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Weatherby Firearms Guide: Best Shotguns & Rifles

Everyone who’s ever laid their eyes on one of Weatherby’s weapons can safely assert they’ve seen at least one masterpiece in their lives. Scarce are the brands that have grounds to say their products are not mere weapons but true works of art. Weatherby is a worthy representative of that secluded circle, and you don’t need to take our word for it. In cases like that, pictures are more eloquent than anything a quill (or a keyboard, in our case) can produce. Appearances are known to be deceiving, but Weatherby firearms perform as well as they look. As befits any masterwork, the contents are nothing short of stellar. But it’s high time we stopped singing praises and cut to the chase. Let’s say words or pictures pique your interest, and you are entertaining the thought of getting a shotgun or a rifle bearing the mark of Weatherby’s quality. How do you choose? What things should be considered, and which factors can be overlooked? Here’s our guide to choosing the right Weatherby shotgun or rifle, depending on what you are looking for. 

Table of Contents

Weatherby Rifle

Type of Firearm

The first thing you need to do is choose between the two types: a shotgun and a rifle. That choice shouldn’t be dictated by the looks of a firearm, however beguiling it might seem. The purpose is what should lead this part of the expedition. What do you buy a weapon for? Is it to play a game of hunt? Or compete with other shooters in marksmanship? Maybe you are looking for a weapon to protect what is dear to you – the reason can be different. Weatherby weapons are not the sort of firearms you would casually buy for plinking, but whatever tickles your fancy is fine.


There is a very clear distinction between types of firearms when it comes to hunting. Shotguns are traditionally used to hunt birds. If you are planning to enroll in waterfowl or upland hunting, you have a very good reason to acquire a Weatherby shotgun. The brand has been producing them since 1967 and acquired outstanding expertise in producing smooth-bore weapons within that time.

Weatherby rifles will be most helpful for hunters of game big and small. Bolt-action rifles are hunting classics, especially when it comes to medium and big game. Since Weatherby has chosen bolt-action as its prime and sole rifle specialty, you can rest assured their profundity in that sphere is second to none.

Competitive Shooting

Shotguns are not known for pinpoint accuracy – they are more focused on affecting an area. However, it would be an unspeakable lie to say no shotgun shooting competitions are not held. Clay pigeon shooting is a sport with millions of enjoyers across the U.S. alone. Though precision is not of secondary importance here, it’s all about reaction. If the thought of having mere seconds to shoot a moving target arouses some interest in you, then shotguns are a valid choice. If you are more about taking your time to hit the bull’s eye, then opt for rifles.


Pistols are known as the most frequent self- and home-defense weapons. Weatherby doesn’t produce any, and bolt-action rifles have never been particularly popular in this role. Shotguns, however, are indeed sometimes used for home defense. Weatherby made semi-automatic action their shotgun specialty, and that type is most frequently used in self-defense scenarios. It is worth remembering that shotguns are known for their collateral damage when it comes to shooting indoors, so keep that in mind when buying a shotgun for home defense.

Type of Action/ Firing Mechanism

Weatherby is not known for the multitude of firearm actions it uses in its weapons. There is some variety when it comes to shotguns, but all the brand’s rifles are bolt-action. And that bolt-action is a gem that has been perfectly cut, every new movement taking years of expertise to make. 

Bolt Action Rifles

Bolt-Action Rifles

Generally, bolt-action rifles are known for their accuracy, reliability and durability. They are frequent companions of hunters and target shooters. Bolt-action rifles have a few distinct features that make them stand out from other types of firearms. 

Firstly, they require manual operation of the bolt handles to chamber a new round after each shot. This makes them slower to reload than semi-automatic weapons but also allows for more precise control over each shot. If the perspective of having to operate the bolt after each shot doesn’t make you knit your brows, a Weatherby rifle will become an excellent start for or addition to your collection. 

In return for this inconvenience, bolt-action rifles tend to be more accurate than other types of firearms due to their heavier construction and longer barrels which allow for a greater degree of precision when aiming. As such, they are best suited for scenarios where accuracy is paramount, such as long-range shooting or hunting. They also make for excellent choices for target shooting competitions as they can provide consistent accuracy over long distances with minimal recoil.

