Why are Weatherby guns in 375+ calibers not liked on a Safari?

Clayton

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ZG47

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OK, this is :A Stirring: stirring the pot, but here's an interesting read right here on AH that may shed some light on this one https://www.africahunting.com/threa...e-professional-hunter-proficiency-exam.14931/

Yes ... I was thinking of that article, from the start of reading this thread. Mind you, pressure problems can occur with smaller cartridges as well. When I ran a small club range complex for 14 years, the worst chamberings for stuck cartridges where:
.308 Winchester, .243 Winchester, .223 Remington and 7mm-08 Remington.

The root of the chamber pressure problem appears to have been the introduction of the 7.92x57S cartridge by the German Empire in the early 1900s. The introduction of the deeper Z rifling in July 1896 and the doubling of bullet jacket thickness for the S bullet (in combination with rechambering of Z barrels to allow for the fatter bullet) removed the barrel wear, barrel splitting and occasional action shattering issues related to the rapid introduction of the 88 rifle and ammo but over enthusiasm created another issue!
The Germans went for as much extra velocity as they could get and one example of over-reaching was the need to standardize a carbine, the 98az, during WWI, with a 60cm (23.6") barrel to mitigate severe muzzle blast. The U.S. Army, unfortunately, decided that they had to follow the Germans and altered their new .30 caliber cartridge to create a 30-06 loading with similar pressures.

The end result was a mania for creating cartridges with maximum allowable pressure limits of 50,000 to 52,000 c.u.p. The fact that the high pressure military loadings were primarily created to shoot to 1,000 yards or so was ignored. The fact that most of the high pressure military ammo development after WWI was concentrated on .30 to 8mm tracer and armour-piercing ammo for use in heavy machine guns was also ignored.

Yes, the higher pressures are useful for belt-fed machine guns and the purpose built single-shot rifles used in 500-1,000 yard competitions but when you load hunting ammo to those pressures it is a bit like using nitrous injection in your car whilst driving to your local shop for some milk and bread. :A Blowup::A Stirring:
 

Ray B

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If the photos show, they are of a Weatherby FN Deluxe. The purpose for showing them is to have an aid to the explanation. One of the above critics of the Weatherby rifles addressed the stock design. The cheekpiece can be seen to have a slight downward slope from back to front. The reason is that as the rifle recoils back, the stock will move away from the shooters face, thus decreasing the effect of the recoil and reducing the possibility of a bruised cheek. The photographs don't show the cross section of the forend- which is flat based and triangular toward the barrel. This shape helps considerably to keep a grip on the rifle as it is recoiling. Additionally, the flat shape of the forend aided in keeping the rifle level and prevent canting of it. The basic design became known as the California style stock.
There are those that didn't care for the style- preferring the Classic look, but there was thought that went into the design and it really had nothing to do with pimping or wearing high heels.

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ZG47

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I understand that the schnabel was originally created to provide similar recoil control on single shot breech-loading hunting rifles as that provided by the Weatherby fore-end which is described and shown above.
 

ack

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I think there is a lot of bias for and against Weatherby. I could only use conjecture to come up with some of the reasons "against" Weatherby they may have had in mind:

1. Extra noisy and often with a muzzle break that drives PHs nuts.
2. Obnoxious recoil compared to the alternatives makes for problems. Jerking the shot. Scope ring on the forehead. Loose screws.
3. Availability of cartridges is scarce.
4. Philosophical differences: Roy thought speed killed. Many in Africa (and here) think slow transfer of all energy and "hang time" in body kills. .375HH, 6.5x55 and 7x57 all fit this philosophy that runs against Roy's views.
5. Experiencial differences: Bullets going that fast sheer apart and glance
We have done two African hunts and have never had any PH complain about out muzzle brakes..If I ever do I will go elsewhere.
 
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Rule 303

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The Weatherby Mk5 is a beautifully made rifle-yep don't like the look of the stock but it works- and here in lies some of the problem, or so I am told. That is the Weatherby has very close tolerances and is liable to fail to work properly if you end up with the rifle covered in dust, grit or other material when other actions have enough tolerance to keep working.

