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Old 10-15-2015, 10:14 AM
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Bullet weight selection, 35 Whelen


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With all the posts about bullet weight theory, pumpkins, and the the like, seems like a good place and time for me to ask a very specific question: Would 180 grain bullets be a noticeably better choice than 250 grain for the 35-Whelen up to shots of 300 yards? This is my first year to load for and use the 35 Whelen. A buddy of mine asked that I make him some handloads for him, too. I told him I planned to use the 250-grain Speer Hot Cor SP, for several reasons. He asked that I use 180 grain for him, because he hunts more pasture land and might have an opportunity out to 300 yards. I'd rather not load two different bullets unless there is compelling reason to do so. He reasons that the lighter bullet shoots flatter and the 250 grain bullet would limit him. On the surface, logic *seems* to support this. However, is there enough difference - if indeed there is one - to matter?

Sorry if this is a well-covered topic. I tried to do some searches, but the search function isn't working for me.

thank you,
jake
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Old 10-15-2015, 10:42 AM
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This is an interesting subject and one I've pondered some having owned 4 Whelens myself. I've included a link below which should give you and your Buddy the information needed to make a good decision. You did not mention what game you both will be hunting, I'll figure deer or hogs. While many would say that 300 hyards is a long poke with a .35 Whelen, it will shoot with proper loads as flat as most other cartridges considered to be flat shooters.

I'd look to shoot one of three bullets to get good terminal performance and the flattest trajectories; 180gr TTSX, 200gr TSX/TTSX or the 225gr Accubond. For deer or hogs, I'd shoot the 180gr TTSX and feel fine about it as long as his rifle likes them. With a 200 yard zero that 180gr TTSX is just a tad more than 7" low at a full 300 yards. Holding on or just below the back line of a deer will put that excellent bullet in the goods, if shooter and rifle are capable. For larger game than deer & hogs, I'd look at the 200gr TSX/TTSX or 225gr Accubond.

This link should give you both some good comparisons to discuss. Each bullet listed has it's own ballistics listed as well. Good Luck!

Search - 35 whelen
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  #3  
Old 10-15-2015, 01:33 PM
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Here is a comparison between popular medium weight bullets in the 35 Whelen and 30-06. The difference in trajectory is 1" or less out to 400 yards.
If the 30-06 is a 350 yard cartridge, then so is the 35 Whelen. There is no need to go with light for caliber bullets.

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Old 10-15-2015, 05:23 PM
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A 35 Whelen AI is not a standard 35 Whelen. Aren't those numbers better than a std Whelen can produce?
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Old 10-15-2015, 05:48 PM
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One thing to consider is that, while light-for-caliber bullets can be driven faster, they also are giving up valuable ballistic co-efficient. I believe the BC is probably the most important consideration in what will be a "flat" shooting load. With higher BC comes better sectional density, which means way better penetration.
I tried some 150gr pointed bullets in my Whelen, and got some really good groups at 100yds with them, but I would bet a 225gr would be MUCH better for beyond...
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Old 10-15-2015, 06:33 PM
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Of course there's a point of diminishing return talking lighter and faster. The OP mentioned 300 yards as a target range for comparison. The 225gr Accubond I mentioned in my initial post has a pretty good BC. But it does not fly as flat as the 180TTSX to 300 or even 400 yards. As far as performance at 300 or 400 yards, the 180 still has velocity well above what's needed to open correctly. It also still brings over a ton of energy to a full 300 yards.

Be difficult to argue with a 225gr as a great all around bullet for the Whelen for its trajectory, BC & SD. I'm wanting to try some 180s in my M77 Hawkeye in .35W to see how that higher velocity pounds a big boar using a bullet that's well, bulletproof.
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Old 10-15-2015, 09:34 PM
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If a bullet of 180 grains will do, there is no point going to a larger diameter than the .30-06.

