Rifle Review: The Hard-Hitting .257 Weatherby Magnum

When I went searching for a .257 Weatherby, I chose the Weatherby Vanguard MOA rifle. With a suggested retail price of right around a grand, the rifle itself is a heck of a deal for such an accurate, high-quality factory rifle.

This nice 10-point Coues deer was taken  at 350 yards in January 2012 in Chihuahua, Mexico with the .257 Wby. Mag. and Robb’s handloads.

This nice 10-point Coues deer was taken  at 350 yards in January 2012 in Chihuahua, Mexico with the .257 Wby. Mag. and Robb’s handloads.

Mine features a pillar-bedded Fiberguard composite stock with a Monte Carlo raised cheek piece and nonslip black spider-webbing, stainless steel metalwork bead blasted to a matte finish, and Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad; it weighs in at 7 ¾ lbs. unscoped and unloaded.

Best of all, like all MOA rifles, it is guaranteed to shoot three shots into less than one inch at 100 yards using specified Weatherby factory or premium ammunition. I added Millet scope mounts, a 4-16X Nikon Monarch riflescope and Butler Creek sling, and this rifle is just what the doctor ordered for hunting where shots just might be “way out there.” And though a big load when it goes off, recoil is almost nonexistent.

Handloads for the .257

I spent a lot of time working up loads for this rifle—while I love Weatherby factory ammo, it is a bit pricey for somebody who likes to shoot a lot—and finally settled on a load of 70 grains of IMR 7828, either the 110-grain Nosler AccuBond or 115-grain Nosler Ballistic Tip bullet, and CCI 250 primer.

Both of these loads produce consistent 3-shot groups of about ½-inch at 100 yards, and allow me to ring an 8-inch metal gong pretty much every shot out to 500 yards.

The .257 Weatherby Magnum will never be one of the country’s top 10 best-selling hunting cartridges, nor should it be. It is a specialty cartridge designed for long-range shooting at small- and medium-sized big game.

For that task, it is an excellent choice.

This article appeared in the April 8, 2013 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.


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