Weatherby Rifles?

Discussion in 'Firearms & Ammunition' started by Voodooracer, Jul 28, 2014.

  1. Voodooracer

    Voodooracer AH Veteran

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    I was perusing this forum the other day and noticed there weren't a lot of postings about hunting Africa with Weatherby rifles. I have a Vanguard s2 in 257 weatherby magnum and enjoy shooting it a lot. I've been kicking around getting one in 338 win mag as well, granted instead of buying another rifle i should pry put that money in the "safari fund" but alas, I am weak when it comes to good deals on rifles haha. The weatherbys I have fired and the one i currently own have shot very well for me and i was just curious if or why they don't seem to be as popular to hunt with in Africa as some other makes. If I'm incorrect in that assumption or missing something please let me know, you guys are a wealth of information. I'd love to hear some hunting experiences with the weatherbys if you guys have them!
    Thanks,
    Voodooracer
     
  2. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Veteran

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    Buy the 338 and then take both to Africa.
     
  3. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    They are push feed guns and most people on here are control feed guys. Nothing wrong with them, I guess I like standard calibers too. Easier to get cheap ammo, if there is such a thing anymore.
     
  4. PHOENIX PHIL

    PHOENIX PHIL AH Legend

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    The Weatherby's have from what I can tell a poor reputation for a couple of reasons. First, would be the "excessive" speed for bullets which in the past didn't hold up under close range shooting. With the advent of the A-Frames, TSX/TTSX, North Forks and any other high weight retention bullets, I'm not sure that this is continues to be a valid point. No doubt in my mind that with more frangible bullets at close range, the negative reputation was earned.

    The second reason, would simply be because of shooters not being able to handle the higher recoil. This doesn't necessarily apply to you. But it wouldn't surprise me in days of yesteryear when Weatherby's were more of a gun for the well to do, that perhaps one too many hunters with more money than sense showed up at camp with his brand spanking new Weatherby thumper, because it was the best of course, with very little experience shooting it. And it showed during actual hunting.

    As mentioned with the bullets available now, the Weatherby calibers finally now have a projectile worthy of the speed they generate. But in the end, you still have to adjust yourself to that extra bit of recoil in my opinion.
     
  5. Mekaniks

    Mekaniks AH Member

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    I have a Weatherby Mark V Alaskan in .338 win mag. It is my go to gun and I have used it all over Alaska for bears, caribou, and deer. And will be using it this fall for a Bison hunt. Also took a Wyoming antelope with it last year. All that said, The only reason I will hesitate to take it to Africa when the time comes is that it has a muzzle break, and if the PH is uncomfortable with that then I will leave it home. I think you will find quite a few Weatherbys in Africa.
     
  6. Velo Dog

    Velo Dog AH Fanatic

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    Read the incredible book by Dr. Kevin Robertson, "Africa's Most Dangerous" (Safari Press Publishing).
    The answer is in there, regarding excess velocity for the hunting of African buffalo better than I could ever have worded it.
    The general information is applicable to the hunting of all large animals, by means of over-pressure/super velocity cartridges.
     
  7. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    Phoenix Phil has it spot on.
    The big issue in the past has been the bullet, its all great fun pushing bullets to extreme speeds, but when the bullets cannot perform well on close range shots then all that speed is worthless.
    It is worth noting that a large number of the 'old school' rifles were relatively slow moving but afforded good penetration and good killing power. 8x57, 9,3's 7x57, 458 etc
    With the newer technology and superior construction of bullets nowadays, i would take a guess that weatherby velocities will become more acceptable in Africa in time.

    The other big thing is with the increase in speed is an increase in recoil. i have a friend who had a 460w and a 378w. both of which he released from his care. It was not necessary to endure that kind of recoil when a 458win and a 375H&H would do the same job with better accuracy.

    I would take a guess and say that the smaller cal (sub .30) would be good for Africa. the speed and strong bullets nowadays will make for a good combo.

    My humble opinion, take the 257 weatherby and save the money from the 338 to use on safari and when you get back, you have a good reason to buy the 338... for the next safari ;)
     
  8. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin AH Senior Member

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    It seems that two categories of answers are being given to the should I take a Weatherby to Africa question.

    The first category relates to the cartridges themselves and seems to center around the bullets going too fast, LOL. If you wish the bullet to go slower, just use a heavier bullet. I've used a Blaser R 93 in 300 Weatherby Magnum to kill Whitetail Deer and Pronghorn Antelope in the USA and also to kill a slew of Springbok in RSA among other things. I also managed to put down a Gemsbok with it at about 400 yards. The involved professional hunters didn't have anything negative to say about the velocity.

    The second category of questions relates to should a Weatherby be taken as opposed to another brand of rifle chambered for a Weatherby cartridge. I have a couple of them. I don't see the lack of "control feed" being a problem. The main problem I see is that they're more expensive than other rifles (at least the blued steel and wood ones) and are too pretty to hunt with. They shoot REALLY well though; at least mine do. A PH considers a rifle more of a tool than a work of art and would probably go for something more economical and utilitarian than a Weatherby.

