228 Wby Mag?

Ok so far the cartridge was never in production but a “few” rifles where made so I guess it is a Wildcat? Based on the 300 H&H mag shortened, any one know how short? Thanks Vic

The Complete book on Hand loading by Philip Burdette Sharpe has a description of the 228 Wby, any one have this book?

All the standard short magnums with a case length of about 62 mm are based on the 300 H&H or 375 H&H shortened case

I think that the 228 WM should be shorter than the 257 - 270 - 7 mm weatherby due to the bullet diam. A 22" cartridge with that case capacity would be badly overbore even with the modern powders available

I have the book at home, but I won’t be there until the 21st and wouldn’t be able to scan it until the 23rd. If no one else can help you out before than, I’ll be glad to send you a scan.

Tailgunner: That would be great This was the only place I could think of where data like that would exist. Thanks Vic


Sharpe’s book has only a narrative. No photos or dimensions. I believe that the 228 WBY was the '06 length, the same as the later 240 WBY. If you read the COTW narrative carefully, I think it confirms that.

Not many of the 300 H&H based wildcats were shorter than that, otherwise it would make more sense to use the '06 case to begin with.


There is a newer wildcat a 228/240 based on the 240 Wby Mag it has to be later due to the fact the 228 was developed first it was Roy’s second cartridge. Thanks


In this day and age you’d have to look very hard to find a case that has not been wildcatted. Today’s Internet wildcatters spend hours searching for a parent case that has not been altered or improved in some way. You’ll often find that these guys never shoot their creations because many of them don’t even own a rifle of any kind.

As I’m sure you know, wildcats such as the 228/240 WBY, or whatever it has been named, have little to do with Weatherby other than the name on the headstamp. You’ll even find examples of factory cartridges, such as the Nosler 280 Ackley, that have roots in a wildcat that it’s namesake (Ackley) had nothing whatsoever to do with. How convoluted can it get?

Collecting wildcat cartridges, today, ain’t what it used to be.


Ray, are you saying that the Nosler 280 Ackley is not the same as the 280 Ackley Improved?


The Nosler 280 Ackley is the same as the wildcat 280 Ackley. What I was saying is that it went from a wildcat to a factory cartridge with Ackley’s name on it and yet Ackley had nothing to do with either cartridge.


So Ackley didn’t work with that case and the name was added to describe only its typical “Ackley” configuration ( less taper and a sharper shoulder with the same headspace)…such as some other wildcats like the 300 RUM Ackley Improved, the 338 Lapua AI or the 260 Remington AI


Exactly. Except that those attaching Ackley’s name to their wildcats probably are not aware that the 40 degree shoulder and minimum body taper were not typical of many of Ackley’s wildcats. He designed many improved cartridges with 30 and 35 degree shoulders. Also, he thought that some of the so-called Ackley cartridges were a waste of time and powder. Not much gain at the expense of shorter barrel life.


E-mail sent, with scans attatched

Thanks another piece of the puzzle reloading information.

This was posted on Weatherby forum by " steve65 "


The Rise and Fall of the 228 Weatherby Magnum

In order to understand fully the aspects of creation and demise of Roy Weatherby’s 228 Magnum, it is important to understand some of the happenings in both Europe and the United States before and following WWII.

Europe, while trying to recover from the “war to end all wars,” was not interested in producing ammunition for sporting weapons; particularly those developed prior to the war. One line of rifles to suffer such a lack of ammunition were those sporting rifles produced by Ernst-August vom Hofe.

Vom Hofe marketed a line of express cartridges built on Mauser actions. He had been an associate of Brenneke in Germany before entering into a partnership with Mr. Schienmann in 1930. Vom Hofe and Schienmann produced the cartridge known as the Hofman (Hofe-Mann) 7mm Super Express that resembled the .280 Dubiel Magnum. In 1936 the partnership dissolved with vom Hofe remaining as the sole owner. The cartridge was renamed the Vom Hofe 7mm Super-Express.

