35 Whelen rate of twist?

Rick Cox

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I just made a deal on a very nice NIB Winchester Model 70 Super Grade in 30-06. I am going to have a well known local gunsmith change the barrel to 35 Whelen. He has a 35 caliber barrel in stock that has a 1/12 twist. I will be shooting 225 grain and 250 grain slugs. I am more prone to a 1/14 twist.
Any feedback?
 

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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I just made a deal on a very nice NIB Winchester Model 70 Super Grade in 30-06. I am going to have a well known local gunsmith change the barrel to 35 Whelen. He has a 35 caliber barrel in stock that has a 1/12 twist. I will be shooting 225 grain and 250 grain slugs. I am more prone to a 1/14 twist.
Any feedback?
Rick Cox
My own 35 Whelen has a 1 in 12 twist stainless barrel and is 25 inches long. I had the throat lengthened so a cartridge loaded with 225 grain accubonds could be seated to 3.4 inches with a bit of room to the lands, about 30 thou. This allows me to use the maximum case capacity. This twist rate will allow any bullet up to 310 grains to stabilize without affecting lighter weights. My rifle will group 5 different projectiles in 225 and 250 grainers to the same point of impact.
May I suggest you look at the Speer reloading site and check out what cfe223 can do to the 250 grain hotcore. Nosler also has a good load using Varget with the 225 grain accubonds.
My rifle groups regular clover leaf groups with almost any projectile.
Cheers mate
Bob Nelson
 

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Take a look at this: https://www.ballisticstudies.com/Knowledgebase/.35+Whelen.html

The .35 Whelen works well with all barrel twist rates including 1:12, 1:14 and 1:16. Remington utilize the 1:16 twist rate for their rifles however the common 1:12 twist rate found on custom rifles is good for all .358” caliber bullets traveling below 2900fps. This is my preferred twist rate for all of the .358’s although the 1:14 twist has merit for those who wish to shoot 200 grain bullets in the magnums. Those who are extremely unsure when building a custom rifle, may prefer to sit on the fence with the 1:14 twist rate if this is available to them.
 

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I just made a deal on a very nice NIB Winchester Model 70 Super Grade in 30-06. I am going to have a well known local gunsmith change the barrel to 35 Whelen. He has a 35 caliber barrel in stock that has a 1/12 twist. I will be shooting 225 grain and 250 grain slugs. I am more prone to a 1/14 twist.
Any feedback?
I recommend going with a 1:9 twist to stabilize heavier bullets (sectional density of 0.3 or greater) to hunt large plains game. Oh, consider a 26 inch barrel and a hot load pushing the muzzle velocity close to 2300 fps.
 
Last edited:

Rick Cox

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Rick Cox
My own 35 Whelen has a 1 in 12 twist stainless barrel and is 25 inches long. I had the throat lengthened so a cartridge loaded with 225 grain accubonds could be seated to 3.4 inches with a bit of room to the lands, about 30 thou. This allows me to use the maximum case capacity. This twist rate will allow any bullet up to 310 grains to stabilize without affecting lighter weights. My rifle will group 5 different projectiles in 225 and 250 grainers to the same point of impact.
May I suggest you look at the Speer reloading site and check out what cfe223 can do to the 250 grain hotcore. Nosler also has a good load using Varget with the 225 grain accubonds.
My rifle groups regular clover leaf groups with almost any projectile.
Cheers mate
Bob Nelson
Thanks @Bob Nelson 35Whelen. I will definitely try the Speer loads - again. As you may recall, I tried one of those in my other 35W (Nosler 48) and it chose that time to snap the ejector pin. That gun is off getting fixed. When I get the new gun running I'll try again. My Nosler really didn't like the CFE223 load, threw bullets all over the place. It does well with the hot Nosler loads using 225 Accubonds and Barnes 225 TSX. Thanks for your input on the twist rate.
 

Rick Cox

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Take a look at this: https://www.ballisticstudies.com/Knowledgebase/.35+Whelen.html

The .35 Whelen works well with all barrel twist rates including 1:12, 1:14 and 1:16. Remington utilize the 1:16 twist rate for their rifles however the common 1:12 twist rate found on custom rifles is good for all .358” caliber bullets traveling below 2900fps. This is my preferred twist rate for all of the .358’s although the 1:14 twist has merit for those who wish to shoot 200 grain bullets in the magnums. Those who are extremely unsure when building a custom rifle, may prefer to sit on the fence with the 1:14 twist rate if this is available to them.
ALthough I know of this web site (very useful BTW) I had not read the comments regards twist rates for the 35W. Thanks.
 

