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

You and I must use different straight comb stocks - whether English or American - traditional or contemporary. While it is true that many a pre-war English (or American) rifle will have a bit more drop at heel due reliance on iron sights, that is certainly not the case of anything built in the last sixty years or so on either side of the Atlantic.

Given that Roy Weatherby was born over 110 years ago, and died 30 some years ago, stuff more than 60 years ago is not completely out of the picture.

Would but that what you say was true.

Here are some relatively recent offerings from Ruger:

ruger-no-1-rifles.jpg


Every one of the rifles has the butt of the stock below the bore, and dropped at the heel. Even if all recoil was directly back, they would still rise and hit a little compared to a Weatherby stock that slips away.
My Rigby Stalker, Blaser R8 and Ruger No. 1's represent a pretty broad range of examples for modern, straight comb production rifles. Not only do they offer superb scope or open sight alignment, but the design moderates perceived recoil, and mitigates muzzle rise.

Well apparently the folks at Ruger have lost the plot, because many of their rifles are offered with two snap in comb options, one more or less as above, and the other more "like" the Weatherby

Blaser is a little harder to track. Their European styling is a higher comb, their stocks for the American market are more like the Ruger above, and then they make thumbhole stocks and tactical stocks. You could get any of these in say 308 Win, and the stock designs you could purchase would have less to do with physics and more to do with local fashion.

On the other hand, I frankly think the Weatherby design is not very practical - whether crudely bourgeois, I'll leave to more refined tastes. The forend, with its angular surfaces, is perfect for shooting off a bench - but my left hand forms a curved rest - so does every other human beings - unless they are left handed, in which case the right hand does. The unnaturally high comb (or unnaturally low butt) creates a greater angle between butt and cheek. Whether this facilitates or hampers proper cheek weld is largely dependent upon individual physical characteristics. But what it can do, particularly as recoil increases, is accentuate muzzle climb. Going back to the OP's original question, that is not a good attribute for a dangerous game rifle. As for the finish - it was sprayed on so it could be done quickly and cheaply. With the rifle's high gloss blue medal work, I suppose the stock might as well have been glossy as well.

I certainly wouldn't tell you what works for you. The evidence the classic stock does not work well is in the alternatives that are present and the amount of wood filler and leather contraptions that have tried to make things better.

I like this picture of what happens when classic stock meets big scope, in the hands of a pro. He even appears to be shooting offhand:

M14 with high cheek.jpg



One problem with consumer culture is a lot of people buy endless duplicates of insufficient products but never splash out for a good custom suit, shoes, or gun. Weatherby was bespoke at one time, and one will get what one can off the rack.


I have no clue what military application you believe benefitted from the Weatherby design. The M40, which is the family tree from which the American concept of the sniper rifle is primarily derived, is pure Remington 700. If you can find any "battle rifle DNA" in a Howa, I suppose it might be its synthetic stock if it has one - but certainly not a battlefield design contribution by Roy Weatherby.
As I mentioned, the features of a Weatherby stock are not necessarily inventions of Weatherby. Modern precision rifles use modern stock designs, with high combs etc...

I don't really agree the American Conception of a sniper rifle derives from the model 700. Model 70s were extensively used. The 700 has basically nothing to offer other than it is extremely easy to blueprint, which is now irrelevant with CNC, or comparatively. The only part that was model 700 was the part they had to fix.

Howa does not have battlefield DNA, that was the reference to the Mauser I also mentioned having in the same caliber.

I have to complement you for lasting through, after a fashion, my over long posts.

I do find utility in several of his caliber creations or modifications. The .300 is a superb, world-wide general purpose cartridge that has found its way into the production lines of many makers. The .257 is a tremendous longer range deer, prong horn, and light PG choice. I don't have any personal use for the larger calibers, because the traditional solutions are so effective with far less "sturm und drang." But with the right bullet, they work.

