.240 WEATHERBY MAGNUM
Rifle|Fall 2021
The .240 Weatherby Magnum gets little respect. Knowledgeable varmint hunters will spend a lot of dough to build up a custom 6mm-284 or one of the variations of the 6mm-06 wildcat rounds to get the ballistic features already available in a .240 Weatherby Magnum factory rifle: flat trajectory, good performance in wind and the ability to anchor larger game more reliably if called upon to do so.
JIM MATTHEWS

With Weatherby’s .240, there is also the huge advantage of having factory brass available, so less money and time are invested when compared to making cases for one of the 6mm wildcats.

Even when all that is pointed out, most varmint hunters will snort at the idea of a .240 Weatherby Magnum as a viable varmint hunting option. For sure, part of the problem is that .240s are only available in Weatherby Mark V and Vanguard rifles (or custom rifles), limiting choices. Well, that may not be as large of a problem these days. A count on Weatherby’s website revealed there were several different rifle configurations available in the .240 Weatherby Magnum. Rifle limitation is hardly a drawback.

Other comments heard about the .240 Weatherby Magnum are that it’s expensive to shoot, it is overbore, and it doesn’t offer that much more performance over other 6mm factory rounds on the market. Yes, Weatherby or Norma .240 brass is more costly than .243 Winchester brass, but in the scheme of varmint hunting, that cost is really a small part of the equation. The expense of brass is far less (especially when considering time involved) than making 6mm284 or 6mm-06 wildcat brass.

The whole performance argument doesn’t hold water either. If a step up in performance is preferred, you pay for it by shooting more powder to get the gains in velocity and trajectory expected. The .240 Weatherby Magnum is the undisputed ballistic king of .24-caliber rounds, exceeding most of the hottest .24-caliber wildcats. At all bullet weights, especially when shooting the heavier varmint slugs weighing 80 to 90 grains, the .240 Weatherby Magnum will provide gains of 200 to 400 fps in velocity over the .243 Winchester or 6mm Remington. With the plethora of new powders in a wide variety of burn rates, finding ideal powders for the .240 Weatherby Magnum and specific weight bullets could push that margin even farther. When comparing the advantages Weatherby’s .240 gives the shooter in trajectory and wind drift (Table I), it’s in a different category as a varmint cartridge. There aren’t many other cartridges in the .240 Weatherby Magnum’s class, or many rifle options at its price point, especially now that the cartridge is chambered in a number of configurations in the Weatherby Vanguard line.

Another important question is potential accuracy. The test rifle used for the handloading data (Table II) was a Weatherby Vanguard Accuguard SS with a 24-inch fluted, stainless barrel and action with a composite stock fitted with an aluminum bedding block. The barrel also has a recessed target crown. This rifle comes from Weatherby with a guarantee of sub-MOA, three-shot groups at 100 yards with Weatherby factory ammunition. Nearly every hand load shot through the rifle met that criteria, even in horrible, windy shooting conditions during four days of testing bullet and powder combinations.

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