April 2013

257 W’by Bolt Rifle Match-Up: Vanguard 2 Beats the Mark V

In our test, we found Weatherby’s top-of-the-line Deluxe hunting rifle delivered great accuracy and great wood for $2400. But can you get the same performance for half the money? Yes.

The long-range hunter or seeker of varmints in windy conditions often chooses a 25-caliber rifle, and the Weatherby 257 cartridge is about the hottest of those easily available. Weatherby is happy to sell you one off the rack, or they can whip one up to your own specifications, if you have long pockets. Weatherby makes quite a few versions of rifles in this caliber, and we chose to test the vaunted Mark V Deluxe ($2400) against the Vanguard Series 2 Deluxe ($1149) to see what you might get for the extra money needed to buy the Mark V.

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. Still, 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 two persuasions, 87-grain Spire Point and 120-grain Nosler Partition. Here are our findings.

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