How good are the Howa bolt rifles?


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chaim
March 5, 2003, 06:32 PM
I am thinking about buying a few rifles once the weather gets a bit better and I can get to the rifle range more often. I am thinking about a few types (I've been buying handguns mostly over the past year or year and a half and have some rifle catch up to do). Among others I want to finally add a centerfire bolt rifle.

I am thinking about buying from a local dealer that handles Howa 1500s from these guys:www.legacysports.com/ .

They (the local dealer that is) have been at the past few gun shows I've gone to with sample targets. Even the lightest barreled guns have targets showing sub-MOA accuracy (I don't know if they are being honest about which gun the target belongs to or about it being the average group when perhaps it was the best group though). All of them I've handled do seem to look and feel very good. The prices were very good- with the cheaper models being well under $500 (with scopes) and going up to about $800 (no scope) in the more expensive models.

Does anyone know about Legacy Sports? How good are Howa rifles (from what I've heard so far they sound decent)? Is the accuracy in the test targets likely honest (average or best group)? How should these rifles compare to a Remington 700, Winchester 70, Savage 110, or Ruger 77 (the other likely contenders)? Have I found my first commercial bolt rifle (there is a chance I'll buy a mil-surp first)?

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cratz2
March 5, 2003, 07:11 PM
I've handled several Howas, from the standard models, to the JRS, to the Varminters and my Ultralight in 243. In general, they seem very well put together. Things like the barrels being centered in the barrel groove on the stock are usually right on. Triggers are generally excellent. On my Ultralight, the action was lightly grittier than I've come to expect from Howa - nothing extreme, just not as smooth as I like. A little borepaste on the high spots and now it's just fine.

I like Sakos and Weatherbys and Tikkas and CZs. After those, in general, I prefer Rugers, then Winchesters then Remingtons and Savages about last, mostly due to their previously horrid triggers and their still horrid stocks. The Howas I've handled I'd put on par with Rugers and Winchesters, with better stocks than Remingtons or Savages. Triggers are better than any of the big three and better than the old Savage trigger.

Accuracy-wise, well, I'm not the very best shooter in the world but I can hold my own. I have a Burris 3-9 compact on mine and I can hold to nearly MOA, maybe 1.5 MOA but I, or the ammo, am no doubt the limiting factor, not the rifle.

Good luck. I have no doubt you'll enjoy the rifle.

chaim
March 5, 2003, 08:08 PM
Oh, your post reminded me. Another gun I'd like it compared to (another contender) is the CZ line of bolt guns. I love their pistols so I figure I kinda have to consider the bolt guns. Also, the new carbine in 7.62x39 would be interesting for a nice gun that is cheap to shoot.

I guess from your post I shouldn't be suspicious of the test targets. Man that sounds like some pretty good accuracy.

So I guess for about the price of a garden variety Ruger, Remington or Winchester you get something that is much nicer. I wonder why more aren't sold.

wun_8_seven
March 5, 2003, 08:08 PM
i personally watched a 15yo kid shoot a .5" 3 shot group a 300yards with a sporter weight howa 308. (blue synthetic) i'm impressed. 187

BHP9
March 5, 2003, 09:48 PM
About a year ago there was a recall on these rifles. I cannot remember all the details but I believe it had something to do with the safety and firing pins.

Frank de Hass in his book "Bolt Action Rifles" gave the gun high praise. He did state that its lock time is as slow as the M98 Mauser but this is actually an advantage in the ignition reliablity department because it makes the rifle much more reliable than the modern speed lock mechanisms found on other rifles. You must of course have good follow through when shooting a rifle with this slow lock time but experienced shooters find no problem with this whatsoever. If you cannot shoot a Howa well you probably will not shoot even the rifles with speed lock mechanisms very well either.

Despite old wives tales. The Japanese are noted for very high quality workmanship in most of their firearms. Some gunsmiths I know actually prefer some of the Japanese made Brownings over the Belguim made guns. The Belguim made guns are worth more money but this shows you how much collectors really know about quality.

Okie1KnoB
March 5, 2003, 09:54 PM
Chaim, the Howa 1500 is a super rifle, I have one in 270 and it will shoot 1/2 MOA off the bench @ 100yds ... a butter smooth action & great trigger...!! In fact the Howa is right up there with my 243 Tikka... and remember, Howa made the Vanguard for Weatherby...!!!

My next purchase will be either a Tikka in 7mm-08 or a Howa in 6.5x55

Hope the Inof Helps...!!!

BHP9
March 5, 2003, 10:13 PM
HOWA MACHINERY LTD., Added 5/27/02
MODEL 1500, 1550, 1700LS SERIES RIFLES

Distributed by SMITH & WESSON, O.F. MOSSBERG & SONS and INTERARMS

IN SERIAL NUMBER RANGES: PN 00010 – PN87159, LS00001 – LS05150, LS 10001 – LS10309, B000001 – B028450, M000001 – M020422.

ADVANCE \d4ADVANCE \d4Howa Machinery Ltd. of Japan is performing a safety upgrade on all model 1500, 1550, and 1700LS series rifles manufactured between 1970 and 1993. The affected rifles bear serial numbers from one of the following series on the receiver. PN00010 – PN 87159, LS00001 – LS 05150, LS10001 – LS10309, B000001 – B028450, M000001 – M020422. The safety upgrade will replace the bolt sleeve to prevent misassembly of the bolt, which might occur on the affected rifles. Such misassembly might result in a hazardous condition in which the rifle can be accidentally discharged without the bolt being fully engaged, causing severe injury. These rifles were distributed by Smith & Wesson, O.F. Mossberg and Sons and Interarms. These rifles may bear the distributor trademark. Presently Howa firearms are imported by Interarms of Alexandria, Virginia.

