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As a kid I would open up and immediately scan any new copies of hunting magazines

for the latest Weatherby ad. I remember they always had really neat ads with a picture of a Weatherby rifle that I would dream of that night.

What really seemed to stick in my mind were the laser-engraved wood stocks. That’s what I wanted!

But, that was 40 years ago, and I have become much more practical with age. So, when I decided to order my first Weatherby, I wanted one that would not show the wear that most of my hunting rifles with wood stocks do now.

I try to take care of my hunting guns, BUT when getting in and out of tree stands, trucks and the woods, they can get a scratch here and there. Before long, that real pretty piece of wood no longer looks new. So, the rifle I was going to purchase would have a synthetic stock that would be more resistant to bumps and scrapes.

I was still going to have the Weatherby-guaranteed accuracy and dependability, but it would be wearing a stock that was more conducive to my hunting style of “beating the brush” and climbing in and out of tree stands.

With Weatherby having so many calibers to choose from, I did a lot of thinking as to what would best suit my style of hunting – primarily for whitetail deer and hogs in Florida and Georgia – where most of my shots are inside 100 yards, with a rare shot out to 300 yards.

After researching several internet sites and all of my reloading manuals, I decided on a .25-06. This cartridge has the range I would occasionally need, and, with the right load, would have great penetration and knock-down power for anything I would hunt.

Now that I knew the caliber, I needed to decide on a rifle. The Weatherby site listed nine different rifles in .25-06, including a package (rifle, scope, rings and plastic case), others with fancy wood stocks and several with synthetic stocks.

As I browsed the site, one in particular caught my eye – the Vanguard SUB MOA. Weatherby says the rifle is guaranteed to shoot a 1-inch group at 100 yards (sub-MOA) when used with specified ammunition, and it comes with a factory-shot target as proof.

Well, I just had to call the Weatherby folks and talk about that! When I got to the right person, I was told the rifle comes with a target used (with this very rifle) to shoot a sub-MOA group, and written on the target is the type of bullets used to achieve the sub-MOA group.

Well, I had to stop him right there and ask, “So, you are telling me the target has written on it the bullets that I can purchase over the counter that will shoot sub-MOA in this rifle?”

“Yes,” was his response.

Now, I don’t know about you, but every time I get a new rifle I spend a lot of time and money either buying many factory loads or hand loading many “flavors” to find a bullet that will shoot less than 1-inch groups at 100 yards.

Here, the Weatherby folks were going to send me a rifle ready to take to the woods – with all of the guesswork taken care of? What a novel idea. Why didn’t I think of that?

Okay, my search was over. I wanted the Weatherby Vanguard SUB-MOA in .25-06. First came the easy part – getting out the credit card to buy it. Then came the hard part – waiting for my FFL guy to call and say it was in.

After a few weeks, my new “baby” showed up. Boy, was it pretty!

The rifle came with: Factory-tuned, fully-adjustable trigger, guarantee to shoot a 3-shot group of .99” or less when used with specified factory or premium ammunition, pillar-bedded Fiberguard composite stock with Monte Carlo, raised cheek piece and non-slip black spiderwebbing, matte black metalwork, Pachmayr Decelerator pad and a target with three holes punched in it, all of them inside one inch.

The three holes in my target measured 0.53 inches apart, and the writing on the bottom specified the rounds used to shoot this “sub-MOA” group.

With my new rifle in hand, I was off to find a few boxes of this ammo.

This was going to be a novel situation for me, as I had never in my life purchased a rifle that I did not have to spend hundreds of dollars and many hours at the range (and reloading bench) to find the perfect bullet – one that shot less than 1/2-inch groups at 100 yards).

Here I had my new rifle, and all I had to do was order a box or two of the bullets identified for me on the target, and I would be ready for sub-MOA groups.

I was still having trouble with this, because you can’t imagine the thousands of dollars I’ve spent looking for the right load – from .223 to 12-gauge slugs – and now all I had to do was get the rounds specified for this rifle.

I almost forgot to mention the bullets Weatherby had written on my target. Should I tell you, or wait until after I shoot a few other brands? I think I’ll make you wait.

I had another .25-06 and several other brands and flavors of bullets left over from a quest for that rifle’s “perfect bullet.”

I purchased a few of the rounds specified by Weatherby, mounted and bore-sighted a scope, and headed to the range. I got there early, as I needed to set up all of my data-gathering stuff and knew it was going to be a long, hot session. After placing my targets, setting up my Shooting Chrony F1 chronograph, notepad, Caldwell Lead Sled rest and new Weatherby rifle, I was ready!

I started with all the loads not written on the target and worked my way to the recommended loads.

Based on the table on this page, showing the results of my day at the range, are you able to figure out which bullet Weatherby stated would shoot best in this rifle?

All of you that said a 100-grain are DEAD CENTER. The Weatherby folks said a 100-grain Federal Premium bullet was going to be sub-MOA in this rifle, and they were correct. As a matter of fact, the rifle is called a SUB-MOA, but based on the results of my shooting (and I am not a great shot), it looks like with the specified bullets, this rifle is a “SUB, SUB-MOA.”

Sub-Moa is a 3- to 5-shot group within 1 inch at 100 yards. So, if this rifle shoots groups of less than 1/2 inch at 100 yards, it should be sub, sub-MOA.

Anyway you look at it, this is a fine-shooting rifle. When it goes to the woods with me this year, it will be loaded with Federal Premium 100-grain bullets.

Here are my thoughts on this rifle: The stock is easy to grip and doesn’t slip, even with wet, sweaty hands. The action is solid and smooth, and it locks up with the Weatherby quality you expect. The rifle shoulders just right for me, and the Pachmayr Decelerator pad absorbs most of the recoil produced by this caliber.

The trigger has a clean, crisp pull with no creep and comes set from the factory perfect for hunting, with or without gloves. Overall, I give this rifle a thumbs up.

Notes: Accuracy is the average of three five-shot groups fired from a Caldwell Lead Sled. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured 15 feet from the muzzle, using a Shooting Chrony F1 chronograph. Wind 5 to 10 mph. Temperature 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”