An older Weatherby

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Early unadorned Weatherby on FN Mauser action
Early unadorned Weatherby on FN Mauser action

Q: An old guy who recently moved into my area offered me a Weatherby rifle in .257 Weatherby Magnum fitted with a Weatherby 2-7x Imperial scope for a bargain price. I bought it and while it had the familiar California-style Monte-Carlo stock, the action resembles a Model 98 Mauser more than the action of other Weatherby rifles I've seen. What can you tell me about my new rifle? I've been told its chambered for one of the flattest shooting cartridges there is and it's one of the best for shooting deer and other big game at long range. Is this true? The rifle came with a C-H die set. As I intend to reload can you suggest a good all around load for deer and ferals?

Frank Johnson

Early immaculate custom Weatherby on FN Mauser action
Early immaculate custom Weatherby on FN Mauser action

A: From about 1948 until the Mark V action was introduced in 1958, most Weatherby rifles were based on Belgian-made FN Mauser actions. Those actions are regarded as being the finest of their type ever made anywhere. For use on deer and other medium-size big game, the .257 Weatherby Magnum is hard to go past. It was also Roy Weatherby's favourite. With the Barnes 100gn X-Bullet leaving the muzzle at 3500fps and sighted-in 3" high at 100yd., it drops only about 5 inches below point of aim at 400yd. where it still delivers over 1400 ft/lbs of energy. One thing you should know about that early Weatherby. All .257 Magnum rifles built before 1973 had a rifling twist of 1:12" which is too slow to stabilise spitzer bullets much longer than those weighing 100 grains. Weatherby barrels after 1973 had a 1:10" twist and will stabilise bullets as long as the 120gn Nosler Partition and Barnes 115gn TSX. Because your rifle won't stabilise the heavier bullets, your best bet for the animals you intend to hunt is the 100gn Barnes TSX, and 74gn of AR2217 for about 3450fps.

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