Imagine a fighter plane designed in 1944¹ that
could still hold the top speed record in 2009. That is pretty much the story
with the .257 Weatherby Magnum. Considering all of the
cartridges that have faded over the years, their performance
eclipsed by something newer, it is extraordinary that the
.257 Weatherby is still top dog in production .257" cartridge velocity.
The .257 Weatherby is one of those big benchmark
cartridges used by manufacturers to identify how fast their
cartridges almost are; i.e. the 25 WSSM almost duplicates the
velocity of the .257 Weatherby Magnum. The problem is that the
"almost" cartridges are typically slower and operating flat out
whereas the .257 Weatherby has more potential to tap.
Years ago, it was not uncommon to find
manufacturers, other than Weatherby, offering firearms chambered
for this cartridge. Unfortunately, this has not been the case
for some time, so it's good to see Remington add the .257
Weatherby Magnum to the list of available cartridges for their
Model 700 CDL. This is actually quite a big deal.
Weatherby offers a number of version of the
Weatherby Mark V in .257
Weatherby. The price tag is in the neighborhood of $1,500 -
$2,000 through most price competitive gun shops. These are 26" barrel
guns that will deliver published .257 Weatherby ballistics. OEM
versions of Howa rifles are
sold under the Weatherby Vanguard brand and priced between $399
and $900, however, none of these models have Mark V actions and
barrel length is reduced to 24" which significantly
diminishes the .257 Weatherby Magnum's performance.
Remington Model 700 CDL has a 26" barrel and it is routinely
priced in the $975 range. That's an excellent value; a well
finished walnut and stainless steel firearm, the Model
700's inherent accuracy and the .257 Weatherby cartridge
operating at full performance. The Remington is an
interesting blend of scorching magnum cartridge performance and
a very attractive traditional American sporter look.
Hardware and woodwork...subtle but substantial
In a side by side comparison, the differences between the Weatherby and
Remington models are subtle, but more than a few. The trigger guard bow of the
Remington is larger in diameter; top to bottom 1.25" for the
Remington, 1" for the Weatherby. Additionally, the Weatherby
floorplate release is at the bottom of the bow where there is
greater opportunity for it to be depressed accidentally by a
gloved hand. Both use aluminum for bottom metal.
The Remington's bolt is released for
removal with the little tab just above the floor plate release.
The Weatherby's bolt is released for removal by depressing the
gun's trigger with the bolt in the aft position.
Bolts, the strength of marketing...
firearms are push feed, no giant Mauser claw dragging in the
receiver, which only preclude shooting from the less than traditional upside
down position. The Weatherby has its
nine lug, interrupted thread breech locking approach, the
Remington has its two opposing lugs. The Weatherby
behaves like a three lug gun and unlocks with 54° of rotation. The Remington,
as a two lug design, unlocks with 90° of rotation.
The Weatherby looks like a bank vault lock up,
however, each of the nine lugs in this radial tri lug
layout have an axial length of 0.150" so, in aggregate,
each set of three lugs has an axial length of 0.450". Each lug on the Remington is a
solid 0.450". Two sets of the Weatherby's lugs are 0.315" wide,
however, on the row adjacent to the extractor, the lugs are
0.225". The Weatherby's total lug width is 0.855", the
Remington's is 0.880". Current Weatherby Ultra Lightweight
models have a six lug bolt rather than nine.
Both firearms utilize a 1¹/16"
x 16 threaded barrel shank. The
Remington front action ring that contains and supports the
barrel threads is actually larger in diameter at 1.364" than the
Weatherby Mark V at 1.348". Both bolts' faces enclose a
cartridge's case head and they both tout their "three rings of
steel" cartridge containment. The Mark V has a larger diameter
bolt body and the strength of a column, vertical or horizontal
orientation, is established by the smallest diameter. The
Weatherby's bolt diameter at the lug section measures 0.715",
the Remington's bolt body is uniformly 0.697" for an 0.018"
difference. I will put myself out here by saying the diverging
approaches are interesting, but for the most part, not
If I accept the engineering philosophy
behind the Mark V design, the work done in differentiating it
from the typical twin lug set up is directed at resistance to
bolt thrust, not containment of pressure, and bolt thrust is not
a significant factor with the .257 Weatherby cartridge. Support
for this comment can be found in Weatherby's decision to also
chamber their twin lug bolt action Vanguard line for Weatherby
cartridges through to the .300 Weatherby Magnum. I believe this
makes the expensive Mark V action somewhat superfluous in a .257
Weatherby Magnum application. Basically, we have two
manufacturers arriving at very strong actions from two different
directions with no resonating note of strength superiority. More
importantly, both bolts are pretty fancy. The Weatherby bolt is
fluted, the Remington bolt is jeweled, both are vented to keep
gases away from the shooters face and hands in the event of a
fractured case or blown primer.
