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Old July 2, 2008, 08:37 PM   #1
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.308 Rifle - Savage or Howa?

I am thinking very seriously about filling a void in my firearm collection with a .308 rifle. I am thinking a bolt rifle makes the most sense for me, I'm more likely to use the rifle for targets and long range varmints or hunting than SHTF. I am leaning towards a Savage rifle either a 10FP with 20" bbl, a Savage 110 or 116, or a one of the Howa/Hogue/Nikkon package rifles. I have handled the Howas before and they seem very nice for the money, and I really like the Hogue stocks more so than the ones on the Savage.

I presently have a Savage 10FP in .223 that I really like, I have a 6-18x50 scope and a b-square bipod on it, and it shoots extremely accurately. However, it weighs a freaking ton, and as a result I'm not so hot with it off-hand, so I don't want to get a similar weighted down .308.

What are everyone's opinions of these rifles? Who has a Howa they can tell me about? My only gripe with the Howa is they are RH only, and I shoot left handed. I am proficient with operating the bolt on a RH gun by now (My Savage is RH), but a LH rifle would be nice. Of course I could get a semi-auto and then who cares - like a DPMS LR-308, which I'd love, but it weighs over 11 lbs without a scope, so I'm not sure that's what I'm after, plus I don't want to drop that much coin.

So ... give me some advice, help me make up my mind!
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Old July 2, 2008, 08:42 PM   #2
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As a left handed shooter, I too mastered the right handed bolt action. Once I bought my left handed Savage 110 in 7mm Rem Mag, I refuse to hunt with any right handed bolts again. I don't get too worked over right handed gun set ups except a bolt action. Until you shoot a left handed bolt, you have no idea the difference it makes. I suggest going with the left handed .308 Savage. You will not regret it and you will certainly notice a much quicker cycle time between shots with the left handed set up.
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Old July 2, 2008, 08:47 PM   #3
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weatherby/howa is the way to go. they are superbly accurate and if the trigger sucks you can easily adjust it.

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Old July 2, 2008, 09:27 PM   #4
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I am fond of savage. I am also fond of american made so if howa is not american I would buy a savage...
Most of the savages are available with the accutrigger from the factory.
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Old July 2, 2008, 09:46 PM   #5
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I have no experience with Howa's but I hear great things about them... On the other hand, I have plenty of experience with Savage's and I would give Savage my utmost recommendation. They are not perfect by any means (their synthetic stocks could be better) but they work better than anything else I've ever tried (which includes Remington). As far the weight concern goes, that is a price you pay if you want a heavy barrel gun... I saw that you mentioned the Savage 116, those that I have seen appeared to have a larger/ heavier contour than a 'sporter' but lighter than a Tactical/ Varmint contour. (maybe that is true, maybe it was an optical illusion between blues and stainless) Anyway, I say Savage!
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Old July 2, 2008, 09:56 PM   #6
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I would go with the savage model 12 personally you can switch to many different calibers with a barrel wrench and go/no-go gauges. The .473" bolt face is common to many a different cartridges from 22-250 on up to some monster stompers.
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Old July 2, 2008, 10:04 PM   #7
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If the big selling point of the Howa is the Hogue stock, rest assured that you CAN go out and buy a replacement stock for your savage from any of a number of different vendors, including Hogue.

What you CAN'T do is go out and buy a left handed bolt for that Howa and just slap it in to match the layout of the Savage.

Says the southpaw whose only bolt action is a Mosin milsurp and shoots autos almost exclusively, saving money for a Browning A-bolt.
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Old July 2, 2008, 11:31 PM   #8
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I've only played with a 10FP and it's on my short list for the same purposes you list. I'll either get the Savage or the much more expansive but more refined Tikka T3 Super Varmint for my purposes. Both are (I'm told) equally accurate. I know my 223 Super Varmint is easily sub MOA. If the If the Savage is as accurate as I expect it would be a good choice after a stock upgrade.

