Blast From the Past: Weatherby Orion Over/Under 12 Gauge

A reader shares a beautiful gun that he uses for skeet shooting and hunting small game

weatherby orion grade iii
This Weatherby Orion Grade III is, no surprise, one of the reader’s favorite shotguns.From JHjimbo

SKB shotguns—the old ones, made by Sakaba in Japan—were well-made, reliable guns, and we are the poorer for the closing of the SKB factory 10 or so years ago, when it switched to making golf clubs or car parts or something. A lot of hand work went into these guns, too. I’ve had a couple of them, and wish I still owned both.

Sakaba was founded back in 1855. SKBs were imported by Ithaca under its name in the ’60s and ’70s, and later by Weatherby until 2004. SKB made guns under its own name until 2008, when the factory closed. Weatherby offered the Orion o/u as the base model, although in different grades, and a more ornate, side-plated Athena version. Both had a very strong crossbolt action and they are guns worth grabbing if you see them for sale. The current incarnation of SKB imports a good line of Turkish guns which are off different design than the originals. That company also bought up all the parts for the Japanese SKBs, so they are the people to contact if your gun needs a part.

JHjimbo's Orion

This is my Weatherby Orion Grade III, 12-gauge o/u shotgun. It has 30-inch barrels, a single selective inertia trigger and auto ejectors. I use it for skeet and some small game. The wood is beautiful, so I try to take care of it and not abuse it. The long barrels give it slight front heavy balance but it seems to suit me well. This was made in Japan by SKB, the maker of other fine firearms. This is one of my favorite guns.

Keep the old gun pictures coming to fsgunnuts@gmail.com.