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The Howa MiniAction Chassis debuted in 2018 as a modular AR-15 rifle around an aluminum alloy chassis, short bolt for faster cycling, M-LOK handguard, Luth-AR MBA-3 fully adjustable stock and more.

This range encompasses a trio of calibers, namely .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel and 7.62x39. All are in a 7.0 pound package that’s 39.5” in overall length with a 20” #6 profile 5/8”x24 TPI threaded barrel. The .223 version comes with a 10-round detachable magazine making capacity 10+1 while the two others are 5+1s that come with a 5-round detachable magazine. The magazines are black AICS pattern steel types.

There are two color options: black on black and multicam on FDE. This latter has camouflage spider-veining/marbleizing across the otherwise FDE stock. The other components are still black!

The heart of the gun is the eponymous Howa MiniAction. This one-piece bolt is only 6.0” long and weighs just 10.2 ounces. In comparison, Howa’s short-action is 6.9” long and weighs 13.1 ounces while its big long-action is 7.4” and weighs 15.2 ounces. So, the MiniAction decreases weight, decreases length, increases portability and reduces cycle times.

Of course, everything comes together at the dedicated matte-black Howa 1500 HCR Chassis, made by Accurate-Mag of Connecticut. The source material is 6061-T6 aluminum. The forend is free-floating with a generous helping of M-LOK attachment slots. Unlike the usual handguards, this one is not octagonal in profile but open on top shaving some weight, bulk, cost and complexity. The lightweight and hollow ERGO grip has an integrated beavertail for better control and better comfort. It’s textured on the sides and stippled in front and back.

The gun’s two-stage curved zero creep Howa Activated Controlled Trigger (HACT) has crisp, clean, breaks and is seemingly universal among the Howa 1500 series guns.

The gun’s bolt is a two-lug design made of forged steel with an integrated bolt arm. The receiver is also made of forged steel, and the barrels are hammer forged. Near the base of the bolt arm is a three-position safety and a red-dot safety indicator.

At back is a fully adjustable American-made Luth-AR MBA-3 buttstock. MBA stands for Modular Buttstock Assembly. The MBA-3 is a strong, lightweight and intricate piece of work with a six-position buffer tube that’s easily adjusted with a lever. It also has an adjustable comb and an adjustable length of pull. Both are unfastened/fastened using simple graspable twist knobs. The Luth-AR MBA-3 stock can stretch 4.25” between shortest to longest settings giving Howa MiniAction a versatile 12.5”-16.75” length-of-pull. This versatile buttstock has a built-in rail to attach a monopod, multiple sling attachment points, molded pockets for Grovtec QD cups, and it’s padded too!

All this sophistication combines to give the gun its sub-MOA rating, meaning that given factory or premium ammunition, it can shoot a group of three rounds within an inch at up to 100 yards.

Howa USA is based in Reno, Nevada. It’s an importer of guns and a subdivision of Legacy Sports International. Howa USA imports its guns from Howa Machinery, Ltd. in Japan, a firm established as Showa Heavy Industries, Ltd., in the late 1930s as a defense contractor to make aircraft parts, rifles and more. In 1941, it merged with Toyoda Loom Works, Ltd., and the name was amended to Howa Heavy Industries, Ltd. During World War II, the company made the Arisaka rifle, aircraft components, artillery and machineguns. Post-war, it made a variety of weapons for the Japanese Self-Defense Forces and entered the US market in the 1950s where it has sold firearms ever since.

This fine firearm is made in Howa’s modern factory in Japan.

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