My next rifle, 35 Whelen?

NickyMaz

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Greetings,

I am thinking about my next rifle. I currently have a .30-06 Tikka T3 and I just got a Kimber in 6.5 Creedmore. The Kimber is a sweet little rifle and I can't wait to take it out to the range. My thinking is to use the 6.5 for deer size game, but I want a rifle for larger creatures; elk, moose etc (and eventually kudu, eland). I am 'man enough' to admit I am recoil sensitive. I have gotten better dealing with the recoil from my '06 but I think I'm going to have a challenge with anything that kicks harder than that.

I have seen many folks extolling the virtues of the 35 Whelen and I like what I hear; 200+ grain bullets with good energy with manageable recoil. My concerns are that is doesn't have great ballistics past 200-300 yards and there seem to be few rifles offered in this caliber, it's either Remington 700 or a Ruger No 1. I'm concerned over Remington's spotting reputation for quality, the Ruger is a handsome rifle too.

Also, I think I might sell the .30-06. It's a bit too much recoil for a deer rifle but not powerful enough for the larger game. I think the '06 is in many ways the 'jack of all trades, master of none' rifle, if you're going to have just one hunting rifle the '06 is it, but if you're going to several (and why not have several), you really don't need one.

What do you think? Should I go for the Whelen? Remington or Ruger? Am I completely off my rocker on the 30-06?
 

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I like it! I am in the process of building a custom 35whelen right now on a pre-64 win 70 action. I plan to load up 225g or 250g A-Frames depending on which it likes best.
Keep the 30-06. The 6.5 should make you an excellent long range (400yrd) deer/antelope gun. And the Whelen is definable not an "across the canyon" round, but should be an excellent <300 yard gun, and you will have the 30-06 that will fit right in the middle.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Your 30-06 will handle more than you are giving it credit for. The 35 Whelen is only a little bit more gun than your 30-06. If you want to move up, then I'd suggest considering a 338 Win Mag.
 

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The 35 Whelen has more felt recoil than the -06 (in equal rifle weight). The Whelen hits more in both recoil energy and recoil velocity. Not much but it's there. If the .30-06 hits you hard, I wouldn't go up any more. Maybe install a mercury reducer in the stock Of the 30-06. And stop shooting prone or from the bench so often. Get shooting sticks. Stand square to the gun, and shoot like the good Lord intended man to.

I'd keep them both. Or if you really need something more than the .30, sell the 30-06, and step up to a Mag caliber. If you are going up, I'd go to the .338 Win Mag, as already mentioned. But now you know you're pulling the trigger even more so than the .35 Whelen. The .338 WM is just my pick and your mileage may very. You get the 200-225 and even 250 grain bullets. But flatter ballistics than the .35 (at the trade of additional recoil).

I end up using the 6.5 CM, 7mm Rem Mag more than anything (basically similar to your 6.5 CM and 30-06). I also have a .375 H&H, but have been unable to use it yet. I haven't needed anything bigger than a 7mm, and probably won't until I hunt buff.
 

NickyMaz

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Your 30-06 will handle more than you are giving it credit for. The 35 Whelen is only a little bit more gun than your 30-06. If you want to move up, then I'd suggest considering a 338 Win Mag.

Thanks for the suggestions. Here's an idea, the Ruger Guide Gun with muzzle break, any idea how much that softens the recoil?
http://www.ruger.com/products/guideGun/specSheets/47117.html

Screen Shot 2017-10-14 at 5.47.57 PM.png
 
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Rob404

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I love my Remington BDL in 35Whelen and I don't think the kick is that bad the Remington is a nice light carry rifle thats why it will most likely be my Africa choice next trip, As far as Remington having a bad reputation, you couldn't prove it by me
 

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How heavy is the Tikka?
Maybe swap that rifle for a heavier one in the same calibre that will soak up a bit more recoil and help with the problem.

The 30-06 is a fine calibre and I and many here have taken lots of the larger game you speak of.

If you're sensitive to recoil it makes little sense to go bigger with the calibre, just go bigger with the gun and perhaps think about a custom job with a heavier barrel and fitted stock, maybe a recoil reducer in the stock.
 

