GUN TESTS GRADE: A- (BEST BUY)
Sako rifles, made in Finland and imported by Beretta USA, are world renowned for their quality and accuracy. Tikka rifles are made by Sako, and, while they are a bit more of a price brand, they sacrifice little of the quality and accuracy with which the Sako’s are built. Receivers basically come in one length, so a 308 and a 30-06 will use the same action — the usable length of the magazine is just shortened or lengthened as necessary. The barrels are produced to the same standards, whether they are going on a Sako or a Tikka. Think about the Acura versus Honda concept. Quality is very comparable, but options are fewer, so price is better on the Honda.
|Action Type||Bolt, 2 Lugs|
|Overall Length||42.5 in.|
|Barrel Length/Twist||22 in., 1:11 in.|
|Overall Height w/o Scope Mount||6.5 in.|
|Weight Unloaded||6.25 lbs.|
|Weight Loaded||6.5 lbs.|
|Action Finish||Matte Stainless|
|Barrel Finish||Matte Stainless|
|Magazine Capacity||3 Rounds|
|Magazine Type||Detachable Box|
|Drop at Comb||1.4 in.|
|Drop at Heel||1.6 in.|
|Length of Pull||13.2 in.|
|Receiver Scope-Base Pattern||Tikka|
|Trigger Pull Weight||2.5 lbs.|
The Tikka T3x, introduced in 2016, is an updated version of the T3. This newer model includes some very nice upgrades, such as a larger ejection port, a metal bolt shroud instead of the previous model’s plastic piece, an improved scope rail attachment, and a steel recoil lug to replace the T3’s aluminum lug.
The stainless-steel version of the T3x Lite raises the price a bit versus the blued-steel rifles in our test. The barrel is 22.5 inches long, has a 1:11-inch twist, and tapers to a 0.63-inch diameter at the muzzle. This is not a varmint barrel, but it isn’t pencil thin either.
The barrel attaches to a receiver that has been redesigned to allow easier attachment of optical devices. The top of the action is still grooved for standard Tikka rings, and it has been drilled and tapped to allow easy mounting of a Picatinny rail. We used a 20-MOA rail from Mountain Tactical (Tikkaperformance.com).
The bolt can be removed by pressing a pivoting bar on the left side of the receiver. Bolt lift and throw on this rifle was the smoothest of any in this test. Our two-lug push-feed bolt sports a Sako-style extractor and a plunger-type ejector. It showed a 90-degree lift, but the shape of the bolt handle was such that it stayed well clear of mounted optics.
The rifle mounts to the stock via two action screws, and Tikka does a very good job of supplying torque settings (and other important data) for their rifles in the provided manual. When the two screws are removed, the action can be lifted from the stock, and the trigger is then accessible. Our rifle came to us with the trigger set at 2.5 pounds. Trigger compression was smooth and light with no creep or overtravel. The trigger can be further lightened or made heavier by rotating out an Allen screw mounted right in front of the trigger. This is a very simple thing to do, and there is another screw right in front of the trigger adjustment to keep the shooter from backing it out too far.
The safety is a two-position rocker type on the right side of the receiver, just behind the bolt. The stock, though polymer, is foam filled and doesn’t make that hollow sound created when many plastic stocks are bumped. A three-round polymer magazine protrudes slightly from the bottom of the stock, though not enough to affect how the shooter needs to carry the rifle. The magazine latch was at the front of the mag, but it was well recessed and we were not concerned about it being released inadvertently. Weight was a bit farther toward the muzzle than normal, perhaps, with the rifle balancing, for us, about an inch forward of the magazine release. The stock also allows interchangeable grips so the shooter can choose a more vertical style if desired. The T3x fed perfectly from the magazine but could balk just a little when the flat-nosed SIG HT rounds were single fed. Two sling-swivel studs are provided, and there is a way to add a flat beavertail piece on the forend available from Beretta USA.
This rifle shot everything well, with two of the three types of ammunition providing average groups just longer than 1 inch in diameter. This group of testers, however, has considerable experience with Tikkas and found those numbers a bit disappointing based on experience specifically with Tikka 308s.
Our Team Said: We have found Tikka rifles to respond well to handloads but graded this rifle down a half letter because of its accuracy. Maybe that is not fair. Perhaps it is only an indication of the excellence we have come to expect from Tikkas.
Written and photographed by Joe Woolley, using evaluations from Gun Tests team testers.
