• The .240 Weatherby Magnum

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    The .240 Weatherby Magnum was introduced in 1968, and it was the last in the series of cartridges designed by the great Roy Weatherby. Although some claim a similarity to the .240 Belted Rimless Nitro Express developed by Holland & Holland, the .240 Weatherby is an original design and not a copy of the British designed cartridge. If anything it looks more like a belted version of the .30-06, but in a much more attractive package. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder and I've never been a fan of the .30-06, anyway.

    It must be said that the biggest commercial cartridge of this caliber belongs to the .244 H&H Magnum, but the .240 Weatherby holds as much powder that can be burned in a 6mm tube at an acceptable level of efficiency. In the game of one-upmanship for which Weatherby is well-noted, the .240 Weatherby beats its smaller cousins, the .243 Winchester, 6mm Remington, and the .243 WSSM by around 200 fps. Realistically, the .240 Weatherby does not reach its published velocities because those tables are produced to represent velocity in a 26" barrel and, unfortunately, Weatherby no longer offers the 26" barrel in the .240 Weatherby chambering. To me, this is an unacceptable compromise and I strongly feel that a 26" barrel is the way to go. There has never been a situation where a barrel 2" shorter would make a hill of beans difference between success and failure and the added velocity of the longer barrel is a nice advantage.

    Weatherby bores all of its barrels with free-bore, but it must be said that the freebore of the .240 Weatherby isn't the same as it is for the other Weatherby calibers. It does, however, have a longer throat than is standard for the other 6mm calibers and this certainly does help achieve higher velocites with lower pressure.

    So, what is a .240 Weatherby good for? Although I tend to lean toward larger calibers, it is the opinion of many Weatherby fans that this cute little cartridge may be the all-time greatest Pronghorn antelope medicine for the hunter who cherishes a rifle that doesn't knock him from beneath his hat at every pull of the trigger. With an 85 grain bullet sighted to be three inces high at 100 yards, this hot rod is about dead on the money at 300 yards and about half a body depth of a buck low at 400 yards. Personally, I would choose the 95 grain Partition for everything.

    This cartridge may be a little too much for prairie dog shooting, but since I'm not in an area with a lot of prairie dogs here in Pennsylvania, this is not a factor for me and also explains why I don't own a varmint rifle. I would consider a .240 Weatherby for a fun day at the range, for slower paced shooting of ground hogs, for Pennsylvania Whitetail, for fox and coyotes, and for hunting antelope out West.

    The .240 Weatherby is a great little cartridge. Although I do not currently own one and hope to change that soon, it certainly shoots flat enough to hit a target much farther away than should be attempted by most hunters, with more than enough punch to drop an antelope or a Whitetail farther away than we should shoot, and its recoil is far lighter than I suspect anyone who has not shot one, including me, could possibly believe.

    Roy Weatherby's last cartridge may be one of his best for small to medium game anywhere.