We just took in a pair of Weatherby Mark V DGR rifles, and I thought I’d stop down and talk about them for a moment. They’re pretty cool.
What is a DGR? First introduced by Weatherby around 2002, DGR is the short version of Dangerous Game Rifle, and this rifle is built for just that purpose. Coming from the Weatherby Custom Shop, this rifle is offered in Weatherby Magnum calibers from .300 to .460, including the resuscitated .375 Weatherby. The only current non-Weatherby offering is .375 H&H, which is the most popular and widely used caliber for large or dangerous game around the globe.
Under what circumstances would you want such a rifle? Well, any circumstances that include encounters with dangerous game - brown bear, lion, Cape buffalo, elephant… I dunno. Possibly even a lab-created T-Rex? The gun could even be effective on tiger sharks as well, but I’m struggling to envision under what circumstances that would be necessary.
The rifle itself starts out with a hand-laid fiberglass stock and Weatherby’s distinctive Monte Carlo cheekpiece, designed to direct recoil away from the shooter’s face. This is significant when you’re touching off a Weatherby Magnum that’s equivalent to firing a four-barreled .30-06. The fiberglass stock offers a rigid, accurate, and sturdy platform that's unlikely to break under heavy recoil or abuse in the field, such as getting trampled by a rhino.
The Weatherby Mark V bolt action uses 9 locking lugs that provide strength of action while offering the shortest bolt throw in the industry – a mere 54 degrees. A short bolt throw can certainly be useful if you need a quick follow-up shot on a wounded game animal, especially if the game animal happens to be a 1-ton sub-Saharan bovine who seems to have developed an unreasonable fixation in converting your epidermis into part of the landscape.
Weatherby finishes the barreled action in Graphite Black Cerakote, a durable non-glare finish that is very tough under any hunting conditions. The custom shop adds both the barrel band and a very nice set of express sights with a hooded white bead front sight. The final touch is the Accubrake muzzle brake that cuts the recoil by half or more. This gives you the choice of wearing premium hearing protection or simply removing the brake and using adequate hearing protection. Just know in advance that your shoulder will likely be holding a grudge, and possibly some interesting shades of purple, should you remove the brake for a shooting session with some of the larger Weatherby Magnum rounds.
First of all, it’s pretty cool that Weatherby saw fit to bring back the .375 Weatherby when they introduced this rifle, as that caliber had been mostly out of production for many years. I’m old enough to remember when the .375 Weatherby was described in cartridge manuals as “obsolete/defunct”. I have handloading manuals that omit the cartridge altogether. The .375 was Roy Weatherby’s initial foray into stretching the performance of the .375 H&H in rifles he offered at the close of WWII. The Weatherby .375 outperforms the H&H by about 200 FPS, and Weatherby still offers ammunition for it.
When Weatherby introduced his proprietary .378 Magnum in 1953, the .375 Wby just went out of style for several decades, as the .378 offered superior ballistics and performance using the same bullets. Apparently there were enough shooters clamoring for a large medium bore rifle that fit between the performance of the .375 H&H and the .378 Wby Mag that Weatherby saw fit to bring it back. Anyway, you can get the DGR in all three – the .375 H&H, the .375 Wby, and the .378 Wby. Performance is roughly an uptick of 200-250 fps from one to the next, assuming the same bullet weight. An uptick in recoil may also be assumed.
The rifle in the photo is chambered in .460 Weatherby Magnum. Barring a .50 BMG, this is essentially the most powerful rifle you can own in a commercially available bolt action. It stretches the performance of .458-caliber projectiles to ballistics approximating a .30-06, with almost exactly five times the recoil of that particular round. Imagine, if you will, a rifle that can be used for stopping an elephant in its tracks, and also knocking off heavy plains game at 300 yards. It’s a truly impressive piece of artillery.
I’ve always been a fan of Weatherby rifles, and their lineup of high-powered big game cartridges. I’ve owned and shot several of them over the years, and have always found their performance to measure up to their own high standards. Accuracy has always been excellent in the rifles I’ve tried.
Both elephant and tiger shark are rare in North Texas, so I don’t keep a DGR in the truck rack, but if I ever decide to go hunt Alaska or Africa, I’d take a long look at one of these fine Weatherby rifles to accompany me. And if I ever find myself cast for a role in a Jurassic Park film, I’ll skip that piddly 1895 Marlin and go straight to the Weatherby .460.