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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Thanks @Bob Nelson 35Whelen. I will definitely try the Speer loads - again. As you may recall, I tried one of those in my other 35W (Nosler 48) and it chose that time to snap the ejector pin. That gun is off getting fixed. When I get the new gun running I'll try again. My Nosler really didn't like the CFE223 load, threw bullets all over the place. It does well with the hot Nosler loads using 225 Accubonds and Barnes 225 TSX. Thanks for your input on the twist rate.
Rick Cox
I find it unusual that you rifle didn't like cfe223. I use it in a mares 223,and my son's 222 and 308 as well as the Whelen. Sgt Zim is getting amazing results with it as well in his rifle.
Yes I found the Accubonds like to be push hard. I use the maximum recommended load of Varget and consistently cut clover leaf groups. At 2,850 fps and 4,000+fpe of muzzle energy it takes the Whelen into an entirely different class.
How did you find the Speer loads for speed and recoil. It gets your attention but is not as bad as the 338. Due to a work related shoulder injury I have to use a radial port muzzle brake.. This tamed it down on he'll of a lot, to the point my 60 kilo 6 foot non shooter daughter can comfortably shoot it off the bench with full house 225 grain loads.
Best of luck with the build Rick.
A little tip try and keep the muzzle diameter of 0.70 inches. It increases the weight a slight amount but remember that is a fair size hole in it.
My rifle weight is just over 4kg field ready with a full mag and sling
Cheers mate
Bob Nelson
 

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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Take a look at this: https://www.ballisticstudies.com/Knowledgebase/.35+Whelen.html

The .35 Whelen works well with all barrel twist rates including 1:12, 1:14 and 1:16. Remington utilize the 1:16 twist rate for their rifles however the common 1:12 twist rate found on custom rifles is good for all .358” caliber bullets traveling below 2900fps. This is my preferred twist rate for all of the .358’s although the 1:14 twist has merit for those who wish to shoot 200 grain bullets in the magnums. Those who are extremely unsure when building a custom rifle, may prefer to sit on the fence with the 1:14 twist rate if this is available to them.
375 Ruger Fan
I spoke to Nathan at balistic studies for quite some time about the Whelen and he agrees that 1 in 12 or 14 twist is ideal. With the velocities the Whelen is capable of he suggested reading the 358 Norma study as his Whelen study is based on the old standard loads. Nathan was a very knowledgeable man and easy to talk to. I enjoy his informative and enlightening REAL WORLD tests. He does a lot of the testing with his wife and clients.
Cheers mate
Enjoy your 375 Ruger it is one of the better cartridges introduced in the last few years
Bob Nelson
 

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Rick......you have a great little project. I had a Whelen made on a Ruger 77 years ago so I could have a quick tang safety for walking elk up in the thick stuff. 22" bbl. Had to forego CRF, of course, but elk didn't seem to mind. Now on to the twist. Had 14"....and used it as a Whelen. 250 grain CC bullets at about 2400fps. You have several suggestions above. Ya, you can get a tight twist, big bullets, long bbl, hotly loaded. But...whenever I needed that, I just took the 375 instead. Best of luck with whatever bbl you choose..................FWB
 

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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Rick......you have a great little project. I had a Whelen made on a Ruger 77 years ago so I could have a quick tang safety for walking elk up in the thick stuff. 22" bbl. Had to forego CRF, of course, but elk didn't seem to mind. Now on to the twist. Had 14"....and used it as a Whelen. 250 grain CC bullets at about 2400fps. You have several suggestions above. Ya, you can get a tight twist, big bullets, long bbl, hotly loaded. But...whenever I needed that, I just took the 375 instead. Best of luck with whatever bbl you choose..................FWB
flatwater bill
The loads I use in my Whelen aren't hot they are the recommend loads off the Speer and nosler reloading sites.
Using the right powders the Whelen can be given a boost into the real world. The same can be done with the 7mm mauser and the good ol ought six. The original load for the 06 was a 150grain bullet at 27 to 2,800 fps. With the new powders available today we can SAFELY get over 3,000 fps with the same bullet. If you had the chance wouldn't you bring old cartridges into real world velocities if it could be done safely and without stressing the rifle, cartridges or shooter.
Cheers mate Bob
 

