Bergara vs Howa - please help me decide

Americaninfidel55

Private
Minuteman
Feb 9, 2019
6
0
2
Oregon
Hello. I'm new to the site and new to the world of precision shooting. Looking to get a good rifle to learn and grow with. Narrowed it down to 6.5 CM and I think I'm down to either the HMR or the Howa Bravo as they both seem to fit that $1k budget and are set up nice out of the box. I want to be able to take it to 1000 yards at some point and want a rifle I can grow into. From what I can tell from other threads they seem like capable rifles but I'd love to hear your options between these two as well as any pros/cons you've experienced with them. Thank you so much!
 

amcardon

Private
Hessian
Minuteman
Jan 30, 2018
90
55
24
OKC
I don't think you'd go wrong with either. I have multiple Howa 1500s and they are all great rifles. Haven't shot a Bergara, but heard nothing but good about those. Many on here have said they prefer the bolt on the bergara over the howa. Aside from the barreled action, which chassis/stock has the features you'd prefer? Have you fondled both? I'd get behind them both, see which you prefer and buy it.
 

echo6tango

Retired
Belligerents
Apr 4, 2009
37
12
12
Atlanta
Had a Howa 1500 in 308 and traded for an HMR in 6.5 creed. I loved the Howa. It was accurate and had a great trigger. The downside to the Howa is that the aftermarket isn't near that of the Bergara since the Bergara follows Remington 700 footprint on things like stocks and triggers.

Based solely on the aftermarket support, I'd go with the Bergara, but I think you'd be happy with either one.
 

Americaninfidel55

Private
Minuteman
Feb 9, 2019
6
0
2
Oregon
Thank you guys for the input. I'm really trying to balance it out. I tend to overthink it probably too much. Sounds like I can't go wrong either way.
 

etn2type

Private
Belligerents
Jun 1, 2018
96
36
24
TX
Have a B14 HMR and a Howa 1500. The Bergara was almost straight out of the box ready to go, just needed an optic base, rings and optic. The Howa started as a barreled action from Brownells. It now sits in a KRG Bravo and has had some other work done to it. I like both, they both shoot very well. The Bergara is a 6.5 Cm and the Howa is .308. Like everyone else has said, the Bergara will have more aftermarket offerings, but the Howa 1500 rifles are coming into their own as far as aftermarket goes.
 

A-Rob

Private
Belligerents
May 2, 2017
219
106
49
Lake City, FL
I have a Howa. I really wish the aftermarket would pick up, but it's not a deal breaker for me. There are plenty of chassis options out there and some pre-fit barrel options. The trigger is really good, but I would like an even better option like Triggertech, etc. If I was dead set on a certain chassis, like the XLR Envy, that doesn't have a Howa inlet I'd get the Bergara.
 

Subwrx300

Major Hide Member
Belligerents
Jan 15, 2014
1,335
855
219
Cedar Springs, MI
I've built several Howa 1500 rifles and have run 10,000+ rounds through them over the years. Always solid and repeatable.

-Criterion prefits barrels when you burn out the factory tube. Use Bighorn barrel nut for DIY barrel changes.
-Timney trigger available 1.5-4lbs
-Manners, HS Precision, MDT, MPA and more offer -stocks/chassis.

Like others have said, the Bergara does have an edge on total parts available but there are some benefits to the Howa action that can be easy to overlook:
  • HACT trigger is pretty damn good! Feels more like a Timney than a factory trigger.
  • Beefy Integral tapered recoil lug; easy to bed
  • Front Action screw bolts into bottom of recoil lug so zero movement when torqued.
  • Rear action screw located behind trigger and mounts into rear tang.
  • Flat bottom action pattern helps with consistentcy when bedding into stock.
  • Three position safety so you can cycle action while on safe (not sure if Berg has this)
  • Mauser style extractor to get positive extraction without slipping over rim.
  • Bayonet style firing pin disassembly; easy to take apart and reassemble with zero tools.
  • SubMOA guarantee for life of rifle; may or may not matter depending on your needs though.
  • Legacy Sports has AWESOME customer service and have been active here on hide lately. @Matt @ LSI can take care of you if you run into any issues/questions.
I've built 6 Howas and all of them shot 1/2 or better (except the 308, that was closer to .75).

Either rifle is great option, but my vote goes to Howa for the reasons above.

20190109_152502.jpg
 

ingraham

Banhammer
Banned !
Minuteman
Aug 11, 2018
189
328
69
49
Either the Bergara or Howa will serve you fine for an entry level rifle. It sounds like you like the Bergara more so get what you want.

