Weatherby Mark V AccuMark .270 Win. Rifle
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
Regular Guns and Shooting Online readers are aware that we appreciate the benefits of Weatherby rifles, both Mark V and Vanguard. We have previously reviewed Weatherby rifles based on both the two locking lug Vanguard action and the husky nine-lug Mark V Magnum action. A few years ago, Weatherby introduced a lighter, smaller, six lug version of the Mark V intended specifically for standard (.30-06) length cartridges with standard .473" diameter rims. Rifles built on this Mark V Standard action are chambered for popular standard cartridges such as the .223 Remington, .22-250, .243 Winchester, .25-06, .270 Winchester, .308 Winchester and .30-06. The only magnum cartridge available in the six-lug Mark V, as far as we know, is the .240 Weatherby Magnum, which is based on a petite belted case with the same rim and head size as the .30-06.
These are the cartridges that the Vanguard was originally introduced to handle, but apparently there was enough customer demand for a Mark V in these calibers to make the development of the smaller, Mark V Standard action commercially viable. This dimensionally smaller version of the Mark V weighs 25.9 ounces, 28% less than a Mark V Magnum action and has one less row of locking lugs at the front of the bolt, but otherwise it is essentially identical to the original Mark V Magnum action in design and construction. Like its big brother, the Mark V Standard comes with a hinged magazine floorplate and the trigger guard mounted release catch takes a generous bite on the floorplate to ensure that it will not inadvertently open under recoil.
Until now, Guns and Shooting Online has not reviewed a Weatherby based on the Mark V Standard six-lug action; nor had we reviewed a Mark V in a synthetic stock. We felt it was time to correct those oversights, which led us to request a Mark V AccuMark in .270 Winchester for this review. (What the heck, if we're ordering a synthetic stocked rifle, we might as well get the best!)
The AccuMark's stock is supplied by Bell & Carlson. It is a special, Weatherby designed, hand laminated composite of Aramid, unidirectional graphite fibers and fiberglass and it incorporates a long, CNC-machined, pillar bedded, aluminum bedding block that runs from near the forend tip through the wrist of the pistol grip. The finish is a matte charcoal-black gel coat with gray spiderweb accents. The butt terminates in a Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad and quick detachable sling swivel lugs are provided. This is a sophisticated, rigid and expensive composite stock that is almost as far removed from the ordinary injection molded plastic stock as a deluxe walnut stock. The stock is the typical Weatherby shape. It has a cheek piece for right handed shooters with a forward slanting, Monte Carlo comb to minimize the effects of recoil and a little cast off to make mounting fast and consistent. The flat-bottomed forend gently tapers in three dimensions and the pistol grip wrist is small in diameter for a positive grip. Most users will find the AccuMark a comfortable rifle to shoot and it has pleasing lines.
The Mark V is a push feed bolt action with a very short 54-degree bolt lift. The one-piece bolt (including bolt handle and knob) is machined from steel billet. The silver bolt body is fluted to save weight and reduce operating friction and there is a row of three gas escape ports on the bolt's right side. The bolt flutes are blackened to match the receiver and the similarly blackened barrel flutes. The bolt knob is smooth, round, easy to grip and won't abrade your hand like a checkered bolt knob.
It is a cock on opening, front locking bolt. The front of the bolt is rebated, allowing the six locking lugs positioned in two rows to be the same outside diameter as the bolt body, a unique and very effective design. The extractor is a small claw mounted at the front end of the bolt and there is a plunger ejector in the bolt face. A streamlined bolt end cap, also machined from billet steel, protects the shooter from escaping gasses that might find their way through the firing pin raceway. The positive, two-position safety is mounted on the right side of the bolt end cap and blocks the striker; it also locks the bolt closed when "on" to prevent inadvertent opening. Operated gently, this safety is nearly silent in operation. There is a cocking indicator at the rear of the bolt. The bolt is removed from the receiver by pulling the trigger all the way back; there is no separate bolt release.
The open top, flat-bottomed receiver is machined from a single block of steel and has a sizeable loading/ejection port that facilitates loading a single cartridge into the chamber and a massive, integral recoil lug to keep it stationary in the stock. Cartridges are fed from a sheet steel, Mauser type staggered row, internal magazine with a hinged floorplate. The floorplate release is located inside the trigger guard and it takes a big bite on the floorplate latch to prevent accidental opening under recoil. The aluminum alloy trigger guard/bottom iron is a one-piece assembly and there is a gold-filled Weatherby "W" engraved in the trigger guard bow.
The Mark V trigger mechanism has been among the best since its introduction some 65 years ago. It is screw adjustable for sear engagement (which is carefully set at the factory, so ordinarily it is best to leave the sear engagement screw alone) and weight of pull. The factory sets Mark V triggers for a clean, 3.5 pound release. This is a very good trigger right out of the box, but we prefer a lighter trigger pull, so we used a small Allan wrench to adjust the weight to three pounds two ounces, which was as light as we could set it. The hex screw that adjusts the pull weight is inside the trigger guard, right in front of the trigger. The trigger blade is a narrow type with a curved face that is grooved.