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Pretty much the same experience as flatwater bill. I've had two. One in 35 Whelen and the other in 35 Whelen AI. The AI was done because I discovered headspacing issues in the regular Whelen while shooting reduced cast bullet loads. Both were custom jobs on Rem 700s and using Shilen bbls w/ 14" twist. The AI was used and shot most extensively. The AI was not pushed very hard and certainly no more than about 2400 fps with regular cup and core bullets- mostly 250 gr Nosler Partitions. I worked mostly with the 250 gr Partitions as the rifle really liked that bullet! Accuracy was excellent and no surprises. I have no experience with the Whelen shooting TSXs or other monos.

Here's a pic of one of the best 100 yd, 5 shot groups I got with the AI. This was with the 250 gr Partition and N150 powder. I had very similar results using IMR 4350 powder- makes sense because they are very close in burn characteristics. I also discovered that N140 works but would quickly get squirrely near top end loads.

35 Whelen AI target .png
 

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Wow.....that is a group. And Bob, your loads are excellent but my use and experience was many years ago. I was thinking of the more extreme: long bbls, tight twists, very heavy bullets, and things that sacrificed the light handy Whelen that served me so well.....FWB
 

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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Pretty much the same experience as flatwater bill. I've had two. One in 35 Whelen and the other in 35 Whelen AI. The AI was done because I discovered headspacing issues in the regular Whelen while shooting reduced cast bullet loads. Both were custom jobs on Rem 700s and using Shilen bbls w/ 14" twist. The AI was used and shot most extensively. The AI was not pushed very hard and certainly no more than about 2400 fps with regular cup and core bullets- mostly 250 gr Nosler Partitions. I worked mostly with the 250 gr Partitions as the rifle really liked that bullet! Accuracy was excellent and no surprises. I have no experience with the Whelen shooting TSXs or other monos.

Here's a pic of one of the best 100 yd, 5 shot groups I got with the AI. This was with the 250 gr Partition and N150 powder. I had very similar results using IMR 4350 powder- makes sense because they are very close in burn characteristics. I also discovered that N140 works but would quickly get squirrely near top end loads.

View attachment 341679
fourfive8
Never had any problems with headspacing on my Whelen. When I set up my FLS die I leave a gap that is the same as a 5 cent coin between the die and the shell holder that way I don't bump the shoulder back.
Cheers mate Bob
 

Bob Nelson 35Whelen

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Wow.....that is a group. And Bob, your loads are excellent but my use and experience was many years ago. I was thinking of the more extreme: long bbls, tight twists, very heavy bullets, and things that sacrificed the light handy Whelen that served me so well.....FWB
flatwater bill
I to have a problem with long heavy barrels. My 25 inch is a sporter weight with a very slight muzzle heaviness. Sits in the hand nicely and swings well. At 4 kilos field ready with a full mag and sling isn't to bad. Even if I lopped 3 inches off the barrel it would only save me a few ounces. Yes I would like to have it around 3.4 kilo but the added weight helps with a stuffed shoulder that doesn't work like it use to.
Cheers mate Bob
 

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I have used three .35 Whelen rifles, and they have given me good service. A Remington 700 with 1-16" twist, a custom Ruger #1 with 1-14" and my current Sako AV classic rebarreled with 1-12" twist. I only shoot 250 grain bullets, except for fooling with 225's a couple of times. All three shot well, all three were effective on game, all three could safely reach 2500 fps / 250 gr. with IMR 4064 or Varget or RL15. I like the 1-12" twist Sako the best, not because of the twist but because it fits me the best. So I got rid of the others. Would like to try the new Speer loads with CFE223 powder, but actually find I have no need for more speed than I already get with the older powders.
 

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I recommend going with a 1:9 twist to stabilize heavier bullets (sectional density of 0.3 or greater) to hunt large plains game. Oh, consider a 26 inch barrel and a hot load pushing the muzzle velocity close to 2300 fps.
Never heard of such a quick twist being used in a .35 cal rifle, would almost have to be a custom rifled barrel I should think. Standard is between 12-16 with 14 being probably most common. Anything faster than 12 is just not necessary to stabilize even heavy bullets, 14 is good for at least 250 gr bullets.
 

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