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No, I wasn’t being alarmist – rather, I wasn’t alarmist enough from The Bayou Renaissance Man

I’m baffled to have received a few messages from readers, suggesting that my article yesterday titled “Self-defense under a justice system that’s no longer on your side” went too far in suggesting that, in certain jurisdictions, we might need to be very careful to leave no evidence behind if we’re forced to defend ourselves, because the law enforcement and justice system authorities there are biased towards the lawless and against the law-abiding.

I don’t think it went too far at all.  In fact, I think I pulled my punches too much, if people are still laboring under the misapprehension that the rule of law is still intact throughout these United States.  I have news for them.  It isn’t.

Please consider the impact of far-left-wing, progressive District Attorneys (DA’s) that have been elected to office in various urban centers (usually with the assistance of massive funding from George Soros and organizations that distribute his support).  Consider Seattle, WA;  Portland, OR;  Philadelphia, PA;  Baltimore, MD;  Chicago, IL;  New York, NY;  St. Louis, MO . . . it’s a long list.  In those jurisdictions, how many rioters and violent demonstrators have been arrested by police, only to be released without charge by local DA’s?  You can research the news reports and other sources for yourselves.  I’m sure that by now, the total must run well into four figures across the country.  They’re sending a very public message.  If you do something illegal, but politically correct, you’ll get off scot-free.

Police forces across the country, particularly those in riot-plagued areas, are losing officers hand over fist as they hand in their retirement papers, or resign and seek employment in areas that appreciate law and order.  However, the left-wing authorities in such areas are making it as difficult as possible for them to do so.  In some cases, they’re trying to assert their authority over neighboring law enforcement agencies as well, to ensure that they control all police activity affecting their residents.

The latest example comes from Seattle, which is a city so large that it effectively controls King County in Washington state through its voters.  Many Seattle PD police officers have resigned, and some have joined the King County Sheriff’s Office, where they continue to serve the people of their communities – but out from under the control of SPD and those in authority over it.  Now comes news that the left-leaning King County Council is to ask voters in a referendum to give it greater authority over the Sheriff’s Office, including making the incumbent an appointed rather than an elected leader, abolishing checks and balances that prevent the Sheriff’s Office being politicized, and ignoring the role of the sheriff as defined in state law.  It’s very clear why they’re doing this.  The thought of a law enforcement agency that’s outside their control is anathema to them.  They want to make sure that the KCSO becomes as politicized as the SPD is already.  Would you feel “protected and served” in King County if they get their way?  I know for sure I wouldn’t.

I agree that many of our police forces have overstepped the mark, and need to be reined in.  I’ve said as much in these pages often enough.  However, the “bad cops” who do that are, I think, outnumbered by the “good cops” who want to maintain law and order, and in doing so serve the communities where they live.  How are those cops being treated by the authorities?  In most cases, they’re being described publicly as part of the problem.  Talk of “defunding the police” is a slap in the face to their law enforcement authority, and emboldens those who hate them.  No, hate is not too strong a word.  When BLM activists chant, on camera, “Pigs in a blanket!  Fry ’em like bacon!”, I submit there’s only one way to understand those words – and it’s not as an invitation to a peaceful neighborhood game of tiddlywinks.

Progressive, far-left-wing DA’s are openly siding with anti-police activists these days.  Just look at Philadelphia, where the Soros-supported and -supporting DA has threatened criminal charges against federal law enforcement officers that the President is sending to his city.  He’s trying to intimidate them before they even arrive.  Look at the reaction of various progressive, far-left-wing mayors who’ve protested the (entirely lawful) actions of Federal officers in defending Federal property against rioters in their cities.

In many ways, such “in-justice system” officials are fouling their own nests, and the jurisdictions where they operate.  Consider St. Louis, where it’s emerged that a senior prosecutor in the DA’s office actually instructed a police crime lab to tamper with evidence.  He then allegedly used the altered evidence to bring charges.  That’s a felony under color of law – but did he care?  Like hell he did!  If I were a defense attorney, I’d be rubbing my hands in glee at the thought of calling for the dismissal of all charges against my client(s) on the grounds of egregious prosecutorial misconduct.  Whether or not that’ll happen is up to local courts, of course.  One wonders how objective and non-partisan they are.  I suspect we’ll soon see.  Meanwhile, I can only refer readers to my article yesterday.  Do these events in St. Louis help to illustrate why I wrote it?  They should.

