November 14th, 2020

Building Rifles with Howa 1500 Barreled Actions — Expert Advice

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com
Rifleshooter.com built this tactical rifle (top image) with a Howa 1500 action, Shilen barrel, and MDT chassis. Below is a factory Howa 1500 Multi-Cam rifle.

Many of our readers are thinking of purchasing a Howa rifle or barreled action. These feature smooth-running actions with a good two-stage HACT trigger. But some folks have heard that it may be difficult to find stocks, or to fit an after-market barrel. That’s not true. There are many stock options available, and in this article, Bill of RifleShooter.com shows that it is easy to remove the factory-installed barrel with the right tools. We think a Howa makes a fine basis for a varmint rig or field rifle. Or you can build a tactical rifle as Bill did. You can start with the factory barrel and when you want/need more accuracy, then have a gunsmith install a custom barrel from Krieger, Shilen, or other quality brand.

What You Need to Know About Howa 1500-series Rifles

Tech Feature by RifleShooter.com
Consider this article the “Howa 1500 Overview”. AccurateShooter.com’s editor mentioned there’s been a lot of interest in Howa rifles and barreled actions imported by Legacy Sports International. In addition to being able to buy a complete rifle from a dealer, Brownells sells barreled actions in a wide variety of calibers and configurations. In this post we are going to take a look at the Howa 1500 series.

Howa Rifles — General Background
Howa is a Japanese heavy machinery company. One of its product lines are firearms, which, are imported into the United States of America by two different companies, Legacy Sports International and Weatherby. Legacy sells the 1500 under the manufacturers name while Weatherby re-brands the guns as the Weatherby Vanguard. In general, the finishes on the Weatherby rifles are more refined than the LSI-imported 1500s.

General Evaluation of Howa 1500 Rifles
I’ve found Howa 1500s to be solid, entry-level rifles that are capable of sub-MOA accuracy out of the box. I’ve actually purchased two Howa rifles I’ve tested because I like them so much. The gun below, a Howa Mini-Action in 7.62×39 Russian, is one of my favorite factory guns to shoot. I’m running a Tract Optics Toric on it, these are solid little rifle scopes that offer great performance for the money.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Check out this three-shot group I drilled at 100 yards with the rifle above and 125-grain Sierras. It took a lot of work and load development to get there, but when it did, it worked well.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1600 HACT Two-Stage TriggerHowa 1500 HACT 2-Stage Trigger
Howa 1500s feature the very nice Howa HACT trigger. This is an adjustable, two-stage trigger, set for about 3 pounds (combined stages). Crisp and repeatable, this is an excellent trigger for a factory gun. There is no annoying Glock-style safety lever in the middle of the trigger blade. The 2-stage design and pull weight range works well for a hunting rifle or a rig for PRS competition. Rifleshooter.com says the Howa trigger is “one of the best factory triggers, along with Tikka. I’ve found the Howa trigger superior to a Remington 700 — the Howas doesn’t need to be replaced.”

Writing for the Western Outdoor News, WONews.com, Steve Comus has field-tested the new HACT Trigger. Steve writes: “I always liked two-stage triggers, because of the way I could take-up the slack and then actually know when the rifle was going to go off. The take-up on the [HACT] trigger was fast and easy. The crisp, positive release when pressure was put on during the second stage [reminded me] of some of the target rifles I shot through the years.”

Howa Actions — Three Options
Howa offers three action lengths: Mini, Short, and Long. You can see the bolts for the three action lengths in the image below. The Mini-Action has similar external dimensions to the Remington Model Seven, however, the Mini-Action’s bolt does not travel as far to the rear. This is a mixed bag. The upside is you have a quicker action (shorter bolt throw). The downside is you are limited to shorter rounds such as the .223 Remington, 7.62×39mm Russian, and 6.5 Grendel. But if you need a bigger cartridge, just choose the standard or long action Howa variant.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 vs. Remington 700 — Important Differences
Is the Howa 1500 a Remington 700 clone, or some kind of improved Remington 700? No, not really. While the top radius of the Howa 1500 does match the Model 700, and they can both use the same two-piece scope bases, there are a number of differences.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

