My Two-year HOWA Experiment

tzone

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Thanks. Appreciate the input from someone with your arsenal and experience.




I think I explained above the criteria and how the decision was arrived at. The differences in a .308 v. .30-06 is almost zero. Again, with only four chamberings, a lot of preferred options were going to be left out.




It was considered. I tried two prototypes with threads. Not a huge cost to add that feature, but a cost nonetheless that can be allocated to small things that have a higher demand and likely more value to a hunting rifle.

I guess as a reloader I would disagree on the 06 vs. .308 being equal. I have both and there is a difference.

I do agree there isn't much noticeable difference on the barrel lengths that have been chosen. I actually prefer them a little on the short side.
 

Addicting

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Yup. I tried some as far out to 26" barrels. Chrono'd them and compared the results to 24", 22" and even 20". Compared 24" to 22" and 20". Talked to engineers about accuracy related to barrel lengths. Handled them for hunting situations (have had one since 2006). Weighed them on scales.

I'd be interested to know what desired traits might be obtained in a longer barreled hunting rifle, if you have thoughts you want to share about such.

Here is a concern with the 22” barrels. Average Joe who would be buying these wants to order his CDS system. He uses the FPS listed on the box of factory ammo. Almost all of those printed velocities are from 24” and 26” barrels.

This can cause them to unknowingly order a dial for a round that is 70-100fps slower from his rifle. Not a big deal at 300, starting to be big deal at 500.

How many new rifle hunters think they can buy a Creedmoor and shoot 1000 yards. We see it on the forums all the time. Guys wanting to shoot 700-800 yards and they have never shot past 300.

If they get this package and validated their data out to 300. Say it was spot on with the dial, the CDS can give them a false sense of ability at longer ranges and head to the field.

This happened to me that first year. It didn’t turn out so well.
 

tzone

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Here is a concern with the 22” barrels. Average Joe who would be buying these wants to order his CDS system. He uses the FPS listed on the box of factory ammo. Almost all of those printed velocities are from 24” and 26” barrels.

This can cause them to unknowingly order a dial for a round that is 70-100fps slower from his rifle. Not a big deal at 300, starting to be big deal at 500.

How many new rifle hunters think they can buy a Creedmoor and shoot 1000 yards. We see it on the forums all the time. Guys wanting to shoot 700-800 yards and they have never shot past 300.

If they get this package and validated their data out to 300. Say it was spot on with the dial, the CDS can give them a false sense of ability at longer ranges and head to the field.

This happened to me that first year. It didn’t turn out so well.

You’d have to shoot and make a chart for your CDS. I don’t have a problem with that. And most guys buying that package i think would be close enough at the range a new shooter/hunter would be comfortable with anyway.
 

Big Fin

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Here is a concern with the 22” barrels. Average Joe who would be buying these wants to order his CDS system. He uses the FPS listed on the box of factory ammo. Almost all of those printed velocities are from 24” and 26” barrels.

This can cause them to unknowingly order a dial for a round that is 70-100fps slower from his rifle. Not a big deal at 300, starting to be big deal at 500.

How many new rifle hunters think they can buy a Creedmoor and shoot 1000 yards. We see it on the forums all the time. Guys wanting to shoot 700-800 yards and they have never shot past 300.

If they get this package and validated their data out to 300. Say it was spot on with the dial, the CDS can give them a false sense of ability at longer ranges and head to the field.
I chrono'd a lot of Nosler factory ammo and measured results from the different barrel lengths. Even did that when Howa came out with the Alpine Mountain Rifle. Howa has done a lot of testing on such. I talked to Wayne Van Zwoll of his experiences on such. Those velocity changes bolded above are a lot higher than the changes I noticed when dropping barrel lengths. I talked to engineers about the same and they noted much smaller changes.

If a person thinks they can grab this set up, or any set up, and starts lobbing shots in at the distances you mention without a lot of practice and training, the odds are that nothing I have done here will remedy that bad decision making on their part. I'm not sure what to do if a package is validated out to 300 and someone builds a false sense of ability that gives them the idea to shoot 700-800 yards. Again, nothing here will accommodate those issues of judgement and behavior.

