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Owner input:Savage 111/Ruger American/Howa 1500

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by jimbombo, Feb 27, 2013.

  1. jimbombo

    jimbombo Well-Known Member

    Hello all. Looking for my first bolt action rifle.
    Have about $350 to spend on the rifle, and have narrowed it down to the Savage 111 or the Ruger American or the HOWA 1500.

    Input from any of you guys if you own or have fired any of these rifles would be appreciated. Any other rifles you guys like will also be considered.

    Some concerns... I love Ruger, however i have seen some sloppy quality control with my GP100(sharp edges, casting flaws, and timing issues) and same problems with my SP101. Any quality issues that you guys have seen with the Ruger American? Also does the Ruger take a plastic Magazine?

    But i Do like the fact that the American has a hammer forged barrel!! Do the
    HOWA or the Savage have a hammer forged barrel?

    Any input or recommendations will be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Jim
  2. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    I have owned the Savage 10 (short action, otherwise same) and Howa 1500. Both are good values.

    Howa 1500: very well made, hammer forged barrel, decent factory trigger, OK stocks (at best), somewhat limited aftermarket but you can get the basics - scope bases, a few stocks, one or two replacement trigger options.

    Savage: well made and US-made, barrel is button-rifled (bores have looked mirror shiny on the ones I've seen), huge aftermarket parts options second only to a Remington 700. However, the factory stocks range from OK at best (accustock, great concept but poor execution) to terrible (non-accustock plastic stocks), and the more I use the accutrigger the less I like it.

    Both are pretty good options for the price.
  3. pseudonymity

    pseudonymity Well-Known Member

    Howa 1500 has decent aftermarket support for stocks, triggers, etc. Most shoot quite accurately, some people complain about barrels copper fouling more often (my .308 Howa seems to do this a bit).

    Savage 10/11/12 series actions are very popular as well, and probably have more aftermarket support than Howa, but less than Remington 700s. Most are very accurate, some people love the accutrigger, some despise it.

    One significant difference - if you want to rebarrel or change calibers, the Savage is going to be much less expensive to do that. Savages use a replaceable bolt face and a barrel nut. The Howa has a machined boltface and the barrel is replacable, but you will probably need to scrap the barrel to remove it or you risk mangling the receiver.
  4. kerreckt

    kerreckt Well-Known Member

    I own a Savage model 11 .308 and it is a tack driver. It has the accutrigger option and I love it. Best gun of its type for the money....IMHO
  5. slowr1der

    slowr1der Well-Known Member

    Another Savage vote here. I'm personally a big accu trigger fan, but I do know some guys don't like them. IMO if you can get used to the trigger safety blade it is one of the best factory triggers out there.

    I've also yet to see one that wouldn't shoot under 1" groups with factory cheapo ammo, and even better hand loads. They are incredibly accurate, reliable, and Savage has great customer service if you ever need it. What more could you ask for?

    If you ever wear out the barrel or have any desire to change the caliber, you can do this easily and cheaply by yourself as well.

    The only downside I see to them is the stocks, but lets be honest, they are better than the majority of other budget hunting rifles, and plenty fine for most any hunting situation. They often are flimsy feeling at the fore end tip, but they are decent stocks. You won't get anything better for anywhere near the price. If you wanted something better, you could also upgrade the stock very easily as there are a ton of aftermarket choices out there.

    That said, while I don't have experience with the Ruger, everyone I know that has one likes it for the price, and I've shot a Howa 1500 some and it's a nice rifle as well. So I don't think you can really go wrong with any of them, I just think the Savage is the best out of the 3. The Ruger is more comparable to the Savage Axis, although I'd tend to choose it over the Axis.
  6. jimbombo

    jimbombo Well-Known Member

    Savage 11 Hog Hunter

    Just was checking out gunbroker and saw the 11 Hog Hunter! Boy what a cool looking rifle! And with iron sights to boot, I may have to check that one out.. only concern for me is that threaded barrel! Any chance that could be a concern with the AWB??? Wonder if they are working threaded barrels into the ban?
  7. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    Savage is tough to beat for the money, I have owned six of them, the cheap flexy stock is nothing great but ergonomic and it does not appear to hurt accuracy, all of mine are real shooters, the accutrigger is great and the best in your price range, second only to my Tikka. The Ruger is very much a Savage knockoff, they stole 90% of the design, but I don't hold that against them it is a very good design to steal. Mixed feelings on the Howa, they seem to be very caliber specific, most guys who own them in 308 love them but in some other calibers they are problematic such as the 6.5x55 I have run into several people who one them and cannot get them to shoot right, and even my pet loads won't help. I vote Savage, Ruger then Howa in that order.
  8. firesky101

    firesky101 Well-Known Member

    The savage is a fine choice, and you will get a lot of votes for it. I went Ruger when I had this itch to scratch, so I could have something different from my friends. If you are going to want to modify then go savage, Ruger may get more aftermarket down the road but I will be leaving this rifle stock so it was not a concern for me. I cannot speak for the howa.
  9. fdashes

    fdashes Well-Known Member

    Kachok,,,what 90% of the Ruger design was stolen from the Savage? Has Savage filed a lawsuit against them for the infringments?
  10. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    Extractor and pretty much the whole bolt assembly, trigger, bedding and lets not forget the barrel nut action, looks a little different but function is the same.
    Here is a quote from American Hunter
    "Actually, this rifle borrows several proven features from the Savage rifles including the barrel nut and extractor design."
    I rest my case.
    In all fairness though they did steal their magazine from Browning which I think is hella cool
  11. Ash