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I'm building a whelen on a large ring mauser action for my wife right now.. Its going to be a pretty heavy rifle.. Im guessing it will end up 10lbs or so with an optic.. We're giving it a 24" barrel with a #3 profile.. and its got a pretty heavy boyds laminate stock on it.. plus steel bases and rings, etc.. and a pachmayer decellerator.. Im thinking it will shoot pretty soft with 225gr bullets..

She has a .308 that is her go-to gun for most everything.. and a .243 for the smaller stuff.. but is interested in taking on eland when we do our next Africa trip, and is also thinking about some larger stuff on this side of the pond.. so she wanted something that could handle a little bit bigger bullet without having to quite step into the recoil of something like a .338 win mag..

the vast majority of the shots she has taken on game have been 100 yards or less.. with only a handful of animals taken at the 125-150 yard range.. so the ballistic downside of the whelen dropping like a rock starting at 200 really wasnt a concern..

Her next rifle after this one will probably be a 6.5 creed.. not because either of us plan on doing any 300+ yard hunting.. so much as I think she would like to do some 300-500 yard shooting... I think the creed will be about perfect for that..
 

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I had a beat up 03-A3 rebarreled to a 35 Whelen and restocked with a Boyd's laminate. I have a broken collar bone that won't heal so I had a muzzle break installed. My older son used his Thompson Center Encore with a 35 Whelen barrel and my younger son used a Rem 700 in 35 Whelen. Most of the animals shot (Kudu and smaller) dropped to the shot. Don't let the naysayers discourage you. The additional bullet weights available to the 35 Whelen when properly loaded make it a ballistic twin of the 9.3 x 62 a long revered African cartridge. My second rifle was a 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser. IMHO you are good to go with your choice of rifles.
 

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I had a beat up 03-A3 rebarreled to a 35 Whelen and restocked with a Boyd's laminate. I have a broken collar bone that won't heal so I had a muzzle break installed. My older son used his Thompson Center Encore with a 35 Whelen barrel and my younger son used a Rem 700 in 35 Whelen. Most of the animals shot (Kudu and smaller) dropped to the shot. Don't let the naysayers discourage you. The additional bullet weights available to the 35 Whelen when properly loaded make it a ballistic twin of the 9.3 x 62 a long revered African cartridge. My second rifle was a 6.5 x 55 Swedish Mauser. IMHO you are good to go with your choice of rifles.

Art sure likes his 35!
 

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For what it's worth- I believe that 30-06 is the perfect plains game caliber. It's not really too big for the tiny ten nor is it really too small for wildebeest, zebra, kudu, or eland. The lighter bullets recoil less and a top of the line premium bullet needs to be no more than 165 grains. I'd advise to make sure your stock fits you well, the rifle weighs around 8 1/2 pounds, and shoot it a lot from field positions. Prone and benchrest shooting cause me to feel more recoil from any rifle. My 15 year old daughter killed her bear with a #1 Lightweight 30-06. It is her favorite rifle and she doesn't believe it kicks much. I think that is because the stock fits her well.
 

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I think you came pretty close to hitting the nail on the head when you called the .30-06 a jack of all trades and a master of none....but it’s pretty damn close to a master of most things it’s capable of. Your issue with recoil may have to do with the fit and weight of your rifle. The T3’s always felt a little on the light side to me, so I passed and went with a Steyr instead.

That being said, if you want a .35 Whelen then go for it. I’m an unabashed Savage fan, but you can get into one pretty cheap and then get a barrel made in .35 Whelen and come in under the price of getting a Ruger No. 1. I’ve thought about doing the same thing myself, but I believe I’ve settled on the .338 Federal as my first medium bore.
 

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Greetings,

I am thinking about my next rifle. I currently have a .30-06 Tikka T3 and I just got a Kimber in 6.5 Creedmore. The Kimber is a sweet little rifle and I can't wait to take it out to the range. My thinking is to use the 6.5 for deer size game, but I want a rifle for larger creatures; elk, moose etc (and eventually kudu, eland). I am 'man enough' to admit I am recoil sensitive. I have gotten better dealing with the recoil from my '06 but I think I'm going to have a challenge with anything that kicks harder than that.

