Growing up in Northern Michigan made it fairly easy to get into hunting. As I became older, I always wanted a Weatherby rifle and when I was in high school that dream became a reality. I ended up being able to buy a .300 Weatherby Magnum Ultralight. Fast forward fifteen years, I had the opportunity to get an all access pass into their facility along with their 373-acre shooting property. Weatherby has and continues to be an American company. Every Mark V is still built in their Sheridan Wyoming factory which makes seeing the process that much more special. Let’s take a deeper dive into Weatherby’s facility.
Weatherby @ TFB:
Building and Storefront
Weatherby has been selling firearms since 1945 and three generations later it is still family owned. The company was started by Roy Weatherby. Fast forward 75 years and Roy’s grandson Adam Weatherby is the current CEO. Adam proved to be a driven and focused individual with a true passion for firearms and hunting. Their brand new facility was built in 2018 which is tucked at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains in Sheridan, Wyoming. With 60,000 sq. ft of manufacturing space and 15,000 sq. ft of office space, the 125 employees of Weatherby have room to build a wide variety of bolt action rifles.
The front section of the facility is open to the public where someone can go in and order any model of shotgun or rifle that Weatherby offers today. Weatherby also offers their demo rifles and various industry rifles for sale at a discounted rate for individuals who live locally. Throughout the few days I visited the facility, there were a number of locals coming in and out of the gun room checking on the latest stock. Along with their production rifles and shotguns for sale, Weatherby also had a number of historically significant rifles in the gun room.
One example is the prototype of the very first Mark V rifle as well as the serial number 1 from the Wyoming manufacturing plant. Along with the variously historically significant rifles and shotguns for Weatherby, there are also a number of historical items that range from older style ammunition boxes to polar bear skulls that Roy Weatherby hunted himself. The front part of the factory is a very cool place with a number of historical pieces for the company.
The majority of the building space was dedicated to manufacturing and assembly areas. The Weatherby factory was one of the first factories I have toured that felt like things were being hand built in the factory. There were a number of employees who were hand fitting parts. From my time on the shop floor, I truly felt the pride and craftsmanship that goes into every single rifle.
The Different Departments
Each of the model lines from the Mark V to the Vanguard rifle has their own product line where gun makers build rifles in their own space to make sure everything’s right. Each department has its own Cerakote area as well as a final assembly area. This was quite a surprise to me since typically factories will have assembly workers who assemble various rifles depending on the day. Weatherby is different because their department workers become experts in their rifle since that’s all they do, day after day.
With 60,000 sq. ft of space, their factory really does give Weatherby the proper space to build rifles in-house. They do everything from cutting barrels, flutings and assembly to Cerakote and stock making. They still have the bolts and receivers made outside the facility. Everything else though is made and assembled in the factory. This helps not only drive costs down but also allows Weatherby as a whole to keep their quality standards at a high benchmark. Everything from proofing, barrel development, building, Cerakoting, and assembly are all done in the manufacturing area. With the general trend being to outsource manufacturing to different companies or overseas, Weatherby has decided to do the majority of manufacturing in-house in order to keep their standard of quality high.
Weatherby is also known for making high-quality factory hunting ammunition. There has been a number of times where I could only find boxes of Weatherby ammo for a few of my rifles when Hornady or Winchester were sold out or unavailable. Weatherby is known for making high-quality and accurate ammunition in all of their specialized Weatherby calibers.
We had a chance to go into the ammunition part of the factory to look at some of their factory ammunition being loaded up. This is one of the sections of the factory they plan on expanding due to higher demand. It was awesome to see how precise the loaders were making sure every round got the exact powder charge it needed. Weatherby’s ammunition has always been high quality but tends to be relatively higher cost than most other ammunition companies. Weatherby takes the “you get what you pay for” approach and runs small batches of various calibers to ensure the highest quality they can.
in the basement of Weatherby’s facility, there is a testing 100-yard indoor range. Employees can certify rifles for customers or do different accuracy tests either on new calibers or various rifle models. I wasn’t allowed to take photos of the area, unfortunately, but it had a very cool man cave vibe with racks of rifles lining the wall. There were a number of customer projects waiting to be test fired on the racks. A number of prototype firearms were also present we had the opportunity to fire.
Weatherby’s Testing Property
The newest addition of Weatherby’s facilities is the outdoor testing and training property. This 373-acre spot is located just a few minutes from the factory but allows people to shoot past 1,000 yards. This area is also available for skeet shooting with two of the automatic throwers available for use. The testing grounds are right at the foot of the Big Horn Mountains so there are a number of stunning views once the sun starts going down.
We went out to shoot some of their new shotguns one evening. Shooting in Wyoming was an exceptional experience just for the view as the sun started to go down. The amount of space made testing and media events extremely easy. Having two sections with the upper deck and shipping container hosting long-range shooting as well as shotgun use made testing extremely fun. This is a perfect example of what it’s like to have one of America’s premium rifle builders located in a small town. They can employ and help support a town’s economy while keeping that spirit of the American west in their products. It was truly unique seeing small-town America while having the ability to shoot long-range minutes from the factory.
Over the years, I’ve had a few different Weatherby rifles and still have a special .300 Weatherby Magnum that I love. I’ve always respected the craftsmanship of the brand and their dedication to making the best possible hunting rifle they can. Being able to go there and see everything working as a large manufacturing machine was truly a very cool experience.
I will be coming out with a number of new product articles as well as a scope mounting tutorial coming down the pipeline fairly soon. Let me know if you guys have personally owned any of the Weatherby shotguns or rifles in the comments below. What experience do you guys have with Weatherby products? I’d love to hear more about it so be sure to leave a comment below. If you have any questions about rifles or just shooting in general, feel free to shoot me a message on my Instagram @fridgeperator. Stay safe out there!
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All Access Tour Of Weatherby’s World Headquarters -The Firearm Blog is written by Matt E for www.thefirearmblog.com