Another cartridge in vom Hofe’s proprietary line was the 5.6x61 Vom Hofe Super Express, developed in 1937. He advertised his round as pushing a 77-grain bullet at 3707 fps using 54 grains of Rottweil powder. In June of 1938, vom Hofe wrote to the Dope Bag section of the American Rifleman. He suggested to the editor that Americans should take a leaf from the dope book of Charles Newton and improve the .220 Swift by developing it for a 90-grain bullet.

Vom Hofe’s 5.6x61 Super Express had its original beginnings as the 6.5x61. The 6.5x61 was simply necked down to 5.6mm. The resulting case, about 2.4" long (61mm), was approximately .010" larger in diameter than the 30-06. Case capacity was only slightly less than the American case. Barrels for the Super Express were bored at .222", then grooved to .228".

The .228" grooves were not unusual in Europe since the 22 Savage High Power was used quite extensively by those hunting the European antelope, called Roebuck. Vom Hofe developed the 5.6x61 for the sportsman of Europe interested in hunting the mountain loving Chamois. He and others in Europe were simply interested in a flatter trajectory for long range high altitude shooting.

In America, the 22 Savage H. P. had seen its better days and by the mid-1930’s was considered obsolete. P.O. Ackley’s first wildcat, the 228 Ackley Magnum, was developed in 1938 and experienced limited popularity. From a 228 Ackley Magnum, a 70-grain Sisk bullet was chronographed at over 4000 fps and a 90-grain bullet clocked in at nearly 3500 fps. Gun-nuts seemed to agree, the 228 was the best choice for a good varmint rifle between .22 and .25 caliber.

After WWII, American sportsmen were very interested in rifles and ammunition. In American Rifleman articles during 1947 and 1948 authors bragged upon the virtues of both the 228 Ackley Improved and the 5.6x61. James M. Smith, Jr. may have fueled the fire in an August 1947 issue of the American Rifleman entitled, “The 5.6x61 Nimrod Mauser,” when he wrote: “This should be an excellent cartridge for long-range coyote and antelope shooting and offers particularly intriguing possibilities as a woodchuck rifle.” Varmint hunters were looking for a high velocity, long range, low trajectory round.

Since ammunition was not available, Roy Weatherby obviously saw the German 5.6x61 Mauser rifles, after some chamber work, as having the potential to be fine varmint rifles. The caliber was right, between .22 and .25, Americans were hungry for an affordable varmint rifle, and he did not want to miss an opportunity to add a proprietary cartridge to his Weatherby cartridge family. Roy felt there were many German 5.6x61 rifles in the States and a good possibility importers would bring more, for after the war, American companies were reselling cheap Mauser rifles and actions.

Roy Weatherby, believing the stage was set, announced the 228 Weatherby Magnum in 1948. The Third Edition of Tomorrow’s Rifles Today featured the 228 Weatherby Magnum cartridge and stated: “Because of the great demand for a long range Varmint Rifle, between the 22 and 25 caliber class, we have brought you the new ultra 228 WEATHERBY MAGNUM. There was another very important reason for this development, that being the great number of 228 German Rifles now on the market known as the Von Hoff. Ammunition for these German rifles is not available, but they can be rechambered to the new 228 WEATHERBY MAGNUM, giving you even a greater velocity than their standard cartridge. This creation is tops in long range Varmint rifles. The perfectly designed 70 grain bullet, with its greater sectional density, can be driven above 3800 muzzle velocity, giving you a 300 yard trajectory of less than three inches. This rifle is also capable of instant kills on America’s largest game. For the man who wishes the absolute ultimate in an extremely long range Varmint Rifle — the 228 WEATHERBY MAGNUM is THE rifle.”

In a “Weatherby Pricing and Gunsmithing Service” flyer, Weatherby referenced the Third Edition of Tomorrow’s Rifles Today. Weatherby wrote, “…We can also chamber the 5.65 Mauser to our new 228 Magnum, driving the 70-grain bullet at near 4000 MV.” Research has shown the 5.65 Mauser and the 5.6x61 were one in the same.

