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Forum Index > Rifles general discussion > Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying

Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying

29 Aug 2016
@ 04:43 am (GMT)

Gordo


Hi.
After a long time in the hunting wilderness, I'm now getting back into it and I'm looking to get something that I hope will last me a long time, that is accurate out of the box, and that I can improve the accuracy of over time so that I can push my limits.

I'm very close to settling on the Howa 20" Heavy Barrel .308 (no fluting). I was wondering if any others have thoughts as to how this would be as a hunting/field outfit, or whether those who have tried heavy barrels have hated carrying it due to its weight.
I guess this is partly why I'm considering the 20" and not the 24" also.

Primarily, I want this rifle for Deer (for meat and it's mostly Sambar in the areas I'll go), but also goat and pig.

Given a choice, is Blued any different to Stainless or it doesn't matter? (In terms of long term accuracy) i.e. is one better than the other?

I'm also considering whether to get a different stock straight away.
For some reason, here in Aus, the barreled actions are more expensive than buying a complete kit (barrel, hogue stock, pic rail and 1" rings).
I am on a budget, but I'm not sure about whether I'll like the hogue stock. I like the look of Boyds Prairie Hunter Pepper stock, but I don't know if they do that one for the varmint barrel. I think the Boyds thumbhole stocks might make it too heavy.

Does anyone know a good stock for the Howa that they'd recommend?

At some point, assuming it shoots well, I'd bed it, though whether I do it myself or have it done by someone else depends on how confident I am at not screwing it up.
Thanks

Replies

29 Aug 2016
@ 06:11 am (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
A close friend of mine is new to shooting and has just bought a Howa 20" fluted in the Boyds stock as his first centrefire. We've just bedded it, given the barrel a scrub with the recoil lug lap next on the list. First impressions, great little package. I like a heavier rifle and I really like this Boyds stock. The ergonomic fit and cheek rest and really nice. I have big hands and was worried the grip looked a little thin, but as I said, the feel of the Boyds is great. Personally I own a Rem700 SPS Tac in a bedded Hogue with a 21" (!?) truflite barrel - roughly same contour as the original - and it's a heavier than your average hunting rifle rig. Whenever I hand it to my hunting partner he remarked - boy thats heavy! But to be honest, it's the only rifle I own and the only rifle I have ever hunted with and I just get on with it. Heavy is a state of mind. My rifle is deadly accurate and is a pleasure to shoot. Also with the shorter barrel, the weight is in your hand and not hanging way out in front. The Howa and Boyds combo is a little on the heavy side, but I am sure it will be a pleasure to shoot too. If you're not in a rush, I let you know how we get on in the next few weeks - depending on how our work rosters and range days line up
29 Aug 2016
@ 06:31 am (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Just one more thing, one of my hunting party remarked that my rifle was nice, "but no good for hunting" with it being heavy and a big scope with dials and shit... I shot more deer (4 to his 3) that weekend and my rifle also counted for another when I loaned it to my buddy... just sayin... Hehe
29 Aug 2016
@ 06:46 am (GMT)

Gord Anon

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Thanks Mike.
Which Boyds stock does he have? Is it the thumbhole?
Yeah, I'd be interested to know how you go with it.
29 Aug 2016
@ 07:52 am (GMT)

trevor savage

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
For deer 7mm08 out of a 24 inch barrel would be my pick and it is. I didn't like the lower speeds of the 308 from the 20inch barrel. When I re barrel I will do a 24inch heavy barrel, I don't mind the extra weight as I don't walk longer than a day
29 Aug 2016
@ 08:59 am (GMT)

Mike Neeson

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Gordo, it's the thumbhole Boyds stock. I was a bit dubious about the whole thumbhole thingy, but I really like it. Fits and handles beautifully. The cut out for the action REALLY NEEDS BEDDING.

