Some of them first imported on this go around have stocks that will kick the beejeses out of you. Looks like they have put plastic stocks on them now so that part should be ok. It's a decent rifle made to a price point, resale is poor.
I have shot some of the older rifles and there shooters for sure. Now for the newer ones i just don't know. The older rifle i shoot was a 300 win mag and would shoot sub-moa all day long. I did of coarse try to buy the rifle and the 89 yr old man said no, he just wanted someone to shoot it for him to see if it was still dead-I-dick accurate like it woulntd't be.
I recently bought a Weatherby Vanguard in .223 which apart from a few cosmetic differences is basically a Howa. It is a great shooter and according to the numerous reviews on Howa rifles I have read they are just as good.The synthetic stocks are made by Hogue,a leader in this type of stock making and the combination results in a nice overall package.
I have a 1500 in .223 with a B&L scope and it shoots sub-minute groups all day long. Put 10 consecutive rounds in the right half of a coke can bottom at 348 yards. Couldn't see the left half as it was buried.
Buy the Howa, you will be very happy and totally amazed at the quality. I have two and consider them as good or better than any rifle I have ever shot or owned. I do not agree that the resale is poor as I have sold three on Gunbroker for top dollar very quickly. I have a 204 ruger Howa that is a real tack driver and a blast to shoot. I also have a Smith & Wesson made by Howa that I bought in 1980. I have quite a few rifles and the Howa is at the top of the list in performance and quality
An excellent bargain. The new 1500 30-06 I bought about a month ago came in a Hogue pillar bedded stock, has a good trigger and shot cloverleaf groups right out of the box. Paid around $350 for it and could not be more pleased.
In the price range the Weatherby vanguard and the Howa 1500 are had to beat. They are the same gun for the most part and are both made by Howa in japan.
I sighted in and did load development for a friends in 243 and it shot 1/2 inch groups at 100 and I fired a 5 shot group at 300 that was right at 2 inches.
My father in law sold them at a local discount store and saw many that came with 3 shot targets that were less then 1/2 inch and 90% were better then an inch. Mu understanding is that The Weatherby Vanguard no longer comes with a test target so I suspect the 1 1/2 inch group guarantee must have gone away as well. It wouldn't concern me one bit. If I wanted a light, accurate, inexpensive rifle with a good trigger I would buy the Weatherby Vanguard ( it's a Howa) Jeff
A few weeks ago CDNN had the sand stock version for $339. That is a really good buy. I have a HOWA 1500 with the thumbhole stock in 6.5x55. I bought it because I wanted a hunting gun in the same caliber as my silhouettte rifle and the 6.5x55 is available only from Howa, Tikka, and SAKO. All three are excellent but I picked the Howa. It shoots about an inch at a hundred yards. I am very pleased with it and haven't regretted my purchase at all.