I am not saying this is the only brand like this or that this is the sole cause of the dislike for Weatherby rifle in Africa. I have seen a Mk5 Roy here suffer from excessive dusty conditions when Rems and Rugers keep working. Not shit caning the Roy just an observation and yes a very limited sample size. All that happened was the bolt became very hard to work.
 

Rob404

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I own a Special Edition 257 Weatherby, sure it's a Closet/Range Queen, but it will shoot Clover Leafs at 200 meters, would I take it to Africa Hell No,I have other rifles that will fit the bill, I bought it for the pure enjoyment of shooting a Beautiful Rifle
 

enysse

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A gun is a tool, it's the person behind the gun that can make the weapon look very useful or like they need a different weapon. I think Weatherby makes a quality product.
 

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A gun is a tool, it's the person behind the gun that can make the weapon look very useful or like they need a different weapon. I think Weatherby makes a quality product.

Eloquently noted Enysse.

Without the need for "fancy" language like "projectiles" you have summed up this thread nicely.

I have owned several Weatherby rifles in the past, and hunted with them extensively. I'll be the first to admit that they simply don't mesh with me but I don't deny their functionality and their effectiveness. Just because they are not my favourites doesn't mean they don't work and I revert to my original statement that for a P.H to suggest that they don't work, to me, displays ignorance.

Loaded with the appropriate BULLET, and place that BULLET in the correct place a Weatherby will function and perform as good as any other manufactured brand of firearm out there on the market and for a P.H to not be objective and experienced enough to realize that the performance of the platform (rifle) may have something to do with the nut behind the butt, to me displays, inexperience and/or ignorance.
 

Mr. 16 gauge

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Ah, yes......the Weatherby rifle mystique. When I started my hunting career (back when a "deer rifle" was a lever action rifle in .30/30 or .35 Remington, "baiting" was something you did while fishing, and phones had rotary dials on them), we heard and read the same stories of "dudes" going out west to hunt elk, pronghorn, etc, with new, shiny Weatherby "magnumboomers" and they couldn't hit the target for crap. Then you turned the page of the same magazine, and there was a story waxing eloquently of the Weatherby, it's great cartridges, etc. :confused:
As enysse has said, the gun is but a tool.......whether the person using it or not is a "tool" depends on attitude, experience, etc. I had a good friend who had a Weatherby in .300 Weatherby; he never hunted with it, prefering to use his Remington 742 in .30-06 for that chore. His goal with the Weatherby was to see how fast he could accurately drive a 180 grain bullet.....and that was it.
I think that most PHs probably don't care too much what gun you bring.........the "moment of truth" is when you step up to the sight in range and take those shots to see if your sights are zeroed or not. Then your PH can tell a LOT as to how this hunt may or may not go..............................irregardless of what type or caliber rifle you're shooting!:whistle:
 

Shawn.54

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A big problem with Weatherby is that they are loaded hot and when someone tries to get a little more it creates problems that can be magnified by African heat.
I was at a local range and a fellow was shooting a 30-378 and it was impressive. Until I picked up one of his empty cases you could see imprint of the bolt face on the case head including a place on rim where brass flowed into extractor grove and a shadow of ejection pin hole. I mentioned that it looked like excessive pressure and the owner said he only used new brass once and threw it away so it was ok I said ok and moved as far away as possible.
The problem I think is not the rifle/cartridge but the the speed/power junky who pushes it for more.
 

Rob404

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My Closet/Range Queen, I max loaded it first time out but when the bolt became difficult ejecting an empty I backed off and the problem went away
 

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rookhawk

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I'm not a fast ballistics guy, more of a guy that likes it like my BBQ -> Low and Slow. (375HH, 7x57, 6.5x55, 470, 404...basically get any bullet at 2100-2400fps and great things happen)

That being said, I am a gunfit guy. I've done a fair amount of it on scatter guns and I read about it, consult with experts about it, handle try-guns and know how they operate. Weatherby isn't just bad in this regard, the old-school weatherby stocks are just functionally and technologically wrong.

