Tikka T3X SuperLite Rifle- This Tikka® T3X SuperLite Bolt-Action Rifle with TrueTimber® Strata Camo features a rugged synthetic stock with a TrueTimber Strata camo finish—a versatile, multi-environment pattern that maximizes up-close concealment, while using contrasting light and dark colors to disrupt the human silhouette at long distances. The bolt, receiver, and fluted barrel are made of stainless steel. A steel recoil lug seats the action firmly in the stock; and the barrel is free-floated. A high-quality recoil pad makes shooting the SuperLite extremely manageable; and he classic low-angled pistol grip provides comfort for shooting from multiple positions. The T3X uses a 2-lug bolt with a 75° lift that cycles smooth as silk. The 75° bolt lift aids in keeping hand and gloves away from the scope and speeds the cycling process. An enlarged ejection port ensures unhindered ejection, and facilitates feeding rounds one at a time. A single column polymer magazine feeds reliably. The SuperLite Bolt-Action Rifle features a single stage adjustable trigger that breaks crisp and clean, allowing hunters to make quick, accurate shots under field conditions. The dovetailed receiver accepts Tikka rings, and has additional screw placements to attach a Picatinny rail.
TrueTimber Strata camo synthetic stock
Fluted, stainless steel barrel
2-lug bolt with a 75° lift
Enlarged ejection port
High quality recoil pad
Polymer, single-column magazine
Dovetailed and drilled and tapped receiver
Review: Tikka T3x Lite
By ALEX LUFFO FROM gunspatrol.com
I love hunting the wild country—those mountainous, those rugged places on earth where just getting there is half the battle—but as I get older, I find myself looking for lighter rifles for those excursions. I’m the first to admit that I’m no sheep hunter climbing mountains into the clouds, but I’ll also contest that the Adirondacks and Catskill mountains of New York possess some rather rugged spots where a change in the weather can pose a threat to your life.
I own a bunch of rifles, and I’ve had wonderful experiences with them, but I came across a rifle recently that I’ve really enjoyed: the TikkaT3x Lite. I’ve always found ‘ultralight’ rifles to suffer from a lack of balance; while they are certainly light, they don’t necessarily point well, or settle down for the shot, or come to shoulder smoothly. I personally feel the Tikka T3x checks all of those boxes at a weight perfect for the backcountry.
A bit about the company: the Finnish Tikkakoski factory has been manufacturing firearms parts for over a century, but didn’t develop their own rifle until 1981. Now a subsidiary of Sako, Tikka rifles share the same reputation for accuracy that the Sako rifles have. I first came across a Tikka rifle about ten years ago when a friend asked me to help him develop a handload for his .25-06 using a bullet unavailable from factory loads. It wasn’t long before we had that rifle printing .5-MOA groups; I remember liking just about everything about the gun. Tikka T3X SuperLite Rifle
The Tikka T3x Lite is a wonderful balance of portability, accuracy and dependability. It’s a push-feed bolt-action design with a detachable polymer magazine; the synthetic stock is highly ergonomic and the appointments well thought-out. The T3x Lite has clean, simple lines; my particular model has a clean, blued barrel free of sights, and the T3x’s receiver—with an oblong ejection port and numerous screw holes for a multitude of mounting options—has a two-position safety, moving fore and aft, with forward being ‘fire.’ The left side of the receiver (on a right hand rifle) has a spring-loaded bolt release. A small red cocking indicator protrudes from under the rear of the metal bolt shroud. That bolt uses two locking lugs at 180 degrees, a plunger ejector, a spring-loaded extractor on the bolt rim and a hollowed bolt handle to reduce weight. The trigger is crisp, with virtually no creep and just the slightest hint of overtravel.
