With advances in shotshells, Weatherby’s 18i Waterfowler 3-inch worth a second glance.
Story by Larry Case – Photos by Weatherby
Shotgun season is already here and I know that you scattergun fans out there have already been burning powder. Some of you have been hard at work in the dove fields, and for some the early goose
seasons have come and gone. The time that we wait for all year is here, but I would also say that many of us are just not quite in the thick of it yet. Pheasant seasons in most places are not going on yet, and the real duck hunters who love the cold rain and snow and the birds that this weather brings are not
quite in gear yet either. But it’s coming, shotgunners, it is coming. So why am I going on about this? Because you still have time to get that new shotgun you have been thinking about!
LET’S CONSIDER THE Weatherby 18i shotgun. No doubt many of us think about Roy Weatherby and his legacy of fine rifles when we hear the name Weatherby. Fact is, Weatherby has been offering a line of fine shotguns for decades now. “Weatherby has been making and selling shotguns for over 50 years,” confirms Tyler Grethen, marketing manager at Weatherby. “The 18i line of shotguns are made to Weatherby’s exact standards with our partners in Italy, so waterfowl enthusiasts can expect a high-quality Italian-made shotgun that isn’t going to break the bank. The 18i shotgun is an inertia driven shotgun and launched in 2019 with the 3½-inch models available. In 2022 we launched the 3-inch chamber that featured new camo patterns and some unique-looking Cerakote options.”
“The biggest reason for adding a 3-inch model is due to the spring rate; with inertia reloading shotguns, the spring rate is extremely important when it comes to reliable cycling,” Grethen explains. “The 3-inch model has a slightly lighter spring rate than the 3½-inch version to really handle lighter target loads. With the advancements in shotshell technology, we have seen a shift in the market where waterfowl hunters aren’t strictly using super mag loads when shooting ducks and geese.” The Weatherby 18i series of semiautomatic shotguns is designed for hunters and shooters who require performance in the toughest conditions. All Weatherby 18i shotguns are built on a field-proven inertia recoil system that provides reliable cycling and an evenly weighted gun. Let’s talk about that oh-so-popular inertia system for a minute.
When the patent ran out some years ago, the simple but very effective action invented by Bruno Civolani in 1967 started showing up in a bunch of shotguns. The inertia system was made for the waterfowler and anyone else who doesn’t baby a shotgun and is not particularly fond of cleaning guns in general.
AVAILABLE IN A 3-inch chamber that allows the 18i series to be more efficient at cycling lighter target and small game loads, the single-piece receiver is precision-machined from billet aluminum for strength and simplicity. The advanced polymer stock is designed to be ergonomic and shim-adjustable for a seamless fit to any shooter.
The series features a soft touch area on the cheek rest and aggressive texture in the palm and foregrip; this is where comfort meets rugged toughness. With a full ventilated rib and high luminous LPA fiber front sight, target acquisition is a breeze, even in poor lighting conditions. The 18i series is set up for the Crio Plus choke system and comes standard with five choke tubes.
Key features include:
• Reliable inertia recoil reloading system.
• Elastomer recoil pad for reduced felt recoil.
• Comfortable elastomer cheek pad.
• Shim-adjustable polymer stock for perfect shooter fit.
• Ergonomic textured grip.
• Full-length ventilated top rib.
• LPA fiber sights.
• Camo pattern adheres directly to all metalwork and stock components for longevity.
• Chrome-lined bore.
• Five Crio Plus choke tubes (cylinder, improved cylinder, modified, improved modified, full)
with included storage case and choke wrench.
• Four-plus-one shell capacity (two plus-one with included magazine limiting plug).
• Compatible with magazine tube extensions.
• Waterfowler model MSRP: $1,249.
A word about that “elastomer” cheek pad. Most of us aren’t going to be using low-brass, target and field
loads while in the duck marsh or goose pit. We’ll be shooting magnum loads and in some cases 3½-inch shells when we are really serious, especially for geese. While it is true that most of the recoil is directed back to the shooter’s shoulder (if we have the gun mounted correctly), there is no doubt that our cheekbone will get hammered if we shoot a lot of magnum loads. This padded, softer feature on the 18i will save you from headaches and allow for better shooting in the field because if the shotgun fits and is comfortable to shoot, you’ll get back on target faster and be more accurate. For more information on the 18i series, see weatherby.com.
Editor’s note: Larry Case has been a devoted outdoorsman since he was a child. He will admit to an addiction to turkey hunting (spring and fall), but refuses any treatment. He enjoys the company of gobblers and cur dogs that are loud and people who speak the truth softly. Case served 36 years as
a game warden in West Virginia and retired with the rank of district captain. You can check out his podcast and other stories at gunsandcornbred.com.