The point of a stock is to be as low as possible for fast target acquisition. Function of scope mounts is to get that optic as low to the barrel as possible. To mitigate recoil the gun should be in a non-plasticized finish (not Poly-Urethane or Tru-Oil) so that your face does not adhere to the stock. The gradual drop at heel to drop at comb relationship moves your face forward on the stock during recoil at roughly the same elevation increase as the muzzle blast. Since the stock had a finish that didn't glue your face to the stock your face was able to move during recoil while still providing another contact anchor point along with shoulder and foreend.

The "Weatherby Stock" (which I'm told you can purchase a gun without now) REMOVES your face/cheek anchor during recoil because the drop at comb is greater than at heel. Thus, as you fire your face is coming off the stock which is a good thing because the common sticky-as-hell high gloss finish on vintage weatherby rifles would literally rip your skin off your cheek if it didn't get your face off the stock ASAP. However, the recoil is now being absorbed by your shoulder alone. Ouch.

Different strokes for different folks. Weatherby is an unorthodox design and a diametrically opposed viewpoint from mine on many levels. That's fine...until people start claiming Roy Weatherby is the "Orthodox, normative philosophy" of gun fit, ballistics, killing efficacy, etc..

It's these countless points of contention above that likely result in a few PHs in Africa being adverse to Weatherby rifles. I think dictating such things to clients to be foolhardy because having someone change their rifle philosophy in the midst of an actual hunt is neither the time nor the place. Safety+Fun is the primary goal of the PH and bickering about whether you can use a Weatherby doesn't make the hunt "more safe" nor does the client that loves them have "more fun" for having his rifle choice denigrated.

Have fun, be safe, then come back to AH afterwards and I'll try to convince you to not like Roy Weatherby's franken-guns. ;-)
 

35bore

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I would agree more with some of the previous post' as far as the calibre of (some of the people) that own them. My personal case in point, would be an ex-uncle, who honestly believed that his 300 Weatherby could defy gravity. He straight up told me that he sighted in 1 inch high at 100 yards, and, that with this rifle and caliber he could hold dead on out to 600 yards and it would still hit/kill his quarry. He really believed what he was telling me. Just like anyone who thought they had a "laser bullet" would do, he argued with me about ballistics, gravity, and he probably would have argued the color of a school bus at that point. This is my impression of the guys who think that Roy Weatherby created something so great, that anyone who doesn't own one is "sub par". I'm guessing that the distance of an ocean would not cure arrogance.
 

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I would agree more with some of the previous post' as far as the calibre of (some of the people) that own them. My personal case in point, would be an ex-uncle, who honestly believed that his 300 Weatherby could defy gravity. He straight up told me that he sighted in 1 inch high at 100 yards, and, that with this rifle and caliber he could hold dead on out to 600 yards and it would still hit/kill his quarry. He really believed what he was telling me. Just like anyone who thought they had a "laser bullet" would do, he argued with me about ballistics, gravity, and he probably would have argued the color of a school bus at that point. This is my impression of the guys who think that Roy Weatherby created something so great, that anyone who doesn't own one is "sub par". I'm guessing that the distance of an ocean would not cure arrogance.

The laws of physics only apply to some people Scott! :D
 

Big5

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A gun is a tool, it's the person behind the gun that can make the weapon look very useful or like they need a different weapon. I think Weatherby makes a quality product.

I've thoroughly enjoyed this thread as I've found a few comments to be quite entertaining. At the end of the day I remain in agreement with the above quoted post by 'enysse'.

Well said 'enysse'.
 
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ZG47

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@rookhawk Yes, the design is wrong but ... if I was given one (or bought one cheaply) I could sort it out simply by removing the varnish, cutting off the hump on top of the butt and rounding the edges on the fore-end, if it was that sharp edged monstrosity seen on the older rifles.

