Flat, Hard Hitting, and Accurate: Weatherby Releases 6.5-300

By Ace Luciano published on in General

The plan was to take my wife on a romantic getaway up the coast of California. Mother nature had other plans, though. A rockslide consisting of millions of cubic feet of mountain had not only covered U.S, Highway 1, it added over 15 acres to the California coastline by filling in the ocean. What to do? Looking on the map, I noted that the detour route would take us right through Paso Robles, California—home of the last and arguably most storied firearm manufacturer in the state, Weatherby Rifles.

Weatherby 6.5-.300 banner

A quick call to the factory set up my visit.

Open Country

Less than 100 yards from Weatherby headquarters is open pasture and hills as far as you can see. It is wide-open country where an accurate, flat-shooting rifle would be of great value to the sportsman. It is easy to see where, at least part, of the genius of Roy Weatherby came from. A name revered in the minds of many big game hunters and riflemen for the past 70 or so years, Weatherby’s motto is “Nothing shoots flatter, hits harder, or is more accurate.” I have always been a fan of Weatherby rifles and, after my visit to Weatherby’s factory, I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree.

Back in the day, the success and performance of a bullet on wild game was largely a result of two factors—size and speed. Most bullets were made of lead, therefore, shooting a larger bullet at a faster rate equaled more success on game—and especially so against large or dangerous game. There came a point, however, where the increased velocity was such that the lead bullet was propelled at such velocity it would “skip the lands” or fragment—at best, it was a decreasing performance as velocity increased  beyond a certain point.

With the advent of smokeless powders allowing substantially increased velocity, there was quite the dilemma in projectile performance. The invention of the jacketed bullet by the Swiss in the late 1880s helped to solve this problem. By placing a jacket of copper over a lead core, both velocity and overall accuracy of firearms increased. The process and development of bullets entered a steep curve of improvements, with “bonding” processes and new chemicals and alloys producing the most durable bullets ever seen. This led to great advancements in rifle performance and accuracy.

Display of Weatherby rifle cartridges

Roy Weatherby, however, took rifle performance to a much higher level.

One of Roy’s favorite things to do was to wildcat cartridges. He would take an existing cartridge, change the dimensions, use a smaller bullet in a larger case, and see what results he could produce. In the beginning, the .300 H&H was the parent case and modified to become the .300 and .375 Weatherby Magnum. The now slightly shortened .300 Weatherby case—with smaller bullets—became the .257, .270, and 7mm  Weatherbys. The last caliber to use that casing was the .340 Weatherby Magnum. As history progressed, Weatherby added the .224, .240, .378, and .460 Weatherby Magnum. Around the early 1960s, Roy began tinkering with a 6.5mm bullet. More on that later.

Finally, after Roy Weatherby passed, under the leadership of his son, Roy E. Weatherby,  The .416 Weatherby Magnum, .30–.378 and .33–.378 Weatherby Magnum came to be, despite  having been in development for years. In the case of the .30–378, (1959) and .33-.378 (1960), official factory ammo launches resulted in 1995 and 1998. It would be almost 20 years before the next caliber product launch.

The 6.5 Creedmoor

In 2007, Hornady released the 6.5 Creedmoor—a new take on an old caliber that proved to have tremendous accuracy due to its relatively high sectional density and high ballistic coefficients. In short order, the Creedmoor was winning long-range accuracy competitions and became widely adopted within a few years. It was an easy move into the hunting world where it carved out its own niche on deer and other big game animals.

2 Weatherby Mark V rifles

The 6.5-.300 Weatherby

In 2016, and in typical Weatherby fashion, Weatherby looked at existing calibers on the marketplace and determined it was time to introduce a cartridge that had been in development by Roy Weatherby since the early 1960s—the 6.5-.300 Weatherby Magnum.

This caliber, quite simply, does everything that the 6.5 Creedmoor does, and does it better. An increase in speed of over 500 fps is just the start. At the other end of the shot, the 6.5-.300 produces over 1000 ft-lbs more downrange energy—all while maintaining the sub-MOA accuracy that Weatherbys are noted for.

Originally chambered in the Mark V series of rifles, today Weatherby announces the 6.5-.300 in the Vanguard Series.

