Wednesday Weapons – Tikka T3 Lite Stainless

On my drive back from Palmerston North I stopped off in Taupo to go to the NZDA range so I could finish off sighting in my new Tikka T3 Lite Stainless rifle from Hamills Manukau.

Tikka T3 Stainless Lite, Left hand, Gun Works Suppressor and Zeiss Conquest Scope

I had previously blogged asking readers for a choice of calibre. I had pretty much decided on a Tikka T3 for a number of reasons, but still needed to choose the calibre. I selected .308 because I decided that this was to be a bush hunting rifle with the ability should I need it to reach out to 600m. Mostly though it will be used in the bush and not for longe range.

I decided in Tikka for a couple of reasons. Firstly because they offered a left-hand version. Remington did too in .308 but their offering has a varmint stock with a heavy barrel and it just didn’t shoulder right for the way I hold a rifle. The Tikka snaps up cleanly to the shoulder and straight into position. I just feels right and that is one of the most important factors is fast accurate shooting.

The Tikka weighs in at a light and handy 2.8kgs. The technical specifications explain the rifle like this:

The TIKKA T3 LITE STAINLESS is based on a two locking lug T3 all-weather action. Bolt features spring loaded plunger ejector and it can be easily stripped down for maintenance. Bolt and receiver are made of stainless steel.The single-column detachable clip MAGAZINE holds 3-4 cartridges. Single-column 4-6-shot (depending on caliber)magazine is available as accessory (not in Short Mag calibers).The single-stage TRIGGER pull is adjustable from 1 kg to 2 kg (2 to 4 lbs). Safety is two stage type and locks the trigger and the bolt handle when engaged. All models are available with a single-set trigger as option.The STOCK is made of glass-fiber reinforced copolymer polypropylene and has a butt plate system where the length of pull is adjustable by means of spacers. Straight stock features ambidextrous palm swell.TIKKA T3 LITE STAINLESS is supplied without OPEN SIGHTS. Integral rails for the scope mounts are on the top ofthe receiver. Receiver is also tapped to receive standard (Weaver) scope mount bases.The free-floating, stainless steel BARREL is cold hammer-forged. Non Magnum models available also with short barrel with thread (calibers 338 Federal, 8x57IS and 9.3×62 M15x1, other calibers M14x1) at the muzzle for muzzle brake or suppressor assembling.

Gunworks Canterbury Muzzle capMy barrel wasn’t threaded for a suppressor but I was so impressed with the work done by GunWorks Canterbury on my 17HMR that I sent this away for a suppressors to be fitted as well. I chose a full over-barrel suppressor but didn’t opt to shorten the barrel. Again the work done is superb with a nice screw cap at the muzzle for when I won’t be using the suppressor.

While I am talking about the suppressor, I have to rave on a bit about just how effective these are. Now I am no sook when it comes to shooting. I have fired everything from a .22 to a .50cal and I am not one to moan about recoil or noise. You certainly don’t get to complain about noise hanging onto an M2 or a L7A1 or a C9 when you let strip with a belt. SLRs aren’t any quieter and don’t get me started on bullpup weapons like the Steyr AUG.

However this suppressor rocks. I reckon it gives a 50-70% reduction in perceived sound. The .308 now doesn’t even roar, it sounds like a .22 Magnum and only barely. I swear my 17HMR without the suppressor is louder. The guy on the range beside me couldn’t believe it and he knew all about muzzle blast and noise firing his .25-06 Sako A7.

Not only does the suppressor take away noise but it makes the felt recoil a whole lot less too. Gunworks reckons felt recoil is reduced by 50%, I believe them.The Sako guy was definitely off to book his rifle in for s suppressor after he fired my rifle.

When I got the rifle from the team at Hamills, Zee adjusted the trigger to a nice crisp break. This trigger breaks like glass and catches you by surprise as it does, every time. I love it. I also got the new set trigger T3 that is available and this is something special. You just push the trigger forward till it clicks and the trigger is set. Then it just snaps and fires perfectly every time.

Taupo range and my Tikka T3I previously blogged about the Zeiss Conquest 3.5-10×44 MC with a Rapid-Z 600 ret­i­cle I put on the rifle. This scope rocks. The light gathering ability makes a huge difference. As I said earlier there was a guy with a Sako A7 .25-06. He had just bought the rifle and was sighting it in. Sako make beautiful rifles. They charge accordingly for their beautiful rifles. Ironically Tikka rifles are made in the same factory from the same barrel blanks, however their rifles are more than $1000 cheaper.