I really wanted a 257, and the desire keeps popping up. Recently there were some good deals, and upon looking into it, I discovered (presumably for the 20th time) it is based on the 375. That is moving in entirely the wrong direction for me. There is overbore, then there is that. I also feel that "flat shooting" has lost a lot of it's practicality in the presence of lasers.
 
Yes. Only need to check the safety on some Weatherby it will fire if you take the safety off.
Yes the safeties on the German guns were made of a zinc alloy and had a tendency to fracture. I've seen four of them, as I have been a Weatherby Mark 5 collector for 50 years. Gunsmiths replaced them with a timney trigger. The Japanese Guns have an All steel trigger and were advertised as such.
 
You are very sensible with regards to your caliber choices. Both are exceptional cartridges and come with enviable reputations. You will be more than happy with their performance on African game.

I hope your buddy listens to your advise. Good luck to your Buddy though, 460 WBY Mag is gonna beat him into submission after not many shots! Hope for his sake the PH has a 375 H&H, 404 Jeff or 416 Rigby in camp he can use.

300 Win mag with decent heavy for calibre bullets is good for PG at longer range. 180-220 grains and he could hunt all PG with it.

But the 460 ouch!, I would steer well clear!
A Hunter who had lived and Hunted in Africa all his life said for PG the 300 Holland (HxH) Magnum with a 200 gr. heavily controlled expansion bullet is perfect.The 300 HxH made its reputation with the 220 grain bullet I believe was a round nose. Recoil is acceptable by most everybody and the effectiveness of the cartridge cannot be denied. It has been used in Africa for decades. He went on to say if you drop back to the 180 gr. bullet the extra velocity will do you no good.
 
Spot on.
A rifle is simply a platform that houses the cartridge.

Neither actually kill the animal you are hunting, they are merely the support tools that launch the projectile that actually creates the damage that does the killing.

For a PH to claim Weatherby rifles do not work displays ignorance.

When loaded with appropriate projectiles that can perform up to the generous velocities created by the majority of Weatherby cartridges, and those projectiles are placed correctly by a hunter who is competent with Weatherby rifles then they can are devastatingly effective.
A quick search in to hunting history will show you that a great generation of SCI Hall of Famers hunted and travelled the World, not just Africa with Weatherby rifles. Watson Yoshimoto, Elgin Gates, Prince Abdorezza etc etc etc.
Try telling that mob that Weatherby's don't work.
 
@IvW and to pivot beyond just Weatherby, all of these really garish magnums that are stocked similarly to Weatherbys are built with bench rest / long range hunter stocks. Taking my bias out of the equation (Don't like them), its just not the right design for the job at hand. Dangerous game calibers for Africa should be built with low combs and excellent cheek weld so you can shoot free hand or off sticks in comfort and control. The average .338 Lapua is also really stocked as a long range shooting platform as well.

So it creates a systemic spiral of problems. 1.) Bought a gun for long pokes but you're not taking long pokes. 2.) Bought a gun that kicks too much, 3.) Gun kicks too much because its stocked to be shot prone for long pokes with high rings, 4.) You don't want to shoot the gun "properly" for Africa because the high ring / high comb arrangement makes it really hurt to shoot off sticks.

No body on this forum is designed to take recoil better than me. I'm 6'9" and over 300lbs. Nobody on this forum hates recoil more than me either. (irony here) I shoot 6.5s and 7mms to keep the recoil soft. One big gun I'm not afraid of at all is my English stocked mid-century .375HH. Because of how its stocked and scoped, it is a pleasure to shoot off sticks. The muzzle jump seems to take the recoil off my face and shoulder and it bites much, much less than a .300 Winmag off a rest at the range. (another unpleasant gun for me to shoot)

Gunfit is important. Stock style and ring height is important. Having the right tool for the job is important. I don't think the advantages of Weatherby et al get realized even 1% of the time in Africa because its just not used much in that unique application. (e.g. additional 20 yards of Maximum Point Blank Range)
Well said. I have been a Weatherby Mark 5 collector for 50 years. My favorite caliber is the 378. I have to agree I'm starting to restock the big guns 340,375, 378 with a straight comb stock. The 378 had a #4 heavy barrel in mesquite wood. It weighed 12 pounds. Recoil was managable.
 
