Epic Bullpup Conversion: Howa 1500 .300 Win Mag

bullpup homemade howa bolt action

TFB reader BenJamin converted a bolt-action Howa 1500 chambered in .300 Win Mag into a beautiful bullpup that in my mind resembles the rarer-than-unicorns Walther WA 2000, although it was the Keppeler & Fritz KS II Precision that inspired him. BenJamin wrote …

This is my Howa 1500 .300 Win Mag I converted into a bullpup. I machined the aluminum myself, the only thing not made by me was the bolt knob and scope rail, I simply modded and installed them. The wood is locally cut and cured dark walnut that I machined and carved as well.

bullpup homemade howa bolt action3

The buttpad is easily removable by pulling out two HK91 takedown pins, and the buttpad can be adjusted vertically.

bullpup homemade howa bolt action 2

The rifle has a 1 pound Rifle Basix triggerthat I modified to attach to the trigger bar on the side of the rifle, the trigger, at this point, will only work as a bullpup.

The rifle has a firefield bipod, a Magpul buttpad and a Veber scope. The rifle uses Accuracy International mags, and only seem to have problems feeding Remington 150 gr. soft tips, everything else cycles fine. The Howa without scope or bipod is 11 pounds.

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In the future, I plan on getting a brake on it and eventually suppress it. I was also thinking of making plastic furniture (I work with Nylon Resin on a daily basis) further reduce the weight of the gun.

As you can see in the pic, the gun is well balanced and with the low bore axis, has reduced recoil and is quite stable while shooting, but I still plan on putting a brake on it.

If you have any questions about my Howa, I’ll be more than happy to answer them.

I told BenJamin he should be selling these, it is that good. If you have any questions about it, he will try to answer them in the comments below.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Don Ward

    *retching noises*

    • Marcus Toroian

      Hopefully positive retching. This could be a hit on the market, as we all know about WA2000s, their cost, and availability. Sounds like he isn’t done either.

      • BenJamin

        I do have a lot of ideas that I want to explore. I plan on getting a short action next, so I can reduce length of pull and make the rifle shorter overall, compared to this version

        • If I went to my local gun range with that, I would be the envy of all the shooter with their boring seen-it-all-before black rifles.

    • This kind of negativity has no place at TFB.

      • Don Ward

        On the positive side, it might be slightly better at clearing rooms…

        • iksnilol

          Best way to clear a room is a .338 lapua with a 20 cm (8 inch) barrel… no brake.

          • M.M.D.C.

            WHAT?!?!

          • iksnilol

            Exactly! Shock and awe… Literally. Though it might be a fire hazard. Let us just chalk that one up as a feature.

      • Brunson

        THANK YOU!

        I can’t believe a bunch of gun enthusiasts aren’t more supportive of a gun builder who has created their “own” gun, and not just bought the regular sh** flying off the shelves. Instead, all I’m reading here is a bunch of a-holes tripping over themselves to proclaim the rifle to be ugly, technically inferior, or warning “you’ll shoot you’re eye out!” For Christ’s sake, it’s a flipping proof-tested barrel and receiver in a unique, functional, homemade bullpup stock.

        • Don Ward

          Pointing out, shall we say, innovative homemade firearms modifications and remarking on them is a long pastime of gun hobbyists. But I guess heavier, less ergonomic and less attractive than the original means that it’s “cool” to kids these days.

  • Kevin Harron

    Very nicely done. Be interested to see it with polymer furniture.

    • BenJamin

      The plastic furniture will look nothing like the wood furniture (design -wise) going for a more ergonomic, yet rigid look.

      • Kevin Harron

        Does it shoot well? And how bad is the recoil without a brake?

        • BenJamin

          I haven’t installed a brake yet, but I plan on doing that here in the next couple of weeks. When shooting from a bench, it’s not so bad. But shooting from prone, you definitely feel it. The “jump” from the recoil is reduced from the low bore axis, we were able to watch, through the scope, the gong getting hit at 400 yards.
          Also, when the buttplate is moved downward, the recoil gets noticeably sharper. I might abandon the adjustable buttplate and have a fixed one instead, it would certainly cut off about 3/4 of an inch on the LOP.
          The rifle shoots consistent, I haven’t officially done a MOA test on paper, but we were getting holes to touch on a frying pan at 100 yards.