Consider a pro-police rally in Denver, CO last weekend that was attacked by anti-police activists.  It’s now emerged that the police commander on scene gave a “stand down” order and allowed the attack to continue, rather than protect the peaceful demonstrators against the thugs.  Impartial policing?  Protecting and serving?  Law and order?  Well, so much for that . . .

Michelle Malkin was one of the speakers at that rally.  She comments:

The America you grew up in is not the America we live in now.

One nation under God? Ha.

Land of the free? Ha.

Domestic tranquility? Ha.

Equal protection under the law? Ha.

The right to bear arms? Ha.

Freedom of speech? Association? Peaceable assembly? Ha. Ha. Ha.

It’s not “socialism” or “communism” under which we suffer. Our dangerously chaotic, selectively oppressive predicament is more accurately described as “anarcho-tyranny.”

. . .

The toxic combination of “pandemic panic” and “George Floyd derangement syndrome” has thoroughly destroyed the home of the brave. It is a paradise for the depraved and dictatorial.

Anarcho-tyranny is how hoodlums can toss statues into rivers with impunity, while citizens disgusted by Black Lives Matter street graffiti are charged with “hate crimes”—as David Nelson and Nicole Anderson in Martinez, California, were by a George Soros-funded district attorney two weeks ago.

Anarcho-tyranny is how rioters can shut down highways and byways on a whim without fear of arrest, while commuters trying to escape the window-smashing barbarians obstructing traffic are charged with “assault”—as poor Jennifer Watson of Denver, Colorado, was this week.

. . .

Anarcho-tyranny is how 1,000 black militia members can take over the streets in Georgia and point their guns at motorists as they demand reparations, while white citizen militia members in Idaho, Utah and New Mexico have been smeared publicly as racists and face injunctions for peacefully defending their neighborhoods.

Where do the police stand in this regime? It pains me to say it, but those of us who have backed the blue so loyally and vocally can no longer do so under the assumption that the blue will back us.

. . .

It was rank-and-file cops in Denver who watched as my patriotic friends and I tried to hold a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day this past Sunday and were besieged by Black Lives Matter and antifa thugs who had declared that their sole intent in invading our permitted celebration was to “shut us down.” I livestreamed the chaos as pro-police attendees were beaten, including the organizer Ron MacLachlan, who was bloodied in the face and head just a few feet from me by black-masked animals. One antifa actor wielded her collapsible baton just inches from me.

. . .

If we had brandished or used our weapons in self-defense, we’d be facing felony assault charges—as armed citizen Steven Baca is in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the hands of another Soros-subsidized district attorney.

If any of our men had tried to peel the female antifa thugs off of MAGA ladies who were assaulted, they’d be charged with battery, too—just like Baca.

. . .

So the message is loud and clear. When push comes to bloody shove in end-stage America, under the rule of the anarcho-tyrants, we, the law-abiding, are the enemy. Those in uniform sworn to protect and serve will turn their backs on us because their bosses don’t answer to the public. They protect and serve the mob.

There’s more at the link.

Our justice system has, in far too many jurisdictions, become an Augean stable of corruption, disrespect for the law and partisan political prosecutions.  In some cases, District Attorney’s offices may be so far gone that they can’t be cleaned up at all.  The only solution may be to fire the entire staff en masse, and start from the beginning with new, non-partisan appointees.

Meanwhile, those of us who are law-abiding citizens and refuse to be intimidated by thugs, rioters and criminals, find ourselves between a rock and a hard place.  The letter of the law, and its spirit as traditionally understood, give us the right to defend ourselves, our loved ones and our property (subject to greater or lesser restrictions, depending on where we live).  The new, far-left-wing, progressive administrators of our justice system don’t give a damn about that.  They want to intimidate us into abandoning our legal rights and allowing the mob to ride rough-shod over us.