    [​IMG]

    A target shot with my 378 Weatherby at 100 yards.

    [​IMG]

    Another target shot with my 378 Weatherby.

    [​IMG]

    The first 3 shots from my 460 Weatherby shot off hand with iron sights at 50 yards. Three shots went into about 1.5 inches.

    [​IMG]

    Done with a CZ 550 Safari Magnum. It doesn't do too badly and being more utilitarian and control feed would be the more likely choice of an African PH.
     

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  9. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    Quite right that there are 2 different questions to answer.

    On your first point, i will take your word for it as i have not used a weatherby cartridge for hunting and as such i can only relay what some people and ph's have mentioned in discussion. Just the same way, i will take your word for it that it worked perfectly in your case above.
    You surely cannot ask for more out of a rifle and caliber than what you described above.

    Secondly and the easiest answer for me is the reputation of Weatherby rifles are good quality, generally accurate and more than suitable. The push feed - control feed issue doesn't bother me too much, my old mod 70 is push feed and i am happy with it, my new cz is control feed (along with all the rest of the rifles) and i am happy with it, some will disagree no doubt.

    Just out of interest, what ammo do you use and what speed in your 300 weatherby mag? Was it the same load for both US and RSA?
    Have you shot any of the +40 cal weatherby's? If so, how do they stack up recoil wise against others of the same cal?
    Would you say there is substantial difference in recoil to negatively impact on someone's shooting if they were to buy say for example a 416 weatherby instead of a 416 rigby? lets assume factory loads as basic comparisons.
     
  10. CAustin

    CAustin AH Fanatic

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    Divernhunter Is right. By the 338 take both to Africa and have a great time.
     
  11. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    Let's go back to the gentleman's original question - a .338 Win Mag is a fabulous PG round (my favorite) and the Vanguard is a dependable user friendly rifle in which to package it. Secondly, the .257 in its standard heavier bullets (the 120 gr partition for instance) is an excellent round on impala, springbuck, and similar plains game. Push feed or mauser extractor is irrelevant in a PG rifle.
     
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  12. Voodooracer

    Voodooracer AH Veteran

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    Wow this is great info gentlemen. I wasn't being too specific about calibers, I threw 338 out there as an example. I was curious about more the weatherby rifles themselves but I'm glad you guys brought up the weatherby calibers. I like the smaller weatherby calibers, the 300 wby is about where I draw the line on comfortable shooting accuracy personally, much bigger than that and they start getting abusive haha. I really like the Barnes loading as well as the partitions in the 257 wby. I'll take a crf action if I can get it but this far a push feed hasn't failed me yet. On dangerous game I'd want a crf for sure but on pg I don't mind push feeds as long as they are reliable.
     
  13. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin AH Senior Member

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    Many of my rifles, including all that shoot Weatherby cartridges have had nothing but handloads through them. I don't load for speed or reduced recoil per se, but for optimal accuracy. Usually the load ends up at the upper end of recommended loads. It so happens that I did chrono the load I used in my 300 Weatherby in South Africa; muzzle velocity of the 200 grain Accubonds is about 2,850 fps. In the U.S.A., the load I used for Whitetail Deer and Pronghorn Antelope was with Berger 168 gr. VLD bullets and I never chronoed that load but it certainly worked well.

    As for recoil, since Weatherby cartridges are at or near the top of the stack in velocity in whatever bore diameter they're representing, they of course have more recoil. Some are bothered by the recoil of a 22-250 Remington. Others don't like the recoil in a 7mm Remington Magnum. Obviously, if one doesn't like 30/06 recoil they're going to detest the recoil of a 300 Win. Mag or a 300 Weatherby (both of the latter have similar amounts of recoil). Similarly, I'll bet that most that like the 375 H&H Magnum aren't going like a 378 Weatherby and probably won't shoot it well.

    The only +40 caliber Weatherby I've shot is a the 460 with the Pendelton brake; it will clear your sinuses and rattle your teeth. A fly fell out of the air dead when I shot it. I like it but most wouldn't. My 378 Weatherby and 458 Lott are unbraked and recoil a little less than the 460 Weatherby.
     
  14. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    Grumulkin, I see you're not pushing your rounds to silly speeds, i understand where you're coming from now and i would not hesitate to say that load in a 30 cal is A+.
    I just looked at the weatherby ballistics, on the small end 150gr @3,500fps... that's a bit much, and in a worst case scenario I wouldn't like to be faced with an Eland at 40yds with that in the tube. might be a recipe for more bad press if any round other than

    I'm not sure i would go for the 460 myself, my 'little' 416 rigby is comfortable enough and not one piece of paper or tin can has managed to survive and try eat me! ;)

    I must add if you're shooting fly's out of the air, its a mighty accurate rifle...:whistle:;):D

    anyway, thanks for clearing up a few things for me... sorry for the derail!
     