Will try to keep you updated on the breakin and accuracy. We got this setup recommended by others on this forum who have had great results with them.
We had this discussion here: http://www.ballisticstudies.com/Resources/Discussion+Forums/x_forum/17/thread/11090.html

On the velocity thing, my rifle shoots the [email protected], with a 7mm08 shooting a 140 through a 22" at about 2800 - 2850 (from the KB), I don't feel so disadvantaged. The main reason I didn't get a 7mm08 was projectile choice and availability, not to mention factory ammo availability here in Aus. It just hasn't taken off here like it has in NZ. An interesting article on barrel length in the 308:
http://www.tacticaloperations.com/SWATbarrel/
29 Aug 2016
@ 10:28 am (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
I like the idea of a heavy 20" barrelled 308!

I like the boyds classic stock, ambidextrous so it suits left and right handed and a nice straight design, I don't think they do them in a heavy barrel channel but its easy to open them up with some sandpaper, that's exactly what I did with my howa.

The thumbhole design looks nice and I bet is nice to shoot, but being limited to L or R handed is a turn off for me.
I also like the pro varmint stock but it does look a bit 'tacticool' which doesn't suit some setups.
29 Aug 2016
@ 10:35 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
A heavy barrelled 20" 308w is one of the best general purpose, all round short combo's going!
It has imitations & you will have to be mindful of these hunting Sambar because they are as tuff as people say!

Mike has listed the links to the discussions we had and the steps he went through for his friend and the Howa 308 he has mentioned.

The 308w is a very versatile package and with careful shot placement & projectile choice will do what you need. Also doubling up as a great LR trainer or "hack rifle" as Nathan would say. Great factory backing, cheap brass, the biggest projectile availability/selection by far along with very good barrel life.

If your in Vic Gordo, l have a new Boyd's Pepper Thumbhole sitting in the shed that l could bed your action into, if you decide to go that way!!
30 Aug 2016
@ 07:46 am (GMT)

Christopher Howse

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Sounds good to me.
i have a Boyds thumbhole and a featherweight thumbhole and they are close in actual size i think with the featherweight slightly thinner in profile.
i used a mates ambidextrous thumbhole on his spotlighting .223 and it was good too.
my 2bobs worth is that a Howa is great value and a good work rifle.

Blued is fine if you are happy with it, you should clean and maintain any rifle its just stainless my be a bit easier to keep looking good and maybe a bit more forgiving if you hunt in bad weather.
ive read a lot on 20 inch .308 barrels and it would seem it does not affect them too much in velocity or accuracy. set up right they can do exceptionally well.
ive owned a few .308 sporters and currently use a Tikka T3 laminated stainless. i was dissapointed when i found how much plastic was in it when it arrived but can live with it and would buy a Howa anytime if the model suited my purpose.
Howa like remington and tikka have a lot of upgrades available and are cheaper to start with if you are happy to settle on a Howa they are fine.

The 20" .308 should shoot OK but bedding the action is not so hard and i have done a few and it gets easier the more you do. Nathans kits are good and he will provide advice support. i got a Dremmel type multi tool at bunnings with a flex shaft for like $39 (ozito) and it is good for hobby gun work as i am on a budget too.

i think the key to any calibre is to learn to shoot it well and use ammo suited to the game. The Howa will hit the target but maybe you can stretch the budget to use premium ammo on things like sambar so you know it will do the job.


Go to cleaver firearms website select firearms/rifles click the Howa icon and scroll down i see a 20" with T/H and rail and a 20" with synthetic stock both heavy barrel good prices

if you can use a club armourer the transfers are usually cheaper as they are not in the buisiness of selling rifles

i have a Boyds prairie hunter NIB that i might sell or trade with T/H, You would have to open the barrel channel out.



30 Aug 2016
@ 08:55 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Hi Gordo, others have given much of the same advice I would give.

The one thing you'll have to get your head around is accuracy. If you want out of the box accuracy without having to do any work, buy a Tikka (though there are still basic set up tasks and maintenance that need to be employed).

