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I had a MRC 1999 .35 Whelen that I couldn't get what I wanted out of on the classifieds so I decided to canabalize it and put together a .358 NM...something I had threatened doing for years but couldn't justify with a .35 Whelen already in the stable. I decided I didn't need a "good" reason so I commissioned the project anyway.

Here is the original MRC rifle in .35 Whelen

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

I had been present when the loads were worked up for the 1999 and I know the barrel shot the 225 TSX very well at Whelen velocities. It would have been great to keep as a Whelen but to me .35s need shorter barrels and I didn't care for the brake. I am not positive who made the barrel but it is a quality stainless/fluted barrel with a 1:12 twist.

About the same time I found a decent deal on a New Haven six digit Model 70 Classic Stainless in .300 Win Mag which became the donor.

My idea was to take the barrel and HS stock from the Whelen, cut the barrel shank down as far as possible, cut off the brake and try to end up with something in the 20-21" +/- range. The flutes complicated that a bit as there was only so much that could be taken from the muzzle end after the threads were cut off.

I took it to Kirby Allen who lives just up the road and has always done really nice work for me. He wasn't comfortable cutting as much of the shank off as I had originally hoped because he wanted some meat left for this particular chambering. I trust his judgement on that matter way more then my own.

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


We also didn't dare go any shorter in front of the flutes due to aesthetics.


[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


Ended up right at 22" which was not my ideal but was the max I was willing to go. The balance point ended up being right at the forward action screw which works fine for me.


The chamber stamping turned out very nice IMO.


[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]


After he did a little work on the inletting, a proper glass bedding job and a trigger job that took it down to a crisp 2.75# she is now ready to roll.


I put on a Leupold 2-7x heavy duplex but am not sure that will stay there forever. The neighbors have some moose sized hay burners that like to hang out about 175-200 yards from my gun room window. The heavy duplex actually looks like it will work well on big animals even out there a ways.

The finished product...

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

[Linked Image from i.imgur.com]

Overall, I am super pleased with the build. Some factory 250 Norma Oryx I have feed about as slick as greased trout. It looks to me like a Model 70 Extreme Weather that wants to take your standard caliber's lunch money and then kiss their girlfriend. I would love to have had a little more in front of the flutes and a little shorter length but I think I can get over that.

Looking forward to working up some loads. I have no intentions of trying to push every last FPS out of this rifle as even moderate loads equal or best a red lined Whelen and I know what that is capable of. I plan to shoot :

200 RN for reduced plinking loads
250 Speer for an economical hunting/practice bullet
225 TSX for a do-everything big game bullet.

Kirby did some initial velocity testing with H4350 over a 250 Speer and a Fed 215 in virgin Norma brand cases. 74 grains got to 2739 with no pressure indications at all which matches published data really well given the adjustment for barrel length (Hornady shows 2800 with that load from a 25.5" barrel.

I have an AK moose hunt scheduled in 2023. This may be just about perfect for that. I also have a .400 Whelen in the works (that is the MRC 1999s new calling in life) so I may have to flip a coin to see who gets to make the trip.




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Hell ya!👊🏻 Dandy Jud baby


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Super cool.

Thanks for pictures and story. Please let us know how it shoots.

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Beautiful build.
I have long wanted a 358 NM, even though I have no earthly reason to own one. Go figure crazy


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That's pretty cool. I always wanted a 358NM as I love 35 cals. For me, my whelen does everything I need. But, I do have a Mod 70 264 in a Mcmillan stock that is just about in need of a new barrel, so.....

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Hell yes! That turned out awesome buddy and is an inspiration to get my big 35 going as well.

You did danged good with everything on that.


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Should put the thump on moose or anything else you choose to shoot. Lovely rifle!


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Originally Posted by MedRiver
I took it to Kirby Allen who lives just up the road and has always done really nice work for me. He wasn't comfortable cutting as much of the shank off as I had originally hoped because he wanted some meat left for this particular chambering. I trust his judgement on that matter way more then my own.
Good. Smart man, that Mr. Allen.

On a round like that, shank length (and diameter) needs to be enough to ensure safety.. BTW, I love that round.. I've built a couple over the years and the owners have been very happy... Almost wish I did one for myself.. laugh


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Just put it on the scale...came it at just under 8.9 pounds with the current scope. I think that is a pretty manageable weight for a thumper that will be carried a fair bit at times.

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The weight is perfect and those 250gr speer's are too! infact H4350 w/ Fed215's and pre stated bullets was exaxtly what I used on my 22" model 70 SS classic. I mounted a Leupold 1.75X6. Very well sorted out rifle you have there!

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Originally Posted by MedRiver
Just put it on the scale...came it at just under 8.9 pounds with the current scope. I think that is a pretty manageable weight for a thumper that will be carried a fair bit at times.


You nailed it right there. I wouldn’t want a real light one myself either. Looking forward to hearing how it does on paper.


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Originally Posted by beretzs
Originally Posted by MedRiver
Just put it on the scale...came it at just under 8.9 pounds with the current scope. I think that is a pretty manageable weight for a thumper that will be carried a fair bit at times.


You nailed it right there. I wouldn’t want a real light one myself either. Looking forward to hearing how it does on paper.


Ditto!

Just under (9) lbs. for a 358 NM is perfect IMHO, especially since that includes the scope & rings. 👍

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Originally Posted by surefire7
Originally Posted by beretzs
Originally Posted by MedRiver
Just put it on the scale...came it at just under 8.9 pounds with the current scope. I think that is a pretty manageable weight for a thumper that will be carried a fair bit at times.


You nailed it right there. I wouldn’t want a real light one myself either. Looking forward to hearing how it does on paper.


Ditto!

Just under (9) lbs. for a 358 NM is perfect IMHO, especially since that includes the scope & rings. 👍


Went out to do some velocity testing this weekend with some 250s and H4350 and my stupid chrono went belly up before I even touched one off. I still fired one just to see how it felt. You don't have to wonder if it went off. I would describe it is as significant but not brutal...exactly what I was hoping for. Might even be more pleasant then my lightweight Whelen. That little Leupold gives plenty of eye relief which is appreciated.

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That's cool stuff MedRiver. Should be a helluva rifle. Too bad about the chrono!


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Originally Posted by beretzs
That's cool stuff MedRiver. Should be a helluva rifle. Too bad about the chrono!


Thanks. It is my second Magnetospeed that has gone belly up. Says the bayonet is disconnected. The port has always been loose on this one so sometimes it will read fine and other times it will shut down or restart. Frustrating to say the least.

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I’ve dusted one. They were good to replace it though.


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My first was out of warranty. This one probably still is in warranty. May have to do some digging through receipts to find it though.

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How long is the warranty good for??


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Not sure but Scheels was awesome and did an in-store exchange for me. That’s what I was doing right before we met up today.

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Thanks… I currently have one and haven’t had any issues with it


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