Now I understand your situation on being on a fixed income. Seeing the cost per round of surplus ammo sure makes it very attractive. However you won't be learning much with ammo that isn't going to provide consistent results down range. Lots or shooting with inconsistent ammo isn't going to make you a better shooter. You'd be much better off shooting fewer rounds with match grade ammo to learn.

The same goes for budget optics. If you don't have an optic that is isn't reliable your going to just be flinging ammo down range without good feedback. The only optics that are going to be okay to get you by in the $400 range is the SWFA fixed power scopes or an Athlon Argos.
 

Americaninfidel55

Private
Minuteman
Feb 9, 2019
6
0
2
Oregon
I've built several Howa 1500 rifles and have run 10,000+ rounds through them over the years. Always solid and repeatable.

-Criterion prefits barrels when you burn out the factory tube. Use Bighorn barrel nut for DIY barrel changes.
-Timney trigger available 1.5-4lbs
-Manners, HS Precision, MDT, MPA and more offer -stocks/chassis.

Like others have said, the Bergara does have an edge on total parts available but there are some benefits to the Howa action that can be easy to overlook:
  • HACT trigger is pretty damn good! Feels more like a Timney than a factory trigger.
  • Beefy Integral tapered recoil lug; easy to bed
  • Front Action screw bolts into bottom of recoil lug so zero movement when torqued.
  • Rear action screw located behind trigger and mounts into rear tang.
  • Flat bottom action pattern helps with consistentcy when bedding into stock.
  • Three position safety so you can cycle action while on safe (not sure if Berg has this)
  • Mauser style extractor to get positive extraction without slipping over rim.
  • Bayonet style firing pin disassembly; easy to take apart and reassemble with zero tools.
  • SubMOA guarantee for life of rifle; may or may not matter depending on your needs though.
  • Legacy Sports has AWESOME customer service and have been active here on hide lately. @Matt @ LSI can take care of you if you run into any issues/questions.
I've built 6 Howas and all of them shot 1/2 or better (except the 308, that was closer to .75).

Either rifle is great option, but my vote goes to Howa for the reasons above.

View attachment 7021794
Thank you for the detailed layout. I appreciate it. I do love the look of that chassis. The sub MOA guarantee is awesome and honestly the fact that customer service is great is huge to me so that's good to know!! I like a company that stands behind their products so strongly.
 

Americaninfidel55

Private
Minuteman
Feb 9, 2019
6
0
2
Oregon
Either the Bergara or Howa will serve you fine for an entry level rifle. It sounds like you like the Bergara more so get what you want.

Now I understand your situation on being on a fixed income. Seeing the cost per round of surplus ammo sure makes it very attractive. However you won't be learning much with ammo that isn't going to provide consistent results down range. Lots or shooting with inconsistent ammo isn't going to make you a better shooter. You'd be much better off shooting fewer rounds with match grade ammo to learn.

The same goes for budget optics. If you don't have an optic that is isn't reliable your going to just be flinging ammo down range without good feedback. The only optics that are going to be okay to get you by in the $400 range is the SWFA fixed power scopes or an Athlon Argos.
I get that. I will be using match grade ammo or hand loads. As far as optics go I will also be getting a quality piece of glass. Most I'm looking at cost more than the rifle but even if I have to save to get it then it's worth it to me to make sure my starting point on this journey is at a good place. I appreciate the input a lot.
 

Subwrx300

Major Hide Member
Belligerents
Jan 15, 2014
1,335
855
219
Cedar Springs, MI
Thank you for the detailed layout. I appreciate it. I do love the look of that chassis. The sub MOA guarantee is awesome and honestly the fact that customer service is great is huge to me so that's good to know!! I like a company that stands behind their products so strongly.
One other benefit I failed to mention is that the action turns smooth as glass on silk after a few hundred cycles. They are good out of the box but amazing after being run for a bit.

I'm most actions will do this to but some need more love to get to that point. I've heard Bergaras are better than most in this regard.

Just remember that nothing is forever. You can always buy another rifle that fills in your gaps when find out what you like/dislike.

