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Gunsmithing Howa 1500 Pimped out (Hopefully)

Envo

Private
Minuteman
Sep 28, 2020
48
21
Western Colorado
Hi guys, im pretty new here and this will be my first post. Figured id kick it off by showing you my first steps into working on a rifle.
I had only ever lapped and mounted scopes up to this point, But with the arrival of a new baby I've had some time off work so any spare minutes i get i have been working on an old Howa 1500 .223. This used to be my coyote rifle but have since upgraded to a 204 Ruger. So i figured id give the Howa some loving and hopefully not destroy it.

First up i always hated the Hogue Overmold stock, so decided to paint it. This was originally all i was going to do with the rifle. If i knew i was going to do more work on it i probrably would have painted it last.
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Cleaned it thoroughly with acetone and then masked it all up. I used Krylon camo paint and started with 6 coats of their Khaki color. I let that dry for 3 days and then used the sponge method and hit it with the brown and olive krylon paint. I then finished it with 4 coats of Rustoleum matte clear coat. i think it turned out pretty nice.

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Fast forward a few days later i was sitting on my couch with nothing to do, so i decided it would be a good idea to strip the gun back down and do something about the flimsy forend on the stock. I dug out some old carbon fiber arrows i had from my old bow and got to work.

i did a small recess into the plasting infront of the recoil lug as to stiffen that up some also. and then used a dremel and old thin chisel and removed notches into the webbing of the stock. i got it just right so the arrows would click into place when i put them in.

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Once i was happy with the fit i mixed up some epoxy and poured it in making sure to give it time to seep down under the arrow shafts before i added more.
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I let it cure and then came back with some sand paper and a small chisel and made sure the barrel was still free floating. worked out great and the stock is now super rigid and doesnt bend up and touch the barrel when using a bipod.

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Next task was the bed the action. I have never done this before so i was kind of terrified, i cleaned everything up real good and removed the trigger from the action. I used holeshot case lube for my release agent and just the regular JB weld for the actual bedding. I used a paper towl and stuffed it into the barrel and plugged any other holes with my 2 year olds Playdoh. I made sure to apply a ton of the JB weld into the stock to get decent squeeze out. sat the barreled action into the stock and put the bottom metal on with the magazine spring removed and tightened it down. I tightened it until i got a good amount of squeeze out and then back the screws off about 1/2 a turn.

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And that is as far as i have gotten with it so far. no idea how the bedding turned out because i literally sat the action in stock about 20 mins ago. Fingers crossed its not stuck in there! ill be sure to update this tomorrow when i pull it out. hopefully i can go and put some shots down range out of it and see if i succeeded in turning my 1/2 moa rifle into a 4 moa rifle haha.

Thanks for stopping by!
 

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6.5SH

Old Salt
Full Member
Minuteman
Jul 24, 2020
3,611
5,378
Nice job and nice write up and pics of what you did. Hope it improves things for you.
 

Envo

Private
Minuteman
Sep 28, 2020
48
21
Western Colorado
bedding job went well i think. broke it out this morning and cleaned out any excess. seems to fit back together with the stock real well. I went ahead and got the scope mounted back on and leveled the reticle. I had already lapped the scope rings on this gun otherwise i would have done that again.

probrably going to wait untill tomorrow to go shoot it so the epoxy has had about 36 hours to fully cure. will post some results tomorrow!
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Genin

Sergeant
Full Member
Minuteman
Feb 18, 2004
641
170
40
Bloomsburg, Pa
I also used JB Weld to skim bed a stock. I’ve been very happy with the results. Hope it shoots well for you!
 
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308pirate

Gunny Sergeant
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Minuteman
  • Apr 25, 2017
    20,617
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    @Envo

    THAT's how you do a first post. Nice job my man.

    I was so nervous when I went to pop my first bedding job (Howa 1500 in a Manners stock) that if had eaten coal for breakfast I could have shat diamonds.
     
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    Envo

    Private
    Minuteman
    Sep 28, 2020
    48
    21
    Western Colorado
    @Envo

    THAT's how you do a first post. Nice job my man.

    I was so nervous when I went to pop my first bedding job (Howa 1500 in a Manners stock) that if had eaten coal for breakfast I could have shat diamonds.
    Thanks dude, and yeh I didn't sleep well last night thinking about it. Was all good in the end though, I just picked up my CVA cascade 6.5prc other day. Will probs end up bedding that too. Gotta wait for my scope to come in and shoot it first though, probs still got 2-3 weeks wait left on that.
     

    sam4886

    Stunt Cock
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    Minuteman
    May 15, 2019
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    Eastern WA
    Great idea with the arrows. I did a cheap stock fix on my brothers savage a while ago. It was also just a Tupperware shit pile. I only used epoxy, and it worked alright, but I'm sure the arrows helped improve things.
     

    Envo

    Private
    Minuteman
    Sep 28, 2020
    48
    21
    Western Colorado
    Great idea with the arrows. I did a cheap stock fix on my brothers savage a while ago. It was also just a Tupperware shit pile. I only used epoxy, and it worked alright, but I'm sure the arrows helped improve things.
    It def stiffened it up alot. Still some flex in the plastic around recoil lug. It will touch the barrel if you push down hard on the gun. Much better than before though, it used to be like a wet noodle.
     

