Originally Posted by B23
If you come across a smoking deal on a Howa .223 I wouldn't pass it up either.
My dad bought a Weatherby Vanguard (aka Howa) in .223 about 5 years ago. It has a 20in heavy barrel 1-12tw. He bought it brand new at Sportsman Wharehouse. They were on sale for $339. He didn't really want it at the time but it seemed like a good deal so he bought it with the intentions of re-barreling it to a .223AI later on. It turned out to be such a good shooter he's never done a thing to it except shoot the heck out of it. He did put a Timney trigger in it though. He has a 6.5-06AI built on a Howa that shoots very well too.
I just bought a Vanguard SII 223 for $480 at the local SW and it's a half MOA shooter. It has a 1:12 twist and will stabilize 53 Vmax's. When the barrel is shot out, I'll have the action trued, get a new match grade barrel in a light varmint contour, and put it a new aluminum bedded B&C stock.
You could go full custom but I see no practical advantage to it for a 223.
Also, if you want to shoot longer high BC bullets in it, a factory barrel wont get you there. I'm happy shooting the 53 gr Vmax's with it. My son and I were shooting 850 yd rocks with a few weeks back with about 20 MOA of up correction and the wind was blowing about 15 mph give or take. and we were using about 12 MOA for wind.