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Centerfire Rifles - Manually Operated Lever action, bolt action or other non gas operated centerfire rifles.

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  #1  
Old 05-08-2018, 8:08 PM
JackEllis JackEllis is offline
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Default Howa 1500 vs. Tikka T3 in .223

I recently purchased a Howa 1500 with a varmint barrel to complement a Tikka T3 Lite in .223. Took both to the range this afternoon.

Much to my delight, both rifles shot similarly sized groups using the same hand loads. Not so good that the bullet holes touched because the shooter is just not that good, but good enough to deal with squirrels at 100-150 yards.

With the benefit of hindsight, the Howa is a slightly better value for money because it was a bit less expensive than the Tikka and has a heavy barrel to boot, but I'm gonna keep both of them.
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Old 05-08-2018, 8:34 PM
baih777 baih777 is offline
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Howa, you can easily add a detachable mag.
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Old 05-08-2018, 8:38 PM
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When the performance is similar it comes down to what's more important: value? Or feel?

Tikka's are a fine feeling and comfortable rifle IMO, though that heavier barrel could be nice over prairie dogs.
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Old 05-09-2018, 12:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baih777 View Post
Howa, you can easily add a detachable mag.
Mine came with a 10 round polymer mag.
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Old 05-09-2018, 4:14 AM
JackEllis JackEllis is offline
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I'm aware of the mag kits. Being able to shoot 10 without having to reload would be nice for prairie dogs and squirrels, but I need to get some more time with this rifle before I start making changes other than reducing the trigger pull, which is today's job.

The big surprise was that both rifles shot the same handloads about equally well, with a 1/16" difference in five shot group sizes.
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by JackEllis View Post
The big surprise was that both rifles shot the same handloads about equally well, with a 1/16" difference in five shot group sizes.
While I'm not captain ballistics expert I don't find this all that odd. Everyone that reloads for an AR-15 knows that 24.0-24.5 grains of varget under a 77 or 75 BTHP will shoot well in pretty much every rifle. My guess (and it's really just a guess) is that for light shooting cartridges and any barrel heavier than pencil weight, the barrel harmonics are in such a small window for given barrel lengths that if a load works well in one, it should work reasonably well in another.

E.g. given two 22 inch barreled .223 Remingtons, the difference in harmonics (optimal barrel time) between medium contour and heavy contour is less than the difference in harmonics between super ultra light weight and sporter weight barrels.

Of course, given that it's been a long time since I've taken physics my other non scientific wild *** guess is that once you find the charge weight that produces the appropriate standing wave in the barrel (i.e. on the harmonic), that same charge weight will shoot reasonably well in any barrel of approximately the same contour whose length is a multiple of that harmonic. E.g. if you find a load that shoots well in a light contour 24 inch barrel, I'd bet you a dollar it would shoot well in a light contour 18 inch barrel.

Really this is just a long winded way of saying "I don't know what I'm talking about, but what you've found is interesting, though not all that surprising IMO (even if my idea of why it's not all that surprising is crap)".
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:12 AM
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Nice. What size overall?
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NapalmCheese View Post
While I'm not captain ballistics expert I don't find this all that odd. Everyone that reloads for an AR-15 knows that 24.0-24.5 grains of varget under a 77 or 75 BTHP will shoot well in pretty much every rifle. My guess (and it's really just a guess) is that for light shooting cartridges and any barrel heavier than pencil weight, the barrel harmonics are in such a small window for given barrel lengths that if a load works well in one, it should work reasonably well in another.
Is that a compressed load? I've never used Varget but with the powders I've used, that much barely fits in the case with a 55 gr bullet. I use mostly 5.56 military brass, but even the commercial new .223 stuff I had wasn't much bigger/better.
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Old 05-09-2018, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by sigstroker View Post
Is that a compressed load? I've never used Varget but with the powders I've used, that much barely fits in the case with a 55 gr bullet. I use mostly 5.56 military brass, but even the commercial new .223 stuff I had wasn't much bigger/better.
IIRC 24.0 is maybe just compressed, 24.5 is compressed. For my barrel anything between 24.0 and 24.5 shoots about the same, so I throw 24.2 from my powder measure under a Hornady 75 BTHP.

