Goal: Budget tackdriver for hunting based on Howa 1500

Discussion in 'Rifles, Bullets, Barrels & Ballistics' started by zupatun, Feb 11, 2010.

  1. zupatun

    zupatun Well-Known Member

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    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.
     
  2. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    I did the same thing you are with a howa 300 weatherby. Got it for 150.

    I got all the parts off fourms for cash or trade. I spent the most money on the stock a Manners MCST a little less that 500.

    Check out this thread. http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f53/another-mcr-300-win-mag-48253/

    Kevin Cram did all the work and its sweet.............

    I think you should have the trigger tuned and replace the stock shoot the barrel you have until its dead the whole time searching for deals on a new one. It cost around 180 to chamber and thread a new barrel to you action and having you action trued in the process is not a bad idea either another 150. then the beading of the new stock woll cost a bit dont know how much then dont forget shipping.
     

  3. zupatun

    zupatun Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the comments. Maybe Kevin can comment, but is it worth having the Howa 1500 action trued if I'm not really pushing it much past 600 for hunting and paper for fun at 1000K? What are the tradeoffs?

    If the barrel is already threaded, I take it for the Howa (unlike a Savage) it needs to be done by someone like Kevin to get the headspacing right...I'm a little ignorant of the process here.

    As for the stock, I'm not sure $500 is in my budget. I'm comfortable taking on the bedding job myself, but I'll need to start at $300 or so for the stock (try to find something lying around a couple forums). Or, is the Axiom just a wast of $200--even though it is ugly, is it functional and accurate?

    Regardless, thanks for the reply!

    Matt

    P.S. I saw the thread and noticed the Roedale muzzle break. Kinda looks like the clamp-on one I see on the Badger Ordinance website? What do you and others think of this? Didn't necessarily want to have the Kreiger barrel threaded right now because I'll probably wait on the muzzle break--won't get it unless I get the barrel fluted--heavy barrel should tame what little recoil my .308 has anyhow...
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2010
  4. Long Time Long Ranger

    Long Time Long Ranger Well-Known Member

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    The Howa action is a very good action. I have over 20 of them but don't really know for sure how many. My 308 howa shoots very well as is and I bet yours will also. I would bed it and try it first. If not the 243 AI would be a great choice for a new barrel. It is one of the most accurate at the 1000 yard matches and is a lazer hunting out to your 600 yards. I have one built on a howa action that shoots 5/8" groups at 300 yards. Easy and cheap to reload also. You can get a headspace gauge at midway. Pac-Nor barrels does a very good job turning their barrels to pre-fit your action. Just screw yours out and put the new one back on. I have used quite a few of their barrels and have been very pleased.
     
  5. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Matt,

    I have a S&W M1500 which is made by Howa and the same action as a Howa M1500, also the same as a Weatherby Vanguard. I found my trigger was extremely easy to tune. All I did was to back out the trigger pull weight screw to where I liked it which is about 1 - 1 1/2 lbs. It breaks very crisp with no creep. Apparantley not all Howa triggers are that easy to adjust. Kiwi Nate, who is a gunsmith, did a tuttorial on how to adjust a Howa trigger in the gunsmithing forum...

    http://www.longrangehunting.com/forums/f37/howa-trigger-adjustment-how-52584/

    As far as stocks go, IMO B&C probably make the best stock for the $$$. You can get a full aluminum bedded Medalist for about $250 or less. You can get a pillar bedded Hogue for a lot less but not quite the quality of the B&C.

    Before you buy any barrels, you might try the one that's one it. It might be a tack driver. If you can get sub MOA out of it with factory ammo you might get sub .5 MOA out of it with good handloads and bedded in a good stock.

    If you get a custom barrel, you should really consider a blue print by a good gunsmith for another couple of hundred.

    Good shooting,

    -Mark
     
  6. zupatun

    zupatun Well-Known Member

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    The pic I have shows the Krieger barrel tapering down to 0.9" This would make it akin to a #17 Heavy Varmint taper but only 26" long instead of 27" looking at the Kreiger websight. A 27" #17 weighs 7 pounds...heavier than I want. Since it's a 26" tube and if I have someone flut it, the weight may get down a hair below 6 or 6.5 pounds...still pretty heavy.

    Cutting off 2" from the 26 inch barrel should take off almost a half pound. Fluting I think will take off another half pound or more (depending on the flutes)...so maybe a 5.5 lb barrel is possible for the $200 and cost of fluting (130?)...

    Opinions?

    I know it would be easier to just order a new barrel, but I don't have a $500+ budget for the barrel.
     
  7. MontanaRifleman

    MontanaRifleman Well-Known Member

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    Cutting 2" off will only reduce it by 2-3 oz. Fluting will not remove half a lb. Fluting will reduce it by about 1 contour weight. I personally would not have a barrel contoured by anyone else other than the barrel maker.
     
  8. ICANHITHIMMAN

    ICANHITHIMMAN Well-Known Member

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    The Muzzle brake is threaded on to the barrel and locked in place with the screw's.
     
  9. zupatun

    zupatun Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like I'd be better off getting the right contour and right barrel...

    Thanks for the advice on this one.

    Matt
     
  10. zupatun

    zupatun Well-Known Member

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    Found a factory takeoff 22" stainless Varmint contour (NO. 3?) for $60 shipped. Zero rounds down the barrel. This is closer than the Kreiger to get the rifle I want.

    Matt

    P.S. Here's a pic.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2010
  11. loaders_loft

    loaders_loft Well-Known Member

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    search around for a factory laminate or wood takeoff stock, you might find one. for a 308 I wouldn't bother with a muzzle brake. if you want to keep your synthetic stock, you could bed a carbon fiber rod into it for stiffness
     
  12. zupatun

    zupatun Well-Known Member

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    I'm probably not going to go with the break right now. I do need to find someone to take off the barrel (oops) and put this one on the action...should headspace correctly, but looking for recommendations for a smith.

    As for the stock, Stocky's is listing B&C stocks for $207 but mine (howa/weatherby) isn't in stock...Al bedding block looks nice. There would be no inletting, but would I want to do some bedding with epoxy on that or would it be a straight drop-in?

    Matt

     
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2010
  13. loaders_loft

    loaders_loft Well-Known Member

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    stock has nothing to do with headspace - did you mean "barrel"?

    that B&C with bedding block should be a drop in. search around the net some more or call the manufacturer and ask them to recommend a "stocking dealer" for this model. Ask them who orders the most of that particular model and then contact that dealer to check inventory. It may or may not be an online dealer.