We got chatting, as you do while you are waiting for barrels to cool and he asked about my rifle and scope. He asked what they were worth and made choking sounds. He then told me about the hot deal that he had scored from the chaps at Hunting and Fishing. His rifle came with a Burris scope. As we got chatting though it became clear that he was frustrated with seeing the target and as a consequence was also spraying his shots. He couldn’t believe anyone would spend more on a scope than what he had. In the end seeing is believing and so I handed him a mag and said go find out. He took up the offer for a couple of reasons…to try out the suppressor, to check out the scope, and well, free ammo offered by a complete stranger is always a good score.

Well I nearly had to fight him for my rifle back. He was now convinced on all counts, the suppressor, and having sat next to him while he blasted away with the .25-06 I certainly know why, and also on the scope. He just couldn’t believe the clarity and the light-ness through the scope. He exclaimed that he could see all his shots on the target. I just grinned. This was why I get my gear from Hamills in Manukau. They know their stuff, they know their gear and more importantly they take the time to learn, listen and understand the needs of their customer. The Sako guy isn’t happy, he now doesn’t trust Hunting and Fishing advice and more importantly he probably won’t go back there. None of that is my fault, I just gave the guy my rifle to shoot.

Anyway I digress, but the next part links to the Sako part of the story. As I mentioned Sako rifles are superb, but they do cost a lot more than their cousins from Tikka. Sako tout the A7 as a guaranteed 1MOA rifle.

Sometimes, a firearm’s accuracy will be measured in MOA. This simply means that under ideal conditions, the gun with certain ammunition is capable of producing a group of shots whose center points (center-to-center) fit into a circle, the average diameter of circles in several groups can be subtended by that amount of arc. For example, a 1 MOA rifle should be capable, under ideal conditions, of shooting an average 1-inch groups at 100 yards, a 2 MOA rifle an average 2-inch groups at 100 yards, etc.

In laymans terms if is accurate. Tikka simply states that they state:

just incredible out-of- the-box accuracy, silky smooth operation and uncompromising reliability with Sako’s beautiful finish and rigorous attention to detail as standard. With the Tikka T3, you hit one of the most difficult targets in the shooting world: true value.

Out of the box accuracy of the Tikka T3Now this is where I get hard. This rifle is accurate. Bloody accurate. In fact after sighting in I was able to shoot several sub-MOA groups, off a Harris bipod. Paul at Hamills can’t believe it, but the proof is in the targets. We are going to work up some custom loads now and shoot off a sandbag and see how close we can get the group. At Taupo I was using Federal Power Shok 150gr factory ammo. I was very impressed. Tikka certainly does have incredible out-of-the-box accuracy. It might not be guaranteed but when you are saving over $500 over an A7 you can put that in your scope, and that brings me back to Sako guy. Sure he got a theoretically better rifle, but by sticking a stink scope on it he diminished the capabilities of the rifle. However I think his biggest problem was that he was just a tits shooter. After I plugged the group shown here I gave him a magazine and he sprayed it all over the target. The problem was his rifle/scope combination or even mine, the problem was him, and given his flinching with the awful .25-06 I can understand why.

The Tikka T3 can’t really be beaten at the price point that it is. So far I can’t fault the rifle, the scope or the suppressor. Now it is time to take it off the range and go knock over some deer, goats or other varmint that readers need me to come take care of.

I have learned a couple of things too. Not all gun stores are equal, nor is their advice. I highly recommend the folk at Hamills Manukau for the best of advice. Any time you go in there they are chatting with loads of happy customers. The other I have learned is that value for money is hard to find and you certainly get it with a Tikka T3, add on a quality scope and your smile will be from ear to ear.

I will blog later on the benefits of getting out in the field with a good gun or rifle in hand and enjoying oneself again. Boy I have missed shooting and it is a real pleasure to once again enjoy the sport. It is made even more pleasurable with great toys and great mates.

Now all I need is some nice spots to control the pests that abound. Let me know through the tipline if you have anything that needs dispatching. With a 17HMR , a .308 and a 12ga Beretta there isn’t anything I can’t sort out for you.


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  • This is the perfect Mural for the Hunter, retired or active. When we one day are able to own our own home once again this is what I will be putting in WO’s Study for him.

  • grumpy

    Beautiful set up for sure but a bit of JAFA set up for me. I’d hate to drop it down a bank or go arse over kite in a river. In the South Island, after years of using a .243, i’ve finally found heaven by putting a new Leupold scope on my uncle’s old BSA Hunter in 7 x 57 – can’t see you would need anything else.