The Howa will most likely serve you well, but it will need some work. Is this a bad thing? Not really. When we work on rifles, we learn a great deal more about 'the rifle' in general. This extra level of involvement can be very rewarding. Many of our readers chose the Howa as their introduction to DIY rifle accurizing, achieving great success. The design is simple, following the original Sako rifle design while being superior to the current Sako design.

As for the .308 barrel length, 20" is my preference. The .308 is efficient and I like to make the most of this. As Marty says, this is my hack.

The book series can walk you through all of this, whether you choose a Tikka, Howa or another brand.

01 Sep 2016
@ 09:10 am (GMT)

Jon Short

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Hi Gordo,

I'm one of the guys that started with a Howa (in 6.5x55), accurised it based on Nathan's advice & learnt a lot. Firstly, I love the Howa action. It's better in my humble opinion as a hunter than the noisy Tikka bolt with a weak half closed position that affects the trigger weight if you want to make it firmer/reliable ... so I'm told.

The Hogue stock I really like in terms of shape. It's easy to hold onto at the forend, which with a high recoiling caliber really matters. A good flat forend shape is good for taking a rest on a day pack or sand bags. I stiffened the forend (so I could use a bipod occasionally- sorry Nathan) which added a little weight as did the front & rear bedding job I did. Weight has benefits for many shooters that many don't recognise. Inertia, softens recoil, which can potentially help your shooting form. Get fitter if you worry about a little extra weight in your rifle I reckon. It's worth it. I added a cheek wallet packed with neoprene a little to raise the comb to exactly the right height to suit my cheek weld. Worth doing.

I front & rear bedded the rifle, worked the trigger over to get it down to 1.5lbs & lapped the bolt lugs to ensure even contact. I worked up a load & now have a rifle that's flying for its calibre & very accurate.

The hogue stock isn't the easiest to bed being plastic & rubber. The laminated Boyd is easier, & the classic from memory has a good wide forend shape too similar to the hogue. Easy to hold on to.

The main pro for me with the Howa over both Remington & Tikka is what the action is like to use & cycle, from a hunting perspective. Compare them side by side. It's got to feel good in your hands. It's a personal thing.

Re the learning curve, I wouldn't trade it for anything, but you've gotta have the time & right mind set. Nathan's books are all well worth investing in. I have.

Cheers,

Jon

03 Sep 2016
@ 06:41 am (GMT)

Gordo

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Thanks from everyone for the replies so far.
I appreciate when people are willing to share their thoughts and experience.


Quote:

If your in Vic Gordo, l have a new Boyd's Pepper Thumbhole sitting in the shed that l could bed your action into, if you decide to go that way!!


Thanks Martin.
Yes I am in VIC and would like to chat about it.
If you could shoot an email to [email protected] I'll send you an email back from my real address. We use that email address as a throwaway that doesn't matter if it's in the open and scraped by spam bots.
03 Sep 2016
@ 06:48 am (GMT)

Gordo

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Quote:

Go to cleaver firearms website select firearms/rifles click the Howa icon and scroll down i see a 20" with T/H and rail and a 20" with synthetic stock both heavy barrel good prices

if you can use a club armourer the transfers are usually cheaper as they are not in the buisiness of selling rifles

i have a Boyds prairie hunter NIB that i might sell or trade with T/H, You would have to open the barrel channel out.


Yep. I've been looking at cleavers as they seem to have some pretty good prices.
If it only works out a little bit more expensive to buy local, I'll probably do that just to support one of the dealers in my area.
I'm still deciding on the stock so it'd be good if you could also send me an email to the address in the post above.
I'm going to go to a couple of dealers next week and have a feel of the different stocks.
03 Sep 2016
@ 06:53 am (GMT)

Gordo

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Of course, a couple of posts up it should say "Thanks TO everyone...."
There doesn't seem to be an option to edit posts.

