Weatherby 307 – Back with a bang!

Chris Redlich tests the first new Weatherby rifle in half a century

“Better late than never,” would best describe Weatherby’s latest addition to the hunting arena. It’s been about 50 years since they released a new rifle design but in all honesty, why would they rush when the flagship Weatherby Mark V enjoys enormous success with traditionalists, while the popular Vanguard model takes care of the rest?

When asked if I’d be interested in reviewing the newly-released Model 307 I said ‘yes’ without knowing anything about it, though Weatherby’s solid reputation among its peers certainly influenced my decision. Knowing I was reviewing a 307 didn’t narrow it down much as the new model comes in two configurations but, aware of my deer hunting pursuits, they sent me the Range XP model chambered in 308Win.

You could be forgiven for thinking the 307 receiver looks similar to a Remington 700 and I drew that conclusion because I own two of them. While the two share strong similarities there are noticeable differences and on further research it was confirmed that Weatherby, for good reason, used the 700 blueprint for their Model 307 development. I believe this to be a smart move considering the former has set the standard for many custom and military rifles. To best describe my observations I’d say “what Mauser 98 did for controlled round feed actions, Remington has done for push feed,” and it’s up to others (like Weatherby) to make it their own.

The 307’s familiar cylindrical receiver machined from solid bar stock provides a stable bedding while the large recoil lug, sandwiched between the barrel and action, fits snug to the stock recess. Rounding out the Weatherby’s rigid platform are two familiar front and rear Allen hex screws, locking the receiver firmly to the stock.

I don’t want to be accused of making comparisons but it’s hard not to when I have two rifles sitting side-by-side. What’s glaringly obvious is the widened ejection port of the 307 that’s nicely curved from about 65mm at the receiver bridge to 76mm at its widest point, allows clear single loading and obstruction-free extraction of unfired short action cartridges, loaded to a longer overall length.

Not surprisingly the new 307 has a 90-degree bolt lift, yet with the rifle arriving complete with a large ZeroTech 4-24x50i Trace ADV scope mounted low in Warne rings to a Picatinny rail, I still had ample room to cycle the bolt smoothly and obstruction free. Naturally the receiver is drilled and tapped to accept all mounts compatible with the Model 700. The bolt is a two-lug design reminiscent of the 700 but instead of a small extractor, Weatherby has broken Remington’s trademark ‘three rings of steel’ design, by incorporating a much larger and stronger AR15-style claw extractor to the bolt face. Along with the plunge ejector both combine to ensure safe and reliable case extraction.

Furthermore, the 307 bolt has been designed to be completely field stripped without tools and while I’ve never had the need to strip my bolt during a hunt, I guess it’s another way of ‘field-proofing’ this new rifle design. If there was ever a way to shave excess weight without compromising strength, Weatherby have done a good job by skeletonising the bolt handle and spiral fluting the body. Bucking the trend is the 307’s bolt release, found on the left-hand rear of the receiver and easily depressed for swift removal.

The familiar two-position safety is within comfortable reach of the master thumb, moved fore and aft with ease, though what I particularly like about Weatherby’s inclusion of the Trigger Tech field trigger, is it’s externally adjustable through the trigger guard via the Allen tool. Naturally I took full advantage of this and lightened it to the minimum 2.5lb from the maximum 5lb, with each incremental turn being click-adjustable and solid to instil confidence in my preferred trigger pressure.

Along with the bolt, the beating heart of any good rifle is its barrel and the Range XP is made from chrome-moly steel with hammer forged rifling. Twist rate for the supplied 308Win chambering of 1/10 is clearly stamped on the barrel, and is good enough to stabilise many projectile weights but mostly heavier bullets from 150 to 180-grain. The 308Win rifled barrel is 22” (550mm) long with a threaded muzzle for brake attachment or suppressor where permitted.

With muzzle-brake fitted the barrel reaches 24” and for larger magnum chamberings you can expect that to stretch to 26”. Range XP barrels are of a light sporter profile that’s spiral fluted, which not only looks cool but helps further reduce fore-end weight. All steel components have been treated with a graphite black Cerakote for a non-reflective surface and added protection in harsh environments.

