Howa 1500 or Ruger Predator

Kwfranklin88

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Jan 11, 2020
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I’ve done a lot of research and I have narrowed my choices down. I decided to build up a howa 1500 barreled action 6.5 creedmoor heavy threaded barrel with krg bravo from brownells. As I was researching this barreled action I came across several people saying the howa 1500 has a really stiff/ heavy bolt lift. Some recommend going with a Ruger American Predator with krg bravo. Once I learn to shoot swap the barrel.
I’m new to long range shooting I want a good budget rifle that I can shoot for a year or two and learn the game. Then I will use it for hunting and build a custom rifle for prs. I know both rifles are accurate. Which action should I go with? I would go with tikka and be done with it but I just can’t afford to invest that much in a rifle that I may not use much.
 

Bender830

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Nov 26, 2019
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Some recommend going with a Ruger American Predator with krg bravo
That will be an issue as there is no ruger inlet with the bravo.

The american wont be appreciably lighter than the howa. Both will get better with use as it wears in. Seems like you had your mind made up on the howa until you got fed some incorrect information.
 

Harman117

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Probably confusing KRG Bravo with Magpul Hunter.

Lift on my two Howa's is comparable to any other similarly configured factory rifle I've ever had.

Either option will do what you want. If you're serious about shooting, ammunition costs will quickly become the most expensive component.
 

DarinC

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The Ruger will fit in an oryx for the same cost as the krg. Gotta watch mags though as apparently that can be tricky.

 

stello1001

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I've had both but kept the howa. I sold the Ruger to my cousin who is also my neighbor. I can go over and try out the bolt lifts just to see. Now you have me curious on this lol. I will update later with my final conclusion lol!
 

Kwfranklin88

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Jan 11, 2020
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That will be an issue as there is no ruger inlet with the bravo.

The american wont be appreciably lighter than the howa. Both will get better with use as it wears in. Seems like you had your mind made up on the howa until you got fed some incorrect information.
I was settled on the howa. Everyone highly recommend them for a budget gun.
I saw preffered barrel blanks YouTube video where they compared the howa an Ruger.
They said the howa had a very stiff bolt that caused you to break position in order to chamber another round.
I don’t expect a custom action feel but I also don’t want to struggle with fast follow ups.
 

rhsc

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My Howa .308 has a slightly heavier bolt lift than my M77 Ruger Scout, but the Ruger has about 1500 rounds through it and the Howa just a handful. In either case, the lift isn't excessive.
 
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Kwfranklin88

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My Howa .308 has a slightly heavier bolt lift than my M77 Ruger Scout, but the Ruger has about 1500 rounds through it and the Howa just a handful. In either case, the lift isn't excessive.
As long as I can stay in a firing position and quickly chamber another round I’ll be happy. It’s just a budget gun to learn on and try out the sport.
 

Another Casual

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Every howa I've ever felt at a store felt smooth and well timed. I wouldn't worry about bolt lift and would place it above the Ruger.
 
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Coyote-6

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I dont want to sound rude, but please remember what's important in a gun. I dont think the "feel" of the bolt raise should trump the action/barrel accuracy when actually sending it down range.

And there's a huge difference between Ruger Pred and Howa 1500 barreled actions, let alone the whole trigger component
 
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Kwfranklin88

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I dont want to sound rude, but please remember what's important in a gun. I dont think the "feel" of the bolt raise should trump the action/barrel accuracy when actually sending it down range.

And there's a huge difference between Ruger Pred and Howa 1500 barreled actions, let alone the whole trigger component
I agree! But when they said it was extremely hard to work the bolt it worried me.
 

Coyote-6

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I agree! But when they said it was extremely hard to work the bolt it worried me.
Don't worry about it. There's a LOT of weak ass people out there lol. In all seriousness, your initial thought to build howa barreled action to a krg bravo (wait till Brownells next 10% off sale to get it down to $850 total) and you will be 100% happy with your needs and application. IMO, it's either that or buy a bergara HMR for a bit more, but you might be disappointed with the stock with that one.
 
