Howa mini 6.5 Grendel (SLBMR)

SLBMR = Super low budget mountain rifle.

After lugging around my awesomely effective but heavy TC Venture 308win around on my aoudad hunt, I started looking for a lightweight rifle. I started looking and discovered that super lightweight rifles are super expensive (just like packs, bags, tents, whatever). I then put the idea away, until I looked at a Howa Alpine rifle in 6.5creedmoor. I really liked it, but not the price tag. Then I remembered Howa came out with a mini action in 6.5 Grendel (with a #1 contour barrel). I’ve been interested in the Grendel ever since Mark Larue reported his experience using the cartridge on a 5×5 bull elk at 405yds (one shot kill, through and through with a 120 barnes tsx..or ttsx I cant remember). It should do what I need at ranges I shoot for the critters I hunt.

I bought a barreled action from brownells for $407. It came in at 3.10lbs. I then figured out that I put the cart before the horse. The only stock options I had for stocks was an MDT LSS chassis (not going to happen) and a Boyds laminate stock (super pig at 3lbs…but cheap). I contacted a few custom stock makers, Pendleton, MPI, Mcmillan, and Manners. I quickly discovered this would be uncharted territory and expensive as no high end company makes a stock for the mini. I would be fine being a guinea pig, but not for 600+ bucks (especially if the weight comes in way over). So I found a take off Hogue knockoff that Howa sells with the mini action on ebay and won it for 28 bucks. I decided to just try and mod it and turn it into what I want.

I planned to rasp and sand (already started rasping before cutting down the forend) the stock to reshape it to my liking. The stock as it comes does the petite mini action a disservice because it feels like a 2×4…or 2×6 even.

I had considered having the barreled action cerakoted, but unfortunately at this point in my life Ive discovered usually if you want something done right you have to do it yourself. I don’t have a paint gun, booth, or oven. So I’m still trying to decide what I want to do for a finish. The stock will be OD green with black webbing. The barreled action might be titanium grey, or I might just say F’ it and use FDE Krylon.

At the start weight was at 4.94lbs. The stock is 29.45oz and I hope to get it to 26oz before paint. The scope mounts will be Talley lightweights and the scope will be a Leupold VX1 2-7×33 (lr duplex).

I got the stock down to 27oz prior to paint. And here is the progression on the stock build..

First pic is the barreled action, then the stock after being shortened. The third picture is the section of forend I cut out of the stock. Then the last few pictures are just some I took throughout the process. I’m kinda bummed that it came out so heavy, but I’ll probably end up buying a lightweight fiberglass stock at some point down the road. I still have to add a flip flop buttpad, and the Leupold scope/Talley mount combo.

howa mini 1howa mini 2howa mini 3howa mini 4howa mini 5howa mini 6howa mini 7

 

2017 Projects

I’ve got a couple of projects I am working on during the off season. I am attempting to cobble together my own custom big game hunting pack, and I’m attemptingto to do a semi custom mountain rifle.

The rifle will hopefully come in at under 6lbs with scope (and hopefully with ammunition). I’ve chosen to start with the Howa mini action rifle in 6.5 grendel.

I’m excited to get these done and for the 2017 hunting season which begins in August….just around the corner.