Which one...it will be on a Mauser action with a 23" barrel. Or 23.6 if I order the CZ 550 9.3x62. This will be my Alaska rifle. Anybody loaded for the 250 grain bullets in the 338-06 or Whelen? How do they compare.
I can't relate any first-hand info, but I have read extensively about the 35 vs. 338 and most everyone agrees that with 250gr bullets more velocity can be obtained with the .338. Add in the fact that the .338 has a greater sectional density and plenty of good, tough bullets available and this one would be an easy choice for me.
I can't really argue against the 9.3 either, but it seems components are more readily available for the .338. This is one of those cases where you should get what you want. Any of them should work fine! A terrible problem to have... ID
I faced the same problem a few years ago. I was having a Ruger No. 1A .270 re-bored to one of those calibers. I finally opted for the .338-06, just because I could have it re-bored to one of the others if it would not shoot. I have been very pleased with the results. I can shoot 200 gr. bullets to 2,800 fps; 225 gr partitions to 2625 fps; and 250 Hornady's to 2450 fps. This is from a 22" barrel. Case forming has been easy with a set of Redding dies. It shoots 1" to 1 1/2" groups with loads it likes, but has definite preferences. It also requires re-sighting when changing weights of bullets.
I can not help you on the other two, although an uncle of mine had a Whelan that he liked a lot.
I'm leaning towards the 338-06. I think other ammo makers will start loading the 338-06 soon enough. The 225gr bullet at 2600 fps + from a 22" barrel is what I'm looking for. SD would be higher in .338 but both would make a big hole. 9.3x62 on a 98 action would be really cool though. I'm in no hurry...but I have put the Weatherby up for sale.
Nice to see you again after a long sabbatical. Interesting times, these.
Anyway, I do think that the 338/06 has a great deal of promise, but I also must admit a preference for all things 35 (thus the name), and wish to sound off for its benefit. 250 grain bullets can be had in most manufactors, save sierra, and are accuratte as the day is long. In fact, any and all 35 caliber rifles i have fired were capable of asontishing accuracy, the poorest a old 356 with a split in the stock, that routinely grouped at around one inch.
They shoot straight- hit like a hammer, and have great utility, as the 250s are suitable for big stuff, 225s for pigs and black bears, the 200s great for deer, and if a fellow wants to shoot varmints he can mount a 158 xtp hornady, with impressive accuracy and destructiveness.
Like to hear what you decide, and how it performs for you.
I own two of the calibers you mention, a 35 Whelen and a 338-06. I haven't hunted with the 338-06 yet as I was just about to get the gun finished when I moved out of Idaho. I have shot it just to see how it shoots. I need to get a new stock for it and it will be finished. My 35 Whelen I have hunted with. The last two seasons before I left Idaho I got two nice mule deer with it. I was useing the 200 grain Hornady Spitzer SP. The deer dropped like they were hit by lightning. If I was to go to Alaska I would use the 250 grain bullets. It's a custom rifle built on a Ruger 77 action, with a Hart 26 inch barrel and Canjar trigger. Excellent accuracy. Chip
That's my plan. Don't know when I'll get it started though. I want to sell my Weatherby and use the money from that to do the project. Still haven't decided what to go with. 338-06 or 35 Whelen, either will do the job. I also know a guy who has a Mauser Werkes 98 in 7x57. That's a nice action. I might be able to get it at a good price as well.
Take this for what it is worth, as I do not own any of the 3, but can't see there would be any real difference in game reaction to being shot from one or the other. It seems to me you might have a little bit broader range of bullet selection for the 338, but 338/06 brass may be a bit more expensive as I guess Weatherby is the only major producer of it right now. Whelen brass can still be found pretty cheap, and though Norma and others offer brass for the metric chambering, it is likely to be as expensive as the 338. If you plan on making your brass from the '06, I guess that is a mute point also. There are good bullets for all 3 offered by numerous manufacturers for the hunting you wish to do. If cost were going to factored into the reloading end of things, the Whelen probably makes the most sense, but components are available for all 3. Ford, Chevy or Dodge? If you want something unique and are using an FN type Mauser action or any from a European manufacturer, it may be very poetic to go with the metric chambering. Kind of a toss up, I guess, all 3 have their loyal fans.