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Kevins750

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Whoever they are, they don't know shit from shinola
Well MY specific howa has a heavier bolt lift than any rifle I own. That includes savages, rem 700's, win 70's
Not a deal breaker and I am not saying ALL howas are heavy, just mine. I don't own a ruger rifle.
 

Coyote-6

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Uh huh. Like you could measure those things.
If you've ever replaced your barrel you can.

With a go no-go tool you can certainly feel the difference between the 10-20 degrees of barrel rotation. If it's too tight then you have a "stiff" lift because the casing and action are binding, or causing too much pressure on, the lugs.

It's just a guess, but I would think those with a heavy lift when the vast majority of users have no such issue would have tried to troubleshoot at least the basics. The headspace issue could at a minimum be a contributing factor that some might not think of.

Edit: It could also be gun snobs who would never touch a sub-$4k bolt action who feel it's too heavy. But we don't have any of those in the industry, right? ;)
 

308pirate

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Edit: It could also be gun snobs who would never touch a sub-$4k bolt action who feel it's too heavy. But we don't have any of those in the industry, right? ;)
If you think I'm one, you're sadly mistaken
 

Coyote-6

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If you think I'm one, you're sadly mistaken
Haha, stand down my dude, that's not what I was implying at all. In fact, I agree with you. I was just giving another potential reason for the "too heavy" complaint.

I think you and I are fighting on the same side here.

TL:DR - Bolt rise is a non-issue, a user issue, or a gun issue. But it's not normal.
 
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1500varmint

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I was settled on the howa. Everyone highly recommend them for a budget gun.
I saw preffered barrel blanks YouTube video where they compared the howa an Ruger.
They said the howa had a very stiff bolt that caused you to break position in order to chamber another round.
I don’t expect a custom action feel but I also don’t want to struggle with fast follow ups.
That's just not true.

I have no experience with the Ruger but I built a Howa 1500 in .308 last year that I've put a shit-ton of rounds through and I've never had to "break position" to run the action.

Hell, I have a Mosin that I don't have to break position to run. Well, not always...
 
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Drew M

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I have 3 Howa's myself & haven't had any issues,
My 13 year old daughter uses the .223 with no issues (she is small for a 13year old)
 
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Dobbs02si

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I'm not knocking the budget rifles(ruger) as all own are heavy barreled savage axis'. I've sent a few down range in a a friends rap in 6.5...shoots sub moa out to 500 with 129gr soft point hunting ammo. I also worked into a trade for a howa 1500 20" in a krg bravo, did a little load work and gave it to my dad since he kept mentioning a 308. I wish him many more years behind the trigger, but I look forward to getting the howa back one day. It's all subjective, but the bravo is the most comfortable setup up I've been behind. Just my opinion though.
 

Ratliff81

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My Ruger shoots just fine, 3 impacts in a row on a sub moa plate at 800 yards. The bolt is a little tight, the faster you work it the easier it is. Yes it’s not an expensive gun but, I know it and how it reacts. Honestly if you rely on your skills and improving them, and knowing your equipment. You can be accurate with anything. Just my opinion, carry on.
 
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1500varmint

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My Ruger shoots just fine, 3 impacts in a row on a sub moa plate at 800 yards. The bolt is a little tight, the faster you work it the easier it is. Yes it’s not an expensive gun but, I know it and how it reacts. Honestly if you rely on your skills and improving them, and knowing your equipment. You can be accurate with anything. Just my opinion, carry on.
Good point.

We're talking about budget guns, so if there's an expectation that the action is going to be as slick as a $5k rifle then they will fall very short.
 
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rcmigpilot

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Really like my American Predator S/S 6.5 CM in an Oryx chassis. I changed out the stock cocking piece with the Anarchy Outdoors part and went with one of their long dragon scale bolt knobs. I don't know what the cocking force is but it's a lot easier than stock and I can easily stay behind the rifle while cycling the bolt. As far as accuracy it shoots as well as I can, at 200 it'll put 5 140gr ELD Hornady's into a 1 1/2" group and I can hit a 10" gong at 500 yards consistently enough that it's almost boring. I know those are not spectacular numbers, but I have less than $1,000 bucks in the rifle (not counting the PST II).

