Yesterday afternoon I sighted-in the Howa 1500 Mini-Action rifle in 223 Rem that I am reviewing. The rifle came with a Nikon M-223 4-16×42 SF scope. It only took five rounds of Federal factory 55 grain soft point ammo to have it on target.
I will be reviewing this rifle and scope combo in detail for the SSAA magazine. Initial impressions are favourable. The scope and rifle are well matched. The scope itself is designed specifically for the 223 Rem cartridge with a ballistic turret tuned to the 55 grain ballistic tipped projectile.
The construction and finish of the fully stainless steel barrel and action is what you would expect for any product engineered and manufactured in Japan. The adjustable trigger was crisp and set at 2.6 pounds. I left that weight of pull unaltered.
The short stroking bolt was silky smooth to cycle and the overall ergonomics of the action and chunky synthetic stock were fine. The shortened bolt makes for a compact and pointy rifle, not quite a carbine, but getting close even with the 22 inch barrel.
Having sighted in I then spent the last hour of the day perched on a favourite rock outcrop on my hunting buddy’s farm. It commands a great view down into the valley below. At different times we have taken game from this very spot. In the last week a wild dog had been sighted and the rock was a great place to try for a shot. The rock and its immediate surrounds are also party-central for the local brown snakes, so gaiters were required apparel.
No dogs appeared however, so the rifle will now get its field test on a Chital deer hunt in January. Between now and then I will test its accuracy with a variety of factory ammo and handloads at the local SSAA range.