I have both, and have enough experience with each in handloading and hunting to make some unbiased comparisons and contrasts.
<.35 Whelen on left and 9.3 x 62 on right. Both are real loads not mock-ups. Both loads have been made from virgin brass – never reloaded. The Whelen case is Remington and the 9.3 x 62 is Hornady. In H2O, the Whelen brass holds 72 grains and the Hornady case holds 77 grains. By way of comparison the .350 Rem Mag case holds 74.
The .35 Whelen is loaded with a 225gr AccuBond over 67 grains of RL-17 (a compressed load), and the 9.3 x 62 is loaded with 68 grains of the same powder (not max) under the 286gr Partition. My “normal” load is 70 grains of RL-17 for that bullet which is also a compressed load. Both cases are primed with WLRM primers. COL for the .35 Whelen is 3.45″, and for the 9.3 x 62, COL is 3.37″ (constrained by the clip magazine, whereas the .35 Whelen is loaded for my single-shot). The Whelen case is longer in the neck, reducing capacity compared to the 9.3 x 62 which has a shorter and wider neck. The case body of the 9.3 x 62 is both longer and slightly “fatter” than the Whelen, explaining the differences in case capacity.
I’ve found, by experience in reloading each with the same RL-17 powder, that the 9.3 x 62 will hold a maximum of 4 grains more of the same RL-17 powder than the .35 Whelen to a point at 3/16″ below the case mouth of each for seating a compressed load of the 286gr NP or 250gr AB in the 9.3 x 62, and a 225gr AB and 250gr NP in the .35 Whelen, without undue pressure or bulging the respective cases.
Therefore, any potential advantages of one over the other for large game goes in favour of the 9.3 x 62 due to better case capacity and improved efficiency in the use of the same powder due to its slightly larger bore. The long and the short of this means that, generally, the 9.3 x 62 can shoot a 286gr at nearly the same MV as the .35 Whelen can fire a 250gr, with the sectional density favouring the 286gr at .305 vs .279 for the 250gr in .358 cal. Though appearances can deceive, yet expansion ratio rules. 358 is one of the best, but 9.3 (.366) is slightly better. The G3 in .35 Whelen has a 22″ barrel and the Tikka T3 in 9.3 x 62 sports a 22.44″ barrel. I’m expecting 2650 fps from a 250gr from the G3 in .35 Whelen, and I’m getting 2640 fps from the 286gr Partition in my Tika T3 in 9.3 x 62.
Those are facts of physics, but it remains for the handloader to exploit the best from each depending on his/her temperament, aspirations, knowledge and components used in propellants and projectiles.
If I wanted, I could make my .35 Whelen superior in ballistics to my 9.3 x 62 Mauser by loading the Whelen to a SAAMI standard of 62K psi for a 250gr and the 9.3 x 62 to a CIP standard of about 57K psi for a 250gr. But I couldn’t live with my conscience if I promoted the Whelen as superior to the Mauser in shooting 250gr bullets! I’m a “hot-rodder”! I want the most from whatever “it” can give, within safety bounds! You know, I’ve never (yet) had to use a mallet to open a bolt-action rifle! But at this stage of life I’m willing to go a wee-bit less than full throttle! But any “loads” I share here are less than that new .338 RPM cal Weatherby at a SAAMI approved 65K psi!
Here’s some interesting data I’ve uncovered in using something other than the latest “news” for the .35 Whelen: RL-17 is listed quite a bit “slower” than CFE 223 in the HORNADY Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, 9th Edition, page 38 of POWDER BURNING RATES: CFE 223 is at 99 with RL-17 at 116 (slower than IMR4350 and A4350! CFE 223 is just ahead of BL(C)2 at 98.
YET!!! 67 grains of RL-17 in the Whelen under the 225gr AccuBond (max compressed load) gave slightly higher velocity than 68 grains of CFE 223 motivating that same bullet!
RL-17 = 2811 fps corrected to MV from 67 grains. ES = 5 fps. Accuracy at 100 = 0.76 (3/4″)
CFE 223= 2799 fps corrected to MV from 68 grains. ES = 6 fps. Accuracy at 100 yds = 1.4″
Since RL-17 is MY powder for the 9.3 x 62 Mauser, I’ll stay with that for the Whelen as well. (Anyone want a 2/3 can of CFE 223?)
But, in all fairness, I might be able to use 70 grains of CFE 223 for the 225 AB, as it’s a ball powder that takes less space in the cartridge than RL-17, and it seems to work better (more consistent and better accuracy) the “hotter” it gets! Also: it shows far less CHE than any other powder, including RL-17! That’s in the same batch of .35 Whelen cases that was being used for the 4th time in each.
So, I’m really not ready to sell CFE 223 just yet without trying 70 grains under the 225 AccuBond. That might improve ES and accuracy, which currently lags behind RL-17. Two grains more of CFE 223 should increase MV to near 2900 fps for the 225gr AB, though that will not be needed – only if accuracy and ES improves as a result.
