Rifle Review: Weatherby Vanguard Camilla

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Weatherby’s new rifle for women is accurate, elegant, and fun to shoot.

It’s not surprising to me that many of the women I know shoot Weatherby rifles. Their excellent quality and accuracy aside, Weatherby rifles are often built with Monte-Carlo-style stocks, which tend to fit women better than the more traditional straight stocks on many American rifles. Because women tend to have proportionally longer necks than men, female shooters tend to prefer a higher comb, especially on scoped rifles, since it allows for faster target acquisition.

Perhaps it was only natural, then, that Weatherby would decide to take the next step and build a rifle specifically to serve the rapidly increasing numbers of female hunters and shooters in the field today. The new Vanguard Camilla Rifle—“designed by women, built by Weatherby”—incorporates a high comb, along with a number of other features that make this rifle amazingly comfortable to shoot. The buttstock is angled away from the body, which is a better fit for the female anatomy and nestles easily into the shoulder. The slim pistol grip has a shorter grip-to-trigger reach, ideal for slightly smaller hands, and the 13-inch length of pull (LOP) and slender fore-end reduce overall weight and length without compromising feel and balance. I found that the combination makes this a super-fast-handling rifle that is also easy to carry.

Vanguard Camilla copy 0 Rifle Review: Weatherby Vanguard Camilla

Weatherby’s new Vanguard Camilla rifle.

At 5’7”, I can easily handle a rifle with a standard LOP, so the Camilla feels slightly on the short side for me. However, it came quickly and easily to my cheek and I had no trouble mounting and shooting it accurately from standing, kneeling, and sitting positions. That’s partly because the high comb and reverse-angled buttstock fit my anatomy so well. I asked a more petite friend to shoot the rifle, and she also commented favorably on the fit, so it seems Weatherby has hit a sweet spot with the stock design that will work for a wide range of body types.

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With its 20-inch barrel, the Camilla weighs 6.25 pounds without scope. Like other rifles in Weatherby’s Vanguard line, it has a match-quality, two-stage trigger, a three-position safety, hinged floor plate, and comes with a sub-MOA accuracy guarantee when premium ammo is used. Available calibers include .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, 7mm-08 Winchester, and .308 Winchester. MSRP is listed at $849.

Practicalities aside, this is a lovely rifle. The satin-finish Turkish A-grade walnut with fleur-de-lis checkering and rosewood fore-end and grip caps is simply elegant. The barrel and action have a matte, bead-blasted, blued finish. I mounted a Burris Veracity 2-10×42 scope on my test model, a .308. I sighted in the rifle with Winchester 150-grain Power Point loads and shot consistent 1-inch groups at 100 yards; the groups shrank to just under an inch when I switched to Hornady’s 150-grain BTSP.

Camilla, in case you’re wondering, was company founder Roy Weatherby’s wife, and the new rifle’s name is an appropriate nod to the origins of the company, which is still family-owned and run. Along with the rifle, Weatherby has launched an initiative called Women of Weatherby, which provides web-based resources and a community platform for female hunters to gather and share their experiences.

Kudos to Weatherby for recognizing and filling a crucial niche in the fast-growing world of women hunters with a thoughtfully designed rifle that is accurate, elegant, and fun to shoot.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>