The .35 Winchester

By Chuck Hawks

The .35 Winchester cartridge was introduced in 1903 in the Model 1895 lever action rifle. It was intended as the medium bore cartridge to complement the big bore .405 Winchester and the small bore .30-40 Krag in the Model 95.

Winchester factory loads drove a 250 grain soft point bullet at a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2195 fps with muzzle energy (ME) of 2650 ft. lbs. The .35 Winchester proved capable of humanely taking most of the world's thin-skinned game at moderate ranges.

Reloaders with serviceable .35 Winchester rifles can make reloadable cases from .30-40 Krag brass. The neck of .35 Winchester brass formed from .30-40 cases will be a little short, but this will not cause a problem. Because of its box magazine, the Model 95 can use bullets of any shape, including spitzer bullets, and it is not necessary to crimp the case mouth. Loading data can be found in old editions of the Lyman Reloading Handbook and also in Cartridges of the World. Medium burning rate powders such as IMR 4895, IMR 3031, IMR 4064, and IMR 4320 are good choices for the .35 Win.

My old 43rd edition of the Lyman Reloading Handbook shows the following data for jacketed bullets.

  • 47.0 grains of 4320 gives a 200 grain bullet a MV of 2225 fps, and 52.0 grains of the same powder gives a MV of 2475 fps.
  • 46.0 grains of IMR 4320 can drive a 220 grain bullet at a MV of 2150 fps, and 51.0 grains of 4320 can achieve a MV of 2395 fps.
  • 45.0 grains of IMR 4320 can achieve a MV of 2045 fps with a 250 grain bullet, and 50.0 grains of 4320 can drive 250 grain bullets to a MV of 2295 fps, 100 fps faster than the Winchester factory load.

Note: A complete article about the .35 Winchester can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page.

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Copyright 2004, 2013 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.