When i was 21 years old i had a 340 mk5 got a Weatherby eye brow at 74 i still have the scar.
Weatherby stocks are a little too short. I had a 340 with an old Roberts high conb rollover with palm swell stock. I could shoot it all day. With the Weatherby stock I was pummeled. I mounted the scope almost as far forward as the back of the bolt.
 
I think it’s because of two factors
Firstly the noise
Secondly the bullets are traveling very fast and PHs would be concerned that the bullets would not penetrate as far as slower bullets
 
The problem with Weatherby rifles are two. One cosmetic, one (which I'll get in a moment) ballistic--which touches upon the OP's question of .375+.

The "California Look," typified by Weatherby, is like all things trendy at the moment. After a few years, they look passé. Glossy wood, white spacers, skip-line checkering, squared-off forend and an exaggerated Monte Carlo stock. When I see one, the voice of Pat Boone or Charles Aznavour rings in my head, along with floating visions of bi-color spectator shoes under sequined bell-bottom pants, wide neckties over maroon polka-dot shirts, and bushy sideburns matching a pompadour hairstyle. Chacun à son goût, I guess--but add a muzzle brake or a suppressor to the end of the barrel, and you get exactly the look that today friends don't let friends show up with. (I know, I know, don't take me too seriously.)

crooner-sequined-suit-blue-costume--mw-112402-1.jpg


As for the ballistics, I don't believe in overkill but I believe in flinching. I've met very few people who can handle the recoil of a .378 or (God forbid) a .416 or .460 Wby Mag. I've met even fewer who can tell me why they would need such muzzle energy when other, milder calibers can do the job just as well under 99% of practical conditions. So I understand why some may question the reason for a strange client (or partner) who brings such a rifle to a hunt. On the other hand, if a Weatherby rifle in a macho caliber like one of those lights your fire, and you honestly know you can handle the recoil, who am I--or anyone else for that matter--to discourage you. Let's face it: we all do this for fun, and life is short.
 
The problem with Weatherby rifles are two. One cosmetic, one (which I'll get in a moment) ballistic--which touches upon the OP's question of .375+.

The "California Look," typified by Weatherby, is like all things trendy at the moment. After a few years, they look passé. Glossy wood, white spacers, skip-line checkering, squared-off forend and an exaggerated Monte Carlo stock. When I see one, the voice of Pat Boone or Charles Aznavour rings in my head, along with floating visions of bi-color spectator shoes under sequined bell-bottom pants, wide neckties over maroon polka-dot shirts, and bushy sideburns matching a pompadour hairstyle. Chacun à son goût, I guess--but add a muzzle brake or a suppressor to the end of the barrel, and you get exactly the look that today friends don't let friends show up with. (I know, I know, don't take me too seriously.)

View attachment 453558

As for the ballistics, I don't believe in overkill but I believe in flinching. I've met very few people who can handle the recoil of a .378 or (God forbid) a .416 or .460 Wby Mag. I've met even fewer who can tell me why they would need such muzzle energy when other, milder calibers can do the job just as well under 99% of practical conditions. So I understand why some may question the reason for a strange client (or partner) who brings such a rifle to a hunt. On the other hand, if a Weatherby rifle in a macho caliber like one of those lights your fire, and you honestly know you can handle the recoil, who am I--or anyone else for that matter--to discourage you. Let's face it: we all do this for fun, and life is short.
Years back, 1990's, I targeted a 378 Weatherby from the bench for a guy. It was rated at 95 ft lbs recoil and the meanest I had ever fired. In those days I hunted and shot trap with a 10gr SxS 2oz loads. However, around 2015 I bought a Sabatti DR in 500 NE. At 9.3 lbs it calculated 100 ft lbs recoil. I never shot it from the bench but wouldn't be much different than the above mentioned 378 Weatherby. (Of course I aged 20 years between the two. :) )
I guess I am saying not all African hunting rifles are kind to the body.
If I recall correctly, the 470 NE is around 65 to 70 ft lbs and I hear most comment they are easy to shoot.
 
