Re: 35 Whelen AI vs. 358 Hawk
I have a standard 35 whelen, made up from an old 700 ADL, with a 35 whelen takeoff cdL barrel fitted onto it. I'm shooting the 225gr TSX at 2575fps with varget. The recoil on this relatively light rifle is "stout" but not unbearable. Nothing special on the brass, just 30-06 brass through a 35 whelen FL die. The necks are a bit shorter than spec but does not seem to matter.
Last weekend I shot 2 hogs in a vineyard. One was shot up close in the neck - it destroyed about 4" of spine and the hog just fell over feet up. The 2nd was around 150yd, shot broadside, and only made it 2 rows over. Unfortunately, we went back to recover him 1 hour later and the coyotes had literally torn it apart.
I also shot a small coyote in the shoulder at 150 yds and it spun him around dead without completely exploding the lildog. I'm not sure the bullet really opened up but hey, it worked.
Bottom line here is that I am completely happy with this cartridge and rifle. The gun was pretty ugly (rusty & pitted barrel) when I got it, but the gunsmith cleaned it up pretty well and the new takeoff CDL barrel made it look a bit nicer. I'm not concerned about scratching it up like when I used to hog hunt with my win model 70 featherweight (beautiful) rifle.
I'm sure You won't be disappointed with the whelen in any form...