If what you want to do needs a heavier bullet, the .35 Whelen with 225 or 250 grains makes a lot of sense. Why would you bother using a lesser sectional density, ballistic coefficient, and weaker terminal performance by handicapping the Whelen with light for caliber bullets? An inch or two in trajectory is just not that important for hunting, as long as you know what the trajectory actually is. Terminal performance, however, is VERY important.
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Old 10-16-2015, 06:45 AM
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You're saying that the terminal performance of the Whelen at 300 yards using the 180gr load shown above would not be "better" than the performance of the 180gr '06 also shown above? That's not how I read the numbers there nor what my experience shows with a 35 vs '06 (358 vs 308 caliber)
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Old 10-16-2015, 07:13 AM
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a little clarification

I didn't mention this, but the reason for the 35 Whelen is very specific. In Mississippi we have a "primitive weapons" deer season, and it allows 35 Whelen, but not 30-06. For several years it allowed the 444 Marlin and 45-70, then in about 2010 it added the 35 Whelen (single-shot, breech-loading rifles of 35 caliber and larger). There's absolutely NOTHING "primitive" about even a 45-70 pushing jacketed bullets at 2000fps wearing a modern optic, but it is what it is, and many MS hunters have moved to the 35 Whelen. Having hunted with the 45-70 for 10 years and moved from lighter-fast to heavier-slower bullets in that caliber I like the idea of the 250-grain bullet for the 35, because my basic view is any caliber really comes into its own with bullets toward the heavy end of the scale for that caliber.
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Old 10-16-2015, 07:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakesnake66 View Post
I didn't mention this, but the reason for the 35 Whelen is very specific. In Mississippi we have a "primitive weapons" deer season, and it allows 35 Whelen, but not 30-06. For several years it allowed the 444 Marlin and 45-70, then in about 2010 it added the 35 Whelen (single-shot, breech-loading rifles of 35 caliber and larger). There's absolutely NOTHING "primitive" about even a 45-70 pushing jacketed bullets at 2000fps wearing a modern optic, but it is what it is, and many MS hunters have moved to the 35 Whelen. Having hunted with the 45-70 for 10 years and moved from lighter-fast to heavier-slower bullets in that caliber I like the idea of the 250-grain bullet for the 35, because my basic view is any caliber really comes into its own with bullets toward the heavy end of the scale for that caliber.
I believe that is true. There is very little to be gained by using a large caliber with light bullets. The lighter you get with the bullets of any caliber, the closer you get to shooting a washer of that caliber. Ballistic coefficient, sectional density, and momentum are all very important for terminal performance on game, and the heavier the bullet in any given caliber, the stronger they all become.

Muzzle velocity is not nearly as important as people like to think.
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Old 10-16-2015, 07:34 AM
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In this case, I'd definitely look into the 180gr TTSX. Flat trajectory and plenty of terminal performance.

As a sleeper choice, look at the Speer 220gr FN. Don't let the FN moniker fool you. It has a better BC than most 200gr PSP 35 cal bullets. Pretty reasonably priced too. Have a look-see at the reviews on Midway's site for this bullet at high velocities out of both the Whelen and 350RM and with great terminal performance on large game too.

I have 100 of them stashed for future use in my 35s. Best of luck with whatever you choose!

Added: IMHO, you run the risk of a heavy for caliber bullet not expanding properly on deer sized game. Most PSP 250gr bullets in 35 cal are designed with much larger game in mind. Just a thought you might want to consider. If you choose a 250gr RN or FN bullet, that would likely not be the case. However, you mentioned good trajectory to 300 yards in your original post.
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Last edited by Tnhunter; 10-16-2015 at 07:41 AM.
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  #12  
Old 10-16-2015, 01:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonP View Post
A 35 Whelen AI is not a standard 35 Whelen. Aren't those numbers better than a std Whelen can produce?
That is not a hot load for the Whelen AI, and many standard Whelens can achieve 2725 with a 225 Partition. If you compare a 180 to a 180 in both calibers, you get more muzzle velocity out of the Whelen 180, but it has a much inferior ballistic coefficient, so the drop fairly equals out with an '06 180 at long range. Here are the numbers for a 180 gr Whelen at 3000 fps. It has ¾" less drop at 400 yds than the '06 using the same sighting parameters. The farther you push the range past 400 yds, the more the Whelen would lose out due to it's poor BC compared to either the 225 gr or the 30-06 180 grain.

