The Howa 1500 is a bolt-action rifle that has been around for decades, and for good reason. Although Howa isn’t the most well-known name in rifle manufacturing, it does a great job at creating quality rifles at affordable prices. It has a consistent reputation for quality, and the 1500 has always functioned perfectly.
The Howa 1500 is available in pretty much every popular rifle caliber, and with a variety of different stocks, finishes, and barreled actions. Mine is chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum and features a stainless steel finish. You have the choice of a stainless or blued finish, but I prefer stainless because it’s more durable and resistant to corrosion. It is a bit more expensive, but worth it in my opinion.
While the 1500 is accurate enough for a hunting rifle, a free-floated barrel would help. The current hammer-forged barrel features a 1:10 RH twist rate, which won’t let you achieve much better than 1-MOA groups from 100 yards. However, it’s very easy to switch to a free-floated barrel and achieve half-MOA groups from the same distance. It’s also drilled-and-tapped for scope mounts, which will only help your accuracy even more. Try installing a Leupold VX-Freedom for hunting, and you won’t be disappointed.
People have mixed opinions on this rifle’s trigger. It’s definitely not a target trigger, but with minimal take-up and a smooth pull right out of the box, it’s decent enough for hunting purposes. If you find that the current two-stage trigger doesn’t meet your needs, there are many aftermarket options available.
One feature I really like is the 1500’s three-position safety. At position one, both the trigger and bolt are operable. At position two, the trigger is inoperable, but the bolt is still operable to let you load and unload without any risk of accidentally discharging. When the safety is in position three, neither the bolt nor the trigger is at risk of going off. There’s an audible click each time the safety is pushed forward or back, so you always know which position it is in.
The magazine capacity depends on which model you choose, but mine features a 3+1 capacity. It also has a barrel length of 24”, which brings the overall length to 44.75”, and it weighs just around 8 lbs. It’s about the same size as the Benelli Lupo, but since Howa is famous for its affordable rifles, you can expect to pay only between $500-$600 for the 1500. It’s a great option for what you’ll spend, and even offers a 100 percent lifetime guarantee.
If you’re looking for an affordable, durable, and accurate rifle for either long-range shooting with binoculars or hunting, you won’t be disappointed with the Howa 1500. There are some definite downsides, but it’s highly customizable and can become the perfect firearm with the right modifications.
Richard Douglas writes on firearms, defense, and security issues. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, 1945, Daily Caller, and other publications.