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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.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting, News 2 Comments »
July 6th, 2020

New Howa Rifle with Carbon-Wrapped Barrel and Hogue Stock

Howa carbon barrel hogue kratos camo

This new rifle may interest game hunters. For around $1120 (street price) the new Howa Carbon Kratos rifle combines an excellent Hogue camo stock with a carbon-wrapped barrel. This allows a rifle that is significantly lighter than a conventional hunting rifle. The carbon-wrapped barrel also features a threaded muzzle (with cap), so you can easily fit a suppressor or muzzle brake.

Howa’s new Carbon Hogue Kratos rig will first be offered in .308 Winchester, followed by 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, and 300 PRC chamberings. The new rifle features a 24″ Howa barrel that is carbon fiber-wrapped and threaded for suppressors or muzzle brakes. The Hogue stock is pillar-bedded and dipped in the effective Kratos camo pattern. Also available is a scoped package with a 4-16×44 Nikko Sterling Diamond FFP scope. Although the scope package adds just $220 to the MSRP, we recommend getting the bare rifle and then adding a higher quality optic. You’ll be happier in the long run.

Howa carbon barrel hogue kratos camo

Howa Carbon Fiber Hogue Kratos Features
Howa 1500 Action with 3-Position Safety
Howa 24″ Carbon Wrapped Barrel, threaded with cap
Excellent 2-Stage HACT Trigger
Sub-MOA at 100 yards Guarantee
Optional Scope Package with 4-16×44mm Nikko Stirling Diamond FFP
Lifetime Warranty on Rifle and Optic

COMMENTARY: We’ve shot Howa rifles and can attest that the 1500 action cycles smoothly and the HACT 2-Stage trigger is very good for a factory gun. This is definitely a viable hunting option with a high-quality stock and weight savings via the carbon-wrapped barrel. You can pay significantly more and not get a better hunting rig. Put the savings into a good Laser Range Finder.

MSRP – $1,379 for Howa Hogue Kratos Rifle Only model HGCF308KTS — .308 Win
MSRP – $1,599 for Howa Hogue Kratos Scoped Package option HGCF308KTSP — .308 Win

For more information on all Howa rifle offerings or to request a FREE 2020 catalog, visit LegacySports.com.

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product No Comments »
September 24th, 2018

Bargain Finder 157: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, hardware, reloading components, optics, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Natchez — Rock Chucker Supreme Reloading Kit, $279.99

Deals of Week RCBS Rock Chucker Supreme Kit

Everything you see above can be yours for just $279.99. Great Deal. Right now, Natchez is selling the Rock Chucker Supreme Master Reloading Kit for $279.99, a great price considering all the hardware you get: Press, Primer Tool, Scale, Powder Measure, Loading Tray, Reloading Manual and more. Heck, the Rock Chucker press alone is worth $160.00+. This is good starter kit for any reloader with sturdy items (like the Rock Chucker press), that will last a lifetime.

2. Natchez — FREE HazMat on Orders of $99.99 or more

Here’s a very attractive promotion if you need powder and/or primers. Right now Natchez is offering FREE HazMat for orders of $99.99 or more. This can save you $25-$40 on the delivered cost of your order. NOTE: Act soon — this deal expires 9/26/2018 at 11:59 PM and you must use CODE FH180924.

Credit EdLongrange for this tip. He notes: “Natchez … was somewhat vague as to whether you need to get $99.99 of the same product, so I added one each of two different primers and two different powders and the code worked. Natchez has … excellent prices on Federal Gold Medal Match primers, including what used to be really-hard-to-get GM215M.” ORDER HERE.

3. Brownells — Howa .308 Win Full Camo with Scope $652.99

Brownells Howa Hunting rifle kryptec Camo Nikko scope bargain deal hydrodipped

The Howa 1500 Full-Dip Kryptek rifle is purpose-built for hunters who want a full matching camo rifle and scope. This .308 Winchester rig features a pillar-bedded Howa action with 20″ barrel in a quality Hogue stock. On top is a Nikko 4-16x44mm scope with one-inch tube. The entire rifle and scope features a hydro-dipped Kryptek Highlander camo finish which is handsome AND very effective in the field. NOTE: The current Sale Price is $662.99. Use CODE M8Y to save $10 and get FREE Shipping. That lowers your delivered price to $652.99, which includes the Nikko 4-16X scope. All-up weight, with scope, is 10 pounds. Sorry this deal is not currently available in other chamberings — .308 Win only.

4. Amazon — Nikon FX1000 6-24x56mm SFP Scope, $599.99

Amazon nikon X1000 Black scope MOA Mrad SFP second focal plane

We’ve checked out the Nikon Black X1000 series scopes and they offer a lot of performance for the price. On sale now at Amazon for just $599.99 is the second focal plane (SFP) BLACK X1000 6-24x50mm model with X-MOA reticle. A Mil version with 0.1 Mil click and X-MRAD reticle is also available for $646.99. These scopes have very crisp controls and great glass for the money. The MOA version 1/4-MOA click with 12 MOA per revolution and 60 total MOA internal adjustment. The Mil version has 0.1 MilRad clicks with 17 total MRAD internal adjustment travel. On both versions, a side-mounted control offer 10 intensity levels of red illumination.

5. CDNN Holster Sale — Huge Savings — Everything Under $20.00

CDNN Holster deal bargain sale

Currently, CDNN is running a great Holster Liquidation Sale. Every holster in stock is just $19.99, including some models that normally retail for over $85.00. Chose from quality polymer holsters or traditional leather holsters from Mitch Rosen. Many of these holsters are designed for Sig Sauer pistols, but there are holsters for other popular pistol brands as well.

6. Amazon — Plano 52″ Double Rifle Case with Wheels, $109.08

Plano double scoped rifle case with wheels

This Plano Double Scoped Rifle Case is an Amazon Best Seller for good reason. It offers the functionality and durability of an SKB-type hard case for HALF the money. This is under $110.00, while the equivalent SKB is around $240.00, so you can buy two Planos for the price of one SKB. The 51.5″ interior will fit most scoped competition rifles up to about 29″ barrels (measure your own rifle to make sure). If you separate the barreled action from the stock you can transport even ultra-long ELR rifles. The handles are convenient and beefy and the wheels make this case easy to move. This is a very tough, roomy case for the money (plus there’s Free Shipping).

7. Midsouth — Hornady LnL Auto Charge Scale/Dispenser, $158.99

Hornady Lock and load auto charge scale powder dispenser sale discount

The Hornady Lock N Load Auto Charge Electronic Scale/Dispenser is now on sale for just $158.99 at Midsouth Shooters Supply, discounted way down from the regular $226.24 price. That’s the lowest price we’ve seen on this product in a long time, making this a real bargain. If you are looking for an affordable combination digital scale and powder dispenser, this is very attractive pricing. By comparison, the new RCBS ChargeMaster Lite sells for around $250.00 and is back-ordered at most vendors. That means you can save at least $90.00 by buying RED instead of GREEN.

8. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $16.85

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 3000 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $16.85, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics 1 Comment »