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#5917711 - 09/07/15 10:58 PM Howa 1500
charlesb Offline
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Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
I have been curious about the Howa rifle action for some time, having read that it was originally a Sako design. It has a flat bottom like a Mauser or model 70, with the 3 position sliding safety off to the side, like a Mark X Mauser.

The other day I found a used Howa in .223 that had a 24" bull barrel (No taper) and was in a pillar-bedded Hogue rubber-coated stock. It had a big Nikko-Stirling 3-12x56 scope on it, with an illuminated dot in the middle of the crosshairs.

I tried the illuminated dot a few times, decided that it was not my cup of tea, and have left it turned off after that. - I seem to do better with a plain old black dot. Later I tried turning on the illuminated dot after dark, and discovered that it's not just the dot that gets illuminated, but also the entire field of view. At the lowest setting it's OK though, and would be good for hunting at dusk or dawn, when the cross-hairs are not easy to see.

I bought a box of cheap Federal 55 grain loads after discovering that none of my neck-sized 223 brass from another gun would go into the Howa - and that I had a .223 neck sizer die, but no full-length sizer! So I was stuck having to buy a box of fresh ammo.

You can't buy dies in this little desert town, so I will order a 223 full-length sizer die tomorrow.

At the shooting range, I discovered that it was already sighted in. At 50 yards, it shot about one inch high. I shot a three shot group that worked out to be around one inch, then I tried a five-shot group and it was also one inch, with three holes for the five bullets.

I am optimistic that with my reloads, it will do a bit better.

I was very happy with the action. The bolt travel was smooth with no dragging or hangups, the trigger was a bit heavy for me, but crisp enough.
Loading was accomplished fairly easily, and there were no feeding, chambering or ejection issues.

After I got it home, I suddenly remembered that I had a bore-scope, so before cleaning it, I took a peek. There was a good deal of carbon, but not much copper evident. It being a .223, I didn't expect to see any throat damage or appreciable wear. It was all in good shape.

After getting it squeaky-clean, I pulled the action out of the stock and adjusted the trigger down to two pounds, and put it back together.

Now that I've finally had a chance to fool around with a Howa 1500, I am happy to say that it is as good as I thought it might be. Lately I've been looking at the Weatherby Vanguard, which is a Howa action finished to Weatherby specs, and I am now more seriously considering the Vanguard deluxe model with the nice stock and high polish on the metal.

The three rifles I look at the most these days are the Winchester model 70 Sporter, The Browning X-Bolt medallion, and the Weatherby Vanguard deluxe. - All purdy-looking rifles.

One drawback to the Howa and the Weatherby Vanguard is that none of the short magnums like the 300 or 325 WSM are offered in these.

The Nikko-Stirling scope was a lot better than I thought it would be. I dunno why, but I've always assumed that there was something hokey about them. The thing looks to be pretty solid though, with good, clear optics. The reticule is a dot in the middle of thin cross-hairs, with thick posts on each side and on the bottom. - The dot is about 22 bullet-hole size at 50 yards at 12X, so I guess it will look about 44 caliber size at 100 yards.

Not bad! I would not hesitate to buy another Howa, or more likely a Vanguard.

Pictures soon.
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Kind regards, charlesb

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#5917889 - 09/08/15 07:58 AM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
charlesb Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
Pictures: (Click image to see it larger)







This morning I am doing some surgery on the trigger mechanism. - When you reduce the trigger pull below 3 pounds, the safety locks up and no longer functions. - The trigger must be removed, and a bit of metal ground off of the area that touches the safety - then you can go down to 2 pounds or less, and the safety still functions perfectly.

I like a 2 pound pull on guns of this type.

My son likes the Hogue stock, if it were up to me a Boyds laminated thumbhole varmint stock in sky blue, or maybe zombie green would be on it, in short order. Still working on talking him into that.


Edited by charlesb (09/08/15 08:01 AM)
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#5917924 - 09/08/15 08:19 AM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
poisonivie Online   happy


Registered: 03/10/09
Posts: 7079
Loc: Bridgeport, Tx
I like the Howa rifles. I have a S&W 1500, which is the same gun.
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#5917927 - 09/08/15 08:23 AM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
ChadTRG42 Online   happy
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 9425
Loc: Lewisville, TX
My first rifle I ever bought out of college was a Howa 1500 in 270 Win. I even took Tac Pro's precision rifle class with that rifle with a tuned load with a 135 SMK out to 1K yards. I still have that gun, and it still shoots very well. I paid $280 for it, and it wears a nice Leupold VX-6 now (about a $1200 scope). For the money, they are a good rifle.
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#5918027 - 09/08/15 09:33 AM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
505ed Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 10/15/14
Posts: 362
Loc: Blanco texas
Excellent for the dollar...heavy, built of steel...my brother has a weatherby vanguard(same gun) barreled up in a 257 weatherby, Rock creek barrel...shoots bug holes....

