My Two-year HOWA Experiment

ntodwild

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Dec 21, 2018
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223
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Washington
You think you could put in a word for a left-handed-right action stock option or at least stock with a more ambidextrous contour.
😉

I’ve got 3 adult onset hunting buddies, looking for their first rifle, who are all cross eye dominant.
I wish more manufacturers would take this into account. I also seem to find that more and more left eye dominant/right handed shooters exist but have a difficult time using a left handed stock because of right handed dexterity. I personally have this "Amazing Anomaly" myself. Ambidextrous stocks with right hand bolt seem to be far and few between. I have learned to adapt over the years to almost any right handed stock and can shoot just about any rifle brand but it would be nice to see more ambidextrous stocks on the market.

For all the "goofy shooters" like myself I wouldn't hold your breath on the left handed cheek rest/right bolt action rifle to become mainstream but it's nice to dream about it.
 

RobG

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Bozeman, MT
With my belief that value is the intersection of price and performance, here is how I approached both those intersection variables.
You'll never capture the pedantic engineers with a unit mismatch like that. :D

Based on your other comments about not being a long range rifle I wonder if, at $680, that is too much scope to optimize that marginal utility / price stuff.
 

Big Fin

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Wonder if BF expected these type of replies? Probably
Yup. In my opening post, I tried as much as I could to provide some preface as to the goals of the project, as experience on this and other forums tells me that nothing brings out opinions more than discussions of rifle and cartridges. As seen here, many are happy to share opinions, whether they've considered the goals of this project, or not.

Point is, we know what our goals are for this project. We knew that there would be gaps in cartridges where some people would disagree, some vehemently disagree. Just part of the gig.

A few things I do know. Every cartridge we selected is very capable. Some will find their favorite cartridge is missing and they will probably not be the target buyer for this combination. Nothing wrong with that.

I know Howa has been selling rifles for a long time. They have excelled, even in down markets, because they know what people want. They have connections with every ammo manufacturer. They know from their own rifle sales and from the sales of ammo, what cartridge trends are in terms of customer demand. They also know where costs come into play and how to prioritize features that help add value.

I know I have put together a lot of rifles in the last fifteen years. I have loaned rifles to more guest hunters than most and I have watched those guests use those rifles out hunting. I have a ton of experience as to what values are worth having in a hunting rifle that is going to be used at normal hunting distances for the conditions/species/terrain we hunt.

I have been using Leupold CDS dials since they came out. I'm completely confident in my opinion that the CDS is the best and most simple turret option at normal hunting distances, especially for new hunters who might think MOA means Mall of America. I have a lot of Leupold scopes. None have ever failed me. The VX3i is an impressive scope that might push the price of the package to the top end of what some are willing to pay. We have accepted that risk, as the world needs another el cheapo package rifle deal like we need another stock market crash.

I know that Howa and I have a pretty long track record of understanding business, how to meet sales, how to have margins, and how to create value. Part of that requires sticking to your own plan when there exists an endless supply of free advice.

To your point Jabber. Yeah, a lot of people will use the forum to express their opinions, good or bad, agreeing or disagreeing. Many will critique what they would have done or would like to see, though they are not responsible for the project being a success at the gun counters. That is all fine. I'm comfortable with where Howa and I are headed.

Many will say they would/will not buy the rifle package. That is fine. Lots of great options exist and many have the experience to make great choices for their specific needs. Though we have worked on this for two years, we did not approach it to provide the first ever "end all, be all" rifle/scope solution for every hunter. We have done it with a specific goal in mind.

The most common question I get from rifle hunters is from newer hunters, "What rifle, cartridge, scope should I buy?" I can now provide them with solutions that I am 100% confident will work.

With any project, risk exists that maybe it will not go as planned. Given the work and thought put into it, I suspect we will achieve what we set out to do.
 

tzone

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Aug 6, 2018
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MN for now
Apparently you’ve never hunted with one. It’s funny how the creed isn’t thought of as a hunting cartridge and yet the 6.5x55 has been killing moose in Europe for a very long time. Compare the ballistics of the two and you’ll see that they’re very similar.
Well, I have hunted with one and I’ll take it all day long over the creed if I had to choose one. I have em both. So, luckily for me I don’t have to worry about it.
 

brnsvllyjohn

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California (for now)
I will add my vote for a 7-08 as the 5th rifle. Strictly for our family a 7-08 will be the next rifle we buy. It would be nice if this package was an option for us.
Now for those wondering why a 7-08 is the next gun. Living in Ca. where buying ammo is a huge problem and finding non toxic ammo that our guns like is also a problem. We have narrowed our caliber choices to make it easy.
7mm Rem mag for longer ranges and larger animals. All of the adult males have a 7 mag
30-06 because almost all of us started with one and they work great.
7-08 because that is the short action caliber I picked 25 years ago and now the younger hunters and females shoot 7-08 and I hunt with mine some also. I don't want another caliber and I have a grandson who just got his license. His brother has a 7-08 and he will also get a 7-08. Makes life a lot easier when loading or buying ammo if you narrow it down to a couple of choices for every shooter.
Not much we can't hunt with the guns we have.

