|May - June 2001
Volume 33, Number
This issue is only available on CD-ROM.Larry Brace created this custom Winchester Model 70 .270 WCF. Purchase the CD-ROM here
Weatherby always seems to do it
right. Call it pride, call it passion - to proudly make the best around and with a deep
devotion to keep it that way. So it was with the annual writers seminar on new
products held at the Buffalo Horn Ranch in Meeker, Colorado. In the West where the hunting
is at its finest and with a location to match, hosts Ed Weatherby, Brad Ruddell and their
team went out of their way to provide a beautiful setting for work and play.
Last year the hit of this working
seminar was a new rifle called the Super VarmintMaster - a small game rifle complete with
a tan colored synthetic stock, Krieger barrel and a factory tuned trigger with a sear
engagement preset between .012 and .015 inch. This year a companion to this short-action
rifle was brought on line. Called the Super PredatorMaster (SPM), it is lighter in weight
and designed for the hunter on the move.
With a weight of 6 1/2 pounds, it
features a blackened, stainless steel Krieger Criterion button-rifled, fluted- type barrel
profiled in a Weatherby No. 2 contour. It is free floated in the stock, has an 11-degree
spherical target crown to enhance accuracy and is 24 inches long to maximize accuracy and
velocity from a wide range of cartridges to include the .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington,
.243 Winchester, 7mm-08 Remington and .308 Winchester. For mobility, all have a
five-plus-one round magazine capacity except the .22-250 Remington which is four plus one.
Also interesting is the barrel on
the SPM has been cryogenically treated to -300 degrees Fahrenheit to stress relieve the
finished product before installation on the receiver. This barrel has six flutes to
lighten its entire length and to enhance heat dissipation; the bore is honed to reduce
fouling and maintain accuracy over extended varmint shooting sessions.
The SPM features the newer
lightweight (read shorter) action that incorporates only six locking lugs instead of the
customary nine we usually associate with the larger Mark V action. This newer stock
technology, including a hybrid composite stock and a CNC-machined aluminum bedding plate,
stiffens the receiver area of the stock. To finish off the SPM, a Pachmayr Decelerator pad
is installed on the butt, and the stock color is tan with black spider webbing. Suggested
retail will be around $1,400.
During one of our working
field sessions, fellow staffer and friend Ron Spomer and I put it to the test by ambushing
a few ground squirrels here and there from behind an old barn and will both swear to this
new varmint rifles effectiveness and accuracy. At a later date back home, I compared
it to last years star performer, the Super VarmintMaster. Both are chambered for the
.22-250 Remington, so the comparisons were pretty easy to follow.
Both were tested at 100 yards,
three-shot groups with a five-minute pause between groups. With a sampling of five
different types of commercial ammunition that proved the most accurate in the SVM, the end
results went like this:
|40 Federal Sierra Varminter HP
40 Hornady Varmint Express (moly)
50 Hornady Varmint Express (moly)
Federal Sierra GameKing BTHP
55 Sako softpoint
Even taking into account that the
SPM has a lighter, more tapered barrel, varmint hunting with this rifle would prove to be
a joy, especially with the heavier weight bullets in the 55-grain category, which it seems
to embrace. Handloads can take the accuracy up to the SVM, but all points considered, this
new rifle will indeed make a fine addition to any hunt.
Next up we have the reintroduction of the
famed Weatherby FiberMark, a rifle developed by the company in 1983 to include a synthetic
stock. At the time it was introduced, Roy Weatherby called his sons idea nothing but
an ugly stock (quoted now from the Weatherby book by Grits and Tom Gresham),
but upon young Eds persistence, the older and wiser father let it go into
production. Obviously, the rest is history as synthetic stocks of all types swept the
market in the 1990s and into the immediate millennium.
Available in two models, this
all-weather rifle is now made in a bead blasted matte blue model and a 410 series
stainless steel bead blasted matte finished rifle they will call the FiberMark SS.
Sporting a true composite stock, total weight of this reintroduction is around 6 3/4
pounds (sans scope) with a barrel length of 24 inches in standard cartridges. The magnum
action checks in at 8 1/2 pounds complete with the longer, more magnum length barrel of 26
Currently, the cartridge list for
the standard action includes the .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, .240 Weatherby,
.25-06 Remington, .270 Winchester, .280 Remington, 7mm-08 Remington, .308 Winchester and
.30-06. Magnum actions will be available in .257, .270, 7mm, .300, .340 and .30-378
Weatherby Magnums as well as the 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 and .338 Winchester Magnums
and .375 Holland & Holland. Right-hand actions only, the retail on the FiberMark will
price from about $749 to $1,199 depending upon model and action length.