  • eric

    would be nicer with a shorter distance between the grip and the bolt handle

    • BenJamin

      When I was putting this together, I was concerned with that as well. Using it now, it really doesn’t bother me that much

  • PXN

    gorgeous

  • tony

    I would add a piece of Kevlar around the cheek weld area just in case

    • BenJamin

      That’s not a bad idea

      • Jon

        Isn’t the barrel and action proof tested at the factory? Don’t sweat it.

    • JR

      This! It was my 1st thought when I read this article.

  • Beeblebrox

    I am sure it is well made, but it is as homely as a mud fence. Roughly the same shape as well.

    • Canadian Vet

      I don’t know about that. It has a certain simple elegance to it.

    • BenJamin

      Maybe it’ll look better with some polymer on it?

      • Faulker

        No, no, no, no! Not every gun needs plastic. Remember, Marilyn Monroe was beautiful without silicone.

        • M.M.D.C.

          I agree. The wood contrasts very well with the aluminum. It’s a handsome rifle.

          Please consider keeping it the way it is and experiment with your next build. Nice work!

          • BenJamin

            The next build will have plastic furniture, I’m kinda interested to see how it’ll turn out. But this rifle is gonna keep the wood, so we’re all good 😉

        • Mr Evilwrench

          I go more for Bettie Page, but yeah, steel and wood, maybe a little aluminium. I have a black walnut out front I plan on cutting down and turning into things, maybe a wood furniture set for an AR, definitely a bad MF sniper one for my 7mmRM. Things that go boom rather than bang 🙂 This makes me happy.

      • Andrew Hobby

        NO PLASTIC!!
        Ben, you’ve got something there. What you’re doign with the pistol grip – keep that going throughout the rest of the wood. Think about how your body interacts with the rifle. You’ve got it on certain parts, it just need a little more on the rest of it. I like though. I like it a lot.

    • iksnilol

      Meh, even if it was ugly I still wouldn’t mind shooting/owning it. Then again I do pretty much find all guns beautiful (even allegedly ugly guns like AKs). Except ARs, they look really boring and generic for the most part. A clean build without much accessories can look nice though.

      • Mr Evilwrench

        I’m converging an AR on a Colt 602 (my favorite version) and getting pretty close. Just can’t do that happy switch thing. Anyone tells me to put optics on it is in line to be slapped.

        • iksnilol

          So… have you thought about maybe putting on a red dot or something? 😉

          Just messing with you. I will admit, I like the look of the M16A1 but I wouldn’t use one (having tried one I wasn’t sold). If I got an AR it would probably be something with a 50 cm barrel, a front sight mounted as far forward as possible (might as well have as large sight radius as possible) and wooden furniture. Oh, and the carry handle rear sight for looks of course.

          • Mr Evilwrench

            Heh. The 602 isn’t so much for shooting a lot, just a tribute. I can’t even really fire it because I fire in a kind of hybrid wrong handed way and get brass in my face without a deflector. I just love the retro look, the triangular fore-end, the flash enhancer, all that. I have other things to shoot.

          • iksnilol

            Why not just get the deflector and be able to shoot it?

  • Riot

    Tis a thing of squared wooden beauty

  • Michael Valera

    low bore axis? That’s high as hell.

    • BenJamin

      Low bore axis in relation to the buttpad. The center of scope is 2.5 inches above the center of the barrel

      • JumpIf NotZero

        That’s nice. But the part that you should care about, the height over bore is monstrous. Better have a really good bubble and check it often!

        • BenJamin

          I’m not concerned. The only thing I’m sacrificing with a high bore height is close shots, which in any event where I have to make a less than 100 yard shot, I have other rifles at my disposal that are more ideal for the task

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Yes, offset is a real and noticeable thing… But I think you should consider how a high over bore axis would effect cant errors. Offset is not even close to “the only” thing you are giving up.