    Ash Well-Known Member

    The 110 action is no longer covered by patents, so it is fair game. Ditto for the CZ-75 by the way (or Browning Hi Power, 1911, etc). I've owned Savages and Howas, but not the Ruger.

    The Howa will be the nicest of the actions as far as finish goes, plus the Howa will be easier to bed if you want because of its flat bottom. Stocks are easy to get, as S&W, Mossberg, and Weatherby all imported the action with their name on it, plus Howa's name. But, you cannot change out the barrel yourself easily.

    The Savage will have the most options, will have a decent finish, and will be the better accuracy as a general rule. It won't bed as easily with the round receiver, but it will have a safer trigger adjustment. It also is the easiest to swap barrels with (though you don't want to do that every day, or even all that often).

    Were I to own but one of the rifles, it would be tough to decide which one. I'd probably go with the Savage since it is a US-made rifle.
  12. David Clark

    David Clark Well-Known Member

    I am an old retired gunsmith and built many coustom rifles and have worked on all of them and I don't think you can beat the new American. Let's look at what you get. full bolt body, 3 locking lugs for a short bolt lift, adj. trigger, and aluminum V blocks in the stock that the action bolts into. Barrel is like a Savage so they will be easy to change.I just picked up a 243 and will set the barrel back and make a 6MM br out of it for my self. All for around $350.00. I don;t know how they can sell it for that.
  13. hornet41

    hornet41 Active Member

    I have a Ruger American in .308 and love it!! It is a 1 MOA rifle shooting German DAG/MEN! Have yet to shoot Federal GMM to see how it does with some quallity ammo!! fit and finish is excellent! I topped it with a Nikon 3x9x40.
  14. David Clark

    David Clark Well-Known Member

    Good man !!!
  15. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    There is no ban. There is only political hot air and speculation. None of that speculation currently involves feature restrictions for bolt-action rifles. Even some of the most oppressive countries for firearms (UK and Australia) allow bolt-action rifles. If you like that gun I would not hesitate to buy it because of the barrel threads.
  16. Z-Michigan

    Z-Michigan Well-Known Member

    I agree that most bolt action rifles under $500 or so come with poor stocks, as do some at higher prices. And the Savage is not the worst. But for me it would be a change-out item, and buyers should know that because of design changes Savage has made in the last 10 years, going from staggered to centerfeed magazines and, on models that come with the "Accustock", changing the bolt release location, you have to look carefully to make sure that the stock you want is available for the Savage you want or have. Some of the lower-priced nicer stock options - I'm thinking Choate and Bell & Carlson - are not available for a lot of current Savage models.
  17. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    Nope, the honor of worst stock in production anywhere belongs to the Rem 770, picked one up once and I felt a little sick I immediately went to wash the 770 off my hands, it was ghastly bad, the cheap Savage feels like a million bucks in comparison.
    The Ruger like the Savage is a rough cut rifle, the one I handled had the stock touching the barrel the whole way down, and yes I paper check, you had to pull the stock down to slide a dollar in between the two, seen a Savage do that before too so not knocking it too hard, all those little nuances don't bother me too much, all I concern myself with on a budget rifle is how well they fit me, how they feel in the hands, and how well they shoot, I could care less about the other stuff, and the Ruger feels great in the hands, fits my small frame just fine, and is developing quite the reputation for accuracy, dare I say it, a worthy rival for the Savage, been thinking about getting one in 243 as a yote blaster and guest gun so I don't have to let recoil sensitive guests borrow my 6.5x55 all the time, 243 should be plenty enough gun for these smallish southeastern whitetail at the ranges we shoot, and if they chamber a 260 and 6.5 Creedmore I might buy two :D
  18. Kachok

    Kachok Well-Known Member

    Oh one more thing I would like to see on the Ruger, a stainless finish, those matte finishes are a pain the in the butt to keep rust free living on the Gulf, and the one on the Ruger seems extra flaky. Normally stainless finishes on budget guns run about an extra $50 and they are a worthwhile investment here in the hot/humid/salty south.
  19. jimbombo

    jimbombo Well-Known Member


    Will update when i make purchase.
  20. jimbombo

    jimbombo Well-Known Member

    Found one

    Found a savage 111 in 30-06 with accu trigger and the nikon scope.
    Looks new, one owner says about 10 rds through it with sling and soft case for $350! Dont think i should pass that one up.. Thoughts?

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