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I'm new here so maybe this has been asked before. I have a VZ 24 action that is crying out to be barrelled. I really wanted to make a 350 Rem but don't really feel like playing with the alterations (rails, feed, etc.) so I switched my thoughts to the 35 whelen and have recently discovered the 35 whelen Ack Imp. Does anyone have any experience with this caliber? Midway currently has a set of dies (Redding) for $50.00 which I think is reasonable. Any info would be appreciated as I can't find much out on the web.
 

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Whitetail,
There's been a little discussion here about this at http://www.shootersforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3787

If you would like the info from the G.Sitton article, send me an email or PM.

Not a whole lot of help, but I did visit a few other reloading sites and didn't really come up with too much more.
 

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Whitetail: not every Mauser feeds the Ackley Improved cartridges without modification either. My FN required rail changes to feed 257 AIRbts. If you can, get several dummy 35 AIWhelen cartridges and test them for feeding out of that action before you commit yourself. Alos try some dummy standard 35 Whelens and see how they go. Frankly the standard 35 Whelen is quite a cartridge and Improving it doesn't make a lot of difference in its' effect when you are shooting game. You can make an argument for the Improved version on paper but in the field nothing you shoot will know you are using it rather than the standard. best
 

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BCStocker is absolutely right!

I've done a number of Ackley conversions, and in every single case, (except for the .375 H&H AI), reworking the feed rails has been required. Although not that difficult, it is tedious and time consuming.

Regarding field performance issues between the AI and standard versions of the .35 Whelen, yes paper-trails say the AI is better, but real-world field performance doesn't make two cents worth of difference, until you step up to the Brown-Whelen, which of course is a different critter, and introduces a whole other set of case-forming issues as well.

However, my attraction to the Ackley version is the virtue of not having to trim brass, at least not very often, as compared to the standard Whelen case configuration. My guns before rechambering required case trimming after every second loading, and although I use a set of neck-sizing only dies, I still had significant case growth with full-snort loads. After rechambering, this annoyance (to me anyhow.... I hate to trim brass) dissappeared almost entirely. In fact, I can load my cases nearly as many times as I'm comfortable shooting a given piece of brass, without trimming after the initial fire-forming load, just to square the case mouth.

Hmmmmm..... choices, choices.

God Bless,

Marshall
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys for the info. I agree using an AI cartidge is two-fold: squeeze every bit of power from the present case AND prevent case stretch and bolt thrust. Thansk again.
 

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Whitetail - Save yourself a lot of trouble and go with the standard .35 Whelen. What ever you hit with this round goes down for the count fast! I use a 225gr Nosler partition for deer and black bear and have a 250gr Nosler partition ready to go for the big stuff if I ever get to Alaska! Save the extra cash you'd spend on the AI for a good scope and a McMillian stock. Good luck with whatever you decide! CEJ..
 

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I've built enough AI chambers to say with confidence that AI does not give you all that much improvement in velocity with one exception (in my case.) The last AI I ever intended to do, a 257AI 40deg, really suprised me. It gives me 3100fps using h4831sc and 117 Hornadys. With the same powder, 100gr Sierra matchkings are going 3250. This is out of a 26" barrel. I feel that these are close to max loads in my rifle.

As Marshall mentioned, the brown-whelens do give you a decent improvement. I have not chambered a brown-whelen anything but have four in the various hawk calibers which generally, are brown-whelens by another name. The 358 hawk is my favorite. Using h4895, 225 partitions hit 2900 (max) and exhibit really good accuracy (.7" 5 shot groups.)

I don't find the case forming all that bad.
Here are detailed instructions if you are interested:
http://www.z-hat.com/Hawk Forming.htm

Rather than fireforming with a bullet, I form the false shoulder with a lite crush fit, press in a primer, add 15gr RedDot, topped with 1/4 1 ply tp the fill the balance of the case with Cream-of-wheat with a little wad of tp on the top to hold it all in the case. chamber and fire. The bend from body to shoulder will not be real sharp but it won't hurt a thing. Guess it is a little involved but its fun to do this kind of thing when the weather has you indoors.
 

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Whitetail,
You will almost certainly have to have the rails reworked in your action to make this work. I used a Parker Hale commercial Mauser for mine, and it took a bit of work to make it work, but no big deal. I'd give the improved version a try, just for the brass trimming issue, but it does seem to give a bit more velocity. You can fire factory ammunition in the improved chamber with no problem or appreciable loss of accuracy. My rifle will shoot a little over 1/2moa with my best handloads and a little less than 3/4moa with Remington factory ammo. It's my opinion that this would be a better deal, Imp or not, than a 350 Mag. Either way, good luck. If you are going to use a synthetic stock on this rifle, I would stay away from the injection molded variety.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the info. I have loading data for the 35 Brown - Whelen and the 358 Hawk. I really liked the Hawk until I saw it was $158 for dies. I realize it is a one time expense but there is something philosophically wrong with $158 for a set of reloading dies. I also wondered about the recoil of the Hawk.

I am wondering how much the Brown - Whelen and/or Hawk versions recoil. 2900 fps with 225 gr bullets should kick a bit. Anyone venture a guess as to the recoil compared to a 338 Win Mag?
 