          • BenJamin

            Rest assured, I did do the research for this, and as I have said before, I’m not really that concerned. I’m curious, are you constantly on the phone with Desert Tech and giving them the same spiel you’re giving me? Their scope bore height is similar to mine? Along with several other precision rifles I can list if you want?

          • Not_a_Federal_Agent

            Don’t worry about responding to him, he hasn’t showed us his home-built bullpup with a lower height over bore for optics, or for that matter his very own MDR.

          • iksnilol

            Stupid question, presuming the bore height is a serious issue, would it be possible to mount the scope super low (hugging the barrel) and then use a periscope to look through the scope (due to it being way too low to look through normally)?

            I am halfway serious, on one hand it could be done on the other hand the offset isn’t that bad.

          • BenJamin

            I can drop the scope rail down another 3/8 of an inch. The reason it’s set so high is to accommodate this scope with tall rings and still be able to see through the scope

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Ok, I’m mean, I seriously doubt your height over bore in those photos is close to a SRS but cool man.

            I’m seeing that you don’t have a level on the gun at all now. I think I’ve learned everything I need to know about how this conversation would go.

            Can I recommend a long range precision class? Magpul’s long range instructior is excellent, and DesertTech offers a great class and facility I’ve had the fortune of attending.

          • BenJamin

            My rifle scope bore axis relation, 2.5, give or take a couple thousandths of an inch. DT SRS, 2.63, yeah, mine simply towers over the SRS.
            You know, it took me a year to put this together and work out the bugs, this wasn’t some weekend redneck project; I’ve put a lot of thought and research into this, so I kinda know what I’m doing. But I do appreciate your condescending comments
            But you’re absolutely right, we both know where this conversation is going now, you’re one of those tech gadget, tacticool DeltaNavyRangerSealForce keyboard warrior fanboy who has yet given an example of experience with this subject, and is most likely regurgitating numbers that you’ve found on a forum somewhere.
            “Magpul’s long range instructior is excellent, and DesertTech offers a great class and facility I’ve had the fortune of attending.” TRUMPETS and GLORY! Good for you, you’re an operator now! While I do have training in precision rifles, it’s automatically void cause it wasn’t hosted by “Magpul” or “Desert Tech”
            Dude, at this point, I think you’re talking out of your ass, but now that we got this in the open, feel free to plaster me with insults and idle threats of how you’re a tier one Delta Seal and how you’re gonna mess me up, lol

          • Jerry Rodriguez

            Now that’s calling someone out!

            Jumpy, it’s time to quietly move on to another site or post full of uninformed, less-experienced idiots who need your tier one operator enlightenment and sage advice. If you start your own website (maybe even with your own builds) be sure to come back and let us know.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Since no one has yet responded to or even implied understanding of high bore cant error, I’m thinking glass houses after your comment It’s cool. Someone made something, and that’s great, golly forbid anyone point out an obvious (to anyone that shoots long range) error with it.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Wow! 😀

            Just giving you some recommendations where you can learn to shoot long range buddy. I mean you might want a bubble level and a scope with parallax adjustment, but all the same… Or are those things only for keyboard warriors as well, don’t answer, the reply might keep me up at night 🙂

            Also, I upvoted your post so that your own “guest” votes put on seconds after you posted wasn’t the only one there.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Also, I think you are either not sure how to measure center of bore to center of optic (height over bore) or you got that number mixed up. Because if that’s a 24″ barrel on your gun, doing a custom measurement in photoshop should that your centerline can be no less than 3″ which looking at it, makes sense. Your claimed 2.5″… That does not.

            Maybe that’s not a 24″ barrel, I’m not sure. Maybe you measured to the bottom of the optic, that could be it. But it really does appear to be about 3″-3.3″, but hey, whatever. Good job on the chasiss.