If you own a Howa model 1500, 1550 or LS1700 series rifle with the serial number from one of the serial number series referred to above: USE OF YOUR RIFLE MAY RESULT IN AN ACCIDENT AND SEVERE INJURY, STOP USING THE RIFLE IMMEDIATELY and visit our website at www.regcen.com/howa or call Howa at 1 (800) 456-5131 to receive a Bolt Upgrade Kit. Only the bolt sleeve is being upgraded. Your bolt will be returned to you after the upgrade.

NO OTHER HOWA RIFLES ARE AFFECTED. CHECK YOUR SERIAL NUMBER.

Howa Machinery Ltd. Apologizes for any inconvenience to its customers resulting from this safety upgrade program, but it is important that owners of affected rifles take advantage of this free upgrade program and DO NOT USE AN AFFECTED RIFLE before it has been upgraded. All work will be done at no charge. Return the bolt only, not the entire rifle. Please do NOT return your bolt before contacting Howa Machinery Ltd. At either www.regcen.com/howa or 1 (800) 456-5131 for your Bolt Return Kit.

Source:

Guns, June 1991; page 66
American Rifleman, May 1991; page 21

454c
March 5, 2003, 11:09 PM
I have a Weatherby Vanguard 30/06 and a HOWA stainless 22-250 and I like them both.When I bought the Vanguard,it was a couple days before deer season and it was the only one in stock at the store that fit what I wanted.(caliber,bolt action,etc.)The only thing I've done is adjust the travel on the trigger.When I went to get a 22-250 the guy told me about the HOWA guns.I liked what I heard and saw,but I had never heard of them.That worried me a little.Then the guy says they made the Vanguard and that was all I needed to hear.It was like the Vanguard except I didn't have to adjust the trigger on this one.When I sighted it in,the last three shots were touching and it was darn near dark with me shivering from the cold.My next deer rifle will be a 25-06.HOWA of course.
This model gun has been around a long time,but under different names.The Smith&Wesson 1500,Mossberg 1500,Weatherby Vanguard and now as HOWA.The biggest problem with HOWA is lack of advertising by the company.Few people have heard of them and shy away,like I almost did.

Just my .02.

Jagermeister
March 6, 2003, 06:12 AM
The Howa 1500 is made from the Wheatherby Vanguard patent and is a great gun for the money. I own one in 243, mounted on a Fajen T-Hole varmeter stock and from a machine bench, bedded stock, custom married ammo, it has 1/4" MOA. at 100yds. "Cold Shot Group," Good gun for the price.

JM:D

geekay
March 6, 2003, 07:50 AM
Eleven years ago my son bought an " Australian Mountaineer" aka Howa in 308win and it lived up to the hype consistantly. I know several other blokes who have these in different calibres and names, and all are happy with them.

4 eyed six shooter
March 6, 2003, 12:31 PM
For the price, they are a great deal. They are available in barreled action and action only also. I picked up a Howa action and I threaded and chambered a 22-250, 1-9 twist, 26" heavy barrel for it. The bolt was jeweled, action and lugs squared and the whole thing bead blasted and blued. A pillar bedded, glassed fiberglass stock finished off the rifle. I just mounted the scope and am working up loads using a 75 grn BTHP bullet. I can't wait to see how it shoots. The Howa has a nice clean look also. The Howa's will shoot great without all of the machine work that I did to mine, but it cost me nothing but time.

telewinz
March 6, 2003, 09:06 PM
Purchased a HOWA in 30/06 4 years ago. Great Buy

Robby from Long Island
March 6, 2003, 11:04 PM
I remember that several ( maybe 9 or 10) years ago one of the main gun magazines ran an article on comparisons of varmint rifles.

One of those rifles was a heavy barreled varminter bearing the name "Smith and Wesson 1500". I think it was rated second highest next to the first place winner, Remington.

I remember it was rated very high in fit and finish as well as in the accuracy department. I was very impressed with the pictures of the gun as well, it looked almost identical to the Remington Varmint Special but with nicer wood.

Safe shooting.

Watch-Six
March 7, 2003, 11:55 AM
I used to have a .270 that was sold as a Smith & Wesson. It was a good rifle. Watch-Six

Desert Dog
March 7, 2003, 12:37 PM
I have never seen a modern Japanese firearm that was sub-standard in any way. That is why Brownings are made there.

They build their weapons like they build automobiles. Impeccable quality, and a constant refining process.

Howa Industries makes a lot of machinery that is also very high quality. In Japan, the name Howa, is spoken in the same circles as Honda, Toyota, and Yamaha.

Mike

GlocksRock
March 7, 2003, 01:22 PM
Howa is a great rifle, the salesman at the local gunshop says that they make or used to make rifles for Weatherby. Or at least they were affiliated with Weatherby in some fashion.

Mute
March 7, 2003, 01:37 PM
They're much better than their price would suggest.

Poodleshooter
March 7, 2003, 03:56 PM
If I'm not mistaken, the 1500 series of Howa rifles were identical to those sold by Smith & Wesson, Mossberg and one of the "---mark" rifles sold by Weatherby.
My dad had had one in 7mmRM (?), and always spoke highly of it.

Bahadur
March 7, 2003, 05:18 PM
BHP9:
Despite old wives tales. The Japanese are noted for very high quality workmanship in most of their firearms. Some gunsmiths I know actually prefer some of the Japanese made Brownings over the Belguim made guns. The Belguim made guns are worth more money but this shows you how much collectors really know about quality.It's not an "old wives tale." I suspect the poor reputation of Japanese-made firearms originates from WWII when many Japanese smallarms were indeed poorly made due to material and skilled worker shortages.

Obviously, post-WWII Japanese manufacturing (firearms included) improved tremendously and is now considered world-class.

If Japanese made and exported guns like they do automobiles like Honda and Toyota, they'd sell like hotcakes (like Hondas and Toyotas). More significantly, this competition would lead American and European competitors to lower prices and raise quality.

