Quantcast
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

How good are the Howa bolt rifles?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by chaim, Mar 5, 2003.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. chaim

    chaim Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,333
    Location:
    Columbia, MD
    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)?
     
  2. cratz2

    cratz2 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    4,233
    Location:
    Central IN
    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.
     
  3. chaim

    chaim Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    3,333
    Location:
    Columbia, MD
    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.
     
  4. wun_8_seven

    wun_8_seven member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    92
    Location:
    oklahoma
    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
     
  5. BHP9

    BHP9 member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    399
    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.
     
  6. Okie1KnoB

    Okie1KnoB Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    8
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    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...!!!
     
  7. BHP9

    BHP9 member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    399
    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
     
  8. 454c

    454c Member

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2002
    Messages:
    310
    Location:
    northwest AR
    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.
     
  9. Jagermeister

    Jagermeister Moderator In Memoriam

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2002
    Messages:
    371
    Location:
    Brunswick GA
    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
     
  10. geekay

    geekay Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    50
    Location:
    Queensland Australia
    Howa accuracy,

    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.
     
  11. 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.
     
  12. telewinz

    telewinz Member

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2002
    Messages:
    2,305
    Location:
    Ohio
    Purchased a HOWA in 30/06 4 years ago. Great Buy
     
  13. Robby from Long Island

    Robby from Long Island Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2002
    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    North Babylon, NY
    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.
     
  14. Watch-Six

    Watch-Six Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    152
    Location:
    Utah
    I used to have a .270 that was sold as a Smith & Wesson. It was a good rifle. Watch-Six
     
  15. Desert Dog

    Desert Dog Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    500
    Location:
    Deep East Texas
    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
     
  16. GlocksRock

    GlocksRock Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Messages:
    331
    Location:
    North Carolina
    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.
     
  17. Mute

    Mute Member

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2003
    Messages:
    962
    Location:
    Behind occupied territories. CA.
    They're much better than their price would suggest.
     
  18. Poodleshooter

    Poodleshooter Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2002
    Messages:
    1,237
    Location:
    Mr. Jefferson's country
    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.
     
  19. Bahadur

    Bahadur Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    364
    BHP9:
    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.
     
  20. BHP9

    BHP9 member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Messages:
    399
    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.
     
  21. sig220mw

    sig220mw Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2008
    Messages:
    610
    Location:
    Texas
    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.
     
  22. rangerruck

    rangerruck Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2006
    Messages:
    8,374
    Location:
    Texas, baby!
    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.
     
  23. Ratshooter

    Ratshooter Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2007
    Messages:
    2,287
    Location:
    Burleson,Texas
    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.
     
  24. Essex County

    Essex County Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2005
    Messages:
    1,247
    No flies on the Howa, none at all. The only reason I traded mine was because of My addiction to older SAKOS........Essex
     
  25. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Messages:
    1,385
    Location:
    Yonder
    I am really interested in one of the new Ranchland Security Models..

    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
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page