I was in the pawn shop the other day, getting a piece of jewelry fixed when the gun counter guy called me over.
We greeted and spoke and I asked him if he had anything interesting behind the counter.
'Yeah," he said, and reached behind the counter to get some kind of Weatherby look-alike rifle. "It's a Howa, made in the same factory that makes Weatherby Vanguard and Browning A-Bolt's."
"Really!" I looked over the rifle. It was a push-feed, bolt action with a floor plate. Two position safety on the left side of the action. It once had sights on the barrel, but those were long gone. The stock had a few little dings, but nothing major and the blueing was intact. The caliber was .270 Winchester. A Tasco scope was mounted in Redfield syle rings on a one-piece base. "I don't even reload for this caliber."
"I don't have much money in the rifle. I can let it go cheap."
"Under $200.00 cheap."
"Dammit. Give me a 4473."
I"m always looking for an inexpensive rifle. Beater stock. Frugal. It's not that I don't like fine firearms. I do. I appreciate good wood, fine checkering, tasteful engraving. But those things cost money and I've yet to see that spending money on aesthetics helps the rifle shoot at all.
When I got home I gave the rifle a quick cleaning to get the pawn shop dust off of it. I noticed that the barrel wasn't floated and thought that maybe I'd do something about that. But I decided to shoot the rifle first. My boys and I had a range session planned for Saturday, so when I was in Wal-Mart I picked up a box of Remington 130 grain PSP ammo in .270 Winchester.
We got to the range Saturday morning, about 10:00. The boys were shooting their rifles and I was running the spotting scope. Matt had brought two rifles, Barrett had brought one and Michael had brought his Ruger 10/22. We started banging away and talking and telling lies. The boys wanted to shoot slowly, to keep the rifles cool. After a couple of hours, everyone was finished shooting, so I brought out the Howa.
"What ya got, Dad?"
"It's a rifle I picked up this week. I don't know anything about it, don't even know if it'll shoot." We posted a target at the 100 yard line, then I took my place behind the bench, shot a three shot group, adjusted the scope and fired two more. Then we let it cool and waited for the line to "go cold" so we could post another target. While we waited I put a new 3" target dot on a clean piece of paper.
After posting the target, I fired two shots and gave my eldest a chance to shoot. He shot two and turned the rifle over to his brother. He shot two. It's not often that three men can hold and fire a rifle and all the shots are fairly close to the point of aim.
At this point, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this rifle. It's a shooter, for sure. It's in a serious caliber, for sure. I don't know if I should take the time to float the barrel, or just leave it alone. I've got some decisions to make abot this rifle, but one thing for sure is that Howa makes a good shooter.