Before I bought my Howa 1500 in 6.5x55mm I read several postings on various forums about people complaining about their accuracy problems. Being a reloader I desided that I could probably overcome any possible issues by being able to taylor and tweek my loads. The Howa is also the best bang for the buck in a current production rifle, if you don't mind the weight of it. Since I am using this as a range gun I viewed the weight as a good thing over say a Tikka T3. Right now mine is set up with a one piece rail, 2.5-10x50mm Nikon Monarch and a 9-13" swivel bipod. IT is certainly on the heavy end of a general use rifle without a bull barrel. Anyway, on to my accuracy findings.
After having tested 3 different bullets, 2 powders, 2 primers and 4 different kinds of factory ammunition I think I have reached my conclusion about this rifle and accuracy. I think this also falls in line with what other people are seeing as well. This rifle isn't so much inherently inaccurate as it is bullet picky. Incredibly, indefensible, bullet picky. I wouldn't recommend this rifle to anyone unless they not only wanted to try a variety of bullets in it but also were completely willing to accept that the bullet they want to shoot probably won't be the bullet thier rifle will like. Now the 7 different bullets I have tested are all hunting bullets, and I am an 1 moa shooter. If my rifle could shoot 1/3rd moa in someone elses hand I still wouldn't be shooting that myself. I also think my expectations are reasonable for a $450 rifle. 2 moa with factory ammo and 1 moa with handloads. I'm not getting into target only bullets or premium ammo because thats really not my thing.
I have tried...
140gr Hornady Interlock with H4831 and Reloder 22. This bullet shoot 1.5 moa with H4831 and 1 moa with Reloder 22. Usually 4 out of 5 bullet holes are touching each other at 100 yards in its best loading.
140gr Speer Hot-cor with H4831 and Reloder 22. 3+ moa with ever load I have tried.
140gr Hornady SST. 3+ moa with every load I have tried.
I am on the road for a few months for work and have shot all my reloads so I only have pictures of the factory ammo I've bought.
139gr SP by PPU, pictured below. This is basically how good the 140gr SST and 140gr Hot-cor have shot in front of various powder loads of H4831 and R22.
140gr Moly coated SP by Federal, pictured below. (This group has 6 shots because while I am 99% sure the bullet to the right is a flyer, I just decided to shoot a 6th round anyway. Afterwards shooting at a 300 yard steel plate with the remaining rounds confirmed to me that this ammo produces flyers.)
140gr SP by Sellier & Bellot, pictured below.
131gr SP by Sellier & Bellot, pictured below. (This will be my go to load when I am out of reloads)
I plan on keeping this rifle for the long run but if anyone asked me for a recommendation I would tell them if they want a Howa don't get the 6.5x55 and if they want a 6.5x55 don't get a Howa.