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Probably is going to be pretty much the same. Two things make a difference, one the 338 is a bit smaller in dia, so the bullet has greater sectional density than the 225 grain 358. So, the 358 is assuming to achieve this with 62 grains of powder, much less than the 338 uses. How much of a difference? Well using Marshall's Ballistician's Corner Recoil Calculator http://www.beartoothbullets.com/rescources/index.htm the 35 caliber should generate about 37 foot pounds at 17fps, using the same calculator for my 230 grain 338 loads at near the same velocity gives 42 foot pounds of recoil generated at 18 feet per second. This is assuming the same weight rifle (8lbs). Does it make it noticeable? I doubt it. The 338's recoil to me in my Ruger rifles with a classic designed stock is not much more noticeable than in lighter weight 30-06's or 270's.

Just my thinking, for what it's worth.
 

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The recoil of the Whelen Imp is not too bad in a 8 lb rifle (ready to hunt weight). A high quality, purpose built, butt pad is a very good idea. My rifle has a 25" barrel and the velocities listed for the Brown-Whelen and the Hawk would make it about the same difference between the regular Whelen and the Imp. Compared to my .340, with 210 gr bullets in a similar weight rifle, with muzzle brake removed, the Whelen is a pleasure to shoot. I realize that the .338 and the .340 are a little different, but the Imp. Whelen is very shootable, I only shoot the .340 without a brake as a stunt, off the bench at least. It would be a good idea to make sure you purchase a good quality scope with plenty of eye relief. I dropped a nice black bear with my Imp Whelen, and a whitetail doe, they went down rather dicisively. I realize that the doe is no big testament, but the few bears I've shot in the past never gave up so easily. You will be very pleasantly suprised at just how flat this round will shoot with a 180gr Ballistic Tip, should you want to use it to shoot deer.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Was using the Powley computer to play with theoretical vs actual loading data using IMR powders to see how close it comes. It ain't real far off for my loads. Does/could anyone tell me how much water a 358 Hawk and a 35 whelen Ack Imp case holds filled to the top, in grains? Chronoed data with charge weight would also be interesting comparison. Thanks.
 

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Whitetail

A 358 Hawk case holds 74.5gr of water to the top of the case. This case is formed from a remington 35 whelen case. If it was formed from a winchester case, it would have a bit more capacity.

Did you get all of my messages? The response function wasn't acting quite right and I had to break my response into two pieces due to a length limitation on private messages.

I also forgot to mention something about Hawk dies - specifically z-hat dies. The sizing dies are good dies. Not a lot different than most. The seating die is another story. This die will work to seat just about any bullet in (within reason) any case. You only need to purchase a $10 collar to fit the neck size. The case is run up in the die before you put the bullet in the side of the die. This makes everything line up before the bullet trys to force it way into the case. With a few exceptions, I use this die to do all of my seating. After you get the hang of using this seating die, you'll not regret the price.
 

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I weighed 35 Whelen cases (RP cases) tonight and filled them with water. They averaged 71.2 grains of water filled to the top and leveled off, eliminating the meniscus. There does not appear to be much difference in powder capacity (~ 4.6%) between the 358 Hawk and the standard Whelen which should lead to about 1% increase in velocity (~ 30 fps assuming 1:4 ratio) assuming the same pressure. How does the Hawk get 2905 fps with 62.0 gr of H4895 with a 26" barrel while the standard whelen gets 2648 fps with 58.0 gr I 4895 with a 24" barrel? I realize one uses IMR and the other Hodgdon but 250 fps difference with 4 grains of powder? It has been my experience that an inch of barrel equals about 25-30 fps per inch which still leaves 200 fps unexplained. Could it be the difference in barrels Shilen (358 Hawk) vs whatever (Whelen)? Anyone have any ideas/thoughts?
 

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Could be the long throat keeps the preasure from spiking quite so quickly - kind of like a weatherby. I honestly don't know why it works beyond that. At the stated 2905fps, the primers were the only thing that is giving me any indications of rising preasure. The reality probably is that I could maintain that velocity if I really needed the extra 50fps but 2850 is plenty as that velocity is right in with what most reload manuals rate the 358 Norma mag at. Plus the accuracy is so good.

The cases still extracted easily, there is nearly no case stretch and, the primer pockets are still tight. If you have direct question as to why it works, I'd recomend speaking with Fred at Z-hat ( [email protected] ). He is sure to be able to explain it better than me.

I looked in Hodgdon's anual reloding manual and they are giving about 2588 with 56 gr of varget. Hogdon has a tendency to be little on the hot side. Don't know if that tells us anything or not.

In practical terms, I can't rationalize the cost of doing any wildcat over standard chambers. I should have just built a 358 norma mag and been done with it. But I'm not always practical as I love tinkering. If your intention is to not have something that takes playing around with to work or you simply need a hunting tool, the Whelen or a 358 NM or even a 338wm will do pretty much everything you need and cost you less. Bottom line is, the single 30-06 in my safe is the only one I can justify.

Well, that was a whole lot of fun. Oh and by the way, the 375 hawk is really quite a hoot too. It isn't quite up tho the claims of equalling the 375H&H but its definely a good match to the 9.3X62 (the origial case for the 375 hawk/Scovill) It makes a really slick lever gun in an 1895 or a browning 81 (the old browning blr - back when they were steel)

A final note. I have two 358s and they both get the same results so things are consistent. I have two because I was helping someone to put his project together and after I got it going, he skipped on me so I'm stuck. At least I'm stuck with something nice (and fun)
 
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