Also if I recall, 24+ grains of varget is 'officially' 5.56 territory and verboten for .223, YMMV, CYA, IANAL, and other acronyms apply.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:11 AM
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Nice. What size overall?
Right around an inch, which is good enough for varmints.
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Old 05-09-2018, 11:35 AM
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How far away are ypur varmints?
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Old 05-09-2018, 1:04 PM
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How far away are ypur varmints?
For the moment 100-150 yards.
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Old 05-09-2018, 2:11 PM
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Roger. Once you get further out 1 moa will be a limitation. A hunched over squirrel is pretty small at 300+ yards. I use a lighter 223 for walking around and a bug heavy 243AI for the longer range targets.
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Old 05-09-2018, 3:37 PM
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Originally Posted by MongooseV8 View Post
Roger. Once you get further out 1 moa will be a limitation. A hunched over squirrel is pretty small at 300+ yards. I use a lighter 223 for walking around and a bug heavy 243AI for the longer range targets.
I'm aware of the limitations of my hand loads. Right now I shoot squirrels using a tripod while standing or sitting (practice for hunting bigger game) and that's also a limitation if I'm trying to reach out further.

Yesterday's tests were done from a less-than-ideal rest so the loads may actually group better than yesterday's targets claim they do.

I know someone who used to be on the Army rifle team and shoots squirrels at 800 yards with a .22-250. Don't I wish I could do that!
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Old 05-10-2018, 4:42 AM
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Well id say 1 moa off shooting sticks or tripod is pretty darn good. Not sure I can do that lol.
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Old 05-10-2018, 6:53 AM
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Originally Posted by MongooseV8 View Post
Well id say 1 moa off shooting sticks or tripod is pretty darn good. Not sure I can do that lol.
I'm not quite that good. After testing hand loads in the Howa from a small bench on Tuesday (the less-than-ideal rest), I shot at a 3" gong from the tripod, standing and sitting. So right now no more than 3 MOA from a tripod. I'd like to be able to consistently hit a 4" gong at 200 yards.
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Old 05-10-2018, 11:19 PM
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Howa is 1:9 twist. At least mine is with 20 in bull barrel.

I am testing load with varget. Can you guys share your load data?


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Old 05-11-2018, 6:04 AM
JackEllis JackEllis is offline
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Do you want any load data, load data using Varget, or ???

I've shot hand loads made with IMR 4198 and both Hornady 55 grain FMJs with cannelure and Hornady VMAX 50s in mine, which is supposed to be a 1:14 twist. For the FMJs, 19.7 grains of IMR 198 and 2.24 OAL. For the VMAX, 21.5 grains of IMR 4198 and 2.24 OAL. 3/4 to 1" groups at 100 yards. Good enough for me, but you may want smaller groups.
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Old 05-11-2018, 1:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackEllis View Post
Do you want any load data, load data using Varget, or ???

I've shot hand loads made with IMR 4198 and both Hornady 55 grain FMJs with cannelure and Hornady VMAX 50s in mine, which is supposed to be a 1:14 twist. For the FMJs, 19.7 grains of IMR 198 and 2.24 OAL. For the VMAX, 21.5 grains of IMR 4198 and 2.24 OAL. 3/4 to 1" groups at 100 yards. Good enough for me, but you may want smaller groups.


Thanks. My powder is limited to varget at this point. I am using Hornady 55g FMJ as well.

BTW your group size is good enough for me too.


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Old 05-11-2018, 1:39 PM
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FMJ's are going to be their least accurate bullet. You will probably improve considerably just by switching to soft points or varmint bullets. Target bullets, goes w/out saying, but they cost more.
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Old 05-11-2018, 1:53 PM
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Originally Posted by sigstroker View Post
FMJ's are going to be their least accurate bullet. You will probably improve considerably just by switching to soft points or varmint bullets. Target bullets, goes w/out saying, but they cost more.


Yes I am being cheap here. The howa 223 is for short range so I am happy with 1 Moa.

If I need to use more expensive bullet, I will just go with my Tikka 6.5


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