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Thread: Ruger american 30-06 into 338-06 or 35 whelan?? Any opinions?

  1. #1
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    Ruger american 30-06 into 338-06 or 35 whelan?? Any opinions?

    Going to go pickup a new RA in 30-06 tomorrow that I got real cheap specifically to send to get it rechambered/bored either to 338-06 or 35 Whelan. Been planning on the 338 but keep seeing guys say how they love the 35, so how about giving me your 2c worth on the two.

    This will be out of a 22" brl so velocity will be just average.

    Ok let the debate begin, altho I figure the 35 is the more popular here.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master


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    Is leave it as an 06, not new not exciting but can get 'Er done on about anything. But I do love .35s as well. The 06 is my favorite all rouroundone would never get board just loading for it across its entire septum of uses from mice to moose. And no matter what back water your in ammo probably on the shelf.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master
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    I once had a 270 pump that shot out that I had rebored. My options were 338-06 or 35 Whelen.
    I went with 338-06 since I had a 338 win mag and already stocked bullets.
    When I bored my 34-57 I went with 338 cal since I already had mold,checks, sizer die etc.

    These are the reasons I went with 338. Are they better? Beats me, I've never had a 35 Whelen.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

  4. #4
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Both are great choices in my book. I do have a 35 whelen and love it, but i considered a 338/06 hard first.
    The 338 bullets have a ballistic advantage over the 35 as far as a bit flatter shooting. Still, i prefer the extra dia. of the 35's, especially when it comes to cast boolits.

    Both cals. hit hard and will certainly do the job in the hunting fields.
    Bullet dia. for hunting with cast and pure nostalgia sold me on the whelen.
    There have been no regrets!

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    As usual I should have been more clear as people don't know me.

    I've got 6 or 8 06s, not counting that many M1s. I got this to make it into something else. I just like making new guns.

    I will be shooting it primarily with cast but also jacketed. I have a couple 338s in mag & untra & like above, think it would be a good round in a 06. But.. as I said, I have seen bunches of guys loving the 35 & I have never had a 35 rifle so how they compare, in real life, would be nice.

    When you get a new Ruger for $280 it is a lot better to modify than using one of my dedicated 06s that are usually custom or better quality guns.

    So actual killing results in a 35 vs 338 etc is of interest. I can easily & have looked at the books to see what the ballistic difference is. But just like with the .375, the books don't really tell you just how good they kill. I know what the 338 mag will do as I've killed Browns & Moose with it but not in the 06 or the 35.

    I am an info junkie & like to research then make the new toy.
    Thanks
    Tom

  6. #6
    Boolit Master MarkP's Avatar
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    With the 35 you will have a huge selection of molds (including handgun molds) available and will be able to emulate 38 SPL loads up to vintage 375 H&H loads and everything in between. If shooting more jacketed than cast the 338 may have a slight advantage in term bullet selection as well as
    a higher BC.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master



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    I really want to do a .338 Federal aka 338-08, re-bore/chamber. I would do the .338-06. Th 06 case seems to take to both options well, but the smaller 308 case really loses some steam at the .358 Winchester level, comparatively. I doubt you will regret it, either way.
    Last edited by jmort; 01-13-2016 at 09:39 AM.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
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  8. #8
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    not many 338 bullet moulds.....
    Sometimes you have to ignore the "good idea fairy"

    Please stop telling me "That can't be done" while I'm doing it, it's just plain annoying.

    HOW to order GC's and any other questions go here:
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master



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    Sure there are. You could get as many as you need. Lee, Accurate,RCBS, NOE and Lyman all make .338 molds. I would stick with Accurate and could get as many as I want exactly as I want.
    "Had his shooting been as good as his running, he might have given a better account of himself."
    James. C. Henderson

  10. #10
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    As far as killing power i've only had my whelen for about 4 years and have only used it on whitetail deer.
    I started out with 200 gr. hornady interlocks and deer just dropped where they were standing.

