I built a custom .270 win on a Howa 1500 action a couple years ago for my wife (hunting rifle). This is a Howa barreled action which I put a Timney trigger and custom stock on (I don't get into custom work much more that that). I've been very pleased with the gun. It holds sub MOA groups all day long and hasn't had any abnormal wear or malfunctions yet (500 rounds or so). For the money, the Howa 1500 is about the best action out there righ now, IMHO.
Howa does build some rifles for Weatherby in Japan. I thought it was the Lasermark, but could very well be the Vanguard. Just picture a weatherby with a different stock and finish for several hundred bucks less - sounds like a deal to me.
Your choice for a Howa Lightning Tactical sounds like a good one to me. Unless you have some super talent in ya, the rifle will out shoot you for many years before your skills catch up and you need to upgrade.