The 228 Weatherby cartridge shown in Tomorrow’s Rifles Today was developed from the 275 H&H case and has a tapered body with a 30° double radius shoulder. Basically, the 228 Weatherby Magnum is a necked down 275 H&H Magnum case; retaining the similar shoulder and body taper of the parent H&H case. A drawing of the 275 H&H case from Cartridges of the World, 1st Edition, shows the 275 H&H case as having .100” radiused corners both at the body-shoulder and the shoulder-neck junctions.

Two cartridge cases, one tapered and one straight-bodied, were furnished by Weatherby, Inc. to examine and photograph. Each case retains the double radiused shoulders left over from the 275 H&H round. However, neither the shoulder-body radius nor the shoulder-neck radius are as large as the other cartridges in the Weatherby line. Both cases are engraved and identified as 228 Weatherby Magnum, however, only the tapered case was resized and primed indicating intent for reuse.

As a side note, radiused shoulders, which are distinctive of the Weatherby line of cartridges, may have begun because of the 275 H&H. After all, Ralph Waldo Miller, Weatherby’s mentor in reloading and cartridge development, did much of his experimenting with the 275 H&H case and developed his Miller Venturi Freebore cartridges based on his belief; rounded shoulders permitted a smooth escape of powder and gases. Miller’s goal was surpassing the 5000 fps barrier while Weatherby’s goal was finding a product he could market effectively.

There is no doubt the 228 Weatherby Magnum cartridge had its beginnings in a tapered 275 H&H case. Continued cartridge experimentation and development may have led eventually to one simple operation; necking the 257 Weatherby Magnum down to form the 228 Weatherby Magnum. However, two problems were probably encountered during the development of a straight-sided cartridge case.

The straight-sided cartridge case received from Weatherby, Inc. shows signs of excessive pressure and is badly overbore capacity. Not only is the head of the case expanded .002” beyond its maximum dimension, but the primer is heavily cratered. There should have been no reason for the cartridge case to exhibit these pressure signs. Expert handloaders, such as Weatherby and his associates, would have stopped loading long before these conditions were encountered. There was no need to test the limits of either the cartridge or the rifle they were using. It is more likely that Weatherby was using a reduced charge of slow burning powder, trying to work up a load.

It is quite possible during the development of the 228 Weatherby Magnum unexplained pressure problems were encountered. Handloaders around the world have been warned about the dangers of a straight-sided, sharp shoulder, small diameter neck case, and large kernel slow burning powder. Of course, the powder of choice for this cartridge and a heavy bullet would have been 4350, a large kernel, slow burning powder available in 1948.

Poor magazine feeding was likely a second difficulty that Weatherby encountered while trying to use a straight-sided case. With the bullet for the 228 being relatively short and light, and the shoulder diameter considerably larger than the neck diameter, the shoulder angle would have had to be relatively shallow (around 30 degrees or less) to feed properly. Otherwise, the cartridge would release from the magazine before the bullet starts into the chamber causing the cartridge to rattle and pop or hang-up. P. O. Ackley and R. E. Gibbs along with other wildcatters were criticized for their sharp shouldered cases that fed from rifle magazines poorly.

Weatherby solved the straight-sided case dilemma by tapering the case and reducing the shoulder slope. These changes reduced the power capacity lowering pressures within the case and improved magazine feeding. While the tapered case in Tomorrow’s Rifles Today has a 30° shoulder angle, the tapered case received from Weatherby, Inc. with “Weatherby 228 Magnum” engraved on the side, has a 25° shoulder angle. The tapered-bodied, 25° shoulder angle cartridge case seems to indicate that Roy Weatherby continued to develop the 228 caliber after the cartridge was introduced.

