Weatherby Mark V Deluxe .270 W.M. Restoration
By the Guns and Shooting Online Staff
An older and cosmetically challenged .270 Weatherby Mark V Deluxe was acquired by the Guns and Shooting Online staff for a reasonable price. (For readers not familiar with Weatherby Mark V Deluxe rifles, you will find a full review of a similar .257 Wby. Mag. Mark V Deluxe on the Product Reviews index page.) The action and bore of our "fixer-up" Deluxe were in good condition and the California claro walnut stock seemed sound.
The caliber, .270 Weatherby Magnum, is one of the best and most useful of all magnum calibers. It shoots very flat, can be used to humanely harvest all CXP2 and CXP3 game and doesn't kick the shooter out from under his hat; particularly in a Mark V Deluxe rifle, which has the weight and stock design to ameliorate felt recoil. Weatherby factory ballistics call for a 150 grain bullet at a muzzle velocity (MV) of 3245 fps with 3507 ft. lbs. of muzzle energy from a 26" barrel. Zero that load at 300 yards and the bullet is 3" high at 100 yards and only 8.7" low at 400 yards. Our older Mark V came with a 24" barrel, which we expect to deliver a MV about 70 fps slower than specified. We can live with that and find a 24" barrel considerably handier on a hunting rifle.
On the other hand, the stock finish was scratched and chipped, there were some dents in the wood and the outside of the barrel was rusted and showed moderate pitting. The bluing, especially on the bolt and bottom iron, was worn from handling. The ventilated White Line recoil pad was crazed and hard. It was a rifle that had, as the old cowboys would say, been ridden hard and put away wet. Since we admire Weatherby rifles and particularly the Mark V Deluxe, seeing a fine rifle in this condition was painful.
After close inspection, we determined that the rifle was mechanically sound. There was no visible throat erosion. A couple of trips to the range proved that its accuracy was unimpaired and, in fact, excellent. It delivered 1.0-1.5 MOA three-shot groups at 100 yards with Weatherby 150 grain factory loads and similar handloads using Nosler Partition and Ballistic Tip bullets with IMR 7828 powder. The adjustable trigger, two-position safety, magazine floorplate release, extraction and ejection all worked correctly. Feeding and reliability were 100%. It was a good candidate for restoration to like new condition and Managing Editor Chuck Hawks approved the project.
That decision made, we turned the rifle over to Rocky Hays, Guns and Shooting Online's Gunsmithing Editor, for the restoration. Rocky brings a personal touch to his work and the result is often "better than new." Chuck carefully reiterated to Rocky that the point of the exercise was merely to restore this Mark V to original condition, not create a customized rifle. This would require, at the least, removing the rust and pitting, mirror polishing and hot bluing the barreled action and external metal parts to the high luster Weatherby standard. The bolt would have to be reblued and then the bolt body would have to be mirror polished (again) to remove the bluing, except from the flutes, which would remain blued as accents. The stock would have to be completely stripped, dents steamed out and then a durable, high gloss finish applied. The old recoil pad would have to be replaced. In the event, the muzzle crown also had to be re-cut due to rust pitting.
Rocky insisted on recutting the checkering and suggested eliminating the French skip-line at the same time. Chuck somewhat reluctantly approved refreshing the checkering, but insisted it must remain the original skip-line pattern. (It is not currently fashionable, but Chuck likes the skip-line look on these classic Mark V Deluxe rifles.) A solid Kick-Eez recoil pad was chosen to replace the old ventilated pad. Chuck said to omit the plastic white line spacer between the recoil pad and stock, a decision with which Rocky disagreed. Rocky suggested a hard shadow line accent under the cheek piece, but Chuck demurred. As Chuck left the old Mark V in Rocky's care, the unspoken understanding was that Rocky would, as usual, do as he felt best within the general guidelines of a complete restoration.
Rocky had the Mark V for about a year. During this time other, more pressing, projects were completed and Rocky worked on the Weatherby as time permitted. On occasion, staff members inquired about the status of the Mark V, but Rocky was noncommittal. The Mark V was completed with little fanfare, but it was worth the wait.
Our "beater" Mark V Deluxe emerged as a subtly enhanced rifle. Overall, it looks like a brand new rifle. The metal polishing and bluing would have made the late Roy Weatherby proud, as would the checkering and high gloss stock finish. On closer inspection, a knowledgeable Weatherby user will discover and be delighted by many small improvements.
Starting at the muzzle of the barreled action, the first visual enhancement is a pair of inlaid gold accent rings, a medium width ring followed by a thin ring. Just in front of the receiver, the left side of the barrel is marked, "USE ONLY / WEATHERBY / .270 W.M." in three lines. Rocky inlayed the "USE ONLY" in copper and the "WEATHERBY /.270 W.M." in gold.
The left side of the receiver, from front to back, is marked, "MARK V," followed by a "Weatherby" script logo in the middle and a stack of three decorative lines ending in loops at the rear. Rocky inlaid all of these factory markings in gold. On the right rear of the receiver, between the wide ejection port (filled by the mirror polished and fluted bolt body) and the high luster blued bolt handle and rear cap, are a stacked pair of line/loops, which Rocky also gold inlayed. Internally, Rocky disassembled, cleaned, lubricated and reassembled the bolt and action parts, none of which required replacement.
The only part replaced was the original sheet steel magazine follower. This we replaced with a new polymer follower, because the new synthetic followers feed smoother.
The stock had been stripped, sealed and completely refinished six times. Rocky added a maple wood line spacer between the butt and recoil pad to match the original maple wood line spacers at forend tip and pistol grip cap. (This replaced the plastic white line spacer of the original recoil pad.) He removed the white plastic diamond inletted into the rosewood grip cap and replaced it with a maple diamond. He had gone ahead and given the cheekpiece a hard shadow line, for a more defined shape.
Here are the specifications of our restored Weatherby Mark V Deluxe:
We mounted a Nikon Buckmaster 3-9x40mm scope using a Burris two-piece steel base and rings. This scope has a Duplex type reticle, excellent for an all-around hunting rifle.
We are writing this article in the middle of summer in Western Oregon, but we can hardly wait until Fall and beginning of the big game hunting seasons, so we can take our new/old Weatherby Mark V Deluxe into the field. Some hunters would think that it is "too pretty" to hunt, but we disagree. Sure, you can hunt with an ugly rifle, but why would you want to? We enjoy the whole hunting experience more with a beautiful rifle in our hands.
Note: There is a full review of a Weatherby Mark V Deluxe rifle on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2012 by chuckhawks.com. All rights reserved.