If you look at the Howa 1500 alongside the Remington 700 you’ll note the M700 is a round action, while the Howa is a flat-bottom action. In many ways the Howa’s bottom half reminds me of a push-feed Winchester. This means the chassis and stocks that support a Howa 1500 are not V-block based like you’ll find on a 700, instead they have a flat bottom. While the bolt of the Howa is similar in external appearance to the Model 700, it does offer some improvements, notably an M16-style extractor and a firing pin assembly that can be easily removed without tools.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Howa 1500 action screws are metric and are in a different location from the 700. The Howa 1500 has an integral recoil lug that accepts the front action screw, this means you have more of the front action screw engaging the action. WARNING: If you install it into a poorly-fitted stock or action you may bind it.

Can a Howa Action Be Used for a Custom Rifle Project?
Absolutely! You can either buy a barreled action from Brownells and throw it in a chassis system/stock of your choice or you can use a stripped action to build a custom rifle. If you are in the chassis market, MDT offers a wide variety of chassis in different price ranges. All have worked well for me.

How to Remove Howa Factory Barrel from Action
You may have heard internet grumblings about removing Howa barrels. Some keyboard commandos say they are extremely difficult to remove without a relief cut. Well Bill at Rifleshooter.com demonstrates that Howa barrels can be removed without trouble, provided you have the right tools. Watch this video:

Watch Howa Barrel Removal Video — Quick and Easy (Click Speaker Icon for Audio)

Q: Is it difficult to remove a barrel from a Howa 1500?
A: Not very. I’ve heard from some smiths that worked on Howas (years ago) that the factory barrels are difficult to remove. However of the half dozen or so Howa barrels that I’ve pulled, they’ve been very easy. I use a Brownells action wrench with the top piece for a Rem Model 700 and the flat bottom resting against the flat on the wrench.

Howa Actions Require Metric Barrel Threads
It’s easy to thread a barrel for a Howa Action. You just have to cut metric threads — most lathes out there can cut them. I cut the threads below on a manual lathe using change gears. [Editor: John Whidden cuts metric tenon threads with a CNC lathe. “It’s easy,” John tells us, “No issue whatsoever.”]

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

Using Howa Actions for Custom Rifles
I have built a few customs with Howa actions. Below is one of my favorite, a .308 Winchester. It consists of a Howa 1500 action, Shilen Select Match Remington Varmint contour barrel, and Modular Driven Technologies (MDT) ESS chassis. Great rifle and it hammers!

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com

To learn more about Howa rifles and actions, visit Legacy Sports International. To buy a Howa barreled action, visit Brownells.com.

To learn more about modular chassis systems for Howa rifles, visit MDTTAC.com

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November 14th, 2020

Ruger’s Super GP100 9mm Luger Wheelgun

Ruger Super GP100 Revolver 9mm Luger 9x19mm revolver

Ruger Super GP100 Revolver in 9mm Luger (9x19mm)
Wouldn’t it be cool if you could shoot your 9mm semi-auto pistol ammo in an ultra-accurate revoler? Well you can. Ruger adapted its existing Super Redhawk frame to create the Super GP100 9mm Luger (9x19mm) revolver. As you can see, the Super GP100 9mm features a stubby 8-round PVD-coated cylinder to better fit the 9x19mm round. According to Guns.com the 9mm GP100 “uses a cylinder and extractor cut for moon clips to speed up reloading [and] sports a 6-inch half-lug sleeved and shrouded barrel with an 11-degree target crown[.]”

Ruger Super GP100 Revolver 9mm Luger 9x19mm revolver

Watch this GunBlast video review to see how this unique Ruger 9x19mm wheelgun performs. Reviewer Boge Quinn said this a “competition grade gun” with nice fit and finish. Out of the box the Super GP100 9mm had a 9.5-lb double-action pull and a 4.5-lb single action trigger pull. It took a while for the pull to smooth out Quinn noted. Also, he said that if you do NOT use the supplied moon-clips it is awkward to remove the spent cartridges: “You don’t have to use a moon clip, but I don’t know why you wouldn’t… it just works great that way.”