          • markymark

            I didn’t know you were a tier one operator. This changes everything. Much respect to you.

        • Terry Milfenter

          You’re like a weird anti-superhero who flies around and craps on everyone’s parade! I don’t get it.

          To the creator of this gun: congratulations for making your own unique rifle, with your own tools and skill. I’m envious of your talents and capabilities.

          • BenJamin

            Thank you good sir. As to Michael and Jump, I believe they’ve posted legitimate concerns. I haven’t seen a rebuttal from them, so I’m assuming that they’re satisfied with my response.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Anti-superhero…. Did you try out the words Super Villian and decide to go a different direction?

            I suppose OP will someday figure out that while unique and well put together, that much height over bore will be undesirable. If I’m a Villian for pointing that out?

            I’ll play your villian.

        • Mr Evilwrench

          Um, 300WM is a reach out and touch someone caliber. If, at range, your holdover is 48in, is the scope to bore going to be that big a deal? Give me a break. Are you planning to shoot chipmunks in your backyard? Maybe a lighter load would be appropriate.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            You know how I know you don’t know what you are talking about?

            48″ of drop on a 300wm is about 525y. Assuming .5 BC, 180gr, and almost 3000fps.

            Whew boy! 525! That’s out there!!!

            I think maybe you aren’t understanding what cant error is, among other things.

          • Mr Evilwrench

            And how I know you have no f’in clue what planet you’re even on? 525yd is at the short end of what I’d use a 300WM for, or my 7mmRM. This is a 1000yd rifle, and a lot more holdover at that range. Apologies if you were attempting to be sarcastic, but you failed at that as well. 48 was just an example. Thing with cant is, you cancel it out at the range you zero your scope to. That will zero you at two ranges; all the rest you have to compensate with holdover or holdunder. As close as you can get your scope to the boreline, this fact will not change, but it has to be high enough to look through while you’re aiming. Have you ever even fired live ammunition? I have a stack of rifles and pistols to clean from going to the range today.

  • wetcorps

    Noice. I have a weird attraction to wooden bullpup and wish there were more around. Unfortunately bullpups became popular just at the time wood stopped to be.

    • BenJamin

      I have a thing for 80’s era precision rifles

    • Evil_Bonsai

      And thus my extreme desire for the Kel-Tec M43. So pretty.

      • wetcorps

        Check this out. Bullpup variant of a Valmet M82.

        • the ammo addict

          Now THAT looks cool!

  • ghost

    That barrel has no visible means of support? It may be the angle of the photos. Nice work tho.

    • BenJamin

      Barrel is free-floated

    • Mr Evilwrench

      The barrel needs support only at the breech. It’s a steel rod with a hole through it; it’s not gonna go all wet noodle on you. Any contact it has with anything will interfere with its physical load, its thermal load, its resonances. Put a bipod on it and your accuracy will suffer rather than increase. You put the bipod on the stock.. We’re into science with this stuff now, not just poking things and seeing what happens. Sub MOA guns in the 40’s were just by luck. Now we know why.

  • And there we have the first gun from the JACOBS gun company.
    Remember, if you have to shoot more than once – you weren’t shooting a Jacobs.

    • Rick

      he says he’ll go to plastic. But not sure how he’ll enable the exploding reload.

      Tediore FTW! 🙂

    • Evil_Bonsai

      Jakobs. 🙂

  • Jsim

    When making the new stock it looks like a bipod like the steyr scout has would be a perfect addition

  • BattleshipGrey

    BenJamin, if you don’t mind me asking, how much did it cost to make & modify everything (excluding the cost of the rifle)? If you’d rather not say that’s fine, just curious as I like to make things with my hands too.

    • BenJamin

      I’m not sure, this has been slowly put together over the last year, I’m ballparking about $300?

  • sianmink

    Pretty, but I am not sure I would want 65,000 psi that close to my face with nothing between me and it but an eighth inch of walnut.

    • iksnilol

      What is the difference between it being under your face versus in front of your face? Don’t believe that the 5 cm distance will save you if it decides to blow.