By all appearances the new Model 307 isn’t dissimilar to many rifles in the long-range genre, but unique to Weatherby is their bold fore-end tip. They can be recognised at a glance by their distinct ‘chin’ and the new kid on the hunting block is doing the family proud.

The predominantly matt olive composite polymer stock is target-style with an ambidextrous, vertical pistol grip. The hand grip moulded nicely to my palm but for those with ‘gorilla’ fingers like mine, you may find the trigger a tad close. The rear buttstock includes an adjustable comb with three levels of height to select and, for what appears a basic arrangement, worked well after I raised it to a comfortable height.

Coupled with the muzzle-brake, the stock’s 1” rubber butt pad will tame felt recoil from hard kickers. Surprisingly the stock isn’t pillar bedded but the barrel is free-floating. All sub-stock components including the trigger guard are polymer, so it’s important you take note of the torque pressure outlined in the user manual.

Weatherby have adopted the dual-stack PMAG polymer magazine by Magpul and honestly, for such a large magazine I was surprised it held just five .308Win cartridges. Despite its plastic construction it fastens with a solid click, and while there’s some minimal flex it doesn’t rattle like some pretty average steel magazines I’ve seen recently. Two serrated finger tabs just forward of the trigger guard ensure easy release for both left and right-handers. Rounding out the stock’s key features is the generous but not too bulky fore-end grip, subtly contoured to suit the shape, while two sling swivels at the front enable multiple anchorage for bipod or sling combinations.

Range and field testing

After chipping my way through the mundane theory stuff, I was more than keen to put a few rounds through the new gun and test its merits afield. Weatherby guarantee accuracy when using their own ammo but sadly for me, Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard was bare.

Thankfully I had leftovers from other reviews and after using Winchester factory ammo to put me on target, it was Sako 150-grain Gameheads which landed my first sub-MOA group. That fast 1/10 twist-rate soon revealed the much sought-after sweet spot of accuracy, shooting 162-168-grain projectiles. My handloads of Nosler LR AB bullets and Sako Powerheads, both using the aforementioned weights, shot sub half-MOA groups to underline my theory of balance between bullet and barrel.

A hunting rifle can’t be truly tested from the comfort of a chair so I planned a trip to the hills. At 4.4kg scoped and loaded, the Range XP isn’t exactly a lightweight mountain combo, however the supplied Magpul bipod was used for prone shooting and I attached a sling for the long walk to our hunting ground. Despite its weight the rifle shoulders nicely offhand thanks to the composite stock design and balance of steelwork.

A cameo appearance by one of the local wild dog and pig populations didn’t materialise, though by reputation the popular .308Win has plenty of knockdown power for most Australian game as many hunters will attest. Ironically during my short time with the Weatherby, it was while reviewing another TSA product I bagged a monster boar with a different rifle.


Unfortunately I had limited time with the rifle and would’ve preferred more, though had it long enough to form a solid opinion. At home and out field is where the 307 Range XP belongs and, while lying prone, I found the package of rifle (muzzle-brake fitted), scope and bipod a real pleasure to ‘point and shoot’ and reckon anyone seeking a rifle for long-range hunting will enjoy it too.

The model from which it’s 307 designation comes (state area code of manufacture in Wyoming), tells me Weatherby are proud of their latest addition and of the fact it’s made in the US. Although the new Range XP doesn’t sport the rich timber or polished steel of a Mark V, it oozes practicality and I love the way Weatherby have combined the matt black steel with olive stock. The spiral bolt and barrel fluting look fantastic and the way the hole pattern of the muzzle-brake is spiralled to match shows attention to detail by Weatherby engineers.

The rifle is available in the following calibres: .243Win, .240Wby Mag, .257Wby Mag, .6.5CM, .6.5Wby RPM, .270Win, .280Ack Imp, .7mmPRC, .7mmRem Mag, .308Win, .30-06Spr and .300Win Mag. The 307 Range XP retails for $2695 at time of writing. More at

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