Developing New Guns and Cartridges

Weatherby has made some big introductions in the past year and more are on the way.

Developing New Guns and Cartridges

Weatherby’s move from California to Wyoming in the summer of 2018 could have slowed operations. Instead, it appears to have a new vitality to the company, as seen in the introduction of many new products in 2022 and more in 2023. 

As always, Weatherby has maintained its commitment to providing quality products to its dealers along with in-store and larger marketing efforts to help move its many product lines. 

“Weatherby’s dealer business has increased in the last few years,” says Luke Thorkildsen, vice president of sales, marketing, and product development. “We are committed to growing our stocking dealers and making sure consumers that are looking for our products can find them at retail. We have most of our top ammo SKUs in stock and ready to ship, too.” 

First, though, the “new” from Weatherby. One big addition was the gun maker’s introduction of a whole new caliber: the 338 WBY RPM, Weatherby’s 16th cartridge introduction. 

The RPM stands for Rebated Precision Magnum, and Weatherby launched its first such cartridge in 2019 with the 6.5 WBY RPM. As Weatherby noted at the time, “Weatherby has traditionally designed and built ultra-high-velocity cartridges with unique case designs — belted magnums with a double-radius shoulder. … The Mark V six-lug standard action has been one of our best-kept secrets for years. The goal of the 6.5 WBY RPM was initially based on maximizing the potential of this great lightweight action.” 

Those belted magnum cartridges were handled by Weatherby’s nine-lug actions, which of course were found in heavier rifles. But how to fit a true magnum round into a lighter-weight, much handier rifle like the Mark V six-lug options? 

The answer is a rebated rim, which is much smaller in diameter than the base of the case. This smaller-diameter rim allowed Weatherby to build this magnum-powered 6.5 round to fit the reduced size 6-lug action found in Weatherby’s sub-5-pound rifle, the Mark V Backcountry Ti.  For the 6.5 WBY RPM, that meant magnum velocities right at or above a blistering 3,000 feet per second (fps) with a 140-grain bullet and an amazing 3,200 fps with a 127-grain projectile.

Like its 6.5 predecessor, the new 338 WBY RPM features the rebated rim — and magnum punch. 

Consider these specifications, with the 338 WBY RPM available in four different load options and fired from a Weatherby Backcountry 2.0 Ti in both the short barrel, 18-inch, configuration and the longer option of a 24-inch barrel:


338 WBY RPM Muzzle Velocities


     24 Barrel

     18 Barrel

185 gr. Barnes TTSX



225 gr. Barnes TTSX



225 gr. Hornady Interlock



225 gr. Nosler Accubond



All of this equates to some very serious power for very serious big-game hunters, a Weatherby trademark that founder Roy Weatherby pioneered decades ago. 

For 2022, Weatherby also offered the Mark V in Left-Handed Standard Action. Weatherby had lefty models available in Mark V nine-lug bolt models for years. With the success of the Mark V Backcountry line of rifles, Weatherby received many, many requests for the smaller six-lug action in a left-handed version, and lefty versions are now an option in the Backcountry lineup. October 2022 saw Weatherby launch its new 3-inch Synthetic 18i semi-auto shotgun models. The 3-inch Synthetic 18i’s were offered in First Lite Cipher, Mossy Oak Habitat, Realtree Max-7 and Synthetic Black.

Built in Italy to Weatherby’s exacting design standards, the 18i uses a proven inertia operating system to deliver an evenly weighted shotgun. Instead of porting off gasses from the combustion like a gas-operated shotgun, this action harnesses the energy of the recoiling gun to run its bolt. With no powder rerouted into the gun, the result is a cleaner-running, low-maintenance shotgun, perfect for high-volume shooting. 

The 18i’s one-piece receiver is precision machined from billet aluminum for strength and simplicity. The 18i is shipped with five choke tubes and a proper choke tube wrench. 

So, what can the independent FFL expect from Weatherby to help the retailer sell the company’s ever-growing lineup of firearms, ammunition, accessories and clothing? A great deal, it turns out, from in-store help to Weatherby keeping its name out and about on the social media landscape to most everything else marketing-wise in between. 

First, Weatherby sells direct to dealer and through all the major firearms distributors.

“Our sales team works with all of our retailers to provide assets that help them sell Weatherby Firearms,” says Tyler Grethen, Weatherby marketing manager. “Those assets include territorial representatives with a real knowledge of the local markets, and staff training materials to improve product knowledge for managers and salespeople. Plus we offer Weatherby signage and product demonstrations.” 

Weatherby also offers a Dealer Employee Discount program so sales staff can purchase Weatherby products directly and at a deep discount compared to retail prices. 

“On the marketing side, we have a full 360 marketing plan that includes print, digital, podcasts, email programs and conservation sponsorships/banquets,” Grethen notes. Weatherby also has a good number of “Ambassador Partnerships” with companies including Meat Eater and hunting apparel maker Hushin. 

“These Ambassador Partners do testing of our gear, provide feedback for us, and produce content that is seen by millions of consumers via their social media and digital outreach,” Grethen noted.

The Weatherby “On Our Mark” podcast is another avenue the company uses to create interest in their products and hunting, shooting and wildlife conservation. Here, Weatherby hosts and guests talk ballistics, products and hunting stories. Recent On Our Mark podcasts, for example, have featured Weatherby President Adam Weatherby discussing his first-ever African safari with noted outdoor and firearms writer Joseph Von Benedict. 

Other podcasts have covered topics as diverse as beginning waterfowl hunting, the launch of the Mark V Backcountry 2.0 rifle, conservation issues and falconry. 

“We also produce some of the best hunting videos and then provide educational content via YouTube,” Grethen adds. Weatherby YouTube videos have run the gamut of subjects and issues. One video, for example, presented a Weatherby mule deer hunting trip and delved into the ongoing conservation work needed to keep populations of these iconic Western deer strong and growing. Other videos have introduced new Weatherby rifles and calibers, and there are even field-test videos of new products. The latter includes a video documenting the first game animal taken by the 338 WBY RPM, a very large black bear hunted in the Bighorn Mountains of Wyoming.

In 2022, Weatherby product reviews and Weatherby product-based hunting stories were featured in all the major consumer hunting magazine and websites. Weatherby is also no stranger to social media and has invested a great deal of energy into sharing the Weatherby story and experience on social media venues, including Facebook and Instagram. 

In fact, when Weatherby launched the left-handed Mark V models in 2022, the first announcement of the new rifles arrived via the gunmaker’s Instagram account with this posting:

“We like to call them 10% of the population but 90% of the internet. In honor of #nationallefthandersday we’ve got an announcement. The much-awaited Mark V 6-lug is now available in left-handed!” 

On the ground, so to speak, Weatherby staff attend a wide variety of trade, sales and consumer shows. Sales shows include Ahlmans Shooter’s Roundup, the Big Rock Show, Bill Hicks, the National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers, Nation’s Best Sports, and Reeds Gun Fair.

For consumer events, Weatherby products and staff can be found at venues hosted by the Dallas Safari Club, Delta Waterfowl, the Hunt Expo, Northwest Pacific Sportsman and SCI Reno.

And Weatherby is not standing still for 2023. Soon, the gunmaker will launch its newest rifle, the Model 307. At this writing, details are minimal. But what we know for sure is that the Model 307 is a bolt-action platform offered in a wide range of WBY and non-WBY calibers. Pricewise, the rifle is expected to retail somewhere between the Mark V and Vanguard lines. 

Expect much more to come from Weatherby in 2023 and beyond. Innovation, passion and an ever-growing marketing presence in the industry: That’s the Weatherby formula for success.


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