Beginning in 1995 Weatherby again
moved production from Japan back to the U.S., full-circle to where it started, but not in
the original facility. Todays version is CNC-machined and is absolutely the best
Mark V ever built. The action has been continuously refined and improved to work smoother
and more reliably than ever, culminating 45 years of production and hunting experiences.
The trigger assembly is more positive and easier to adjust for weight of pull. The
machining is definitely better than previous versions including the revered German guns -
a statement that may cause dismay with Weatherby collectors.
Just as they have for many years,
Weatherby guarantees its rifles to place three shots within 1 1/2 inches at 100 yards from
a cold barrel. However, it has been my observation that guns built in the past few years
will generally do better than this, as some out-of-the-box rifles have been observed
grouping into 1 1/2 to 2 inches at 200 yards! Now lets see how this custom shop
A Burris 6-24x50mm Black Diamond
scope with a 30mm tube and Ballistic Mil-Dot reticle was mounted on the new Weatherby.
Having used the Black Diamond previously on rifles that dish out fast and heavy recoil,
which can prove damaging to some scopes, I had confidence its tough-as-nails construction
would allow it to stand up to the .30-378s recoil. Besides having exceptionally
clear and bright optics, the Black Diamond features a side focus parallax, a great idea
and long overdue.
Previous models (and most other
scope manufacturers) have the adjustable parallax ring located on the objective. In order
to see the settings and adjust it, the rifle muzzle must be turned upward. This takes time
and can be impractical under some field conditions, such as lying prone. The Burris side
focus parallax can be adjusted quickly from almost any position using the left hand while
the rifle is held to the shoulder and the muzzle pointed downrange.
The click adjustments move the
crosshairs in 1/8-inch increments and worked perfectly throughout the shooting sessions. A
Burris base and Signature rings were used, offering stress-free mounting. These wont
scratch or harm the scope in any way.
After cleaning the factory
solvents/oils from the bore, the rifle was sighted for 200 yards, using Weatherby factory
ammunition containing the 200-grain Nosler Partition. Often rifles of this nature will
shoot almost as well at 200 yards as they do at 100 yards, due to bullet instability. In
other words, the bullet is not fully stable at 100 yards but usually is at 200 or even 300
yards, and groups are almost as tight at the longer distances as they are at 100 yards.
After the scope was adjusted and the barrel cooled, the first group, consisting of five
shots, went into 1.3 inches.
The next load tried was the
180-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip, which managed to place five shots into 1.15 inches. This
load placed three shots at 300 yards under 2 inches.
Before trying the last factory load
with a 180-grain Barnes X-Bullet, the barrel was completely cleaned using Bore Tech
Industries Copper Remover. While there are many good products of this type, this is the
best one I have used, as it removes all copper in just a few minutes with minimal
brushing. Three shots were then fired to foul the bore and the barrel allowed to cool once
more. (Yes, it does heat up in a hurry.)
The first three shots landed inside
an inch at 200 yards, while the last shot opened it up and was probably my fault. This
Idaho summer has been unusually hot, and even in the shade, guns remain hot for long
periods, so I fired another group without allowing the barrel to cool. The first three
shots went into less than .5 inch while the fourth shot opened the group to 1.45 inches.
The supply of factory fodder was depleted, which was unfortunate. I would like to have
tried another group with this load, but from a cool barrel.
Velocities of the above factory
loads can be seen in the accompanying table. I was amazed and maybe a bit surprised at the
low extreme spreads that were observed with this cartridge in both factory loads and
handloads. The 180-grain factory loads gave less than 25 fps extreme spreads for a
five-shot string. Handloads containing Hodgdon H-1000 and Alliant Reloder 25 produced
Several handloads were assembled
using 168-grain Barnes XLCs (coated X-Bullets) and the new 168-grain Triple-Shocks, as
well as 180- and 200-grain Nosler Partitions and 180-grain Nosler Ballistic Tips. At
.30-378 velocities, this latter bullet is so frangible that it is best as a varmint round,
while the other bullets should have the integrity for taking big game.
Slow-burning propellants, such as
Reloder 25, H-1000, IMR-7828 and AAC-8700, can equal or even exceed the velocities of the
factory loads. These powders also gave reasonable extreme spread variations and good
overall accuracy. My supply of H-870 and H-50BMG was running low, so these powders werent
tried, but reports indicate they also produce excellent results in this big .30-caliber
Of the handloads tried, I was
impressed with 107 grains of RL-25 with a 180-grain Nosler Partition, which produced 3,438
fps and grouped into 1.4 inches at 200 yards. Early indications are that it is grouping at
just a shade over 2 inches at 300 yards. Another load that shot slightly better consisted
of 109 grains of RL-25 with the 168-grain Barnes XLC for 3,505 fps and 1.1-inch, 200-yard
groups. While H-1000 was only tried with the 180-grain Nosler Partition, it demonstrated
low extreme spreads, and Im sure that with further load development it will give
Handloads listed in the accompanying
chart should be considered maximum, so start a few grains below these loads and work up
carefully watching for signs of excess pressure. Incidentally, great savings can be
recognized through handloading the .30-378, and high performance loads are not difficult
Recoil with the Accubrake installed
is mild-mannered but quick. Almost anyone should be able to fire this rifle without
discomfort. Weatherby claims the Accubrake reduces recoil up to 53 percent. Out of
curiosity, I fired a shot, removed the brake and installed the barrel thread cap then
fired again. Recoil was noticeably increased, but by how much I have no idea. It is still
a long way from being uncomfortable, as the weight of the rifle and scope certainly help
tame it. (It should be pointed out that muzzle blast is significant with the Accubrake
installed.) Another factor that makes this gun pleasant to shoot is the adjustable stock,
which when set up specifically for the shooter, helps reduce felt recoil.
Obviously this latest Mark V and the .30-378
are specialized tools for long-range work - a job they do very well.