Gunfight Friday: .35 Whelen vs. 7mm-08

Today’s gunfight features one rifle chambered for a necked-down .308, and the other for a necked-up .30/06. So, it’s 7mm-08 vs. .35 Whelen today. Generally speaking, when you neck down you get flatter shooting rounds; when you neck up you get bigger holes and that’s the case with these two. Both were, incidentally “legitimized” by Remington—the 7mm-08 in 1980, and the .35 Whelen in 1988.

Devil Dog’s .35 Whelan

This Remington 700 CDL in .35 Whelen was the first rifle my wife bought for me. I had the fore end opened up and the action glass bedded, plus switched out the trigger for Rifle Basix trigger. For a long time it wore a 2.5-8x Leupold, but I recently upgraded to a Zeiss Victory. This is my go-to rifle and has gone from coast to coast, up to Canada, and to South Africa and Namibia.

Doufir’s 7mm-08

This is my Winchester Model 70 Featherweight, chambered for 7mm-08.It's rigged up with a Leupold VXIII 2.5-8x36 and Talley lightweight rings. I bought it two years ago and have since taken a whitetail buck and a cow elk with it. It's light, and I think it's a nice looking rifle, with very good workmanship. Its accuracy has been excellent, but it's quite picky. Just as an example: Remington Core Lokt 140's group at about 3 inches at 100 yards, while Federal Premium's 140-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip offering shoots under an inch. I'm absolutely smitten with the 7mm-08 cartridge which offers very light recoil, good trajectory and plenty of power for almost anything. I'm pretty smitten with the rifle, too, though it has one big flaw: The safety is loud and can only be operated silently by using two fingers. That’s not a big deal out on the plains, perhaps, but a legitimate annoyance in the thick woods where I do most of my hunting.

Did anyone besides me catch “the first rifle my wife bought for me,” which suggests there have been others? DD is, evidently, a lucky devil dog. Anyway, here are your choices: flat shooter vs. thumper. Vote and comment below. If any of you out there are thinking, “What, another Model 70 vs Model 700?” Perhaps that’s because I’m running a low on gun pictures. I’ll take anything, although I do have special need for a turkey gun right now, as I’ve got a nice one waiting for an opponent, and some more shotguns in general would be good. Send them to fsgunnuts@gmail.com. Gun Fight Friday can only be as good as the guns you send me.

Which gun do you like more?

Devil Dog’s .35 Whelan

Doufir’s 7mm-08