new howa .223 varminter build

jimi

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hey guys and gals, just thought id throw up some pics of my new howa varminter in .223 and give some background info on me and my rifles. by the way im from Melbourne Australia if i start using words or slang most of you may not understand, hahahaha

for anyone who hasnt heard it before(everyone on here?), i have actualy owned a howa 1500 stainless synthetic in .223 for about 5 or 6 years, and have loved it to death since i purchased it after hours of research and searching the net. for 4 years it served me well with not one single instance of malfunction of any form. i cant tell you how many vermin that gun dispatched around these parts, or how many hours i spent working the action, disasembling etc but as it was my first centerfire rifle... i was only 18 when i bought it, im sure you can all remember your first 'big' gun,
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id had an older stirling 1500 in 22 magnum since i was about 15...

well as you can imagine, time passed, i got into university, and had to move away from my gunsafe, and did not get to do nearly as much hunting or target shooting as i would have liked...instead spending free time bored in my dorm room, reading about the art of long range hunting and target shooting, and getting my appetite for the sport worked up.

anywho, i started getting the opertunity to shoot more after i found out some of my friends in the town i now lived (bendigo) were also keen shooters. so out came the trusty 223.

the only fault i could ever find with that rifle was that sometimes, the nature of where we shoot means that we'd come over a hill on 20 or so bunnies, and from 200+ meters away, you can almost shoot all night at them without them really running too far. hence the thin sporter weight barrel on the 223 would heat up after the first 2 shots and bullets would start wandering all over. dont get me wrong, taking my time, this gun would put all its shots well in MOA at 100 yards, but in rushed circumstances it was no good. i also sent off the trigger to get tuned by a smith that specialises in just that, howa and weatherby vanguard (same thing) triggers, and wow, was i impressed when i got it back, it broke at 1 pound, like a glass rod snapping, with 0 creep or overtravel. that combined with the now silky smooth action still made it a joy to shoot.

a hare that fell victim to my beloved 223 right on dawn one morning after i got my trigger back from the smith, paced out at around the 220 yard mark
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it was around this time that i had saved up enough money to buy something with a little bit more punch for longer range and target shooting and again after many an hour researching here on The Hide and on SC, i decided on the then 'new arrival in Australia' remington 700 sps tac in .308.

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forgive the crappy IPHONE pics, they are all i have to go by since i decided to "fix' my digi cam and instead, killed it, hahaha

so i got hooked on the long range bug and with my budget long range set up, a nikko-stirling nighteater in 4-16x50 and my sps tac...and yes i realise the scope isnt worth its weight in crap, but at least it got me out shooting, rather than waiting for the $$ to build up enough to buy decent glass...(you know the regular story)

i also started handloading after a while, which is where the true accuracy of my .308 started to show itself. ive been lucky enough to squeeze a .46' group when load developing, and was more than pleased to say the least, especially with crap scope, crap rings and mounts and the crap hogue stock with a sock-filled-sock for a rear rest in the dirt. hahaaha other groups were around the .50' - .70' mark.

this brings me up to about a month ago when i remembered seeing an all black howa varminter in 223 in a gun shop near my brothers place an hour away... and the review i read years ago on SC that made me decide on a howa waaaaay back when i was 18. a plan began to form in my mind. if i traded my howa that was collecting dust in the safe for this new heavy barrel varminter, i might get exactly what i wanted, and a bargin price... so into the car i jumped and a deal was struck whereby id pay $400 AUS to trade in my stainless for the varminter. i also had them put on a one piece EGW 20 MOA base as well as throw in a few boxes of cheap hunting ammo for that price. i tried in vein to get them to let me swap out my tuned trigger for the stock one on my new rifle, so i could keep it, but they would not have any of that!!! well it was an ambitious call anyway, hahaha

and this is what i now have sitting in the safe, waiting our next outing, my brand new howa varminter in .223, with the polymer stock i loved about my old SS, not the crap hogue one that now comes wih them, the same that sits under my 308 for the time being. this stock, although plastic, floats the barrel nice and clear, and has the best ergonomics ive encountered yet on a cheap factory rifle...great palm swell for my hand anyway.

