Saturday, December 03, 2005

What (little) I know about Weatherby

As I recently posted, with accomanying crappy pictures, that I had purchased a LH Sako rifle, imported by Magnum Research, and chambered in .340 Weatherby Magnum. Glass bedding, Krieger barrel, etc. etc. I feel sorry for the poor fuck who had to sell it.

My reasons for buying this gun were varied. I have always heard the Sako action touted as the best commercial production action a shooter could purchase. Additionally, when Joe Huffman came down to Albuquerque and shot with me and the old man before Boomershoot last year, he said his .300 Weatherby Magnum was his best long range rifle and what he would recommend it for consistent detonation. (Correction: Joe shoots a .300 Winchester Magnum. My fuck up, memory-wise.)

Well, when I first saw the rifle, I refrained. I spent about a week fretting. I looked at ammo prices and shit. Finally I gave in and bought it.

As far as ammo, I reasoned that once I was sitting on a lot of brass I could come up with a good match load. There are two options: buy brass or buy commercial ammo and shoot it empty.

ASIDE: This is one of those calibers (like the .270) that seems to be ideal for match shooting, having some characteristics that exceed those of the .308 favored by so many, including the military. As far as I've seen, you can't buy match ammo. Only big game hunting loads. WTF?

I bought my first batch of 40 off of Midway. At 55 clams for a box of 20, this was some expensive shit.

The first (and only, so far) shooting session went well. The muzzle break stopped the beast from kicking the shit out my shoulder and we had a pretty good 100 yard zero within 6 shots. Even my brother, who basically only shoots .223 in rifle, took a shot and gonged it at 200 and afterwards said the recoil wasn't that bad compared to what he anticipated. It shoots like a champ.

The following day I looked at brass prices and shit once again. On fucking dollar per case basically.

I resorted to the commercial ammo approach, as that would also give me something to compare my reloads to.

For several weeks I lovingly prepped the 40 cases I had shot. I spoke with the military guy I shoot with sometimes and he explained the "radial" shoulder that Weatherby cases have that make them unique from other shouldered cases. A week and a half ago I was ready to charge and load. The die I had purchased was fucked, though. Somehow the retaining ring was cross-threaded and wouldn't budge.

I immediately overnighted a new seating die and the day it came in, I quickly fucked the entire lot of 40 cases I had.

I failed to calibrate the die correctly, and despite the fact that the OAL was matching factory rounds, they failed to chamber in my rifle.

What had occurred was that I had crushed the shoulders on all of the cases and failed to notice. I think this precludes the possibility of chambering, regardless of the length of any component.

That's $40 worth of brass down the tubes. I've got 40 more rounds to fire through and I will try it again. A single picture above.

h/t to David at RNS for making me think of this post. His Weatherby should be on the way.

Yup, made the final (ouch) payment last week and should see it within a week or so. Then I have to wait ten days, no thanks to my wonderful legislators. THEN I get to join you in painful-ammo-price land.

Still cheaper than a Lapua, though.
I'm sorry to inform you of this but I have a .300 Winchester Magnum--not Wheatherby Magnum. I can't say as I know anything at all about the Wheatherby. Sorry for the communication failure.

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