:o)
03 Sep 2016
@ 09:14 am (GMT)

Christopher Howse

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Gordo, ive messaged via the email. The Boyds stock is not chequered just plan but i dont mind the feel of it
19 Sep 2016
@ 01:38 am (GMT)

Andy Hrelja

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Hi Christopher,

Just wondering how (if ) you went with the Howa? If you did get a 20" heavy barrel I'm curious as to what the total weight (with a scope if you got one) came to. I'm looking at getting one myself but coming in at 67kg wringing wet I need to be mindful of how much weight I'll be carrying on a walk. I've got the sporter barrel version so that's why I'm curious as to the weight difference between the 2.

Cheers,
Andy
19 Sep 2016
@ 01:41 am (GMT)

Andy Hrelja

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Like Gordo above, couldn't edit previous post...D'Oh! Question should have been directed to Gordo, not Chris...sorry about that folks.

Cheers :)
24 Sep 2016
@ 04:24 am (GMT)

Gordo

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Hi Andy,

I'll be able to tell you soon enough.
Yes I have decided to go with the Howa. I don't have it yet though, but as soon as I do, I'll let you know (shouldn't be too long).

I am going with the 20" Heavy non-fluted.

FYI, I'd also asked the distributor about the difference in weight of the barreled actions between the sporter in 22" and the heavy 20".
The sporter is 5.35lbs and the Heavy is 6.65lbs (1.3lbs diff), that's only about 750gms difference.

I went into a couple of different dealers to see how the gun feels. First was a 24" Heavy Fluted in a HS Stock and you could feel a bit of weight. A couple of weeks earlier I'd been in a store and they had a 24" Heavy non-fluted in the thumbhole varmint stock and it did feel heavy.
One shop I went in had the 20" Heavy Fluted in a Hogue stock and it felt nice in the hands and good weight. So I pretty much convinced myself that I'll get the 20" heavy, but definitely want the non fluted which is what I'm trying to organize at the moment. Just comes down to the deal.

When I get it, I'll throw it on the scales and let you know the weight.
27 Sep 2016
@ 04:18 am (GMT)

Andy Hrelja

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Sweet, thanks Gordo. Looking forward to see how it all works out. I've got my PTA already so now I just need to decide what to get. It always comes down to the usual variables - cost, weight, quality and seeing I want this one to be a bit more of a long range rig I'll probably have to pay more for the scope so that's why I'm looking at the Howa. They seem pretty good bang for buck...bad pun I know...sorry ;-)

Anyway, keep us posted Gordo. I'm sure I'm not the only one interested.
14 Oct 2016
@ 05:15 am (GMT)

Gordo

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
The Heavy Barrel 20" Non-Fluted 308 with a Hogue Stock is 3.7Kg, without base, rings & scope.


For those interested in Howa, Centreway Firearms in Keilor VIC has some good pricing.
The above which is with threaded muzzle is $770
They do the Camo stock for 795 I think
With the Boyd's Thumbhole Sky Laminated Stock (Blue) $895
And they can do the Robertus Laminated Thumhole Stock for $975

18 Oct 2016
@ 01:17 am (GMT)

Andy Hrelja

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Thanks for the update Gordo!
18 Oct 2016
@ 04:17 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Thoughts/Opinions Howa 20" Heavy Barrel for Hunting/Carrying
Quote:
The Heavy Barrel 20" Non-Fluted 308 with a Hogue Stock is 3.7Kg, without base, rings & scope.


For those interested in Howa, Centreway Firearms in Keilor VIC has some good pricing.
The above which is with threaded muzzle is $770
They do the Camo stock for 795 I think
With the Boyd's Thumbhole Sky Laminated Stock (Blue) $895
And they can do the Robertus Laminated Thumhole Stock for $975



Then adding your SIII series Sightron scope, a picatinny rail and decent rings, you will be looking at close to 10 1/2 pounds. Not all that bad. My Remington 700P LTR with the heavy 20 inch barrel, a Sightron S-Tac 2.5-17x56 scope, Farrel rail, Burris rings, sling and cheek pouch weighed in around 11 pounds.
 

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