Review: Howa Targetmaster (20" 308win) Range Outing, Initial Impressions

This is a discussion on Review: Howa Targetmaster (20" 308win) Range Outing, Initial Impressions within the Rifles forums, part of the Sniping Related category; Got my new Howa out yesterday morning for some test an tune. After reading a lot of different loads an such that people were having ...

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  1. #1
    Senior Member sgreen3's Avatar
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    Review: Howa Targetmaster (20" 308win) Range Outing, Initial Impressions

    Got my new Howa out yesterday morning for some test an tune. After reading a lot of different loads an such that people were having very good results with, I loaded up about 8 different loads to work from. After following the manufactures recommended break in, I started testing. It seems that this rifle is going to like the lighter powder loads, Im thinking this might be due to the shorter 20" barrel?.... The best groups of the day were loaded on the lighter side of the load map. Load info an groups below. Going to get back out an keep working an see how much I can get those to shrink. As far as the rifle its self goes I love it, performed very well. I did end up adding some weight to the buttstock of the rifle to add a little balance to the rifle which I think helped out a bit. After break in, the rifle was spot on with just a few adjustments an had it on paper and dialing in. Only problems with the rifle I have are of course the stock itself and the bolt handle. The stock is ok but is flimsy in the fore end and I'm wanting to try an make this a true precision rifle so it will need improved an the new one bedded in. The bolt handle is a bit small trying to manipulate with the scope mounted. works fine just would be easier with a tactical bolt knob installed. All in all if your looking for a different style of heavy barreled 308 rifle for precision shooting and not wanting the standard Savage or Remington offerings, don't be afraid to go with a Howa. I'm very pleased and now can see why they are spoken of so highly.


    All shots taken off bench at 100yrds


    43.1gr Varget, 168gr Sierra HPBT, CCI 200, 2.805 COL, Group dia .980"


    Best group of the day!
    41.8gr IMR 4064, 168gr Sierra HPBT, CCI 200, 2.805 COL, Group dia .715"
    Pic-04282013-001.jpgPic-04272013-001.jpg
    Last edited by sgreen3; 04-28-2013 at 07:39 PM.
    A reporter interviewing a Marine Sniper asked, " What do you feel when you have to shoot a terrorist"? The Marine shrugged his shoulders and replied "Recoil"

  2. #2
    Senior Member cheaptrick's Avatar
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    Thank you for the review. That second pic showed that the 4060 load is nice.

    That Varget charge seems a little on the light side. 43.1gr.
    You just picked up a hitcher...a prisoner of the white lines on the free way.

  3. #3
    Senior Member sgreen3's Avatar
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    Opps ment to put 4064, lol. Well I tried also some more loads with the Varget an they started to open up with powder on the higher side. So still need to do some more development. But the rifle seems to like the lighter loads. Im gonna try a little more with the 4064 an see what I can come up with as well. But I have a full bottle of Varget to platy around with also. Half the fun is in the load development.
    A reporter interviewing a Marine Sniper asked, " What do you feel when you have to shoot a terrorist"? The Marine shrugged his shoulders and replied "Recoil"

  4. #4
    Senior Member Widowmaker0001's Avatar
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    Nice test but the pics aren't showing?? says deleted/removed?? Sounds like a nice rifle you have reviewed. Haven't shot a Howa in a hot minute' Goodshootin'

    ~Reagan
    "There is a very thin line between being Brave and being Stupid.",~R.Reagan

  5. #5
    Senior Member sgreen3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Widowmaker0001 View Post
    Nice test but the pics aren't showing?? says deleted/removed?? Sounds like a nice rifle you have reviewed. Haven't shot a Howa in a hot minute' Goodshootin'

    ~Reagan
    Thanks! Not sure why it says that, I see them fine. I added them as an attachment also so hopefully you can see them now. Yea I'm really liking the Howa very happy with it thus far.
    A reporter interviewing a Marine Sniper asked, " What do you feel when you have to shoot a terrorist"? The Marine shrugged his shoulders and replied "Recoil"

  6. #6
    Senior Member Widowmaker0001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgreen3 View Post
    Thanks! Not sure why it says that, I see them fine. I added them as an attachment also so hopefully you can see them now. Yea I'm really liking the Howa very happy with it thus far.
    Yes sir I can see them now' nice groups you got there I must say. Goodshootin'

    ~Reagan
    "There is a very thin line between being Brave and being Stupid.",~R.Reagan

  7. #7
    Senior Member sgreen3's Avatar
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    Thanks! Cant wait to get it back out an try some other stuff. Really wanting a better stock for it. Cant save the $ fast enough, lol
    A reporter interviewing a Marine Sniper asked, " What do you feel when you have to shoot a terrorist"? The Marine shrugged his shoulders and replied "Recoil"

  8. #8
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    I have the exact rifle, but switched the pillar bedded houge for the full aluminum bedding block model I found online for $130 before the buying craze hit, I was originally going to build the rifle from the barreled action until I found the full combo in the store. Urethan foam filled the butt of the stock and added a home-made Kydex cheek riser. I have been averaging 0.45" groups at 100 yds (bench and bi-pod) with Hornady SST 168 gn, and 0.5" groups with the cheep Herters 150 gn steel case ammo. This is my first non-lever rifle so I am no pro-shooter. After break in and sight in my first 3 sets of groups were all under 1". The only ammunition I found it did not like was Winchester Super X 150 gn. Not sure if it correct but I measure center to center on shot holes...feel free to correct me if I should be measuring edge to edge.

    worst of the day.jpg
    Image showing Herters 150gn. 3 shot groups because it was at a class ant that was the shooting procedure. Pulled shot was the result of the shooter behind me switching to a Beowulf and the "explosion" made me flinch as I pulled the trigger.
    Last edited by FenixFire; 05-22-2013 at 04:26 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member sgreen3's Avatar
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    That's good shooting! I love this rifle Im so glad I got it now. An yes as soon as funds permit I will getting a B&C stock and Tactical bolt handle for mine. HPic-05112013-002.jpg I shot this one two weekends ago, this was shot at 150yrds off bench .571" with my handloads. The rifle is a solid performer for sure.
    A reporter interviewing a Marine Sniper asked, " What do you feel when you have to shoot a terrorist"? The Marine shrugged his shoulders and replied "Recoil"

  10. #10
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    By the way thanks for the load data. I am looking to get reloading soon. Mainly because it is getting harder to find traditional .444 ammo for my Marlin. It is an original production run with the 1:20 micro groove rifling so I can't use the new Hornady ballistic soft points.

    I will track down an image from the scope calibration portion of the scope sight in class. We had to move the scope elevation up and the shoot adjust down 1inch, shoot and repeat until re zeroed. The clicks are dead on. Each shot is touching the corresponding grid line. It even impressed the retired scout sniper assisting with the class. He has since bought one as well.
    Last edited by FenixFire; 05-22-2013 at 08:06 PM.

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