Brad Fitzpatrick: Howa HS Precision Review

Howa combines their excellent action with one of the best stocks in the business to create an accurate, dependable hunting rifle for 2018.

Long before the current budget bolt-action rifle craze, Howa produced superb, affordable hunting and target rifles. At the heart of these guns is Howa’s 1500 action, which utilizes a push-feed design with dual locking lugs that is similar in concept to Remington’s Model 700. Additionally, Howa’s 1500 rifles come with a three-position safety and the company’s HACT (Howa Actuator Controlled Trigger System) trigger. The action is so well-respected that many custom rifle makers use it as the base for their rifles.  

Howa rifles are currently being imported by Legacy Sports International in Reno, Nevada, and this year the company unveiled their new Howa HS Precision rifle. This rifle combines a Howa barreled action with a hand-laminated HS Precision stock. A piece of aluminum is CNC machined to create a bedding block that perfectly mates with the Howa 1500 action.

The bedding block is then placed in a mold and hand-laminated with carbon fiber, fiberglass and Kevlar before being injected with polyurethane foam. A channel in the stock allows the barrel to float freely for maximum accuracy, and each rifle comes with an internal box magazine with a hinged floorplate.

howa hs precision The Howa HS Precision rifle utilizes an internal box magazine with a hinged floorplate. The floorplate release is on the front of the triggerguard.


Hunters can opt for either the sporter version of the rifle with a 22- or 24-inch (depending on caliber) No. 2 contour barrel or a semi-heavy barrel version with a 26-inch  No. 4 contour threaded barrel. Caliber options range from .223 Rem. to .300 Win. Mag.


The rifle that I tested was the sporter version with a gray laminate stock chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor. The rifle carries an MSRP of $1,099, and while that may not qualify as a budget rifle by modern standards, there are a number of features that set this rifle apart from its cheaper competitors. The most obvious of these upgrades is the stock, but the fit and finish and construction of the Howa rifle are excellent. Howa also promises sub-MOA accuracy with all of their rifles.


As it turns out, the Howa performs like an expensive rifle as well. 

To test the company’s accuracy claims I mounted a Leupold VX-2 scope and selected three of my favorite hunting loads: Browning’s new 120-grain BXS, Hornady’s Precision Hunter with 143-grain ELD-X bullets, and Winchester’s Expedition Big Game Long Range ammo with 142-grain AccuBond bullets. The Howa produced groups under an inch with all three loads, which is outstanding for a factory rifle firing factory ammunition, and the smallest group measured just over six-tenths of an inch. 

The HACT two-stage trigger certainly helps generate such impressive accuracy numbers. While some shooters have erroneously criticized the Howa trigger’s “creep,” what you’re actually feeling is takeup. The trigger break is clean and crisp. I grew up with, and appreciate, the security of a three-position safety. There were no issues with feeding, extraction or ejection.


In fact, I’d say that Howa’s new bolt gun is one of the best new hunting rifles of the year.

HOWA HS PRECISION RIFLE

  • Action: Bolt, centerfire
  • Cartridge: 6.5 Creedmoor
  • Capacity: 4+1 rds.
  • Barrel Length: 22 in.
  • Overall Length: 41.5 in.
  • Weight: 7 lbs., 9 oz.
  • Finish: Matte black 
  • Trigger: 3.6 lbs.
  • MSRP: $1,099
  • Manufacturer: Howa
  • Website: Legacysports.com

Recommended for You

Other Hunting

New Gear: MidwayUSA Competition Range Bag

G&F Staff

Perfect for competition or a day at the range.

Walleye

How to Fish Bottom Bouncers for Walleye

Mark Sak - May 23, 2019

While misunderstood by some, fishing bottom bouncers can be a very productive technique for...

Guns

MidwayUSA Pro Series Shooting Mat

G&F Staff

Shooters across the U.S. are using this competition shooting mat.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Electric Filet Knife from Bubba Blades

As OSG's Lynn Burkhead looks on, Josh Neville shows off the cordless and corded versions of a new electric filet knife from Bubba Blades.

Mustad Skatter Shad Bladed Jig

As Mustad continues to expand into an all-around tackle company, Reid McKinstry shows off some innovative features that make the Mustad Skatter Shad bladed jig a winner in big bass waters.

BPT Points Champ Edwin Evers Talks New Berkley Baits

After making the switch to Berkley products heading into the inaugural BPT season, Edwin Evers tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead why Berkley baits played such a key role in his recent angling success.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

Reels

10 Most Common Reel Performance Problems

Anietra Hamper

Here are the 10 most common reel performance problems and how to fix them.

Bass

Bass Pond Fishing: Catch Lunkers at Small Lakes Near You

Dan Anderson - February 13, 2018

Veteran bass anglers often dismiss urban fishing opportunities as "kid's fishing ponds," but...

Catfish

10 Biggest Catfish World Records of All Time

Jack Vitek - December 08, 2014

Unless you live in Antarctica, the only continent they aren't known to inhabit, there is a...

See More Stories

More Guns

SHOT Show

New Shotguns We Found at SHOT Show 2019

G&F Online Staff - January 29, 2019

From waterfowl, to turkey, to targets here are 13 shotguns uncovered by G&F's John Geiger at...

Guns

Critical Features for Your Next Waterfowl Scattergun

Brad Fitzpatrick - March 01, 2019

Here's a look at an all-time iconic shotgun, plus what to look for when selecting a duck gun.

Guns

Best Deer Hunting Rifles for 2018

Game & Fish Online Staff - July 16, 2018

Game & Fish takes a look at six'of the best deer hunting rifles for 2018.

See More Guns

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

×