Choosing a Girl’s First Big Game Rifle

For youth growing up in the 82717, 12 is the magic number — it’s the year that a child becomes eligible to take any big game or trophy game animal in the state of Wyoming.

For adult transplants like myself, there’s no time like the present. So, as we began planning for this issue, I set out to find the perfect hunting rifle. After visiting the local hot spots — T&T Guns & Ammo, Inc. (LOVE!), Sportsman’s Warehouse (also love), and even Rocky Mountain Discount Sports (who quit carrying our magazine for some reason, but we still love you guys), I began to realize this hunt would be like any other and would require some heavy-duty planning, knowledge, patience and money.

Although I’ve yet to pull the trigger, I want to share what I’ve been learning along my path to first-time hunting bliss because I’m guessing I’m not the only gun-toting gal in town who can benefit from these insights. Join me, as I take a (albeit pink-trimmed) digital camouflaged step toward venturing outside my comfort zone (getting outdoors every weekend to camp, kayak and shoot in the Black Hills or the Bighorns) and into the wild for a hunting experience in Allen Blaze Orange.    

First, I searched Google: What’s the best hunting gun? (Oh, rifle!) Too many lists and recommendations flooded my screen. I realized I’d need to target my search. Here’s what I found: long viewed as the Birkin bag of western big-game rifles, the Weatherby Mark V rifle is the patriarch of the Weatherby family. Designed in the mid 1950s, although it handles the high pressures synonymous with many of Weatherby’s cartridges like a boss, it weighs over 8.25 to 8.5 pounds (eek!) and packs a mean punch. 

However, I’m learning its female counterpart, the equally impressive Weatherby Camilla is perhaps the ideal rifle for a female big-game huntress. Named after Roy Weatherby’s wife, the original Vanguard Camilla was specially constructed with an ergonomic fit for females and weighs considerably less at just 5.25 pounds without sacrificing design or accuracy. The newer Mark V Camilla was introduced last year at 6.5 pounds with Mark V standard 6-lug action, blued metalwork, “AA” fancy stock and hand-lapped, chrome-moly barrel.

Sure, there are other brands to consider for a starter rifle, and some are also making models specifically for women, but since starting my search, I’ve had the opportunity to visit and tour the new Weatherby, Inc. facility in Sheridan (flip to read “Exclusive: Behind the Scenes at Weatherby” on the 82801 Life side), but I think it’d be mighty hard to deny the appeal of purchasing a firearm produced by a manufacturer, who not only comes from my home state of California, but also relocated to Wyoming (like me) and proceeded to build its corporate headquarters in the nearby city of Sheridan, bringing 70 to 90 jobs and roughly $5 million in payroll over the next five years and also boasts a product line made just for women, Women of Weatherby.

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I just may be sold. But, am I wrong? Are you an upper echelon big game or trophy game hunter? We want to hear from you! Connect online and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @82717Life. Tell me your thoughts and experiences hunting with a Weatherby or another rifle. We want to know where you hunt, what’s your stance on 2A rights and guns in Campbell County schools? Share your stories and take our quick 8-question hunting survey!

Stephanie L. Scarcliff , Production Editor
@OCmaven  |  @82717Life  |  @ocllcwy

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