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known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles #14820163 04/25/20
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ponderosa11 Offline OP
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I have a Howa Mini Action in .223 that I am really happy with, and I have been thinking about picking up one in a larger caliber. Downsides I am aware of with Howas and Weatherby Vanguards are the weight of their normal short and long action rifles, as well as a lack of accessories compared to some other rifles. Also seems like they don't have quite the reputation for accuracy that rifles like Tikkas have, although people seem to think they're accurate.

Are there other issues with Howas that I should be aware of?


Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14820181 04/25/20
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The bolt stops are pretty weak on them aren’t they?

Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14820269 04/25/20
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bmoney Offline
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I have a Vanguard S2 in 25-06. I think it is one of the highest values on the market. You get a nice trigger, very nice action, plenty accurate and a nice synthetic stock instead of something that feels like a Crosman (all for 490 dollars). Mine shot plenty of loads right into an inch. 85grn NBT, 115grn NBT, 100grn hotcor, 100grn gameking......with all the normal 1/4 bore powders, H4831, RL22, RL17, Varget, H4350. The rifle really came alive with Barnes TTSX. It shoots under 1/2 inch with with 100grn and 80grn TTSX. The 80 grains love RL17 and the 100 grainers love RL22. The rifle was very particular about cartridge OAL. I am very happy with my S2. I think a Vanguard S2 with a Leupold VX-Freedom on it is a hell of a solid rifle for the money.

Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14820521 04/25/20
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hotsoup Offline
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ive owned 2 weatherby vanguard s2 rifles, one in 30-06 and another in 6.5 cm. they were both very accurate and never gave me a reason to not like them. i wouldn't hesitate to get another. if you want a "light" rifle, go with another brand. i agree that a vanguard s2 is a great value. to me, it feels like a quality rifle in the hand. ymmv.

Last edited by hotsoup; 04/25/20.
Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14820533 04/25/20
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bmoney Offline
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Hotsoup hit what I missed. When you pick them up they feel well made.

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Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14820795 04/25/20
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colorado87 Offline
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I've asked this question before and there's not much negative that's ever said about Howas except for the weight. Formidilosus hates the Remington 700 trigger - I wonder if the same issues would apply to Howa triggers?

Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14820883 04/25/20
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I had a VG S2 3-4 years ago. The trigger on mine was primo, really liked it. Didn't really care for the rifle's weight, but then again it wasn't much of a kicker in that respect either. It loved hornady factory ammunition and disagreed with every reloading attempt except for the one it did like. Hurtle I couldn't get passed was the front action screw going up into the recoil lug.

Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14820962 04/25/20
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Pappy348 Offline
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I've heard the bit about the bolt-stop screw shearing off, but just on the www. Brian Pearce has written some pieces about reliable guns and Howas are on his good list.

I get around the heavy business by having a couple of Minis and an Alpine. One mini has the hinged floorplate by Oregunsmithing LLC, a major upgrade in look and feel and handling. Alpines can still be found here and there, but usually at a pretty hefty price for new ones. I'd rather pony up a few hundred more for a Fieldcraft or just buy a Montana. Mine was only $600 on sale from Grice.


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Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14821074 04/25/20
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I’ve been shooting Howa 1500s for several decades without an issue. Mine are all older Interarms imports in 338 Win Mag, 7mm Rem Mag and 308 Win. The last two were retriggered. Back then there were no HACT triggers. They all shoot exceptionally well, the trick is all actions are Acraglas bedded and barrels floated. For what it’s worth I bought the 308 Win barreled action for $200 and bedded it in an old B&C Carbelite. Id put its accuracy up against field guns that cost a couple of thousand more. I am a fan of the front recoil lug, in my view it is the reason you can get extremely good accuracy out of the weapon. The action/recoil lug is a one piece steel forging with a large flat bedding area.

Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14821109 04/25/20
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I've never owned a Howa or Vanguard.

That said, the bolt stop doesn't give me the warm fuzzy. Replacement screws are available, and inexpensive, but I'd rather have a more robust design.

And there was a recent thread about the front action screw that is located in the lug. Not an "issue" per se, but something to understand.

