Field Test: Weatherby Orion, Element Built to Last

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posted on June 28, 2016
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Editor's note: J. Scott Olmsted recently put both the Weatherby Element and Weatherby Orion to use on an Argentina dove hunt. Catch up on his story here.

Weatherby’s newest Orion over/under picks up where the company’s previous Italian- and Japanese-made Regency, Orion and Athena over/under guns left off: with quality. It also addresses affordability as it retails for only $1,099.

It displays fit and finish often unseen in guns from Turkey. A-grade walnut is high gloss; a straight buttstock features a rounded Prince of Wales grip. The boxlock receiver is forged, and monobloc construction locks up via a pair of conical pins extending from the breechface into matching recesses on the barrel—a proven design built to last. Add to this ejectors, a single trigger and a weight of only 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

After only one shoot I switched to the semi-auto Element and never looked back because in Argentina it’s important to reload. Now. Besides the firepower, I thought the weight of four rounds in the tube of the gun helped me swing and follow through.

Benefits of the fast inertia-operated Element include less grime in the chamber than with gas guns as almost all of it is blown out of the barrel, and fewer parts for less chance of failure. This gun weighs only 6 pounds, 12 ounces and cycles all but the lightest loads. The Deluxe unit is clad in walnut for $1,099, and now a camo version is available for duck hunters. It is American Hunter’s Shotgun of the Year.

The Turkish-made units join a long list of Weatherby shotguns cataloged since 1967. In Argentina, we cleaned them all after every shoot. Even with such attention, many guns simply can’t be expected to function reliably on such a high-volume shoot. But no one in our group of eight encountered any problems while firing 20,425 rounds over three days.

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