If we refuse to permit or tolerate that, we will be targeted by such officials.  They’ll try to make examples of us to intimidate others.  Witness what’s happening to the McCloskeys in St. Louis.  Their actions were entirely justifiable under law – so much so that the State’s Attorney-General has filed suit to quash the charges brought against them by the local DA.  However, the DA didn’t care about the law, only about radicalizing the system of justice she administers and making the McCloskeys into an example to all those who object.

I repeat what I said in conclusion yesterday, and urge you to read that article in full if you haven’t already done so.

By observing [the] precautions [that I recommended], law-abiding citizens fearing persecution from a law enforcement system that’s become biased and one-sided can help to make unjust, partisan charges against them much harder to bring, and even more difficult to prove.  Sadly, in this day and age, in some jurisdictions, that’s no longer a far-fetched, remote possibility.

If you live in a jurisdiction dominated by such left-wing parasites, you need to very seriously consider leaving before it’s too late.  Some of them are, I think, already too far gone to save.  Among them I’d include all the cities I cited in the third paragraph of this article, plus a large number of others.  Is your life worth the risk that remaining there poses?  Only you can answer that question.  In my case and my wife’s, we voted with our feet, as have many others of our acquaintance.  If you think you can’t afford to leave, due to lower salaries and other inconveniences, I can only ask . . . what makes you think you can afford to stay?


Born again Cynic! Cops Darwin would of approved of this!

Self-defense under a justice system that’s no longer on your side from Bayou Renaissance Man

For anyone who believes in the rule of law, events over the past few months have been a horrifying eye-opener.  It’s now very clear that in parts of our country, the rule of law no longer applies – or does so selectively, depending on your political views and/or the color of your skin.  A few recent examples:

  • Seattle police reportedly failed to respond to many calls for law enforcement support from in and around the so-called “CHOP” protest zone.  When asked about this, the chief of police denied it, saying that if a call was an “important emergency 911 call” they would respond – but, in the absence of a responding officer, who’s to say what’s important or an emergency?  It certainly appears that, if you were a law-abiding citizen in or near CHOP, you were on your own.  However, if you used legitimate, legal force to defend yourself in the absence of law enforcement, would you care to guess who politically-correct local prosecutors would go after?  Would it be the “protester” attacking you, or you for defending yourself?  I think we all know the answer.
  • A woman caught in a demonstration in Fredericksburg, VA called 911 for help after rioters jumped on her car.  The 911 operator refused to send assistance, telling her the demonstration was a “sanctioned event” and advising her to call City Hall to complain.
  • A couple in St. Louis, MO held firearms as they ordered protestors off their private property – fully in accordance with Missouri law.  The local DA, a far-left-wing sympathizer elected with the massive financial assistance of George Soros, has now brought charges against the couple rather than those illegally on their property.  The state’s Attorney-General immediately filed suit to dismiss the charges, acknowledging that they were politically motivated on the part of the local DA.

I could cite many more examples, but those will suffice to make the point.  There are now parts of the USA where the rule of law is no longer in effect, or at best is selectively enforced.  They tend to be (but are not always) areas dominated by left-wing, progressive politics.  Sadly, that includes most of America’s larger cities.

In some such areas, if you legally and legitimately defend yourself against unjustified, illegal attack (particularly from “protesters” or “demonstrators”, no matter how criminal their conduct), you are at least as likely as your attacker to face charges.  This is usually a politically motivated decision, aimed at discouraging others from defending themselves – or, as the progressive left views it, “taking the law into your own hands”.  In many jurisdictions, the law explicitly recognizes our right to self-defense – but the left is determined to obscure that, and if possible nullify it through politically motivated lawsuits and criminal charges.  (Hello, St. Louis.)  If they can bankrupt enough honest citizens through court costs and lawyers’ fees, and whip up emotions against them through biased, one-sided press releases, they think they’ll intimidate others into shutting up and obeying them.

