Interesting things in this picture for sure. Lets start with what looks normal. the bolt, cam pin, firing pin and spring. That’s about it. Straight charging handle, shown here upside down. Similar to the AR180B but those are solid on the underside. Bolt carrier, a lightening cut out is full length as opposed to the partial cutout on the first 1000 Howa’s. Those were expected and had been seen before on other pictures like those of serial number X01. What wasn’t expected was the firing pin retainer. It has a split end not unlike the early solid version in the Colt 601.
A wider shot shows the guide rod assembly. These did not feature a latch as I believe it was found during testing that the rear plate would bounce when struck by the bolt carrier and unlock the upper from the lower. Not the kind of thing you want to happen in a fire fight.
What else do you see? Let me know in the comments and please share these articles with your friends.