[5 of 5 Stars!]About a year ago, I was looking for a bolt action rifle to complement my .308 and .223/5.56 guns. I wanted a "value weapon", and after seeing this combination and researching the Howa online, I ordered one. I chose the 30-06 chamber to provide more flexibility if NATO ammo becomes scarce again.
The Howa is a very easy rifle to like. Well balanced weight distribution, comfortable ergonomics. Scope mounting and zeroing were painless, and the rifle and scope are ACCURATE; 1.0 - 1.5 inch groups are normal at 100 yds. The trigger action is remarkably smooth and is easily adjustable by anyone with mechanical skills. Recoil absorption is very good. Overall look and feel 8.0 out of 10
The scope mounting locations are the same as the Remington 700 and Weatherby Vanguard S2, making it easy to find scope rings, rails or adapters.
*Adequate fit and finish, excellent, adjustable trigger action (check YouTube).
*The Hogue stock is very comfortable, and has good recoil absorption
*I load the magazine from the chamber, as the bottom "trap door" and magazine spring are exposed when loading from the bottom, and look like candidates for a Murphy's Law adventure that could damage them.
*Nikko Sterling scope has more features than I expected.
*Good clarity, accurate, easy to zero, repeatable. Was surprised that the scope had AO and illumination
CONS- "You get what you pay for". Not really a negative, but don't expect a $3000 rifle for $500...
*Pillar bedding is appropriate for a rifle in this price range. I applied Loctite blue to both screws after the forward screw loosened.
*Bolt seats solidly but the eject/reload action is a bit sloppy and rough. Surely not a deal breaker, but noticeable
*Capped turrets are not my preferred option.
BOTTOM LINE - an excellent economy rifle/scope combination that provides great bang for a small number of bucks. For the budget market, Howa hit a home run.