS Precision Kevlar/Composite Monte Carlo stock hydro dipped with wood grain, complete with checkering, black forearm tip, stock cross bolts, reproduction red Winchester butt pad and metal grip cap. Try to make it so it look like a cool traditional Supergrade as much as possible. Then dress it up by jewel the bolt, engrave/etch the bottom metal with a moose and install some AK Arms QD scope rings. I haven't decided on a scope yet.....probebly either a Swavarski to Leopold....
    Taking it to the gunsmith next week. And then I can pick up some brass and reloading dies. Planning to start handloading 280 grain Swift A-Frames.... :)

    IMG_0874.JPG
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2017

  2. GuttormG

    GuttormG AH Veteran

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    Nice plan☺

    Sold of my 35whelen last year, bad decision and I will probably get a new one before next season.
     
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  3. Ridgewalker

    Ridgewalker LIFETIME BRONZE BENEFACTOR AH Legend

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    If/when the barrel goes in my old Remy Sportsman 78 in 30-06, I think I might try something similar. But as long as I am getting 1/2" groups with my 150 Barnes TTSX and 200 Nosler Partitions, I just can't see changing anything.
    Can't wait to see your project!
     
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  4. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Enthusiast

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    Just a thought and depending on your preferences but might also consider the Whelen AI or the 338-06 as other possibilities in that category of cartridge. The Whelen AI prevents any headspace control issue that may happen with the regular Whelen. I've had a 35 Whelen, 35 Whelen AI and three different 338-06s. Now down to a single 338-06 based on a Winchester 70 CRF barreled action in HS Precision stock. It IS my "plains game" type rifle. HS Precision stock is very good choice- a bit heavy but guaranteed rigid and tough! Another positive about the 338 caliber is the excellent bullet choices available with many of them designed for the 338 Mag.... which usually means good, tough bullet construction.
     

  5. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    Thanks @fourfive8. I thought seriously about a 338-06, but I already have a 338 federal that I used in SA, and a 338 wm that I use here all the time. I didn't really see the "need" for me to have a third 338, so I figured I would take the step up to a Whelen.
     

  6. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I love your choice of caliber, my sons and I took three of them to Africa last August. No regrets by either of us. Most shots resulted in DRTs. But I am curious about the use of the 280 Gr Swift A Frames. I'm not doubting the bullet, just the perceived need for it. I forget where the cross over was but by 200 yds. the 225 Gr bullets packed more punch than the 250 Gr. bullets did. Our PHs and Outfitter were not familiar with the 35 Whelen when we got there, by the time we left they were "believers."
     
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  7. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    My 35 Whelen is a sporterized 03-A3 with a Boyd's Laminated stock. She doesn't look like much but is a real killer. Your project rifle when complete is going to be a thing of beauty. As the owner pre 64 Model 70 in 35 Whelen with a few trimmings you are to be envied. Please post some pics. when complete.
     
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  8. Rob404

    Rob404 AH ENABLER BRONZE SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Great choice of Caliber, I love my 35Whelen and it loves 225g bullets, I'm sure us Whelen lovers will eagerly supply you with all the load data you need.
     
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  9. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Enthusiast

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    Of course the 9.3 is another option for one of the "tweener" calibers. :)

    Don't know the config of your particular M70 action but in some cartridge conversions, for best functionality and to get the most out of certain loads with certain bullets, the mag box partition may need to be removed, the bolt stop and ejector modified and the follower replaced with the longer, mag type. These modifications are not difficult to do.
     
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  10. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    Since the 270 and 35 Whelen are based on the same "parent" 30-06 case there is very little if any magazine or bolt alterations required. The 35 Whelen and 9.3 x 62 are virtually ballistic twins. The research I did prior to getting my rifle rebarreled gave a slight ballistic edge to the 35 Whelen, especially when 225 Gr. bullets were added to the Whelens' options. Please don't get me wrong, if I had one I would not purchase the other.
     
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  11. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Enthusiast

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    Yes I know what parent cartridges are. I also know that, with the advent and popularity of monolithic copper and brass bullets, the use of heavy for caliber bullets and the use of longer nose profiles, the OAL of loaded rounds can become become more critical. Many if not most Winchester 70 standard long actions are designed to cycle standard OAL length carts based on conventional cup and core bullets with conventional nose profiles. And those actions will likely have a box mag partition added. Change bullet parameters and optimal OALs may change. For best handling and cycling of those slightly longer carts in the standard length Win 70, the mods I mentioned need to be done. Otherwise, simply keep the OAL of the loaded round to the older, slightly shorter specs based on conventional lead core bullets and shorter nose profiles.
     
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  12. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    fourfive8, I didn't mean to cause any offense or slight anyone's knowledge. I was merely trying to point out that nothing needs to be changed by the conversion of a 270 to a 35 Whelen except the barrel. I totally agree that trying to use heavy for caliber monolithic copper and or brass bullets is going to be an issue for all older rifles. I never considered using mono-metal bullets until I began reloading for my African hunt last August. It was at that time I realized that you needed to drop down one or two bullet weights in order to comply with OAL restrictions. Since I was only hunting PG I ditched the mono-metal idea all together.

