Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
Take accuracy to the next level with a VGD Modular Chassis Bolt-Action Rifle from Weatherby®. Legendary Vanguard® action delivers tried-and-true reliability, and is mounted to an MDT LSS-XL aluminum chassis for rock-solid performance and a unique look. Luth-AR MBA buttstock is fully adjustable for a perfect cheek weld, ensuring shot-to-shot consistency and custom comfort. Cold-hammer-forged heavy-profile #3 barrel is guaranteed to shoot sub-MOA groups right out of the box with premium ammunition. Match-quality, two-stage trigger is adjustable down to 2.5 lbs. Matte bead-blasted barrel and action. Three-position safety lets you work the bolt with the safety on. Hogue® OverMolded pistol grip. Includes 10-round detachable magazine. Front sling stud lets you mount your favorite bipod.
Review: Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis Rifle
CATHY TIMS from gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
Weatherby has a long and rich history of innovation. A dedicated hunter and amateur ballistician, Roy Weatherby discovered in the 1940s that pushing lighter bullets to hyper velocities would result in effective game kills. He developed his legendary Mark V rifle to contain his powerful wildcat cartridges and his well-heeled clientele went afield with their Monte Carlo stocked rifles. In the 1970s the Vanguard rifle was developed and suddenly owning a Weatherby was within the reach of the average hunter. The name has always been synonymous with quality and known worldwide by sportsmen. Lesser known is Weatherby’s line of tactical precision rifles.
Weatherby Shooting Systems is a collection of bolt guns configured for tactical use. Utilizing the proven Mark V and Vanguard actions, these rifles are offered in a host of calibers and stocks designed to produce precision accuracy at extended distances. I received a sample of the Vanguard Modular Chassis (VMC) rifle chambered in .308 Win.Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
Designed for precision long-range shooting, the VMC has a number of features that make it appropriate for competition and law enforcement work. Weatherby starts with its Vanguard action fitted with a 22” heavy barrel and a Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) aluminum chassis stock, match grade 2-stage trigger and Luth AR MBA buttstock. The VMC also uses a 10-round detachable polymer magazine.Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
The Vanguard action has a reputation for strength, and was the logical choice for Weatherby to base the VMC rifle on. The one–piece machined receiver features an integral recoil lug for strength and structural integrity. The machined one-piece bolt body is fluted and the bolt sleeve is fully enclosed. There are three ports drilled into the bolt body to redirect gas in the event of a case rupture or blown primer. The bolt has twin locking lugs, a claw extractor and a plunger-style ejector on the bolt face. The action is push-feed in operation and did not require Weatherby engineers to alter the bolt to feed from the detachable single-stack magazine. It cocks on opening and is so smooth that I used my trigger pull gauge to determine that it only requires 7 lbs. of upward force to open and cock the action. Before I took the VMC to the range I put a few drops of oil on the bolt raceways but I’m not really sure I needed to. The action is incredibly smooth!
Weatherby outfits the VMC with a heavy barrel which measures about 1” at the receiver and tapers to .74” at the muzzle. Its length is 22” and it is rifled with a 1:10” twist, cold hammer forged and has a recessed target crown for protection. For accuracy’s sake the barrel is free-floated its entire length.Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
The MDT chassis is machined from 6061 aluminum and hard anodized. Only two screws are required to marry the Vanguard barreled action to the MDT stock. At the front of the elongated trigger guard is a lever-type magazine release. Pushing it forward will release the 10-round polymer mag. The rear of the chassis is threaded to accept an AR receiver extension (buffer tube) and Weatherby uses the Luth AR MBA-1 stock. This lightweight, glass-filled nylon stock delivers a full 1” of height on the cheek rest and 1 1/16” adjustability on length of pull. All adjustments are easy to make and securely retain their positions. I like it because the inside curve of the stock gives the shooter a place for the off hand to pull the stock tightly into the shoulder when shooting from a rest. A Hogue over-molded pistol grip is used on the VMC.
A three-position manual safety is located at the rear, right-side of the VMC action. With the safety at its rearmost position, it blocks the sear and locks the bolt handle. The middle position still blocks the sear but allows the bolt to be manipulated, and would be the position used to load and unload the VMC. Pushing the safety to its forward most position will allow the user to fire. Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
A match grade, 2–stage, adjustable trigger is used on the VMC. To adjust the trigger, remove the two action screws and separate the barreled action from the chassis. At the front of the trigger mechanism is a lock nut which must be loosened before an adjustment can be made. Turning the screw clockwise will increase the trigger pull. I adjusted the trigger pull to 2.75 lbs. and retightened the lock nut and reinstalled the action in the chassis.
