I have the Weatherby Vangard tactical version in .223 which is a Howa1500. Probably the best $429 I ever spent and I bought it brand new from Sportsman Wharehouse. Last time I was there they still had them for 429 bucks.
It's a 20in. 1-12 and loves 25.5gr of Benchmark and 50gr. Nosler BT's.
Best thing In my opinion you can do soon as you open the box is throw the trigger away and get a aftermarket trigger. The stock trigger is a POS. I put a Timney in mine. Best 150 bucks you can spend on a Howa and I can't begin to tell you how much difference it made.
Yes, the triggers are a pain. THey can be adjusted down to a very quality trigger pull but you have to then modify the safety plunger rod so that the safety will function.
My 223 still has the factory trigger and it breaks at a clean 1 3/4 lbs and has less then 1.5 oz variation but its not easy to modify them to get a really good trigger pull. I did mine just to "learn how to do it".
An aftermarket trigger is much easier and probably no more money.
My main problem with these rifles is that if someone wants one worked on, in my experience, about 80% of the time, the barrel is so tight to the receiver that it has to be cut off and bored out of the receiver threads before you can install a new barrel. Not an overly hard thing to do but just a pain.
I tried to take the barrel off a 22-250 Howa 1500 last year. The customer wanted the barrel back if at all possible. I had a 4 foot cheater bar on my receiver wrench handle and all my weight on it and it would not budge, tried all the tricks to break it loose, nothing worked, in the end had to cut it off.
The interesting thing is that they do not use a thread locker on the threads. IF you relieve the tension on the barrel shoulder, generally the barrel can be thread off by hand!!! Those Japs know how to torque a barrel down hard!!! LOL
Allen Precision Shooting
Home of the Allen Magnum, Allen Xpress and Allen Tactical Wildcats and the Painkiller Muzzle brakes.
I've had my Howa 1500 Tumbhole Varminter supreme for three years now. I've tested loads using 40gr bullets (Amax, Vmax, Barnes and Nosler) with various powder combinations and Benchmark gave the best results with Nosler or Vmax. I've since moved up to Nosler 52gr for better wind bucking ability out west on long range Pdogs. Again Benchmark worked best in my gun (24grs, Win brass, Win primers). This gun consistently shoots .75" groups at 200yds with a 100yd zero.
One think for sure each gun is different, my wife's 1500 Varminter supreme likes 52gr Vmax a little better with 23.9gr of Benchmark. You just have to test it to be sure.
Trigger is the worst part on these guns, but nothing a quick Timney swap can't fix. Hope this helps and enjoy.
Howa 1500/Axiom stock .308
Howa 1500 Thumbhole Varminter .223
Thompson Center ProHunter 209x50 SS/RT camo
H&R Pardner pump 20ga
S&W M&P 9mm
Colt .38 police special
Hoyt Lazertec 70lb, GT410gr, Muzzy 3bld
I know this is a way old thread, but I'm at work with a lot ot down time. I have that same barreld action in a Bell & Carlson medalist stock. This gun absolutly loves both the Fiochi 40 gran vmax and my hand loaded 50 grain vmax rounds.
My best load to date is:
Brass: Winchester brass full length sized and trimmed to 1.75
Powder: 26 grains of vitavhori N133 (manual lists this as a compressed load)
Primer: wolf small rifle primer
The vitavhori manual books this load at 3500 FPS but I have not verified it with a chronograph. This load will consistantly group small enough to hit prairie dog sized targets at at reasonable ranges.