Years back, 1990's, I targeted a 378 Weatherby from the bench for a guy. It was rated at 95 ft lbs recoil and the meanest I had ever fired. In those days I hunted and shot trap with a 10gr SxS 2oz loads. However, around 2015 I bought a Sabatti DR in 500 NE. At 9.3 lbs it calculated 100 ft lbs recoil. I never shot it from the bench but wouldn't be much different than the above mentioned 378 Weatherby. (Of course I aged 20 years between the two. :) )
I guess I am saying not all African hunting rifles are kind to the body.
If I recall correctly, the 470 NE is around 65 to 70 ft lbs and I hear most comment they are easy to shoot.

Recoil - a lot depends on the design of the stock and the overweight of the rifle. For example I shoot my 416 Remington magnum standing and yes it recoils a fair bit. But: it’s a fairly heavy rifle
When actually firing at a big critter (buff or scrub bull) I honestly don’t even know about recoil
The other week I checked my hand loads (400 grain Woodleigh’s w max load of AR 2008) and yes I knew about the recoil
Funny thing is I seem to get more of a whack from my 300
 
Recoil - a lot depends on the design of the stock and the overweight of the rifle. For example I shoot my 416 Remington magnum standing and yes it recoils a fair bit. But: it’s a fairly heavy rifle
When actually firing at a big critter (buff or scrub bull) I honestly don’t even know about recoil
The other week I checked my hand loads (400 grain Woodleigh’s w max load of AR 2008) and yes I knew about the recoil
Funny thing is I seem to get more of a whack from my 300
Agreed.
My first centerfire rifle was a M70 Winchester in 338. We were used to shooting lots of 12gr trap shells so the M70 was pretty noticeable by comparison. Another guy in our group had a Winchester 94 in 30-30, a dud by comparison. However, it had a steel curved butt plate and weighed what felt like 4 lbs so had a bit of a bite to it from being poked in the shoulder by a narrow butt end. The M70 was cut to push straight back, which reduced muzzle rise for faster follow up shots, and seemed to make the recoil worse.
From reading a lot of AH comments it is clear that stock fit on heavy recoil rifles makes a lot of difference.
Proper weight is important as well. My Sabatti 500 NE was too light at 9.3 lbs but suppose carry weight vs not noticing recoil when on a buff etc is kind of shooter preference.
P.S. I shoot the piss out of everything I own so eventually recoil gets noticed. :)
 
No, not at all. I have seen CRF stuff up as bad and as readily as any push feed.
If all you need is a new barrel then just re-barrel to a 416 Rigby. Just check the feed rails will not require any work first.
Craig Boddington said the only action he has seen fail in field was a controlled round feed. His stopping rifle is a 458 Remington PUSH FEED. It's in his book African rifles. Btw a buffalo was charging at the time.
 
Craig Boddington said the only action he has seen fail in field was a controlled round feed. His stopping rifle is a 458 Remington PUSH FEED. It's in his book African rifles. Btw a buffalo was charging at the time.
I think there are no magic rifles or cartridges. A DR gives two rifles in one thus eliminates a failure leaving no rifle. In modern times I expect bolt rifles are more common in African hunts and suspect push feed are in higher numbers then CF.
In the heat of the moment a short stroked PF or CF will not chamber a new round.
I guess that makes a PH the backup for a client failure. :)
 

Forum statistics

Threads
48,806
Messages
1,006,336
Members
83,130
Latest member
AundreaFar
 

 

 

Latest posts

Latest profile posts

getting ready for a 5 day sable hunt!
joelpend wrote on tward1604's profile.
Norma 404 Brass. A personal check is good and will clear in one day when I electronically deposit.
[redacted]
Thank You
ftrovato wrote on jlb1036's profile.
Thx!!! Let me know what I owe you...
[redacted]
cold and windy day in NW today may catch a rain!
 
Top