HOWA 1500 Barreled Actions from Brownells: 6mm Creedmoor Build Kick-Off

For a LONG time I’ve wanted to build my own HOWA 1500 rifle, and I decided now was the time! HOWA actions are known to shoot really well- they are made in Japan, and the quality shows. But what if you want to build something “just the way you want it”,  and you don’t want to have to pay for a complete rifle as a starting point? A lot of people will start with a “bare action”, but what if you don’t want to fit a barrel? The answer is HOWA complete barreled action from Brownells. Brownells has worked out an exclusive deal with HOWA to offer complete barreled actions for sale online- all you have to do is order the barreled action you want, have it shipped to your FFL, and get to work building your rifle! And that’s exactly what I’m doing- starting with this article! I’ll be walking through my custom HOWA 1500 build, and cover 6mm Creedmoor in-depth.

Barreled Actions from Brownells

Brownells offers the following barreled actions: (click HERE for full list on Brownells)

204 RUGER #2 BARRELED ACTION STANDARD BARREL BLUE
204 RUGER #1 BARRELED ACTION LW CERAKOTE GRAY
222 REM BARRELED ACTION MINI ACTION LW BLUE
223 REM #2 BARRELED ACTION STD CERAKOTE GRAY
223 REM 20″ THREADED HEAVY BARRELED ACTION
223 REM BARRELED ACTION MINI ACTION HEAVY BLUE
223 REM. 22 BARRELED ACTION MINI ACTION STANDARD BLUE
223 REM FLUTED #6 BARRELED ACTION VAR HVY BLUE
223 REM #1 BARRELED ACTION LW CERAKOTE GRAY
223 #6 THREADED 1/2-28 BARRELED ACTION HEAVY 24″ BRL BLUE
22-250 THREADED HEAVY BARRELED ACTION
22-250 REM #6 BARRELED ACTION VARMINT HEAVY BARREL BLUE
22-250 REM BARRELED ACTION VAR HVY CERAKOTE GRAY
22-250 REM #2 BARRELED ACTION STD CERAKOTE GRAY
22-250 REM #1 BARRELED ACTION LIGHTWEIGHT BLUE
22-250 REM #2 BARRELED ACTION STANDARD BARREL BLUE
22-250 REM #6 BARRELED ACTION VARMINT HEAVY BARREL BLUE
243 WIN #2 BARRELED ACTION STD CERAKOTE GRAY
243 WIN #2 BARRELED ACTION STANDARD BARREL BLUE
243 WIN #1 BARRELED ACTION LW CERAKOTE GRAY
270 WIN #2 BARRELED ACTION STANDARD BARREL BLUE
6mm CREEDMOOR 24″ HEAVY BARRELED ACTION
6.5 CREEDMOOR 24″ THREADED HEAVY BARRELED ACTION
6.5 CREEDMOOR 22″ SPORTER BARRELED ACTION
6.5 CREEDMOOR 26″ THREADED HEAVY BARRELED ACTION
6.5 CREEDMOOR #1 BARRELED ACTION LIGHTWEIGHT BLUE
6.5 CREEDMOOR 26″ THREADED SEMI-HEAVY BARRELED ACTION
6.5 CREEDMOOR #2 BARRELED ACTION STD CERAKOTE GRAY
6.5 CREEDMOOR #1 BARRELED ACTION LW CERAKOTE GRAY
6.5 GRENDEL 20″ THREADED HEAVY BARRELED MINI ACTION
6.5 GRENDEL 22″ SPORTER BARRELED MINI ACTION
6.5X55 SW #2 BARRELED ACTION STD CERAKOTE GRAY
7MM REM MAG #2 BARRELED ACTION MAG CERAKOTE GRAY
7MM BARRELED ACTION SEMI HEAVY BARREL 1/2-28 THREAD
7MM REM MAG #2 BARRELED ACTION MAG BLUE
308 WIN 24″ HEAVY BARRELED ACTION
308 WIN 22″ SPORTER BARRELED ACTION
308 WIN 20″ THREADED HEAVY BARRELED ACTION
308 WIN 24″ THREADED HEAVY BARRELED ACTION
308 WIN #1 BARRELED ACTION LIGHTWEIGHT BLUE
308 WIN #2 BARRELED ACTION STD CERAKOTE GRAY
308 WIN #6 THREADED BARRELED ACTION HEAVY 26″ BRL BLUE
30-06 22″ SPORTER BARRELED ACTION CERAKOTE
30-06 #2 BARRELED ACTION STANDARD BARREL BLUE
7.62X39 22 BARRELED ACTION MINI ACTION STANDARD BLUE
7.62X39 20″ THREADED HEAVY BARRELED MINI ACTION
300BLK 16.25″ HEAVY THREADED BARREL MINI ACTION
300 WIN MAG #2 BARRELED ACTION MAG BLUE
300 WIN MAG THREAD 1/2-28 BARRELED ACTION SEMI HEAVY BARREL
300 WIN MAG #2 BARRELED ACTION MAG CERAKOTE GRAY
338 WIN MAG #2 BARRELED ACTION MAG CERAKOTE GRAY

