I’m in the market for my first rifle. My budget will be around $3000. I’m allowing $900 for the Howa Barrelled action and have found them for this price Online. I’m allowing $500-$800 for a stock/chassis, $1100 for a Scope and Bipod and $400 for a Safe.
I’m most likely going to go with a 26" Howa Barrelled Short Action in a 6.5 Creedmoor with the aim to be getting into target shooting at all ranges. I like the ballistics, effective range and lower recoil of the 6.5 Creedmoor.
After a few weeks of research I like the MDT XRS, MDT LSS, KRG Bravo (in which case I’ll just get a Howa Bravo) and the Howa TSP-X. On an aesthetic level, the MDT XRS is my favourite as I like the stock/chassis Crossover Hybrid look, so I’m leaning towards that.
Anyway my questions are:
On the MDT Website, it says the MDT XRS fits .223 and .308 magazines, does this mean it cannot be used or made to fit a 6.5 CM mag? I’m not entirely opposed to a .308 but I feel the 6.5 CM will suit my desires better as it outperforms the .308 at longer ranges.
Among the stocks/chassis that I listed, would it be a mistake to go with the XRS over the other 3? Am I missing out on anything major by not using a full chassis system in terms of accuracy and function?
And as I’m still discovering new chassis/stocks every day, are there any other Crossover systems in the a similar price range as the XRS that I may not have come across yet that people would recommend?
Here in Victoria, the longest ranges I’m aware of are 500m in Little River and 2000m in Mildura, if there’s any other’s I’m unaware of I’d like to know about them.
If I can find a Tikka T3 rifle around the same price range as a Howa Barrelled action in the same specs (I haven’t looked very hard yet), remove the action and then drop it into one of the Chassis mentioned above (as far as I know, they’re all also available for Tikka Short Actions) - is it worth doing this over the Howa 1500? I’ve never actually had the chance to fire a Howa 1500 but have only heard good things and that they’re accurate and smooth. However I have fired a Tikka T3 in a 22-250 and loved the super smooth bolt. Is there any major advantage in going with a Tikka T3 over a Howa 1500?
Questions to throw at you, is this target or hunting rifle?
Re: magazine, chassis will generally list what magazines they accept, most likely after market mags, around $100 - $150 per magazine, you won’t be able to use the magazine that came with the rifle. They are tuned for the stock, not the gun. So new chassis = new magazine.
Not sure with the magazine question but you can’t go wrong with a MDT chassis they are very well made.
I would have a look at the LSS - XL Gen 2 chassis with the skeletal butstock, it has plenty of adjustment and well suited to long range shooting. It is also well suited to add extras to it.
With long range shooting as your goal I would try and increase your budget (if you can) on your scope. This will allow you to buy better quality glass suited for the distances that you want to shoot. The rule of thumb is to spend as much if not more on your scope as you do on your whole rifle.
Really good scopes will set you back around $3k to $4k but are worth every cent.
We have a few members who spend a lot of time competing who can give you some great advice so I will leave it to them.
My factory Tikkas have a better trigger out of the box than my Howas. The boltface material on the Tikkas appear to be a lot hardier. The tumbling and finish machining are better on the Tikka. The bluing on the Tikka is superior. I wish I could say how they shoot out past 500m, but below that I can make them shoot the same consistently good hand loads in little groups.
(For future reference if you can find a Long Action Tikka action for sale, and put a 6.5cm barrel on it, then you can use the longer AICS mags in your choice of chassis and be able to pump out really good long distance rounds that far exceed the .308 sized magazine.)
The Bushnell Forge, Athlon Ares BTR , Zero Tech Trace range of scopes would be a minimum starting point for optics. They are Chinese built but offer suitable features to get into LR shooting on a budget.
Don’t take money away from a scope for a bipod if you cannot afford both, a back pack full of jumpers will give you the same support if not more until you can get some more cash.
And just remember, shooting fundamentals are free and where most your time should be spent.