The new Mark V rifle for dangerous
game joins the 2001 product line. Brad Ruddell, vice president of sales and marketing,
told us this new rifle “is based on the huge success of the Outfitter model as well
as customer demand” for such a no-nonsense hunting rifle aimed at professional
hunters and guides of big game hunts in the field.
Main features of this
large-caliber-only rifle is the composite stock that consists of a marriage between Kevlar
and fiberglass. The stock also has a Weatherby-styled monte carlo profile that is pillar
bedded for accuracy. There is a Decelerator pad, the action sports a 24-inch barrel plus
an adjustable ramp, shallow V rear sight and a front sight secured by the traditional
barrel band. There is also a barrel band front swivel. This hefty rifle checks in between
8 and 9 pounds depending upon caliber. The magazine capacity is three plus one for the
.375 H&H, .375 Weatherby, .416 Remington and the .458 Winchester. Larger calibers like
the .378, .416 or .460 Weatherbys have a two-plus-one capacity. At press time the retail
price was not set.
Finally, in traditional centerfire
rifles and for those who might crave something a little different, a Mark V
Ultra-Lightweight rifle has been chambered in the .338-06 A-Square cartridge. The rifle
has a 24-inch barrel, weighs 6 pounds and includes a chrome moly receiver, weight reducing
flutes on the bolt and a “skeletonized” bolt handle and sleeve. Even the
follower and floorplate are made from weight reducing lightweight alloy to further reduce
weight. The stock has the Weatherby monte-carlo design and is hand laminated for
all-weather, all-continent use. Fifty Norma unprimed cases are included in the overall
package. For match grade performance, all the primer pockets in this brass have been CNC
machined for close tolerances.
Moving on to centerfire ammunition, Weatherby
announced that a new 180-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip has been added to the .300 and .30-378
Weatherby Magnum cartridges. Muzzle velocity is quoted at 3,240 fps for the .300
Weatherby, 3,450 fps for the .30-378 Weatherby.
The real surprise came when Ruddell
showed us Weatherbys new C/M.O.A (Carbon/Minute of Angle) rifle. Weatherby is by no
means the last to enter the carbon craze, but it will be the first to actually guarantee
subminute(less than an inch) accuracy at 100 yards. One important item that should be
mentioned is the barrel has a sporting taper to it for a very traditional look. Gone is
that heavy, heavy barrel varmint type look as seen on other brands; on this new rifle they
have managed to get the taper down by using a 4140 chrome moly steel liner encased by a
carbon fiber matrix. Weatherby is using a very experienced outside vendor for this project
- so well versed in ballistics, velocities and military operations they have pushed the
velocity envelope up to 10,000 fps out of experimental barrels! Not sporting use now, only
This rifle will again feature a
composite stock, finished in black with tan spider webbing. Even with a full-length magnum
action and a barrel length of 26 inches, the total rifle will weigh around 6 1/2 pounds.
Right-hand action only, chambered in .257, .270, 7mm and .300 Weatherby Magnums, it will
retail for around $1,900. Delivery is slated for the third quarter of 2001, and I already
have one on order for some serious testing between it and conventional rifles of the same
In shotgun news, the popular Athena
Grade III Classic over and under will now be available in 28 gauge. The receiver features
gold game scenes; the stock is oil-finished, hand-selected Claro walnut with intricate
hand checkering. The gun has a rounded pistol grip and a slender forearm for a quicker
response in the field. Barrels are limited to either 26 or 28 inches, have a ventilated
rib and all come with the Weatherby version of choke tubes called Integral
Multi-Choke (IMC), supplied by Briley.
As a finale, we learned Weatherby is
going into the clothing business, and Wade Krinke of Soft Goods gave us the run down.
Designed for big game hunters and waterfowl enthusiasts, this line utilizes a DuPont
Hytrel membrane to unite waterproofing and breathability with movement and comfort.
Designed as a complete system, Weatherby will use the popular Mossy Oak brand camo pattern
on big game outfits and the Mossy Oak Shadow Grass on the waterfowl attire. While there
are just too many features to detail here, much more can be gleaned at its web site at www.weatherby.com; or for more information, write to
Weatherby, 3100 El Camino Real, Atascadero CA 93422.