Strongest common semi-auto rifle?

This is a discussion on Strongest common semi-auto rifle? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I say screw the 30 calibers. Go for the 35 Whelen. It's got enough moxy to take anything in the lower 48 and the upper ...

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Thread: Strongest common semi-auto rifle?

  1. #16
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    I say screw the 30 calibers. Go for the 35 Whelen. It's got enough moxy to take anything in the lower 48 and the upper 2.
    Another reason it gets my vote is it can be made from 30 06 brass which is as common as ants at a picnic, and one can use 357 mag bullets for practice or smaller endeavors.

    It was invented by Col Towsend Whelen to stop big African cats like the Leopard which have a known reputation to kill just for fun.

    Remington autos are chambered for it.
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  3. #17
    Senior Member Array IAm_Not_Lost's Avatar
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    You are a little limited by the desire for a semi auto. Once you start moving up in power bolt action and break action rifles begin to take over in general. Someone already suggested it but Saiga makes a great all around rifle, and it's available in .308, and 7.62x39 (one of the most easy to find and cheapest rounds out there). I know it wouldn't be the best hunting rifle in the world, but it is easily modified and is a great "fun" gun as well. Just as an fyi it's made in the same plant as the orignal AK's, by the original AK maker, Izhmash. They are only around 300 bucks and will go forever, plus either round is good for deer, black bear and any of the medium game.
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  4. #18
    Senior Member Array CanuckQue's Avatar
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    Thanks for the Saiga recommendation.

    Quote Originally Posted by SFury View Post
    Now comes the big question, what are you hunting?

    Let's face it, so many bullet types/weights, and calibers that are equally capable for taking most game animals out there, we need to know the "top end" of the game you are going after to even make a suggestion.

    There are some game that should require you to think bigger. Grizzlies come to mind. I wouldn't want to take the vast majority of whitetail killers to a grizzly hunt because the chances of screwing up are higher than with the heavier calibers. That, and screwing up on a grizzly hunt doesn't even compare to screwing up almost every other North American hunting exeperience.
    Oh, I hope to never have to use a rifle on a grizzly. I'm not expecting to ever want to hunt one, but I guess I should keep them in mind.
    I expect that my largest animal will be elk, and I really can't imagine going weaker than a .308
    The more I look at 30-06 profiles, though, the more I am leaning that way.
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  5. #19
    Member Array CaptSmith's Avatar
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    The Remington family of auto loaders, and pump/slide guns chambered up to 30-06, or Browning automatic rifles (BAR) up to the .338 win mag. Ive always thought the .338 was a stretch in an auto loader. Known a couple of .338 BARs, both had "issues" with FTF or worse, full auto uncontrolled. The magnum BAR's are flat out beautiful but they dont hunt. IMO...You can shoot these autoloaders out pretty quick, I wouldnt buy used unless I could check them out at the range. Upgrade the optic and the rings if shooting with a scope, best is better.

  6. #20
    Senior Member Array SFury's Avatar
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    I say forget the semi-auto and go with a bolt action rifle. You shouldn't really need more than 1 well placed shot anyways. Bolt action rifles can be worked fast enough to get multiple shots if need be.

    More importantly, bolt action rifles are lighter, and have a better selection to choose from. Really, any caliber would work for an elk. People hunt them with .243s and up every year. I would suggest a 7mm RM, 300 RM, or a 338 RM if you are in brown bear territory. It's more about being prepared for the worst than it is needing the power for taking elk.

  7. #21
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    "The more I look at 30-06 profiles, though, the more I am leaning that way."

    You wouldn't be making an incorrect choice if you did lean that way. The .30-06 is always appropriate. Here's an old thread chock full of personal opinion about the .30-06.

    Cartridge Discussion: The .30-06

    I do have an '03 Springfield action laid up that is just crying to have a .35 Whelen barrel screwed in it. I have no need for a .35 Whelen down here in Texas but one would sure be fun to handload for and play with at the range.

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  8. #22
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    I say screw the 30 calibers. Go for the 35 Whelen. It's got enough moxy to take anything in the lower 48 and the upper 2.
    Another reason it gets my vote is it can be made from 30 06 brass which is as common as ants at a picnic, and one can use 357 mag bullets for practice or smaller endeavors.

    It was invented by Col Towsend Whelen to stop big African cats like the Leopard which have a known reputation to kill just for fun.

    Remington autos are chambered for it.
    What's the perceived recoil like? Is it going to be the same or more than a 30.06?

  9. #23
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    Never fired a .35 Whelen but I'm guessing it's a notch above the .30-06 in perceived recoil.

    I've shot a good many 220 grain round nose bullets in the .30-06 through the years. The .30-06 rifle when used with 220 grain bullets is a horse of a different color when fired from the bench rest than the same rifle when used with common 125-180 grain loads. The .35 Whelen would have to behave at least similarly to the .30-06 220 grain ammunition.
    “No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”

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  10. #24
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Another plus for the Whelen is it operates at lower pressure than all the wonder magnums. Kind of like the 300 or 375 H&H, it just throws a big bone buster at moderate velocities.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

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