The .35 Remington

By Chuck Hawks

The .35 Remington was one of the Remington rimless series of cartridges. It was designed in 1906 and introduced in 1908 for use in Remington pump and autoloading rifles. It joined the line of Remington .25, .30, and .32 rimless cartridges that were Big Green's answer to the Winchester .25-35, .30-30, and .32 Special rimmed cartridges. With one exception the Remington rimless cartridges were based on what was essentially a rimless .30-30 case. That exception was the .35 Remington. It is based on a unique case resembling a shortened and necked up .30-06 case with a slightly reduced head size.

The .35 Remington case is 1.92 inches long and it has a small 23 degree 25 minute shoulder. Its rim diameter is .46 inch. The maximum overall cartridge length is 2.525 inches. The .35 Rem. is limited to a maximum average pressure (MAP) of 35,000 cup. This is less than the SAAMI MAP for similar cartridges like the 7-30 Waters, .30-30, and .32 Winchester Special.

The Remington rifles for which these cartridges were designed are long gone, but the .35 Remington cartridge has survived. Periodically it has shown up in a modern bolt action, autoloading, or pump rifle, but its most consistent and popular home for many years has been the excellent Marlin 336 lever action rifle. It is worth noting that in recent years the .35 Rem. has also found a home in single shot hunting pistols.

In a Marlin 336 rifle the .35 Rem. kicks noticeably more than the .30-30, but such is the mystique of the medium bore cartridge that it has remained a steady, if not best, seller. A 7.5 pound rifle in .35 Rem. shooting a 200 grain factory load generates about 13.5 ft. lbs. of recoil energy, compared to about 11 ft. lbs. for a .30-30 rifle of the same weight shooting a 170 grain factory load. As a deer rifle, I have credible reports that the .35 Rem. is actually less effective than the .30-30, probably because its slower, heavier bullet expands less. It is reported to be more effective on large animals like elk than the .30-30 or .32 Special, and this may be true. It has even been touted as a short range moose gun, but I can think of far better choices for these huge beasts, including a .45-70 Marlin lever action.

The factory ballistics for the .35 Rem. look like this: a 150 grain JSP at a muzzle velocity (MV) of 2,300 fps and muzzle energy (ME) of 1,762 ft. lbs.; a 200 grain JSP at a MV of 2,080 fps and a ME of 1,921 ft. lbs. The 200 grain factory bullet is recommended by almost everyone, as a 150 grain .35 bullet has a poor sectional density. It sheds velocity fast and has limited penetration. Accuracy is also reported to be poor with the 150 grain bullet in many rifles.

The popular 200 grain factory load has a 100 yard velocity of 1,874 fps and energy of 1,169 ft. lbs. It is about a 175 yard deer cartridge. Because its blunt .35 bullet sheds velocity and energy fast, I would try to work within 100 yards of a big animal like an elk. The trajectory of the standard 200 grain factory load looks like this: -1.5" at muzzle, +2.3" at 100 yards, 0" at 150 yards, -6.1" at 200 yards.

For 2007, Hornady introduced a 200 grain LEVERevoultion load for the .35 Remington ammo using a Flex-Tip spitzer bullet at a MV of 2225 fps and 2198 ft. lbs. of ME. It is worth noting that the performance of Hornady Flex-Tip bullets on game has been outstanding. At 200 yards this bullet is traveling at 1721 fps and retains 1315 ft. lbs of energy. Hornady reports that when zeroed to strike three inches high at 100 yards, the trajectory of the .35 Remington LEVERevolution bullet looks like this: -1.5" at muzzle, +3" at 100 yards, -1.3" at 200 yards, -17.5" at 300 yards. Guns and Shooting Online contributor Barr Soltis tested the .35 Rem. LeverEvolution load from a bench rest and confirmed these figures.

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.) 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 the reloader the .358" bullet selection for the .35 Remington includes 180 grain, 200 grain, and 220 grain bullets. I have used all of these. According to the Speer Reloading Manual Number 13 the 180 grain flatpoint bullet (BC .245, SD .201) can be driven to a muzzle velocity of 1954 fps by 34.0 grains of H335 powder, and 2224 fps by 38.0 grains of H335 from a Marlin 336 rifle with a 20 inch barrel. These loads used Winchester cases and CCI primers. The 180 grain Speer bullet makes an excellent deer load, perhaps the best in the caliber.

The Speer Reloading Manual Number 13 shows that the 220 grain flatpoint bullet (BC .316, SD .245) can be driven to a MV of 1721 fps with 35.0 grains of RL12, and 1922 fps with 39.0 grains of RL12. This bullet offers superior penetration for use on larger game. It is the bullet I would choose if I had to shoot an elk with a .35 Rem. rifle. At 100 yards it strikes with about 1,368 ft. lbs. of energy.

The Speer 180 grain bullet at a MV of 2,100 fps has about .6 inch less drop than the 200 grain factory bullet at 200 yards. The Speer 220 grain bullet at 1,900 fps has a trajectory nearly identical to the 200 grain factory load.

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Copyright 2001, 2012 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.