    With cast i've only killed 2 with it so far and both were with a 358009 280 gr. rn boolit @ a bit over 2200 fps. with a 27 bhn. Pretty hard boolit so no expansion on broad side shots through the ribs and center of the lungs.
    Both of those deer did run, but i have to say i have never seen blood trails such as those 2 left. Neither one could stay on their feet and one made about 30 yards straight to me, while the other made it about 100 yds. in a blind run.
    I think that one ran into every bush and tree along the trail! Blood trails looked like someone had a 5 gallon bucket of paint tilted running through the woods.
    I think a high lung shot would have dropped them in their tracks even with the 27 bhn boolit. I was pretty much center of the lungs on them.
    A softer boolit should result in a drt. There's no way that 280 gr. @ 27 bhn would stay in a white tail with even length wise shots in my opinion.

    That's all the hunting experience i have so far with the whelen. I can however tell you it's been relatively easy to find loads at the range with cast that willl shoot sub inch to 1 1/2" @ 100 yds. with boolits from 200 to 300 gr.

  11. #11
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    Both outstanding choices. That said, I love my 35 Whelen AI. It is the only rifle I hunt with anymore.
    'The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.
    Daniel J. Boorstin

    The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.
    Albert Einstein

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    Good stuff. I would think that those large bullets mentioned 280-300 in a 35 would be very long & would need a bunch of freebore. In my 375s I find 270 in cast & 300 in jacket about max without getting hard into L&G. (except 1 which I seat out long)

    Has anyone had real world experience with the 338-06? Like I said lots of guys seem to have used the 35 on game but no one with the 338.

    Some guns just seem to kill good while others don't.

    Should mention, I would be trying what ever one I make when I go home to AK & will use on Moose first to see how it works for me. Then, if good, I'd try it on Bear & Buffalo (if we get drawn).

    I've done that punching a pencil sized hole thru a deer (25-06 117gr)& a elk (300WinM 180gr) had them run but with no real blood trail. Tracking & finding was not easy. The elk had run downhill a good 1/2 mile before it dropped. Running shots at short range in the lungs doesn't drop them when the jacketed bullets don't expand.

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    Boolit Master MarkP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tygar View Post
    .

    Should mention, I would be trying what ever one I make when I go home to AK & will use on Moose first to see how it works for me. Then, if good, I'd try it on Bear & Buffalo (if we get drawn).

    .

    My Dad & I used my 350 Rem Mag's for Buffalo / Bison 273 gr FN @ 2,150 ish.

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    Just a thought for you to put in your mind when/if you do a re-barrel to 338/06. Some barrel makers don`t offer a very slim contour barrel when in 338 caliber. Yes there are some that do but most don`t. A rebore job may cost almost as a new barrel but will still cost less. E.R. Shaw is a good example of what contours they will do after 30 cal.Robert

  15. #15
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    While I had a 338-06 for several years I never hunted with it so have no real world experience. It was a rem 760 and kicked like a bay mule. My 338 win mag was more accurate and much more pleasnt to shoot. I've killed one deer and several elk with the 338 mag as far out as 400 yds and have a lot of faith in it.
    Ive also took a lot of critters with the old 30-06 and have a lot of faith in it also. Since the 338-06 lies between these two my gut tells me it would be very effective.
    The 34-57 I built this year is basically a 338 federal with a 14" twist. It killed 3 deer this year and performance was superb.

    I personally feel the 338-06 and 35 Whelen are too close together to compare. I don't think there's any doubt about eithers effectiveness on big game. I see it coming down to personal preference.

    If I was looking to shoot cast through a easly obtained barrel I'd go with the 35 Whelen because of the twist rate. I couldent find a affordable 338 barrel with anything but 10" twist. Hence I did the rebore thing.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

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    I picked it up today & just got thru taking it apart, cleaning, adjusting the trigger down & scoping it up. Got to shoot it just to see how it does.

    Let me tell you, we had a fair amount of discussion amongst the boys at the shop about this rifle. I doesn't weigh hardly a lick! We debated whether it would hurt the shootee more or the shooter in 338 or 35. Another reason to see how it feels in 06. Figured I'd load some 200 & up gr bullets to check it out.

