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Weatherby: Tomorrow’s Rifles Today

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The Weatherby, Inc. Story

As far as American firearms manufacturers are concerned, Weatherby, Inc. isn’t exactly a newcomer to the industry. Founded by the late cartridge designer Roy E. Weatherby in 1945, the company originally created custom ammunition out of a small shop located in Southern California. Weatherby additionally produced small batches of specialized rifles, based on the popular Mauser action of the late twentieth-century, but later obtained a production contract with the Finnish firearms company SAKO in the mid-1950s. Despite outsourcing production, Weatherby continued to make custom long guns and cartridges for many years (a heritage that’s still reflected in the company’s philosophy today). 

Production innovations, coupled with Weatherby’s custom inventions, quickly earned him an industry reputation as the father of high-powered rifle cartridges. “Weatherby Magnum” is a title synonymous with several big bore cartridges introduced by the company’s founder beginning in the late 1940s. In producing and assembling a variety of shotguns and rifles, Weatherby also forged a few international partnerships along the way. The company’s popular Vanguard rifle, for instance, is produced with the help of the Japanese firearms manufacturer Howa. Weatherby, Inc. is still based in the United States, however, with the corporation’s new headquarters located in Sheridan, Wyoming.

Photo Source: GunsandAmmo.com – Roy Weatherby and Elmer Keith with a Weatherby rifle


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Popular Weatherby Firearms

Weatherby rifles have a long and rich tradition a bit unlike some other long guns of the twentieth-century. Some of the most coveted and collectible Weatherby’s are converted weapons, modified or altered to custom specifications, by the company’s founder in the mid-1950s. Other production models are more readily available but no less valuable in the eyes of the Weatherby faithful.

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FN Mauser Sporting Rifles

Rather than a specific pair of rifles, these two types of Mausers represent the foundation and legacy of Weatherby, Inc. Roy Weatherby customized all sorts of bolt-action rifles for his customers, including the likes of Springfields and Enfields, but his preferred platform was the Model 1898 Mauser. Weatherby favored the firearm so much that he decided to base his first production rifle on the Mauser design when joining forces with SAKO in 1956. He experimented with other rifles over the years and even produced his own platform from the ground up (the Mark V) but never lost touch with the 1898 Mauser. Today, custom and early SAKO FN Mauser’s can go for thousands of dollars on the collectible firearms market.

Weatherby Mark V

Mark V

The Mark V is one of two centerfire rifles presently sold by Weatherby and perhaps the undisputed Cadillac of production sporting guns. It’s offered in 32 different packages that vary in both price and features. At the present, the most inexpensive model is the Mark V Weathermark ($1,700 MSRP), which sports metal parts coated in a tough Cerakote finish set in a composite Monte Carlo stock. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the beautiful Mark V Safari, a gun designed with the serious big game hunter in mind. This rifle features a French AAA-fancy walnut Monte Carlo stock, ebony caps, hand-cut fleur-de-lis checkering, a Damascened bolt, and an engraved “Safari Custom” floorplate. It also comes chambered in the massive .460 Weatherby Magnum—a cartridge that’s seemingly capable of punching a hole in the side of a battleship. However, this beautiful rifle does come with quite a price tag at $6,900 MSRP!

Weatherby Vanguard

Vanguard

The Vanguard is Weatherby’s second rifle currently in production and a cost-effective alternative to its flagship Mark V. The most affordable Vanguard is the Synthetic Compact, which comes in at a modest $599 MSRP, while the most expensive Vanguard is the Modular Chassis that costs $1,519 MSRP (about $200 less than an entry-level Mark V). As mentioned above, Weatherby managed to shave production costs by outsourcing some Vanguard manufacturing to Howa Machinery, Ltd., a Japanese company that also produces a bare bones version of this rifle called the Howa 1500. Don’t let the reduced-price fool you, however, there’s still a ton of features and quality craftmanship packed into all 25 varieties of this rifle. 

Weatherby Range Certified Rifles

Range Certified Rifles

Unique to Weatherby is their line of Range Certified (RC) rifles available in both Mark V and Vanguard models. By spending a bit more, Weatherby customers can order specially tested and certified rifles that are guaranteed to deliver “SUB-MOA accuracy”. MOA stands for “minute of angle” and is essentially a way of precisely describing the accuracy of a weapon. Sub-MOA accuracy, as promised by Weatherby, translates to a 3-shot group of .99” or less at 100 yards. Weatherby presently offers 9 different types of rifles with the RC stamp of approval, which come engraved with custom floorplates and ballistic data sheets signed by Adam Weatherby (president of Weatherby, Inc). 

Hardwood Gunstocks for Weatherby Rifles

So, what could possibly make an outstanding Weatherby rifle even better? Boyds hardwood stocks offer highly individualized features, including more than a dozen color options, custom engraving and several stock shapes. Another option to consider is the cost-effective choice of buying an entry-level Vanguard or Howa 1500 rifle and then outfitting one of those two platforms with custom gunstocks.

One of our most popular gunstocks is the Featherweight Weatherby Vanguard Long Action Factory Barrel Channel, which looks great on either barreled action. Mark V owners should also consider our adjustable At-One Weatherby Bolt Long Action Hinged modular gunstock, which offers unprecedented comfort and fit at a fraction of the price. Either way, you can’t go wrong with a Boyds custom hardwood gunstock.
 
 


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