I'm not familiar with the Howa. If I were starting from scratch, I'd get a Remington Model 7(Stainless, Laminated) in either 7-08 or 308. I don't hunt at ranges over 300 and prefer to get closer. Nor do I hunt bear. For a shotgun, I'd get a Beretta 686 Black Onyx with a 3 1/2 chamber.