Weatherby introduced its over-under Orion I shotgun six years ago, and it has methodically gained the attention of sportsmen—for good reason, too. It features the distinctive Weatherby lines and look, and the performance to match. A visit to the company website indicates MSRP is currenly $999, a pleasant pocketbook surprise, since it wore a $1,099 price tag when it hit U.S. shelves in 2015.
The Orion I is manufactured in Turkey by ATA, a company with a well-deserved reputation for crafting firearms that outperform their price. In the case of this shotgun, the firm also delivered looks befitting Weatherby.
Grade A walnut is used in the straight stock—with rounded Prince of Wales grip—and fore-end. Each are polished to a high-gloss finish and checkering on the fore-end is befitting for a field and sporting gun.
Barrels and receiver have the kind of high-gloss finish that give the shotgun a classy look. The black recoil pad matches nicely. A matte ventilated rib and brass bead up front get shooters on target in fast and traditional style.
There’s more than just looks to this over-under shotgun, though. Enthusiasts can choose a model wearing either 26" or 28" barrels. Both chamber 3" 12-ga. shotshells, bores are chrome-lined, and barrels are threaded to accept choke tubes. The guns ship with three.
A tang-mounted safety also functions as barrel selector, and the automatic ejector throws empty hulls clear. Length of pull is 14 5/8". Drop at comb and drop at heel, in inches, are 1 5/8" and 2 3/8", respectively. Overall length for the 26" barreled version is 43 3/4". Weight runs roughly 7 lbs.
Last year, Weatherby’s Orion I claimed second-place honors in the 10-best-selling over-under shotgun list compiled annually by GunBroker.com. The year before, it placed a distant eighth.