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Old February 12, 2008, 05:39 PM   #1
cimarronvalley
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Join Date: October 7, 2007
Location: Shawnee, Ok.
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Howa 1500 Hogue Varmit

Hi all:
Does anyone else own a Howa 1500/Hogue stocked heavy barrel varmit rifle in 223 Rem?
I got a good buy on 2 of them last year, one in 223Rem and the other in 243Win. I've owned 2 Whetherby Vanguards (aka: Howa 1500) in 30-06 and 270Win and they are good accurate hunting rifles. So I figured the two heavey barrel varmits would be good for some back deck target shooting and varmit calling.
The 243 varmit is great. Using various bullet weight factory ammo I get 1/2" 5round groups on my 30m sight-in board and 3/4" groups on my 110m target board. She'll be a joy to work up reloads for.
The 223 varmit, however, is a different story. She has 22" barrel with 1-12" twist. Using factory ammo (various manufacturers) she does semi-good with 40-45 grn bullets. On my 30m target, I get about 3/4" groups with 5 rounds. On the 110m target, this grouping spreads to 1.75". Once you get to 50 grn bullets and up, forget about it! With 50grn @ 110m, 3" 5rnd groups, 55grn @ 110m, 5+" groups, 75grn custom reloads ? @ 100m (they didn't even hit my 2'x4' target board, when I tried them on my 30m target, they key-holed about a foot high-right).
Any suggestions gang? And yes it has good proven optics in Burris Fullfield II 4x14 scope that I use on almost all of my rifles. (Please do not let this degrade to a scope argument since I have tried numerous manufacturers with scopes values ranging from $29 - $1600. Based on this, I have selected 2 scope brands that I don't depart from; Burris/Pentax and Nikon.)
I have a Ruger Mini-14 pre-GB (eat your hearts out) and a little cheap Savage/Stevens Model 200 that are both in 223. They eat any ammo you throw into them with great accuracy.
Thanks gang
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Old February 12, 2008, 06:06 PM   #2
tINY
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Join Date: April 26, 2005
Location: Orygun
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Shoot the lighter bullets.

Make sure the bed is good - and float the barrel.

Recrown if needed.

Cast the chamber and make sure there's nothing funny going on (like excessive leade).



-tINY

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Old February 12, 2008, 07:04 PM   #3
cimarronvalley
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Join Date: October 7, 2007
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Posts: 155
tINY on 1500 Howa

The rifle is one of Howa's supremes and comes with a free floating barrel and aluminum pillars. I've already checked it a couple of times. The leade idea is something I forgot about. It is a new rifle so I can't see any major problems.

I don't want to shoot the smaller bullets. I bought it to shoot my 60grn V-max reloads out to 300m for deer and coyotes. I think I'll just box it up and haul to the gunshow. Thanks
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Old February 12, 2008, 07:13 PM   #4
azredhawk44
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Join Date: September 28, 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
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Quote:
The 223 varmit, however, is a different story. She has 22" barrel with 1-12" twist. Using factory ammo (various manufacturers) she does semi-good with 40-45 grn bullets. On my 30m target, I get about 3/4" groups with 5 rounds. On the 110m target, this grouping spreads to 1.75". Once you get to 50 grn bullets and up, forget about it! With 50grn @ 110m, 3" 5rnd groups, 55grn @ 110m, 5+" groups, 75grn custom reloads ? @ 100m (they didn't even hit my 2'x4' target board, when I tried them on my 30m target, they key-holed about a foot high-right).
Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but a 1/12 twist sounds horrifically slow for a target/varmint rifle. Weren't the original Colt M16's spec'ed to use 1/12 barrels? And they keyhole like nothing else when the bullet weight increases?

Modern AR-platform rifles use 1/7, 1/8 or 1/9 twist rates in the barrel in order to stabilize 55+gr ammunition. You tests with 40-45gr bullets provide reinforced evidence that slow twists stabilize light bullets, and that fast twists stabilize heavier bullets (for a given diameter).

Sounds like you either need to rebarrel, or get a new rifle and pay particular attention to the rate of twist. Or just be happy with the 40gr bullets.
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Old February 12, 2008, 08:33 PM   #5
taylorce1
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Join Date: November 18, 2005
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Quote:
I don't want to shoot the smaller bullets. I bought it to shoot my 60grn V-max reloads out to 300m for deer and coyotes. I think I'll just box it up and haul to the gunshow. Thanks
Probably the best idea is to trade the rifle off as your twist is too slow to stabilize reliably anything over 55 grains. If you want a rifle to shoot heavy bullets buy a Savage. While I know a .223 will kill deer I still don't think it is a 300 yard let alone meter deer rifle.
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