Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

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Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by jwai86 » 17 Apr 2022, 4:06 pm

The Howa 1500 Mini Action is often recommended ahead of the older Short Action for use with .223 these days, but is there a case for selecting the Short Action apart from its internal magazine that won't get dropped as easily as the Mini Action's detachable magazine?
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bladeracer » 17 Apr 2022, 4:19 pm

jwai86 wrote:The Howa 1500 Mini Action is often recommended ahead of the older Short Action for use with .223 these days, but is there a case for selecting the Short Action apart from its internal magazine that won't get dropped as easily as the Mini Action's detachable magazine?


I think the biggest issue is that you can seat bullets much further out and make more velocity for less pressure in the short action. The Mini-Action is AR-length.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by jwai86 » 17 Apr 2022, 4:53 pm

bladeracer wrote:I think the biggest issue is that you can seat bullets much further out and make more velocity for less pressure in the short action. The Mini-Action is AR-length.

Is this related to using hand loads? I don't understand what you wrote :(
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bladeracer » 17 Apr 2022, 7:07 pm

jwai86 wrote:
bladeracer wrote:I think the biggest issue is that you can seat bullets much further out and make more velocity for less pressure in the short action. The Mini-Action is AR-length.


Is this related to using hand loads? I don't understand what you wrote :(


A Mini-action is designed to work with cartridges of the standard 2.260" overall length, which is fine if you only ever intend to use factory ammo - I don't know if anybody makes factory ammo for competition that is loaded longer than 2.260". I've heard that the Howa allows overall lengths out to around 2.340" (2mm longer), but haven't confirmed it myself.

If you want to use the longer bullets, above the 55gn to 69gn range, the bullet encroaches significantly into the case, reducing the amount of powder you can put behind it. If you can seat the bullet longer you open up a lot of extra combustion chamber for powder, so you can chase higher velocities. A short action lets you seat the bullet out as far as 2.800" if the chamber will allow it. When you get up into bullets in the 88gn to 95gn range that extra length becomes very significant. The 95gn SMK is 1.310" long, the case is only 1.760" long - the bullet is more than half the length of the standard .223 cartridge. At the standard 2.260" cartridge length, the bullet is inside the case by .810" or 20.5mm (including the neck). At 2.800" overall length the bullet is only in the case by .270", leaving the entire case volume below the neck for combustion.

I seat the 80gn ELDM at 2.450", or .190" (4.75mm) longer than standard. I've never tried seating it to 2.260", but I should do so just to see how much velocity I lose. Although my 23.5gn charge of AR2206H is fairly light, seating the bullet 190-thou deeper may well push it into pressure signs.

For me, the versatility of the .223 is down to the bullet choices above the old 55gn bullets it originated with, I don't want to be stuck with the shorter bullets nowadays. Go with a short-action .223 in 8"-twist. That'll shoot up into the 80gn to 90gn realm, if you want to run even longer bullets go to 7"-twist.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by jwai86 » 17 Apr 2022, 7:15 pm

So the Short Action has a bit more space inside the chamber to accommodate different bullet sizes and powder loads if you are loading your own rounds?
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bladeracer » 17 Apr 2022, 7:52 pm

jwai86 wrote:So the Short Action has a bit more space inside the chamber to accommodate different bullet sizes and powder loads if you are loading your own rounds?


Essentially, yes. It lets you load .223 cartridges the same length as .308 cartridges, so the difference is significant rather than "a bit more" - almost 25% longer. You can of course only do this if your bullet is long enough - probably only the 95gn SMK from the major bullet manufacturers is long enough to seat to 2.800".

Pressure is directly related to the size of the combustion chamber, if you can make the combustion chamber bigger you get less pressure out of the same charge, or you can use a significantly larger charge and get more velocity out of it.

The .223 neck is about .203" long. The 80gn ELDM is 1.160" long. Seating the bullet long gives about .12cc more room in the case by my rough calculation. .12cc of AR2206H is about 1.65gn of powder, about 7% more powder volume.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by jwai86 » 23 Apr 2022, 12:21 pm

If you use factory .223 ammunition instead of custom loads, are there any other benefits to the Short Action that you can see?
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by LawrenceA » 23 Apr 2022, 12:35 pm

There is more benefit to custom loads than between the mini and short actions.
So basically each have benefits and drawbacks but if you are using factory ammo and just shooting now and then at whatever then 6 of one half a dozen of the other.
Both will do what you need it to.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by Oldbloke » 23 Apr 2022, 3:18 pm

bladeracer wrote:
jwai86 wrote:So the Short Action has a bit more space inside the chamber to accommodate different bullet sizes and powder loads if you are loading your own rounds?


