View Full Version : Howa 1500 Varmint - Laminate Thumbhole - .308Win

19-07-2008, 04:54 PM
Hi All,

I said I would write a review of this once I had fired it, so here goes....

My first impression of the Howa when I saw it was that it was going to be an expensive rifle, I was in the shop looking at .308's for my future variation and came across one on the rack, it was in the hogue stock and had the blued action, after picking it up and having a feel it was ok, had a good weight and i preferred it to the remington 700 sps that I was also looking at, then i was pointed in the direction of a lovely looking thumbhole stock version. (this time in .223) soon as I had it in my hand I knew that it was the rifle for me.....

fast forward 4 months and I got the call to say that my howa 1550 varmint 308 was in! so off i went to the gun shop and picked it up, I got the nikko scope, nikko rings and leupold base's with it, first thing I did was change the rings to some warne rings as the nikko ones are "lets say not good". the scope that came with it went right onto my .22lr style and the bushnell elite I had waiting went onto the howa.

fast forward to today and I had my first opportunity to fire it, now let me tell you that the weather was a bit all over the place, wind was blowing a fairly costant 8 with gusts up to 15 from time to time, because of the booking today I also had to do my initial zero'ing at 300 yards, I had bore sighted the rifle at home and it took about 5 shots to get it where i wanted on the paper, unfortunately that was all the practice I got with it really as we where then right into competition! wich included rounds sitting and standing. This unfortunately meant that I diddent get a chance to see how well i could get it to group, (need to book some time at a 100 yard range and get some rounds through it!).

so how did it go, well it went well im very confident that the rifle is going to out shoot me forever more! I came 11th in the end which wasn't last and that was all that mattered!

The only problems that I have come across is that the 2 front sling swivels are a little loose (easily sorted and number one job after writing this!) and the other is that I ran out of elevation for the 400 and 600 yard parts of the competition but this really is down to my Bushnell scope more than anything, (have put a wanted ad for a 20 MOA rail on the sales section! so if anyone has one, have emailed ken farrel as well!)

the gun performed excellently, it is a little fiddly to load but that is more me getting used to the floorplate mag, most of the rounds of the comp required loose rounds and single loading, which i might add it is really easy to do with the howa, I did fine it really quick to load the mag if the bottom door of the mag was opened but not removing the spring bit so that the bullets can just fall in, then click it back into place (if that makes sense!).

feeding from the floorplate mag is great it never failed to pick up a round or jammed while i was using it today.

The bolt is a little stiff to open once fired but none more so than most .308's I have shot. it is however very smooth to slide open and closed.

The trigger is good but could do with lightning just a nubbin for me, I though it would be ok as it breaks very crisply with no creep but having had it on the range it is just a nub too heavy so will need to sort that out, but again nothing major.

so my overall impressions, with the trigger sorted and a good bit of range time I think this is going to turn out to be a fantastic target shooter, I think it is more than capable and with a little practise I think im going to really enjoy using this gun,

Would I recommend a howa, hell yea! fantastic value for money and a real pleasure to use and it is heavy enough so that my shoulder has no idea that I have put 100 rounds downrange today!

hope that all makes sence, but hey im no auther!


19-07-2008, 05:46 PM
Good review.
Do you have some pics of your combo?

Regards, Bart

19-07-2008, 07:05 PM
Pictures as requested.

http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/dazzler222/Howa%201500/howa1.jpg (http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/dazzler222/Howa%201500/howa1.jpg)
http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/dazzler222/Howa%201500/howa2.jpg (http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/dazzler222/Howa%201500/howa2.jpg)
http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/dazzler222/Howa%201500/howa3.jpg (http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk145/dazzler222/Howa%201500/howa3.jpg)

19-07-2008, 08:21 PM
very nice set up mate very nice :)

nice one
19-07-2008, 08:31 PM
i fancy one of these in 204

simon bmann
20-07-2008, 06:44 AM
I have the same rifle, with the same stock, in .243 It is without doubt the most accurate rifle I have ever owned. I bought it when Howa were first being introduced to this country, before the brand was established. Consequently I paid peanuts for it, 400! Incidentally, Howa are a well established arms manufacturer. They have been making the actions for Weatherby rifles for years! Mine is threaded and wears a PES moderator. A good review mate, and I agree with your sentiments, I would recommend a Howa rifle to anyone, they represent outstanding value for money.

got2 shoot it
20-07-2008, 01:07 PM
hi i got the same modle in 22.250 yesterday the looks n feel of it makes you think you have a well expensive gun i just cant wait to get out to try it
cheers george

19-08-2008, 01:45 PM
Some Pics and targets from today, the good groups on the targets are using German Surplus, the really spread ones on the bottom right and top far right are SA surplus... glad i only have 10 rounds of it left!

See Pics



19-08-2008, 04:23 PM
I've never seen a Howa with that colour stock! allways the grey colour.

Is it just on Howa .308's that you get the wood colour or is it just that my local gun shop always has Howa's in Grey

Any one know, as I'm looking for a Howa .223 and would prefer it in the wood colour.:)

19-08-2008, 05:24 PM
all of the laminates either come in grey (pepper) or the wood (nutmeg), but if your local shop don't have it in that colour they will have to order it in, (as they had to with mine!)


1911 Shooter
20-08-2008, 11:12 AM
Have to agree with you Dazzler, the varmint is an excellent piece of kit!


21-08-2008, 10:22 AM
Dazzler, she is gorgeous.
Got one on order myself although not Thumbhole but that nice "Nutmeg" stock
is just superb.
In the photo you have a Leupy on it but mention an Elite.
I'm stuck between the VX III 6.5-20x40 or the Elite 6-24x40.
Which did you choose in the end ?

21-08-2008, 11:16 AM
in the first pics it has the elite 3200 on it, but now that is on my HMR and I have a leupold VXII 6-18x40 (with target turrets) on it, also now has the ken farrell 20MOA rail on, (which is not on it in the pictures)


21-08-2008, 11:59 AM
Hi Dazzler,
I have the howa varmit in 223 great rifle I agree with your impressions of the Howa they do seem to make good rifles!

Out of interest where did you get the ken farrell 20MOA rail as I am after one of those for my Howa?

22-08-2008, 04:38 PM
the 20MOA rail came from a guy on here (engin i think) he had it spare, but I did order the screws fro it from K Farrell and they came in from the states in 4 days,

he will post to the uk.


23-08-2008, 07:43 AM
Thanks dazzler.
I will look into ordering from Ken Farrel.
Thanks for the info

08-09-2008, 07:31 PM
Hi Dazzler nice rifle!not seen you down at Zelah before??you must go on Sundays?Anyway will look you up in Lostwithiel one day I live over there too!!!cheers Onehole.

11-09-2008, 07:49 AM
When I goto Zelah it is on a sunday, im only a new member really, just doing my probation, will be down there next sunday i think, as this sunday im up at millpool with the tamar rangers,