The .35 Remington: An Underrated Brush Cartridge

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The .35 Remington: An Underrated Brush Cartridge

Check out this article about the history and recommended uses of the .35 Remington.

When it was introduced by the Remington Arms Company in 1906, the .35 Remington had no true peer among the cartridges of the day. Hunters seeking a good “brush bullet” found the .35 Remington a satisfactory choice and many deer, bear, elk, and even moose fell to the .35 Remington over the years. However, the intervening decades have not been kind to the cartridge and the .35 Remington has fallen out of favor with most mainstream hunters. Though it is still a quite powerful cartridge under the right circumstances, the .35 Remington is now one of the most under-rated “woods cartridges” in the United States.

Remington introduced the Remington Auto-Loading Rifle (later known as the Remington Model 8) in 1906. Along with the rifle, they introduced four new cartridges: the .25 Remington, the .30 Remington, the .32 Remington, and the .35 Remington. Since it had no competitor at the time, and since it filled an important “medium bore” niche, the .35 Remington quickly caught on with hunters in the United States. The original load of the cartridge propelled a 200 grain, .35 caliber, bullet at just under 2,100 feet per second. This load generated over 1,900 foot pounds of energy and quickly became a favorite among American hunters.

Remington marketed the cartridge as a superior alternative to the venerable .30-30 Winchester, which was (and still is) one of the most popular deer hunting cartridges of the day. Though producing only slightly more muzzle energy in a typical load (1,905 vs 1,873 foot pounds of energy), the .35 Remington sported a bullet that was 18% heavier (200gr vs 170gr), and with over 35% more frontal surface area (.1007 vs .0745 square inches). These seemingly small differences added up to a significant difference in power and effectiveness on game between the two cartridges.

Remington made great efforts to promote the power of the .35 Remington by featuring the cartridge, along with their revolutionary new rifle, in many advertisements during the first half of the 20th century. These advertisements typically featured hunters fearlessly facing down wolves and grizzly bears with their trusty Remington Auto-Loading Rifle chambered in the potent .35 Remington cartridge. Other Remington posters publicized the ability of the cartridge to penetrate a 5/16″ of steel plate, a feat the .30-30 Winchester could not match.35 remington ad

Of the four cartridges introduced with the Remington Model 8, the .35 Remington was by far the most popular and is the only one still in production. In addition to the Remington Model 8 and 81, Remington also produced the Model 14 pump-action rifle chambered in the cartridge. Thompson Center also manufactures their break action Contender pistol in .35 Remington. However, the most popular rifle chambered in .35 Remington is the Marlin Model 336 lever-action rifle.

.35 Remington Loads

Remington, Winchester, Federal, Hornady, and Buffalo Bore, among others, currently offer a handful of different loads for the .35 Remington. The most common load is a 200gr soft point traveling between 2,000 and 2,100 feet per second. However, other bullet weights are available, though less common. For instance, Remington also sells 150gr load that produces velocities around 2,300 feet per second.

For those that are interested in wringing out all of the power available in the .35 Remington, there are a couple of other options besides the standard 200gr soft point loads listed above. Hornady produces the “LEVERevolution” line of ammunition, which has a pointed, flexible, polymer tip that improves the ballistic coefficient of the normally flat tipped bullet. LEVERevolution bullets, unlike most bullets with pointed tips, are also safe to use in rifles that have tubular magazines (like the Marlin 336). The 200gr bullet has an advertised muzzle velocity of 2,225 feet per second and a muzzle energy of 2,198 foot pounds. Buffalo Bore produces 220gr loads that they claim reach a velocity of 2,200 feet per second (2,364 foot pounds), which is a very stout load for the .35 Remington. Both of these offer slight improvements over typical factory loads. However, they are high pressure loads and should only be used in modern firearms, such as the Marlin 336, that are in good condition.

Particularly when used in a high quality rifle, the .35 Remington is capable of excellent accuracy and I’ve shot many sub 1″ groups with an off the shelf Remington Model 81. However, the biggest shortcoming in the cartridge is its limited effective range. Even when using loads on the upper end of the performance envelope for the cartridge, the .35 Remington still has a relatively slow velocity and low ballistic coefficient. As a result, the cartridge does not have a very flat trajectory. Realistically, the maximum effective range for the .35 Remington for most shooters is 200 yards. Depending on the load, 150 yards may be a better estimate.

35 remington bullets

Hornady LEVERevolution (L) and Remington Core-Lokt (R) compared to a .30-06

Hunting With the .35 Remington

Even when using the standard factory loads, the .35 Remington is an outstanding round for use on medium sized game such as deer, feral hogs, and black bear at short ranges. At ranges less than 100 yards, like when hunting whitetail in east Texas or on an Alberta black bear hunt, the cartridge excels and is absolutely deadly on big game. The heavy, slow moving bullets deliver bone crushing power and do not produce large amounts of ruined, blood shot meat that high velocity cartridges do. Additionally, the .35 Remington will perform adequately on larger game such as elk, grizzly bear, and moose (though it’s on the light side for moose and really big bear). This is even truer when using some of the hotter loads available on the market.