Weatherby Over Under Shotgun

Shotguns: Semi-Auto vs. Over/Under

When it comes to types of action, there are two roads that Weatherby paved: semi-auto and over/under. 

Semi-automatic shotguns use gas or recoil to eject a spent shell and reload a new one after each shot. This type of shotgun is well-suited for cases where quick follow-up shots are needed. Semi-automatic shotguns are also frequently picked for waterfowl and upland hunting. If you want a shotgun capable of shooting multiple shells in succession, semi-auto shotguns like Weatherby Element are for you.

Over/under shotguns have two barrels stacked vertically on top of each other. The overwhelming majority of over/under shotguns are break-action, meaning that the barrels have a hinge at the rear that exposes the breech for loading and unloading. Such shotguns are single-shot, in the sense that you need to reload it after every shot, even though it shoots two shells at once. Like their semi-automatic relatives, these shotguns are used both in hunting and clay shooting and are often chosen over semi-autos. The Weatherby Orion series of break-action shotguns features elegantly over/ under scatterguns that deliver a punch like no one else.

When it comes to choosing between a semi-automatic or an over/under shotgun, it really depends on what you are willing to deal with. Semi-automatic shotguns have lower recoil because part of the energy released during the explosion is used to cycle the action. They also have a higher round capacity, allowing the user to shoot several times before reloading. As a downside, the gas system of shotguns fouls over time and requires constant maintenance. 

Over/under shotguns have fewer moving parts than semi-autos, and thus are lighter and more reliable. They are also less picky in terms of ammunition, being able to shoot any shell that fits into the barrel with no pressure limits. You can even load each barrel with a different shell. However, these shotguns suffer from high recoil and low round capacity. Since the barrel is one of the most expensive parts of a firearm, having two of them makes over/under shotguns more costly. 

Weatherby Shotgun

Shotguns: Gas Operated vs Inertia Operated

Gas-operated shotguns use the expanding gasses from the fired cartridge to cycle the action. This type of shotgun is designed with a gas piston located near the chamber, which captures some of the propellant gasses from each fired round and uses them to drive back the bolt and eject the spent shell. The gas piston then resets, allowing for a new round to be chambered and fired. Weatherby SA family of gas-operated shotguns delivers smooth cycling, manageable recoil and time-tested reliability, met only in high-end firearms.

Inertia-driven shotguns use the inertia system instead of gas operation. In this system, the recoil generated by firing is used to drive back the bolt and eject the spent shell casing. The inertia system does not require any additional parts or components such as a gas piston, making it simpler in design than its gas-operated counterpart. In addition, inertia-driven shotguns tend to be lighter in weight than gas-operated models due to their lack of additional parts.

When comparing gas-operated and inertia-driven shotguns, one key difference is felt recoil. Gas guns produce less felt recoil than inertia guns due to their ability to capture some of the propellant gasses from each fired round and use them to cycle the action. Inertia guns, on the other hand, rely solely on recoil energy for cycling, resulting in more felt recoil for shooters. But they are lighter and much more reliable, being less prone to malfunctioning in dirty, dusty and muddy conditions. The choice is yours, as both types excel at what they are meant to do.

Weatherby Rifle

Size and Weight

Also known as weight and size, these two characteristics of a firearm are often not given even credit. Weight is important because it affects how steadily you can hold your firearm. If a gun is too heavy for you, you’ll have a hard time aiming and, consequently, shooting. On the other hand, the gun shouldn’t feel too light. As with everything, it’s better to aim for the middle ground, with a slight lean into the heavier end of the spectrum. Size also plays an important role in choosing a rifle or shotgun. You want to make sure that the gun fits comfortably in your hands and that you can reach all of the controls easily. If you feel too small or big for some particular model, then you should look at other options until you find one that fits properly. 

While weight might indeed differ from one firearm model to another (depending on the type of action and other factors), size is never a major concern when it comes to Weatherby rifles. All controls are easily accessible and all firearms are well-balanced. The brand has a recurring series of rifles built to be comfortable for women shooters. The Camilla series, named after the first lady of Weatherby, is one of the crown jewels of Weatherby’s collection. There are also some light models, featuring shorter stocks, build for smaller-framed shooters.