      • sianmink

        Bolt Rifle KB!s go outward and forward, rarely backwards (cause those bolts lock up so good) so I’d kind of rather have that ahead of my cheek rather than under it, or if not, then to have a nice solid steel plate between me and potential fraggage.

  • Joshua

    Looks a whole lot like the Walther rifle.

  • Kevin Joseph

    rifle abomination. horrible.

    • Gary Joseph

      Two first names? BARF!

      • JBC

        haha!

  • Avid Fan

    Don’t worry Benjamin. They’re just a little confused. It’s not .223 and it doesn’t take AR magazines soooooooo they’re just a little bit frightened. Don’t look directly at them and try to speak softly. The herd will soon quiet down.

    • dan citizen

      well put.

  • Abram

    I like where this idea is going. That you’ve made it this far along with a functional rifle at such a small cash investment is to be commended!

  • Blake

    Very nice work. Big fan of the WA 2000 myself. A guy in San Jose makes a real nice 10/22 conversion kit in limited quantities.

    BTW isn’t putting a suppressor on a 300 Win Mag kinda like putting a condom on a rapist?

    • BenJamin

      Not trying to silence it, just trying to control the blast

    • iksnilol

      Not really, a suppressor reduces recoil just like a brake. Only difference is the suppressor makes the gun more comfortable to shoot in regards to pressure and noise. Seriously, nobody likes the guy with a 300 winmag with a brake on it. That and brakes damage your hearing (raise the sound by about 10 decibels, putting you right in the 140 db “sweet spot”).

  • Uniform223

    If Olivia Wilde were a “sniper rifle”, this would be it.

    • HenryV

      Have a 🙂 too.

  • Andrey Martim

    I have a small question about not only the WA2000, but also about the PSG1… I know both guns where designed in response for the Munich Olympics Massacre, but… Why are them so expensive? Not only today, I know both rifles are rare today, but both the WA2000 and the PSG1 where rejected due to overprices, so… What made these two rifles much more expensive than weapons of the same class ?

    • iksnilol

      Tight tolerances, small production numbers and of course the fact that living standards in European countries are much higher than in the US (the US is pretty much a poor place if you aren’t rich).

      • Mathman

        Uh, care to elaborate on your statement that “the US is pretty much a port place if aren’t rich”?

        • iksnilol

          poor place, not port place. At least that is my impression of Florida since I was last there. I mean, you got to realize that the situation is bad when food is advertised as being made with real sugar. Like that is something noteworthy. It is akin to advertising a gun made out of real steel.

          That and you guys are extremely wasteful in regards to resources. You have a really big footprint. You consume a disproportionate amount of resources. Similar to a 15 cm (6 inch) barrel on a 5.56, it is wasteful.

          300 million Americans consume as much resources as 1.2 billion Chinese people.

  • David Ferguson

    Think you could do this with….. a savage 10FCP-K?

    • BenJamin

      I’ve looked into several designs, Savage, Remington, Thompson, Tikka. The Howa action worked the best for converting into a bullpup

      • David Ferguson

        Could you post some close ups of the trigger and how you modified it?

  • JBC

    Good job Ben. Its always nice to see an individual’s idea come to fruition. Keep at it and I might have to step my game up.

  • Rick

    oh that is pretty. It’s like Desert Tech decided to go with a classic hunting aesthetic,

  • Pure excellence! The only way to “fix” the height over bore would be to add some sort of reverse periscope optic. But if it ain’t broke…

  • iksnilol

    Some questions:

    – Weight. What is the weight compared to the regular non-bullpup version and what do you estimate it would weigh with the plastic furniture?

    – Length. How long is it? How long is the barrel? How long is the action itself?

    – Is it more/less accurate than the regular non-bullpup version? Have you tested it?

    – How did you get the trigger to work?

    I really like the look of it.

