In 2018, Weatherby Inc., maker of premier firearms and ammunition, will relocate from California to Sheridan, Wyo. It’s a big move for the company, which was founded in 1945 by Roy Weatherby in South Gate, Calif.
With Weatherby’s attention to detail and high standards for quality, the company quickly built its reputation on innovation, craftsmanship, reliability, and safety, and are now known in hunting circles throughout the world for their finely crafted rifles and hyper-velocity magnum cartridges that combine power and accuracy.
The move to a new custom manufacturing facility and company headquarters in Sheridan will begin a new chapter in the company’s illustrious history. With an abundance of wildlife and thousands of acres of publicly-accessible hunting lands and nearly limitless avenues for outdoor recreation—hunting, shooting, fishing, camping, hiking, backpacking, snowmobiling, to name a few—Weatherby will feel at home.
How It Began
A lifelong inventor, tinkerer, and thinker, Roy Weatherby grew up hunting rabbits and squirrels and drawing on his hunting experience as he set out to get better performance from the rifles and ammunition then available. Many hunting cartridges and rifles of the day owed their existence to military technology. In fact, by the mid-1940s, most hunters were using calibers with military heritage and many of the cartridges were designed with relatively heavy bullets propelled downrange at moderate speeds.
Convinced ammunition could be more accurate, made to shoot faster, flatter, and hit harder, Weatherby, an insurance salesman at the time, focused his passion on cartridge performance, meticulously studying and designing and taking notes to develop wildcat cartridges, cartridges with performance beyond that of common loads of the day.
He started by turning the popular heavy-bullet notion on its head, believing lightweight bullets propelled at super-fast speeds would provide the ideal combination of accuracy and high impact on target.
Always a hunter at heart, Weatherby was convinced the combination of light weight and high speeds would create the hydrostatic shock to kill animals quickly and humanely, the goal of all ethical hunters.
Weatherby set in motion a number of cartridge innovations, particularly Weatherby Magnum cartridges, such as the still popular Weatherby Magnums 224, 240, 257, 270, 7mm, 300, 30-378, 340, 338-378, 375, 378, 416, and 460.
But what to do with all that power? Most rifles in use in the early days of Weatherby’s developments weren’t built to handle such powerful cartridges. Undeterred, Weatherby designed and built his own rifles, rifles chambered to match his innovative cartridges. First, he rechambered other actions to fit his needs but by 1957 he produced his own rifle action, the innovative and strong Mark V, built to handle the tremendous power of his ground-breaking cartridges. The Mark V is known today as among the strongest actions available.
Weatherby’s eye for stylish and distinctive design also set his rifles apart, and soon the hunting and shooting world were clamoring for Weatherby rifles and ammunition.
In 1970, Weatherby again caught the attention of the hunting and shooting world with the introduction of his Vanguard line of rifles, considered among the best choices for someone looking for a first rifle or adding an accurate Weatherby caliber to their rifle lineup.
The Next Generations
In 1983, Ed Weatherby, Roy’s son, assumed leadership of Weatherby, Inc., and the company continued its growth and expansion, producing additional models in both the Mark V and Vanguard lines, including the Camilla line, designed especially for women, and the ultra-poplar Vanguard Series 2 rifle, with guaranteed sub-MOA accuracy.
Not all shooters will recall that Weatherby, in the 1980s, was the first company to feature synthetic stocks in production rifles. Weatherby also offers a full line of semi-automatic, pump, and over/under shotguns.
In 2017, Adam Weatherby, Ed’s son, took the reins of the company and the history of Weatherby embarks on its next chapter.
Building Your Own Weatherby Rifle
Though there are dozens of Weatherby rifle configurations to meet virtually all needs and conditions, you can personally design your own Weatherby rifle, customizing it through a simple ordering process to create an authentic custom Weatherby built to your exact specifications, so your Weatherby is truly one-of-a-kind yours.
Weatherby smooths the road to your custom Weatherby through its Custom Configurator (check it out at custom.weatherby.com), which leads you through the process step by step. Essentially, you choose the barreled action and the stock to fit your specifications and then the features you want to add.
Okay. Here’s how easy it is, step by step:
1. Pick either of Weatherby’s platforms as a basis—Vanguard or Mark V.
2. There’s a choice of precision equipment, such as Krieger Barrels, to consider.
3. If you want a lightweight backcountry rifle, choose to add weight-reducing flutes to the barrel, or if you’re looking for a precision rifle for consistent shot-after-shot accuracy in the field or on the bench, you should consider a heavier barrel.
4. Stock design, materials, and patterns, including camo patterns, deserve careful consideration to assure your rifle fits you.
5. Choose different colors of Cerakote to add a unique look as well as provide all-weather protection for all metal parts.
6. Choose from features like a drop-box magazine, muzzlebrake, and custom bolt knob—and you can pick individual Cerakote colors for each, so you can mix or match for a custom color look.
And that’s all there is to it. Check it out at custom.weatherby.com