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Old 10-16-2015, 01:43 PM
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Barnes no longer even markets a 180gr "X" bullet, but they do market and sell a tipped boattail version, as in my initial posting called the TTSX (@3,000 FPS). In the load I mentioned, this bullet & load carry more velocity and energy to 300 and 400 yards than your '06 load, while still flying flatter as well. We're talking deer as the game being hunted here. We're also talking not being able to use a 30/06 for the hunting described.

There's no other .35 Whelen load that flies flatter than the one I suggested; not to 200, not to 300, not to 400 or 500 yards. It still carries the recommended velocity for proper bullet performance to a full 500 yards while still maintaining over 1400 FPE, plenty for any deer-sized game.

All that said, again, in the OP's case I'd prolly opt for the Federal Fusion 200gr (2800 FPS) or the Hornady 200gr Superformance (2900 FPS) at under $30/box and be done with it for any deer hunting and then concentrate on a heavier bullet load if they were to hunt game significantly larger than deer. YMMV

http://www.doubletapammo.net/index.p...arch=35+whelen
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Last edited by Tnhunter; 10-16-2015 at 02:30 PM. Reason: added content
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Old 10-17-2015, 05:50 AM
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Agreed: if the OP doesn't handload, then the 200 gr Fusion would be my choice for deer.
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  #15  
Old 10-17-2015, 07:37 AM
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thanks to all, and....

Frankly, this "300 yard" business is mostly in my friend's head. Yes, a 300 yard shot IS possible where he hunts, but a shot like that isn't only unlikely, but would be unethical - IMHO. I don't mean to say he can't shoot....just that 300 yard shots really should only be taken by guys who practice it - in the right conditions/positions - and have the appropriate tools. I hunt in tight. usually in thick woods, so I'm really only concerned with 30-75yd performance. Last year I hunted a lot with a 45-70 pushing a cast boolit about 1200fps, and it was great - accurate, effective without getting my teeth knocked out. I will use the 250 grainers, and the feedback here suggests he should too.
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Old 10-17-2015, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonP View Post
A 35 Whelen AI is not a standard 35 Whelen. Aren't those numbers better than a std Whelen can produce?
Barnes Reloading Manual #3 lists 2713 fps maximum speed for their 225gr bullet (24"barrel) which is very close to 2723.6 fps.
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Old 10-28-2015, 07:06 PM
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A bit late to this thread, however... Personally, I would go with the .358 200 gr TTSX for both of you and call it good. This bullet will fly within .5" as flat as the 180 TTSX at 300 yds and penetration is better than a traditional 250 gr cup and core bullet such as the aforementioned 250 Speer SP on large critters like elk based on my own experience. On a deer, it would be a moot point in terms of penetration so that really doesn't play for this discussion. I have taken many elk with the Barnes bullets of all weights over the years, (2 with the 200 TTSX) and this year took a mule deer buck with that bullet. Expanded nicely to put the vitals out of commission on a smallish animal (relative to elk) and ruined barely a little meat on a broadside shot on both entry and exit.

I don't think it was mentioned, what is the reason for the 250 gr Speer for the hunting this is for? I like that bullet a lot but trajectory is definitely sacrificed on longer shots. Not that this matters too much since it wasn't brought up, but recoil with a 250 gr is a bunch more than a 200 gr out of my Whelen AI, and a single shot would be lighter than a bolt gun.

In any case, a 35 Whelen is a great round and I think it's great that it is gaining momentum in the south with the niche it is occupying for deer season within the regulations.
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Old 10-30-2015, 10:46 PM
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This is my take, I own and shoot a 338-06, the optimum weight for it is either 210gr or 225gr, lighter or heavier REDUCES effective range within an 8" MPBR. With the Whelen using the same MPBR, the optimum weight is either 225gr or 250gr to get the best effective range. Even with a 200yrd zero, either will have a flat enough trajectory to 300yrds, the difference in drop is not that much between them. 180gr bullets have no advantage in trajectory, energy or penetration, any bullet is going to expand at 300yrds or less.