Post back when you have your new rifle in hand! Good luck!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Americaninfidel55

deanq

Private
Belligerents
Nov 30, 2007
46
5
12
Buckeye, AZ - USA
A howa uses metric threads on the barrel tenon also I'm pretty sure. That will drastically reduce the gunsmiths that will rebarrel it for you when the time comes.
Just to be up-front, my 223 trainer is a re-barreled Howa (that I re-barreled) and I love it. But....If you don't do your own machine work, the number of Gunsmiths that will work on metric can be counted on one hand.
After market equipment is "slowly" becoming available for Howas which is a plus, but Rem 700 footprint accessories are everywhere. If the initial outlay for the Howa is cheap enough to get significantly better glass, go Howa, otherwise look at Bergara. I personaly don't think you can go wrong with either choice to start out though! JMHO
 

Subwrx300

Major Hide Member
Belligerents
Jan 15, 2014
1,335
855
219
Cedar Springs, MI
Here's results after rebuilding and playing with bipod position on Arcalock rail. Just shot it today; first time since rebuild.

Howa 1500 Criterion barrel, 140 ELD 41gr H4350. Last two groups shot back to back with minor rear bag position change. Goes to show just how much rear bag and bipod position can affect groups even at 100yds.

20190210_142351.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Americaninfidel55

stello1001

Professional Newb
Belligerents
Feb 20, 2017
1,178
489
89
Corpus Christi TX
People are saying that the bergara has so much more aftermarket support than the howa but I have a Howa and never felt like I couldn't find something for it that it needed. There is all the aftermarket support for Howas that they need. Great triggers, so damn accurate out of the box, receivers won't need any work on them, and regardless of them being metric, there ARE reputable smiths that can dig into them if needed.
 

stello1001

Professional Newb
Belligerents
Feb 20, 2017
1,178
489
89
Corpus Christi TX
I had this very question back in October of 2017 i believe, Howa vs Bergara.

https://forum.snipershide.com/threads/howa-1500-vs-bergara-hmr.6668861/

You can see the replies I got. Based on what Mr. Terry Cross stated, I went with Howa. He is a big name in the precision rifle world and so that kind of influenced my decision a bit. Now, granted, that was a good while back so Idk if those issues have been addressed or not. But just so you know, we have a representative from Legacy Sports here on the hide that backs up Howa and will answer our questions if any arise.
 

Americaninfidel55

Private
Minuteman
Feb 9, 2019
6
0
2
Oregon
I had this very question back in October of 2017 i believe, Howa vs Bergara.

https://forum.snipershide.com/threads/howa-1500-vs-bergara-hmr.6668861/

You can see the replies I got. Based on what Mr. Terry Cross stated, I went with Howa. He is a big name in the precision rifle world and so that kind of influenced my decision a bit. Now, granted, that was a good while back so Idk if those issues have been addressed or not. But just so you know, we have a representative from Legacy Sports here on the hide that backs up Howa and will answer our questions if any arise.
I read through your thread. Thank you for the insight. I'm curious if these bergara issues have been worked out? I'll have to look into that.
 

Subwrx300

Major Hide Member
Belligerents
Jan 15, 2014
1,335
855
219
Cedar Springs, MI
People are saying that the bergara has so much more aftermarket support than the howa but I have a Howa and never felt like I couldn't find something for it that it needed. There is all the aftermarket support for Howas that they need. Great triggers, so damn accurate out of the box, receivers won't need any work on them, and regardless of them being metric, there ARE reputable smiths that can dig into them if needed.
100% agree with @stello1001 ... Any gunsmith that has modern, newer lathe technology should be able to cut metric threads without any issues. And if I were to look for quality barrel chambering, I would want to look for a Smith that had good, newer equipment that has been well maintained.

This isn't a knock against old equipment per se, but as I understand it, good machining equipment needs to be continually worked over every few months to ensure precision is maintained.

If a given Smith invests in better equipment, I'd expect there is a higher chance they work to get better results without taking shortcuts.

This is all to say, I wouldn't make my rifle buying decision based on whether a local machinist could cut my threads; instead, I'd ensure a great machinist could cut a new barrel at some point in the future and seek them out when the time was right.
 
Last edited:

4dds

Private
Minuteman
Dec 15, 2017
73
15
12
I’ve never had a Bergera but I’ve had 2 Howas the first was a 243 and the latest is a 6.5 CM. The 6.5 shoots 140eld-m and 130 Berger factory ammo right around .5-.6 moa. I’ve been very happy with both of the Howas
 

SoonerBrad

Private
Belligerents
Oct 15, 2017
1
3
6
I've got an HMR Pro and really like it, it was my first rifle to start out in precision shooting. I wanted something out of the box I could shoot sub moa with factory ammo(I dont reload) and it does that. Nicely built rifle and smooth action, I'm sure the HMR is the same way. I cant speak for a Howa as I've never owned one but I wouldn't hesitate to buy one of them either.