Grandpa’s 35 Remington

My grandfather had a Marlin 336 in 35 Remington. He passed on, and my Grandmother is holding that rifle for my Uncle to take possession. I had the opportunity to visit with my Grandma, and she let me take a look at some of Grandpa’s ammunition stash. I set aside the 22lr and 35 Rem for my Uncle to take when he retrieves the rifles. There was some 30-30 Win, that didn’t go with any rifle that Grandpa had that I knew of, and three loose rounds of 7×61 Sharpe and Hart. I wish Grandpa were still around to tell me about why he had three rounds of 7×61 S&H, as I knew Grandpa like to “wheel and deal” and trade work for items, sell items for cash, and barter whenever he could.

Of all the old hunting cartridges that popped up around the turn of the last century, only a few are still commercially viable. The 35 Remington is an interesting little cartridge, very good at what it does in terms of terminal ballistics on animals, which is why you can still buy a Marlin 336 in that chambering. The 35 Remington and the 30-30 Winchester are both holding on, putting meat in the pot of families across the world. The velocity levels those cartridges can produce do not require any special bullets, old soft nose lead bullets do the job just fine. They aren’t particularly sexy in the era of magnumitis, and long slender extremely low drag secant ogive bullets, but they do well in the field where it counts.

Looking around on gunbroker, I see a lot of Marlin 336s from Pennsylvania showing up, going for around 300 to 400 dollars. When the 35 Rem is about two bucks a trigger pull, and no one in the family hunts because they moved into a city to find work, it makes sense to sell of some old deer rifle.

I have to admit that I have a soft spot for old medium bore cartridges such as the 35 Rem. I had a custom Mauser built into a 9.3×62 so I could have a real safari rifle, and I have several more in the original 8×57. The 35 Rem is less powerful than either of those, as it was originally designed for the semi-automatic Remington Model 8, either famous or infamous for use in the killing of Bonny and Clyde.

There is no issues with handloading 35 Remington, if you can find the brass. The common .470 case head is just a tad larger than the .457 case head of the 35 Rem, meaning there isn’t an easy way to convert common brass into rare brass. Brass is generally available though, and for hunting you don’t need thousands of rounds like you would with a competition rifle, so a few hundred can last you a very long time. And while there are plenty of commercially available bullets in .358 caliber that you can use, casting your own is a perfectly viable option as well.

In the end, the 30-30 Winchester is still going to reign supreme for the lever rifles, and for hunting in Alaska where “stopping power” is a more critical factor than in the lower 48 states the bigger cartridges like the 444 Marlin, 45-70, and 450 Marlin are all readily available for anyone venturing into the land of the big bears. The marginal increase in terminal ballistics over the 30-30 Win offered by the 35 Rem might have been a selling point to someone who might get a once in a lifetime shot at an elk or black bear and didn’t want to have to learn to use a more powerful rifle than their standard deer rifle, but now the times have changed and a cheap 308 Win, 270 Win, or 30-06 of high accuracy can be had from multiple manufacturers. The popularity of the levergun is fading into a niche culture, although one that I do hope continues for a long time.

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