Yes, that’s 51 different options for HOWA 1500 barreled actions! Crazy. Regardless of what you plan to build, there’s most likely a great complete barreled action option for you.

HOWA 1500 6mm Creedmoor Heavy barreled Action

From the Brownells HOWA 1500 6mm Creedmoor Barreled Action product page:

The Howa 1500 6mm Creedmoor Barreled Action is the ideal platform for shooters who want to build a precision 1,000 yard rifle around the light-recoiling, flat-shooting 6mm Creedmoor cartridge. Even better, Howa makes it possible for you to achieve this at an amazingly affordable price.

Starting with a forged carbon steel short action (SA) receiver, Howa adds a hammer-forged barrel chambered for the popular new 6mm Creedmoor cartridge (old timers may call it a souped up .243 but it’s much more). The tricky chore of headspacing is done for you at the factory, so you can concentrate on matching up the barreled action with the stock of your choice, plus a suitable optic and its mounting hardware.

The Howa 1500 6mm Creedmoor barreled action has a one-piece bolt with oversized target-style knob, traditional twin opposing locking lugs, and an M16 style extractor with plunger for exceptionally smooth and reliable bolt operation. Inside there’s a crisp, light, two-stage HACT (Howa Actuator Controlled Trigger) trigger that delivers a consistent, smooth pull. The release is user-settable at anything from 2.5 to 3.8 lbs. Howa’s three-position safety allows the action to be unloaded while on safe.

    • Comes with one 4-round box magazine
    • Choose Heavy or Semi-Heavy barrel contour (heavy profile shown in this article)
    • 1-7.5″ rifling twist rate
    • 5/8″-24 threaded muzzle, thread cap included
    • Classic blued finish
    • FFL required for purchase

The Howa 1500 6mm Creedmoor barreled action is available with several barrel options. You can get a Heavy Contour barrel in 24″ or 26″ length, or a lighter, easier-to-tote Semi-Heavy barrel in the 26″ length only. All models come with a classic blued finish on action and barrel.

KRG Bravo Chassis

I had really good luck with my first KRG Bravo Chassis (Above, and see my 224 Valkyrie Remington 700 Build Series) so I was eager to get another one, this time for the HOWA 1500 action. Note: the above results were obtained with 224 Valkyrie loads using brand new Starline cases and Nosler 70 grain RDF bullets. Great performance!

Why do I like the KRG Bravo so much? Here are my reasons:

  1. Ergonomics: It’s VERY stable when shooting prone and with a rear bag.
  2. Backbone: With a solid backbone and precision inletting, there’s no need to bed the action, it just stays in perfect alignment.
  3. Features: The Bravo is customizable, has all the attachment points you’d want, and features M-Lok slots.
  4. Sloped Buttstock: I like this type of buttstock profile for easy elevation control with your rear bag (buttstock profile is configurable).
  5. Vertical Grip: Once you try one, you’ll never want to go back.
  6. Looks: This stock says “I’m all business, but with some class”. Form follows function here!
  7. AICS Magazine Compatibility: It’s so nice to be able to use standard quality magazines.
  8. Price Point: The KRG Bravo costs less than most other chassis systems, and doesn’t give up on quality or features.