The 9×19mm Parabellum (aka 9mm Luger) cartridge was introduced in 1902 by German weapons manufacturer Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken (DWM) for the Luger semi-auto pistol. Now 118 years later, Ruger brings us a sturdy, 6″-barrel revolver for this popular cartridge. Ruger adapted its existing Super Redhawk frame for this Super GP100 9mm revolver. In this video, Ruger engineer Mark Gurney explains the features of the Super GP100 9mm revolver:

Ruger Super GP100 Revolver 9mm Luger 9x19mm revolver

Super GP100 9x19mm Features

1. Triple-locking cylinder locked into the frame at front, rear and bottom for more positive alignment and dependable operation.
2. High-strength stainless steel cylinder is fluted and shortened to reduce overall mass and increase rotational speed. Cylinder has PVD finish for durability and ease of extraction.
3. Polished and optimized internals, a centering boss on the trigger, and centering shims on hammer deliver a smooth double-action trigger pull with crisp/consistent let-off.
4. Cylinder and extractor are cut for moon clips to speed reloading during intense competition. Ships with three full moon clips and moon clip tool. The ejector and chamber mouths have a light chamfer to aid loading with moon clips.
5. Hogue hardwood grip is hand-finished for a smooth, polished feel. Grip frame accommodates a wide variety of custom grips.
6. Transfer bar mechanism provides security against accidental discharge.
7. Cold hammer-forged barrel has precise rifling for accuracy and longevity.
8. Barrel features 11° target crown for competitive-level accuracy.

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November 14th, 2020

“Bully!” — Theodore Roosevelt’s Guns In NRA Museum

Theodore Teddy TR Roosevelt NRA museum bully

Theodore Teddy TR Roosevelt NRA museum bullyStory by Lars Dalseide for NRAblog.
Back in 2012, the National Firearms Museum received a shipment from Sagamore Hill — the ancestral home of President Theodore Roosevelt. While Sagamore Hill undergoes renovation, the National Parks Service was kind enough to lend a portion of the estate’s collection to the NRA Museum. For quite some time, that collection was displayed at the NRA Museum as an exhibit named “Trappings of an Icon”.

“Basically it tells you about the life of Theodore Roosevelt,” explains Senior Curator Phil Schreier (in photo above in coat). “Hunter, Statesman, Soldier. In the first case we had two firearms from his hunting career. First an 1886 Winchester rifle known as the tennis match gun because he used winnings from a tennis match to purchase the gun.”

The second firearm on display was a suppressed Winchester model 1894 rifle. This was favorite of the President’s when clearing the grounds of the local, pesky critters. Schreier explains: “Archie Roosevelt wrote that his father liked to shoot varmints around Oyster Bay with this gun so he wouldn’t disturb the Tiffany and Du Pont families that lived near by.”

President Theodore Roosevelt was a strong supporter of marksmanship competitions. In fact President Theodore Roosevelt could be called a “founding father” of the NRA National Matches*. Teddy Roosevelt believed that, to assure peace, America needed to be prepared to fight. At the 2011 NRA National Championships, Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, Under Secretary of the U.S. Army, echoed the views of Roosevelt: “The first step in the direction of preparation to avert war, if possible, and to be fit for war, if it should come, is to teach men to shoot.”

Theodore Roosevelt also has a strong connection to the “President’s Match” fired every summer at Camp Perry. The President’s Match was patterned after an event for British Volunteers called the Queen’s Match started in 1860 by Queen Victoria and the NRA of Great Britain. The tradition of making a letter from the President of the United States the first prize began in 1904 when President Roosevelt personally wrote a letter of congratulations to the winner, Private Howard Gensch of the New Jersey National Guard.

*In February 1903, an amendment to the War Department Appropriations Bill established the National Board for the Promotion of Rifle Practice (NBPRP). This government advisory board became the predecessor to today’s Corporation for the Promotion of Rifle Practice and Firearms Safety, Inc. that now governs the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP). The 1903 legislation also established the National Matches, commissioned the National Trophy and provided funding to support the Matches. This historic legislation grew out of a desire to improve military marksmanship and national defense preparedness. President Theodore Roosevelt, Secretary of War Elihu Root and NRA President General Bird Spencer were among the most important supporters of this act.

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