With all that said, I would seriously consider the turnkey 6 CM that cast1 posted, $1300 is a pretty killer deal.
 

Ratliff81

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Really like my American Predator S/S 6.5 CM in an Oryx chassis. I changed out the stock cocking piece with the Anarchy Outdoors part and went with one of their long dragon scale bolt knobs. I don't know what the cocking force is but it's a lot easier than stock and I can easily stay behind the rifle while cycling the bolt. As far as accuracy it shoots as well as I can, at 200 it'll put 5 140gr ELD Hornady's into a 1 1/2" group and I can hit a 10" gong at 500 yards consistently enough that it's almost boring. I know those are not spectacular numbers, but I have less than $1,000 bucks in the rifle (not counting the PST II).

With all that said, I would seriously consider the turnkey 6 CM that cast1 posted, $1300 is a pretty killer deal.
I took some 800,1000, and 1500 grit sand paper and smoothed out the machine marks on the bolt. That also helps with the smoothness. I will do the same as you on the next round of mods. Along with the drop in trigger. I changed out the factory spring, with the 1lb, but not that happy with the results.
 

Coyote-6

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Really like my American Predator S/S 6.5 CM in an Oryx chassis. I changed out the stock cocking piece with the Anarchy Outdoors part and went with one of their long dragon scale bolt knobs. I don't know what the cocking force is but it's a lot easier than stock and I can easily stay behind the rifle while cycling the bolt. As far as accuracy it shoots as well as I can, at 200 it'll put 5 140gr ELD Hornady's into a 1 1/2" group and I can hit a 10" gong at 500 yards consistently enough that it's almost boring. I know those are not spectacular numbers, but I have less than $1,000 bucks in the rifle (not counting the PST II).

With all that said, I would seriously consider the turnkey 6 CM that cast1 posted, $1300 is a pretty killer deal.
Not necessarily for a budget minded person. 6mm is averaging $1/rd, where you can get decent 6.5 for $.70/rd. If you intend to shoot a lot, that's up to around $300/yr difference in ammo alone, and for a round that is less efficient than the 6.5. (Likely at least a portion of the reason it's a killer deal)
 

rangerlong

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2 Howas here, one LA, one SA. No issues with bolt lift. I’d say lighter and smoother than the ruger.
I’ve heard great things about how well the rugers shoot, but I don’t have one because I don’t like the way the action feels.
 

rcmigpilot

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I took some 800,1000, and 1500 grit sand paper and smoothed out the machine marks on the bolt. That also helps with the smoothness. I will do the same as you on the next round of mods. Along with the drop in trigger. I changed out the factory spring, with the 1lb, but not that happy with the results.
I did something very similar, used oil with 600 grit wet dry until all the grooves on the bolt body were gone then spread some fine lapping compound on the bolt body and cycled it for about 50 strokes. Not $1,000 action smooth, but more than good enough.
 

EHans34

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I have a HOWA 1500 in .300 win mag and I have no complaints. There is some validity to the bolt being a tiny bit difficult from time to time, but it’s not a big issue at all. It’s a sub-MOA rifle and can carry out to a mile. The HOWA 1500 is really good for the price.
 

Cagey-platpus

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I have a howa hcr and two ruger predator and one precision. The howa is a smoother bolt and feels better quality then the 3 Rugers.

The two predators I changed stocks to magpul hunters and they are very accurate. The howa and 3 rugers are all the same in accuracy, about. 5-.7 inch groups (more depends on how well I do, shot sub half moa groups with all 4 are possible).

The predator action feels the same as the precision, decent but not as smooth as howa. Howa feels very close to tikka.

Today I shoot a 4 inch group at 1040 yards , no wind and hand loads. Good shooter for budget rifle.
 
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DJL2

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Ah, yes...
I can only say that some of the stuff I read about "stiff bolt lift" I bin right with "calibers for recoil sensitive shooters." To the extent that the issue exists at all, it is mitigated by technique for most any "normal" case.