    Friends?????
     
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  13. fourfive8

    fourfive8 AH Enthusiast

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    No Problem- no foul :) Sometimes these discussions of custom modifications go beyond the norm. Might seem trivial and especially puzzling for those who don't reload and stay with factory, SAAMI spec ammo. Rule's book, The Rifleman's Rifle, pgs 100-110, is a good reference to the various Win M70 cartridge specific action specs.

    I have found the OALs of standard long carts, if of reasonable length, are not especially critical for proper function in the Rem 700 standard long action. And for the most part that is true for the Winchester 70 standard (30-06) length actions. Except I did find that I could short stroke the action, with some effort to do so, in the standard length M70 action with some of the 338-06 ammo I was loading with certain bullets. And with some loads, the OAL of the loaded round was a tad long for the partitioned standard length M70 magazine box.

    Hmmmm? I set about fixing both issues. I removed the magazine box partition to accommodate most any practical OAL 338-06 cart (or the OAL of any similar cart. for that matter)- 270 W, 35 Whelen, 30-06, etc.). Then to help prevent the short stroking potential, I modified (slightly shortened) the bolt stop and the ejector. Then used a Win 70 Mag length follower for the now full-length magazine. Those mods, coupled with the custom 338-06 chamber reamer I used, resulted in a rifle that would handle ANY reasonable length 338-06 cartridge with no magazine length issues and an absolute minimum chance of short stroking.
     

  14. Nosler guy

    Nosler guy AH Veteran

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    Intersting choice of load / bullet to start with. Most guys are using 250's / 225's, which seem to be a good compromise between preserving a bit of trajectory and still having a strong heavy bullet. I notice you are from Alaska, that .35 with 280 A-frames would definetly be a top notch close range Bear / Moose stopper, just curious why you are looking at the 280 gr rather than the more coventional choices
     

  15. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks GOLD SUPPORTER AH Elite

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    I am looking for something that will hit hard at <300 yards. The reality is that I very seldom shoot anything beyond 250 anymore and most of my hunting is less than 200. I have a .338 win mag that I use for long range (beyond 300) with 185g TSX for caribou etc...And I have a 338 federal that loves 210g partitions that I used for PG last year as well as I took a Kodiak brown bear with it a couple years ago. So the plan is to load up some heavy bullets for the Whelen and use it for larger critters such as Buffalo, Muskok , bears etc, and that it will fit right between my 338's and a 375 H&H that will be my next project (I don't have one yet). :) If the 280 A Frames don't work out and I end up using 250's or even 225's for some reason, it's not the end of the world. I just made up my mind to start with the 280's and see where it goes.
    I seriously considered building a 9.3x62 which would definitely fit the bill with 286 grain bullets and the ability to move up to 300 grains or more. But it seems like there is much better availability of components for handloading the Whelen. And the potential for a 375 is what really helped me make up my mind.
     
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  16. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog AH Veteran

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    I did the same thing you are doing with a 1961 M70 in 30-06 with a broken stock and a horrible barrel that I bought at a gun show. I sent the barreled action to Pac-Nor and had them rebarrel it to 35 Whelen. Got it back 4 months later, bedded it into a McMillan pre-64 stock, topped it with a Leupold in Warne rings, and had a fantastic sub-MOA classic.

    I don't mess with changing barrels on pre-64s because of the labor involved and tools needed, but Pac-Nor did a fantastic job.
     
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  17. Abeln

    Abeln AH Veteran

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    I've been researching this same project for a model 70 prewar carbine in 30-06. Trying to decide between reboring the stock 20" barrel and going with a new 24" barrel in a sendero style contour.
     

  18. Nosler guy

    Nosler guy AH Veteran

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    Thanks for the reply - works for me and always interesting to hear what other guys are doing - good luck with the project
     
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  19. flatwater bill

    flatwater bill AH Fanatic

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    This is a great project. I once converted an old tang safety Ruger 77 to 35 Whelen AI. Made for a fast handling bear gun. FWIW magazine box partitions on many Mod 70 very very short. 270 Win to 9.3 X 62 not such a good conversion. 280 grain bullet a great choice for Whelen. Even though 225's do very well, maybe the best compromise between range and hitting power, I could not bring myself to load a bullet that was no heavier than an 06 bullet (220gr)........show us a pic of the finished product..................FWB
     
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  20. Shootist43

    Shootist43 AH ENABLER GOLD SUPPORTER AH Legend

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    I just spent the last hour on Nickon's Spot On Ballistic Calculator to confirm my recollections of research done a year ago. The 225 Gr. bullets loaded to 2800 FPS are by far the better load ballistically than the 250(s) and 280(s). The 225 Gr bullet has an additional 300 to 400 Ft. Lbs. of energy at 250 yds. than the heavier bullets. Unlike flatwater bill I went with the 225s and their much bigger wallop.
     

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