BHP9
March 8, 2003, 08:45 AM
It's not an "old wives tale." I suspect the poor reputation of Japanese-made firearms originates from WWII when many Japanese smallarms were indeed poorly made due to material and skilled worker shortages.

Actually Japanese small arms at the begining of WWII were first class all the way especially the various 6.5 rifles. Toward the end of the war just as it was in Germany also, workmanship became rather dismal due to a desperate attempt to make as many weapons as fast as possible with as little workmanship and materiels as possible.

The exact same thing can be said of U.S. Arms The 1903A3 Springfield was a cheap shody copy of the much better built 1903 rifle and the WWII G.I. 45 was nothing like the WWI G.I. 45 due to the rush , rush ,hurry up demands of WWII.

The Thompson was cheapened during the war and then phased out altogether in favor of the stamped sheet metal ".45 Grease Gun". Compared to the original finely made Thompson it too could have been called junk but was not.

In short all nations were affected by this during the war so the old wives tales of the bad Japanese firearms really had no justification at all. U.S. firearms made during WWII are not considered junk but the only difference is we won the war and the Japanese did not.

Because we won our firearms did not suffer from the very poor workmanship that the Japanese and German arms did at the very end of the war.

Curiously the German arms never suffered from the extreme stigma that was attatched to the Japanese firearms even though both countries produced what the collectors call today "The Last Ditch firearms".

I think one of the great buys down through the years were the people who were lucky enough to start collecting Japanese small arms when you could buy most of them for next to nothing. Much of this has changed today and the value of Japanese arms has seen as steady escalation in value over the years especially for mint pieces brought back by returning G.I.'s

Would you believe the first Arisaka I bought cost me $15.00 and that was only about 14 years ago. It turned out to be the most accurate military rifle I own and I have examples of most of the other nations WWII battle rifles.

sig220mw
January 12, 2008, 03:04 AM
I've had a couple of howa rifles both with the weatherby brand....one was a vanguard vgs and the other was the weatherguard which was the same gun but with a synthetic stock and 20 in. barrel. They both were in 270 win. and highly accurate. Weatherby advertised them as 1 1/2 in. shooters from the factory but I got 1/2 or less from both of them. The synthetic with the shorter barrel was the most accurate of the 2 but because of the lighter stock and shorter barrel I couldn't shoot it quite as accurately in the field as the other heavier gun. I no longer have them since I was intending to buy another 270 with stainless action and barrel and laminated stock. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get the new gun because my wife lost her job right after I sold them so the money went to bills instead. I have been looking at 270's since then and might get a howa again. They are more moderately priced and I was pleased with them. I like the looks of the laminated stainless tikka rifle but it costs another 3 to 4 hundred bucks.

rangerruck
January 12, 2008, 06:13 AM
very good, very underrated, interesting design work, forged solid parts, in the receiver, and bolt, button rifled I believe, the 1500 is the best of the entry level rifles, judged against other companies entry levels. Buy with confidence.

Ratshooter
January 12, 2008, 01:17 PM
The is a lot of good written about Howa. I know one thing, i wish i would have bought a Howa rather than the Savage 223 i bought with the crappy, flimsy stock i will have to replace.

Essex County
January 12, 2008, 03:28 PM
No flies on the Howa, none at all. The only reason I traded mine was because of My addiction to older SAKOS........Essex

ECVMatt
January 12, 2008, 03:30 PM
It is a light weight 20 bbl. model. It is designed as a ranch/truck gun. Looks great and perfect for keeping the varmints down.

That will be my first Howa.

Matt

ArmedBear
January 13, 2008, 02:00 AM
They're very good.

I have a Weatherby Vanguard Sporter in .30-06 built by Howa, and it shoots very well. Not a bit of plastic on it, very nice gun, small groups, good price (think Remington 700 CDL with a better safety, a trigger that the factory encourages you to adjust, and a nicer finish for $200 less).

Also know an avid prairie dog shooter who used a Howa heavy barreled action from Legacy to build a varminter on a hand made high-grade figured walnut stock. It looks like a gorgeous custom sporter (with a thicker barrel), but shoots like a varmint gun.

BTW, there's really no reason to consider the Howa an "entry level rifle" unless you also consider Remington's 700 and 7 to be "entry level rifles," and the Howa is arguably a better action, now with an unarguably better 3-position safety design. The Howa is very solid and accurate; it's not at all cheapened like the "entry level" guns are.

ArmedBear
January 13, 2008, 02:15 AM
dupe

hice56
January 16, 2008, 04:36 PM
Just received my Howa Varminter Supreme (Blue with Nutmeg stock) Yesterday. Fit and finnish excellent, trigger is crisp, action is smooth. It will be topped off with a Swift 4.5-14X44mm mil dot scope with leupold base and rings. If it shoot as good as it looks, I will be one happy camper!

xring3
February 11, 2008, 04:00 AM
I have a howa 1500 varmitter in 22-250 that I use for coyotes and prarie dogs...I really like it and am impressed with the accuracy...I would like to have one in 6.5x55 Swede and use 140 grain bullets to buck the Oklahoma winds....Mike

DIM
February 19, 2009, 03:57 AM
I bought my Howa .308 1500 thumbhole sporter 4 weeks ago, on the first trial from the bench I got 10 group firing 5 shots at 100 yards WOOW so I move target to 50 yards, it made 4 group, I thought it was my scope I had cheap NC Star, I switched to Nikon, same results, checked my rings bases, ammo, I tried factory and handloads with different bullets, well handloads made 3 groups at 50 yards verses 4 when I used factory, last week I took it back to the gun store, this guys didnt believe it, so they took it out with the same results, they say this gun is walking every time it shoots bullet progresses +1 inch or higher with every shot. What can I say it is very poor quality rifle and poor workmanship. The rifle is send back for the repairs, what a disappointment

WNTFW
February 19, 2009, 05:06 PM
Dim,
Sorry you have a bad one. I've never had anything shoot that badly.
Hang in there, it might turn out good when you get it back.
I have a Vanguard in .270 & it is a pretty nice rifle & shoots well.

eye5600
February 19, 2009, 05:42 PM
Check out the weight of the Howa rifles compared to the other suggestions. I think they are on the heavy side (which may matter to you, or it may not).

