CPR for the .35 Remington
In 1998, after a 20-year hiatus to the Great State of Texas, Southwest Asia and South America, I moved back to the east coast and decided to get a little more serious about hunting. It did not take long to realize that my fine .25-06 Steyr Forester (with an about 24Ē barrel) was not the rifle of choice for hunting deer and black bear in the wooded state game lands of Pennsylvania.
Thatís when I remembered the days of my youth and my cousin Jack. Jack had a beautiful lever-action Savage Model 99 rifle chambered in .308 Winchester that served him very well and I just knew that this rifle would be perfect for my needs!
Following family tradition, I began my search for one of these rifles. It did not take too long to discover that the Savage 99 was no longer in production and that the used gun racks were virtually void of .308ís. That left me with two alternatives, the Browning BLR and the Marlin 336.
The BLR is a beautiful rifle that is offered in a variety of calibers, but they are light in weight (read recoil), expensive and scarce in the pre-owned market. The 336 is heaver, well made, reasonably priced and both new and used rifles were available in most gun stores where I live.
Deciding on the Marlin, I had two caliber options, the .30-30 Winchester and the .35 Remington. The .30-30 is a handy deer/black bear rifle, no doubt, but research indicated that the .35 was more effective on game such as large Pennsylvania black bears. This was especially important to me when hunting in concurrent deer and black bear seasons.
The reputation of the standard factory offerings for the caliber and specifically the availability of Buffalo Bore ammo caused me to decide in favor of the .35 Rem. Buffalo Boreís .35 Remington ammo is loaded with a 220 grain Speer bullet launched at 2200 fps and I knew that this would be all that I would ever need. Then Hornady iced the cake with their outstanding LEVERevoultion 200 grain .35 Remington ammo, an all-around cartridge for the .35 Remington.
Hornady reports that when zeroed to strike three inches high at 100 yards, their .35 Remington LEVERevolution bullet will drop about 1.3 inches at 200 yards and retains 1315 ft. lbs of energy. My own testing from a bench rest confirmed these figures. This is great for hunting deer sized game with a soft-kicking medium bore rifle in wooded terrain.
Recently, Hornady developed their H.I.T.S formula that calculates rifle cartridge killing power @ 100 yards. (See the Tables, Charts and Lists page for an extensive H.I.T.S. table.) Using this calculator, Buffalo Bore ammo scored 1054. This is at the low end range for large and heavy game such as elk. With a H.I.T.S score of 875, the .35 Remington LEVERevolution ranks at the high end for medium sized game such as deer, hogs and black bear.
For comparison, Hornadyís H.I.T.S. scores the .32 Winchester Special and the .30-30 Winchester loaded with the Hornady LEVERevolution ammunition at 810 and 826, respectively. Interestingly, the .300 Savage with a 150 grain bullet scores an 827. If youíre inclined to believe that the H.I.T.S. calculations are reasonably accurate, one can surmise that Hornadyís LEVERevolution ammo with Flex Tip technology has significantly improved the performance of the .35 Remington, .32 Winchester Special and .30-30 Winchester.
In conclusion, I was able to find a pre-owned Marlin 336 SC in almost new condition topped with a Leupold 1x4x20mm scope for a total price of $300.00 and I havenít looked back. If you are looking to buy your first deer rifle or if you just have an urge to own an effective lever-action woods rifle, you may want to consider the Marlin 336 chambered in .35 Remington. Load up with Hornady LEVERevolution ammo and you will have an ideal 200 yard deer and black bear rifle. Save the Buffalo Bore ammunition for the big stuff.
Note: A detailed article about the .35 Remington cartridge as well as cartridge comparisons involving the .35 Rem. can be found on the Rifle Cartridge Page. Full length reviews of Marlin Model 336 rifles and the Leupold VXII 1-4x20mm scope can be found on the Product Review Page
Copyright 2008 by Barr H. Soltis. All rights reserved.