New for 2019: Weatherby Vanguard Badlands

posted on January 25, 2019

For 2019, Weatherby has introduced its new Vanguard Badlands, a versatile big-game rifle that looks like it should cost more than it does.

Long before the current glut of affordable bolt-rifles hit the market, Weatherby’s Vanguard was setting the standard for low-cost, extremely accurate turnbolts. Built in Japan by Howa, the Vanguard rifles feature a push-feed action with a dual-lug one-piece fluted bolt, and all of them are backed by a sub-MOA accuracy promise.

The basic Vanguard model is basic (in terms of aesthetics), but the new Badlands is a show-stopper. As the name implies, the polymer stock is slathered in Badlands Approach camo, and the metalwork is treated with a Burnt Bronze Cerakote finish. Magnum chamberings come with a 26-inch barrel, and standard chamberings receive a 24-inch pipe. Both magnum and standard versions have a No. 2 contour cold hammer-forged barrel, and the rifle weighs about 7.5 pounds unloaded.

Key features on the Vanguard Badlands include an enclosed bolt shroud, two-position rocker safety and a hinged floorplate with the release positioned at the front of the trigger guard. The two-stage trigger is exceptionally good, with minimal, light take up for a clean and predictable trigger break.

The stock features texturing on the forearm and pistol grip for a secure and comfortable hold, and is outfitted with a raised cheekpiece that aligns the eye with a scope. Vanguard receivers are drilled and tapped to accept Remington 700 bases and base/ring combos, so mounting an optic is a simple process.

The recoil pad does a good job handling pushback, which is important, as the Vanguard Badlands is chambered in some pretty powerful cartridges including both the .300 Win. Mag. and .300 Wby. Mag. Other chambering options include .25-06 Rem., .270 Win., 7mm-08 Rem., 7mm Rem. Mag, .308 Win., .30-06 Sprg., the ubiquitous 6.5 Creedmoor, as well as two additional Weatherby Magnum offerings—.257 Wby. Mag. and the smoking-hot 6.5-300 Wby. Mag. No matter the game or the distance, there’s a Vanguard Badlands model that’s suitable for your hunting needs.


I’ve long been a big fan of the Vanguard rifles, and the new Badlands doesn’t disappoint. It’s well-balanced—neither too heavy nor too light—and it’s built to very high standards that help it achieve excellent accuracy. I’ve yet to run across a Vanguard that didn’t shoot extremely well—these rifles are in contention for the best hunting rifles under a grand.

The new Vanguard Badlands has an MSRP of $849, which means it’s likely to retail for under $800—an exceptionally fair price for a rifle that is good-looking, built to such high-quality standards and shoots extremely accurately.

While the Badlands is available in a slew of popular and affordable caliber options, if you’re looking to delve into the Weatherby Magnum cartridges, the Vanguard rifles are the most affordable option. And while Vanguard rifle itself isn’t new, the Badlands represents a step forward for a superb family of affordable hunting rifles.

For more information, visit


Review Stevens 334 Safety
Review Stevens 334 Safety

Review: Stevens 334

The Stevens 334 is a robust, all-purpose hunting rifle built to get the job done without subjecting folks to the expense associated with features they can do without, and it does so while being much more than a bare-bones build.

A One-and-Done Black Bear Hunt

A dog hunt for an Arizona black bear with a magnum wheelgun proves you can’t pack too big a punch.

Lessons Learned from a Grizzly Bear Attack on the Kenai

In November 2012, Blake Gettys was tending his trap line in Alaska when a grizzly attacked him. Now, the victim and his storyteller examine the event in detail to determine what, if anything, could have gone better.

Effective Hand Calls for Predator Hunting

Hand calls shouldn’t be relegated to the dust bin just yet. Unlike an electronic call, a couple of calls around your neck provide an inexpensive, lightweight and simple-to-master orchestra of sounds on a predator hunt.

Nebraska: A Mountain Lion on the Eighth Green

The appearance of a cougar on a Nebraska golf course during a high school tournament focuses attention on activists who have prevented earnest hunting seasons for the big cats as their numbers grow.

#SundayGunday: Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum

Get a closer look at the Smith & Wesson Model 69 Combat Magnum, the latest addition to our #SundayGunday series.


Get the best of American Hunter delivered to your inbox.