Gator 23
February 19, 2009, 06:05 PM
No southpaw models kept me away from the Howas...good quality and accuracy for the money seemed to be the consistent theme in my research. I'll stay with the affordable and accurate Rem 700s.

DIM
March 11, 2009, 12:06 PM
It’s been more then 4 weeks since I send Howa for repairs, it seems that good old days when Howa made quality product and provide good service are over, all they can do is to blame it for taught times with the economy, cheap chinese labor and materials, and who knows what. When I called their repair shop they told me that they haven’t even looked at it and that it might take another 3 weeks before they do, my advise if you planning on buying Howa, if you going to get lucky as me, I would recommend you to stay with Savage, good accuracy for its price.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
March 11, 2009, 12:12 PM
They're generally very good. Only complaint is that the safety does *not work* when you adjust the trigger all the way to where it's half-way decent (at the far end of adjustability).

cheap Chinese labor


Hmmm, so what are they doing now - making a bunch of Chinese laborers commute each day to the factory in Japan? I guess they do have some fast trains, but didn't know they had a causeway.

DIM
March 11, 2009, 01:30 PM
I guess you, mistaken them for south border residence :) no Japan is an island and no train will reach them, but they dont have to, Japan as an Island nation depends on the raw materials, which in fact comes from china, because it is close just few hundred miles by sea, and it is cheap, however I dont know for a fact, but I have strong feeling that raw materials were processed before reaching the island, by Howas machines of course :)

DIM
March 13, 2009, 11:55 AM
I’m not going to argue, maybe they are good, but the one I got was junk, even my SAIGA in 308 can do better groups, and I’m not going to compare to Savage which holds below 3/7 inch groups. The ordeal with Howa is done, wouldn’t buy one ever again, and I wouldn’t recommend either. I got my money back, and I don’t want to know what’s is wrong with it, I told that dealer on the 1st day after the range it’s the barrel, instead he gave me run around about my scope which I replaced, then story about riffles like women either they like ammo either they don’t, at the end he took it out to the range with mach ammo and returned with +5 inch groups at 100 or maybe 50 yards.

454c
March 13, 2009, 05:58 PM
A tip for others that may bump into a misbehaving Howa, check that the front action screw is tight and the mag box isn't in a bind.;)

DIM
March 29, 2009, 02:26 AM
Got 11 BTH Savage in .308 and took it out to the range today, got nice 1/2" groups using 155 gr Nosler BTHP, not bad for hunting riffle ;-)

A-FIXER
March 29, 2009, 02:39 AM
Trust my .308 howa, great rifle quality included....

Mauserguy
March 29, 2009, 02:03 PM
I have a Howa 270. It's a great gun. It's a push feed, so if you are fine with that, it will serve you well. They are great rifles right out of the box.
Mauserguy

MountainBear
March 29, 2009, 02:26 PM
What can I say it is very poor quality rifle and poor workmanship. The rifle is send back for the repairs, what a disappointment

Every manufacturer is going to have a lemon slip through the cracks now and then. Short of one at a time custom gun manufacturers who can test fire everything before it leaves their shop, bad guns get out. Sorry this guy had a bad gun, but I wouldn't let that scare anyone from Howa/Vanguard/S&W 1500 rifles. They are generally very good products. I would rather have a Howa 1500 than any number of US rifles including new Remingtons, Winchesters, and definitely more than any Savage. All of the above make acceptable rifles, I just prefer the Howa. When I build custom rifles, it is my preferred action, due not only ot its availability, but also its quality and features (such as accepting a readily available scope base set for a Rem700).

groundhog34
March 29, 2009, 09:53 PM
I have a Weatherby Mark V made in Japan by Howa. Very good quality. The post that compares Japanese rifles with their auto is correct.

pat86323
March 29, 2009, 10:53 PM
my old man shoots one of the old ones with the s&w rollmark on it and it is a shooting machine. Hes had it for like 20 years and lost count of how many animals it has dropped its insanely accurate and though a little on the heavy side i think that the weight doesnt so much matter after you carry something for a while.....you get used to it. The weight does help with the recoil as well keep in mind.

my64bit
May 7, 2009, 07:50 AM
I used to have a Howa .223, I built it up from a barrelled action with a custom made walnut stock with rosewood & ivory tip. After it was all built the first round of test shots produced groups that "walked" the group pattern would walk up & right as you kept fireing. I took it to a ballistics expert, who found that when I glass bedded the stock there was a small area lightly touching the middle section of the barrel, causeing a cold spot as the barrel heated up. He removed the high spot in the glass bed, got the barrel fully floated, and guess what? .5 MOA @ 100 yards. I am currantly planning to build my son a .308, and myself a .338 magnum both useing the Howa barrelled actions. I really do not think I will ever buy anything else for a hunting rifle again, I loved the Howa. They build a nice product with a smooth trigger, a great finnish, and good accuracy. My .223 Howa's poor shooting was the direct result of my own mistake. It was a simple fix that resulted in a wonderful shooting rifle. For the price, I personaly do not think the Howa can be beat.

Uncle Mike
May 7, 2009, 11:27 AM
I might get spanked for this but...

Keep your money in America, support American business...

I have not seen a Howa outshoot a Savage or Remington for that fact... as long as the Remington was a "older" gun.

We sell some Howa's, in the beginning, a lot, but word of mouth and problems have curtailed their selling.

Buy a Savage... you won't be dissapointed.

ArmedBear
May 7, 2009, 11:45 AM
Keep your money in America, support American business...