This is very bad news for all those of us who are determined not to be a victim;  who are adamant that we will not be intimidated by the mob, and are prepared to defend ourselves against it if necessary.  If “demonstrators” walk down our street, see our car parked in front of our home or a business, and trash it or set it on fire to “send a message”, in many areas we will be expected to let them get away with it, and leave any response to the authorities – even if the latter can’t be trusted to respond at all.  (Hello, Seattle.  Hello, Portland.)  If something like this happens to you, and you defend yourself against your attackers, it’s likely you’ll be charged – not them.

Therefore, allow me to explain a few points about self-defense, and defense of your property, in areas where doing so might get you into trouble.  I learned these lessons the hard way in areas of unrest, rioting and violence on another continent, as regular readers will understand.  They kept many honest people alive and out of jail, and they may help you to do likewise.

In general, one can only be convicted of a crime on the basis of evidence.  That may be eyewitness testimony, or surveillance video, or tests of bullets and cartridge cases found at the scene of a crime, or DNA evidence extracted from one’s clothing, or anything like that.  In the absence of evidence, it’s very hard for the authorities to convict a suspect of anything.  Therefore, if you suspect that efforts may be made to convict you of a crime even if you haven’t committed one, it’s a case of “the less evidence, the better”.

You can’t do much about eyewitnesses, particularly if they can’t be trusted to tell the truth.  I won’t even try to address that problem here, except to note that false testimony is a very real risk, particularly in politicized, riotous areas.  You should stay as far away from them as possible!  Also, note that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable.  Witnesses can be “coached” by law enforcement or prosecutors to say whatever they want them to say.  We won’t be able to counter that in the absence of countervailing witness testimony – something that may not be available.  A lot will also depend on how biased the jury may be.  If they’re all politically correct locals, and we’re portrayed by the prosecution as an “outsider”, or painted as a “racist” or “reactionary” or “conservative” . . . you get the picture.

As far as other evidence is concerned, the first thing is to look for what might provide it in your neighborhood, or areas that you frequent.  Are there security cameras on businesses or buildings overlooking where you might have to act?  (Don’t forget innocuous-looking devices such as smart doorbells in residential areas – video from them has been used to catch criminals.)  What about cameras mounted on light poles or buildings to cover the street?  Many big cities now have thousands of them in law-enforcement-monitored networks, as well as gunfire location systems to detect when and where firearms are used, and send responding officers straight there.  If you use a firearm to defend yourself, you may be recorded on video and audio by such systems, providing evidence that may be used to identify, arrest and convict you.  Therefore, if you might have to take such action, you’ll need to take that into account – particularly by avoiding areas where those are major concerns, or remaining as concealed as possible, or making yourself hard to recognize, while doing what’s necessary and exiting the area.

(Law enforcement is already voicing concerns that face masks, mandatory in many areas thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, will stop facial recognition systems from working correctly.  I imagine large, dark sunglasses in combination with a face mask will render one almost unrecognizable.  See?  Even pandemics have upsides!  However, facial recognition isn’t the only risk.  Gait analysis can also be used to identify you in security camera footage.  There are ways to defeat such analysis, but we don’t have space or time to go into them here.)

Of course, you may be fortunate enough to find yourself in an area where someone has disabled such systems.  A camera with paint sprayed on its lens can’t record anything.  A gunfire location system with non-functional microphones can’t hear anything – particularly after silenced .22 rifles have been used to shoot the microphones.  Gang-bangers in many inner-city areas, both in the USA and abroad, routinely use such measures to protect themselves from surveillance.  Extraneous interference can also temporarily disable such systems.  For example, during the recent July 4th celebrations, there were reports that fireworks going off in close proximity to gunfire location systems, and in large quantities, confused their sensors and operators so much that they could no longer perform their primary function.

