Weatherby has been churning out rifles for 72 years, with many of its long guns reaching icon status. The venerable Mark V and other tried-and-true models have trudged after moose in Canada’s great north woods, chased gazelle across Africa’s endless veldt and collected their fair share of American whitetails.
The California gunmaker's relentless pursuit of quality, wrapped up in handsome burled walnut and rosewood has served them well. But in recent history, Weatherby has turned its studied eye and manufacturing prowess to another, fast-growing corner of the firearms market.
Precision tactical bolt-actions have grown in popularity as more non-hunters have joined the shooting world. In response, the West Coast company has started to make a marked turn the past two years to rifles meant to print sub-MOA cloverleaf groupings from a country mile.
Weatherby’s most recent offering in this niche is the Vanguard Adaptive Composite rifle. This is the manufacturer’s third tactical bolt-action and the second in the Vanguard line of rifles, joining the Vanguard Modular Chassis and Mark V Tacmark. And the rifle — available in .223 Rem., 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win. — appears to have the features that should raise the eyebrows of the precision minded.
The heart of the VAC is its composite target stock, featuring a push-button system that makes tailoring the dimensions of the rifle a snap. The stock is fully adjustable, allowing 1.25 inches of play in the length of pull, as well as fully modifiable drop at comb and heel. These are key adjustments for shooters to intuitively shoulder a rifle and hold it on target with a minimum of movement.
The stock features a widened forend, allowing shooters to build a more solid rest when taking a shot. And it has a full vertical grip with rubberized panels to ensure a strong, positive grip, thus, more control over the rifle.
Weatherby has opted for its heavier No. 3 contour barrel for the VAC, 20 inches in length for every caliber. It has also threaded the muzzle, allowing for the quick addition of a suppressor. The .223 Rem., has a ½-28 thread pitch, while the 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win., both have 5/8-24 pitch — which opens the rifle, regardless of caliber, to a great selection of suppressors.
Weatherby has outfitted the VAC with its Vanguard action, which has a one-piece machined bolt body, fully enclosed bolt sleeve and dual front-locking lugs. The rifle features the company’s two-stage adjustable trigger, which can be dialed down to 2.5 pounds.
As far as MSRP, the gun presently has a price tag of $1,269 from the factory — cheaper once at the gun store. This is not a bad deal in the world of precision rifles, which can quickly tax a shooter's wallet. Only time will tell if long-range marksmen and tactical enthusiasts make Weatherby’s VAC as popular as the company’s previous offerings.
VANGUARD ADAPTIVE COMPOSITE (VAC) Specs
Calibers: .223 Rem., 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win.
Approx. Weight: 8 3/4 lbs.
Overall Length: 39.5-40.75 inches
Magazine Capacity: .223 Rem & .308 Win 5+1; 6.5 Creedmoor 4+1
Barrel Length: 20 inches
Rifling: .223 Rem. 1-9″, 6.5 Creedmoor 1-8″, .308 Win. 1-10″
Length of Pull: 13.25-14.5