Essentially, yes. It lets you load .223 cartridges the same length as .308 cartridges, so the difference is significant rather than "a bit more" - almost 25% longer. You can of course only do this if your bullet is long enough - probably only the 95gn SMK from the major bullet manufacturers is long enough to seat to 2.800".

Pressure is directly related to the size of the combustion chamber, if you can make the combustion chamber bigger you get less pressure out of the same charge, or you can use a significantly larger charge and get more velocity out of it.

The .223 neck is about .203" long. The 80gn ELDM is 1.160" long. Seating the bullet long gives about .12cc more room in the case by my rough calculation. .12cc of AR2206H is about 1.65gn of powder, about 7% more powder volume.


In my mind this is a silly reason/discussion to choose one over the other. Should be looking at gun weight, accuracy, handling etc.

If your not happy with the 223 bullet weight or velocity just buy a 22.250.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bladeracer » 23 Apr 2022, 3:53 pm

jwai86 wrote:If you use factory .223 ammunition instead of custom loads, are there any other benefits to the Short Action that you can see?


No, I don't think so. The Mini will be shorter, lighter and more rigid with a shorter throw. Magazines probably won't be compatible if you also have a short-action.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bladeracer » 23 Apr 2022, 3:56 pm

Oldbloke wrote:In my mind this is a silly reason/discussion to choose one over the other. Should be looking at gun weight, accuracy, handling etc.

If your not happy with the 223 bullet weight or velocity just buy a 22.250.


.22-250 generally won't shoot longer bullets either though, most come with a 12" or even 14"-twist. You can toss them faster but you're still limited to short bullets. And it won't shoot cheap factory .223 when you want to.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by Oldbloke » 23 Apr 2022, 8:47 pm

Then a 243.

He doesn't even sound like he is reloading.

Again, seems a silly reason to decide. There are other considerations.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by Oldbloke » 23 Apr 2022, 9:01 pm

Then a 243.

He doesn't even sound like he is reloading.

Again, seems a silly reason to decide. There are other considerations.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bladeracer » 23 Apr 2022, 10:43 pm

Oldbloke wrote:Then a 243.

He doesn't even sound like he is reloading.

Again, seems a silly reason to decide. There are other considerations.


He asked for reasons somebody might opt for the short-action over the mini-action.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bigrich » 24 Apr 2022, 7:36 am

i looked at the howa mini action . i think their a great idea for a light portable rifle , BUT , the plastic magazines are cheap and nasty and it's not uncommon to have feed issues . there was a gunsmithing business in the US that was making custom floorplates and trigger gaurds for these , but they stopped last i heard . the standard short action is a proven design . i've owned vangaurds which are the same rifle but nicer finished , and except for being a bit heavy , were extremley accurate reliable rifles . with a reliable magazine JMHO
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by Oldbloke » 24 Apr 2022, 8:22 am

bladeracer wrote:
Oldbloke wrote:Then a 243.

He doesn't even sound like he is reloading.

Again, seems a silly reason to decide. There are other considerations.


He asked for reasons somebody might opt for the short-action over the mini-action.


I'm not having a go at you. It could well be a reason but only for very few. If that's the main reason for selecting one over the other I'd suggest a more appropriate cartridge might be a better way to go. We don't even know his intended use.

Who would need to load 80 or 90gr bullets in a 223?

And if the throat is that long, will 45gr bullets shoot accurately? It will be a big jump. I don't know.

Reliability, weight, fit, accuracy, machining quality, feed, finish, known faults. I think these are what he is most likely after.

I would stay away from any rifle that has known feed issues. I like internal mags, you can't lose them.
Last edited by Oldbloke on 24 Apr 2022, 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bladeracer » 24 Apr 2022, 8:27 am

bigrich wrote:i looked at the howa mini action . i think their a great idea for a light portable rifle , BUT , the plastic magazines are cheap and nasty and it's not uncommon to have feed issues . there was a gunsmithing business in the US that was making custom floorplates and trigger gaurds for these , but they stopped last i heard . the standard short action is a proven design . i've owned vanguards which are the same rifle but nicer finished , and except for being a bit heavy , were extremely accurate reliable rifles . with a reliable magazine JMHO


I think the Mini is a great idea as well, but about thirty years too late. In the eighties when .223 was still a 55gn cartridge it would've been great. Modern bullets have enormously expanded the versatility of the .223 so it's a shame to neuter it with the action length. It also doesn't make sense to assume you will only ever shoot factory ammo. Prices of ammo are escalating to the point that people are going to have to look at reloading their own if they want to do any reasonable amount of shooting. When you've fired a couple hundred rounds (for $400 or more) and are ordering another couple hundred (for $500 or more) and looking at that pile of empty brass, reloading them is going to look very attractive :-)

If you have several hunting rifles in short-action, and a Mini-action, you may learn bad habits, like short-stroking a short-action, but if you don't mind your hunting rifles being different it's unlikely to be an issue. Lots of people mix short-actions (like .243 or .308) and long-actions (like .270 and .30-06) without major issues. I prefer all my hunting rifles to be the same platform so whichever one I'm using is exactly the same as the others, just with a different cartridge. For me, the fact that the Mini is different from my short-actions is a valid point against owning one.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bladeracer » 24 Apr 2022, 9:07 am

Oldbloke wrote:I'm not having a go at you. It could well be a reason but only for very few. If that's the main reason for selecting one over the other I'd suggest a more appropriate cartridge might be a better way to go.

