Would you reach for this in a tactical intervention?

The Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 RC TRR Rifle (henceforth called the TRR-Threat Response Rifle) is a threat engagement tool in .308 WIN that balances portability with a stable platform for precision shooting. The bolt-action repeating rifle with a...


The Weatherby Vanguard Series 2 RC TRR Rifle (henceforth called the TRR-Threat Response Rifle) is a threat engagement tool in .308 WIN that balances portability with a stable platform for precision shooting. The bolt-action repeating rifle with a five-round box magazine is available in .223 and .308. I picked the .308, my favorite caliber for law enforcement precision rifles. A .308 can be used at carbine ranges to moderate distances, which fall within the majority of law enforcement scenarios.

My TRR came with a 22-inch contoured barrel with a 1/12-inch twist and a generous recessed crown. This rifle has the same type of attention to detail that established Weatherby’s reputation as THE hunting rifle many years ago.

Weatherby makes a couple of other tactical bolt guns. Both are higher priced than the one I tested, but they offer more cartridge choices. The Mark V TRR has a 26-inch Krieger Custom Cut, No. 3 contour free-floated barrel and a hand-honed action. For agencies using the .338 Lapua cartridges, this is your Weatherby. There is a similar Mark V TRR using magnum cartridges designed for extended ranges. This model also comes in .338 Lapua and has an aggressive muzzle brake. I don’t know about the cartridge for this gun, however. There is a version that sports a 28-inch barrel that’s chambered for the .338-378 Weatherby magazine.

Rule of thumb: if the gun says Weatherby on it, shoot the Weatherby cartridge. I did a little calculation on the specs of the .338-378 Weatherby magazine, by the way. Using bullets weighing 200 to 250 grains, they are still supersonic at 500 yards.

Shoot the Weatherby cartridge.

The TRR has an adjustable trigger, which comes factory tuned between 2.8 and 3.5 pounds. For a tactical rifle, this range is just right. Weatherby triggers tend to leave the factory with hand-honed quality, and this one was crisp and smooth.

The TRR has a particularly safe bolt and chamber system. Every manufacturer has a different method to prevent overpressure in case of a cartridge failure. First, Weatherby Vanguards have three longitudinal gas ports along the bolt body. The bolt body itself is machined out of a single steel blank, using a two-lug design.

An overpressure is statistically uncommon in cartridge manufacture, but a single failure can be catastrophic. Overpressure can be caused by a variety of reasons, but cartridge inconsistency is usually the culprit. You know, “one of these things is not like the others.”

To be fair to ammunition manufacturers, my experience with overpressure cartridges has been rooted in faulty reloading, not commercial manufacture. If readers find that I usually use ammo with familiar names like Winchester and Black Hills, this isn’t a coincidence.

If the cartridge fails, the gases normally contained by the vessel, made by the primer and brass case, escape somewhere other than the muzzle. The escaped gas is under higher-than-normal pressure. This kind of pressure can rip a gun apart, which is dangerous for the user.

Manufacturers engineer methods to rapidly vent these gases away from the user with chambers that can hold many times the normal chamber pressures. Weatherby uses a design that adds layers of steel in critical areas, plus a generous recess in the bolt face.

The drop at comb is 7/8 of an inch. That’s how much the top of the comb (where your cheek goes) is lower than the sighting plane, an extended line of the top of the barrel; 7/8 of an inch is about the average for most shooter’s comfort. It worked for me. What didn’t work for me was the length of pull, the length of the trigger to the “backstrap” of the rifle. It was so short that holding the pistol grip and cycling the bolt caused a big gash in my thumb.

What? Why would anyone hold the grip and cycle the bolt at the same time? I wouldn’t, but a left-handed shooter might. I recommend the Weatherby Mark V TRR Custom Magnum for left-handed shooters. It has an adjustable target stock, which has a huge dip in the grip.

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