There are some great .35 Caliber big game cartridges that increasingly go the way of the dodo, they become instinct. Once loved by all doing their job as expected, they are by now gone or as good as gone.
Now you might be asking yourself how this can be. How can some really good cartridges with all their popularity be doomed? Surely, there must be someone still using them for hunting and passing them along to his children, including the passion for them, or there must be the occasional shooter trying to keep them alive.
The answer to this question is simple. It all boils down to performance. Technological developments have made it possible that the bullets of today perform much better than those of yore. This means also, that you would choose different cartridges if you need penetration or just plain old punch. Before, you had no choice. If you want to straight out flatten any game you encounter, you would go the .35-caliber version of whatever hunting rifle was your favorite. However, nowadays, you just do not have to. There are other excellent choices that just come with similar if not better numbers.
Sure, there still some who do cling to the .35 caliber, but the appeal for the next generation is just gone. What was once regarded as the best of the best is now seen as underpowered and obscure, and nothing to really worth bothering with.
5. .35 Remington of 1906
The .35 Remington was one of the favorite cartridges used by North Woods deer hunters. It came with much more power than the .30-30, so this was no surprise. Considered as a cartridge made for lever action rifles, the .35 Remington was in fact made for a semi-auto rifle, the Remington Model 8. You might see that when you look at a little bit closer at the round itself. The rim is not larger than the base contrary to most lever action cartridges.
The .35 Remington made it to fame when the Marlin 336 came chambered for it. It was used by Northeaster hunters who used it to flatten buck. With 1776 foot pounds of energy from a 200 grain bullets pushed to 2000 fps (feet per second) at the muzzle, this was just an ideal round for that task.
If you wanted, you could get it even hotter with the Buffalo Bore load. This came with a 220 grain bullets that got pushed to 2200 fps at the muzzle. This brought you 2364 foot pounds of energy. While it is no .30-30, it is also nothing to sneeze at. That is why many hunters still keep on using this round.
Maybe this cartridge is not doomed yet, but it has already lost quite a lot of its appeal. However, there are enough lever action rifles around chambered for it to keep it rolling for at least some time.
4. .35 Whelen of 1922 and 1988
Shooting a 200 grain bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2900 fps, the .35 Whelen is no slouch and more than enough to even handle Kodiak bears. There is quite some misconception about this round. Many see it as being a wildcat cartridge that was developed in 1922. They claim it was the brain child of Townsend Whelen, an outdoorsman and gun writer. However, it was actually created by another gun writer with the name James V. Howe. He just named the cartridge after Whelen, with his permission of course.
Looking a little bit closer, the .35 Whelen is just a .30-06 Springfield necked up. This way, it could accept a bullet in .358 caliber. This combination sounds trivial, but it is however the hardest hitting cartridge that is not a magnum.
The Superperformance load from Hornady allowed it to fire a .200 grain bullet at a muzzle velocity of 2900 fps. This brought an energy level of 3760 foot pounds. Put in the right bullet, and this cartridge will flatten anything you encounter be it in North America or anywhere else on this planet.
Remington legitimized this cartridge in 1988 opening the doors for something you might want to call a cult like following. While that sounds great, it does however hide the fact that the masses never accepted this round.
There has been a resurgence for the .35 Whelen in single shot rifles owed to some regulations regarding deer hunting in some jurisdictions, but that is not enough to keep that little hard hitter going. Soon, it will be out of active use and just be a thing of memory at best.
3. .350 Remington Magnum of 1965
Being a favorite of Jeff Cooper`s, it is quite easy to see how the .350 Remington Magnum made it to fame. Together with its sister, the 6.5 Remington Magnum, they were the original short magnum cartridges.
Its career began in Alaska in the lightweight Remington Model 600. It gave the people there something lightweight to carry around but at the same time powerful enough to handle the animals encountered in these regions. You can imagine that the recoil of this stout round in the rather light rifle was anything but soft, but it could be managed.
Jeff Cooper, the founder of the Gunsite Academy and a gun writer liked this cartridge. He shot it from a custom scout rifle to take his lion. While this seemed to bring a lot of success for this hard hitter, it did already start to disappear a mere decade after its introduction.
There was an attempt to revive it. In 2002, Remington chambered its Model 673 Guide Gun in it, but that was not successful. Interesting enough, the round itself is not to blame. Nothing is wrong with it. It can push a bullet with 225 grains to a muzzle velocity of 2550 fps. This generates 3248 foot pounds of energy making it suitable for quite anything you might encounter in North America. If you like this cartridge, you will have to learn to reload it. If you are looking for factory ammo, you will be disappointed.
2. .358 Winchester of 1955
There were some nice guns around chambered in .358 Winchester. This included a few Ruger 77s, and from Winchester the models 100 and 88. To this comes the Browning BLR. The .358 Winchester is actually a .308 Winchester necked up. This allowed it to accept a .358 caliber bullet.
Coming as an updated to the older .348 Winchester, which was quite popular itself, it is a short action cartridge. It has more power than the .35 Remington. It became famous when Winchester chambered its Model 88 lever action rifle and its Model 100 semi-automatic rifle for it. However, both have been discontinued by now.
Browning`s BLR lever action rifle could also chamber the .358 Winchester as could the some of the early Ruger 77s. The cartridge could hammer a bullet with a weight of 250 grains at a speed of 2200 fps downrange. That was enough to bring 2686 foot pounds to the table. While these numbers are impressive, there is a round with eclipsed it, the .338 Federal. This cartridge is itself a necked up variant of the .308 Winchester and brought the end to the .358.
It would be nice to say that the .358 Winchester has a future, it is in fact slowly approaching the end of its life. You can still find some factory ammo, but the popularity is gone. If you like this round, stock up on it and learn to reload including casting your own bullets.
1. .356 Winchester of 1982
The .356 Winchester was originally made for the Model 94 Lever Action rifle, but that did not help it much. It was practically doomed right from the outset. It was meant to boost the sale of the Model 94. For that, Winchester did not only introduce the .356, but also the .307 Winchester, both in 1982. They were based on the .308 Winchester. The difference was the addition of a rim like that of the .30-30 Winchester. With it, it could reliably feed and function in a lever action rifle.
The .356 Winchester itself was a .358 Winchester with the addition of a rim. For it, it gave up only 50 to 100 fps of muzzle velocity. The problem was, nobody actually cared. Within a decade, it was all over. In fact, comparing it to the other .35 caliber cartridges, this is the one that has the least chance to ever make it back into the arena. If you do own a rifle chambered in it, stock up on ammo and learn to reload it perfectly as its days of official production are numbered.
There you have it, 5 forgotten .35 caliber cartridges that are done or are on the way to being done. If you like to shoot one of them from time to time or hunt with it, let us know in the comments.