I'm not interested in longer barrel lengths to stem the supposed tide of people shooting beyond their talent level. I'm interested in barrel lengths that will perform very well, provide great balance to the rifle, inherently less accuracy issues, and be a slight bit lighter. If folks are convinced they need 2-4" more barrel length, the odds are they will not be interested in this package. Nothing wrong with their decision to do otherwise.
 

tzone

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I'm not interested in longer barrel lengths to stem the supposed tide of people shooting beyond their talent level. I'm interested in barrel lengths that will perform very well, provide great balance to the rifle, inherently less accuracy issues, and be a slight bit lighter. If folks are convinced they need 2-4" more barrel length, the odds are they will not be interested in this package. Nothing wrong with their decision to do otherwise.
I have a few 20”, 22” and 1-24”. That’s as long as I’d like to go. The 24 is ok but to me, a 26 balances odd and it’s just not practical for the hunting I, or most others do.
 

Addicting

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I recently bought a Savage Lady Hunter for my wife. It’s my first time dealing with a shorter barrel at 20”. I’m newer to this rifle thing at only 3 years experience as I come from a shotgun part of my state.

So I’m not here to knock your test. I can only speak to what I am learning thru load development for this new rifle. Currently I am 3 grains of powder over book max and struggled to get it to 2710fps before I quit testing powders. That same bullet comes as loaded ammunition from the manufacturer at 2825fps.

Taking in consideration of the first time folks this package will appeal to. Would any of them be set up to know the difference? Or would they just put their faith in a system were the data was flawed from the start.

Is there anyway to partner Howa with Nosler to get that data you and they mined published to the buyers in a easy to understand format?
 

rtraverdavis

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I think it’s safe to say that most of the folks posting on this forum are not your “average hunters.” More the obsessive types. The cartridges and overall setups described here sound like they’ll be really attractive to folks who may one day find themselves geeking out over rifle specs on a hunting forum, but aren’t there yet.
 

Pelican

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Is there anyway to partner Howa with Nosler to get that data you and they mined published to the buyers in a easy to understand format?
Muzzle velocity varies even with the same model factory rifle shooting the identical ammo. As chamber reamers wear down during manufacturing, chamber volume decreases which increases pressure which increases velocity.
The issue of people not validating the drop of their loads at extended distances will always be a problem. Even if muzzle velocity is accurately measured, drop at extended range can be off from what is predicted by ballistics programs due to some barrels stabilizing bullets more or less quickly than others, assuming the published b.c. is not inflated for marketing reasons. Differences in ballistics programs and the accuracy of the data input into those programs also has large effect at distances over 500 yards. Add in some wind that can only be accurately measured at the location of the shooter and is estimated farther out, a little loss of velocity due a shorter barrel becomes only a part of the difficulty in long range shooting.
 

T Bone

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Sounds like a fun project that should sell if priced right!

The one suggestion I would add is having multiple LOPs available, via different thickness recoil pads.

A properly fitting rifle is much more accurate.
 

Clam

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Sign me up for a 7-08 if they are made!

I have three varmint rifles With 19-21” barrels and they are great, and my deer rifle (finnlight) does not have a long barrel either. I totally agree with the others on your choice to put a great scope on the rifle, - cheapos will run customers off.

I like and support your selection method for the calibers that will be offered. Although it makes great conversation, and people love to agonize over it, I do feel that the differences in particular cartridges is waaaay over rated when hunting game:
<300yds. Bullet placement, (good bullet) simple. -practice...

I agree with T bone, adjustable LOP!!!!!!!
 

OverlordBear

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Hey Big Fin,

I for one am excited about these packages if they perform out to 400 yards without me doing Kentucky windage 😃👍. They will be amazing and it will probably motivate me to purchase a 300 win mag in this package.

As a newer rifle hunter no one ever showed me the ropes of sighting in the used 7mm rem mag rifle I bought and how to calculate shooting for any distance past one hundred yards. Five years ago I missed a cow elk at 300 yards twice only unknown to me my rifle was sighted 24 clicks out of zero.

There is a huge market for entry level adult onset hunters who don’t know how to build a “proper rifle” like the folks here who have all these strong nuanced opinions. And before people say oh it is not that hard, but gear is a huge barrier to entry especially for someone who has limited money and limited life experience with a certain type of gear. And being nervous about what to buy and how to get it setup is a real issue for people on the newer side. I have learned more about hunting from Randy’s platforms then anyone else at any gun shop, trade show, or archery shop. So thank you for thinking about a quality product lineup for the entry to journeyman level hunter.

Rant with gratitude over......
 

Addicting

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Muzzle velocity varies even with the same model factory rifle shooting the identical ammo. As chamber reamers wear down during manufacturing, chamber volume decreases which increases pressure which increases velocity.
The issue of people not validating the drop of their loads at extended distances will always be a problem. Even if muzzle velocity is accurately measured, drop at extended range can be off from what is predicted by ballistics programs due to some barrels stabilizing bullets more or less quickly than others, assuming the published b.c. is not inflated for marketing reasons. Differences in ballistics programs and the accuracy of the data input into those programs also has large effect at distances over 500 yards. Add in some wind that can only be accurately measured at the location of the shooter and is estimated farther out, a little loss of velocity due a shorter barrel becomes only a part of the difficulty in long range shooting.

