proper torque

I don't know much about the Howa.

It'd be helpful to know what stock it's in and if it's pillar bedded.

I use 65 in/lbs on my Remingtons but some of the benchrest folks feel this is too much.

I'll do a quick check and see if I can find some more info specific to the Howa 1500.
As Dave pointed out, 65 in/lbs is the "accepted standard" for the M700. However, one of mine prefers 45 in/lbs.

You might want to just experiment with your Howa. Try 45, then 55, then 65, and see if it shows a preference. Kinda like load development, on the rifle.
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