Long Path. I've just gotten started working up loads for the .35 Whelan. Bullet of choice? 250 Speer spitzer. 53.0 gr. 4895 seems to duplicate factory, but I have not chronographed the load yet. This load is OK in my rifle, but start a bit lower to be safe. Groups run about 1.25 to 1.5 inches, but this is with a 9 pound trigger pull. Damn those liability lawyers. I think a better trigger pull would tighten those up some. The rifle is a stock Ruger 77. I found it at a gun show, and was so shocked that it was the Whelan I didn't even dicker price. Fortunately for me, I knew the guy and had bought from him before, so he gave me a break on the price.
I have another .35 Whelan, a custom job on an Oberndorf Mauser action, Jack O'Conner classic stock with Fleur de Lis checkering. About the only thing old Jack would have disliked about it, is the forend tip and grip cap are politically incorrect. Elephant ivory. The rifle was made in 1935, and the only upgrades the last owner had done was put a model 70 type safety on it and mount a scope. I paid some serious money (for me) for that one. I'm afraid to take it out, because I'll probably put some beauty marks on it. Sure is pretty though.
At 8.5 pounds, your rifle should not kick too bad. My Ruger in a Ramline(I like synthetics) runs about 7.5 pounds and the Mauser a bit lighter. I don't find the recoil objectionable, although it is more than the 30-06 puts out.
I think the .35 Whelan is underloaded by the factory, as they originally put it in the Semi-auto and pump guns. They did that to the .280 Remington too, if you remember.
BTW. I don't have much use for the 200 gr. bullet in the Whelan. Seems like when you can find ammo anymore, all they have is 200 gr. stuff. I don't know why, but I have the feeling that bullet will come apart and ruin a lot of meat.
It's a good thing that brass can be made from 30-06. I have heard rumors that Remington may drop the Whelan.
Let me know how your works out. E-mail me anytime and we can compare notes.