Who would need to load 80 or 90gr bullets in a 223?

And if the throat is that long, will 45gr bullets shoot accurately? It will be a big jump. I don't know.

Reliability, weight, fit, accuracy, machining quality, feed, finish, known faults. I think these are what he is most likely after.

I would stay away from any rifle that has known feed issues. I like internal mags, you can't lose them.


I know you're not, you're making valid points.

I may be mistaken, but I think the OP has mentioned that he primarily shoots targets?

If you're only shooting targets out to around 300m you don't really need high-BC bullets unless it's windy, heavier bullets tend to be less effected by wind. If you start extending the range past 300m then you want to start looking at higher-BC bullets to beat wind and reduce flight time, lighter bullets dump velocity very quickly. Even out to 300m the longer bullets are better, but not required.

For example:
53gn Match at 3300fps compared to an 80gn ELDM at 2850fps (you probably won't be able to make 2850fps seating these to 2.340" to run in the Mini-action though, and they won't work in a 12"-twist barrel).

Zeroed at 250m, in a 10mph full wind, out to 300m there's little in it aside from the wind.
At 150m the 53gn is 100mm high with 90mm of wind, the 80gn is 106mm high with 47mm of wind.
At 300m the 53gn is 130mm low with 406mm of wind, the 80gn is 120mm low with 195mm wind.
Just use whichever bullet gives you the smallest groups and concentrate on reading the wind accurately.

Past 300m though:
At 500m the 53gn is 1550mm low with 1370mm of wind and 1300fps (nearly subsonic already), the 80gn is 1200mm low with 600mm of wind and 1900fps.
At 800m the 53gn is nine-meters low, with 4.3 meters of wind and 900fps, the 80gn is 5.2 meters low with 1.7 meters of wind and 1450fps.
At 1000m the 53gn is 20.3 meters low with 6.9 meters of wind and 780fps, the 80gn is 10.3 meters low with three-meters of wind and 1214fps - it's still supersonic, despite starting out 450fps slower than the lighter bullet. Flight times are 2.55 seconds and 1.81 seconds - the lighter bullet is affected by the wind for three-quarters of a second longer.

You will certainly learn more about wind shooting the lighter bullets, but your scores and accuracy has got to be better with the longer bullets. At 1000m a seven-meter wind hold is going to be far less accurate than a three-meter wind hold - if your wind call is out by 2-3mph your shot is probably still going to be on the target with the 80gn bullet.

I also like internal mags, but it's harder to change cartridges quickly when I want a subsonic shot.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bigrich » 24 Apr 2022, 9:34 am

bladeracer wrote:
I also like internal mags, but it's harder to change cartridges quickly when I want a subsonic shot.


internal mags are my preferred choice . i could reload my push feed 70 winchesters on the move without even looking . and as OB says , ya can't lose them .

BUT , my new favorite all weather hunting rifle ,7-08 T3 stainless in a B&C stock , has a real advantage in it's removable mag design . i'm using nosler 150 BT's for light game, change the mag for different terrain to 150 accubonds for heavier game in a second . same load , same point of impact . or, switch out to 130 speer btsp for long range light game load . it pulls two inches right at 200 , i'll allow for that . so three different loads for different game , just a mag change away . no scope adjustment necessary . the 150's print 2" low at 200, 130's zero at 200 . the versatility in my situation is undeniable . i really only need to take one gun when i go on a trip now. :thumbsup:

i still take my cadet 22 hornet but . just because :D

i have heard there are efforts to make a better magazine , and some alloy floorplates for the howa mini . that would be a game changer for the mini in my eyes :thumbsup:
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by Oldbloke » 24 Apr 2022, 11:51 am

"i could reload my push feed 70 winchesters on the move without even looking . and as OB says , ya can't lose them"

I have 3 centrefires and all have internal magazines. Yep just takes a few seconds to put a round in the chamber. Done it I think twice in the last 2 years. LOL . Not worth even considering IMO.

We still do not know the OPs main use.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by jwai86 » 24 Apr 2022, 12:06 pm

Oldbloke wrote:We still do not know the OPs main use.