I was this packages intended demographic 3 years ago and bought a lot of the Randy approved gear. 90% of which I would buy again, the stuff just works.

I Couldn’t agree more with your statement now that I have a little experience. Unfortunately for me, it took a large mistake, switching to handloading, and a lot of subsequent rounds practicing at the range to learn that. So I am a little skewed against CDS for first timers. It along with media hype sets folks up to think they can operate at step 50 when they are realistically at step 10 in the learning curve.

Give them VX Freedom with a BDC or SABR reticle and caped dials to start. Its still great glass, will make the value point better, and help them learn their rifle at the range in the process. They can always upgrade it later when they start geeking out on all the stuff mentioned above.
 

FLS

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Maybe a video of taking one of these rifles to the range, getting a good zero, using a chrono to confirm muzzle velocity, the validating your data at distance is in order. Explain the steps that lead up to being able to Click, Dial and Shoot accurately.
 

300stw

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I chrono'd a lot of Nosler factory ammo and measured results from the different barrel lengths. Even did that when Howa came out with the Alpine Mountain Rifle. Howa has done a lot of testing on such. I talked to Wayne Van Zwoll of his experiences on such. Those velocity changes bolded above are a lot higher than the changes I noticed when dropping barrel lengths. I talked to engineers about the same and they noted much smaller changes.

If a person thinks they can grab this set up, or any set up, and starts lobbing shots in at the distances you mention without a lot of practice and training, the odds are that nothing I have done here will remedy that bad decision making on their part. I'm not sure what to do if a package is validated out to 300 and someone builds a false sense of ability that gives them the idea to shoot 700-800 yards. Again, nothing here will accommodate those issues of judgement and behavior.

I'm not interested in longer barrel lengths to stem the supposed tide of people shooting beyond their talent level. I'm interested in barrel lengths that will perform very well, provide great balance to the rifle, inherently less accuracy issues, and be a slight bit lighter. If folks are convinced they need 2-4" more barrel length, the odds are they will not be interested in this package. Nothing wrong with their decision to do otherwise.
the. cds system your providing is doing way more for peoples ego to shoot beyond their ability than 26in barrels,,,
after rebarelling over 700 rifles, working in a custom rifle shop, carrying a rifle close to 300 days a year for about 10 years, a 26in barrel never hindered me, 26in or longer. was requested for every magnum caliber i barreled, the 308 clan was always fond of 20in barrels, a longer barrel points better , holds on target better in field situations, ect,
wanna loose 2 ounces your complaining about, have hs trim up the stock so it doesnt resemble a 2x4, provide lop adjustment, and a crisp 3lb trigger.
but, im not a gun writer,,,,,even though more than a few unknowingly. have shot rifles i barreled, bedded, and handloaded the ammo for,
 

clharr

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I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said

"You can please all the HuntTalker's some of the time"
"You can please some of the HuntTalker's all of the time"
"But you just can't please all the HuntTalkers's all of the time"

I for one will be checking out the two magnum caliber rifles when they come out. I have two safes full of rifles but being new to western hunting I don't really have what I consider a "good" rifle set up for hauling around the mountains. Everything I have is either very heavy or a smaller caliber than I would like for elk. A good, mid priced rifle and optic is just what I need for a hunt I'm only going to do every two to three years. Not everyone needs a custom rifle for everything.
 

300stw

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I believe it was Abraham Lincoln who said

"You can please all the HuntTalker's some of the time"
"You can please some of the HuntTalker's all of the time"
"But you just can't please all the HuntTalkers's all of the time"

I for one will be checking out the two magnum caliber rifles when they come out. I have two safes full of rifles but being new to western hunting I don't really have what I consider a "good" rifle set up for hauling around the mountains. Everything I have is either very heavy or a smaller caliber than I would like for elk. A good, mid priced rifle and optic is just what I need for a hunt I'm only going to do every two to three years. Not everyone needs a custom rifle for everything.
 

Addicting

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Maybe a video of taking one of these rifles to the range, getting a good zero, using a chrono to confirm muzzle velocity, the validating your data at distance is in order. Explain the steps that lead up to being able to Click, Dial and Shoot accurately.
Sounds like a great video for your new hire to demo this package out at Leupold’s optics academy facility.
 
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