The first Howas that I know of were brought into the country by Martin Bray of the “Countryman of Derby” this was about 10 years ago. (he supplied both my Howas). In more recent times Brain Fox has been importing them.
I have two Howas, my brother has two and my mate has one, also “Kaliderscope” and “325 WSM” that post on some of the sites use Howas.
Out of the 5 that I have been involved in, they grouped between .25 and 1” out of the box using factory ammo. 4 had excellent or very good triggers but one did need a bit of work. (they will adjust down to 2-2 1/2lbs with out problems.)
The Howa is typically Japanese, copy the best bit from other peoples designs. The action/receiver is a copy of a Sako, flat bottomed with integral recoil lug. (Howa used to make receivers for Sako.) The bolt is a copy of the 700 Remmy but the extractor is more substantial (a common mod on the Remmy is to up rate the extractor on custom rifle.) It incorporates a fully supported cartridge head and 3 rings of steel design at the chamber.
The receiver accepts Remmy mounts, so plenty of choice their. The safety on the new rifles is 3 position but on the older rifle it is only a 2. The barrels need free floating from new. The early synthetic stocks were a bit flexy but the new ones are much more solid. I fitted a after market trigger unit on one of my rifles but in truth it is not that much better than a adjusted factory unit.
Pete Roedale of Roedale Precision Rifles rates them.
My own opinion is you will not buy a better rifle for less money, if money was no object I would buy a Sako but you would buy two Howas for that money.
I bought a new Howa 300WSM S/S to use as the basis for a 325WSM and fitted a PacNor barrel but before I removed the barrel to put the 325WSM barrel on I thought I would just have a play so 'borrowed' a few factory rounds from a friend. I never managed to shoot the whole box as he kept whittling about them costing £2 a bang but did shoot a couple of groups once they were going on the target. These were the last 3 shots I fired as seeing the result he wanted a go.