CHE = Case head expansion. Hornady recommends it as a technique for keeping watch on excessive pressure when a strain gauge or lab test isn’t available, but only with the same once fired brass and variable loads to detect differences in pressure between loads in the same cases. I’ve used it for many years and find it very helpful when increasing the same powder under the same bullet, or changes in propellant and bullets . It does correlate with pressure increases… though it doesn’t, obviously, tell us the actual PSI. And every reloading manual gives warning signs of “excessive pressure” even though some “gurus” poo-poo it!
Those same .35 Whelen cases I’m currently using are now loaded for the 5th time for developing a hunting load (that will be used in fresh brass or 1x fired brass). Seating primers have been like virgin brass and they’ve never needed trimming! And I’ve only given them partial resizing resulting in normal loading in the chamber and extraction after firing.
“Doing your own thing…” is an expression that does NOT encourage one to break “the law”! But even in law courts, some “laws” are not interpreted legalistically, but by its “spirit”, or intention. For example: In Ontario the “usual” speed limit on non-major highways is 80 km (about 50 mph), whereas major 4 + lane highways, such as the 401 that traverses Ontario from Manitoba to Quebec (as part of the Trans Canada Highway system from the west coast to the east coast) the limit posted is 100 Km (Other Provinces may vary up to 110 or even 120 Km). 100 Km is legally 62 mph, but “mostly” considered 60 mph. Some Americans who drive in Ontario on the 401 are often confused by the posted speed limit as most Ontario drivers are casually driving at 115 to120 Km (close to 75 mph). As far as the cops are concerned, if the traffic is moving steadily at that pace then that’s considered “safe” except in major population areas with several exits and entry ramps. In other words, it’s a safety-first issue, not a legalistic one. In fact, someone may be pulled over for going too slow, causing a jam behind them that results in anger on the part of others who must “get there on time”! And THAT often causes accidents more so than the traffic moving steadily at 120 KM (about 75 mph). AND… of course, driving conditions are a factor. At times, with heavy fog, driving rain or slippery and blustery winter conditions it may well be UNSAFE to drive the posted limit.
Five years ago, this coming July, my wife and I were travelling east on the 401, with a stop-over in Montreal, to visit our home Province of New Brunswick to celebrate our 60th Anniversary. About half-way to Quebec we ran into a vicious wind and rain storm that slowed traffic to a crawl on both sides of the 4-lane highway. In fact, I could only see the taillights of the vehicle in front of me, and it was too dangerous to pull over as the one behind me might follow and ram us in the rear! After at least 45 minutes of that, the weather cleared, but no traffic was showing on the opposite side going west… I said to my wife, “There’s been an accident on the other side”. Then we saw an ambulance going west. Shortly we came upon a pileup of cars, pickup trucks, vans and transport trucks scattered across the highway going west, with ambulances and police in attendance. Some vehicles were on their roofs, others wrecked well off the highway! What happened? Well, some were “obeying the law” of still trying to go 100 Km, while others were “poking along” at less speed than necessary! On our side going east, we had the same weather conditions – with no pileup with traffic moving steadily at 50 to 60 Km (30 – 35 mph)! Frustrating for some perhaps, but they “obeyed the law of common sense”!
All that serves as an example of “doing your own thing” as it concerns handloading. Just as some auto drivers will maintain the legal limit (or usually 5 mph below that, causing frustration to other drivers who understand that driving conditions mandate the “spirit of the law”), but a majority of drivers understand the “spirit” of 80 Km on a country highway will permit them in certain stretches of excellent conditions (little traffic in mostly “North Country” and farm land) to safely exceed 80 KM all the way to 95 Km. As a matter of fact, I’ve met police cruisers on some of those stretches, doing 100 Km and they never stopped me! (62 mph). Fortunately, in open highways, we can safely pass the “slow movers” who insist that they are the righteous “who keep the law”!
Of course, you might think that I’m encouraging the “unlawful” to break “rules” concerning reloading manuals! Yet, I’ve had correspondence and conversations with head ballisticians over these issues, and they have admitted that the only RULE is safety first! And so, just like lawmakers and traffic cops who also know it’s SAFE to go beyond certain posted limits on particular stretches of highways, under certain conditions, they impose a limit anyway for the generic “good”.
A few days ago I got behind an SUV towing a low trailer with a box on it. At first, I thought of passing it but soon recognised it as one of the local police vehicles. It was a major highway going north from where I was returning from shooting at the range. I didn’t pass as that might have provoked a bit of anger on their part, but it was keeping just a hair under 90 Km on a posted 80 Km highway. Why? I think we know the answer.
How could Weatherby have SAAMI approve their “new” .338 magnum at 65K psi? And Winchester’s famed .270 at that same PSI while keeping “others”, at least as “strong”, at 60K psi? Methinks there’s more than just a little politickin’ goin’ on! “Years ago”, Weatherby’s ammo was generally acknowledged to be”hot loaded” by Norma to at least 66,000 psi, and some tested OVER 70,000 psi! Were there any MK V Weatherby rifles that got blown up?
Methinks also that litigation fears puts on the brakes in a litigeous climate! So I give “safe, efficient and excellent results” from some of my published material, without undue concern over what so-and-so thinks!