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as for a range report, it has only had 34 rounds down it and i dont really expect it to settle down for a hundred or so more, like my SS did, but for the cheapest ammo you can find, the federal 55 grain powershock-what-ever ammo is holding around 1 inch at 100, which i think is about the limit of that ammo anyway, as well as the untuned trigger.

anyway, if anyone is still reading this i say well done, if i have made no sense what so ever, hahaha, then i apologise and say goodnight for now, hahhahaa,

shoot on people,

cheers and beers, jimi

here are just some more angles from my crappy iphone that i took tonight while i had the house to myself after the girlfriend left for work.

enjoy


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edit: oh yeah, forgot to mention the whole reason of this post, planning on building this up starting with the trigger tuned, then setting it into a Wilddog Stock, made here in Aus, as well as my 308.

http://wilddog.com.au/content/varmint-rifle-stocks.asp

check them out!!! $600ish Aus for what i think is on par (if not above)with macmillan and manners products!!!

also plan on putting something with a nice varminting reticule on the .223, but the .308 is getting a 3.5-15x50 nxs in Mil/Mil that im putting a down payment on this week after the long weekend is over...

also the knife in one of the pics is one of my other favourite bits of kit to take on a hunt, a Swedish made Mora 711... high carbon steel with a smallish blade, perfect for caping, cleaning, skinning...etc razor, (and i mean truuly razor) sharp with a scandi grind edge that is the bees knees for sharpening... anyone that has worked with either a Mora, or high carbon blades will tell you the quality is second to none.

cheers again....





 

mm509

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Re: new howa .223 varminter build

any time shooting is a good time. I bought my girlfriend a Howa in .243 worked up a load for it and it shoots 1/2 moa all day. Those Howa rifles are a great deal for the dollar.
 

jimi

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Re: new howa .223 varminter build

you are right there, i think they are the best deal going.

im yet to hear of one that just wont shoot, or has the typical problems associated with almost every second rem or savage....

in saying that i have both a remington, and a savage, as i believe they can all be really fantastic shooters, but you have to do alot less work to get a howa to shoot in my experiance, limited though it may be.

i read the other day that when one of the smiths that works on howas here on the Hide gets in a barreled action, he doesnt even bother putting the action in a lathe to true it up because they are so good from the factory...or something like that anyway (treat second or third hand information as you will)

im a firm believer that the <span style="text-decoration: underline">best</span> does not always have to be the most <span style="text-decoration: underline">expensive</span>. bearing in mind that here in aus at last, howa's are not the cheapest rifles, nor even close. this one was only a hundred bucks or so cheaper than my rem 700.

cheers

jimi
 

long range dogr

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  • Aug 13, 2006
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    Re: new howa .223 varminter build

    Good post brother, i enjoyed reading it!

    Congrats on your new purchases. Enjoy them!
     

    GCMxVeGeTa

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    Jun 11, 2009
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    Re: new howa .223 varminter build

    Wow, your hares are a lot different from our rabbits. It looks like a small kangaroo...
     

    mm509

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    Re: new howa .223 varminter build

    Jimi,
    Dont get me wrong, I absolutely love my M700's and my FN's and my Howa's and my Ruger's. Now that I think about it I love all my guns!! But I have to admit, if comes to hitting the same hole twice or four times I am grabbing my M700's or FN's. I might get the same confidence with the Howa but it has some big shoes to fill.
     

    jimi

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    Re: new howa .223 varminter build

    i know what you mean mate, like i said, my remmy is shooting LIGHTS OUT good at the moment, cant wait to see how the howa compares after load development is complete.

    as it happened for me, i loved my first howa, so my rem had big shoes to fill and it filled them well and truely, now this new howa also has more like BOOTS to fill!!! but im not worried.
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    hahaha

    i dont have any experiance with FN's though, what price field are they in? i dont know much about them and would love to hear more, they are US made right?

    take it easy guys,

    jimi