OK, John M, I hear you. I may have made a bad choice for regularly hunting at 600 yards, but as posted above my primary range is 150-400 yards. I have, thanks to the responses, begun to view my 300WM as my 400 yard plus option and anticipate working it into maybe even more range. I have also learn a considerable amount about the 257 Wby. Thanks, again to everyone, including John M.
I know that care needs to be give to not over heat the barrel. A three shot string is usually the max. before letting the barrel cool down. I have seen some recommend having the barrel cool after every shot. I understand, and can be corrected, that with good care a barrel should last 1500+ rounds. As I anticipate using the 257 that is a long time.
Well LB if you are not going to offer him any help on getting good barrel life then I guess I will although I am not the expert becuase barrel life is only a secondary consideration at long range.
How to extend barrel life. Shoot a gun that won't shoot very far. The barrel will last forever. I am so funny I should have been Johnny Carson's replacement.
With a fast long range cartridge the more pressure the throat is exposed to the more likily the temperatures will be high. Launching very heavy bullets requires high pressures and will probably give you high temperatures. Lauching little light varmint bullets requires less pressure and thus gives less temperature. So if you are going to shoot the gun a lot at varmints then use a varmint bullet not your hunting bullet. If you have read about Lerch and Bill Bailey shooting Prairie dog you will notice that they are shooitng the heaviest bullets that they can. They don't care if they burn the barrel out ( or at least Lerch doesn't care if he burns out BJ's barrel)
Supposedly ball powders are cooler burning than stick powder. Don't ask me which ones are ball powders becasue I don't know becuase I don't care if I burn my barrels out.
Finally and most important of all is do not shoot until the barrel is too hot to hold. Now on a day like today or yesterday if you left a piece of steel in the sun it would be too hot to hold ( I was messing around with some exhaust pipe). So if your barrel can be too hot to hold when you haven't even shot it yet what do you do. You shoot it. The main thing is to not shoot twenty or thirty times very quickly. On a hot summer day it would not be unusual to space shots by as much as 8-10 minutes or to just take three shots and set the gun aside for twenty minutes. What I do is to take at least two guns with me and that way I can alternate between guns and keep them both reasonably cool.
What you will find is that Weatherby is a polarizing firearm. Roy W did a lot to advance the art and craft of long range hunting but he marketed to the rich. As you have seen, some people cannot come to terms with either the gun nor the tradition.
Now then of the Wby mags the 257 has the smallest diameter bullet with the most powder (called overbore - more powder than the bore will burn- this is not a moderrn concept and is somewhat outdated) but none the less you have a lot of powdr being burned in a small space. There are three cartridges that have a reputation as being barrel burners, teh 220Swift, 257 Wby and 264 Win. These reputations were gained long ago when barrel steel was much milder becuase we did not have the machine tools to work the harder steels. Still these three cartridges will eat a barrel faster then most others but not like what happened forty years ago. These are also the most fantastically fast cartridges avavilable.
Barrel Break in. Go visit some of the barrel makers site such as Krieger lilja, shilen etc and read about their recommendations and pick one. it is not a highly scinetific thing here.
Prolonging barrel life- move to longer and longer bullets with less and less baottail and ogive. Keep reading and evaluationg whether Tubbs abrasive bullets really work.
Rebarrel when you can no longer keep group size less than the lethal target area of a deer.