“+ P” is wanted by some over published results… My question is “By whom?”, and “Who says so?”, and “For what reason?”, “SAMMI says so!” is a likely response. And who is SAAMI? The police of psi? And how do YOU know when you’ve “broken the law” according to SAAMI? You are bound up to the “spirit of the law” – SAFETY FIRST – as I am! And I alone am the judge of that after 40+ years of SAFE handloading! Not according to Saami, whom I don’t know, and can’t possibly know my psi, but according to the language of common sense and “PRESSURE SIGNS”! Some published book loads for handloaders have proved UNSAFE in particular rifles! One max published load of AA2230 for a 500gr has locked the bolt (that had to be opened with a mallet!) on one M70 in the great .458 Winchester Magnum. Hornady still publishes that load in subsequent manuals!
After many years of loading my Marlins in .45-70 to over 2000 fps from 400s, did Hodgdon finally publish a single load from a 400gr barely over 2000 fps! Then… time passed and a writer felt secure enough to publish a few more loads of 400s from Marlins a wee-bit over 2000 fps!
Of course… had they never heard of ELMER KEITH who was doing that “way back when…”, I took my cue from him, who was obviously “doing his own thing... !
And… I’m currently “doing my own thing” for the .35 Whelen… with a little encouragement from SPEER and a scanty number on “The Fire”.
< My bear bait site in Haliburton Highlands. Molasses and gummies on the cover (that’s open a wee bit to let some smell escape) and raw oats and molasses with more gummies inside! And, of course, that’s the weapon – the G3 in .35 Whelen stoked with a fresh new cartridge, home made, with Rem brass, WLRM primer, 67 grains of RL-17 under the 225gr AccuBond that will leave the muzzle at ~ 2811 fps/3947 ft-lbs.
“In what book did you find that load?” – some might demand an answer! In the book of ten years experience in using that powder in my Tikka T3 in 9.3 x 62! And in using “common sense” in using that powder, and that amount, after CHE said “Go ahead Bob, that’s a “safe load” IN THAT RIFLE at 3.45″ COL”! And the primer pockets were as tight as new, and case length was the SAME as when shiny new!
Til the next: Why hunter-shooters choose certain cartridges and rifles based on the limit of their knowledge and understanding. Not long ago, when I mentioned to a fellow shooter at the range that the rifle I was shooting was chambered for the .35 Whelen, he wanted to know what that was! Then, the manager of a shop where I’ve done a lot of business, asked “What rifle is this scope going on for your bear hunt?” When I told him: “A .35 Whelen”, his immediate response was: “That’s different!”. The same type of thing has happened on occasion when I had to make clear what a 9.3 x 62 is!
Some suggestions as to “WHY”? That will be explored next time: but age; intelligence; exposure to other ideas and experiences; who they know and are influenced by; education; ability to think for themselves; economics; etc. are all factors.
I’ve never felt compelled to own six of anything: cars, homes, wives, hammers, pants, shotguns, or rifles chambered for the same cartridge at the same time… though I have owned a total of ten (over my hunting career) in .45-70 and eight in a .300 magnum (six in .300 Win) over my hunting life of 60+years. Handloads have been used in all for hunting purposes after “best” loads were settled on. The most rifles owned for the same cartridge at the same time were three in .45-70: a Marlin, an NEF and a Ruger No.1.
I don’t buy riffles for any other reason than hunting. If I were not a hunter, I’d not own a single rifle!<Wolf hunting in January using my (then) short-n-handy NEF in .45-70 loaded with these:< 325gr FTX at 2350 fps.
Some of that was due to economics, other responsibilities, other interests, and introduction of other rifles chambered for different cartridges. I didn’t need more that one, or two, at most to teach me all I needed to know about handloading a particular rifle-cartridge. As stated several times, I’ve developed many and various handloads for the same rifles from the .22 Hornet to the mighty .458 Winchester Magnum, including the majority of the then familiar and popular cartridges. Over time, my interest and experience moved toward and settled on MEDIUMS (.338 Win Mag, .340 WBY, .35 Whelen, .350 Rem Mag, 9.3 x 62 and .375 H&H) and BIG BORES (.45-70s, .45-70LT and .458 Win Mags.). Today, I have no interest in varmint cartridges or those for small game, other than keeping aware of developments in that genre, and sharing personal perspectives, and experiences I’ve had in the past.
So… don’t be surprised if what you read on these pages is unique in essence, aimed at hunting game denoted as “BIG”! But I’m also attracted to predator hunting, which by its usual inference includes the Eastern coyote that may turn out to be an Eastern wolf – quite a bit larger than the western creature of the same nomenclature. Hence, the .35 Whelen with fast, and light-for-caliber bullets: 200gr at 3000 fps! Surely, enough for bambi on the wide-open plains, and wolf-coyote in our rugged-eastern landscapes. Then, there’s that “other” predator… the one I mostly have interest in hunting these days… the BLACK BEAR! So, in thoughtful consideration of all predators, from wolf-coyote to black bear (any size), they’ll get the same treatment from the .35 Whelen (when using it for general hunting): a 225gr AccuBond leaving the muzzle of my G3 at 2800 +fps. Then, if chosen, that will be “better than enough”, come Fall season for the monstrous WT of …