View Full Version : I inherited a beautiful, old Weatherby rifle. Want info.

July 22, 2012, 02:28 PM
My grandmother gave me one of my grandfathers Weatherby rifles after his death. I know nothing about firearms but would at least like to know what I was given. I contacted Weatherby for info but they want $50 to $100 for any info which I'm not interested in doing, call me cheap.
The serial number is 10203 and from that I'm pretty sure it was manufactured in South Gate, CA (South Gate is stamped on the barrel) in 1958. It's a .243 caliber which is stamped on/near the barrel. The rifle is also in pristine condition with a Weatherby Variable 2X to 7X scope.
Here's what I'd like to know:
Original cost and date of purchase.
Rifles specs. (I probably won't know what they mean but I'd like to know anyways)
Model Name/Number. I seen Varmint Master, Mark V and Lazermark in my searches. Which one, if any, do I have?
Rifles worth. Now I'm sure no one can tell me this info without seeing the rifle but a ballpark guess would help me determine if I need to call the carrier of my homeowners policy.

July 22, 2012, 03:29 PM
I probably couldn't identify it but it would help anyone who could a lot if you could post some pictures. Try to get any markings and a full side shot of the gun if possible.

Jim Watson
July 22, 2012, 03:40 PM
A Weatherby in .243? How strange.

While you are getting up pictures, how many locking lugs does it have?

July 22, 2012, 04:55 PM
according to wikipedia(not the strongest when it comes to firearms research but can be useful to get you pointed in the right direction) the MK V varmint master was introduced in 65 but was only available in 224 weatherby mag and 22-250 so if you have a 243 chambered rifle then it is probably an aftermarket barrel.

Art Eatman
July 22, 2012, 05:23 PM
Wikipedia will have some company history, with maybe some detail about the early years in South Gate.

FWIW, retail on a 1970 Mark V was $350. But it says "Mark V" on the side of the receiver. Mine is German made.

July 22, 2012, 05:45 PM
probably a regular mark V

July 22, 2012, 06:33 PM
Jim, I do not have a clue what locking lugs are, even after searching the web.
Also, after reading more info I found from searching web I do not think it's a Mark V. If the info is correct it states that Mark V's s/n's start at 15000.
FWIW. I believe this rifle was custom ordered by my grandfather.
I'll get some pics up somewhere asap. Again, thanks for your help.

Jim Watson
July 22, 2012, 06:56 PM
Locking lugs are the bumps on the front of the bolt - the slidey back and forth part - that hang up behind ledges in the frame of the gun to keep it from blowing back through your head when you pull the trigger and release 50,000 pounds per square inch pressure from blazing gunpowder.

A Mauser type action which Mr Weatherby started out with has two big locking lugs, a Mk IV as he went to later has nine smaller ones. A Varmintmaster - a much newer rifle that what you think you have - has six locking lugs.

There is a parts diagram of a Mk V at

And of an 1898 Mauser such as Weatherby used before the Mk V came out.

But a custom Weatherby before 1958 could have been built on any rifle action he and the customer considered suitable.

July 22, 2012, 07:44 PM
Rifle pics here.

If another pic of the rifle would be helpful let me know and if there's anything about the rifle you'd like to know I'll try my best to get you the info.

July 22, 2012, 08:08 PM
Get on the yellow pages and find a good gun shop in your area (not a box store)

Take the bolt out, put it in a gun case and take it to the store and they will more then likely tell you what you have and answer your questions. Plus they will tell you if it's safe to shoot.

You really should have someone who knows rifles give it a look see.

You say its a 243, is it a 243 Win for 243 Wby Magnum. It should tell you, the WIN or WBY Magnum should follow the 243 Part.

There is a big difference.

July 22, 2012, 11:10 PM
I have thought about taking it to a gun shop but since I know so little it's a little concerning for me to do that. I do realize that might have to happen eventually.
I say it's a .243 because it's stamped on the rifle, see pic #4 and you'll see there is nothing stamped after the .243.
Also, I have no desire to fire the rifle and to me it looks like it might have never been fired.
Thanks for taking the time and your input.

Jim Watson
July 22, 2012, 11:32 PM
Thanks for the pictures.
You have an early Weatherby built on an FN (Fabrique Nationale, Belgium) Mauser action before the Mk V came out.
Caliber is undoubtedly .243 Winchester, there just is not another round with the .243 designation. The proprietary Weatherby cartridge shooting the same bullet is the .240 Weatherby and is not interchangeable.
The rifle was made in a narrow window of time between the introduction of the .243 Winchester in 1955 and the introduction of the Weatherby Varmintmaster in 1964; probably even before the Mk V in 1958; which agrees with your study of the serial number.

It looks in pristine condition. I would take the sling off of it so it does not scrub up the stock finish. The swivels are quick detachable, a little examination will show how to unscrew the little knob and press the pin out of the stud on the rifle.

Blue Book says a 100% unused Mk V is worth up to $1765. Add 20% for a non-Mk V action. You say you do not wish to fire it. If you want to keep it as a memento of Grandpa, great. If you want to liquidate it, be very careful, a dealer will not give you more than about half its retail value.

Art Eatman
July 23, 2012, 07:53 AM
There is a Weatherby "fan club" website somewhere around the Internet. Lots of discussion and information.

July 23, 2012, 05:37 PM
Thanks Jim for the info and your time. I really appreciate it.
The sling is wrapped in a thick cloth when stored inside the the case for the very reason you mention.
I'm going to keep hunting and see if I can find more info.
Art, the only fan clubs I've found on the Web are Weatherby Nation, which I didn't really like and Weatherby Collectors Assc. I'll probably ask that forum the same questions I asked here.
Thanks again.

July 24, 2012, 06:15 AM
Cptrout, you have a beautiful example of an original Southgate Weatherby. It very possibly could have been built by Roy himself. If you want to sell as opposed to keep and cherish, I would contact a reputable auction house to get the money it is worth. I could see this combo bring $2000.00 or more if you find the right buyer.

July 24, 2012, 08:54 AM
Sweet rifle!!! Keep it...Shoot it! :D

July 24, 2012, 05:54 PM
Think I'll be holding on to it, won't be shooting it though.

Ideal Tool
July 24, 2012, 11:00 PM
Hello, cptrout. Since you said you are new to all of this..please don't take offense..You said you were not planning on shooting rifle. Storing rifle in a case can sometimes cause unseen rusting..the case fabric will attract and hold moisture. A safe would probably be the best place. The metal parts should be protected..I like RIG grease..only a very thin film on metal is needed. Others swear by wax. Make it a habit to wipe down all metal after handling. If rifle has been shot, might be a good idea to make sure bore is free from copper fouling & lightly grease it as well. Your lucky your Grandfather thought so well of you. When my G.F. passed, I would have gladly paid the family whatever they wanted just to have a few keepsakes...instead, his oldest son took them all back to his home state..and sold them to a pawn shop!

July 25, 2012, 10:44 PM
To add to Ideal Tool's post...
Be careful in handling a bright polished blued gun. The oils from your fingerprints could cause the blue to rust. A good way to store a nice rifle is to protect the metal with a good quality preservative oil/grease and store it in one of these. (http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=1154/Product/TRIPLE-TOUGH-trade-PREMIUM-STORAGE-BAGS) The idea is to keep moisture and oxygen away from the gun. A dense metallized polymer barrier bag will help do that.