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The Howa Mini EXCL Light precision bolt-action rifle combines bolt-action simplicity, Howa’s short MiniAction and an EXCL Light chassis into a singular modern (relatively) affordable package that delivers more than the sum of its parts.

This special package is available in a 16.25” long barrel for 350 Legend caliber weighing 7 pounds and measuring 36.25” total. There are also three longer 20” barrel choices for .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel and 7.62x39 weighing 7.5 pounds and 40” overall. In all four cases, the barrels are hammer forged, threaded and come standard with a protective cap for when the thread is not in use. The handguard is free-floating.

There are four color scheme choices draping the entire polymer stock: American Flag, Kratos Camo, black and olive drab (OD). The American Flag scheme has stars and a blue field over the handguard and red and white stripes over the receiver. Kratos is a reptilian scalar gray/tan/green scheme. In all four cases, everything else remains matte black or blued. This includes the barrel, action, scope, magazine, bolt, buffer tube, etc. Well, almost everything. On the Kratos Camo version, the buttstock also matches the receiver.

In back is a minimal L-shape Luth Adjustable buttstock that provides 3” of adjustability and thus a length of pull of 12” to 15”.

These guns have an optional Nikko Stirling Gamepro optics package, which includes the Gamepro 3.5-10x44 riflescope. As of this writing, the Gamepro scopes specification aren’t available, but the seemingly very similar Gameking 3.5-10x44 riflescope is nitrogen-filled to prevent fogging. It’s also waterproof, shockproof, 14.5” long and weighs 18 ounces. Adjustments are made using turrets in ¼ MOA clicks. It has a matte black finish, and Microlux ETE GEN III glass coatings. It also has MIL-DOT, LRX and red/green dual color illumination aiming reticle options. Presumably the Gamepro scope has the same or better specifications.

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.

The gun’s two-stage curved zero creep Howa Activated Controlled Trigger (HACT) has crisp, clean, breaks and is seemingly universal among the Howa rifles. All this sophistication gives 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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Howa Mini EXCL

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