• .340 Weatherby: The Leader of the Pack!

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    This big belted magnum is a heavy hitting long-range performer that really stands alone!

    For as long as there have been men, campfires, and cartridges, the debate over the perfect cartridge has gone on unabated. The one round that will do everything is an elusive beast indeed. Because the perfect cartridge is a personal thing and since I'm the one writing this article, I will give you my personal opinion, an opinion that is also shared by some of our best riflemen.

    What does "all-around" cartridge mean? First, I'm talking about hunting cartridges, so this won't help those who shoot paper targets or angry iron chickens. Furthermore, I'm talking about an all-around cartridge in the most literal sense - a round that is good for everything that walks, crawls, or flies. The weakest feature of my proposed round is varminting, but in a pinch, with a muzzle brake, it will bloody well work! It is also a little light for elephant, but can certainly suffice nicely in the right hands.

    Between these extremes, the all-around cartridge should be perfectly at home hunting right across North America and any other part of the World. This also DOES NOT mean that there are dozens of bullet weights and loads. Those who tout the .30-06 use this argument all the time and it makes no rational sense. Those who try to use a different bullet weight for every critter they hunt is wasting their time and will only bring home confusion when returning from the field. Rifles usually do best with a single bullet weight and, if you're lucky, two. Find what works best in your rifle, sight it in for the distance you hunt, and leave it alone. The all-around cartridge should do its business with only one trajectory to remember. To me, my perfect cartridge must have three things: a reasonable degree of practicality, big horsepower, and a flat trajectory. It's my opinion that the .30 caliber cartridges lack the horesepower especially at long range and also lack the ability to launch heavier bullets needed for the largest of big game. The .375 H&H has always been and always will be in the running, but it's a bit shy in long range trajectory. The .338 Winchester Magnum is nudging the answer, but it has a big brother that beats it hands down.

    The .340 Weatherby is THE cartridge. Along with the .240 Weatherby, this is one of Roy Weatherby's last creations and is the best of them all. Using the ideal bullet weight of 250 grains, the .340 Weatherby beats the Winchester counterpart by 200 fps. The .340 has a phrase that's been coined to it as having 7mm trajectory and .375 H&H punch. This is partially true. When looking at the ballistic tables, the .340 Weatherby with 250 grain Partitions BEATS the punch delivered by the venerable .375 H&H.

    The .340 Weatherby does not need a dozen bullet weights in order to maintain the all-around title. But like all Weatherby rounds, the .340's high velocity demands very tough bullets on the order of the Nosler Partition, Nosler Accubond, Barnes X and TSX, Trophy Bonded Bear Claw, Swift A-Frame, Speer Grand Slam, etc.... Yes, you can shoot the light 210 grain bullets in the .340, but why? For those lighter than 225 grain weights, you are much better served with a .30 caliber to preserve sectional density and ballistic coefficients. In my opinion, the .340 Weatherby is at its very best with a 250 grain bullet and is as close to perfection as one could possibly want. My personal .340 has never had anything other than 250 grain Nosler Partitions down its barrel, but I would consider using a tough 225 grain bullet in some situations as my lightest weight for this cartridge.

    The .340 Weatherby will do it all. If it has a limitation, it will be that some hunters will find the recoil level too high. I am the first to admit that the .340 Weatherby firing full house loads of Nosler's 250 grain Partition are at the upper limits of my acceptable recoil limits. However, it's on the right side of my limit. I only feel recoil when I'm sitting at the bench and, thankfully, since my oil-finished Deluxe Mark V is zeroed for 300 yards and shoots an inch or less at 100 yards, I don't spend much time with her hunkered over a bench rest. Muzzle brakes are an answer for some and additional weight certainly goes a long way to mitigate against recoil.

    If I had to get rid of all my Weatherbys and keep just one for anything for the remainder of my days, the .340 would be the one chosen without a moments hesitation. For now, the .340 weatherby stands alone in a crowded field of contenders as the perfect all-around cartridge for anything and anywhere.
    Comments 10 Comments
    1. skipper's Avatar
      skipper -
      hi Jb
      maybee i need one off these to colse my gab between 300 and 378, nice article

    1. JB257460's Avatar
      JB257460 -
      Thank you, Skipper

      You know, if you had a .340 Wby , you can sell your .300 AND .378 and get a nice .270 Wby to fill your other caliber gap!
    1. JohnnieB's Avatar
      JohnnieB -
      Great Article! Thanks for your input!
    1. ohdot's Avatar
      ohdot -
      Thats really nice to read. My first and favorite weatherby was my 340
    1. 378Canuck's Avatar
      378Canuck -
      Why not a 378 and a 338/378 for all the above reasons and then some.
    1. Antsray's Avatar
      Antsray -
      I have just aquired a 340 Mark V Deluxe with a muzzle break. I was looking for a 338-378 but the 340 was close enough ( within 5% of ballistics I believe ). I have not yet fired it and can hardly wait! Love the article. I am looking for a decent scope without breaking the bank, any sugestions? I was considering a Shepherd or Leapold 3 series. I would like to stay under the 700 range. thanks!
    1. dieseldoc's Avatar
      dieseldoc -
      Just got my 340 LH German last week, in the process getting Nightforce 5.5x22x50 mounted and expect to be hitting the range just as soon as the wet weather clears. Just can't wait in getting started with some long range shooting.
    1. JB257460's Avatar
      JB257460 -
      Anstray, I have a Zeiss Conquest 3-9x40 mounted on my .340 and have never found it lacking. It's very durable and it tracks without a hitch.

      Dieseldoc, that's quite a scope for a .340!! I guess if you want to focus on LR shooting, you need something like that. For me and what i want a .340 for, 9x to 10x is perfect.

      Post some pics guys when you get 'em set up.
    1. JohnnieB's Avatar
      JohnnieB -
      Hey Charlie,

      Let me know when you are planning to make the run to the long range north of Sacto. I'll be interested in going myself.
    1. manyletters's Avatar
      manyletters -
      I have a Mark V in .340 and am starting to really love this rifle...here in Alberta, Canada we are hunting whitetail, mule deer, elk and moose all on the same day and need a versatile calibre that will do the job. I am just getting in to the reloading of this cannon and am using 180gr Nosler Accubonds out of it...both deer I shot with it this past fall were one shot kills and didn't move after being hit! Both my son and I have the .257 's and he also just acquired a .300...they are all tack drivers!