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Howa 1500 - .375 Ruger & Development
Old 08-16-2011, 10:29 AM
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Default Howa 1500 - .375 Ruger & Development

Late last year, I got word that Howa was offering the .375 Ruger to their 1500 line of rifles. I’d always been intrigued by Ruger’s .375 but could never justify the asking price for one of their Hawkeye’s. I had my brother tracking the Howa price through his distributors and just for kicks one day, inquired at a local shop. The particular model I was looking for was in stock at one of their distribution centers (only one). $435 paid, a couple keyboard clicks on their computer and the rifle was on its way.

As I was waiting for the rifle to deliver, I got some other things coming in. I scoured Boyds website looking at my options. Found one that I liked ready to ship and made the call to order a classic in their forest camo laminate pattern. I believe they used to call these their JRS classics but I was corrected quickly. Now they’re just Boyds classics. No idea what happened their. Got an offer almost immediately for the black, molded plastic factory stock that came on the Howa from a member on another gun site that basically paid for the Boyds. Meanwhile, my brother was tracking down a Burris Fullfield II 4.5-14x42mm with their ballistic plex reticle.

Once everything was in hand, the two of us sat down to hash out the project. A big, 1” Kick-Eez recoil pad would be fitted to the Boyds. I love these pads. They’re soft, even in the coldest of temps, non-slip on any number of clothing textures and very effective at absorbing recoil. At the other end, I would have one of my brothers small muzzle brakes fitted. It’s a very effective brake design that he’s put together based on his experience working with a large number of assorted brakes that he's had the opportunity to install and test. They come from his manufacturer in stainless so a baked on teflon process would be used to match color with the blued barrel. The stock would be pillar bedded. It came from the factory with reinforcing pins as a standard option (an added cost back when I bought my sta stock). So that was nice. The channel would need some light touch-up for a a fully floated barrel that i wanted.

Before the bedding process was completed, we took some cartridge measurements. The magazine from the factory was predictably short. Factory Hornady ammo measured 3.256”, col. SAAMI standards for the round was 3.340”. The magazine didn’t have to be long to house these cartridge lengths. But when I worked up a dummy round to see how long the throat was in my Howa, the col of a cartridge, using a 260 gr. AccuBond, and fully engaging the lands measured 3.547”. Hmmm. When accuracy’s a priority, and it always is, I do not want huge jumps to the lands (i.e. freebore). While nice on velocities, it’s just not conducive to accuracy. Brother thought of a relatively easy solution … he would replace the short factory box with a remington 700 full length box. Some milling to the receiver and stock, set back the bolt stop and presto, I was able to work up a cartridge that took full advantage of the long throat.

It all came together as such :

And what i had to work with regards to factory ammo lengths compared to a cartridge topped with the 260 gr. AccuBond at the max oal of 3.535" :

I'll talk about what i saw with the first range session last Sunday in the next installment.

Off to work.

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