If you’re forced to use a firearm to defend yourself, forensics experts can tie bullets at a crime scene to your weapon, and therefore to you.  Bullets will have marks on them from the feed ramps and rifling of your weapon.  However, bullets may not be recovered;  or, even if they are, they may have deformed to such an extent that such marks are no longer clear (e.g. hollow- or soft-point ammo that expands and/or fragments in the body).  Cartridge cases from semi-auto weapons are far more of a forensic threat.  They will show the impact of the firing pin on the primer;  scratches from steel magazine lips during the loading and feeding process;  marks from the chamber walls;  and more scratches and marks from the extractor and ejector after firing.  Both bullets and cartridge cases may bear the fingerprints and/or skin oils and flakes of the person who loaded them into a firearm (although wiping the round carefully before it’s loaded, and using gloves while doing so, will remove most of those traces).

The obvious answer is not to leave cartridge cases behind.  However, you may not have time to look for them before you have to leave.  Revolvers don’t eject them automatically, which may be a useful advantage.  AR-15’s and similar weapons can be fitted with so-called “brass catchers” to collect empty cases as they’re ejected, like this one.


Some models (see, for example, this one) don’t require a rail mount;  they use a strap with a hook-and-loop fastener to secure themselves, allowing them to be used with almost any long gun, even some shotguns or lever-action rifles.  I would regard brass catchers as an absolutely essential precaution in any area of the USA bedeviled by a “politically correct” law enforcement and/or prosecution environment.  (They’re also very useful if you want to stop hot cartridge cases from hitting other people, for example at a shooting range with other shooters next to you, or if you may have to fire your weapon from within a vehicle and don’t want hot brass bouncing around inside.)

By observing such precautions, law-abiding citizens fearing persecution from a law enforcement system that’s become biased and one-sided can help to make unjust, partisan charges against them much harder to bring, and even more difficult to prove.  Sadly, in this day and age, in some jurisdictions, that’s no longer a far-fetched, remote possibility.

(EDITED TO ADD:  I’ve written a follow-up article answering readers’ questions and going into more detail.  Please read it in conjunction with this one.)
All About Guns

Gun Review: Howa HCR Chassis Rifle By L.P. Brezny

When it comes to a precision chassis rifle, the Howa HCR hits the sweet spot on accuracy and affordability.

Does the Howa HCR go the distance?

  • The new Howa HCR is available in .308 Win., .223 Rem., .243 Win., and 6.5 Creedmoor.
  • It boasts a 24-inch barrel with a medium-heavy contour and Howa’s 1500 action.
  • Accurate-Mag builds the chassis, milled from 6061-T6 aluminum.
  • It successfully and consistently engaged targets around 600 and 909 yards downrange.
  • It’s priced reasonably compared to other chassis rifles yet remains highly accurate.

It’s safe to say that I go back a ways with chassis rifles and Howa firearms manufacturing. I’ve hauled around my personal Weatherby Vanguard Back Country in .257 Weatherby Magnum for many years, and because the folks at Howa manufacture the Vanguard action and barrel, I feel pretty safe in saying that the Howa is a top-end barreled action, and well worthy of respect among serious shooters.

Howa HCR -1

I’m also no stranger to chassis-style rifles. I’ve published three books on the subject of long-range high-performance rifles, and am in the process of writing a fourth, and in the course of researching and testing rifles for those projects, I’ve come across many different chassis rifle designs. In the past 7 years or so, the topic of chassis rifles has figured prominently in my written work. There is no doubt in my mind that this design has completely revolutionized the whole quest for rifle accuracy within the past 10 years. In fact, its promise is clearly evident based on the fact that just about every major rifle maker in the industry is now offering a chassis rifle as part of its lineup.

The Howa HCR chassis rifle is a representative example of the all-metal rifle versus the more conventionally stocked products available to shooters. Long-range, target and military shooters learned long ago that when a barreled action is married to a rifle stock system with a solid bolt-to-frame link up, the end result is no variation of drift or accuracy. The bottom line here is that the total system won’t change the impact point of bullets, as will some of the more standard wood- and plastic-stocked designs.

A Rifle of Many Faces

Howa builds a vast number of different models of the HCR rifle, so I can only state that due to space and time constraints here, the buyer needs to check out a complete catalogue to see all the available offerings. I quit counting the number of different models, which vary in terms of chambering, furniture additions, colors, as well as a multitude of add-on features, at number 110. Yes, there were more. The Howa HCR is offered in a total of 19 base combinations, and each of those retains from six to eight variants as well. While some companies offer a chassis rifle (one or two), Howa pulled the plug out of the bathtub on this deal. Just think about it, they build it as an over the counter box rifle.

