This last fall I purchased 2 Howa 1500 Varmit (heavy barrel rifles) in .223R and .243W. I had already owned 2 Weatherby Vanguards in 30-06 and .270W (aka: Howa 1500) hunting rifles and I was satisfied by their accuracy so I bought the 2 Howa Varmits. The .243 Howa is a tack driver at 110 meters with 5 round groupings at 1" or less. The .223 Howa, however, is disapointing. It has a 1-12" twist on the barrel and will only shoot consistant 4" groups with 40-45 grain bullets. It won't stabilize bullets over 50 grains. When I tried my handload 73 grain Hornadys, the bullets didn't hit my 2'x4' target. When I tried the same loads at 30m, I found that the bullet was impacting the target sideways.
Does anyone have one of these? I know that 500m target shooters use rifle barrels with twist rates between 1-7" to 1-10" to stabilize bullets greater than 65 grains. I have a cheap little Savage/Stevens .223 with a 1-9" twist that will shoot less than 1.25" groups @ 110m with every bullet from 50-73 grains. It cost less than half the price of the Howa.
Any input? Thanks