The Weatherby Vanguard

Original rifles, produced by Roy Weatherby when he founded his company, were built on Mauser actions from several European manufacturers. In 1958, the Mark V bolt action was developed and built entirely in-house but moved again offshore for a time. While Weatherby was making an excellent case for producing the finest hunting rifles in the world, the Mark V was out of reach of many hunters because of its premium price tag.

In 1970, Weatherby announced the production of an updated Vanguard—a Weatherby rifle built around an action based on the Howa 1500 and produced in Japan. This provided a Weatherby alternative to buyers in the market for a Winchester Model 70 or Remington Model 700.
Through the entirety of its production, and until recently, the Vanguard was only offered in standard calibers.

Starting today, it will be chambered for one of the fastest, hardest hitting, and most accurate 6.5 mm caliber on the market and is well within the reach of most shooters.

The line forms behind me.

Are you a fan of Weatherby rifles? Do you own a Weatherby? How about the 6.5 cartridges? Share your answers in the comment section.

 

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Comments (20)

  • Ace Luciano

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    You’re right, Tom.
    Roy Weatherby was first a HUNTER, then a “shooter.”
    I have a lot of guns like that (that I don’t shoot every week.) including a .416 Rigby(it has exactly 26 rounds through it), a .375 H&H, and several heirloom shotguns that only come out once or twice year-
    But shooting every week isn’t what owning some guns is about, is it?

    Reply

  • greg

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    can you shoot a 6.5 -300 in a weatherby mark v 300 mag without harming the rifle.

    Reply

    • Matt Blosser

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      Change the barrel and sure, i would imagine the .264 bullet would bounce around and damage the 30cal rifling, not to mention lose a ton of velocity

      Reply

  • Matt Blosser

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    Trying to collect all the weatherby calibers i can the moment i heard the 6.5x300weatherby was going to be a factory load i had to have one. Using a vanguard action i had Scott Wilson of circle w custom guns in west Virginia build me one. The cartridge does not disappoint. Shooting 130gr berger vld hunting, the gun groups well below .5moa and has already taken an antelope. I only get 50-100fps more out of it over my 26nosler, but using a weatherby cartridge has its own added value.

    Reply

  • Kevin

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    I’ve got several Vanguard in standard 270, 30.06, and the 25.06. I do have 6 ARs that I’ve built using the 6 mm and the 6.5mm Creedmoor and several 6.5 Grendels. I’ve always loved shooting the hotter Weatherby rounds especially since I’m a long range shooter. 7mm, 300 win mags, 338 lapua, and 50 BMG. This article has got me excited about buying a 6.5-300 magnum and test the limits. I live in Alabama right now but purchased a few hundred acres northwest of Kalispell, Montana. Being up around 8000 ft above sea level and some perfect ridges should give me the 1 mile plus ranges that I strive for. I’ll send in my results asap. Thanks for developing what other fray from. As a Marine, I love pushing my limits.

    Reply

    • Dave Dolbee

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      I can’t wait to hear results! ~Dave Dolbee

      Reply

    • Ace Luciano

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      You’ll definitely be able to shoot a long way in Montana.
      They don’t call it “Big Sky Country” for nothing!

      Reply

  • Tom

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    I own quite a few Mark V’s in various calibers as well as standard calibers in the Vanguard actions. I own three 6.5 CM now, including a Vanguard. I shoot anywhere from 20- 50 rounds a week through them at our local neighborhood range (800 yards). One of my 6.5 CM rifles has over 1,000 rounds down the tube and it still shoots better than I can hold it. 😉 And yes, I do handload. The 6.5-300 is a fascinating round, but I can’t see it as a rifle that one would shoot on a daily basis. Hunting season is relatively short and I enjoy handloading and shooting all year. For someone that may purchase a rifle and scope, sight it in, and hunt a few weeks a year (if that) this would be an excellent cartridge. Chances are a box or two of ammo would last for many years. But for the serious rifleman/shooter/handloader, there are far better options out there. For example, my friends and I have an ad hoc 600 yard F Class range set up where we shoot for score; 15 rounds in 20 minutes or 20 rounds in 30 minutes. I have tried to shoot my Mark V in .257 but I just can’t do it. The barrel gets too hot after only 5-7 rounds. I imagine the 6.5-300 would literally melt!! But my little Vanguard in 6.5 Creedmoor does just fine.

    Reply

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