  15. Grumulkin

    Grumulkin AH Senior Member

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    I didn't shoot the fly out of the air. The fly was too close when I touched it off and died of the concussion.
     
  16. PeteG

    PeteG AH Enthusiast

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    I figured as much, just pulling your leg a bit:)
     
  17. blackdog001blackdog001

    blackdog001blackdog001 AH Member

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    I have 2 Weatherby's - a 7mm Weatherby Mag blue and wood that was a factory custom job 30 years ago and a 375 H&H in stainless and black. The 375 has made two trips to Africa with Trophy Bonded solids and Bear Claw and has never let me down. It has a 4x Leupold.

    Th 7mm has been my favorite antelope, caribou, etc. cartridge and rifle. I load it with 140 grain Nosler Ballistic tip bullets and again, it performs very well. It hs a 26'' barrel which helps to take advantage of the hotter 7mm Weatherby Mag cartridge (vs. 7mm Rem Mag).

    Weatherby has a 50+ year history of making fine rifles. I would be very surprised if you purchase one and it lets you down.
     
  18. redriver

    redriver AH Member

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    I have 3 Mark Vs, .300 win mag, .340 & .416. All have been very good guns to me, I have taken more big game animals with the .300 than all other guns that I own combined, all with the same round btw, 200grain swift A frame
     
  19. buffybr

    buffybr AH Veteran

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    I think Phil pretty much summed it up here, and I lean more to his second reason.

    Before the introduction of Vanguards and composite stocks, the Mark Vs were mostly more expensive, fancy rifles -- something that not a lot of average American hunters had.

    I've taken my .375 RUM on two trips to Africa, one shooting 300 grain TSX bullet and the other with 270 gr TSX bullets, with both loads about 200 fps faster than the same bullets in a .375 Weatherby. These bullets performed extremely well on shots from 30 to 348 yards, and on all animals from Steenboks to Buffalo and Eland.

    I hunted for about 40 years, taking scores of North American animals and went on two African hunts, which included a Cape Buffalo hunt, before I got my first computer and learned the difference between push feed and controlled feed rifles, even though two of my small caliber rifles were control feed.

    Weatherby factory loaded ammunition has always been more expensive and not as available as ammo for the "standard" cartridges, including the 7mm Rem mag and .300 Win mag. Ever since I got my first centerfire rifle, a .30-06 back in 1967, I have only shot handloaded ammunition. With the same bullets, and not counting the cost of the cases, it only costs me about 10 cents per round more (for the additional powder) to load for my .300 Weatherby than it does to load a .30-06 cartridge.

    Like I posted above, I've taken my .375 RUM on two African hunts, and I took my .300 Weatherby on another African hunt and on a New Zealand hunt. Both of these rifles have KDF muzzle brakes on them. With the variety of game species that I wanted to hunt on these trips, I hunted with 8 different PHs in Africa, and 2 different guides on my New Zealand hunt. None of them ever said anything against the muzzle brakes. My New Zealand outfitter also had a variety of rifles available for hunters to use, including at least two with muzzle brakes.

    Watch the African hunting shows on the outdoor channels. Many of the client hunters shoot rifles with muzzle brakes. I have also seen quite a few PHs on these shows that wear ear muffs, and a number of other PHs and trackers that will hold their fingers over their ears prior to the clients shots -- regardless if the client's rifle has a brake or not. I take extra foam earplugs that I give to my PHs/guides, and I'll tell them to hold their ears before I shoot.
     
  20. Divernhunter

    Divernhunter AH Veteran

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    The 257 with 120gr Swift A-Frames will take any plains animals. My daughter took Red Hartebeest, Zebra, Kudu etc with that bullet in a 257Roberts and all one shot no tracking spot and stalk kills. Ranges 135-400 yards. The bullet was doing 2899FPS and I know the weatherby speeds would have done well also. I have one.
    At what point of dead (with one shot) is the 257 not good enough?
    I would shoot the Swift A-Frame as it is a bit stouter than a Nosler Partition and opens into more of a mushroom, retaining more weight. The Nosler is designed to loose the front lead and the jacket peel back closer to the shank. This gives it more penetration at lower speed than some other bullets.

    I used a 338Win mag with 225gr Swift A-Frame bullets with good results also.

    What was not good years ago(due to bullets) is not true now. The modern bullets have far surpassed the older cup and core un-bonded bullets allowing the higher speeds to work well and even better.

    Recoil can be a factor for some and that is important. My 257Weatherby does not recoil anymore than my 25-06 to me so that is not a factor. Now a 340Weatherby compared to my 338Win mag just might. A 460Weatherby and a 458Win mag would not be to my liking given my age and arthritis. I have shot a 458 when younger and it was ok but I would not want to do a squirrel shoot of 500 rounds even back then.
     

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