VALUE GUIDE: BOLT-ACTION RIFLE SCORES
|Browning X-Bolt Micro Midas 22-250 Rem., $879||Dec. 2019||A||Our Pick. This is a trim rifle made for the small-statured or still-developing hunter.|
|Howa Model 1500 Youth 22-250 Rem., $529||Dec. 2019||A||Best Buy. With youth- and adult-length stocks available, this is a great rifle.|
|Bergara B-14 B14S104 22-250 Rem., $879||Dec. 2019||A||Designed with the full-sized hunter in mind, this would be a great companion on a coyote hunt.|
|Browning X-Bolt 035395291 6mm CM, $2400||Aug. 2019||A||A superior varminter that could shoot in competition.|
|Howa 1500 H-S Precision HHS62203 6mm CM, $1220||Aug. 2019||A||This is a great all-around rifle at a reasonable price.|
|Barrett Fieldcraft Rifle Threaded 6mm CM, $1929||Aug. 2019||A-||This is a super-lightweight precision build you’ll want to take everywhere.|
|Savage 110 Scout 57139 450 Bushmaster, $829||July 2019||A-||Best Buy. The Savage Axis proved accurate, reliable, and fast handling. Adjustable LOP.|
|Ruger Scout Rifle 6830 7.62 NATO, $1139||July 2019||B+||The Ruger Scout comes closest to the original Scout rifle concept, but it falls short due to weight.|
|Mossberg MVP Scout Combo 7.62 NATO, $780||July 2019||B||Not a true interpretation of the Scout Rifle concept. Accurate, well-handling short rifle at a good price.|
|Savage 110 Apex Storm XP 57344 6.5 CM, $605||June 2019||A-||Best Buy. The Savage Axis proved accurate, reliable, and fast handling. Adjustable LOP.|
|Mauser M18 M18065P 6.5 PRC, $628||June 2019||A-||Accurate and reliable. Expensive compared to the others.|
|Savage Axis II XP Rifle 57289 6.5 CM, $400||June 2019||B+||A credible and accurate rifle for hunting. Superior stock treatment.|
|Ruger 77/44 Model 7401 44 Remington Mag., $754||May 2019||A-||The 77/44 offers accuracy and power in a lightweight rifle. We disliked the magazine.|
|Ruger American Rifle 6903 Standard 308 Win. $382||Dec. 2018||A||Light enough, accurate enough, and inexpensive enough for us to want to keep it.|
|Savage Axis II XP 57095 308 Win. $411||Dec. 2018||A-||Best Buy. It works well, is accurate enough for hunting, and it is affordable.|
|Savage Model 12FV 18393 308 Win., $420||Dec. 2018||A-||Most accurate rifle tested. Modest recoil. The rifle never failed to impress us.|
|Mossberg Trophy Hunter 308 Win., $240||Dec. 2018||C||Overall, the rifle was worth the modest price, but there are better choices.|
|Uintah UPR-10 Bolt AR-10 Upper 6.5 CM, $1295||June 2018||B+||Capable of very good accuracy, this was a dream upper in need of a little refinement.|
|Ruger American Rifle Ranch 06968 300 Blackout, $420||May 2018||A-||Shot well both suppressed and unsuppressed. Short length would make it handy.|
|Remington M700 SPS-T 84205 300 Blackout, $680||May 2018||A-||Shot well in 300 BLK supersonic and subsonic.|
|Savage Arms 10PT-SR 22356 308 Win., $550||May 2018||B+||Good build. It did shoot sub-MOA with one round. We loved the handle and AccuTrigger.|
|CZ-USA CZ 527 Youth 03050 7.62x39mm, $650||Mar. 2018||A-/B+||Grade A- for adults; Grade B+ for youths. We would trust it to work for a lifetime.|
|Browning A-Bolt Micro Hunter 7mm-08 Rem., $578||Mar. 2018||A-/C+||Grade A- for adults; Grade C+ for youths. Too much rifle and recoil for younger shooters.|
|Savage Axis II Compact 22230 243 Win. $490||Mar. 2018||B/A||Grade B for adults; Grade A for youths. Clear winner as a youth rifle.|
|Desert Tech SRS-A1 6.5 Creedmoor, $4495||Nov. 2017||A||Test results proved the SRS-A1 is at the top of the rifle-quality pyramid.|
|Ruger Hawkeye Mark IV VT 17980 6.5 CM, $1139||Nov. 2017||B+||Rough bolt action, but in terms of accuracy, the Hawkeye deserved an A.|
|Legacy Sports Howa HCR 6.5 Creedmoor, $1450||Nov. 2017||C||The HCR should grade higher based on its ergonomics and simplicity.|
|Remington M700 SPS 85538 308 Win., $600||Oct. 2017||B+||This short rifle isn’t the most accurate, but the overall handling is superb.|
|Remington Model 700 SPS 84218 308 Win., $606||Oct. 2017||B+||Hard to find a production rifle that is capable of greater practical accuracy.|
|Savage Axis 19223 308 Win, $240||Oct. 2017||C||Accuracy wasn’t the best. The rifle was dogged by a heavy trigger that we fixed.|
|Remington 783 85847 308 Win., $340||Mar. 2017||A||Best Buy. This was the most accurate rifle tested, and there were no demerits.|
|Remington 700 SPS 85538 308 Win. $655||Mar. 2017||A-||There are few rifles that are as handy as this one.|
|Savage Axis XP 19231 308 Win., $390||Mar. 2017||B||Accuracy wasn’t the best, but accuracy was acceptable with the provided riflescope.|
|Mossberg 100 All-Terrain Rifle 27230 308 Win., $200 (Used)||Mar. 2017||C||The rifle did not misfeed. We liked the cheek rest. The primary problem was accuracy.|
|Thompson Center Compass 10071 22-250 Rem., $399||Feb. 2017||A||Simple, straightforward, and inexpensive. Delivered sub-MOA groups with all rounds.|
|Browning X-Bolt Micro Midas 22-250 Rem., $860||Feb. 2017||B+||This is a super-handy rifle for the whole family, and it can fit just about anywhere.|
|CZ USA 557 Sporter 04806 243 Win., $792||Feb. 2017||B+||The 557’s refined looks belied its rugged durability. Heavier weight did not tame recoil.|
|Legacy Sports Howa Mini Action 6.5 Grendel, $855||Feb. 2017||C||This otherwise top-grade rifle was spoiled by weak magazine retention.|
|Ruger Precision Rifle 18008 6.5 Creedmoor, $1599||Nov. 2016||A||Ruger took an already good gun and made it a touch better.|