I would not pay full whack though, to buy one and ... I would disable the safety catch if it's full reliability could not be assured. I am quite capable of holding the bolt in a partially closed position with my fingers parallel to the barrel if I need to have a round 'up the spout' but would obviously not move very far before either firing or unloading.
 

Tom Leoni

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Ah, Weatherby. It has always reminded me of a surgically-enhanced California beach-beauty--therefore, many either love it as the non-plus-ultra or hate it as garish and excessive. Double-D-size Montecarlo stock; check. White spacers that would make Pat Boone's shoes green with envy; check (at least until a few years ago). Skip-line checkering; check (ditto). Va-va-voom, hot-to-handle calibers; check. Loud and brassy; check. Um... Californian; check.

As a traditionalist, I would rather be caught stealing coins from a blind busker's hat, but as a rifleman I respect those who own and can handle Weatherbys. Me, I'll stick with the slows, heavies and oldies.

Bottom line: if you master it, don't let anyone tell you it's a bad choice. Especially with today's bullets.
 

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An interesting thread. My PH in Mozambique this past fall had a Weatherby 460. He bought it years ago (customized to his fit) because another PH he was training under had one and liked it. It was evident that Manuel knew his rifle after all these years. @enysse said it best and my PH was a reflection of that.
 

IvW

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378 Weatherby-300gr bullet @ 2925 ft/s and 5699 ft/lbs
460 Weatherby-500gr bullet @ 2600 ft/s and 7504 ft/lbs

Very impressive, however getting back to why they are not liked.

Excessive recoil-few can handle them and shoot them well, most can't, resulting in follow up's, wounded and lost animals, not due to lack of ability of the cartridges but due to bad first shot placement as a result of the recoil.

Long recovery and reload time for the second shot due to excess muzzle lift(recoil).

In an attempt to manage the recoil, many are fitted with muzzle brakes-I hate them and have yet to meet a PH who likes muzzle breaks on a DG rifle while guiding a client using one.

Excessive speed again resulting in wounded animals. Download them to a sensible velocity and you have a wonderful African rifle. Then remove the brake if fitted as you will no longer need it.
Excessive speed in DG cartridges actually gives you less penetration than slower speed. You do not need more than 2400 ft/s in a DG rifle if you use heavy for calibre bullets. A 500gr solid bullet at 2400 ft/s will out penetrate the same bullet doing 2600 ft/s.

They are wonderfully strong rifles and actions, well finished, have excellent triggers and although they have push feed actions I have yet to see one not function as intended, however in factory form they are loaded to high pressures and speeds that are not needed in Africa.

I well remember a 18 day hunt with Spanish client who arrived in camp with a brand new 460 Weatherby that he had ordered from the Weatherby custom shop. The stock, finished with some shiney farnish, shone like a mirror and although it had one of the best figured pieces of wood I could just not understand why the stock had this shiny finish. He had quite a few animals on his wish list, including elephant, 2 x buff, sable, lion etc. This rifle quickly started beating and battering him up as the safari progressed and at one stage he used one of my 375 H&H rifles on his plains game animals as he could no longer endure the punishment dealt out by this power house with it's full power loads.

At the end of the safari, he presented me with this rifle, which although I thanked him profusely for, declined to take as I had no need or use for it. I use a 500 Jeff as a back up rifle on DG and have the utmost confidence in this rifle. This upset him and he insisted I take the rifle.

Long story short, I eventually took the barrel of the Weatherby(in those day's only the barrels where licenced in my country and if he took that back with him there would be no need for licencing etc.) and kept the stock and action.

It sat in my safe for a long time until I eventually gave it to my gunsmith who fitted a 30 1/2 inch 338 Lapua Magnum match barrel. Converting it to a "long range fun gun", for lack of a better description. He at the same time god rid of the shiny finish on the stock and did a London oil finish on it. It now has the most beautiful stock of all the rifles I own. It shoots very well and I still own this rifle.

No issues with Weatherby rifles, rather with the full power loads they come with. Down load them with heavy bullets to a sensible velocity and get rid of the brake and you will have a wonderful DG game rifle.
 

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