I received the VMC without any mounting hardware for optics and when I requested a scope base I received something even better. Vanguard lightweight mounts are made from 7000 series extruded billet alloy, CNC machined to exacting tolerances. The one-piece mount and ring provides more strength and durability than steel rings and bases yet they only weigh 3 ozs. per pair. It took just a minute to install them on the receiver top and then I mounted a Pentax Lightseeker 6-24X 50 mm scope and was ready to fire some groups.Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
I arrived at the range at 7 a.m. and it was still relatively cool as I set up my sight-in target at 50 yards. This is when I started to get excited—each of my three sighting groups were three shots all touching each other. Once I had the zero I moved the target back to 100 yards. Weatherby offers a 1 MOA guarantee with its Vanguard rifles but I soon found out the VMC was actually capable of much better. All groups were fired from a seated rest, utilizing a Caldwell rifle rest for support. Five shots were fired to each group and the accuracy chart shows the best group fired with each ammunition. No effort was given to allowing the barrel to cool between groups.
AMMO VELOCITY ENERGY GROUP
Black Hills 168-gr. BTHP 2608 2537 .57”
Black Hills 175-gr. BTHP 2603 2633 .76”
Federal Premium MatchKing 168-gr. BTHP 2659 2638 .66”
Hornady 155-gr. Steel Match 2612 2348 .55”
Hornady 155-gr. American Gunner 2697 2504 .70”
Hornady Match 168–gr. BTHP 2718 2756 .53”
All groups were fired from a seated rest utilizing a Caldwell rifle rest for support. Velocities were recorded with a Pact chronograph and are listed in feet per second. Energies are listed in foot pounds of energy.
My single best group was fired with Hornady’s Match 168-gr. BTHP ammunition. Five shots measured just slightly more than a half-inch. Hornady’s 155-gr. Steel Match ammo wasn’t far behind with a group of .55”. The Pentax Lightseeker provided an incredibly bright and clear sight picture for me and made quartering the little 2” Shoot N C easy—even at 100 yards. Also accounting for the small groups is the VMC’s wonderful trigger. It is a two-stage affair and the first stage has about 3/8” take up with about a pound of pressure until it reaches the second stage where another 1 ¾ lbs. was required to break the shot. I’d take up the first stage as I prepped my shot and when I had everything lined up added more pressure until the rifle fired.Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
All rounds fed and fired without any problems. Even when I worked the bolt slowly, the empty cases were flung with authority from the rifle’s action. None of the loads listed required extra effort to open the bolt. Rounds fed with buttery fluidity from the polymer 10-round magazine and there was no binding or impingement of any kind.
The Weatherby VMC is one of those guns that is a joy to test. It is amazingly accurate and 100 percent reliable. Despite this I did have a couple of minor suggestions. I’d like to see Weatherby offer this model with an oversized and weighted bolt handle for speedy manipulation. I don’t think this would be difficult or expensive for them to do and would make the gun more attractive for competitors and law enforcement alike. In a conversation with a Weatherby official, I mentioned that offering this rifle in 6.5 Creedmoor with a threaded barrel would be especially appealing to those interested in precision long-range shooting. His response was that they are working on such a gun.Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
While many consider Weatherby to be a manufacturer of hunting rifles, it should not be overlooked by those searching for long-range precision rifles. Whether for use by competition shooters or law enforcement operators the Vanguard Modular Chassis rifle is capable of surgical precision and possesses unerring reliability.
Review: Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis Rifle
Alex Luffo from gunsdiscreetsupplies.com RELIABILITY
If you’re like most, when you hear the name “Weatherby” images of sporter-style hunting rifles come to mind. And, while the company’s bread-and-butter continues to be traditional hunting rifles, the manufacturer has expanded its lineup to include rifles oriented to the black-gun side of the spectrum. Introduced last year, the Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis rifle is a prime example of the latter: a rifle built from the ground-up for long-range, precision shooting. (Rosewood inserts and white spacers not included.)
As the name implies, this rifle comes from the company’s budget-oriented Vanguard line and uses the Vanguard action, as opposed to the Weatherby Mark V receiver. Vanguard actions are push-feed repeaters made for Weatherby by Howa of Japan. (The company has a reputation for both quality and accuracy, and all rifles in the Vanguard lineup are guaranteed to shoot three-shot groups of .99 inch or smaller at 100 yards with premium factory ammunition.) Vanguard actions use dual-opposing locking lugs, a one-piece, machined-bolt body, an integral recoil lug and a flat bottom that provides a positive-engagement surface for stock bedding.