Ed

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#5918482 - 09/08/15 02:07 PM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
Bbear Offline
Tracker

Registered: 11/24/13
Posts: 596
Loc: West Texas
Have two of the Vanguards - one a 7mm-08 and one in a 243. Both shoot better than I do. Solid, accurate and good shooting. Hard to beat in the price-point I paid.
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#5918516 - 09/08/15 02:32 PM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
redchevy Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23444
Loc: Texas
Have a Vanguard Delux Sporter in 300 wby. Its a very pretty gun. On the heavy side and shoots great.
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#5919047 - 09/08/15 07:53 PM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
charlesb Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
After fooling around with the trigger for a while, I got the pull down to two pounds, but there was some creep that I was not clever enough to eliminate.

So, instead of a new Boyds laminated thumb-hole stock, I decided a new trigger should come first. Rifle Basix has a varmint trigger for the Howa/Vanguard that is adjustable from 12 oz to 1.5 pounds. The body of the trigger is an embarrassing pink color, but this is one of those "Only your gunsmith knows for sure" kind of deals. - Nobody will see it but me, in any case.



I've been looking at the Vanguard Delux, that stock really looks outstanding.


Edited by charlesb (09/08/15 08:00 PM)
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#5919600 - 09/09/15 07:30 AM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
redchevy Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23444
Loc: Texas
Na, its ok its red up
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#5919655 - 09/09/15 08:26 AM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
REALKILLER Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/19/15
Posts: 912
Howa makes some good looking stuff, but Ive ever owned one. I have bid on a few in auctions. A friend of mine bought the youth .243 and he likes it for long hikes.
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Saw somethin big in grey out there. What is that? Oh #### !! thats a big ol buck. 😆

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#5919663 - 09/09/15 08:33 AM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
REALKILLER Offline
Tracker

Registered: 02/19/15
Posts: 912
I did some stock swaping the other day on my 700s in the .223 and came across a weird deal where the newer style Remington trigger that wouldn't go into the older sendero stock. I did a lot of filing and sanding to the inside of the stock around the safety and trigger and finally got it to fit. Then after firing the safety would still hang up. swapped it back to the original. It was starting to get a little messy. You may check all your clearances and do some shooting with your new stuff for sure.
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Saw somethin big in grey out there. What is that? Oh #### !! thats a big ol buck. 😆

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#5923174 - 09/10/15 09:52 PM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: REALKILLER]
charlesb Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
Originally Posted By: REALKILLER
I did some stock swaping the other day on my 700s in the .223 and came across a weird deal where the newer style Remington trigger that wouldn't go into the older sendero stock. I did a lot of filing and sanding to the inside of the stock around the safety and trigger and finally got it to fit. Then after firing the safety would still hang up. swapped it back to the original. It was starting to get a little messy. You may check all your clearances and do some shooting with your new stuff for sure.


I've gotten to where I just replace any Remington factory trigger with a Timney, Jewel, or Rifle Basix right off the bat.

Last week a customer brought in a Remington 700 made in 2014. - I removed the trigger adjustment screw so that the tension spring was not touching anything - and the trigger STILL had a four pound pull.

I'd like to be able to say that some of the other triggers are just as bad, but if I did, I'd have to be talking about an H&R Topper, or something like that.

The problem with the factory trigger on my used Howa is creep. I could get the pull down OK, but the creep was persistent. - I never did see a way to safely eliminate it on this particular gun.

The best factory trigger that I've ever seen, hands down was a Savage Accutrigger. I really was spoiled by the one on my model 16.

The trigger on the Browning BLR is another one of those that I never could warm up to. Unfortunately, there are no aftermarket replacements for that trigger. They can be made to operate fairly well, but this is not a task for the light-hearted, and it takes a while too.
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#5928442 - 09/14/15 04:37 PM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
Red Cloud Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 1501
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
I have also had two the first a S&W 1500, .270 and a Howa .243. Both were excellent rifles for the money. That .243 was and still is a great confidence builder, prairie dogs to mule deer. I sold the .243 to my ex-boss for his son.
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#5931110 - 09/16/15 08:38 AM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
charlesb Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 1408
Loc: West Texas mountains
I'm seriously considering a Weatherby Vanguard in 30-06. - Which model though is another question... Sometimes I think the stainless/synthetic model with a Boyds stock would be best, but on other occasions I think I'd be better off just to go ahead and get the Deluxe model.
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#5931122 - 09/16/15 08:43 AM Re: Howa 1500 [Re: charlesb]
redchevy Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 23444
Loc: Texas
I have no regrets on my wby vanguard deluxe. I feel that it is right up with any of the other big names as far as bang for you buck including rem, ruger, Winchester, browning etc.

Mine has been great.
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