Howa HCR - 2

The rifle sent to me by Legacy Sports International/Howa was quite representative of this chassis rifle line. My rifle retained a medium-heavy barrel (.880 inch) that also had the threaded muzzle with steel cap installed as a suppressor-ready system. The HCR, being chambered in .308 Winchester, is also available in .223 Rem, .243 Win. and 6.5 Creedmoor. The .308 Winchester model utilized a 24-inch barrel with a 1:10 twist (right hand). When the rifle is ordered in the 6.5 Creedmoor or .308 Winchester, a longer 26-inch barrel can also be obtained as another option.

The receiver of the chassis rifle is the basic Howa Model 1500, which is CNC machined from a single steel block. As a “short action” throw, this push-feed twin-lug bolt travels 4.540 inches. Howa changes the bolt travel length based on cartridge length. Receiver controls consisted of a left-side bolt release that is simple to use and a sliding thumb safety on the right side of the receiver’s rear. The 10-round AI-style Accurate-Mag box is coated so as to aid in smooth magazine well function.

The forend and receiver base housing is built using 6061-T6 aluminum. This is not grandma’s pots and pans aluminum but rather a special blend to aid in strength retention, and it offers some ability to fight off field wear as well. This complete chassis is built by Accurate-Mag with a free-floating M-LOK mounting system.

Again, one of the outstanding qualities of a chassis rifle is that they all make use of a barrel that stands alone down the forend tube, being attached only to the receiver ring itself. The butt stock as a system is AR styled with full length of pull and comb adjustments on board. This system is the LUTH-AR MBA-3, and it provides six-position adjustment for length by way of the AR-style primary tube. The chassis stock is also adaptable in terms of add-on AR-type accessories. Whereas the rifle could be used for competitive shooting, varmint applications or informal long-range steel shooting, it has been built with the ability to become exactly what the shooter desires.

The trigger on this Howa HCR is a two-stage system with a measured break of 2 pounds, 9 ounces, based on my Timney trigger scale. The trigger is very smooth, with a clean, sharp let off. I’ll talk more on this later when I cover accuracy testing.

Howa HCR - 3

As a package rifle — and all of these systems are just that, with many options available to the shooter — my test rifle retained a set of high rings and bases that locked onto a 20 MOA angled, Weaver-style rail. The scope used on this rifle was a Nikko Stirling Diamond Long Range. This glass features a 4-16×50 optic with MOA graduations on a large volume turret setup. With 4 MOA available off the reticle directly, the second focal plane system was without question set up for direct turret elevation applications.

When under live fire testing at extended ranges, it becomes evident that this rifle was set up for long-range applications. And at its fair price of less than $1,600, it’s an affordable option to budget-conscious shooters looking to make the jump into long range. Included in this package system is a complete bottom metal system in the event the owner wants to set a standard plastic or wood stock system against the barreled action for lighter carry weight for use in hunting applications, etc. The short form here is that Howa has thought of just about everything in terms of marketing this rifle to serious long-range shooters.


With bad weather closing fast within the week on the great western Dakota prairie country, getting out to the range and performing an accuracy test before the weather worsened was vital. I needed to establish a zero with the scope and then shoot and measure some representative groups at 100 yards. Once I established a zero at 100 yards and shot several groups, my next step would be to stretch the Howa’s legs and see how it performed at long range.

When shooting for groups at 100 yards, I found that the new Sierra (Tipped MatchKing) TMK 168-grain bullet handloads I had loaded off my old RCBS C frame at home using military match cases and Varget powder had taken top marks. The best three-shot group with this Sierra handload measured .770 inch. Later on in testing, I would use this same load for the lion’s share of the work on the long-range targets.