    For a Leftie though, i’ve picked up a real nice Zastava LH in .223. Look forward to giving it a go over goats and wallabies in the next few weeks.

  • realist

    Nice weapon….I have 308…a tip on use. these things have a big kick. Kneel on one knee (like the media shots of osama when you shoot). Enables you to get a much more accurate shot

    • Kick! Rubbish, it’s a nice shove.

      • realist

        …let’s see how accurate you can shoot when you’re getting that “nice shove” as you shoot…tip stands…try on one knee, heaps easier to make your long shots

        • I can’t believe you telling me how to suck eggs….especially on shooting, when you have never shot with me or seen me shoot.

          • realist

            …well sorry, thought you were a beginner getting a new gun

          • I have been shooting since I was 15…I’m 42 now.

            I mentioned shooting everything from .22 to .50cal. That was mostly in the army on SLRs.

            I used to shoot pistols and would put around 2000 rounds down range every Saturday and Sunday. Mostly .38 Special oor .38 Super and some 9mm.

            I can shoot reasonably well with almost any firearm. The only thing I didn’t do much of was shotgun shooting but now with my new Beretta that is on the to do list.

          • I won his undying love on a date where I set up six tins on a mound of dirt and announced that I would hit every one with my air rifle. Yeah right was his expression until 6 shots later when I lowered the rifle after shooting from a standing position. I have never used scopes as my Dad taught me without them.I had an M16 in the Army cause they refused to give ladies an SLR. I got to shoot the plastic fantastic too. Both my kids are excellent shots but it is our daughter who really enjoys it :) WO has promised her a hunt on horseback this year and he’d better deliver :)

  • maropea

    .308 does not have a big kick, he wont even notice it when shooting in the field.

    Whale, dont underestimate the importance of rings too, its the same principle. The weapon will perform to the weakest link in the chain be it trigger, rings, scope etc.

    A rule of thumb is to spend at the very least half the rifle price on optics. A cheap scope is an expensive lesson in the long run.

    • realist

      …maropea…I’ve had my 308 for about 18 months, have a top scope, and for the first year couldn’t hit the side of a barn door…missed about 20 odd feral goats…anyway, adjustment for kick / shove worked for me, and now it hits spot on. You may be more experienced, I’m still a beginner

    • Yes I forgot to mention that I upgraded the rings from the standard rings that come with the Tikka. Rings are very important.

      The rule about scopes is usually spend as much on the scope as you would on the rifle. Half will get you the result that Sako Guy got…which I ultimately disappointing.

      I think my next rifle will be a .338 Lapua…now that will kick….but will also snot over animals past 1000m.

  • realist

    …ah ha…

  • digit

    Nice setup. You cant go wrong with a Tikka – simply the best in their price range. Add a limbsaver recoil pad and you can shoot them comfortably all day long.
    It never ceases to amaze me kiwis attitude to firearm optics. The two components of you interact with a gun are the scope and the trigger. The better and more consistant each of these is the more accurate it will be to shoot (within the capabilities of the gun). As others have said a 1 moa gun with a decent scope will be far more useable than a half moa gun with a shite scope.

  • simo

    These are excellent rifles, I have 2 one in .243 and one in .308, both with Loop VX 3-9×40. Since owning the .308 I have had excellent results, and some shots have been 250m+ and bloody awkward, great reload for these is either Nosler BT 125g SP using 46gs of AR2208 or a Hornady SST 150g SP using 44.5 AR2208 -these are both compressed a bit in my die, both are under 1 MOA in my rifle. Only downside is having to shut the bolt with safety on, and not having a half cocked bolt position like the Rugers. A good gunsmith can put one on these in for you if required though. The .Tikka dont recoil as bad as 7mm Rem Mag etc 25ft pounds +, but with a suppressor it will drop a 150gr projectile down from 19ft pounds to about 14ft pounds, so more like the .243 with 100gr projectile. My son used the .243 to get his first deer about 2 months ago, using Hornady 87gr SP’s with AR2213. Anyway, you made some good choices here.

  • dairyman

    What range was that target shot at?

    Book a flight down South, auction for you here at Trade Me

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  • Heinnz

    got a 223 1in 8 from toni,308supp,both tikka while in auckl,now chch 300w mag,excuse for thar,already got 1 with 223 80gr targex,tmorr waimate wallaby,try 300 with 168 moly