I had a mother call me last friday with the request that I help set her son up with his first rifle. Since the father is out of the picture (making license plates) and the he is a good boy, I obliged. I might add that she is purchasing this gun to reward the lad for getting straight "A's" for his entire freshman (high school) year!
After 10 minutes of questions the criteria was in place. The boys grandfather owns several farms in northwest Mo and the coyotes are in abundance. She also stated that whitetail deer were part of the game plan. The factor that threw me for a loop was that she had $400 to spend and she wanted a "new" gun.
I decided that the cartridge of choice would be a 243. They work magic on coyotes with 70 gr soft points and a hundred grain soft point will make a rib cage exit hole on a whitetail comparable to that of a 7mm mag (bullet structure). I am fully aware that this crosses up Elmer's theory when it comes to reaching the boiler room from any angle. However in 40 years I have never shot a deer anywhere but through the ribs and this boy is going to do it the same way. Beside my shelves are filled with more stuff for loading 243 fodder than I'll ever use up!
I went to gunbroker.com, typed in 243 as the search phrase and went through 21 pages of 243's. Since the lady wants the gun now I was focusing on three things, BUY NOW, brand new and for less than $400. I came across a new in the box Howa 1500 with a od green Hogue overmold stock for $375 + $25 shipping. I will donate a Nikon prostaff 3x9x40 and rings and bases to the cause.
Now that the gun is bought I'm having second thoughts. My knowledge of the Howa 1500 is absolutely nill. Will this Howa be ok for the kid or did I just buy more trading stock? Howa's website says this gun weighs 7.4 lbs however I remember the Weatherby Vanguards being heavier than sin. So are they the same? Fill me in with pro's and con's please!