Does your scope have an AO or side focus ? Any scope adjustments between groups ? I would return any rifle that grouped like that. Howa is a popular brand for value minded people, the coyote hunting
crowd seems to use them on TV quite a bit. It is very much like the Remington 700.
Did you check the tightness of the action screws ? Do you know whether the barrel is properly free floated ? How is the trigger ? What scope and bases are you using ?
I got a Savage 12 243 Win with a steel one piece scope base from Warne and I tried a 3-15 scope from Minox which had neither AO nor SF. I was unable to get groups less than 4" because of the parallax issue that the scope had at 100 yards, which is what the parallax is usually set to at the factory. Returned the Minox scope and got a Vortex Viper 4-16x50 FFP and it shot a 1" group the first time out.