View Full Version : Just Bought - .308 Howa 20" tactical - thoughts and opinions?

11-26-2011, 3:52 PM
Looks like I finally earned the right to post on this side of the board :D
Up to this point, I've only been a pistol owner (.40 cal M&P). I've shot my buddies shotties and misc rifles, but no large caliber bolt actions. I didn't know a lot about them, but I did want bang for the buck. So naturally I did a lot of reading and researching on the net (probably too much), and I narrowed my choices down to the following, in order of preference:

1) any Savage w/ accustock and accutrigger ~700+
2) Rem 700 sps tactical ~$600
3) Weatherby vanguard series 2 ~$450
4) Howa 1500 ~$500 w/ scope

Basically, this is also a list from most to least expensive, figuring that the savage would be nice if money were no object, and the howa was a realistic price for me.

I went into Turner's on Black Friday (the sales were not extraordinary, but I figured this will probably be as cheap as they get), and decided to get some hands on time with all of
the above (never held or fired any of them). To no surprise, the savage was the nicest one of the bunch. I felt that the stock, action and overall feel was top notch, but also top dollar. I was surprised to see though, that the Howa was not too different from the Weatherby or even the Remmy. I was expecting the rem700 to have a little more, I dunno, wow factor I guess. At least compared to the cheaper rifles. The gentleman behind the counter told me that if I was really interested in the tactical model, that he had a tactical version of the Howa. He told me it has a free floating barrel, and probably be just right for someone of my (lack of?) experience. Sure enough, it had a 20" heavy barrel just like the sps tactical, which after feeling in my hands, I liked a lot better than the thin hunting rifle of the vanguard that was on sale.
Before goin in, I thought I would save some cash and get either the remmy or vanguard and buy a cheap scope for it, seeing is how I didn't really know the difference between a good and cheap scope anyways. But after seeing the Howa rifle, how it seemed to have the same stock and barrel of the Remington, and same action as the Weatherby, AND came bundled with a 4-16 x 44 scope, I figure that for $575 it was a good buy. At least, for my noobie skills and eyes. And upgrading is always an option down the road. Opinions?

PS - forgot to mention that it's .308 - cost of ammo was important too. Was originally considering a 7.62 x 39 rifle, but thought hell I know I'm gonna own both eventually anyways :D Also, this is more for just target shooting and having fun. I may take it hunting once or twice (haven't gone yet), but wanted that to be a possible option.