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Kaitlyn’s Rifle

Kaitlyn’s Rifle
The Weatherby “Girls Hunt-2” .243.

The education system in America is making a concerted effort to demonize guns, shooting, and hunting. We’ve all heard the zero-tolerance horror stories: kids suspended for pointing a finger, nibbling a pastry into the shape of a gun, or just saying the word “gun.”

Educators of previous generations used exactly the same tactics to terrify children about the dangers of drugs and sex. How did that work out again? So don’t curse the anti-gun zealots—they are getting more young people interested in the shooting sports than any pro-gun program ever could.

The increasing interest in shooting activities among young women has been particularly strong. Recently with several shooting projects on the go I was spending several hours a day at the range. Every day the range was busy, and invariably there were more women shooting than men—handguns, mostly, but a few were sighting in their hunting rifles.

My friend Kaitlyn Hanson recently acquired a new hunting rifle. Kaitlyn’s dad is a shooting buddy and friend of many years standing. Weatherby has a new GH-2 (“Girls Hunt Too”) model in its “WBY-X” series. As it is intended for young women hunters I decided to get the views of a young woman hunter. Oh the cleverness of me!

The Weatherby GH-2 model is based on the S2 Vanguard with a composite stock with black/red spider web design in several short-action cartridges, this one a .243 Win topped with a Redfield Revenge 3-9x42mm with Dial-n-Shoot option in Warne rings/Weaver bases. Knife by CRKT, binocular is 8x33HG by Minox.

The handsome stock of the Weatherby GH-2 has a removable spacer so length-of-pull can be either 12-1/2 or 13-5/8 inches. Other stock features include black/red spider web design, thick recoil pad, and sling swivel studs.

The Redfield Revenge 3-9x42mm scope comes with five bullet-drop compensating (BDC) dials. Standard dial has graduations in 1/4-MOA increments. Four additional dials are matched to approximately coincide with the trajectory of several popular cartridges/loads, or other loads with similar trajectories.

The Rifle

The GH2 It is based on the short-action Weatherby S2 Vanguard with 20-inch barrel. Metal finish is a matte blue, the same incidentally as used on the Mark V. The test rifle is chambered for Kaitlyn’s favorite cartridge, the .243 Win. It is also offered for other popular short cartridges.

The GH2 differs from the standard youth model in having an upgraded stock. Not only is it strikingly handsome with its black/red spider web design it is also stronger and more rigid than an injection-molded stock.
Length-of-pull can be adjusted by adding or removing a spacer, from 12-1/2 to 13-5/8 inches. Esthetically it looks much nicer without the spacer. I can’t get excited about the line between spacer and stock.

I suspect most women will prefer how the rifle handles with the spacer removed. Kaitlyn is 6-feet tall but still said she liked the shortened stock better, especially when wearing a heavy coat for cold weather. Just as an aside, the late Jeff Cooper, who stood about 6 feet, 2 inches, often wrote of the virtues of shorter stocks and felt the industry standard of around 13-1/2 inches was too long for most men.

The S2 Vanguard trigger is a gem. The trigger on the test rifle was one of the best factory triggers I’ve encountered, breaking crisply at 2 pounds after a short smooth takeup.

I shot the GH2 with Winchester and Black Hills ammo with bullet weights of 55, 95, and 100 grains. All gave sub-MOA groups—no surprise, since Weatherby guarantees it. Functioning was smooth and reliable. This is a terrific rifle both in appearance and performance.

Kaitlyn Hanson has been shooting and hunting with her dad, Al Hanson, since her early teens. Al is a knowledgeable collector of Winchester 76 rifles but for hunting he uses one of his Weatherby rifles, such as the Vanguard .270 carried here.

The Scope

I used the very strong Warne rings to attach a Redfield Revenge 3-9x42mm scope with Accu-Plex reticle and Dial-n-Shoot feature. It appears to be an excellent scope, attractive, well made, with good optics. It passed the warm water/deepfreeze test with no fogging or leaks, and adjustments proved accurate and repeatable.

The Accu-Range reticle can be used to estimate range, by turning the power ring while bracketing the game. Space between the thick portions of the reticle spans a 16-inch target (e.g. deer, antelope). On the top of the vertical reticle is a short hashmark—using it with the bottom thick part of the reticle spans 25 inches (e.g. elk). Once the target is bracketed, range to the nearest hundred yards shows at the top of the field-of-view.

Frankly, I much prefer a laser rangefinder to any bracketing system. I liked better the Dial-n-Shoot system. One elevation turret cap is marked in 1/4-MOA increments. Using whatever cartridge you like, it is possible to record the settings to match trajectory.

Four additional caps are provided, premarked to approximate the trajectories of several popular cartridges. With the .243 cap installed I sighted at 100 yards, reset the cap to zero, then used the dial to engage targets, rapidly switching from 230-, 450- to 100-yard targets (steel, approximately 8 inches) by spinning the dial. Darn thing worked perfectly! But I did use my LRF to get the ranges.

By the time you read this Kaitlyn and her dad should be out hunting with their Weatherby rifles, old and new, and I’m betting they both get their deer.
By Dave Anderson

Vanguard GH-2

Maker: Weatherby, Inc.
1605 Commerce Way
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 227-3600
www.weatherby.com
Action: Bolt, internal box magazine, Caliber: .243 Win (tested), .22-250, .223, 7-08, .308, Capacity: 5, Finish: Matte blue, Overall Length: 40″, Barrel Length: 20″, Weight: 7 pounds, Stock: Black/red spider web synthetic with removable spacer, Length-Of-Pull: 12-1/2″ to 13-5/8″ , Drop-At-Comb: 3/4″, Drop-At-Monte Carlo: 3/8″, Drop-At-Heel: 1-1/8″, Safety: 3-position,
Price: $749

Revenge 3-9x42mm Dial-n-Shoot

Maker: Redfield
14400 N.W. Greenbrier Pkwy.
Beaverton, OR 97005
(877) 798-9686
www.gunsmagazine.com/redfield
Magnification: 3X – 8.6X, Eye Relief: 3.5″, Tube Diameter: 1″, Overall Length: 12.4″, Adjustments: 1/4 MOA , Adjustment Range: 70-MOA elevation and windage, Weight: 14.8 ounces, Reticle: Accu-Plex, rangefinder feature (with indicators for 16″ and 25″ bracketing), 2 MOA tic marks on horizontal crosswire, Other Features: 5 BDC dials provided, Price: $229.99

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