I don't have the Howa but a Weatherby Vangard which is the same rifle but different names. The Vangard is a shooter right out of the box. The one that I have is a .25-06 and the first 3 two shot groups 6 that I took with factory ammo were fantastic. I did this just to get the scope hitting close to where I wanted it. After that I shot 3 3 shot groups with hand loads and all the groups were nice and looked like a very small cloverleaf. And all this was without doing any load development.
I haven't shot it since that time since I have muzzle loader tags this year but come next spring I am going to see just what this little rifle will do.
My first impression of the looks of the rifle were a little off. The safety lever looks like a beer tab, I like a little bit more metal on mine but for what it cost and how it shoots I'll take it. The stock is a plane Jane composite one but I figure if I keep it I can get me a nice piece of black walnut and go to town on it.
I have a few Vanguards, a couple Howas and a S&W 1500. All are good shooter. None shoot as well as Critters but they all shoot 1 - 1 3/4" groups out of the box with quality factory ammo. I've taken the wood stocked guns and floated the barrels, bedded the actions and worked those scratchy triggers over and improved them all. Even if you don't do anything to them, they are great shooters at a great price.
I had a Howa .204 but recently sold it because I rarely shoot it. Very very accurate shooting rilfe, pretty smooth action especially for the price.
I didn't mind the grippy rubbery stock. I didn't sell because I didn't like it by any means, just wasn't using it. The only thing I could tell you that I didn't like was that it was a little heavier than others.... But not by enough to keep me from buying it. But it was noticeable.
not to be a stick in the mud, but have you checked out thompson center ventures?
The triggers are great out of the box, the actions are smooth, and they are very very accurate. not to mention the price is right, and I believe there is a rebate going on.
I was set on either a HOWA or a TC when I purchased. Everything I read and heard about the HOWA was nothing but good. Only reason I went with the TC was I won a total lowball bid on gunbroker and im glad I did.
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