What I do have is a Howa/Hogue/Nikko in 30-06. BTW, it's a Nikko-Stirling scope not a Nikon. Mine is the basic hunting style rifle and not the heavy barrel varmint version. Where the Howa shines is the comfort of the Hogue stock, the light weight, the smooth action, and the price. Mine has proven to be a MOA shooter. But it's a hunting rifle and not a target rifle. That light weight barrel heats up pretty fast. As far as the scope goes I think the Nikko Platinum is in about the same league as the Bushnell Banner that Weatherby bundles with the similar Vanguard. It's a $130 scope and not in the same league as a Nikon Buckmaster.

I've heard rumors that Howa now includes an adjustable trigger but I have yet to confirm that. Mine did not come with one so I dropped in a Timney. Not that the stock trigger was bad. At a crisp and creep free 4lbs it was fine I just like to tinker.
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Old July 3, 2008, 06:22 AM   #9
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I have a Savage 10FP HS Precision in .308Win. I love it. I only have about 100 rounds through it right now (awaiting reloading press kit). With Lithuanian 7.62NATO surplus (147gr FMJ 2800fps approx) I can shoot 1.5-2" at 100yd. With anything in the 168gr weight class I can get sub MOA or close (I'm a decent shot, but have my bad days too). My accutrigger came out of the box adjusted to 2lb, no creep, no overtravel.

Never shot a HOWA, so I can't comment on them. I wholeheartedly suggest Savage. Good luck!
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Old July 3, 2008, 04:46 PM   #10
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I can tell you that my .223 Savage 12VLP is an excellent factory gun, extremely accurate, well made and (even) good looking. It comes in .308, and if I were in the market for that caliber, I'd buy this model again without hesitation. My only reservation is its weight (10 lbs). Since mine is a range gun, this is not a factor for me, but if I had to carry it all day in the field, I'd probably look for a lighter rifle. Unlike some folks, I like the Accutrigger and have never found it to be an impediment of any kind. Have never shot a Howa either, but a buddy I used to shoot with had one and once he got the Hogue stock on it, loved it.
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Old July 3, 2008, 10:01 PM   #11
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Old July 4, 2008, 12:20 PM   #12
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I saw a Howa the other day in .308 that was gorgeous. I thin either would be a good bet.
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Old July 4, 2008, 04:49 PM   #13
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Howa. Hands down. Best kept secret in firearms.

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Old July 4, 2008, 09:52 PM   #14
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Ditto for Savage

I have two Savage rifles. I deer hunt with my Model 11 .308 and love to shoot my Mark II .22 rimfire. Both have accutrigger and are good, solid work horses.
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Old July 5, 2008, 12:31 PM   #15
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HOWA over a savage anyday...
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Old July 5, 2008, 04:38 PM   #16
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Thanks for all the replies.. today I was at the gun shop, just to compare. They had a Howa in .308 with the black Hogue stock, and stainless, for $449, and a Savage 10FP (RH) w/20" bbl for $609, and 10FLP (LH) w/24" bbl for $609. The Howa felt really nice, and the action was just as slick and smooth as could be... the Savage on the other hand was more tight and tough to work - but the same as my 10FP in .223. I'm not going to buy the LH rifle because of the 24" heavy bbl, it's too heavy of a rifle for what I'm looking for. The 20" felt really good with a good balance, so I guess it's between that and the Howa. I love everything about the Howa, but I have this preconceived notion that heavy barrel rifles are going to be more accurate for long shots, and that's what's holding the Savage in the hunt right now - am I brainwashed by the internet, is this BS? I am leaning very heavy towards buying the Howa, but ask once again for your opinions!
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Old July 5, 2008, 06:47 PM   #17
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If it were me I would go with the Savage for the versatility. With minimal tooling and a headspace gage you can install a custom barrel yourself. Can't do that with the Howa.

But again, that's just me..............
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Old July 5, 2008, 08:14 PM   #18
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I have one of te early versions of the ranchland same as what you were probably looking at in 308. I haven't found any accuracy issues with mine. It will shoot 1" groups all day long with handloads. It is my high country go to gun. HOWA actions are always silky smooth and lock up tight. they are the same action that is in the Weatherby Vangaurd. Infact I had a 7mm Mag built on a HOWA action and it is also a tackdrvier.
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Old July 5, 2008, 10:57 PM   #19
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One word..