(l.) The rifle’s threaded barrel easily accepts muzzle devices or a sound suppressor. (ctr.) Slots on the fore-end are compatible with Magpul L3 and L5 rails. (r.) Luth-AR’s MBA-1 stock allows for precise shooter length-of-pull and drop-at-comb customization. Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
Chassis-style stocks have become increasingly popular in recent years, primarily due to the proliferation of long-range shooting, and offer three primary advantages over traditional stock designs. The first advantage is adjustability: no single stock design is going to fit a variety of shooters perfectly and precision shooting demands that a natural point-of-aim be achieved. Stock fit is a key element in that equation. The Luth-AR MBA-1 stock used on this Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis rifle is adjustable for both length-of-pull and height-of-comb, and the comb itself can be moved back and forth. Using these adjustments, shooters of virtually any size and shape can adapt the stock to fit their bodies. Furthermore, the stock can be adjusted to be compatible with a variety of scope heights—since many optics designed for long-range use are larger than traditional riflescopes, they must be mounted higher and are often incompatible with traditional stock dimensions.Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
The second advantage of a chassis stock is the solid bedding surface it can provide. A rifle can have a true action and a stellar barrel but, if that barreled action does not maintain a consistent relationship with the stock during and between shots, groups will suffer and point-of-impact will wander. Securing a barreled action to a traditional stock, especially those made of wood or (worse) flexible polymer, can be an expensive and labor-intensive bedding process that takes skill to achieve correctly; this is one of the reasons that quality custom rifles are so expensive. A chassis stock allows the machined steel surface of the action to interface directly with the machined aluminum surface of the stock, which can help eliminate potential bedding problems. This is often more difficult to achieve in practice than it is in theory but Weatherby appears to have hit the mark on this one, as we did not see any significant signs of improper bedding in this Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis test rifle. Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
The third major advantage of a chassis stock is the ability to employ a detachable-box magazine (DBM). If push-feed actions have a fatal flaw, it concerns the staggered internal magazines from which the ammunition feeds. A corner of the bolt nose bears against a fraction of the case head and pushes it forward until it pops free of the rifle’s feed rails or the lips of a staggered-box magazine. If everything works correctly, the cartridge lands in front of the boltface and can find its way into the chamber. If they don’t work, parts are swapped, profanity is unleashed and feed-rail alterations are made until the correct formula is reached. A single-column DBM allows the cartridge to feed into the receiver directly in-line with the chamber so the bolt merely pushes it into place during the feeding process. This system tremendously aids reliability.Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
(l.) A generous bolt handle permits rapid bolt manipulation. (ctr.) Thanks to an oversize trigger guard, accessing the Vanguard’s bang switch is easy, even with gloves. (r.) Magazine changes are hassle-free with the rifle’s paddle- style release.
So, now that we know why we might want to consider a chassis rifle, let’s take a closer look at this one. The core of the Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis rifle is, as you might guess, the chassis itself. These are CNC machined from 6061 aluminum and anodized black. The chassis interfaces with the action, provides a stub for mounting the pistol grip, houses the magazine and transitions forward into a freefloated fore-end. At the rear, the chassis uses a tube-style stock mount to be compatible with fixed stocks designed for AR-type rifles. Unlike many chassis designs, this one is slim, trim and light, especially at the fore-end. If fore-end attachments are desired by the end user, the stock is compatible with both Magpul L5 and L3 rails. A standard sling swivel stud comes standard and allows for either a sling or bipod attachment. This Vanguard uses a Hogue overmolded AR-type grip with finger grooves which, of course, can be swapped out for any of the aftermarket grip options on the market. We didn’t find the long grip to be particularly well-suited for prone or benchrest shooting, but your experience and preference may vary. Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
The barrel is hammer-forged from chrome-moly steel and 20 inches in length. The number 3 contour splits the difference between light sporter and heavy varmint-style contours and helps the rifle hit its sub-9-pound weight. If this barrel was any longer, you’d probably have to go with a heavier contour, which would throw the rifle’s portability out the window. Barrels on the Weatherby Vanguard Modular Chassis rifles also come threaded for a sound suppressor (1⁄2×28 for .223 Rem. and 5⁄8×24 for larger calibers) and adding a suppressor certainly adds to the overall length, more reason to justify a 20-inch barrel. The threads are covered by a thread protector that fits seamlessly onto the barrel’s contour.
With the exception of the magazine release, the rifle’s controls are identical to other models in the Vanguard line. A three-position safety allows the user to cycle the bolt with the safety engaged and it is positioned on the right side of the tang. The two-stage trigger broke cleanly at 2 pounds, 10 ounces and we found it to be conducive to producing good groups from a benchrest. The paddle-style magazine release is located at the 6-o’clock position of the magazine well on the chassis and it releases the magazine when pushed forward. The detachable polymer mag-azine is made by Modular Driven Technologies and holds 10 rounds of .223 Rem. or eight rounds of6.5 Creedmoor/.308 Win. I found anything more than five rounds of 6.5 Creedmoor to be a tight fit. Keep in mind that the Creedmoor’s case has less taper and is ever so slightly wider at the shoulder than the .308 Win.
Shooting the rifle was straightforward: like nearly all of the rifles we see chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, it was accurate and, thanks to the ability to fit the stock to my dimensions, it was quite comfortable to shoot for extended periods.
Weatherby’s Vanguard Modular Chassis rifle is lighter and more compact than most such precision rifles, and doesn’t give up much in return.Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles
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Weatherby VGD Modular Chassis Rifles