Tikka T3x Review
- Tuesday, 19 May 2020
Tikka T3x Rifle Review - Professional deer stalker and large game hunter Peter Jones reviews the Tikka T3x rifle, a stalwart of UK and European hunting.
I do not like to think of myself as a lazy man, however, whenever one of our clients ask for a recommendation for an affordable, accurate deer hunting rifle, I have to admit that I have an inclination to reach for the Tikka T3. Indeed, I have been doing so now for a good many years. In fact, our review of the Tikka T3 Lite, first appeared back in 2015 during which I wrote: “I'll challenge anyone to find a new rifle of this build quality, reliability and out of the box accuracy that will compete with the Tikka T3 in this price range”. Since then, our Tikka T3 review has reached an audience of over 15,000 readers, something that is clearly testament to the popularity of this stalwart of UK and European deer and vermin hunting.
Many will be familiar with the modern history of Tikka rifles, a company that merged with Sako in the 1980’s and today is owned by the Berretta Group. Many more will also, at some stage, have handled or used a Tikka rifle, such is their popularity. I myself first shot with a Tikka rifle in the highlands of Scotland over a decade ago, where due to their reliability, accuracy and affordability, Tikka rifles have always proven extremely popular with professional stalkers.
Today the Tikka T3x, note the addition of the letter ‘x’, is the latest in the series of Tikka rifles that now consist of some 26 differing models, models that range from Tikka T3x Tactical to the T3x Hunter, T3x Varmint, T3x Sporter, T3x Lite, T3x Compact and many more variants. A range of models that are designed to meet the demands of a host of different disciplines including target shooters, deer stalkers, foxers and vermin hunters.
So, what is the Tikka T3x all about and how has it evolved from the standard T3?
Well the corner stone of Tikka’s ethos is accuracy. Visit their website and the phrase: “No matter which model you choose, 1 MOA accuracy is guaranteed” and so improvements to the existing model have been made with this aim squarely in mind. However, and whilst I have no reason to doubt their claim, this will of course have been in a sterile environment with specific regulated and approved ammunition. In fact, all rifles have the potential to be fussy when it comes to ammunition. My Sauer in .243, ‘prima donna’ that it is, simply refuses to shoot RWS ammunition! That said, I have helped numerus clients to zero the Tikka T3xs straight out of the box, I have done two in the last month alone! And have never found them to be a fussy rifle. However, with that said, ammunition selection can be critical in all rifles, even in Tikka’s, so take some time to try out a few brands in order to ensure that you are not hindered by a poor pairing.
Personally, I have found ‘Federal’ ammunition meets my expectations and again, I have a tendency to reach for this brand as my ‘go-to’ brand of ammunition. That is not to say, that there are not other equally as good pairings, maybe it’s just that laziness thing in me again…..give me an ‘L’, give me an ‘A’.
Lazy or not, Tikka are predictably accurate and so should they be, cold hammer forged barrels for longer life and improved accuracy, excellent single stage triggers 2-4lbs, with no play or creep are two fundamentals.
(Above: A client of CDS in action with the Tikka T3x fitted with Swarovski Z6i Scope)
That’s not all that the Tikka T3x has to offer though, classic looks and chequering on the pistol grip and stock, simple intuitive two stage safety, and the T3x still has more.
Interestingly, Tikka have now introduced a new modular synthetic stock, that has interchangeable asymmetrical pistol grips, making it possible to modify the angle of the grip, something that allows for multiple shooting positions.
Synthetic stocks on the ‘Sporter’ models are also now filled with a foam insert within the interior of the rear stock, obviously not available in the adjustable cheek piece versions, I say ‘obviously’, I am sure it wouldn’t be beyond the wit of man, but something that is a plus and designed to reduce any noise that might be generated by an accidental ‘whack’ of the stock whilst hunting. Not something I have found to be a problem but a nice touch just the same and something that adds to the feel of quality.
Anyone who has owned an older Tikka T3 will also notice the widened, angular, ejection port of the T3x that makes it easier to feed one cartridge at a time and also the metal bolt shroud that now covers and shields the rear of the bolt body and firing pin, a good addition and something that had been an irritation to previous owners of the T3.
The recoil pad has also been improved, with new technology that reduces the impact of recoil on the shooter and there is also an improved rail attachment with extra screw placements on top of the receiver so that you can attach a picatinny rail, even when using larger scopes.
All good stuff, it’s just a shame that the plastic, polymer magazine has not been replaced, perhaps my number one criticism of the rifle and something that I had expressed in our original review over 5 years ago. None the less, savings have to be made somewhere to keep manufacturing costs to a level that means that the Tikka T3x still remains excellent value, leaving you to perhaps enhance the accuracy of the weapon with a good quality scope! Something which should always represent the majority of your spend.
Indeed, for those that are on a budget, but do not wish to compromise on accuracy, my ‘lazy’ combo has consisted of a Tikka T3x with a Swarovski Z6i Scope and A-TEC moderator. You could spend double or even quadruple on the rifle and still not improve on the accuracy and reliability of this set-up.
To read our original review of the Tikka T3 Lite simply follow this link: tikka-t3-lite-review
Alternatively, maybe you have a little more to afford? In which case click here to view our review of the Sako 85: sako-85
Or move away from the Sako’s and Tikka’s to the Mauser M03, another classic rifle, follow this link to read more: mauser-m03-extreme-rifle-review
For our rifle reviews page click here: rifle-reviews