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October 31st, 2021

Sunday Gunday: Howa Rifles — Factory Rigs and Custom Builds

Howa 1500 rifle KRG Bravo Bill Rifleshooter.com
At top is a Howa 1500 in KUIU Vias Camo stock. Lower image is a Howa 1500 with KRG Bravo chassis.

If you are looking to acquire a reliable, accurate rifle for a late fall hunt, Howa can be a good choice. Howas feature smooth-running actions with fine two-stage HACT triggers. A Howa barreled action can also be a good basis for a DIY project. 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 Barrels, Lilja Barrels or other quality brand.

Howa 1500 rifle Bill Rifleshooter.com
Howa mini action carbon stalker hunting rifle
The Carbon Stalker is an excellent ultralight factory option, weighing just 4.6 lbs. with Mini Action (before optics). All Howa Carbon Fiber Stalker rifles come with a Sub-MOA Guarantee and Lifetime Warranty.

What You Need to Know About Howa 1500-series Rifles

Tech Feature by Bill, editor of RifleShooter.com
Consider this article the “Howa 1500 Overview”. There has 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.

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 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 Rem 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, 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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October 31st, 2021

Halloween Safety Tips from U.S. LawShield

Halloween 2021 safety legal advice U.S. LawShield

Today is Halloween (originally “All Hallows Eve”). With the slow return to post-Pandemic normalcy, there will be trick-or-treating in many locales across the country. U.S. LawShield has provided Halloween safety tips for homeowners and families with kids. These tips are designed to keep kids safe/secure and to help adults supervise the young ones and avoid potential liabilities as homeowners. READ Full Article HERE.

Halloween 2021 safety legal advice U.S. LawShield

Halloween Safety Tips for Adults (Parents and Homeowners)
Drive Carefully – Drive slowly and watch for people crossing the street. Avoid distractions like phones or food so you can be ready to stop quickly. (But it’s best to just avoid driving after dark on Halloween[.])
Clear the Way – Clear your front steps, driveway, and lawn of any potential safety hazards. If any injuries happen on your property, you could be held liable!
Leave a Light On – If you leave the house, keep a few visible lights on inside to discourage criminals. However, leave your porch light off to let trick-or-treaters know you aren’t giving out candy!
Verify Insurance – Are you turning your home into a neighborhood haunted house? Are you charging admission? Make sure to check your local laws and verify your homeowners insurance coverage! Something like this could be considered a business activity, and accidents or injuries typically are not covered. (You should also verify your self-defense insurance coverage!)
Go Flameless – Use electric lights in your jack-o-lanterns and other décor. House fires are one of the more common accidents reported by homeowners on Halloween.

Halloween Safety Tips for Kids
Adult Supervision – All children aged 13 and under should be accompanied by an adult when trick-or-treating. Older kids without an adult should be in groups of three or more.
Create a Route – Only trick-or-treat in familiar neighborhoods and at houses with porch lights on. Be aware of and avoid the addresses of local sex offenders.
Street Smart – Walk only on sidewalks, and cross streets only at crosswalks or corners. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing to help prevent accidents. Take extra caution with costume masks, as they greatly reduce a child’s ability to see their surroundings.
High Visibility – Carry glow sticks or flashlights when out after dark, and avoid wearing costumes that are dark-colored or aren’t reflective.
Treat Smart – Check your kids’ candy! The CDC Halloween Safety Guide highly recommends throwing away any unwrapped or unsealed pieces.

U.S. LawShield also strongly recommends not having toy guns — even Nerf guns or squirt guns — as part of costumes. At night toy guns can cause confusion, with potential bad reactions.

About U.S. LawShield
Founded in 2009, U.S. LawShield now has 700,000+ members and 6,000+ industry partners. The goals are to help members handle critical, life-threatening situations and prevent potential injustices in the legal system after acts of self-defense. For more information on U.S. LawShield visit USLawshield.com.

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October 31st, 2021

Halloween Boom Time — Pumpkin Blastin’ with Explosives

Halloween Wallpaper explosion pumpkin
Image from WallpapersBuzz.

Today is October 31st, Halloween (originally “All Hallows Eve”). That means it’s pumpkin time. Just how much fun can you have with pumpkins? Watch these two videos and find out. In the first video, the RatedRR team sends a few orange gourds to pumpkin heaven using Det Cord, C4, and binary explosives. The sequence starting at the 2:00 minute mark in the first video is truly amazing. WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

Watch Pumpkin Blasting with Explosives

In the next video, a pumpkin carved as a Death Star serves as the target for a .50 caliber rifle (looks like a Barrett M82 .50 BMG). As you may guess, the pumpkin Death Star suffers the same fate as the Hollywood version in Star Wars. NOTE: At the 0:42 mark in the video, a graphic displays “30,000 FPS”. That’s the high-speed camera’s frame-per-second rate, NOT the projectile velocity in feet-per-second.

Watch .50 BMG Rifle vs. Death Star Pumpkin

Warning: These demonstrations were carried out on closed ranges by experienced professionals certified to use explosives. Possession of C4 and Det Cord may be a violation of various Federal, State, and local laws. Detonating cord and C4 are classified as high explosives and are regulated by the BATFE. Don’t even think about trying to repeat these stunts on your own.

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