Weatherby forearm has a trapezoidal cross section, not unlike a
varmint rifle, only more narrow. The Remington's stock is rounded,
black capped and tastefully enhanced with cut
20 LPI checkering.
While the Weatherby stock looks wider, they are
both approximately 1.50" wide. Both manufacturers float their
barrels with contact limited to the risers near the forend tips
as seen - above left. The Weatherby pressure point is 8 ¾" from the
front of the receiver, the Remington's is 7 ¼. Interesting how
the different lengths tune to the similar barrel
harmonics. Maybe the benefit of limited contact is to remove
effects of random and unintentional pressure points along the
Remington's wood stock is cleanly inletted and fully
sealed, even on surfaces obscured by the installed barrel and action.
Recoil is absorbed at the fastener locations, at
contact surfaces, the action's
recoil lug engagement, and support from two functional cross bolts. Weatherby did a nice job with
stock. Generally speaking, fiberglass stocks are softer than
wood and lack wood's resistance to stress and compression. Consequently, they are
typically not seen on sporting rifles where they would take a
repeated or very heavy beating from recoil. The solution for
rifles chambered for magnum cartridges has been to embed a stout
aluminum frame into the fiberglass and this becomes the platform
for mating the barreled action to the stock. This is also the
approach taken by Weatherby for their Mark V Accumark rifles. I was surprised to find that with designs and configurations so different, they both
end up weighing 1 lb 13 oz.
we have a not so subtle difference. The Remington has a traditionally
cut stock with little drop at the heel and little rise at the
comb. The length of pull is 13 ½", the drop at the comb where
contact is made with the face is 1 ¹/8"
and drop at the heel is 1³/8".
The stock is capped with a Remington Super Cell recoil pad.
The Weatherby pull is 13 5/8", the drop at the
comb is only ⅛" as the Monte Carlo is
The drop at the heel is 1 ½". The geometry is quite
exaggerated. The practical difference to me is that the
Weatherby stock design tends to redirect more of the recoil away
from the shooters shoulder, but
adds muzzle rise. The Remington comes
straight back under recoil and the muzzle tends to remain on
People love to tell stories regarding ferocious
Weatherby recoil and I do think it is humorous when someone
tells a story about getting slapped around by a .240 Weatherby
Magnum. I've owned and shot Weatherbys up to and including the .416 Weatherby and I have to say I have found the
stocks, in regard to recoil management, very good. If you put
a hundred foot pounds of recoil through a lightweight rifle,
something not nice is going to happen, still I have never felt beat up after a range
session with a Weatherby. Big Weatherby cartridge muzzle blast is a different
story, but one that does not apply to the moderate .257
Years ago I had a problem with Remington M700
BDL recoil when chambered for magnum cartridges. I have not had
such an issue with Remington rifles
since I changed to the CDL type of product and other similar straight
comb Remington models. I have shot heavy Ultra Mag versions and
lightweight Remington mountain rifles where the recoil
seems negligible, even when shooting from the bench. Subjectively,
I like the more traditional lines of the Remington as The
Weatherby look has been around too long and appears a little
"tired" even though it is Weatherby's signature. More objectively, the straight stock design of
the Remington is easier for me to more quickly and accurately place follow up shots.
A little less conversation, a little more
The Remington's action is tubular whereas the
Weatherby has a flat bottom at the front of the receiver and an
integral recoil lug much like a Winchester Model 70. Generally,
it is easier to keep mechanical parts in alignment along a
longitudinal axis when they
are a series of concentric cylindrical parts as opposed to
aligning parts of varying geometric shapes and mass. Weatherby has a three shot group
accuracy guarantee of 1½", which is less than exciting for a
premium production rifle. It's like saying, "Buy this expensive
suit. It will almost fit". I have not had a Weatherby
that could not be handloaded and tweaked to much better
performance than as delivered, so I am not suggesting they are
inherently inaccurate. Remington's tend to shoot
tight groups right out of the box, even with factory loaded
ammo. I have a 7mm Remington Magnum M700 BDL that is...seven or
eight hundred years old and it still shoots sub MOA three shot groups.