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Mister Cooper Goes Home


The Gun: A Cooper Firearms (Stevensville, MT) Model 56 in .257 Weatherby.

I bought this gun last year at the Lewistown, Montana gun show. (Actually "commuted" there from my Antelope camp). The seller also had a nice Belgium Weatherby Mk V on the table, comparably priced. A very brief discussion included his agreement that the Cooper would most probably outshoot the "genuine article". I am a die-hard quarter-bore fan (favorite cartridge .250-3000 Savage) and have always wanted a gun chambered in the King of 'em all. This was also my first venture toward Roy's concept and fittingly in his favorite of his proprietary cartridges.

A year of load development was also a year of learning the very concept of Weatherby: Handloaders who have stepped into this arena I am sure will agree that it becomes quite rapidly "a horse of a different color". Add to that the relatively recent advent of multiple new powders specifically addressed to large capacity cases and the (sometimes frustrating) experimentation expands; in this instance resulting in performance I did not expect. The Cooper was hauled back to its home state and found solid employment there.

The shot presented itself at 256 yards on a calm animal (I have come to the conclusion that hunting Pronghorn primarily on foot results quite often in seeing more animals, less disturbed and allowing for a more precise completion of the shot.) A conscious thought came forefront to give NO allowance for trajectory prior to beginning the squeeze. This was appropriate, as the 100gr Nosler Ballistic Tip landed with zero deviation from where the crosshairs of the Leupold 6x-18x directed it should. The startled herd energized and departed at a run with the buck keeping pace for only about 30 yards, at which point he deviated, half-circled, was down and kicking.

The .250 Savage was a dramatic pioneer toward the concept that velocity can meet or exceed projectile mass toward effective killing. Roy Weatherby's darling (especially with newer bullets and powders) takes the concept to a level entirely unheard of.

Astute observers will note the amount of Montana Real Estate (dreaded 'dobe mud) gracing the buttstock: testimonial toward the stalk being not a "walk in the park"
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