I made the trade for the Mauser Werke action. I want to take this Mauser action to a good gunsmith and make sure it hasn't been "smithed" to much.
I've decided to go with either the 338-06 or 35 Whelen for the reasons you've described. From the reading I've done it seems the 338 has better balistics, but I'm leaning now more towards the Whelen. One day I lean to the 338, the next to the 35 Whelen! This gun will be mostly for Bear, Moose and Elk. I've now got 2 good 30-06's so don't really believe the 338 is that big of a step up from the 30-06 with 220 grain bullets. It will have a 23 or 24 inch barrel in Mark X contour. I want it to slip right into a Bell and Carlson Medalist stock. Would prefer wood but can't afford the money for a nice one yet. I'm trying not to spend any money, just sell the guns I don't use.
I live in Virginia and my prime hunting rifle for deer and such was a 45-70. Great brush buster and I was not dependent on any manufacturere for bullets. I cast all my own.
I decided that I wanted to explore a different caliber and had read about the 375 Whelen. So I took a 25-06 Mark X sent it off to Ray's Gunshop in Colo. for rebarreling.
I've never fired a jacketed bullet thru this barrel. There's no need! I've got bullet molds throwing bullets from 225 to 300 grains. I use the reloading data for the 35 Whelen.
There's little on North American continent that this rifle won't take down with a hard lead bullet.
I vote 338/06 all the way. Bullet weights go from 160 to 300 grs, and the 1:10 twist handels them all very well. The .338/06 brass is simply 30-06 brass run through your sizing die.
No one will believe me, but get out your calculators...with 300 gr bullets the 338/06 will duplicate the Taylor KO factor for the 375 H&H with 300 gr bullets. All it takes is 2280 fps from the 338/06 and you are there due to the higher 338 SD (.375). HAWK 300 gr .338 bullets are the best at this lower velocity - they expand like donuts. Yup, they wind up bigger that the 375 factory stuff.
At the other end of the scale the Barnes X 160 grainers will do 3100 fps with a good enough BC for 350 yard shots on deer.
Asking these things from the Whelen or 9.3X62 is unfair.
I handled a 35 Whelen built on a Mauser action 3 days ago. # 3 or 4 Douglas barrel, it was beautiful. Custom stock etc. I probably won't decide until I have my Gunsmith order the barrel. Your comments are swinging the pendulum back the other way though!
I have a 35 Whelen Imp (40 degree) built on a commercial Mauser with a 25" Douglas tube. I haven't killed anything with it yet, except some paper. I would not hesitate to do this again. The rifle will shoot Remington factory ammo under 1 moa in the improved chamber. I think it would at least be the equal of the 338-06. I'm still working up loads for this currently and the velocity and accuracy I'm getting so far are excellent. If you want more info as the load development is done, let me know.
Another thing that you might want to consider is the availablity of ammo in far away places. I'm always amazed that I can find .35 Whelen ammo anywhere I go - from wal-Mart to a drug store in northern maine! I don't think the margin of difference between the .338/06 and the .35 will be noticed by the game you take with either one. Best of luck with what ever you choose. CEJ
Joel, have only seen one 9.3 rifle. A gunsmith built one for a class project. I have a 338-06 and my shooting partner has a 35 whelen. The argument (friendly) has gone on for years which is better. We both claim to be right (of course). Its kind of like Darned if you do and Darned if you dont.
I have pretty much decided to go with the 35 Whelen. I have 3 J.C. Higgins now. The best shooter will stay 30-06. One of them will become a 35 Whelen; that one will be the gun I use in Alaska. The other will be a 25-06. All 3 are FN actions. The J.C. Higgins stocks fit me great once the LOP is changed to 13 1/4"s. I've re-finnished one with Tru-oil and it's got just a hint of fiddle back running through the stock, absolutely beautiful. Can't wait to do the other 2. All 3 will have Timney triggers installed. Decided to go .25, .30, and .35, all off the Springfield 30-06 case. Figured thats about as American as you can get!
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