The Weatherby Mark V action was designed for strength, very smooth operation and to minimize bolt wobble when open. In fact, it is the strongest, smoothest and fastest bolt action in production today. One of these Mark V Standard actions would be an excellent choice as the basis for a fine, custom built rifle. Weatherby has yet to produce a stainless steel Mark V action, so while the AccuMark's barrel is stainless steel and the composite stock is essentially impervious to weather, the action is made of a ferrous steel alloy and is thus more susceptible to harsh conditions than the rest of the rifle.
The name "AccuMark" implies accuracy and, in addition to the special Bell & Carlson stock with its full length aluminum bedding block, the AccuMark comes with a free floated, 24", No. 3 (heavy) contour, button rifled, stainless steel barrel with a target crown. This a fluted barrel and the barrel flutes are blackened for contrast with the stainless steel barrel and to match the rifle's black receiver. Mate this barrel and stock to the rigid, ultra-strong, Mark V action and you have the fundamentals for a super accurate hunting rifle. Add Weatherby's precise workmanship and the excellent, adjustable, Mark V single stage trigger and the result is a sharpshooter's dream hunting rifle.
Weatherby Mark V rifles are made in the USA and guaranteed to deliver 1.5" or better three shot groups at 100 yards from a cold barrel when using premium ammunition. In our limited experience, AccuMark rifles frequently deliver sub-MOA groups with ammunition they prefer and will do so consistently.
We requested our AccuMark in .270 Winchester caliber. In addition to being a great all-around hunting cartridge, the .270 seems particularly appropriate for a Weatherby rifle, since it shoots as flat as many magnums and hits almost as hard. Even better, its moderate recoil makes it a reasonable choice for the 7.25 pound AccuMark. With a scope, this rifle's weight becomes an excellent compromise. It is light enough to carry and heavy enough to shoot accurately in the field without kicking your head off. Here are our Mark V AccuMark's specifications:
To be functional, since it comes without sights, any Weatherby AccuMark must be equipped with a telescopic sight. For our test rifle, we used a Leupold VX-L 3.5-10x50mm scope. We reviewed this scope in 2006 and you can read that review on the Product Reviews page. The VX-L series were subsequently absorbed into the VX-3 line. We mounted the VX-L in Leupold's precision, CNC machined from steel, STD two-piece bases and medium height rings, which are as good as conventional scope mounts get. With this scope and mount, the AccuMark scaled 8.6 pounds (empty) on our digital scale.
Naturally, with such a sophisticated rifle/scope/mount system in hand, we were anxious to get it to the range to see what it could do. For that, we needed ammunition, which was in rather short supply at the time of this review. Our friends at Remington, Winchester, Hornady and ATK/Federal/Fusion graciously supplied us with a variety of .270 factory loads and our thanks go out to them. American ammunition is still the best in the world and it is made by the best people.
We were able to shoot the AccuMark with all three of the common .270 bullet weights, 130, 140 and 150 grains. The test loads included Fusion 130 grain Spitzer Boat-Tail, Hornady SuperFormance 130 grain GMX, Winchester Supreme Elite 130 grain XP3, Hornady SuperFormance 140 grain SST, Remington Premier 140 grain Swift A-Frame PSP, Winchester Supreme 140 grain AccuBond, Federal Premium 140 grain AccuBond and Federal Premium 150 grain Sierra GameKing.
As usual, we did our testing at the Izaak Walton rifle range south of Eugene, Oregon. This outdoor facility offers covered bench rests and target positions of 25, 50, 100 and 200 yards. The weather was cool with rain showers and gusts of wind, typical late winter weather in Western Oregon. Guns and Shooting Online staff members Chuck Hawks, Jim Fleck and Bob Fleck did the testing. For the record, three shot groups were fired at a distance of 100 yards. The rifle barrel was allowed time to cool when it became hot, but not between every three shot group. A new Caldwell Lead Sled FCX rest (see the review on the Outdoor Accessories page) and Hoppe's 100 yard "Crosshair" targets were used. Here are the average group sizes.
This time out, Chuck Hawks achieved the smallest groups. As you can see from the above results, this rifle shot all bullet weights and all brands of ammunition very well. With its favored loads, it was extremely accurate. Its crisp trigger is a definite asset to accurate shooting and the traditional Weatherby stock handles recoil very well. The Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad effectively softens the blow to the shoulder.
Functionally, the AccuMark worked perfectly. We did observe that the loading/ejection port is quite short and a notch is cut in the upper side of the forward receiver ring to let the nose of long bullets pass, so that they may be loaded into the magazine. This makes loading the magazine a little more finicky that it would otherwise be. Single cartridges can be loaded directly into the chamber point first, however, without much trouble. Extraction and ejection are positive.
The Weatherby Mark V AccuMark is a precision hunting rifle in every respect. It combines a top quality action, barrel and stock in an integrated, functional and weather resistant package. With its black fluted, silver stainless barrel, black receiver, fluted bolt and spiderwebbed gray/black Weatherby style stock, it could even be called a handsome rifle and, in fact, one observer at the range called it exactly that. It is certainly much more distinctive than typical synthetic stocked rifles. This is not a "kid stuff" synthetic rifle; it is the top of the line. The Weatherby Mark V AccuMark's price is fully justified by its performance, design and quality.
RIFLE REVIEW SUMMARY
Copyright 2010, 2015 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.