A friend recently bought a Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Deluxe rifle chambered in 257 Weatherby Magnum, and since I was setting up a used Vanguard 308 Win. of my own, I offered to scope and point-blank zero his rifle at the same time as I was doing mine. As it turned out, I was beguiled by the looks of his rifle, so I started with it, making the Deluxe 257 the first Weatherby I’ve ever shot extensively. As listed by the manufacturer, the Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Deluxe, $1149 MSRP, is available only in 257 Weatherby, 270 Win., 30-06 Springfield, 300 Win. Mag, and 300 W’by Mag, all of which have 24-inch barrels with 1:10 rifling. My friend bought his Vanguard Series 2 Deluxe for $900.
For optics, I bought two 30mm Leupold VX-R 3-9x40mm Matte FireDot Duplex scopes (Leupold #110686, Cheaper Than Dirt #70749), and fitted them into Leupold 30mm medium-height rings (Leupold #49957, Cheaper Than Dirt #7-49957) and Leupold Dual Dovetail Weatherby Mark V 2-piece bases (Leupold #51706, Cheaper Than Dirt #7-51706). I bought two of my ammo choices (which are in stock as of this writing) from Cheaper Than Dirt, Weatherby’s Spire Point 87 Grain (#68704) and Weatherby’s Spire Point 100 Grain (#6-0302269) loads. Directly from Weatherby, I bought a box of 115-grain Nosler Ballistic Tips for $78, a cost-per-round of nearly $4.
The Monte Carlo stocks in the Vanguard 2 line are made of AA-grade claro walnut in a high-gloss finish. The Weatherby profile includes a raised comb and the stock has a rosewood forend and grip cap with Maplewood spacers. Fineline checkering adorns the forend and grip. The blued metalwork has a high-luster finish with no thin spots, even under the action and barrel. The trigger guard is aluminum; the steel floorplate release is outside the trigger guard. The Mauser-style, dual-opposed-lug-design bolt turned 90 degrees and has a recessed face, plunger ejector, and small leaf-type extractor. The safety rocked between three positions. Back was Safe, which locked the bolt. “U,” the middle position, unlocked the bolt so the shooter could “Unload” the chamber, and Fire was forward.
Made in Japan, the V-2 rifles are guaranteed to shoot a 3-shot group of 0.99 inch or less at 100 yards when used with specified Weatherby factory or premium ammunition. The barrel was free-floated save for a pressure point about 3 inches from the tip of the forend. Also, the two-stage trigger was adjustable down to 2.5 pounds, but it went 2.9 pounds on a Lyman Digital trigger-pull gauge as delivered. A Pachmayr Presentation Decelerator soft-rubber buttpad promised a smooth recoil.
With a FireDot 3-9X Leupold mounted, I took the Vanguard to the range. The company says the 257 is Roy Weatherby’s personal favorite, and it’s easy to see why if you like flat trajectories. The 87-grain spire point travels 3825 fps at the muzzle, providing the flattest trajectory of any .25-caliber rifle in the world, the company claims. Weatherby handily supplies 300-yard zeroes for all the bullet weights (80, 87, 100, 110, 115, 117, and 120 grains), which supplies a maximum point-blank range to 400 yards for the three bullet weights I had (see “Maximum Point Blank Range and the Battlesight Zero” for a more detailed discussion).
After removing the bolt and bore-sighting the rifle at 50 yards, I moved to the 100-yard line and started zeroing with the 115-grain Nosler Ballistic Tips, probably the best deer-hunting choice. I fired one shot and was on the paper, then dry-fired on the empty case 10 times. The trigger was a two-stage, with a light take-up and then a very repeatable, sharp break at 2.9 pounds. I fired two more shots about a half-inch apart, then made a sight adjustment to go 10 clicks left. That put two shots touching in the edge of the 10-ring. I corrected left three more clicks and fired two on the X ring. At that point, I really started to like this rifle. Adding the necessary elevation after that was easy, first an inch, then winding up 3.1 inches high on the ninth shot.
The other two rounds went as easily. I aimed 3 inches low with the 87-grain SP, fired two rounds into the 10-ring, then held in the center and fired two 3 inches high @ 100 yards. With the 100-grain rounds, I fired two as the 20-mph full value 3 o’clock winds slowed, which put two rounds in the 8 ring at 4 o’clock, almost touching. Basically, as long as I shot during the same wind conditions, I could put two rounds under three-quarters of an inch and usually under half-inch.
With the gun set up 3 inches high at 100 yards with the 115-grain load, this 257 W’by drops only −7.9 inches at 400 yards, so my friend can hold top of back on a deer and still get a killing shot at that distance. If he wants to switch to 100-grain rounds, he can drop two clicks in elevation and get similar ballistics to the 115-grain. Two additional clicks down (for a total of 4 clicks) from the existing zero, and the 87-grain shoots within an inch of the 115-grain zeros out to 400 yards. Flat trajectories make shooting at distance easier to remember. After the smoke cleared, I had no complaints. This Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Deluxe in 257 Weatherby was an excellent rifle. It was everything Weatherby adherents say their rifles are, and maybe a little more.
Specifications and Features
- Chambering: .257 Weatherby Magnum
- Capacity: 3+1 rounds
- Barrel: 24 in., blued, 1:10 twist
- Trigger Pull: Two Stage, 2.9 lbs.
- Stock: AA Claro Walnut, Rosewood Forend
- Safety: Three Position
- Action and Barrel: High-Lustre Blued Steel
- Overall Length: 45 in.
- Overall Height (scoped): 10 in.
- LOP: 13.6 in.
- Weight Scoped: 9.1 lbs.
Have you ever fired the Weatherby Vanguard Series of rifles? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!