Here in Australia Howas are regarded very well, people are having great results with these rifles.
Mine is a Howa 1500HB in 22.250 and is exstreamly accurate with some very good groups coming with handloads .3"-.5" being very very common. I've even shot a few groups of .5" at 200m with this rifle, I couldn't ask more from a hunting rifle.
I was out hunting foxes with a mate and nailed one at 248m under the spotlight straight through the shoulders, I also did some range testing at 260m with it and shot 2 rounds only and both were almost in 1 hole!
Howa's have a very good reputation for being very accurate (best kept secret in the firearms industry) I know quite a few people who have decided to give them a go and have been very pleased with their decision to the point that Howa's are the only rifle they will buy now. For the money trust me you won't be disapointed at all, these things often outshoot rifles with price tags of 4 or 5 times their price tag! I put mine up against a Sako 204 custom with a Heavy target barrel and lets just say the owner was some what amazed at how well the Howa shot compared to his rifle!
There is a company in Germany I think from memory, that specalise in Customising Howas! for target shooting, that's got to be telling you something! Lots of Custom Rifle Makers recommend Howa Actions for Building top quaity custom guns off, again that's got to be telling you something!
I just bought the Barreled Action and then imported a Boyds Thumbhole stock in the colour "Pepper" fantastic stocks nothing to do other than drop the action into it, other than some trigger work the rifle is standard, no bedding work at all. The scope is a Zeiss 6.5-20x50 and is brilliant couldn't be happier with it.