    Envo

    Private
    Minuteman
    Sep 28, 2020
    48
    21
    Western Colorado
    Started on some load development. This was the best group at 100yards. It had the least variation in velocities and was a pretty tight group. The last shot was a little bit of a flyer and came in about 70fps slower than the others so wondering if was a bad charge. Also should have resized the brass before loading (was brand new brass) good starting point tho. Gunna work up some new rounds around this charge weight.
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    Try some different seating depths too.

    Overall pretty pleased with the changes I did to the rifle. Hopefully with some more reloading work can get 5 shots in 1 hole.
     

    COprecisionhunter

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    oh nice! Does it run AICS mags then? I'm wondering because I recently received a Howa 1500 in a custom stock with what looks like a modified factory bottom metal but the follower is all funky and doesn't feed well. Would like to switch it out to run AICS mags.
     

    Envo

    Private
    Minuteman
    Sep 28, 2020
    48
    21
    Western Colorado
    oh nice! Does it run AICS mags then? I'm wondering because I recently received a Howa 1500 in a custom stock with what looks like a modified factory bottom metal but the follower is all funky and doesn't feed well. Would like to switch it out to run AICS mags.
    Not sure if aics mags will work, never tried it. Howas kit comes with either a 5 or 10 round mag, I know if you use the MDT chassis with a howa aics won't work and you have to use MDT mags.
     

    COprecisionhunter

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    I had been looking at other bottom metals for the 1500 and didn't even realize Howa made an option. And the price isn't bad at all either.
     

    Envo

    Private
    Minuteman
    Sep 28, 2020
    48
    21
    Western Colorado
    I got mine off big daddy unlimited. Think I paid like $40. Only thing I don't like is that it is all plastic. PTG does a kit also that I believe is all metal. It's like $160 though.
     

    COprecisionhunter

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    Dang yeah I don't like that it's all plastic either. The PTG kit is the one I was looking at. I honestly don't know if it's worth me even keeping the rifle. I might just sell it and but a .223 bolt head and prefit for my TL3.
     

    BigKev72

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    May 10, 2020
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    It will not run AICS mags, they have proprietary mags for that system.
    Love the ingenuity with the arrows, that is a great idea. I am a fellow Howa guy. Mine is a Weatherby Vanguard HB in 308. I have found that these rifles will shoot bugholes if you do your part and feed it good ammo.
    Love what you are doing with it.
     
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    COprecisionhunter

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    I will for sure when I get home. Its a 1500, 223, that was (supposedly) trued and fitted with a custom barrel and stock. The owner was a Gunsmith at the OG Nesika Bay Actions in WA.
     
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    COprecisionhunter

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    Here are some pics of the rifle.
     

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    BAMAboy18

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    Oct 11, 2020
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    Looking good! Bought my 1st brand new Howa years ago, let it go when I was in a tight. Bought a used 20" in an Axiom stock a few years ago. A few months ago I bought a new black Hogue with a 16" threaded heavy barrel from Buds. (All .308)
    I switched the 20" into the Hogue and switched triggers. Bought a 2nd Axiom fore-end off eBay for $18, they are super flimsy (like a wet noodle). I've got an aluminum contraption built to epoxy into mine, use a soldering iron to peck several hundred indentations inside. Tonight I was working out the sling studs/bipod. The Axiom has a series of parallel slots on the bottom, I'm debating on what to do with them.
    When I finish this project; bedding action, bottom metal, scope base.
    I'll do the same with the black Hogue. So I have a question about the arrows in the epoxy, seems like they could twist, do they seem solid?
     

    Envo

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    Minuteman
    Sep 28, 2020
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    Western Colorado
    Yeh once you have the epoxy over them all it's a huge difference, you can still flex and twist if your really putting some muscle into it. But it's a huge improvement to how it was before.
     

    sam4886

    Stunt Cock
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    May 15, 2019
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    If you're really worried about the arrows grabbing epoxy, cut some slots in them with a dremel skinny wheel to give the epoxy something to grab ahold of.
     

    BAMAboy18

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    The arrows seem fine for reducing sag and barrel contact.
    As the Axiom "ultra-light" stock is also ultra-flimsy, and I will have a bipod mounted, this is what I came up with to set in my epoxy, in hopes to mitigate twisting. Aluminum "triangle?" Cut, milled, filed to fit. Since the reinforceing webs were so shallow I chose not to cut them, but did burn holes to allow the epoxy to seep in. It fits nicely, with 2 protrusions going into the recoil lug. The whole piece will be completely covered by my epoxy with no barrel interference (I think you could easily fit a 1.5 bull barrel, lol)
    I'm sorry if I'm hijacking your thread, but since you've done what I'm starting, it's a great place to glean some input.
     

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    Envo

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    Minuteman
    Sep 28, 2020
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    Western Colorado
    That looks like it will work real good, and hijack away dude, mine is all finished so cool to see other people trying stuff like this! Interested to hear about/see your finished product
     

    BAMAboy18

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    Currently, my pondering concerns how to deal with the slotted vents on the bottom. Fill with clay or duct tape and let them fill with epoxy, or use Devcon to pre-fill? Stock will be painted, how hard is Devcon to sand/shape after cured? I have the 11010 for the bedding, but haven't used any yet.
     

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    BAMAboy18

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    I poured my epoxy! I used famwood glaze coat dyed black. I followed the mixing instructions to a T, but kinda worried because I didn't feel it build any heat like it claimed. It's been a few hours and I removed my clamp, so it wouldn't become a permanent part, it is setting. It was a cool day, >70° I just brought it inside to finish cureing. I went ahead and filled the slots with clay, if I don't like it I can fill them after. So far it added 8oz. Hogged out for the action bedding also.
     

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