    I had planned to have it rebored by the fellow in Oregon but we'll see how it feels in 06. May just put a semi big brl on it & a little lead in the stock lol.

    It has a soft recoil pad on it, unlike any I have so I'll check that out also.

    Another consideration will be - is the skinny brl going to be big enough to bore out??? Few skinny brls shoot good. Better to have a bigger brl & flute the heck out of it.

    Hope to shoot it tomorrow & if it hasn't crippled me I'll post results.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tygar View Post
    I picked it up today & just got thru taking it apart, cleaning, adjusting the trigger down & scoping it up. Got to shoot it just to see how it does.

    Let me tell you, we had a fair amount of discussion amongst the boys at the shop about this rifle. I doesn't weigh hardly a lick! We debated whether it would hurt the shootee more or the shooter in 338 or 35. Another reason to see how it feels in 06. Figured I'd load some 200 & up gr bullets to check it out.

    I had planned to have it rebored by the fellow in Oregon but we'll see how it feels in 06. May just put a semi big brl on it & a little lead in the stock lol.

    It has a soft recoil pad on it, unlike any I have so I'll check that out also.

    Another consideration will be - is the skinny brl going to be big enough to bore out??? Few skinny brls shoot good. Better to have a bigger brl & flute the heck out of it.

    Hope to shoot it tomorrow & if it hasn't crippled me I'll post results.
    I wouldn't want to steer anyone wrong, but since you mentioned recoil....

    I weigh about 165 lbs. soaking wet and while the 06 beats on my shoulder with full power jacketed loads, the whelen is more of a big push than a quick jab.
    The recoil is certainly there, but seemingly cushioned to me.
    I had no problem shooting 200 gr. jacketed up to 2700 fps. from a bench with only my trigger hand on the rifle, or 250 gr. at about 2500 fps.
    Absolutely no bruising of the shoulder on a "little fellar".
    The same holds true for cast even with 300 gr. @ 2200 to 2400 fps. or 200 gr. up to 2600 fps.


    This is in a tc encore with a pro hunter bbl. I've never tried a 338/06, so can't speak for felt recoil there, but i can shoot the whelen with whatever load all day at the range.

    Understand i'm not trying to talk you into or out of any caliber...just relaying some of my experience with the whelen.

    Some of the most fun in life comes from just what your doing now in gathering a bit of hands on info on different cals. for a new rifle or build.
    Good luck whichever way you go.

    Btw i can get off the rifling on a loaded round with everything from a 180 gr. jacketed to a 300 or 310 gr. cast. As it is though accuracy always seems best just touching the rifling...maybe a 32nd or even 1/8" engaged in my encore.
    I love the neck length on 06 case based cals. Lots of versatility for seating.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master MarkP's Avatar
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    I am on the other end at 285 lbs when I shoot full loads in my 5-3/4 lb 350 Rem Mag with a T-shirt on I will get a small green bruise. (20 shots from the bench) I can shoot 200 rounds of sporting clays (12 ga ) with out bruising.

  19. #19
    Boolit Master
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    Like 35 shooter I came in the 'concentrated' package. 5' 7" 160 lb. While many of my shooting buddies over the years have been 'full size' I always seemed to be less recoil sensitive than them. Elmer Keith once said that little men would push back with the recoil while bigger men would absorb it. Thereby taking the full brunt.
    Ive also noticed the bigger bore guns having more of a push as apposed to a smack. Heavy bullets in a 300 win mag hurt me far worse than 350 gr in a 416 rem mag.
    Some people live and learn but I mostly just live

  20. #20
    Boolit Master 35 shooter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkP View Post
    I am on the other end at 285 lbs when I shoot full loads in my 5-3/4 lb 350 Rem Mag with a T-shirt on I will get a small green bruise. (20 shots from the bench) I can shoot 200 rounds of sporting clays (12 ga ) with out bruising.
    Wow that IS a light 350. Bet it's a dream to carry hunting all day though.

    Wolfer, lol, i like that "concentrated package" description.
    Last edited by 35 shooter; 01-13-2016 at 11:56 PM.

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