||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (May 2010)|
|This article relies largely or entirely upon a single source. (May 2010)|
|Rifle, 7.62 mm, Sniper rifle, M1500|
|Type||Bolt Action Rifle|
|Place of origin||Japan|
|Feed system||4 or 5-round drop box magazine|
The M1500 is a bolt-action centerfire rifles produced by Howa Machinery. The original Howa rifle blueprints were drawn up with a strong resemblance to the Sako centerfire bolt action. At present, the M1500 is the only large calibre bolt action rifle produced in Japan, and is sold as Howa's representative rifle not only in Japan, but throughout the world.
The internal magazine can hold 3-5 rounds, loaded through the open action. Aftermarket 5 and 10 round removable box magazine system are available, similar to the Type 38 infantry rifle.
Barrels are cromoly, not chrome-lined as seen on arms of the Type 64 rifle. Barrels are offered in both sporting length, weight and profile as well as Varmint length and weight. All guns circulating within Japan undergo fire-testing at the Toyokazu Company, and every new rifle has its paper test target enclosed with the firearm.
There are two main products for the domestic market. The Deluxe model fitted with open sights and the sightless varmint-hunting model, known as the "Heavy Barrel". Both versions are available either blued or in stainless steel, for a total of four models on sale, independent of caliber. Short action and long action calibers are available including, but not limited to .22-250, .223 Remington, .204 Ruger, 6.5×55mm, .300 Winchester Magnum, .308 Winchester, .30-06, .375 Ruger, so the user can freely choose to suit his purpose.
For foreign exports, the barreled action with trigger mechanism are also supplied in a stripped down form to various small arms manufacturers. It is common that a maker will choose and attach its own gunstock to Howa's barreled actions, and then sell it under their own brand. Weatherby Vanguard is such an example, while S&W, Mossberg and Inter-Arms sells them as the M1500.
The M1500, while being comparatively low priced compared to other overseas models, has been judged to have all the delicacy and robustness one would expect from Japanese engineering. Spare parts have also sold fairly well, however starting with the incursion of Remington into the Japanese domestic market, foreign companies with stronger brand recognition and more competitive prices have caused M1500 sales to become sluggish. For this reason, more than 95% of Howa's M1500 are produced in stripped down form for overseas export.
Adoption by the National Police Agency
The M1500 was originally a hunting rifle, but the Japan National Police Agency has adopted the varmint-hunting model as a sniper rifle. This model was designated "Heavy Barrel." Heavy barreled "Varmint" or colloquially, "Sniper" rifles are fitted with longer, heavier barrels to increase projectile velocity, resist heat soak, and provide more repeatable shots.