Weatherby Vanguard MK 2 Rifle Review
The new offering from Weatherby, the Vanguard MK 2.
Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 - Thanks to a regular American client of mine I have had the opportunity to take a closer look at the new Weatherby Vanguard Series 2.
For many Weatherby is associated with some serious hunting cartridges and for their original well known and impressive Mk V rifles which were chambered for such, however unfortunately for others Weatherby is also known for its first rather disastrous attempt in the 1970's to chamber the less powerful cartridges in the Vanguard.
(Above: the Weatherby Vanguard Series II in .308 Calibre)
With the clear directive to produce a budget rifle the initial Vanguard was poor, very poor. In fact the trigger was appalling the stock cheap and the out of the box accuracy lame. So how does the new Vanguard Mk2 compare?
The Mark 2 is still clearly designed with value for money in mind however what a difference. Remarkably still priced at less than £600-00 the Mk 2 has had the necessary modifications to turn it into a worthy hunting rifle.
(Left: The Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 trigger unit and safety)
First impressions when you pick up the rifle are that it possesses a kind of raw quality, the stock itself is tough and robust, instead of the original black finish the synthetic stock now has a grey/green colour to it with dark coloured inlays which give great grip and are not dissimilar to that of the Sako design.
(Below: The Weatherby Vanguard Series 2)
The Vanguard MK 2 is not a light rifle weighing around 7 ½ lbs but it is well balanced and pointable, added to which the broad forestock fits very comfortably in the hand. The model I tried had a drop plate which allows for feeding of ammunition into the rifle via the breach however an upgrade magazine I understand is also available. The action itself is a one piece steel receiver and is drilled for scope mount's, the trigger thank God is vastly improved and offers that rare thing in full bore rifles a two stage unit that has eliminated much of the creep which plagued the earlier Vanguard.
There are however two downsides which are a shame. The barrel unlike most rifles is not free floating. Why this is so is beyond me. The stock itself is rigid and ample and so could very easily have been manufactured to allow for this. However that said the essential purpose of a free floating barrel is to insure accuracy and the Vanguard Mk 2 now comes with a 1MOA out of the box guarantee so those responsible must be confident enough in their chosen design.
The second point is that the comb is set at such a height as to allow for the eye to be drawn down the top of the barrel, well this is daft because we don't shoot rifles with open sights these days do we! We all use scopes, so seeing as this has been overlooked maybe a comb riser would be a sound investment to improve your line of sight.
All things considered I liked this rifle. It is functional and raw and seriously good value for money. We've had it in the field on several occasions now and with a well seasoned hunter behind the trigger it is already racking up a fair tally of animals. My only remaining thought is that for another £150-00 you could have a Tikka T3 however these are two very different feeling rifles and you will probably develop some fairly strong feelings toward one or other pretty quickly.
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