This morning I managed to sneak in a quick range session with the Howa 1500 Mini Action in 223 Rem that I am reviewing. There were any number of other pressing matters I should have been attending too, but I was keen to run some factory ammo through it to test accuracy and confirm the sighting.
A few weeks ago, before my trip to Perth, I put five rounds through it at my hunting buddy’s home range, and then spent the last hour of that day trying for a wild dog. This morning was the first time I have picked up the rifle since then.
First up was a good clean. The Howa has a stainless barrel, which does seem to make that a bit easier. I was a bit naughty on that first day too. Most times, with any new barrel, I would shoot one and clean, shoot two and clean, shoot three and clean then clean every five rounds for the first fifty rounds.
This morning at Ravenshoe SSAA range the barrel responded quickly to my cleaning efforts and I was ready for the opening. I ran a few different lots of factory ammo through the Howa, cleaning thoroughly every five shots. That way, each new lot of ammo had the same cool, clean barrel.
The factory ammo all shot in the 0.8 to 1.3 MOA range, which I thought was pretty good. From the selection the Howa seemed to prefer Federal’s 55 grain soft point loading. I fired a couple more five shot groups of those and kept them all sub-MOA. The Howa with that ammo would be a deadly combination for dogs, pigs, goats and smaller deer.
I had some handloads for my own 223 Rem, but they were a smidge too tight to comfortably chamber in the Howa, so I will next load my favourite 60 grain Nosler Partitions on the spent cases from the Howa. Another range session to test and sight those, plus try some more factory ammo then I will be keen to head bush and take the Howa hunting.