Cerberus can suck it. (Well, okay, I'll buy a Marlin or two, but that's mainly because Marlin can still build a rifle. Not for long, if Remington gets too involved in North Haven.)

We sell some Howa's, in the beginning, a lot, but word of mouth and problems have curtailed their selling.


So you've been lying about them?

Actually, I don't know about the Howa-branded stuff. Weatherby doesn't seem to let lemons by them, that I've heard about.

It may be that Legacy Sports doesn't have a brand name to protect, so they don't care.

HOUNDDAWG
October 15, 2009, 03:21 PM
I signed up to tell you folks two things:

A year ago I read about the recall on Howa 1500 rifles here and I sent my bolt to Illinois and they replaced the whole back end, returning only the original bolt sleeve, and the rest is all new and high gloss blue. The gas shield is shaped differently than the original S&W, but the replacement (presumably the new HOWA bolt shape) isn't bad looking. And, the important thing is the mod was performed and I have peace of mind.

This 30 year old S&W-Howa .30-06 is a delightful rifle and I'm absolutely thrilled with it. I bought it from a friend who harvested deer in PA every season with it, and even with the original Japanese K-Mart 3X9 scope it's a real shooter.

My neighborhood smithy lightened the trigger for me, and it required some skill to re-manufacture components, necessary because the older triggers just don't have the adjustment range I required. (it's a crisp, clean, consistent three lbs now. I still do most of my shooting off a bench so I prefer a light trigger.)

That same day he received a call from another customer asking for a trigger job on another used, recently purchased Howa! "What are the odds?", he said. He went from never doing a trigger job on a Howa to doing mine and receiving another inquiry right away.

As luck would have it this smithy has a complete machine shop and the requisite skills to do most anything, and he lives four blocks away from me. (Doesn't everyone have a class A gunsmith in their neighborhood?)

Like all Howas this rifle has the beautiful, classic lines that I love, and the barreled action is meaty in the right places and still streamlined to keep it from being too heavy. (like a SMLE Enfield, which is arguably too heavy because of unnecessary metal)

So, with the installation of a Pachmayr white line recoil pad and 200 hand loads assembled with five different powders I'm ready to go in search of that sweet spot hand load!

The good news is the gun shoots great with all of the loads and they all pattern as well as any factory ammo. It may take a while to find a load that groups any better than the rest....

miker557
January 25, 2010, 10:25 PM
I have a Howa 1500 Varmint Rifle in 223 I purchased several years ago that [I]loves[I]Winchester 45-grain HP ammo. I managed to put 4 bullets into one ragged hole (with the 5th shot opening it up to .643") at 100 yards. My older brother bought a LA in 30-06 that he uses for deer hunting, and it shoots better than my customized Mauser. I'ved picked up a S&W 1500 to use for a custom project, if only I can figure out how to cut 1.5mm pitch threads on my Rockwell lathe .......

tango2echo
January 25, 2010, 10:44 PM
I'm on my third one now.

Two are .308 and one is a .30-06.

I adjusted the trigger on the first, pillar bedded action, and worked up a load using the Hornady Amax 168gr and Varget. It's better than 1/2 MOA. I'm happy to say the least. Even better, it has cleanly killed 10 deer in ten shots and a headshot coyote at over 600 yards.

Anyone that talks trash about a Howa is automatically suspect in my mind.

lopezni
January 25, 2010, 10:49 PM
They are one of the top rifles in the $400-500 range. I put them just behind the TC Venture and the Weatherby Vanguard.

Uncle Mike
January 25, 2010, 10:55 PM
and the Weatherby Vanguard.

Lopenzi...who makes the Vanguard?

DIM
January 25, 2010, 11:17 PM
Still trash in my mind, all it was: expansive walking stick, glad I got rid of it, now I can punch .25" 5 shot holes with my TC, which came with 0.56" certificate of accuracy, not bad for a riffle, but more expensive then Howa, I do believe that I got a lemon slip, since so many people are happy with them, after all I didn't wait for legacy sports to fix the problem, I just walked away... When I purchased Howa, it had everything what I was looking for, except for the accuracy....

lopezni
January 26, 2010, 01:30 PM
Lopenzi...who makes the Vanguard?

Yeah, Howa makes the vanguard, but the Weatherby has a fluted bolt and the trigger is set at the factory. The houge stock on the howa ranchland is nice though.

Uncle Mike
January 26, 2010, 01:47 PM
We used to sell the Howa brand in droves, but after a rash of problems with that brand, management decided against carrying this brand.

We still order them for those who want them.

My take on the Howa is it is a good enough firearm, but increasing prices are negating the brands worthiness!

454c
January 26, 2010, 02:38 PM
Still trash in my mind,...I do believe that I got a lemon slip, :scrutiny:

This is the first I've heard of a " rash of problems", what were the problems?

Shadow Man
January 26, 2010, 04:14 PM
What about Howa/Axiom's? Any word on those?

Big Bill
January 26, 2010, 05:19 PM
In your price range I'd also look at the Marlin center fire rifles. They are very accurate and good rifles for the money. And, in answer to your question, I've never heard anything bad about Howa. I think Legacy is a fine company.

DIM
January 26, 2010, 06:09 PM
:scrutiny:

This is the first I've heard of a " rash of problems", what were the problems?

My Howa had mest-up riffling in the barrel so the whole barrel had to be replaced, it was punching 6" - 12" 5 shot groups at 100 yards.

Big Bill
January 26, 2010, 07:48 PM
DIM - That sounds just like one problem that they fixed. How is it now?

DIM
January 27, 2010, 03:31 AM
DIM - That sounds just like one problem that they fixed. How is it now?

Just like I mentioned before: "I didn't wait for legacy sports to fix the problem, I just walked away..." I asked for my money back, got TC ICON PH instead...

Uncle Mike
January 27, 2010, 12:17 PM
This is the first I've heard of a " rash of problems", what were the problems?

