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.224 Weatherby


Although Roy Weatherby's cartridges have been extremely successful as well as helping introduce the hunting world to the benefits of high velocity, his contributions to the .22 centerfire market have achieved a more limited success. Weatherby's first foray into the .22 centrefires during the 1940's resulted in the .220 Weatherby Rocket. Based on the .220 Swift with improved dimensions the .220 WR suffered immense throat erosion. Weatherby's next cartridge, the .228 Weatherby magnum was based on a shortened version of the .300 Holland and Holland magnum necked down to accept a 70 grain .224 caliber bullet. The .228 was no more successful than the .220 and soon became obsolete.

Finally in 1963, Roy Weatherby introduced the .224 varmint master. This .224 cartridge was a scaled down version of the .300 Weatherby, giving ballistics almost identical to the .22-250. To obtain the maximum amount of power, the chambers of the .224 were cut long to allow a longer peak pressure to build up bullet speed (a necessity of the RUM cartridges also). When Remington adopted the .22-250 in 1965 the .224 was blown off the market. To recoup sales losses Weatherby decided to chamber rifles for the 22-250.  This was the first commercial cartridge to be chambered by Weatherby and led to the full range of standard chamberings that are available today.


Like other ultra velocity .22 centerfire cartridges, the .224 is best suited to game weighing up to 40kg (90lb), up to a safe maximum of 60kg (130lb) while heavier game of up to 80kg (180lb) require very careful shot placement. Bullet construction is a major factor in determining optimum shot placement when using the .224 Weatherby on medium game. The .224 loses velocity very quickly therefore wounding at 50 yards and wounding at 250 yards is dramatically different. As varmint cartridges, the ultra velocity .22’s are excellent at long range but as medium game cartridges, best performance occurs inside 125 yards.

Factory Ammunition

Weatherby currently list one load for the .224 Weatherby featuring the Hornady 55 grain soft point projectile at 3650fps. This projectile is very soft and prone to complete bullet blow up at impact velocities of above 3000fps. Naturally the Hornady bullet is not suitable for chest shooting lighter medium game at close ranges due to the risk of inflicting wide, shallow but non fatal wounds.

Hand Loading

Brass for the .224 can usually be sourced through either Weatherby or Norma agents worldwide. Although powders in the 4064/Varget range would seem ideal, more uniform performance can be achieved with slightly faster burning powders such as IMR 3031 and Hodgdon Benchmark. Safe working velocities from the 26” barreled Weatherby include 3750fps with 50 grain bullets, 3700fps with the 53 grain Barnes TSX, 3650fps with 55 grain bullets. The Varmint Master rifle barrel has a 1:14 twist rate and is not particularly suited to 55 grain boat tail projectiles or heavier projectiles of various styles. Nevertheless, this is an excellent twist rate for experimenting with 55 grain FMJ projectiles for an ultra velocity version of Eugene Stoner’s tumbling load (see .223).

Closing Comments

Like most other .22 centrefires the .224 was not designed for use on medium game and those who wish to use the .224 in this way are strongly urged to read all of the notes on the .222, .223, 22-250 and 220 swift.

Suggested loads: .224 Weatherby Barrel length: 26”
No ID   Sectional Density Ballistic Coefficient Observed  MV Fps ME
1 FL WBY/Hornady 55gr SP .157 .235 3650 1627
2 HL 53 grain BarnesTSX .151 .231 3700 1611
3 HL 55gr FMJ .157 .272 3650 1627
Suggested sight settings and bullet paths           
1 Yards 100 150 243 281 350      
  Bt. path +1.7 +2 0 -2 -8      
2 Yards 100 150 245 283 350      
  Bt. path +1.7 +2 0 -2 -7.5      
3 Yards 100 150 248 287 350      
  Bt. path +1.7 +2 0 -2 -7      
No At yards 10mphXwind Velocity Ft-lb’s
1 300 10 2403 705
2 300 10 2421 690
3 300 9 2506 767
224 weatherby final.jpg

  Imperial Metric 
A .430 10.9
B .416 11.7
C R .151  
D .395 10.03
E .252 6.40
F 1.48 37.6
G .454 11.53
H 1.925 48.9
Max Case 1.925 48.9
Trim length 1.915 48.6
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We are a small, family run business, based out of Taranaki, New Zealand, who specialize in cartridge research and testing, and rifle accurizing.