Howa 1500 .223 accuracy issues

This is a discussion on Howa 1500 .223 accuracy issues within the Rifles forums, part of the Sniping Related category; Hello everybody(i'm new to this forum) :mrgreen: I've got a Howa 1500 in .223 with a 22" standard barrel with a 1:12 twist. Its topped ...

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  1. #1
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    Howa 1500 .223 accuracy issues

    Hello everybody(i'm new to this forum) :mrgreen:

    I've got a Howa 1500 in .223 with a 22" standard barrel with a 1:12 twist. Its topped with a 3-10x42 Nikko Sterling scope. The barrel seems to be free floating(ran a dollar bill down the barrel), has a good trigger(factory) but it hasn't given me the 1" and under groups i'm looking for at 100 yards. Before i bought the rifle i checked out the howa on forums and it seemed like the gun is very capable of at least 1" groups.

    Ammo I've run through it so far(300-400 rounds approx.)
    American Eagle(by federal) 55gr fmj and 50gr hollow points
    Hornady 55gr v-max

    These loads gave 2-3" 3 shot groups at 100 yards.

    What should I do to attain better groups??

    Better ammo? Any good match grade ammo in the 40gr-55gr range?

    Is the barrel broke in yet with 300-400 round run through?

    Maybe i'm not getting the barrel clean enough? How and what do you use to clean your barrels? How often to you clean them to maintain accuracy?

    The action isn't glass bedded so would glass bedding be something that would improve the groups?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member 6.5man's Avatar
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    Re: Howa 1500 .223 accuracy issues

    Couple things...
    Your rifle may be picky on ammo, put some match grade ammo down the tube and see what happens. I'm not an owner of any .223 rifle, so I'm not going to recommend one for you but plenty of people on this site can.

    It could just be you- not to be blunt, but shooting accurately, like anything else, takes practice. I don't know you or your history, but if this is your first rifle, you may just need practice. Are you shooting off a rest or sandbags front and rear?
    Check to make sure the scope rings and base are torqued properly, check to make sure your action is torqued properly.

    Your barrel should be broken in by now, but don't be surprised if you find that it keeps getting more accurate as you put more rounds down it.

    As for cleaning: I'm one of those guys that's a stickler for a clean firearm, but it actually can hurt your accuracy if you keep cleaning it while you shoot. You'll find that the first round through the cold, clean barrel will likely be off from the rest of the group, but as you keep shooting the groups tighten up (as long as the barrel doesnt overheat). A lot people will put a couple rounds down the tube before they start measuring for accuracy. For some reason a little bit of copper down the barrel helps in accuracy, and some people on this site don't even clean their barrel until it's had a few hundred rounds down range.
    Happiness is a warm gun.

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  3. #3
    Senior Member oneeyedmac's Avatar
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    Re: Howa 1500 .223 accuracy issues

    When you say a standard barrel do you mean a standard weight barrel, i.e. a sporter profile? That may be part of the issue. There is a reason that guys who want predictably accurate rifle lug those big heavy barrels around. Is the rifle sitting in a Hogue overmolded stock? They can be pretty flimsy unless they have the aluminum bedding block and the one sold on the Howa rifles from the factory don't if I remember correctly.

    Also, if you can borrow a better scope and try it. The Nikko Sterling isn't what one would call high quality.

  4. #4
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    Re: Howa 1500 .223 accuracy issues

    Well i took the hogue overmolded stock off and oneeyedmac is correct theres no aluminum bedding block. Can i get a block for this stock or do i have to buy a new stock? If I buy a new stock who has a tactical stock that has a bedding block already instaled that would fit a howa 1500? Not having a bedding block seems like something that would greatly affect the accuracy so i'll start there first.

    Does anybody(factory ammo)make some match grade .223 in the 40-55gr range? That would seem like another logical step after i get the stock figured out.

    Quote Originally Posted by oneeyedmac
    When you say a standard barrel do you mean a standard weight barrel, i.e. a sporter profile? That may be part of the issue. There is a reason that guys who want predictably accurate rifle lug those big heavy barrels around.
    I would think that even a regular(sporter profile)barrel should still be capable of delivering enough accuracy to kill coyotes at the 400-500yard range right?

    Thanks

  5. #5
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    Re: Howa 1500 .223 accuracy issues

    I agree with everything said on here so far. I had a Howa Ranchland (which is what it sounds like you have) with the Niko Stirling scope and the Hogue overmold stock in a .308. I never could get 'great' results. One inch groups were about the best I could hope for. I put a B&C medalist with an aluminum bedding block on mine, did a skim bedding job on it myself and saw a lot of improvement. Unfortunately, it's still not shooting subMOA consisently, but I don't blame the rifle. I don't get to shoot a lot anymore, and my mechanics are not what they should be.

    My advice, is find a stock with an aluminum bedding block, skim bed it YOURSELF, and if you're still not happy, find a new scope.

    And one more thing. Even though you think you can't do a bedding job yourself, you're wrong. I'd never done one, and now that I finished this one, I have to say I'll never get rid of this rifle. It holds a special place in my collection. Can't tell you the satisfaction that comes from bedding (and improving) your rifle yourself. Theres lots of good, informative threads on pillar bedding and skim bedding.

    Here's one: http://www.snipershide.com/forum/ubbthr ... 815&page=1

  6. #6
    Senior Member oneeyedmac's Avatar
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    Re: Howa 1500 .223 accuracy issues

    I would think that even a regular(sporter profile)barrel should still be capable of delivering enough accuracy to kill coyotes at the 400-500yard range right?
    Maybe, it's a factory rifle and while the Howa's generally shoot well there is no guarantee. Mel sells his Howa package with a heavy barrel and a Bell & Carlson stock and he reports that the rifles generally shoot in the .75MOA range. The sporter barrel isn't going to be as consistent as a heavy barrel due to a myriad of things. There are reasons that the guys who demand the most accuracy have heavy barrels on their rifles i.e. benchrest shooters, professional snipers and many varmint hunters all utilize a heavy barrel. Heck there is a category in BR for rifles that weigh over 100 pounds and they generally have some fairly stout barrels.

  7. #7
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    Re: Howa 1500 .223 accuracy issues

    Try a different scope and rings I had problems with the Nikko sterling scope that came on one of my Howas'

  8. #8
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    Re: Howa 1500 .223 accuracy issues

    I purchased a Howa 1500 in 308 and topped it off with a Nikon Monarch 4-16. It was the varmint SS heavy barrel with the laminated stock. 1in 10 twist.

    It took me a little time to close up the groups , I used Hornady 168 grn Match, Federal Match and even tried various weight bullets. The best thing I did was to replace the factory trigger with a Timney . I then settled on Hornady 168grn match ,now have a sub min rifle. I am now working on some reloads with Lapua cases, Sierra 168grn MK. Vhitavouri N140.

    Would try the Timney first up then play with the ammo.

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