I have seen many folks extolling the virtues of the 35 Whelen and I like what I hear; 200+ grain bullets with good energy with manageable recoil. My concerns are that is doesn't have great ballistics past 200-300 yards and there seem to be few rifles offered in this caliber, it's either Remington 700 or a Ruger No 1. I'm concerned over Remington's spotting reputation for quality, the Ruger is a handsome rifle too.

Also, I think I might sell the .30-06. It's a bit too much recoil for a deer rifle but not powerful enough for the larger game. I think the '06 is in many ways the 'jack of all trades, master of none' rifle, if you're going to have just one hunting rifle the '06 is it, but if you're going to several (and why not have several), you really don't need one.

What do you think? Should I go for the Whelen? Remington or Ruger? Am I completely off my rocker on the 30-06?

I’ve used both the 30/06 and Whelan. The latter recoils a lot more than the 30/06. I used 225 gn bullets in the Whelan and 150-180 gn billets on the 39/96.
The 39/96 is very good deer rifle and personally I would suggest you stick with it rather than the 35 caliber especially if you are recoil sensitive.
 

lwaters

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I would use a 30/06 on anything in North America. The only exception would be Alaskan Brown Bear. I used a 300 RCM with a 20in barrel on everything from steenbuck to eland with 180 gr. noslers at a little over 2800fps. The o6 will do just as good with a 24in. barrel or a good handload even better. Not much need for the medium bores. If you get one why not get the best like a 375h&h or 375 ruger.
 

NickyMaz

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How heavy is the Tikka?
Maybe swap that rifle for a heavier one in the same calibre that will soak up a bit more recoil and help with the problem.

The 30-06 is a fine calibre and I and many here have taken lots of the larger game you speak of.

If you're sensitive to recoil it makes little sense to go bigger with the calibre, just go bigger with the gun and perhaps think about a custom job with a heavier barrel and fitted stock, maybe a recoil reducer in the stock.

I just looked it up and the Tikka is 6.6 pounds stock, so probably 7.5 with scope.

Thank you for the advice.
 

NickyMaz

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I’ve used both the 30/06 and Whelan. The latter recoils a lot more than the 30/06. I used 225 gn bullets in the Whelan and 150-180 gn billets on the 39/96.
The 39/96 is very good deer rifle and personally I would suggest you stick with it rather than the 35 caliber especially if you are recoil sensitive.

Thank you for the info, I'm leaning away from the Whelen at this point for several reasons.
 

NickyMaz

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Thank you for everyone's response. At this point I'm leaning away from the Whelen for several reasons; availability of both rifles & ammo (I don't handload), ballistics past 300 yards (I'm not a 'long range' hunter but I want the option to at least get out to 400 yards).

I'm going to keep my .30-06 but I think the Tikka might be a tad on the light side and that's why I'm having recoil issues. Any advice on how to remedy this?

So my next question is with a 30-06, do I need a 'medium bore' rifle? Can the '06 do what I need it to do? My concern is if I take a week or 10 days out my busy schedule and spend several thousand of my hard earned dollars on a hunt for elk, moose etc or a plains game safari I want to be certain I am going with enough gun.

Thanks.
 

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According to Nosler load data, you can push a 220gr Partition at 2600FPS with handloads. It may not have the best long-range ballistics, but that load would be bad medicine for anything this side of Cape Buffalo.

Just get you a rifle with some weight on it. A Boyd’s stock could add some weight, and order it with a Pachmayr recoil pad.
 

375 Ruger Fan

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Thanks for the suggestions. Here's an idea, the Ruger Guide Gun with muzzle break, any idea how much that softens the recoil?
http://www.ruger.com/products/guideGun/specSheets/47117.html

View attachment 206222

I don't like muzzle breaks, but I did shoot a 7mm mag with a suppressor and really liked it, other than the looks. About half the recoil and report.

Is your recoil sensitivity coming from a lot of bench shooting? If yes, try shooting from a more upright position and not the typical American bench style where you are almost in prone or a lot of forward leaning position. Your body has no give to it, so the shoulder takes the brunt of the recoil. Try more shooting off of stick or a tripod while standing. The perceived recoil i much less.
 
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