I continued to use the Sierra TMK projectile, but this time a 155-grain offering from Black Hills Ammunition, and it produced a best group of .862 inch at 100 yards. The final entry selected as a test round would be Winchester’s 168-grain HPBT Match load. This round again produced solid groups of .972 inch during the zero process and did well in green-bore shooting prior to going long with the now prepped and seasoned rifling.

I mounted a 12-inch Mack Brothers “Varmint” series suppressor from Dakota Silencer, Inc., to the Howa’s 24-inch barrel, ending up with a combined length of 36 inches. This would do two things for my long-range shooting. First, it would increase velocity at the muzzle regardless of the bullet or load, and secondly, it made for an almost recoil-free environment when I tried to follow my bullet impacts (splash) for target correction at long range.

In general, and this is mostly just a WAG (wild ass guess), the .308 168-grain bullet, by my estimations, would now carry as much velocity at 3,400 feet above sea level as would the .30-06 Springfield round at sea level. I do know that going from shooting at sea level to shooting at 13,000 feet in the mountains changes everything about a bullet’s performance downrange. Based on this element of performance enhancement, the Howa HCR in .308 Winchester had a good chance of showing some good stuff against targets even a half-mile or more away.

Open Range
With zeroing, bore prep and a general shakedown of the rifle completed on day one, I then turned to a second morning out on the vast South Dakota prairie. This time my focus would be on engaging selected targets at long range. I set up my portable bench rest and ranged a target out at just under 600 yards, based on readings from my Leica 2000 rangefinder.

Howa HCR - 4

Clicking 12.6 MOA up on the scope’s turret, based on my pre-configured DOPE, I then pushed a full MOA into a 35-percent value cross wind of 8 mph and gusting. I sent the first round, one of my 168-grain Sierra TMK handloads, downrange at a basketball-sized round boulder. At the shot, the earth erupted just over the top of my target, sending a cloud of dust into the air. With a single click correction, the next round returned a solid slap and rock chips went everywhere.

With two more confirming shots on the small boulder, and then two additional solid hits, I turned my attention toward a small dark rock against a high butte that the Leica measured at 909 yards downrange. The target measured about 25 inches in size, and the range required a 26.3 MOA click adjustment from zero. I had a wind advantage now, as my shot would carry in an almost following airflow. It took two rounds to get zeroed on the target (visual splash), but round three slapped dead on, and that shot was followed by a series of eight timed shots that produced three solid hits and two skimmers against my almost 1,000-yard small boulder target.

Shooting on the third day afield produced some very interesting target events. I wanted to test the Howa HCR on a warm target, and with that in mind, I searched out a 100 or so acre prairie dog town that stood above a large stock tank.

From a static position, I let loose some of the Black Hills 155-grain Sierra TMKs at dogs ranging from 174 to 300 yards. Dialing up or down, and taking my time by keeping my suppressor and barrel cool, the rifle flat out performed like a well-oiled machine. Over the course of an hour’s time, I had 27 kills and four missed dogs stacked up to the rifle’s credit.

Additional fun, however, came when I cranked up on the turret adjustments and then sent some Winchester 168-grain Match rounds out to 799 yards, and straight through the passenger window of an old junk Desoto. Many readers here might not even know what a Desoto is, a dead giveaway as to the car’s age, and mine as well for that matter.

Howa HCR - 5

I spent the next hour shooting parts off junk pile vehicles at one half-mile away. I quickly came to the realization that the Howa HCR in any of its massive number of variants will shoot right along with any of the high-grade long-range systems on the market today. The only thing holding this rifle back from the super one-mile-plus rifles is cartridge size, bullet weight and muzzle velocity. Until the .308 cartridges used in this test went transonic, the Howa HCR did everything required of it and more.


Howa HCR
Type: Bolt-Action, Chassis
Caliber: .308 Win., .243 Win., .223 Rem., 6.5 Creedmoor
Action: Howa 1500
Barrel: 20 to 24 in.
Overall Length: 39 to 47.25 in.
Weight: 9 to 10.5 lbs.
Finish: Black, Multicam/FDE, many options
MSRP: $1,239 to $1,725

Editor’s Note: This article is from the August 2017 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.

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