Let's see, there were the trigger problems that resulted from shoddily ground sears, then the ever popular barrel crowns that were slanted, the barrels not square with the receivers, by a lot, not your normal stuff...then we had the safety engagement problems, the extractor issues, but in all fairness, what manufacturer has not had this problem. Then the sloppy bolt raceways, there for a couple years it was scary. John says not to forget the crooked scope mount holes also.
Now, Howa isn't doing so bad.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
January 27, 2010, 12:31 PM
Howas / Vanguards are pretty good. Typically very good accuracy; decent fit & finish.

Only problem with them is that the safety doesn't work if you adjust the trigger to the far end of the "good" spectrum. To make matters worse, even then, the trigger is still pretty poor/mediocre.

Still, they are a pretty good value for the price.

Maverick223
January 27, 2010, 12:56 PM
Only problem with them is that the safety doesn't work if you adjust the trigger to the far end of the "good" spectrum. To make matters worse, even then, the trigger is still pretty poor/mediocre.No experience with the Howa (Vanguards are pretty nice though), but I have a rifle that costs in the neighborhood of about 10x as much as the Howa, and it does the same thing. Not a big deal for me (but I can get mine down to about 1lb, don't know the cut-off for the Howa).

:)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
January 27, 2010, 01:00 PM
Which one Mav?

Maverick223
January 27, 2010, 01:20 PM
Which one Mav?Desert Tactical SRS .300WM; when I adjust it to get every bit of creep out, and lighten it past a pound or so the safety will no longer engage.

:)

jimmyraythomason
January 27, 2010, 01:51 PM
I have got to be the LUCKIEST sonuvagun in the world! Since I've been on this forum,I have learned that every gun I own is a piece of junk or garbage or trash. I've learned that my lube/cleaner is equal to using varnish. That my scopes are useless and that my Rugers are inaccurate,my Tauruses and Rossis are about to fall apart. That my M1 carbine is a peashooter and worthless as a manstopper. Any number of bad things BUT I have not personally experienced any(or practically none) of the maladys that others have experienced. I think I'll go buy a few lotto tickets.

Uncle Mike
January 27, 2010, 02:12 PM
No fret...the Howa's have been good for the last year or so, seen no problems other than some complaining about finish related stuff.

If you do many forums, you'll come to see the only firearms that are any good are the ones the guy posting has...everything else is...well, you said it, junk! lol

jimmyraythomason
January 27, 2010, 02:15 PM
I thought I was just very lucky! I guess I better hold off on those lottery tickets for a while longer.

DIM
January 28, 2010, 09:07 PM
Well I guess one of this days I'm going to buy one again just to prove its worthless junk

jimmyraythomason
January 28, 2010, 09:09 PM
DIM,I'll haul off that junk for you.

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
January 28, 2010, 09:22 PM
Desert Tactical SRS .300WM; when I adjust it to get every bit of creep out, and lighten it past a pound or so the safety will no longer engage.

Yikes. Well that's acceptable from a Howa, but unacceptable from a DT SRS, I'd say. :-/


I have got to be the LUCKIEST sonuvagun in the world! Since I've been on this forum,I have learned that every gun I own is a piece of junk or garbage or trash. I've learned that my lube/cleaner is equal to using varnish. That my scopes are useless and that my Rugers are inaccurate,my Tauruses and Rossis are about to fall apart. That my M1 carbine is a peashooter and worthless as a manstopper. Any number of bad things BUT I have not personally experienced any(or practically none) of the maladys that others have experienced. I think I'll go buy a few lotto tickets.

Now that's funny right there. :D

Shadow Man
January 28, 2010, 09:26 PM
So no word on the Howa/Axiom? :D

Maverick223
January 28, 2010, 11:43 PM
Yikes. Well that's acceptable from a Howa, but unacceptable from a DT SRS, I'd say.It doesn't really bother me (because it gets pretty light), but perhaps I should give them a call and see if I am missing something when I make adjustments or if it is a known issue which there is a solution for. I certainly wouldn't consider the ability to go lighter a bad thing. ;)

Arkansas Paul
January 29, 2010, 12:24 AM
I love my .30-06 Vangaurd. Sub MOA at 100 yds, great trigger, smooth action. I've shot more expensive rifles that I wouldn't trade it for. Best $400 I've ever spent on a firearm.

Bruno2
January 29, 2010, 01:08 AM
I have a .223 Howa . Mine will shoot a half inch at 100 yds with a simmons scope . I bet it would do a little better with a good optic and a person shooting it that knows what he's doing . Those are handloads , but , not match grade ammo . I dont have competition dies .

Maverick223
January 29, 2010, 01:30 AM
Those are handloads , but , not match grade ammo. I dont have competition dies.Handloads can be much better than match IME (because you can fine tune the loads to what your individual rifle likes); also comp. dies aren't really necessary (with the possible exception of Benchrest) IMO.

:)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
January 29, 2010, 01:52 AM
What about Howa/Axiom's? Any word on those?

Shadowman, one small thing I can tell you is this:

*IFF* the Axiom stocks on the Howas are the SAME Axioms sold separately, as they appear to be, they don't add *nearly as much* to the price of an ordinary plastic-stocked Howa rifle, as it would cost to buy one separately, which in my mind makes the combo a pretty darned good deal. But maybe knoxx cut corners on the Howa stocks; who knows?

Shadow Man
January 29, 2010, 03:00 PM
Okay, thank you Dr. Winslow. I've kicked around the idea of getting one, and re-barreling it for .30-06, so I just wanted to know about reliabilty/accuracy and such.

tango2echo
January 29, 2010, 03:12 PM
Wait,.....so you would buy a .308 Howa/Axiom just to rebarrel to .30-06?

First, the .308 Axiom is a short action IIRC. Second, what can the '06 do that the .308 can't? Third, you would be much better off to buy an action and barrel, (Howa barrelled actions are fairly cheap) and then buy a stock, than to buy a completed rifle, only to rebarrel it.