Also with a scope of that quality on a "package gun" there is nothing the average hunter would ever need to change.
 

tzone

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MN for now
I will say that even though the scope choice will push this to the upper end of some budgets....it’s an excellent choice. A LOT of bang for the buck on that one. If you want more scope than that you’re going to be spending $600+ on it.
 

Dan O

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Oct 28, 2014
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Seeley Lake, Mt
The thing that stands out to me is the quality scope. The 3.5 x 10 is a great all around scope that will handle most all of our needs. Most package deals have junk for glass and it's a waste of money to get them. This case is 100% opposite the cost hopefully will make this a no brainer. Thanks Randy it sounds like a great deal.
 

Jess

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Aug 7, 2014
Messages
107
Hey Randy,

I have a few questions about demographics. Is there information out there that you are aware of that shows things like 1. how many rifles does the average hunter own or will own? 2. Do the bargain guns like the Savage Axis, Ruger's American series, Browning's AB3, etc. sell better than higher priced options in a given year or maybe I should ask at what price point (rifle specifically) gets the most attention? 3. How much does the average hunter spend on a complete set-up (rifle, rings, bases, scope) etc when they do decide to pony up the cash? Maybe this info is like the Coca-cola recipe or the secret 11 herbs and spices KFC uses...need to know basis and we don't need to know. However, if you do have info that could answer these questions, I would love to hear it just for curiosity sake. I'm not a western hunter nor do I hunt public land, but if this is something you are passionate about and you feel there is a niche market for these rifles, then all the best to you and Howa.
 

300stw

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Jul 6, 2008
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381
might as well throw a leupold rangefinder in the package for the projected market, there gonna need one to take advantage of the dial
 

Clam

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May 29, 2019
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W. WA.
I will add my vote for a 7-08 as the 5th rifle. Strictly for our family a 7-08 will be the next rifle we buy. It would be nice if this package was an option for us.
Now for those wondering why a 7-08 is the next gun. Living in Ca. where buying ammo is a huge problem and finding non toxic ammo that our guns like is also a problem. We have narrowed our caliber choices to make it easy.
7mm Rem mag for longer ranges and larger animals. All of the adult males have a 7 mag
30-06 because almost all of us started with one and they work great.
7-08 because that is the short action caliber I picked 25 years ago and now the younger hunters and females shoot 7-08 and I hunt with mine some also. I don't want another caliber and I have a grandson who just got his license. His brother has a 7-08 and he will also get a 7-08. Makes life a lot easier when loading or buying ammo if you narrow it down to a couple of choices for every shooter.
Not much we can't hunt with the guns we have.

Also with a scope of that quality on a "package gun" there is nothing the average hunter would ever need to change.
If we can get enough people wanting the 7-08, maybe they can release a limited edition “Big Fin Special”:) in 7mm08. It is easy enough to manufacture, and they do want to sell rifles..
 

tom338

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May 7, 2015
Messages
237
I for one will not buy a gun/scope package. That is not enough scope for me. Its a nice short range scope but if it was a 4-14 or 3-15 I'd consider it for sure. A 24" barrel on the 7mm is NOT enough barrel length in my opinion. 26" would be a minimum for the 7mm and probably the 300 mag but I'm not as familiar with it yet. FYI the last 7mm barrel I put on is 28" and it really makes the caliber perform. We all have our personal preferences, these are mine for what it's worth
 

ajricketts

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Sep 19, 2016
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South Florida
I for one will not buy a gun/scope package. That is not enough scope for me. Its a nice short range scope but if it was a 4-14 or 3-15 I'd consider it for sure. A 24" barrel on the 7mm is NOT enough barrel length in my opinion. 26" would be a minimum for the 7mm and probably the 300 mag but I'm not as familiar with it yet. FYI the last 7mm barrel I put on is 28" and it really makes the caliber perform. We all have our personal preferences, these are mine for what it's worth
That's why you aren't the targeted buyer, you have too much information and too many in depth opinions already. I'm probably not the target buyer either since I've been hunting since I was a small child and also have my own opinions and built in nostalgia.

Let's be honest, if you already knew that a 308 and 30-06 both shoot a .308 diameter bullet (along with others), or that a magnum benefits from a longer barrel, or that something like the 280 AI even exists, you probably aren't in the target audience 😆
 

tom338

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May 7, 2015
Messages
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Yup you are probably right on the targeted audience, but why wouldn't you give a caliber the best barrel length to help it preform to its potential. Can't cost that much more to add 2" barrel length. But I suppose 2" cost adds up on thousands of rifles. Oh well I wish them well on their builds!!
 

westbranch

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Sep 11, 2017
Messages
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Location
ID Panhandle
I am 30 yrs old and have been shooting/hunting since I was a kid growing up on a dairy farm. I still just like factory rifles and factory ammo. My brother likes to reload and I have been shooting with some of his friends that have just about every caliber out there. But too many other things going on and spending extra $$ on "better" rifles does not interest me in the slightest. My eyes glaze over reading some of the firearms posts here. In theory we have the money to do whatever I want, which right now involves these packages mentioned.

I do have quite a bit of nostalgia for the .270 and 30-06 since that is what everybody had. But currently planning on a .308 for my wife and want a .300 win for myself. So these options look pretty ideal for me.
 
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