It was love at first sight when Whitney Wood laid her eyes on the new Weatherby GH2 (Girls Hunt 2) rifle. It’s lightweight and fits well for medium-sized women like herself, making it easy to carry afield. And she thinks the color pattern on the composite stock is “awesome.”
“It’s a black synthetic stock with a reddish and pink splatter [design]. I think it has a more sophisticated look to it than those pink guns—like it was made for a woman hunter, not a little girl,” said 33-year-old Wood, an attorney. “I knew when I saw the rifle, finally someone understands the two main features for a woman hunter—size and look. Perfect size for me to carry and I don’t feel like ‘Hunter Barbie’ when I’m using it!”
Whitney Wood shoulders the Weatherby GH2 (Girls Hunt 2) centerfire rifle.
Wood is also president of Outdoor Women Unlimited (OWU), a national organization that helps promote the outdoors to women by offering various hunting and shooting clinics, plus holds classes and events in other outdoor skills. She recently got a GH2 chambered in .243 Win. to go hog hunting. The other OWU members who’ve seen Woods’ GH2 all have the same question: Where can I get one?
Wait a minute. A “girls” Weatherby rifle, with a stock accented in red and pink squiggles? What in the name of Roy Weatherby is going on here?
Welcome to the brave and very new world of Weatherby-X or WBY-X, a concerted effort by the California firearms maker to sell its guns to 20- and 30-somethings—and in the process, bring a youthful infusion to the shooting sports. Weatherby is still making and selling its flagship rifles, including the Mark V, Roy Weatherby’s brainchild. But, for 2013, Weatherby added WBY-X to its offerings, presenting the line of guns in its own catalog and a separate Internet and social media presence.
“We gave the WBY-X rifles and shotguns an edgier look to catch the eye of the younger consumer,” explained Mike Schwiebert, Weatherby’s director of marketing. “And we think there will be some crossover from more traditional hunters and shooters who maybe are looking for something a little different. But we made sure the quality was still all Weatherby.”
You only have to read the names and glimpse the color patterns to know the intended buyer is likely 40 years of age or younger: the “Hog Reaper,” with a hog skull camouflage pattern on the stock; “Whitetail Bonz,” sporting a unique deer antlers and skull pattern; and, the aforementioned GH2.
Actually, they are Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 rifles that have been reconfigured a bit. In the case of Hog Reaper, for example, there’s a 20-inch barrel versus the standard 24-inch barrel on the Series 2. The GH2 is somewhat lighter than a Series 2, and it comes with an adjustable spacer to accommodate smaller shooters.
The WBY-X rifles also have match-quality, two-stage triggers that are adjustable down to 2.5 pounds, cold hammer forged barrels, 3-position safeties and Weatherby’s SUB MOA Guarantee (groupings of .99 of an inch at 100 yards with Weatherby or premium factory ammunition). The rifles are offered in a variety of popular calibers.
The Kryptek TR rifle from the WBY-X line features Kryptek Highlander camo.
There’s also the Black Reaper rifle (human skull camo pattern) and the Kryptek TR rifle (decked out in the Highlander pattern from Kryptek camo, which has an almost snakeskin look). The Whitetail Bonz is available in a Youth model as well, with a shorter 20-inch barrel and an adjustable length-of-pull spacer to help with the fit.
The Weatherby-X rifle price point has been aimed at younger buyers, too: $749 suggested retail, with in-store prices likely to be at least $75 lower.
The WBY-X line also includes three shotgun models: PA-459 Black Reaper and PA-08 Black Reaper, both of these pump actions available in 12 and 20 gauge offerings; and the semiauto SA-08 Kryptek Youth in 20 gauge. The MSRP for these shotguns ranges from $799-449 depending upon the model.
Pictured here is the PA-459 Black Reaper pump-action shotgun from the WBY-X line.
WBY-X: Fresh Looks, Field-Proven
I’ve used a Hog Reaper, chambered in .308 Win. during several hog hunts, and it’s a great hunting rifle—accurate and lightweight (about 7 pounds). The carbine-length barrel gets me in and out of the thicker brush that hogs like to inhabit, and makes life a little easier in the tight confines of a hunting stand.
This Hog Reaper in .308 Win. proved to be an excellent brush gun for hammering hogs.
Of course, you don’t need a hog skull camo pattern to go hog hunting. That’s more of a fashion statement, I guess, but it’s one that seems to work. Every 20- and 30-something hunter I’ve met up with while I was carrying the Hog Reaper has been enthusiastic about the hog skull motif. Older hunters? They tend to shake their heads and ask, “What the heck!?”
It’s A Team Effort
To promote the WBY-X line, the company also created Team Weatherby, a group of celebrities who include people from a variety of professions, including pro sports and the music industry. The newest Team Weatherby members are professional shooter and recent Bianchi Cup Ladies Division winner Jessie Duff, and 19-year-old Jessy Nelson, the 2011 Super Cross/Moto Cross Rookie of the Year.
To promote WBY-X, Team Weatherby members are going on hunts and shoots. Articles, photos and videos will be shared via the Team Weatherby website, plus posted to social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Team members are also attending hunting and shooting shows, signing autographs, having pictures taken, and talking up the WBY-X line.