I just got back from the dealer and handled the Savage 12BVSS and Howa 1500, both in .223, for the first time. The trigger on the Savage felt good, so did the Howa's. Both guns feature a lmainated, bench style stock. The Savage had a fluted barrel, the Howa smooth. The Howa was priced $100 below the Savage. With regard tot he stock, the Howa was in a different league that the Savage. While both have a very tightly curved pistol grip, the Savage did not allow enough room for my medium sized hand to fit between the grip and the trigger guard. The Howa was excellent. My guess is that Savage makes their own stock and Howa contracts Boyd's or similar. Anyone know? The finish and appearance of the Howa was equal to the lmainated Sako 75 next to it (+$1000). Now I wonder if buying a Mauser action from Daly/KBI and a Boyd's stock would be the best way to go for a cheap, fun .223?