Currently, few 228 Weatherby Magnum rifle conversions by Weatherby are known to exist; several have been Winchester Model 70’s and only one Vom Hofe Obendorf Mauser. None of the rifles carry Weatherby’s serial number and no numbers could be found at the Weatherby factory. Betty Noonan, Roy Weatherby’s confidante for 37 years, never ran across a 228 Weatherby Magnum serial number in documenting Weatherby’s history. She felt the lack of serial numbers meant the caliber was strictly experimental. No drawings or factory specifications have ever been found for the 228 Weatherby Magnum so officially there are no “correct” dimensions. Based on research, photographs and the tapered, engraved case, the 228 Weatherby Magnum originated from a 275 H&H Magnum case necked down to .228". The resulting case’s overall length is around 2.5" with shoulder angles of 25 or 30 degrees (See Composite Cartridge Images). The base-to-shoulder length was set back to 2.012”, the standard 257-270-7mm Weatherby length, with a shoulder diameter of approximetely 0.46”.

The shortage of 275 H&H cartridge cases resulted in Roy using 300 H&H cases. These cases were cut down enabling a maximum overall length for the 228 Weatherby of 2.550.” The same length as the 257-270-7mm Weatherby cartridge cases. “Super Speed 300 H&H Magnum” is the head stamp on the 228 Weatherby Magnum cases inspected.

Obviously, the 228 Weatherby Magnum did not succeed. The demise of the cartridge began with the shortage of 5.6x61 rifles. Weatherby missed his bet for few Vom Hofe rifles ever hit American soil.

Lack of components was another problem facing the 228 Weatherby Magnum. The 275 H&H cases, discontinued by Western Cartridge Company in 1939, were in dwindling supply, and tough, accurate bullets had not yet been found. Cases could be made from 300 H&H cases, but shortening the case involves extra work. There were some 70-grain bullets available through Barnes, Western and Sisk; however, most would not stay together at velocities approaching 4000 fps. Weatherby made and sold ultra speed bullets, though no 228-caliber bullets were listed in his catalog. Even bullets capable of staying together were not giving the accuracy desired in the 228 Ackley Magnum and better accuracy could not have been expected in the Weatherby.

Promotion of the 228 Weatherby Magnum was limited. The lack of advertising for this cartridge is apparent when viewing Weatherby advertisements during 1948 and 1949. Very few references to the cartridge are found other than a sentence here or there with never a complete article or test. Simultaneous to the 228’s introduction, Weatherby took part in his first African safari that lasted almost three months. With Weatherby out of the country, promotion and development of his newest cartridge was certainly at a minimum.

Even if the 228 Weatherby could have been formed by simply running a 275 H&H case through a die, fireforming, and no further development taken place, the cartridge would not have succeeded because it lacked the trademark “look” of Weatherby cartridges. Possibly “appearance” was one of the causes for the fall of Weatherby’s first cartridge, the 220 Rocket, which lasted until around 1959.

In 1967, when the 240 Weatherby was introduced, Roy Weatherby must have felt the 240 was all the cartridge he wanted from the 228, and then some. Whatever the reason for the failure of the 228 Weatherby Magnum, this relatively unknown cartridge exists in the annals of American history for about one year during 1948 and 1949.

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That about sums it all up, I am trying to get a skilled person to duplicate this round. Thanks for filling in the gaps vic

Hello Guys
Just came across your forums
Here is a couple of pics from my number 3 weatherby guide


Thank you Steve.
Your post adds the photos required for your original post on the Weatherby forum that I quoted above.
There are a few .228 Weatherby Mag. rifles out there .
I received an email with photos of a .228 Weatherby caliber stamp on a Weatherby barrel when this topic started.

Glad I found this old thread. I’m trying to put together a collection display of all Factory Weatherby rounds. Based on the article above I think I should include the 228 but it also may be extremely difficult to find one. Has anyone seen a head stamped .228 Weatherby round? If it is too rare I would hate to have a display case with a permanent unfilled space.

Joel, I’m not sure how easy it will be to find an original, but you may be able to get a reproduction from Ed Reynolds. He and Will Reuters made some of these up last year with the headstamp ЯR 228 WEATHERBY MAG. Ed advertises in the IAA journal under the headline “For Sale – Proprietaries.”

The cartridge that Will and Ed made up is the 228 Weatherby Magnum No. 2 with a 25 degree shoulder. Evidently the shoulder angle was changed to reduce pressure from the 30 degree No. 1 version.