March 13, 2013

Gun Tests April 2013 Preview: Hunting Rifles from Weatherby, Howa, T/C

( — Gun Tests’ Houston- and Idaho-based test teams take detailed looks at traditional bolt-action hunting rifles by Weatherby, Howa, and Thompson/Center in the April 2013 issue of the magazine.

Based in Idaho, Sr. Technical Editor Ray Ordorica and the magazine’s Western test team examined two Weatherby rifles chambered for the 257 Weatherby cartridge.

Ordorica said, “Weatherby makes quite a few versions of rifles in this caliber, and we chose to test the $2400 Mark V Deluxe against the Vanguard Series 2 Deluxe, which sells for $1149, to see what you might get for the extra money needed to buy the Mark V.”

He added, “No matter how you cut it, there’s no denying the aura of the Weatherby name, and we must admit we enjoyed using two fabulous 30mm Leupold scopes on these very precise and good-looking Weatherby rifles. Maybe that’s enough reason to buy one.”

Top, Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Deluxe. Bottom, Weatherby’s Mark V Deluxe, both chambered for 257 Weatherby.

Gun Tests Editor Todd Woodard said, “We should note that we had the devil of a time finding ammo, and finally bought some from a local user of the cartridge in 87-grain Spire Point and 120-grain Nosler Partition. It ran about $65 a box on average.”

“This was an unusual test for us, comparing two Weatherby rifles,” Ordorica said. “But the price difference was substantial enough for us to consider whether we’d buy the Vanguard before the Mark V and come out a thousand dollars or more ahead.”

Thompson Center Dimension Rifle

In Houston, Contributing Editor Roger Eckstine compared two unusual .243 Win. bolt actions: The $641 Howa Youth 2N1 rifle, which comes with two different Hogue stocks, and Thompson Center Arms’s $679 Dimension rifle, which offers the ability to switch barrels for different chamberings.

Eckstine said, “The Howa Youth 2N1 rifles come with two different stocks so that the same Howa M1500 action will accommodate more than one shooter. Both OverMolded stocks are manufactured by Hogue. The Thompson Center Arms Dimension rifle accepts different-caliber barrels so that the same rifle can be used to hunt a wider variety of game.”

“The .243 Winchester is a sweetheart of a cartridge,” GT Editor Woodard said. “Though these might be marketed to youth, women, or smaller-frame hunters, I think any deer hunter would appreciate the soft-shooting characteristics of these rifles out to 300 yards.”

Howa Hogue Youth 2N1 Combo

Gun Tests subscribers should receive their printed magazines in about 10 days. Subscribers with electronic access can check to read these matchups in a couple of days, GT Publisher Tim Cole said.

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