Not sure on the polymer MDT mags but if you get the metal AI ones without the binder plate you will get some extra length. I have some AI mags with binders I use for the 243 and my CM rounds @ 2.910" COAL don’t fit but in my AW mags there is still room.
308 AI mag with binder 2.900"
308 AI AW mag 2.990"
Another random fact, the 6.5 howa only holds 4 rounds but 5 in 308 with the factory hinged floor plate because of the cartridge wall taper difference between the two cartridges.
The MDT chassis for a howa 1500 take a Pmag be very careful when ordering mags as I got it wrong on the first order getting a Magpul mag. You also have to modify the bolt stop on the action not very hard to do.
The Chassis are quite heavy I got a MDT LSS and then you have to add all the butt stock and grip parts it adds up $$$ wise. I dont think that a chassis adds any accuracy there are other that would argue differently on that but there are very few chassis type stocks used in long range comps. If they were better they would be used more extensively.
Also dont get caught up in the 6.5 is more accurate or outperforms a 308 at any range that all comes down to the particular rifle system and shooter.
The KRG is the only one that takes AI mags for the howa then. The MDT polymer is an AI pattern but must have a relief in it to fit.
Howa 1500 / Weatherby Vanguard Short Actions This is the only action that we manufacture a chassis for that has a flat bottom action. For this reason, only our Polymer magazines will work. The fitting may need to be modified slightly for proper feeding. For .223 models the bolt stop may be too long. This can easily be modified. This also means that the action does not sit in a V-Block
Unfortunately 3-3.5k will literally be the most I can spend all up and I can only afford that budget as I have a bike I can sell for 3.5k to fund the rifle. It’s been a tough year being a Sole Trader with lockdowns etc.
That being said I will likely upgrade the Scope down the track. For the first good first while I’d say most time will be spent at the Lille River Range shooting Groups at 300-400m and the Gong at 500m and I’ll probably be able to get to the Mildura range 2-3 times per year for a good turn at the long shots. So for the time being, a Scope on the $800-900 range should be more than capable. My mate has a Scope (unsure of brand) on his Ruger Precision .308 and it was a very clear and easy scope to use up to 500m.
@JizzFlinger so in terms of accuracy the Howa 1500 and Tikka T3 are virtually the same but the Tikka has a nicer finish? Thanks
Also, I’m a little unsure how that works. I’m relatively new to all this, I thought 6.5 Creedmoors only worked on a Short Action. I have very little knowledge on Mags and actions and how they all work with the given calibre. Soz for being a total noob about all that.
Only in my short experience developing ammunition. Glenfiddich and Sungazer can tell you more about “accuracy” because an accurate gun is far more than my good groups off a bench at 100m. Consistency is key: I hear this from the long distance competitors.
Sorry everyone it looks like I may have wasted some of your time here,
I literally just came across this place in Qld called the Barn which judging off their website, I gather that they build custom rifles and sell them. They offer the Howa 1500 in all sorts of Chassis including the MDT XRS and it’s available in the 6.5 Creedmoor with the mag fitted and ready to go as far as I can tell. https://www.thebarn.net.au/categories/1500+Chassis-Tactical/17183
I’ve messaged them to find out if they ship interstate as they’re in Qld and how that will all work once I have my license etc. but at a $1349 price tag for the package this leaves me roughly $1300 for a Scope and Bipod. So I might go with one of the 3 that @Gregfiddich mentioned above and then get a Bipod down the track as he recommended. Hopefully sandbags are cheap.
Cheers everyone, I don’t know how I hadn’t seen this website amongst all my research leading up. I guess the mistake was that I was searching for individual Stocks and individual barrelled actions.
Good stuff, just be aware that they don’t come with rail or rings so you will need at least a couple hundred for those but the team at the barn should be able to help with that. I would imagine they could package the whole lot.
Plenty of vids on how to make sandbags and rests for nothing.