The Howa/Axiom rifles shoot pretty well from what I've seen. Not a whole lot that needs improving on.

t2e

Shadow Man
January 29, 2010, 05:14 PM
Thats what happens when I multi-task, I word things horribly. No, I wouldn't get a .308 Howa/Axiom simply to re-barrel it, I would build one from the ground up, I was just wondering what the rifle was capable of to know if it was even worth it. If I want to build the damn thing in .30-'06, then I will...kindly refrain from espousing the merits of the .308 round to me, I'm extremely familiar with it. As for what the .30-'06 can do that the .308 can't...more consistency at longer range. That's what I'm looking for, and that's what I'd get.

Maverick223
January 29, 2010, 05:43 PM
...what can the '06 do that the .308 can't?Not much, just a significant boost in energy, range, and a flatter trajectory...but who needs that? :rolleyes:

I'd make mine a .30-06 (over a .308) as well.

:)

Dr. Tad Hussein Winslow
January 29, 2010, 05:55 PM
Not much, just a significant boost in energy, range, and a flatter trajectory...but who needs that?

Exactly. But man you'd have to seat those bullets DEEP to make it work in the short action! :)

Arkansas Paul
January 29, 2010, 06:20 PM
^^^^ That's funny!

Maverick223
January 29, 2010, 06:31 PM
Exactly. But man you'd have to seat those bullets DEEP to make it work in the short action!Very true...which is why the .260Rem. and 7mm-08 are around...to accomplish what the .308 what it was supposed to. :neener:

Shadow Man
January 29, 2010, 06:39 PM
I just checked, and Axiom stocks are manufactured for Remington 700 actions, Howa actions, and Vanguard actions, in both long and short action types. So it is highly concievable to build one in .30-'06. Considering the stocks are only $250.00, a Howa action (which I would have to re-barrel anyway, it's not as long as I would prefer, 22" and I want a 26") in .30-'06 is only $377.00...very feasable in my mind.

tango2echo
January 29, 2010, 09:19 PM
Building one would be the way to go. You can get the Howa action through some dealers for less than $377, so figure the $350 range, plus about the same for a good tube, and your Axiom stock at $250. That's $950 with a decent adjustable trigger already. A good bedding job, rings, and bases puts you around $1100 give or take. Not bad for a precision rifle.

I'm not going to start a debate over the .308 vs. .30-06. My point was if you were looking for a rifle that you would rebarrel to .30-06 and said rifle was ALREADY a .308, there wouldn't be a lot to gain by going to the '06. In a custom rifle build you have the option of having anything you want. However, you clarified that you were originally talking about the build and not the swap, which would be the way to go. I think you would be pleased with the Howa/Axiom combo if you decide to go that way. These are great rifles

t2e

Shadow Man
January 30, 2010, 12:23 AM
Thank you for the advice tango2echo. The real appeal of the Howa/Axiom combo, to me atleast, was the adjustable LOP stock, recoil reduction, light weight, and completely free-floating barrel. I think it is time for me to start pinching pennies...I have several projects I want to get started on.

N.Idaho
February 3, 2010, 01:48 AM
I just bought a Howa 1500 .243 used. The previous owner did not have an owners manual or too many specific. Does anyone know where I might be able to locate one online. Also, I plan to used the rifle for target shooting and small animal hunting. Has anyone found a good combination of powder and bullet?

Maverick223
February 3, 2010, 02:18 AM
Welcome to THR, N.ID! I would check Howa's website and if not listed shoot them an E-Mail or call. Most manufacturers are more than happy to provide you with one (at least for download).

:)

N.Idaho
February 3, 2010, 03:08 PM
Thank you Maverick223. I will dig deeper into their web site. I am excited about the gun. Its is my first Howa. The bolt action seems very smooth.

Uncle Mike
February 3, 2010, 10:47 PM
Howa 1500 Owners Manual pdf format....

http://stevespages.com/pdf/howa_1500.pdf


Exactly. But man you'd have to seat those bullets DEEP to make it work in the short action!

Hehehehe, almost swallowed my chew!

Maverick223
February 4, 2010, 12:08 AM
N. ID, looked at their site and that manual looks to be missing (or rather the link in broken), just give em' a call. Wish I could be of more help.

Mike, your link doesn't work either (at least for me).

:)

Uncle Mike
February 4, 2010, 12:54 AM
No it doesn't....just tried it.

Well, just go to: stevespages.com and try it. Lots of schematics there, but don't download a bunch at one time or it'll kick you out of there!

I'll try to upload it to here.....wish me luck!

Uncle Mike
February 4, 2010, 12:59 AM
There you go, got it uploaded for you! whew! It's all that NASA training you know! lol hehehehe

Maverick223
February 4, 2010, 01:26 AM
There you go, got it uploaded for you! whew! It's all that NASA training you know!Yep that one works...the other said I was forebode...must be a NASA clearance issue. :p

howabeliever
May 1, 2010, 01:02 AM
Bought a Howa 1500 in .243 last October with Nikko-Sterling scope.Broke in the barrel by cleaning the bore between each of the 1st 5 shots.1st 3 shot group was 1/2 inch at 100 yards with 95 grain Federal Fusion ammo! I'm not the greatest shooter by anyones standard so when I can shoot that kind of group from an out of the box rifle I can recomend it to any body without reservation. The trigger break is excellent for a sub 400 dollar rifle.Nuff said!

jhop
May 4, 2010, 12:44 AM
Any have the bull barrel varmit rifle's Howa makes? 22-250 or .243?

howabeliever
May 4, 2010, 11:04 PM
Unless you're shooting pasture poodles all day it's my opinion that you don't gain much with a heavy barrel. My sporter weight does just fine on coyotes and bobcats. I use shooting stix for a rest and can nail em' at will out to 250 yds(my max comfortable range). Incidently those Federal Fusions are designed for deer but are just as deadly on coyotes.

