Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Back Country .30-06 Rifle
New for 2013 is Weatherby's Back Country version of their popular Vanguard Series 2 bolt action rifle, which uses a push feed, Mauser-style, dual opposed lug design. The action, barrel length of 24 inches, controls, etc., are unchanged from the recently reviewed Vanguard Series 2 Sporter. (See the Rifle Information - Reviews index page.)
The Back Country's chrome moly barreled action is coated with a CeraKote Tactical Grey finish for improved external weather resistance and it has a fluted barrel. The Weatherby Monte Carlo composite stock is pillar-bedded and finished with spiderweb accents. Together, these features are designed to shave weight off of the standard Vanguard Series 2 rifles. That they do, dropping about ¾ pound from the standard synthetic and walnut Vanguard models. Unfortunately, recoil increases proportionally and the 2013 MSRP is increased from $649.99 (standard synthetic) to a substantial $1399 for the Back Country.
Out of the box, the two-stage trigger was lackluster, breaking at four pounds after the first stage take-up. Of course, the Vanguard Series 2 trigger is user adjustable, so you can set the release weight where you want. Just drop the barreled action out of the stock to adjust the trigger. The pull weight is adjusted by means of a screw with lock nut on the front of the alloy trigger assembly. This allows adjustment between approximately 2.5 and 4.5 pounds. Loosen the lock nut and back out the adjustment screw to decrease the pull weight; turn it in to increase the pull weight. Trigger adjustment instructions are provided in the Owner's Manual.
· Type: Bolt action hunting rifle
· Model: Vanguard Series 2 Back Country
· Caliber: .30-06 Springfield (five other calibers available)
· Metal finish: CeraKote Grey
· Barrel: 24", #2 contour, fluted, cold hammer forged
· Twist: RH 1:10 inches
· Trigger: Two-Stage Trigger; hand-honed, factory-tuned and inspected for a clean, crisp break. Fully adjustable down to 2.5 lbs.
· Trigger pull weight as tested: 4 pounds
· Safety: 3 position
· Sights: None; receiver drilled and tapped for scope mounts
· Magazine capacity: 5 rounds
· Stock: Composite, Spider web with Monte-Carlo comb
· Drop at comb: 7/8"
· Drop at Monte Carlo: 1/2"
· Drop at heel: 1-1/4"
· Length of pull: 13-5/8 inches
· Overall length: 44-1/2 inches
· Approximate Weight: 6-3/4 pounds
· Country of origin: Japan
· 2013 MSRP: $1399
After scoping this rifle with a Sightron SII Big Sky 3-9x42mm on top of steel Warne 2-piece bases and Warne Maxima rings, I headed off to the range. Three types of premium ammunition were used: Remington Premier 180 grain Swift A-Frame (MV 2700 fps), Winchester Supreme 180 grain E-Tip (MV 2750 fps) and Federal Premium Vital-Shok 165 grain Trophy Bonded Tip (MV 2800 fps).
All Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 rifles are guaranteed to shoot a 3-shot group of .99" or less at 100 yards (SUB-MOA) when used with Weatherby factory or premium ammunition. Unfortunately, the test rifle was unable to meet that standard with the three factory loads I had on hand, none of which grouped particularly well. The best of the bunch was easily the Remington Swift A-Frame in this rifle. However, even the Swift A-Frames struggled to get three shots into 1-1/2 inches (1.5 MOA) at 100 yards, unimpressive for a Weatherby Vanguard with a SUB-MOA accuracy guarantee and poor compared to the 3/4 MOA Vanguard .270 Winchester I recently reviewed. (All rifles are ammo sensitive to some degree and our guess is that none of the tested loads were among this rifle's favorites. -Editor)
My conclusion, based on this test rifle, is not highly favorable. Although the Vanguard Back Country delivers on its promise of less weight, the just adequate accuracy, heavier than ideal trigger out of the box and salty price all point to the Vanguard Sporter instead of the Back Country. The Vanguard Sporter is a far better-looking rifle at a more modest price.
Note: There is an in-depth review of a Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 Stainless Synthetic rifle on the Product Reviews page.
Copyright 2013 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.