The Weatherby Mark V Deluxe, Ultramark,
Lazermark, and Sporter Rifles

By Chuck Hawks

Weatherby Mark V Deluxe
Mark V Deluxe. Illustration courtesy of Weatherby, Inc.

Roy Weatherby introduced the Mark V Magnum bolt action rifle in 1957. This ground breaking achievement was designed specifically for the high pressures at which the Weatherby belted magnum cartridges operated, and would elevate the Weatherby company to the status of a major player in the rifle business.

In the early years the Mark V rifles were manufactured by J. P. Sauer and Sohn in Germany. Subsequently, and for many years, they were produced in Japan by Miroku. In 1995 production was moved to the United States. Regardless of country of manufacture the standards of quality, assembly, fit, finish, and accuracy have remained at the same high standard.

The Mark V Magnum action was designed for maximum strength, and indeed it was billed as the world's strongest action, a title it still claims today. The Mark V receiver is made from a single chrome-moly or stainless steel forging and incorporates an integral recoil lug.

Instead of two massive locking lugs the Mark V Magnum's forged and machined bolt has nine small ones arranged in groups of three. The total shear area is much greater than with two conventional lugs, and the arrangement and spacing allows a short 54 degree bolt lift.

The one-piece bolt body is fluted and there is a shroud at the rear of the bolt to prevent escaping gas from exiting from the rear of the bolt into the shooter's face in the event of a blown case. There are three gas escape ports in the side of the bolt to let gas escape in a safe direction.

The bolt face is smaller in diameter than the main body of the bolt, which is the same diameter as the locking lugs. This means less slop when the bolt is operated than with most other bolt action rifles. A Weatherby Mark V Magnum action feels smooth and precise compared to Mauser pattern bolt actions. The extractor is a flush-fitting claw at the front of the bolt, and the ejector is of the plunger variety in the bolt face.

There is also a newer version of the Mark V action designed for standard (.30-06 size) cartridges. It is identical to the magnum action in virtually every way except that it is shorter, narrower, and lighter. Its bolt has 6 locking lugs arranged in pairs instead of nine lugs, but conceptually and in quality it is the same.

The magazine floorplate of Mark V rifles is hinged. The floorplate latch takes a good bite on the floorplate to insure that it stays closed under heavy recoil, and the release is mounted in the front of the trigger guard.

The safety locks the striker and disengages the sear. It is very quiet in operation. There is also a cocking indicator at the rear of the bolt so that the shooter can tell at a glance if the rifle is cocked.

The trigger is factory set for a release weight of four pounds and is commendably clean and free of creep. It is easily adjusted for weight of pull, without any disassembly, by means of a small Allen screw in the front of the trigger. It is also internally adjustable for sear engagement.

Weatherby Mark V magnum barrels are hammer-forged with application specific crowns. Standard (non-Weatherby) calibers are supplied with 24 inch Krieger Criterion barrels. These famous custom barrels are button rifled and use three different crown configurations.

Weatherby guarantees that every Mark V rifle will deliver 1.5 inch or smaller three shot groups at 100 yards from a cold barrel using Weatherby factory loaded ammunition. As a practical matter, most Mark V rifles will deliver considerably smaller groups right out of the box. I should add that between us the Guns and Shooting Online staff members and I own several Weatherby Deluxe rifles, and all of them meet and exceed the Weatherby accuracy guarantee.

The most famous of all Weatherby Rifles is the Mark V Deluxe. The most distinctive feature of any Weatherby rifle, and especially the Deluxe, is its unique Monte Carlo stock, designed specifically for powerful magnum calibers. Its comb slants down from back to front so that recoil moves the comb away from the shooter's face. Weatherby Deluxe stocks incorporate a cheek piece and a small amount of cast-off for quicker and more precise mounting. The butt area is generous, and the recoil pad is top quality. The forearm is cleverly shaped and tapers in three dimensions for a very secure grip under heavy recoil. The bottom of the forearm is essentially flat so that it is easy to shoot from a rest. Weatherby's wood stocks are reinforced with a steel bar in the pistol grip, and steel pins are located throughout the action mortise and epoxied in place to increase structural integrity.

The unique Weatherby stock was designed to look good, but also to minimize the recoil of powerful rifle cartridges. My impression, as the owner of a trio of Weatherby Deluxe magnum rifles, is that the weight of the rifle combined with the well shaped Weatherby stock really does minimize the effect of recoil. I find the Weatherby more pleasant to shoot from a bench rest than any other production bolt action rifle of comparable power.

The Mark V Deluxe features a select Clara walnut stock with a rosewood forearm tip and grip cap set off by line spacers made from thin slices of maplewood. The pistol grip and forearm are checkered in a French skip-line point pattern, and there is a maplewood diamond inlay in the pistol grip cap. A durable high gloss finish shows off the wood to maximum advantage.

It is a strikingly handsome stock, but the careful observer will also note that the inletting and bedding are very precisely done. There are no wood to metal gaps, and the barrel is not free floating.

The Deluxe action is polished and metal work receives the famous high luster Weatherby blue. In 2006 the Mark V Deluxe was offered in Weatherby Magnum calibers .257, .270, 7mm, .300, .340, .30-378, .416, and .460. Cartridge capacity is 3+1 for most calibers and 2+1 for Weatherby Magnum calibers based on the huge .378 case. The Deluxe is a very classy rifle, and a rather expensive one. MSRP in 2006 starts at $2063 for calibers from .257 to .340, and runs $2428-$2853 for calibers based on .378 case.

In addition to the famous Deluxe, for 2006 Weatherby offers the Mark V Ultramark, Lazermark, and Sporter models with walnut stocks. All three of these models are restricted to calibers from .257 to .340.

The Ultramark is basically a Deluxe upgraded with exhibition grade walnut, a somewhat more extensive checkering pattern, and double line spacers at grip can and forend tip. Calibers are limited to the .257 and .300 Wby Mags. 2006 MSRP is $2599.

The Lazermark is a Deluxe with oak leaf laser cut wood carvings replacing the checkering pattern. Calibers are .257, .270, 7mm, .300, and .340 Weatherby Magnum. The 2006 MSRP is $2246.

The Sporter is a simpler version of the walnut stocked Mark V with plainer wood, no grip cap, no line spacers, and slightly less checkering coverage. The stock is protected by a satin urethane finish and the barreled action is bead blasted and matte blued. In addition to the Weatherby Magnum calibers from .257 to .340, the Sporter is available in 7mm Rem. Mag. and .300 Win. Mag. The 2006 MSRP is $1361.

It should be noted that beyond the more or less usual production Mark V rifles supplied with walnut stocks, the Weatherby Custom Shop offers some very fancy walnut rifles by special order. Standard Custom Shop fare includes the Safari Custom, engraved Royal Ultramark Custom, and showy Crown Custom. The latter features extensive engraving, gold overlays, wood carving as well as colored wood inlays in the buttstock and beneath the action. Contact the Weatherby Custom Shop for details and pricing.

Note: A complete review of the Weatherby Mark V Deluxe can be found on the Product Reviews page.

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Copyright 2006, 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.