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Howa 1500 Kratos 6.5 Creedmoor

Howa has long been a trusted brand for affordable performance. In today’s article we will be discussing another model from Howa, a variant of the model 1500. The Kratos 6.5 Creedmoor is sold as a hunting rifle and introductory precision rifle, built on the durable 1500 action and placed in a synthetic stock ready for whatever activity you choose.

The Kratos
The God of war seems a bit off for the name of a hunting or match rifle, but here we are. The features that set he Kratos apart give it some excellent handling and performance. The synthetic stock feature bedded pillars in its composite structure to keep the action firmly stabilized. The model I received came with both a hinged floorplate and a detachable box magazine system that holds five rounds. The exterior of the stock features a very nice texturing that allows excellent handling, and the whole thing is finished off with an attractive camouflaged paint pattern.
The 1500 action and barrel are also Cerakoted in a tan color, which makes the whole thing quite handsome. Controls on the action include a right side safety near the bolt-shroud, and opposite that is a petite bolt-release lever. The bolt is a ninety-degree two lug type, it uses an M16 type claw extractor and a traditional plunger ejector.
The barrel itself is a twenty-two inch eight twist barrel of a fairly light profile. Nothing wrong with that for a hunting rifle, but it did seem a little light for even an entry level match rifle. This was of little concern to me, as the only plans I had for the rifle was as a hunting tool.
The muzzle of the rifle features a very slender muzzle brake with radial ports to reduce recoil. Underneath the brake were a clean set of 1/2-28 threads, perfect for mounting a suppressor. The rifle I received also came with a one-piece scope base, which would reduce the time needed to get a scope mounted and on the range.


Range Preparation

The first thing I wanted to add to the rifle was a good scope, I had a Crimson Trace Hardline 3-12 scope handy, and already in a mount. This made installing it a breeze, leaving me needing only to zero the gun and get shooting. But before that, I installed a Harris bipod and I also grabbed my Yankee Hill Machine R9 suppressor which would make a nice addition to the ensemble.

With several hunts coming in the next few weeks, I wanted to make sure the rifle was ready for anything. Both my wife and son would also be hunting this year, and I was going to see if either of them wanted to try the new Howa as their main gun. That being the case I grabbed a couple different selections of ammunition, a Hornady 120 grain Match Load, as well as my own custom hunting load featuring the Patriot Valley arms Cayuga bullets. I’ve used these bullets many times in the past to take deer and elk, and these 122 grain bullets loaded in the 6.5 Creedmoor have dropped elk with outstanding performance.

After packing up all my gear and accessories, I took the Howa to my shooting spot. With a target hung at one hundred yards, I laid down behind the Kratos and bore-sighted the scope. I zeroed the rifle using the Hornady ammo, and also tried some 130 grain Federal Gold Medal ammunition. They all shot equally, so I tried my Cayuga hunting load as well. They averaged right at one MOA with a five shot group.

With a little refinement I figured I could tighten that up before hunting season. I would prefer the rifle shoot half MOA groups, this better consistency is very handy when shots get longer.
One thing I noticed while shooting the rifle at one hundred yards was how much I liked the two-stage trigger. You could tell it wasn’t a seven thousand dollar sniper rifle trigger, but it still was a great little trigger and better than average for a hunting rifle. I also noticed just the slightest bind on the bolt when running it, but it was also dry. I added a touch of lube to the contact points and it ran as smooth as could be.

Now that I had the rifle zeroed, I figured I would do some real world shooting. My favorite part of shooting here in the mountains is that it allows me to practice in the same scenarios that I would during a hunt. I picked out a rock about the size of a deer’s vitals, I picked it because it had the right shape, and lay surrounded by nothing but dry dirt. I ranged it with my LRF, and the range came back at four-hundred-twenty yards. It was a steep canyon and my target lay deep below me, so I dialed the elevation correction, subtracting for the incline of course. I favored into the wind which was coming down the canyon, and took up the first stage of the trigger. When my hold was just right, I pressed harder and sent the shot crushing the thin rock into the dirt.
With a fresh sense of confidence, I decided to try another shot. This one was straight across the canyon, with a good wind blowing at full-value. The laser came back with six-hundred and fifteen yards, so I again corrected my scope elevation for the distance and evaluated the wind as I lay there. A full MIL into the wind seemed a bit much, but I’ve certainly misjudged the wind before so I held the full MIL. After breaking the trigger again, I watched my bullet impact a few inches downwind of where I wanted it too. Shoulda probably held 1.1 or 1.2 MIL, but that is exactly why I like doing this, to get more experience doping the wind. Continue Reading Here…