Bought a blued Howa 1500 in .308 with a sporter barrel for $259 complete with flexi-stock and Nikko Sterling 3X-10X scope from a pawn shop--essentially never fired far as I can tell. I like the light weight, I like something I can hike with, something less than 9lbs with scope. I used to have a Tikka Varmint which with scope was somehting in this range. The tikka had a 23-3/4" barrel which is about the length I liked--not a fast pointer, but it wasn't a brush gun--I have my 30-30 for that... Most of my hunting in Virginia is not longer than 500-600 yards, and I love reloading for 308, but I might also like to shoot F-class at Quantico for some fun puncing paper so 1000 yards is not out of the question. I'll replace the scope soon, but the stock, trigger and barrel are my first concerns. The trigger is too heavy, but breaks well. I'll see what I can do with that on my own and save some $. If I can't get it down to 2 or 2.5# safely I'll spring for a Timney. I have to replace the flexi stock. I like something like a pistol-grip or thumbhole better than the A5 style. The Axiom stock looks like hell, but seems to be affordable and accurate (for apillar bedded) and I can get one for around $200. My other choic would be Manner's MCS-T...but that's on the high side of price. I'm not really excited by the sporter thumbhole laminated stocks, but I can keep it in reserve as a last choice. My biggest worry is replacing the stock barrel. I have a line on a ss Kreiger, looks like a heavy varmint contour 26" long for a really good price, ready drop in for my Howa action for between $150 to 200. This was taken off another Howa .308 and has less than 300 rounds through it. I'm trying to find out how heavy this barrel is and what contour it is. What I need is to figure out to do about the barrel. I'll need a good smith to take off the old barrel and install a new one..whether or not it's the one above or not. I think I would rather have a 24" barrel. Wondering if having the above barrel shortened and/or fluted would be worth it. I guess I'm looking for recommendations on what to do to get this rebarreled for a good price, not too long or too heavy but good accuracy. What would you guys recommend knowing what I've got here regarding barrels and stock choices. How much should I expect to pay to have a smith put on a new barrel and how much if I want to get the barrel shortened, re-crowned as opposed to ordering a new one? How good the axiom stock, ugly as it is, or what are other affordable but accurate options for me here? Matt in Virginia.