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Old 10-31-2015, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by MagnumManiac View Post
This is my take, I own and shoot a 338-06, the optimum weight for it is either 210gr or 225gr, lighter or heavier REDUCES effective range within an 8" MPBR. With the Whelen using the same MPBR, the optimum weight is either 225gr or 250gr to get the best effective range. Even with a 200yrd zero, either will have a flat enough trajectory to 300yrds, the difference in drop is not that much between them. 180gr bullets have no advantage in trajectory, energy or penetration, any bullet is going to expand at 300yrds or less.

Cheers.
Curious as to what you mean, exactly, by "effective range". Honestly not trying to start anything, but my research (have owned four different 35 Whelens) shows the lighter bullet weights of 180 & 200gr to fly flatter to 300-400 yards, without question. Of course, talking bullets with good B.C.s such as TTSX and not the older Hornady and Remington 200gr SPs with their abysmal B.C.s. Wondering what I'm missing here....

At extreme ranges for the Whelen (over 500 yards) I'd suppose the good midweight bullets of 225gr (such as the Accubond) would "catch up" to the flatter shooting lightweights. I'd not argue that the midweights would be the better choice on larger game with their superior weight & S.D., but for deer or hogs at 200-300-400 yards I see the lighter bullets flying flatter.

Even looking at the 338/06 (which I used to own), when using a typical 200 yard zero, the 180gr Accubond flies a full three inches flatter to 400 yards. -12.3 vs -15.3".

A comparison of the 180gr TTSX in the Whelen shows it dropping 3" less at a full 500 yards vs a 225gr Accubond. Terminal velocity there is still well within that needed to perform by Barnes' standards (and nearly identical to the velocity there of the 225s) and energy is still over 1400 FP.

Personally, I think there is a place for these lighter weight, well constructed bullets when talking about hunting game under elk & moose sizes. Members here have shown testament to full penetration on elk using the 200gr TTSX (TSX). My experience shows the lighter weights will recoil a bit less as well.

Use what works for what you want to do, agreed. But I think some shooters might be pleasantly surprised if they stepped outside the norm(?) and tried some of the lighter weight, flatter shooting bullets now available.
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Old 10-31-2015, 08:25 AM
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Bullet performance once it leaves the barrel is all we have to rely on. Information like BC, SD, bullet construction (C&C, bonded, copper, partitioned) and actual field use has led me to know the lighter all-copper Barnes bullets or bonded Nosler AB's fly much flatter (part of effective range). I did the math with Tnhunter's numbers for his 338/06 and the difference between striking 12.3" low and 15.3" low is 20%. Not an insignificant amount when looked at in that way. Would you absolutely take a 20% increase in pay starting tomorrow? Heck yes. Would a guy be ok if his car started using 20% less gas wth no other changes in performamce? Certainly. The other part of effective range is terminal performance. I have taken 2 elk with a 250 grain C&C bullet. I have taken 8 elk with Barnes X bullets (200X, 225X, 250X, 200TTSX). There is no real world difference in penetration between the Barnes bullet weights when it comes to an elk in my estimation,. Once the bullet goes through 4 feet of elk stem to stern to be recovered (I have recoverd one 200X and one 250X from strong angle shots, all others have exited) under the hide on the opposite end, experience says the lighter bullet (200 TTSX is my current choice until Barnes offers something I deem better) has no difference in on-game performance, with the benefit of 20% less drop at 300 yards vs a 250 grain cup and core bullet . The gap widens more past 300 yards, and the lighter bullets carry the trajectory and speed/energy to expand and perform consistently when the hunter does his part.

I sight in my Whelen AI 3" high at 100 yds with the Barnes 200 TTSX. Actual shooting at 300 yds yields 2.25" groups and a point of aim impact, which is less drop than calculations would suggest. I'll take it.
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