Here you can see a sneak peek at the complete rifle as first assembled without all accessories and equipment:

All I had to do to install the KRG Bravo was:

  1. Remove the bottom metal and magazine box from the HOWA 1500 action
  2. Torque down the provided action screws to 65 in-lb (torque spec specifically for HOWA)
  3. Tighten the rear top screw to 45 in-lb
  4. Test fit AICS magazine

Very easy! The included instructions make this a straightforward install.

I’ll go into more detail on this stock install, and add more accessories in future posts!

Borecam Analysis

The first thing I did with this action was to run some patches down the bore, and then inspect the bore with my Lyman Borecam. I’ll have to say things looked really good!

I didn’t see any obvious tool marks, and the surface finish for the lands and grooves looks really smooth. This make me think a couple things: this barrel should clean up good (and not foul too bad), and it should shoot good! We’ll get into that in future articles for this series.

TriggerScan Analysis

The HOWA Actuator Controlled Trigger (HACT) was introduced in 2016. I’ve been wanting to try the HACT trigger for a while now, and I thought this would be a great time to use my TriggerScan TS-11. So I put the HOWA 1500 into the TriggerScan test fixture, and ran a few scans. This two-stage trigger did really well as you can see here:

It’s refreshing to see a factory trigger down in the usable pull weight range! With a 1/4 lb first stage, and 2 1/4 lb total pull weight, this trigger “feels like” a 2lb trigger, which is definitely usable.

Here are the key metrics for this trigger:

  • Peak Force: 2.2lb
  • Travel to actuate: 0.096″
  • Overtravel: 0.093″

I plan to cover this trigger (and other HOWA triggers including aftermarket) in future stories, so stay tuned!

Conclusion

So far I’m really impressed with the HOWA 1500 Heavy Barreled Action from Brownells. It’s great to only pay for what you’ll use for your rifle build, and nothing else. Next up, I’ll go over the scope install and sight-in.

If you want to get your own HOWA 1500 barreled action, click here:

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Thanks,
Gavin

One thought on “HOWA 1500 Barreled Actions from Brownells: 6mm Creedmoor Build Kick-Off”

  1. Gavin, just writing to say that I enjoy your videos and your writing. Our sport offers numerous opportunities to acquire new knowledge and learn new skills in the areas of marksmanship, rifle building/assembly and reloading. You are experimenting and reporting on many of those interesting topics in an educational and entertaining way.

    I purchased the same Howa barreled action as you a few months ago as I had heard only good things about the Howa and wanted to experiment with the 6mm Creedmoor. The Howa action is very smooth. I don’t mean to disparage any other brand as I own and enjoy a few of them but, the Howa is a lot more refined than any of the other more common actions in the less-than $500 range today. It compares very favorably to the Tikka action and the integral recoil lug is a big bonus for building accurate rifles.

    For a stock, I put mine in a GRS Berserk. I have been shooting F-Class and my competition rifle is in a GRS X-Eater stock. If you like their stocks, and, I do, they all have the same ergonomics which I find them incredibly comfortable. While not necessary with this particular stock, I installed aluminum pillars and epoxy bedded the recoil lug.

    Normally, when building a rifle, I have a specific objective in mind and that almost always drives projectile choice. I wanted to shoot out to 1500 yards with this build and wanted to use the Berger 105 Hybrid Target projectile. I found that the throat of my 1500 barreled action was cut long — probably to SAAMI spec which, for the 6mm Creedmoor was established by Hornady for use of their 103 and 108 gr. ELD X and M projectiles. After unsuccessfully looking for an acceptable load using the Berger Hybrid Targets, I switched to the 108 ELD-Ms and found quick success using Hornady brass, H4350 and Federal GM210M primers that consistency shoot in the .4s at 3130 FPS. I have had the rifle out to 1000 yards several times and it has been a great performer. Very happy with the value this barreled action represents and even happier with the accuracy. Looking forward to seeing what load you settle on and the performance you get out of your build.

    Thank you for doing what you do!

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