I don't know why that matters for my initial question, but let's assume that usage is largely target shooting without closing the door on hunting completely.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by bladeracer » 24 Apr 2022, 1:07 pm

jwai86 wrote:
Oldbloke wrote:We still do not know the OPs main use.

I don't know why that matters for my initial question, but let's assume that usage is largely target shooting without closing the door on hunting completely.


I think your planned usage is important in making this specific decision. Look at the ballistics I posted and decide if you'd be happy shooting lighter bullets. If you think you can live with the greater wind effect on the shorter bullets then the Mini-action might be just fine for your purposes. But if you think you might get frustrated and might want to move into higher-BC bullets then the Mini might not be such a good choice. Or if you think you might like to shoot out to longer distances then you will almost certainly want to use the longer bullets. The Mini, as long as it has a tight enough twist rate, will still shoot the longer bullets, it just doesn't allow you to get the most out of them due to the overall length limitation. For target shooting, except in precision and practical competitions, the targets are at fixed and known distances, so trajectory is irrelevant - you set your sights to that distance and just concentrate on the wind.

If you're hunting, then a laser rangefinder takes most of the holdover estimation out of it, just lase your target and hold to suit. I don't recommend shooting at live targets past about 300m anyway simply because even the best shooter will still mess up a shot occasionally, and 300m is a bloody long way to run to finish off an animal that has dropped into the grass, even across a nice flat pasture. And out to 300m there's little difference in ballistics other than lesser wind effect with the longer bullets. But if you decide to go after larger game with the .223 then heavier bullets may prove more effective. An 80gn bullet in the .223 at 2850fps at the muzzle has roughly the same velocity as an 80gn .243 at 150m - it hits pretty hard. I don't load mine hot, not even warm, so some people probably get significantly more velocity than I do with the 80gn bullets.

But if you think you'll be happy to just shoot factory ammo at targets, none of the above is really relevant as I don't think anybody makes precision ammo in the higher-BC bullets simply because it would be too long to feed through an AR15 action. Next time you're at your club have a look at what actions other people are using, if there are a few Mini-actions around talk to the shooters and ask their opinions.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by jwai86 » 22 Jan 2023, 2:57 pm

Does anyone know how much the Howa 1500 short action weighs when paired with a bog standard Hogue stock? OSA's website only states the weight of the .223 sporter barrelled action by itself (2.42kg), although it does have the weight of the sporter Mini Action inclusive of its Hogue stock (2.73kg).
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Mini Action Mag falloutp

Post by jovialjosie2002 » 23 Jan 2023, 12:00 pm

One of the criticisms people have of the mini action is that the 10 round polymer mags fall out. This is because the mag release lever is large and it gets knocked and falls out. Many people have lost mags when they are walking or when they push the rifle against a car door (or similar object)
There is however a very easy solution to this, file down the mag release lever (it's just plastic), alternatively, buy extra magazines or perhaps fasten the magazine with a rubber band (or something like that). I wouldn't be seriously worried about losing a magazines, they are not expensive. I have a mini action in 204, the magazine has been faultless.
I bought the mini action over the short action because the deal I got on the mini was soooooo good. I paid $590 AUD.
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Re: Howa 1500 Short Action in .223

Post by Wyliecoyote » 23 Jan 2023, 6:05 pm

Just to clarify, internal magazine length of Howa Model 1500 in 223 is 2.350". Internal magazine length of Weatherby Vanguard 223 is 2.350". Internal magazine length of Tikka T3 steel lip magazine is 2.240". Internal magazine length of Tikka CTR is 2.550". Internal magazine length of Howa mini is 2.350".
The only rifle to offer a real worthwhile loading OAL gain in 223 is the CTR or a Waters aftermarket T3 magazine which i believe is 2.600". AI magazines i have here on hand are measuring 2.570" average, so an AI magazine floor plate conversion is worthwhile in any Howa 1500, Weatherby or Tikka. I know of no such conversion for CZ, never seen one for Winchester.

If i shoot 80 grain ELDM, i use the CTR based rifle and set at 2.500" OAL. 75s, 73s and 62 TSXs load and feed in both my Howa Mini 223s without issue. There is no gain with a 1500 over a mini unless you want a heavier gun or longer barrel. The magazine latch issue is a major oversight from Legacy Sports with the Mini but as has been stated, a very easy fix. I have never seen or heard of users having feed issues with the Mini action. Quite the contrary as i only hear of how slick they are.
Now for those that are going to mention altering or removing the magazine restrictor in the 1500 or Vanguard, using the supplied follower will give no end of feed issues. The 1500 is a 308 based length action, not a 223.

So what are we looking to do here? We shooting PRS with 80, 85 and 90 grainers, or hogs with 55 through to 70 grainers?
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