February 18th, 2020

Tikka T3 and T3x — Value, Performance, Upgradability

Tikka T3 rifle Competition Machine Pre-Fit barrel Criterion

In a recent Forum thread, one member asked for recommendations for a factory rifle with a good action and trigger, under $600.00. Many respondents recommended a Tikka T3 (or newer T3X), and we concur. These won’t run with a $2500 custom, but for a hunting or varminting rig, they offer good bang for the buck with a very nice action. The last Tikka T3 we tried, a .308 Win with 24″ barrel, easily shot sub-MOA groups with factory ammo.

The original Tikka T3 and newer T3x actions are rigid, robust, and well-crafted. They cycle smoothly and have a short 75° bolt lift. The bolt features a Sako-style extractor, with angled-leading-edge bolt lugs for smooth lock-up. These T3/T3x rifles offer smooth-running actions, easy sub-MOA accuracy with good ammo, crisp triggers, and ultra-reliable detachable box magazines. The Tupperware stocks aren’t super-rigid, but they are comfortable and easy to handle.

If you are looking for a hunting rifle, the Tikka T3/T3x is a smart choice, offering good performance for the price (which starts at $569.00 for the T3X Lite version). The current T3x series is offered in a wide selection of chamberings, from .204 Ruger up to the large magnums.

Tikka T3X UPR SHOT Show

We were impressed with the new Tikka T3x UPR rifle we saw at SHOT Show 2020 We liked the stock very much, and thought this was a very versatile gun that could be used for target shooting off bipod, hunting, even PRS, given its detachable magazine. The stock is very ergonomic and feels good. Tikka states the UPR’s stock “features an extra layer of carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass for increased rigidity and accuracy.”

Video Owner’s Review of standard model T3X with polymer stock:

Tikka T3 Upgrades — Barrels, Stocks, and Chassis Systems

Once you acquire a Tikka T3 there are many interesting upgrades available. First, you can improve accuracy and consistency with a pre-fit barrel from Criterion. There are also many chassis systems that fit Tikkas. In fact you can even get an Eliseo Chassis so you can shoot Palma matches F-TR competitions, or tactical/practical matches.

Criterion Pre-Fit Barrels for Tikka T3/T3x

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

We have always liked Tikka actions, and now there is a great re-barreling option for Tikka T3/T3x owners. Criterion Barrels Inc. (CBI), makers of “pre-fit” barrels for Savage, Remington, and Rem-clone actions, also crafts Tikka pre-fits. These pre-chambered barrels for Tikka T3 actions will be headspaced with a barrel nut, just like a Savage.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels
Click image for full-screen version

Tikka T3/T3x pre-fit barrels are sold through Solid Accuracy, a respected Texas-based outfit that sells high-end scopes, stocks, barrels and other rifle components. Price is $461-$485 with various contours and lengths available. Order HERE.

Competition Machine Chassis for Tikka T3

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

At SHOT Show, we saw some tactical shooters admiring the smooth Tikka T3 action and crisp trigger. They liked the action but they told us they wished they could get the T3 action in a configuration similar to the Ruger Precision Rifle. Well folks, there is a way to build a Tikka T3-based tactical/practical rig.

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine offers a tubegun chassis for Tikka T3 actions in both Target and Tactical versions. The T3 kit is set up for AICS short action magazines. This is a “no gunsmithing” installation — no modifications to the action are required and the chassis kit works with the factory T3 trigger and safety. Along with the new Target and Tactical versions, a lower-cost Light-Weight Hunter T3 Chassis is also offered which accepts most AR-type buttstock assemblies.

Full Tactical Upgrade for Tikka T3

Osprey Rifles Tikka T3 Tactical Third Eye Chassis Stock Cerakote Camo

Tikkas are boring, nondescript hunting rifles right? Wrong. Check out this Tikka T3 tactical with “attitude”. For the British Shooting Show a while back, the folks at Osprey Rifles placed a Tikka T3 action into a modern modular chassis: “A standard factory Tikka T3 was fully Cerakoted and dropped into a Third Eye Tactical chassis stock which also had the Cerakote treatment.”

Click Photos to see full-screen version.
Osprey Rifles Tikka T3 Tactical Third Eye Chassis Stock Cerakote Camo

This T3 Chassis can be ordered through Osprey Rifles in the UK. The latest chassis stock system from Third Eye Tactical is currently available for both the Rem 700 short action and the Tikka T3.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product 4 Comments »
February 18th, 2020

RCBS Reloading Videos — How to Load Better Ammo Safely

RCBS reloading equipment instruction video series chargemaster progressive rock chucker press case prep

RCBS makes some of the most rugged and durable reloading products you can buy. The RCBS Rock Chucker press is legendary — for good reason. The Editor uses one that has been in my family over twenty years. I also own an RCBS 2000 progressive press that has loaded many thousands of rounds, and features the excellent APS strip priming system. RCBS is serious about reloading, so this company has created a very complete series of instructional videos showing reloading precedures and equipment. You’ll find over 60 videos on the RCBS Video Resources Page and RCBS YouTube Channel.

We encourage readers to check out the RCBS Videos. They can help you master the basics of handloading — case prep, priming, sizing, and bullet seating. In addition, these videos can help you select the right equipment for your loading bench. Videos show presses, case tumblers, ultrasonic cleaning machines, powered case prep centers, and more.

Here are three of our favorite RCBS Reloading videos, along with links to a dozen more:

Basic Safety Precautions for Reloading

Every novice hand-loader should watch this video. It covers the key safety principles you should follow, such as “Don’t use components of unknown origin”. We would add — always double check the labels on your powder bottles, and if you don’t know 100% what powder is in your powder measure — dump it out. Some of the most serious injuries have occurred when reloaders put pistol powder in rifle cases.

Setting Up the Sizing Die Correctly

This video address the common complaint some novices have when their hand-loadeed cartridges won’t chamber properly. Kent Sakamoto explains how to set up the sizing die properly to size the case body and bump the shoulder.

Choosing a Case Cleaning System

Here Kent Sakamoto looks at the three main types of brass cleaning systems: Vibratory Tumbler, Wet Tumbler (with media), and Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine. Kent reviews the pros and cons of each system.

More RCBS Reloading Videos

Here are twelve more helpful videos from RCBS. These cover both reloading techniques and reloading equipment. There are currently over 60 videos on the RCBS YouTube Channel.

Reloading How-To Videos
Case Trimming, Deburring, Chamfering
Measuring Case Length
Crimping — When and How to Crimp
Primer Pocket Cleaning
Priming with a Hand Tool
How to Use an Ultrasonic Machine

Reloading Equipment Videos
Rock Chucker Supreme Kit
RCBS ChargeMaster Lite
RCBS Pro 2000 Progressive Press
Universal Case Prep Center
Summit Single-Stage Press
RCBS Turret Press

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »