Weatherby Vanguard S2 “Hog Reaper” Bolt-Action Rifle

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

April 23rd, 2013


Click pictures for a larger version.





Hog Reaper hog-skull camouflage pattern.



Checkering on synthetic stock for a positive hold.





Sling studs.





Bolt stop release (top), three-position safety (bottom).





Drop-plate magazine holds five cartridges.



Hog Reaper (right) compared to Vanguard 257 Weatherby (left).





About two years ago, Weatherby introduced their newest generation of Vanguard rifles; the Vanguard Series 2. The Series 2 rifles retained the best features of the Vanguard, with several improvements over the original Vanguard rifles. The manual safety on the Series 2 is a three-position unit, instead of the two-position unit on the original Vanguard rifles. The rear position blocks the trigger and locks the bolt in place. The mid position still blocks the trigger, but allows the bolt to be operated for loading and unloading, and the fully-forward position allows the rifle to fire when the trigger is pressed. The entire line of Series 2 Vanguard rifles now has Weatherby’s Sub-MOA guarantee, which guarantees that the rifle with shoot sub-minute-of-angle (.99 inch) or less at 100 yards using premium ammunition in the standard chamberings and Weatherby ammunition in the Weatherby magnum chamberings.

The latest of the excellent S2 rifles is the Hog Reaper shown here. This is a Vanguard S2, set up perfectly for hunting in thick brush and heavy timber, but having the power and flat trajectory for shots over open fields and power lines as well. The Hog Reaper wears a slender twenty-inch barrel, measuring 1.2 inches at the receiver, then tapering to just .56 inch at the muzzle. The Hog Reaper has an overall length of only 39.75 inches, for quick handling qualities. The weight on this 308 Winchester version shown here is just slightly under seven pounds on my scale. The magazine holds five cartridges, for a loaded capacity of six. One great feature of the S2 rifles is the superb trigger. The new trigger is a two-stage match-grade unit, offering a very crisp, precise trigger pull without sacrificing safety. The trigger pull on the test rifle released crisply at just barely over two and one-half pounds, as delivered. Perfect.

The stock of the Hog Reaper differs from the standard Vanguard S2 stock. The Hog Reaper stock does not have the soft inserts on the pistol grip and forend, instead having checkered panels molded into the synthetic one-piece stock. At first glance, the stock appears to wear a standard camouflaged finish, but upon closer examination, the camo pattern is made up of many hog skull images. This gives the Hog Reaper a really unique appearance, while still being very effectively camouflaged. The pattern is Proveil Reaper Hog camo, and looks very good with the matte-black finished steel and aluminum on this Weatherby rifle.

For all shooting of this Hog Reaper rifle, I mounted the excellent Leupold VX-II 3 to 9 power scope. This particular version has a camo pattern, while having no hog skull images, still matches the look of the rifle very well. The VX-II has very clear optics and the Leupold Duplex reticle. This scope fits well with the size, weight, and intended use of the Hog Reaper, and like all Leupold Golden Ring scopes, is guaranteed forever.

Velocity and accuracy results are listed in the chart below. Velocity readings were recorded at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature of 62 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity of forty-seven percent. Velocity readings are the average of several shots fired at twelve feet from the muzzle, so actual muzzle velocities will be slightly higher. Accuracy results are the average of five, three-shot groups fired at a distance of one hundred yards. For testing of varmint rifles, I like to use five-shot groups when possible, but on a hunting/fighting rifle such as this Hog Reaper, three-shot groups are indicative of the weapon’s capabilities within the likely use of such a rifle. Bullet weights are listed in grains. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Group sizes are listed in inches. XLC is a coated Barnes X bullet. SST and BST are polymer-tipped hunting bullets. SMK is the Sierra Match King bullet.

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity Accuracy
Set Point Custom SMK 175 2637 0.60"
Buffalo Bore Sniper SMK 175 2576 0.93"
Handload Barnes XLC 168 2531 0.97"
Winchester BST 168 2555 1.30"
Federal Gold Medal 168 2577 0.71"
Hornady SST 165 2683 0.82"
Federal Soft Point 150 2741 0.75"

As indicated in the chart, this rifle is capable of superb accuracy. The groups shown in the photos are representative of the rifle’s accuracy, and keep in mind that these groups were fired using a three to nine power scope, set at its highest magnification. With a proper high-powered target scope, and a better shooter, I am sure that the Hog Reaper’s accuracy would have been even better. However, since this rifle is a hunting rifle, I tested for accuracy with the hunting scope in place, and the rifle turned in an excellent performance, which is a testament to the accuracy of the rifle and the precision and clarity of that Leupold scope. The Federal 150 grain hunting load shot like a match load from this Hog Reaper, and would be an excellent choice for whitetail, but I prefer either a 180 grain cup-and-core bullet, or a solid copper hollowpoint such as the Barnes TSX for hogs.

The Hog Reaper is a great-handling and very unique-looking hunting rifle that beat Weatherby’s accuracy guarantee by a comfortable margin. The Hog Reaper is an excellent choice for a hunter going into the fields or woods after any medium game, and would be equally suited as a mountain rifle, where the shots are long but the terrain calls for a light, handy rifle.

In addition to the excellent 308 Winchester chambering, the Hog Reaper is also available chambered for the 223 Remington, 7mm-08, and 243 Winchester cartridges. As of the date of this review, the manufacturer’s suggested retail price on the Hog Reaper is $749 US.

Check out the entire line of Weatherby firearms, ammunition, and accessories online at

For the location of a Weatherby dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at

To order the Hog Reaper online, go to

For a look at the extensive line of quality Leupold optics, go to

To order quality 308 Winchester caliber ammunition, go to,,

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



Leupold VX-II 3 to 9 power scope.





Weaver Grand Slam scope rings.



Variety of ammunition tested.



Target Shooting, Inc. Model 1000LP rifle rest was used for all accuracy testing.



Left to right: Setpoint 175 SMK; Buffalo Bore 175 SMK; Federal Gold Medal 168 SMK; Winchester 168 BST; Hornady 165 SST; Federal 150 SP; Handlad 168 Barnes XLC.



LaserLyte bore sighter.



Weatherby Hog Reaper easily exceeded Weatherby's accuracy guarantee.