The .300 Weatherby Magnum is still one of the fastest rounds on the planet.
In the world of long range big game hunting cartridges, speed is everything these days. Users are constantly looking for a flat shooting rifle cartridge with minimal drop at a distance. And while there are plenty of rounds that have come out in the last 20 years or so that offer that, there is something to be said for looking farther back to the past.
Perhaps that's why many hunters are rediscovering the .300 Weatherby Magnum these days. This hunting cartridge is one of the fastest .30 calibers on the planet and is deadly on whitetails, mule deer, and pronghorn antelope.
It's the ideal long range hunting round for open states like Colorado or Wyoming where a fast round with minimal bullet drop is needed. So, let's re-examine the .300 Weatherby Mag and look at some of the best rifles on the market today for this old and reliable cartridge.
300 Weatherby Magnum the round.
Designed by legendary gunmaker Roy Weatherby all the way back in 1944. He developed this round the same year he designed the 257 Weatherby. He was big on wildcatting and used the mighty .300 H&H Magnum as a parent case. Weatherby changed the shoulder significantly in designing the .300 Mag. We could go into further technical details, but all you really need to know is he gave this round his signature double radius shoulder which made his new wildcat round much faster and more powerful.
One thing we should mention right off the bat is the recoil. They don't call it a magnum for nothing. The 300 Weatherby cartridge is known for being brutal on the shoulder, necessitating the need for a good recoil pad or muzzle brake, even better, both. In some cases a heavier rifle may be preferable to help mitigate some of the kick. We've read many stories of shooters who didn't know quite what they were getting into when buying a 300 Magnum rifle only to have buyer's remorse later, so it's best to know what you're getting yourself into right off the bat. This rifle has been the cause of many cases of "scope eye" over the decades it has been on the market.
So, why would anyone want to grit through such heavy recoil? Well, it's all about speed and power. This round is a screamer. We're talking about 3,350 fps at the muzzle and 3,100 fps at 100 yards using 165-grain ballistic tips. Weatherby says you can get a muzzle velocity of 3,232 fps with their 180-grain Barnes TTSX bullets that is still travelling 3,051 fps at 100 yards. Even a 200-grain Nosler Accubond is still going 3,075 fps at the muzzle and 2,910 fps at 100 yards. This results in minimal drop and more accurate shots. In most cases the drop in trajectory is just over an inch and a half at 100 yards. The good news is almost every manufacturer makes factory ammo for this round these days. And just about all deliver great ballistics. Expect 2,866 fps from 180-grain Remington Core-Lokts.
The ability to use those heavier bullet weights does give this round some stopping ability for larger game like elk too. A factory round like the 200-grain bullets from Hornady ELD-X Precision hunter are doing 2,960 fps at the muzzle and 2,804 fps at 100 yards while delivering up to 3,491-foot pounds of energy to the target.
Of course, the place where the 300 Weatherby Mag has really gained a fan base is among reloading enthusiasts. It's not uncommon to hear about handloaded rounds getting 3,500 fps or more. If anything, the round has gotten faster since its introduction in 1944 as powder quality has improved. About the only reason you do not hear about the 300 wby more is probably because many people gravitate towards the 7mm Rem Mag, 300 Winchester Magnum, and 300 Remington Ultra Magnum instead. Now, let's have a look at some of the guns being made for this round.
Weatherby Mark V Hunter
Arguably one of the most popular guns ever built for the 300 Weatherby Mag, the Mark V is available in dozens of different variations. We like the Mark V Hunter for the serious big game hunter though. It has a 26-inch carbon steel barrel with a 1:10 twist rate and a carbon fiber stock with a 3DHEX recoil pad that's going to help tame some of the kick. This rifle comes in at 7.3 pounds, which is going to also help with recoil while not making it too heavy to lug into the backcountry. The Mark V rifles come with a sub-MOA guarantee at 100 yards. Weatherby fluted bolt, which has a 54-degree throw for faster cycling. This gun also comes from the factory with a Cerakote coating to help protect from the elements. We also appreciate that Weatherby includes a left hand model for all the southpaws who may have difficulty finding firearms tailored to them.
Weatherby Vanguard Weatherguard
As the name implies, this one is built with the elements in mind and comes at an extremely affordable price point of $799 MSRP. The Vanguards have cold hammer forged barrels with a Cerakote finish on all the metal components. The length here is 26 inches and the rate of twist is 1:10. There is a little customization possible here thanks to the forend and pistol grip inserts included with the Monte Carlo Griptonite stock. These guns come with a match grade two-stage trigger and have the same sub-MOA guarantee when using factory premium ammo that all Weatherbys are know for.
Weatherby Vanguard First Lite
This rifle has many of the same features as the Weatherguard including the same barrel length and twist rate. This rifle features First Lite Fusion camo instead and a dark earth Cerakota finish to protect from the elements. However, this one has a few other features that make it worth the extra couple hundred dollars. Most notable here is the Accubrake muzzle brake system that will help to tame that hard recoil. This rifle is also a hair lighter than the Weatherguard, which makes it a bit more suited towards long hikes deep into the backcountry.
Weatherby Mark V Accumark Elite
For anyone looking for the ultimate in accuracy, the Mark V Accumark Elite will probably check all the boxes. This rifle has an Accubrake ST which Weatherby says reduces felt recoil up to 53%, important for a hard kicking round like 300 Wby. This rifle has a 26-inch barrel with a 1:10 twist rate. This rifle features a Cerakote H-Series coating to help protect the gun. There is some additional functionality in the ergonomics thanks to the adjustable comb system and extended bolt knob. This rifle also comes with a TriggerTech zero-creep breaking trigger system to help keep those shots on track at long range.
Weatherby Vanguard Laminate Sporter
For the hunter who is looking for a 300 Wby in more of a classic look. This rifle hasa Boyds laminate stock with a nutmeg finish. It does not add too much to the weight either. This version only weighs 7.5 pounds. The 26-inch barrel is cold hammer forged. We also dig the price, which Weatherby somehow managed to keep under $1,000 MSRP.
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