Took the Howa 1500 .223 out today.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Hooda Thunkit, Jan 29, 2021.

  1. Hooda Thunkit

    Hooda Thunkit Member

    Jul 10, 2017
    Oklahoma, out in the red dirt.
    Several months ago I purchased a Howa 1500 Mini-Action in .223 Rem. I wanted something relatively inexpensive to shoot at the range, to at least 300 yds, and perhaps up to 600 after I get used to it.
    I really have no experience with long(er) range target shooting, the furthest I've shot until now was back when I worked for Our Crazy Uncle, maybe 500 yds with an M-16A1. I had good eyes back then.
    Now I'm in my 7th decade, and things don't look the same out there.

    I've been messing around with the rifle, mostly just breaking it in according to Howa instructions:
    1 round, clean the barrel down to bare steel(10 times).
    2 rounds, clean (5 times)
    5 rounds, clean (5 times).

    That took several weeks, I'm not the kind that really enjoys cleaning. I shot it out at the range behind the barn, and never really tried to sight it in during those break-in shots, other than get it on paper.

    Then I tried to sigh it in, using some handloads; 24.5gr IMR4895, a Hornady 55gr BTSP, some sorted range brass. I did size and trim the brass, but otherwise nothing special.
    I couldn't get it to group very well, but then my 'bench' is a rickety portable, and it's too short besides (and, the sun was in my eyes, a grasshopper jumped up just as I shot, an errant gust of wind, etc etc...).

    Today I took my remaining 15 loaded rounds out to the local club, and set up my front rest on a concrete bench.
    First 5 rounds at 100 yds.

    Not real pretty. Vertical looks good, but the horizontal stringing is ugly. Heavy lines are 1 inch, lighter lines 1/4". A freaking 2" 'group'.

    Okay, I know what I did wrong. Grabbing the hand grip too hard, I'm torquing it around. Ease up on the grip. And, the wind is blowing pretty cold, so I've got on several layers of clothing.
    Adjust the stock a bit shorter, and try again.
    Now I'm holding it with essentially my thumb and trigger finger, resting the butt on my left fist, which is on the bench.
    Second 5 rounds.

    Okay, things are looking better. Except for that dang flyer off to the left.

    Of course, I'm not showing the point of aim (POA), which is about 5 inches lower than the impact. Okay, it's centered, adjust the scope 12 clicks down.

    I'm shooting my last 5 rounds. POA is the white center of the orange diamond below the group.

    First 4 in one hole. I've never shot a 5-round 1-hole group. Ever. I'm pumped.
    Shoot the 5th shot.

    .....aaaannnnd I choke. Of course.

    Blast it. Out of ammo. Pack up and go home.

    On the bright side, the rifle will shoot. And, it likes the load, at least at 100 yds. All is not lost.

    The rifle has fewer than 100 rounds through it. I'll clean it down to bare steel, and try again.
    bk42261, Demi-human, NR53 and 5 others like this.
  2. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

    Oct 2, 2015
    Centralia Washington
    Try leaving the barrel dirty. It might make it better. Some barrels like a little fouling...
  3. gotboostvr

    gotboostvr Member

    Feb 13, 2007
  4. ford8nr

    ford8nr Member

    Jun 23, 2011
    I have a .223 Howa Mini and it's a solid 3/4" 5 shot group rifle with hand loads it likes. Stock was pillered and bedded.
    Liked it so much I bought a 7.62x39 barreled action and dropped it into a Boyd's laminate stock. Solid 1" rifle with the right hand loads. 150gr just above min shot around 1.5", mid range load 2", just under max load 1". Tried 125gr bullets but preferred the recoil pulse of the 150's better.
    LoonWulf likes this.
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