Limited Edition .35 Whelen

100 Year Anniversary Rifle, in Honor of Colonel Townsend Whelen

A prolific writer on guns and hunting, as well as an avid hunter and outdoorsman, Colonel Townsend Whelen became aware of a cabinet-maker called Seymour Griffin, who in the wake of WW1 had begun re-stocking military Springfield 1903s to convert them into beautiful sporting rifles. As the commander of the Frankford Arsenal machine shop, Whelen was also working with a machinist by the name of James Howe on creating a new cartridge; a .30-06 necked up to a 35 caliber that became known as the .35 Whelen.

Inspired to introduce the two due to their complimentary talents of woodwork and metalwork, Whelen encouraged Seymour Griffin and James Howe to go into business together and found their own custom gunsmithing shop, while he became an advisor to the company.

In honor of the man who started it all, and to celebrate the company’s 100 year anniversary, Griffin & Howe is launching a limited edition run of .35 Whelen rifles; 10 with wooden stocks and 10 with synthetic stocks. Two of these will be built left-handed.

Hand Crafted or Synthetic Stock

The .35 Whelen features a Griffin & Howe hand-crafted stock, made from exhibition-grade American Walnut with hand rubbed oil finish. The stock is hand-checkered with 22 LPI Point Pattern, and comes with a choice of leather-wrapped recoil pad or steel/trap door/skeleton/checkered horn butt plate.

Alternatively, for the synthetic stock we have used the McMillan Griffin & Howe pattern, with a Spartan bipod adapter.

Quick Detachable Top Mount

The top mount is affixed to your rifle, by hand, using traditional craftsmanship techniques and blended to create a beautiful and functional scope mounting system. Sporting Top Mounts consist of a two-piece base system permanently affixed to your firearm, and fitted with lever activated top halves. The top halves consist of the ring, either 1” or 30mm, and the ring base. Top Mounts allow scopes to be removed from the gun when shooting iron sights and reinstalled while maintaining the scope zero.

Controlled Round Feed Action

The Defiance Machine Rebel Action is the heart of the rifle, which comes with control round feed action and three position safety. The receiver is made of pre-hardened aircraft-certified 416 stainless steel. Features a one-piece bolt and integral recoil lug.

Carbon Fiber Barrel wth Island Sight and Ramp Front Sight

The first ever .35 Whelen caliber turned down stainless steel barrel wrapped with high-strength, aerospace-grade carbon fiber. This is also the first carbon fiber barrel to have a setup for the classic Griffin & Howe fixed standing bar island with one folding leaf. Both leaves are handed engraved and marked for your distances. To finish the barrel a classic Griffin & Howe Ramp Front Sight was added with a removable hood.

Ballistics, Application and Performance

Based on the legendary 30-06 cartridge case the 35 Whelen packs a lot of performance into a standard length cartridge. The Whelen replicates the performance of the legendary 350 Rigby. The Rigby round was used throughout Africa for both plains and dangerous game, it was a fantastic medium bore cartridge with a great reputation among professional hunters and sportsman alike. As such, it goes without saying that the 35 Whelen is a potent cartridge capable of tackling large tough game animals with aplomb. At the same time the cartridge is also wonderfully versatile, being as fitting for whitetail deer as it is for Brown Bear.

Capable of launching a 280 grain Swift A frame at 2400 FPS with nearly 3600 ft-lbs of energy it approaches 375 H&H in performance. This is potent medicine for all but the very largest and most dangerous of game animals. On the opposite end of the spectrum Barns offers a factory 180 grain load at 2900 fps. This combination allows for shots to be effectively taken at extended distances. With the establishment of a two hundred yard zero this load impacts only 8.5 inches low at 300 yards. With good ballistic data and a ballistic turret such as those available on the Swarovski scopes impacts are quite easy out to the 500 yard mark.

Beyond application and ballistics this cartridge has something no small-bore magnum can match, bore diameter. There is no replacement for displacement and this cartridge exemplifies that saying. The hydrostatic shock created by .358 bullet impacting at 2600 fps is quite literally stunning. This cartridge has a very real reputation for dropping medium game right where they stand.

Our Rifle

We took an innovative approach with this special offering marrying old with new. Proof research was tapped do two things they had not done before with their carbon fiber barrels, bore for .358 and leave a band of steel for us to mount an island sight. This allowed us to chamber a state-of-the-art barrel for the legendary 35 Whelen cartridge and utilize the classic combination of the Griffin and Howe quick detachable top mount with the combination of express sights. This sighting system allows the hunter to quickly remove the scope and access the iron sights when needed.

Additionally, the scope can just as quickly be reinstalled with no shift in zero. We are building these rifles in two iterations a rough and tumble synthetic and a handcrafted wood version. We have a variety of fine stock blanks available for purchase and custom engraving is available from our highly talented in-house engraver. Our first two prototype rifles have yielded fantastic accuracy both shooting unter ½ MOA with Barns factory ammunition.

Purchasing a G&H .35 Whelen Rifle

We are now taking orders for wood stock .35 Whelens – pricing starts at $21,600 and includes the G&H quick detachable top mount with 30mm rings, hand engraving on standing bar and folding leaf and all stippling on ramp sight, hand-tooled Teton Leather shark skin sling, Nanuk 995 case with custom fitted foam, and a case of Barnes .35 Whelen Cartridges (180gr). Upgrades and customizations are available.

The synthetic stock .35 Whelens are $12,400 and include the G&H quick detachable top mount with 30mm rings, hand engraving on standing bar and folding leaf and all stippling on ramp sight, Vero Villini sling, Nanuk 995 case with custom fitted foam, and a case of Barnes .35 Whelen Cartridges (180gr).

To order your bolt action rifle or to find out more about the options available, please call us on 973-398-2670 or email gunsmithing@griffinhowe.com.