I was at the local gun shop today just seeing if anything new had wandered in. I noticed a little short barreled Howa sitting in the rack so I picked it up for a look. The owner who is also a very good friend handed me a 3x9 Tasco and a 50 round box of Ultra Max 55 gr 223 ammo and asked me if I would give it a go. He said that some guy traded in the Howa and claimed that it wouldn't group at all.
The trigger was pretty harsh so I pulled the action out of the OD Green Hogue stock and and turned on the trigger adjustment screws a bit. I got it so it breaks clean at just a tad over 3 pounds with just a bit of slack that I couldn't get to go away. A couple passes with a bore snake and we were good to go.
At the range(large pasture) I got it rough tuned by shooting at "the rock". A basketball sized granite boulder that sits on a side hill 200 yrds out. The 5th round hit its mark so it was time to shoot at paper.
The first three rounds on paper although 6 inches high and right of the bull went into one ragged hole (100 yards). I dialed the knobs some and shot another 3 shot ragged hole group about 8 clicks to the left of the bull. In all I shot 5 groups that could be covered by a nickel.
The previous owner was missing the boat somewhere! I took it back to the dealer along with the target and asked him how much he wanted for it. I took it home complete with scope for $325.
What really irks me is that a month ago I spent several days trying to get a certain Remington VTR in 223 to shoot under an inch....VXIII sope and all. Last year I played with a CZ in 223 for the better part of a month and couldn't find a load that shot close to what this little 20" skinnier than heck barreled Howa was giving me.
I'm painting it white and am gonna use it when walking out coyotes next winter!
Who'da thunk it!
My Howa 1500 .338 is the same, shoots far better than I do. I got it with a beat up stock and a fine bore and action with a cheap throw away scope for $350. Probably could have found a better deal if I shopped around, but it was an impulse buy and I don't regret it. It's a fine rifle.