HISTORY OF HOWA
DECADES OF PRECISION & QUALITY
“We will continue to aim at becoming a globally recognized rifle taking advantage of skills and experiences which have been cultivated for more than 50 years.”
While the Howa Machinery Company Ltd is best known for manufacturing Japanese armaments – particularly those associated with WWII – it also makes heavy duty vehicles, construction and industrial tools and other civilian products. Howa rifles cover a broad range of uses from the Arisaka service rifle and the AR 18 assault rifle to hunting and target bolt action rifles for civilian markets.
Starting in 1940 Howa became intrinsic in Japanese war efforts, creating many variations on the Arisaka rifle line. After the sudden cessation of production after the Japanese surrender in 1945 the Arisaka became virtually obsolete, found only in those countries where Arisaka rifles had been captured, such as China and Thailand, or in the US as war trophies. Later Howa created carbines and semi-automatic rifles for the Japanese Self Defense Forces during the Cold War.
Howa Rifles for Sale Today
Today Howa continues to produce military and civilian firearms, including their popular sport rifles, in addition to their other industrial products. Howa also manufactures components for other major firearms companies like Weatherby, Smith & Wesson and Mossberg. Now that you’ve read up on Howa rifles head over to our auction pages to find the rifles, accessories and ammunition you’re looking for. Be sure to check our antique and collectible firearms pages for prized pre-WWII Howa rifles.
Inside of Toyoda Loom Works Factory
Howa Machinery, Ltd. was established in February under the name of Toyoda Loom Works, Ltd. with the purpose of domestically mass-producing textile machines which were imported at that time.
Toyoda Loom Works, Ltd – established
Toyoda Loom Works, Ltd accepted the initial order of weapons from the Japanese army arsenal in Nagoya and began manufacturing their first product, the hand grenade.
Showa Heavy Industries, Ltd was established and started producing rifles, cannonballs, and parts for airplanes.
The Arisaka Rifle
Toyoda Loom Works, Ltd merged with Showa Heavy Industries, Ltd and renamed Howa Heavy Industries, Ltd.
During WWII, Howa Heavy Industries, Ltd had been manufacturing Arisaka Rifles (Type 99), parts of infantry rifles (Type 38), artillery, machine guns, bullets and parts for airplanes.
Renamed Howa Machinery, Ltd after WWII. Howa began manufacturing textile machinery.
Permission was obtained from the Japanese Government and orders were accepted for hand grenades (type MK2), 81mm mortars, and parts for airplane bombs from the U.S. Military procurement section.
To further manufacturing of sporting arms, Howa entered the US hunting rifle market and obtained permission for manufacturing hunting rifles from the Governor of Aichi.
Japan’s first tunnel type target shooting range was then built.
Howa produced the Model 300 carbine (semi-auto rifle). This was the first mass produced Japanese hunting rifle.
From its compact and light design the rifle was well-received by Japanese fans.
Type 64 7.62mm Rifle
Since 1956, as a result of technology and development efforts, the type 64 rifle was adopted as official equipment by the Japan Defense Agency (currently Ministry of Defense).
Firearm Factory when newly completed
Howa established a state of the art firearm factory with ammunition storage and ancillary facilities such as heat and surface treatment.
Thai Police adopted Model 300’s improved version as official law enforcement equipment. 10,000 rifles were exported to Thailand until 1966.
Golden Bear Rifle
Howa presented the Golden Bear Bolt Action Rifle at the Chicago Shot Show in 1967. Approximately 3,000 Golden Bear Rifles were exported to the US. After the introduction of the rifle, Howa gained notoriety in the US market.
New Model 300
Improving the design of the Model 300 and development of a New Model 300 which was tougher and more practical.
Howa began developing a new rifle using a 5.56 mm NATO’s second rifle caliber.
Howa exports the Model 1500 developed on the Golden Bear rifle platform.
Type 89 Rifle
Development of new rifles that used 5.56 mm bullets was finally complete. Type 89 rifle was adopted as official equipment by the Jana Defense Agency (currently Ministry of Defense) in 1989.
M1500 Mini Action
The development of the M1500 Mini Action maximizing bolt actions to small size calibers.
Howa’s firearms department began with manufacturing weapons and has been successful in both weapon and hunting rifles.
Our experience and accumulated engineering know-how has made it possible over the years to develop and manufacture firearms of superior quality that are guaranteed to completely satisfy our customers.
Howa Machinery Ltd. is dedicated to continuing innovation and design to remain the leader in precision rifles and barreled actions.