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GUNS Magazine February 2012 Digital Edition - Page 56

Having it Inexpensively. T Jacob Gottfredson hrough an unfortunate set of circumstances for a great guy and his rifle company, I am the owner of a very nice hunting rifle. The rifle is nicely balanced, about the weight I like, great for those cold, wet days and shoots very well. Turns out, you can inexpensively duplicate it. It is not uncommon to take parts from different manufacturers and build a rifle around them. The recipients of Howa barreled actions do, Weatherby does it, and there are a host of others that do as well. In fact, like mine, many of them are based on the Howa action and the Hogue Overmolded stock. Why not do it yourself ? Howa 1500 Action The Howa has an interesting concept to keep prices down. Made from forged steel, it has some other excellent points. First is the integral barrel lug, something sometimes seen in much more expensive actions, for example: the Surgeon. Another is the bolt handle, which is also integral. If you have ever knocked the bolt handle off a Remington, you know of what I speak. I have done it three times. It’s very problematic as well as expensive to fix. The bolt offers two lugs, an AR extractor and a beefy shroud. The bolt body is, however, a bit smaller than average for this kind of action. My first clue was when I tried to insert a rod guide to clean the bore. I have several and none would fit. Looking at the end of the receiver, I could see the inside had been sleeved to accommodate the lugs but be small enough for the body of the bolt itself. Out came the calipers. Seems the bolt body on the Remington, Surgeon and Stiller all measure about .700", while the Howa measures about .680". Solved that mystery. But another arises: Why? I suspect they use different sleeves for different cartridge sizes. Better than a Remington? Ask 20 guys who have used both and you get an answer more than vague. Most like it but mildly complain it doesn’t have as many accessories available as the Remington. For example, the consensus is that only two triggers are offered for the Howa: Timney and Basic. How many do you need? Then again, how great does a trigger have to be to serve the average hunter well? The stock trigger on mine is superb! Both the Remington and the Howa will more than do the job. We’re not talking the need for a $4,000 long-range rifle here. As companies try to slice the pie to meet the competition for less money, they also cut into what makes a rifle great. But we don’t all need a great rifle. We need a productive rifle for the job at hand, one that we can afford. The Howa The buck season in Texas had ended before Jacob’s grandson (above) got the opportunity to put one in the freezer for Grandpa. This little doe’s meat will be better anyway. The .260 Remington cartridge with Remington’s 140-grain Core-Lokt Ultra Bonded PSP did the job instantly with a lung shot at 125 yards. The Hogue Overmolded stock is stippled at the grip and fore-end (below), however, the rubberized material seems to do the job well enough without it. Valdada’s 4-14x50mm scope’s illumination is activated at the rear with the offset dial. 56 W W W. G U N S M A G A Z I N E . C O M • F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 2

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