Jason

Last edited by 4th_point; 04/25/20.
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Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14821345 04/25/20
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I have a SA in .308 Winchester.

I had pulled the pencil barrel (it was a LW version) and replaced it with an aftermarket barrel with a Remington Sporter contour and also pillar bedded the stock, so I figured I'd go ahead and replace the stop.

I'd heard of them being weak, but I've not seen or personally heard of one failing, but I've not practiced rapid bolt cycling with it, either.

Shipping was more than the parts were.

Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14821667 04/25/20
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I have owned 2 dozen of them Howa 1500 and Weatherby Vanguard. The bolt stop "issue" is a WWW thing. I have never had an issue with either coming from the factory, I cannot say that for other guns I have owned. I replace every trigger with a Timney although plenty of people like the new 2 stage trigger which works well.



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Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14821714 04/25/20
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Blackheart Offline
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I've had four of them. Currently have two. Never an issue with any of them and they were all good shooters.

Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: 4th_point] #14821871 04/26/20
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Pappy348 Offline
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Originally Posted by 4th_point
I've never owned a Howa or Vanguard.

That said, the bolt stop doesn't give me the warm fuzzy. Replacement screws are available, and inexpensive, but I'd rather have a more robust design.

And there was a recent thread about the front action screw that is located in the lug. Not an "issue" per se, but something to understand.

Jason


If the bolt-stop screw was an issue, it'd be an easy fix for Howa or users to correct. Since the factory apparently hasn't addressed it, I figure it's nothing much to worry about. Actually, I've never looked at it on mine. Have to give it a look next time I have one apart.

The recoil lug is like a Mauser's. I'd prefer the hole where a M70's is, but prefer either to some of the other designs being used these days, which often work well, but look cheesy, and all came about to save money AFIK, not because they're a better idea.

On the plus side of the ledger, Howas have actions machined from forgings, including a one-piece bolt that will never have the handle pop off or come loose, and the easiest bolt takedown imaginable. I'd like to see the Mini, all of them really, offered in SS by Legacy, but such is life. My little Grendel cost me $359 with two stocks, and another $165 for the nifty bottom metal, and is a pretty nice rig for a $500+ dollar rifle. When Oregunsmithing LLC gets their new stock ready to sell, I might have to pop for one of those too. About $450, I was told.


IT’S A GREAT DAY NOT TO BE JEFFREY TOOBIN!

Erections have consequences.

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Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14822122 04/26/20
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rj308 Offline
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I don't own a Howa rifle. Screw in lug or bottom of the receiver works well but I would prefer the front action screw threading into the recoil lug for 2 reasons, 1) do not use tape on the bottom of the recoil lug when you bed it and the rifle will not be sensitive to action screw torque, like many bolt actions are, and 2) you have more threaded area in the recoil lug for less wear on the screw and receiver threads. RJ

Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14822240 04/26/20
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splattermatic Offline
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I have an old Vanguard in 257 Wm. It doesn't feel that heavy to me, and shoots well under an inch.
I did put a Timney trigger on it, and a Butler Creek stock.
Recently had it Ceracoated.
I'm keeping it.

Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14822278 04/26/20
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I currently have 2 Howa's and 1 Vangard and have had others in the past. Have always found them to be reliable and accurate.


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Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14822349 04/26/20
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I don't own one, but have heard good things about them. Probably the only negative is - the barrels are put on gorilla tight and they have metric threads. If you never plan on re-barrelling neither are an issue, but IMO it would hurt resale value.


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Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14822467 04/26/20
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ingwe Offline
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Ive had a couple of HOWAs and nary an issue with either one..

Yeah, they are a tad heavy, but accurate and functioning is flawless.


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Re: known issues with Howa/Vanguard rifles [Re: ponderosa11] #14823471 04/26/20
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mudhen Offline
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I have had three. I basically moved them on because they are heavier than I like for the kind of deer and elk hunting that I do. I gave my last one, chambered in .300 Win Mag, to my older stepson who has hunted it hard. He is a beast and is hard on his equipment. It has held up better than most of the stuff that he uses, and it is still very accurate with my 165-grain hand loads.


Ben

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