Zak Smith
May 5, 2010, 03:15 AM
http://demigodllc.com/photo/HowaAxiom/icon/D461_6925_img_b.jpg
article | The Howa Axiom Rifle http://demigodllc.com/icon/extwh3.png (http://demigodllc.com/articles/howa-axiom-burris-xtr)

norm113
May 13, 2010, 11:24 PM
Hello All,
This is my first post, I have been looking at a Savage. But The 2 models I was hoping to getAre near imposible to find. I went with my Stepdad to BassPro and saw the Howa in 308 with the green stock. $850 I think, If it shots as well as some sayIwill be in. The nice thing is My Stepdad wants a .223 bolt varmint gun no scope. So the few Dollars I saved I will Use to buy him his .223 bolt gun.

I just hope it all works out!
Norm

howabeliever
May 29, 2010, 04:40 PM
Just a friendly nit-pick Uncle Mike,my Savage 93 has Made In Canada stamped on the barrel!

Palehorseman
May 30, 2010, 03:21 PM
I think it was Howa back in the 1960s who got into trouble when they copied a Sako bolt action. When the heat came down, I remember the Yellow Front stores in Phoenix AZ dumped them by the dozens for just a few bucks each. Couple friends and I bought one, they were very accurate, so accurate my nephew talked me out of it, wish I still had it (I know, I know)

Geno
May 31, 2010, 01:20 AM
Howa makes a great rifle, whether under the Howa or Weatherby name, and in Weatherby, be it Mark V or Vanguard.

Geno

DIM
May 31, 2010, 11:30 AM
as I mentioned before howa didn't work out for me, I had better luck with Savage and Remington. Howa can be great, but the one I got as someone mention here was a lemon slip... By the way I still didn't try to get another one to prove that they great... Once you get burned there are no return to the same path ;-) I decide to try Rem 700 and that thing can shoot!!! comparing Howa groups 7" - 10" at 100 and Rem 0.35" then why bother again with Howa...

chains1240
May 31, 2010, 03:15 PM
I finally bought myself my very own hunting rifle. After several months of comparing rifles and calibers I decided to get a blued Howa 1500 with Hogue stock chambered in .308. I shot Remington Core Lokts in 150 grain and was getting about 2.5"@100 yards. After 40 shots and cleaning in between groups I got it down to .75". Only paid $500 for the rifle through Gun Genie. I am very happy with my purchase. The weight of the rifle is just right for me and the action is silky smooth.

ChefJeff1
June 1, 2010, 12:25 AM
A few years ago I personally witnessed a guy shoot a 1 hole 2 shot group with his brand new howa rifle. It came with a scope already mounted and boresighted. These were the first 2 shots with it, it was brand new. I don't remember the caliber.

seairland312
October 13, 2010, 12:56 PM
Got my Howa 1500 in '08... all stock with the Nikko Stirling Nighteater combo and all that. Found that scope to suck pretty effectively, redid the gun almost completely. Current setup is:
Howa 1500
Knoxx Axiom stock
Millett scope rings
Zeiss Conquest 3-9 x 40

With this setup, mine shoots MOA easy. People complain about the stock. I like the PG. Overall, I'd say the gun itself is a pretty good one. Put a decent optic on it, and its a keeper for sure.

http://i53.tinypic.com/2vm8wg7.jpg

butcherboy
October 14, 2010, 02:46 PM
i got my Howa 1500 .243 used from my uncle 2 years ago. the setup: heavy filled synthetic stock , Tasco World class 3-9x40. ( came with it already)

he had bench shot it about 200 times before he gave it to me. based on his range records the first 80 shots were all over an 8 inch target ( he bought it new so had to break it in) by the time he gave it to me, it would shoot under 2 inch groups at 100yds.

since ive had it ive killed 4 deer with it at ranges from 100 - 300 yards.

mine likes Rem Core Lockt 100gr. but will shoot 3inch groups with Federal also.


not necessarily a target rifle but works great as a hunting rifle in my opinion.

for the right price i would buy another one.

JDthesharpshooter
October 14, 2010, 05:51 PM
mine is a sporter contour .308 with a black hogue stock. its good. really good.

http://i843.photobucket.com/albums/zz354/TEHLEGITGUY/sniper%20rifle/IMG00145-20100904-2004.jpg

7/8ths inch at 100 yards with hornady sst superformance at 3000 fps..
http://i843.photobucket.com/albums/zz354/TEHLEGITGUY/sniper%20rifle/IMG00178-20101004-1627.jpg

wolf ammo 5 shot group at 100 yards..
http://i843.photobucket.com/albums/zz354/TEHLEGITGUY/sniper%20rifle/IMG00177-20101004-1627.jpg

nvcdl
October 17, 2010, 03:15 PM
I traded into a 270 Howa Sporter that was made in early 90s. It shot the the hunting ammo into less then an inch at 100 yards. I really didn't want a 270 so i sold it off but I was impressed with the quality.

B52Wing
October 6, 2011, 04:31 PM
Ok, I am going to resurrect this old thread.
I ran across a local gun shop that had a few Howa 1500 M rifles for sale at $219. It is .270 cal and has the black Houge synthetic stock. I didn't know anything about Howa but I took a chance. I haven't had it to the range yet but thought I would do a little research on it.
It looks like it was a good find provided it isn't one of the rare "lemons".

I put a Nikon Monarch scope on it so I have about $400 in the setup :-)

Hopefully I can get to the range soon.

Boomie
October 6, 2011, 11:01 PM
B52Wing, where did you find Howa rifles for $219? That is a very worthy impulse buy!

BrocLuno
October 7, 2011, 02:20 PM
I'd say you dun real good :)

SwampWolf
October 29, 2011, 06:17 PM
I ran across a local gun shop that had a few Howa 1500 M rifles for sale at $219.

NIB? And if so, as Boomie inquired, where?

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