..Accutrigger. Get the Savage.
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Old July 5, 2008, 11:58 PM   #20
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"...weighs a freaking ton..." With a 6X-18X 50 scope on a medium heavy barreled 8.5 lb rifle, that's not surprising. Lose the monster scope and put something lighter on. 6X is too much magnification for closer shots anyway. Mind you, that rifle isn't made for off hand shooting.
"...the Weatherby Vanguard..." It's made by Howa. Same as the Howa 1500, I think it is.
The Savage Model 10GLXP3(package with a low end scope) has the bolt on the proper side. So does the Model 11FL. Barrel's kind of light though. The Model 10GLXP3 and putting on a better scope would likely be your best bet.
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Old July 6, 2008, 03:21 AM   #21
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If you can get what you want....

In an American made gun, buy it.

I don't have anything specific against foreign made guns (I own quite a few), I just feel that if you can get what you want from a US maker, they they deserve your dollars. After all, US makers are part of our economy, and nowdays, we all need all the help we can get.

I will admit to a slight distaste for guns made in countries where the citizens are not allowed to own them. Nothing against the quality or workmanship (which are generally excellent) just the whole idea that even the people who buuild the guns are not allowed to own them, just kind of irritates me.

I'll give them my money, but only as a last resort.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old July 6, 2008, 02:40 PM   #22
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While I think that you would be quite satisfied with either rifle, I chose the Weatherby, because I thought the wood was better and the
Weatherby/Howa is manufactured with a solid bolt, as opposed to the multipart bolt on the Savage. Savage went this route to cut manufacturing costs and to reduce the price to the consumer. The Accutrigger is a nice feature, but the Howas now have an improved trigger that is comparable to the Savage. I have only fired one Savage, in Lazzaroni Patriot, I was very impressed, it was very accurate, but the owner refused to sell it to me, despite my pleading and threats. I reload so ammo costs were not a factor, Savage no longer chambers for this catridge, so I don't think there is a Lazzaroni in my future. But there may be a Savage. The removable magazine is a very useful feature in my opinion. I don't think you can go wrong with either one. Enjoy it and learn to shoot it well, practice, practice, practice.
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Old July 6, 2008, 03:12 PM   #23
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I have a Howa 1500 in .308 win. and I like it, I don't have a Savage to compare to. If it matters, I think all Howa .308 barrels are a 1:12 twist and Savage are 1:10, the heaviest bullet I shoot is 165gr, I would think the Savage would do better with 175-190gr bullets.
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Old July 7, 2008, 12:00 AM   #24
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I have a Howa in 7mm-08, and one in 25-06, and while that bolt feels smooth (but no more smooth than a Savage, if I'm recalling correctly), neither of my Howa's are anywhere near as accurate as any of my Savages (223, 223AI, 25-06, 270, 6.5x55, 6.5x47 Lapua, or 338-06). Well, the 338-06 shoots about the same. The Howa 25-06 is my favorite rifle in the world, because of how it fits, and the luck I've had with it. I've made peace with the fact that it's only going to shoot minute of deer. So do you want small groups on a target, or a bolt you can sit home with on a lonely night?
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Old July 7, 2008, 01:02 PM   #25
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I am pretty sure that Howa makes a .308 with a heavy barrel, so if that is all that is holding you up from buying the Howa, it shouldn't be.

Anyway, I have had good luck with Howa. I have 22-250 heavy barrelled Howa that shoots 1/2 MOA and a Weatherby Vangaurd in .257 weatherby Mag that shoots just over 1 MOA. I don't have a Savage to compare them too though, but have heard mostly good things about them.

Both have pretty good aftermarket support as far as available stocks go, so I wouldn't let the stock that comes on it influence you too much. Just buy the gun you want with a cheapo stock and put the one you want on it. The Howa's are actaully available as a barreled action only, then you can buy whatever stock you want.
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