    • BenJamin

      Thank you good sir
      -Rifle weighs in at 11 pounds with no scope or bi-pod
      -37 inches long, not short enough for my liking
      -We’ve shot over 100 rounds through it, haven’t measured moa on it, but we were getting bullet holes to touch at 100 yds
      -Trigger would have to have it’s own article on how it works, but it’s pretty straightforward

      • Jerrry Turner

        I look forward to reading how you solved the trigger issue, if you do make another post.

        • BenJamin

          I have been invited back when Version 2 is complete, so I’ll make it a point to document the trigger

      • iksnilol

        Good sir? That’s a new one.

        Thanks for the answers. 5 kg isn’t bad for a 300 winmag. Do you like the balance.

        Though it seems like it has a pretty long barrel, so keeping it under a meter in length is pretty good.

        Would be cool to see an article on the trigger. Keep up the good work I guess. I am not too good with people so I am not quite sure on what to say.

  • derfelcadarn

    What is the point ?

    • BenJamin

      To have something unique instead of a namebrand like everyone else.

    • Mergh

      Dude, he MADE A GUN!
      Guns are fun.
      Playing with power tools is fun. AR! AR! AR!

      Don’t you remember “Tool Time” with Tim ‘The Tool Man’ Taylor?

  • the ammo addict

    I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think it’s ugly as sin, but hey, whatever turns your crank – I think we can all agree that the freedom to do something like this is beautiful.

  • dan citizen

    Very nice.

  • Evil_Bonsai

    Not a bolt guy, but damn that is sexy!

  • Squirreltakular

    Gorgeous. Pay no heed to the loudmouth shit-talkers. I’m sure this blog would love to see more work from you and others like you.

    Also, let us know if you start selling these things…

  • Rangefinder

    RANGEFINDER

  • Rangefinder

    BRAVO!
    Benjamin this is a work of art.
    I love it!
    Well done!

  • DIR911911 .

    looks like it has good company

  • Hobby Gunsmith

    BenJamin,

    Nice work! I’ve done a couple ak parts kit builds and working on a cetme/hk91 build now, but haven’t done anything as extreme as your bullpup build. It’s good to see people building different stuff. I think those who attempt to design and manufacture their own hardware develop a stronger appreciation of other’s hardware. I have definitely learned a few things from your build. Best of luck with your future endeavors.

  • Mr Evilwrench

    Well, I’m glad I could give you something you could appreciate (yes I’m being bitingly sarcastic, for those (you) that can’t appreciate that and may need a hint) Um, no sheiss you want to mount it as close to the boreline as you can, that’s helpful. But you have to be able to look through the verdammt thing when you’re sighting your target, and you’re damned well going to have some offset. Offset is not the problem, I never said it was. But, it can be taken into account and compensated for, if it’s 25 or 2500mm. Yeah, holdover/holdunder. You zero at 200m, you’re zeroed at 25m as well, so at 100m, the bullet is going to impact high by your scope, so you aim under. That cant thing. I think I’ve got it. At 500m, you aim over, and you have to know your load to know how much. That’s how you hit a target that’s way over there. Ask the snipers, if you refuse to believe me. I won’t claim to be military, but I can put a hole where I want it. Get you a pellet rifle for those chipmunks, little boy.

  • iksnilol

    Makes sense. It is just that I have no problems shooting with either hand so I don’t really face that issue much. Maybe just wear a mask or something when shooting it?

    • Mr Evilwrench

      Although I’m slightly right handed, ambidextrous in the mirror image way rather than the being able to do things the same way with either hand way, I’m very left eye dominant, so I can fire right handed just fine, but probably won’t hit very well. It’s the kind of thing you have to deal with when you get old. I keep the switchblade and butterfly on the right side, but the pistol on the left.

      • iksnilol

        I tried the same thing. Then I found out I aimed with my left eye (while holding the gun right handed) and vice-versa. So naturally I learned to shoot with both eyes open. It reduces fatigue over long periods of time and helps out against confusion.

        In short, I believe there is something seriously wrong with me.

  • James Miller

    I like to think this guy walks around in a black suit with a red tie, that swings back and forth as he walks…