Howa 1500 Review

Howa 1500 review

by Mike

I purchased a Howa Model 1500 chambered in 338 Win Mag from Expedition Firearms in early 2013. It was a stainless version with a black hogue stock, 24″ barrel with what I consider to be a heavier than normal #2 contour. Having owned a few Howa rifles in the recent past I expected the rifle to have a decent fit and finish and that is what I found when I unboxed it. For a production rifle in the middle price range, the quality is above average. Howa makes the Weatherby Vanguard in the same factory as the Model 1500.

The stainless finish is bead blasted and non-glare, nice and even. The action operates smoothly, no binding and every bit as smooth as much more expensive rifles. Three position safety is standard, with very positive but quiet detents in all 3 positions. The trigger is 2 stage with all the creep taken up in stage 1 and a very crisp and clean break with zero over travel at 3.5 lbs. It is fully adjustable. In my opinion these two stage Howa triggers (exact trigger used on Vanguard Series 2) are the best available in a non-custom rifle. The Hogue stock is something I like. The positive grip in any conditions is important to me. The barrel is totally free floated and the forearm of the stock is rigid compared to most factory synthetic stocks. Many people overlook how important the rigidity of the stock forearm is to consistent accuracy…….a flimsy forearm can allow the stock to touch the barrel in all sorts of variable ways and this will cause accuracy issues for sure. This is not an issue for the Hogue. If you use your rifles in the field by leaning on trees and stuff for impromptu rests, the Hogue will serve you very well.

After working up several loads with bullet weights from 200 grains all the way up to 300 grains, this particular rifle preferred heavier bullets and I landed on a load that drove 300 grain Accubonds to 2400 fps at the muzzle. The rifle was easily sub MOA with several loads.

I have Howa Model 1500 rifles in .308, .204, and .338 and each one of them has been a solid rifle and sub MOA with no adjustments. If you are in the market for a middle priced rifle that offers the same quality and accuracy as much higher priced rifles, consider checking into a Howa Model 1500, you won’t be disappointed.