Especially when used in handy, quick pointing rifles such as the Marlin 336, the .35 Remington really comes into its own when used in thick cover. For this reason, the .35 Remington is most popular in the northeast and southeast regions of the United States where shooting ranges are short. When hunters there really need to make a rapid shot and anchor their game quickly, they can rely on a Marlin 336 chambered in .35 Remington. Because of its power and versatility, many generations of hunters from states as varied as Maine, North Carolina, Texas, and Georgia have successfully hunted deer, moose, bear, and hogs (like the one in the photo below) with the .35 Remington.35 remington hog hunting

Another interesting tidbit about the .35 Remington is the alleged use of a Remington Model 8 chambered in the cartridge by legendary Texas Ranger Frank Hamer in the final ambush that killed Bonnie & Clyde in 1934. As you can see in the video below (made by the guys at The Great Model 8 & 81), historians are conflicted on the subject and there are several different stories about what rifle Hamer actually used. We’ll probably never really know for sure, but it is certainly possible that he used a Remington Model 8 in the famous shootout, though it very likely did not have an extended magazine.

Even though it does not sport the sexy pointed bullets and high velocities of some of the more popular cartridges on the market today, the .35 Remington still maintains a healthy following among American hunters. It is true that the cartridge has its limitations, but used under the right circumstances, it is an outstanding choice. If we’re being honest with ourselves, the majority of American hunters, especially in the south and northeast, will take only a handful of shots at big game at ranges past 100 yards in their lifetime. For those close range shots, the trusty old .35 Remington has few equals.

America’s “Other Levergun” by Glen E. Fryxell, The Great Model 8 & 81 by Richard Jones, and Bullet Frontal Area List, by Chuck Hawks were used as references for this article.

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If you liked this article on the .35 Remington, you’ll probably also like my articles on .30 Carbine, the .32 Remington, the 9.3x62mm Mauser, the .375 H&H, the .375 Ruger, the .416 Rigby, the .45-70 Government, the .577/450 Martini-Henry, and the .50-110 Winchester as well.

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  1. leo wamback December 7, 2014 at 10:05 am - Reply

    I think your bang on with your review of tbe 35 rem

  2. Bob Desmond December 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Very nice article- thanks for writing it.

    The 35 Remington is probably the most underrated and out of favor cartridge in 2014. But it wasn’t always that way, and really should not be that way now. In the early 1900’s, Ralph Edwards homesteaded in the Grizzly center of British Columbia and stopped counting after shooting 50 grizzlies. His rifle and cartridge,a Remington Mdl 8, 35 Remington. In the 1940’s, Judge Folta from Juneau, Alaska, routinely hunted the largest Brown bears he could find. His rifle and cartridge in the early years, a Remington Mdl 8, 35 Remington.

    Today, your considered a fool for going into Grizzly country with anything less than a 45-70; yet, in all these years, the bears have not changed size. The only thing that has changed is possibly the hunter.

    • Graeme LeBrocq February 7, 2016 at 9:08 pm - Reply

      Judge Folta’s son is my father in law living in South East Ak. I can tell you from what I have heard the bears Judge Folta often pursued were very, very large, extremely rare or not around today.

  3. Frank C. McLean, Jr. September 30, 2015 at 6:47 pm - Reply

    Agree completely that .35 Rems are under-rated. I have owned a Marlin 336 for over 40 years and considered it my best shooter in spite of owning .30-06s, .308s, .223s, 7.62x39s, made by Browning, Remington, Sig-Sauer, etc. But, we must face the fact that hunters are only people and people love fads which in the gun world is currently dominated by black guns, AR-15s and M4s, in 5.56/.223 and .300 Blkout calibers. Maybe, hunters will wakeup and go back to using real guns and calibers.

  4. King October 2, 2015 at 4:32 pm - Reply

    Well writ. Love the .35 Rem. I have several other rifles but when I open the safe I want to reach for the .35 especially for whitetail. There’s a lot to be said about blued steel and real wood and an American made lever gun in a nostalgic deer caliber. Leave the AR’s for the folks defending our country, I like all guns but I feel there’s a place for each and there’s not a much more fitting gun in the eastern woods I hunt than the classic .35

  5. Arky November 5, 2015 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    I just bought a 336 1870-1970 marlin centennial rifle chambered in 35 remington… This article helped thanks for writing it!!!! It’s a 45 yr old gun in mint condition… I’ve taken many deer with the 30-06, .270, 30/30 winchester and even a few with a 7mm rem mag… I’m hunting brush this year got some big bucks found and can’t wait to try this rifle out on some deer and hogs…. I have shot it with 200grain core lokt soft points… It’s got alotta concussion the kick is surprisingly light but the hit can be seen down range as potent and authoritative…. I’m sure I’m gonna like it… God bless

  6. Incognito November 12, 2015 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    I hunt with a Marlin 336 in .35 down here in Florida. Great riffle!

  7. greg November 21, 2015 at 9:40 am - Reply

    My first deer rifle I owned, and still do, is a Remington Model 760 chambered in 35 Remington. Numerous deer have met their maker with that gun. I love how it handles and it shoots like a dream. Great caliber. Still use it when feeling nostalgic. Makes me feel like a kid again.

  8. Jake December 1, 2015 at 11:08 am - Reply

    The 35 Rem holds a special place in my heart, hunting the north woods of Wisconsin, when i dont want to mess around using my 7mm or 270 i go to the trusty 35rem, its my Whitetail slayin rifle, my 35 blows away my other rifles when i gotta put meat in my freezer i get out the old 35 pumkin smasher i call it.

  9. Lenny March 20, 2017 at 4:56 pm - Reply

    Thanks for all the info. on the 35 Rem. Very interesting. I’ve had a 336 Marlin, 35 rem. ( JC Higgens ) and just purchased a Rem. 760, 35 Rem. Found the info. I was looking for.

    Thank You !

  10. trell December 12, 2017 at 10:54 am - Reply

    I have a 35 rem pump don’t know what kind of bullets it shoot

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