I set out to find a specific kind of rifle. I wanted a short-barreled, bolt action in .308. It had to be comfortable, smooth and accurate. Above all, it had to be accurate. Life is too short for inaccurate rifles, my friends.
I found just such a rifle in the Howa Ranchland Compact. It has a 20″ barrel, a 13.87″ length of pull and an overall length of just over 40 inches. It is set up with Hogue stock, which I happen to love for being a comfortable stick with a good grip in any weather condition. It has Howa’s famous 1500 action and it was smooth as any I’ve found under $1,000, and smoother than many I’ve found for more.
They call it a “truck gun,” due to the short length. I lived in Western Nebraska and was around many truck guns. Yep, it fits the bill nicely. It is a smooth handling gun that doesn’t weigh much at just over 7 pounds unloaded, and can easy slide into whatever position you need. It is great for having to take a quick shot at a whitetail, or a coyote.
I currently have it topped with a Cabela’s Alaska Guide Premium scope. My plan is to swap that out for a Vortex soon. It is also available with a Nikko Sterling scope right from Howa/Legacy Sports.
There are several color combos available. You can score the rifle in either black, sand or OD Green stocks, or go for the whole thing wrapped in King’s Desert camo. Very cool. I opted for OD Green. I’m thinking I might go sand for the next one. Yeah, I said next one. I’ll get to that.
How does it shoot?
Once I got it dialed in, we were smoking. I mean this gun is ACCURATE. How accurate?
The trigger was firm, but not grabby and not overly heavy. It broke clean at just over 5 pounds. Howa just came out with a new trigger system. This new 2-stage system is called the Howa Actuator. It comes set at 3 pounds pull and should be the ticket.
The Outwrite Truth
Truth is, this is a great rifle. It has an MSRP of under $650 and for that, you get a short, sweet handling, accurate rifle. It is available in 223, 22-250, 243, 308, 204 Ruger and 7mm-08. I think my next one might be the 7mm. Yeah, next one. Like I said earlier. I like this rifle and think I need another one. That’s how good it is. Check the Howa website for more info.