There is also a question of ambidexterity. Left-handers are often left out when it comes to bolt-actions, having to settle for what is left. Weatherby rights this wrong by making a significant part of their rifles

Mark V rifle

Materials Used

Weatherby rifles and shotguns are renowned for their distinctive and intricate look. In that, they are united. But there is variety of materials used. Weatherby firearms are of utmost importance when choosing a rifle or shotgun. All Weatherby firearms are designed with superior craftsmanship and attention to detail, but there is also variety in the materials and finishes used.

Weatherby rifles feature a range of stocks made from walnut, laminate, carbon fiber, polymer and Kevlar-reinforced fiberglass. Each material has its own texture and unique properties that can affect the weight, balance, and performance of the firearm. Whether you prefer classic walnut stocks known for their timeless reliability, or modern-looking carbon fiber stocks that boast superior strength and durability, Weatherby’s deck of rifles is shuffled with cards that can make any hand a winning one.

Weatherby’s rifle barrels are made from different types of steel alloys, which have been specifically chosen to provide superior performance and durability. The steel alloys used also allow for a range of finishes, such as matte black and nickel, which add to the aesthetic appeal of the guns.

Weatherby shotguns also come in a variety of materials including steel alloy receivers with chrome-lined barrels for added corrosion resistance as well as lightweight aluminum alloy receivers with a matte black finish for improved accuracy. Additionally, Weatherby shotguns share the variety of stock materials with rifles, so there are plenty of options to choose from.

Vanguard Rifle

Price Range and Caliber

Weatherby weapons are not known for being at the lower end of the price range, but they’re worth every penny you’ll spend on them. There are more affordable options, both in rifles and shotguns, well below the four-figure price tag as well as more pricey variants. Every gun that comes from Weatherby’s production line is an investment, a life-long one. These shotguns and rifles are built to last, so it’s a safest choice for everyone in the market for quality firearms.

Calibers are another sphere where Weatherby shows its ingenuity. The brand chambers its rifles in a wide variety of proprietary calibers. Most of those are magnum calibers, so you might guess how powerful these weapons are. However, the brand doesn’t leave enjoyers of mass-market calibers out either. One of Weatherby’s rifles is made in as many as 24 calibers. The traditional calibers, found on the brand’s palette, include .308 Win and 6.5 Creedmoor. If you are not opposed to the idea of trying out some non-mass market calibers (Weatherby produces all ammunition for its rifles), this brand will make for a fine choice.



Getting your first Weatherby firearm, without exaggeration, is a significant event. Mostly because you get to experience the quality, imbued in every single element of the gun. First times are always the most memorable, that’s why they are so important. There is no way to make a mistake when choosing between different models, as none of them will leave you longing for more. Every rifle you see, every shotgun you spot is an example of genuine craftsmanship.


Where are Weatherby rifles made?

All Weatherby firearms are manufactured within the U.S. The barreled action for two of the brand’s rifle series, Mark V and Vanguard, are produced in Brainerd, Minnesota. The final assembly is performed at company headquarters in Sheridan, Wyoming.

What is the best-selling Weatherby caliber?

The .300 Weatherby Magnum is the brand’s most popular and best-selling caliber. Invented in 1944 by Roy Weatherby, this caliber had been bearing the title of the most powerful .30 magnum caliber until the brand’s own .30-378 Magnum was introduced.

Are Weatherby shotguns gas or inertia?

Weatherby produced both gas- and inertia-operated shotguns. Two shotgun series, 18i and Element, include inertia semi-automatic shotguns. All the scatterguns of the SA-08 series are gas-operated.

What barrels do Weatherby use?

Weatherby firearms are known for their high-quality barrels. Weatherby uses chrome-moly materials in the production of their barrels, which are then cold-hammer forged for added strength and durability. The company also applies a unique lapping process to the inside of their barrels, which further enhances the accuracy and consistency of their firearms.

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