The T3x Lite’s stock is an excellent design. The foam-filled rear portion helps to keep that annoying ‘knock’ that synthetic stocks are so famous for when bumped against a hard object. I am an unabashed fan of warm, figured walnut, but also realize that the polymer stocks have their place, especially in less-than-ideal weather or when trying to reduce weight. However, I’ve had an issue with the way so many polymer stocks feel in the hand; they often feel slippery, or have unnecessarily sharp edges. The T3x Lite’s stock is smooth where it should be and sharp where it needs to be; the pistol grip and forend have an asymmetrical grip pattern (I can’t call it checkering) that affords a positive, yet comfortable hold on the rifle. There’s also the option of removing one torx-head bolt and switching the stock insert for the pistol grip to change the grip angle; additional inserts are sold separately, but the one I received with the rifle has a nice swell to it that feels good from both the bench as well as field positions.
A pliable, one-inch recoil pad takes the sting out of the recoil, as well as keeping the rifle properly on the shoulder, even under wet conditions. The polymer, single stack magazine—which holds three or four rounds, depending on the cartridge—is easy to load and fits well in a pocket. Tikka T3X SuperLite Rifle
I chose the 7mm-08 Remington for this light rifle, as I feel the cartridge has enough bullet weight and energy to be a viable choice for game up to the size of black bears and elk, yet would be comfortable enough to shoot accurately from a light rifle. A 22-inch barrel will work just fine with the 7mm-08’s case capacity. I mounted a Bushnell4500 Elite 2.5-10×40 scope in Talley Lightweight rings, and headed to the range.
Right out of the box, the rifle was an adequate shooter. Tikka advertizes a 1-MOA guarantee, and I had a couple factory loads that would hit that mark, or just a bit wider. I was getting an occasional flyer, and a friend recommended an easy fix. Always eager to tinker, I took the advice, and ordered a High Desert Rifle Works aluminum trigger guard/bottom metal for the rifle. It’s a simple task to switch out the factory polymer guard for the more rigid High Desert model, and it made a definite difference in my rifle. Groups dropped from 1- to 1¼-inch down to ⅝-inch—the rifle especially likes the Federal load with the 140-grain Nosler AccuBond bullet—which is more than a big-game hunter actually needs, but sure builds confidence when it’s time to take the shot. Feeding and extraction were no issue at all, no matter how fast the rate of fire.
Weighing in at under 6½ pounds, the Tikka T3x Lite has a street price of right around $680, and represents an excellent value. It’s available in time-proven varmint and big-game calibers, has a user-adjustable trigger, the action is nicely bedded, and it carries like a dream. For those who are drawn to the backcountry, you sure get a lot of rifle for the money with the Tikka T3x Lite.
• Action: bolt-action repeater, push feed
• Calibers: .204 Ruger, .222 Remington, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, .25-06 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, 6.5×55 Swede, .270 Winchester, .270 WSM, 7mm-08 Remington (tested), 7mm Remington Magnum, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 WSM
• Weight: < 6.5 lbs. unscoped
• Stock: black polymer
• Barrel: 20″-24″, depending on chambering; blued steel
• LOP: 14”
• Magazine Capacity: 3 (in 7mm-08 Rem.)
REVIEW:Tikka T3x Superlight Strata, Steiner GS3 Scope and Sako Ammunition
By FRED TOAST FROM gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
The Tikka T3 and T3x rifles have proven to be very popular in NZ since their arrival in 2003. The engineers at Tikka worked out what was important to buyers: smooth bolt, light weight, good trigger and very good out-of-the-box accuracy. The rifle has very few negatives – the main one being one action length only – but NZ hunters really don’t seem to care, and a visit to the local range certainly confirms the popularity of the rifle. Beretta NZ want Kiwis to keep loving these rifles, and so they’ve come up with a package for Tikka fans: rifle, scope, rings and ammunition all from the Beretta family.
The T3 and T3x are pretty familiar to most NZ hunters but it’s worth mentioning the positive features of this rifle. The 70-degree bolt lift with a 2-lug bolt is clever engineering, and combined with a smooth bolt, it makes quick follow-up shots easy. While many US companies looked to lawyer-proof their triggers, Tikka made a simple two-lever trigger that could be adjusted down to break at just over 2 pounds with a minimal amount of creep.
The T3 and T3x are a lot cheaper than Sako rifles and, while not strictly a budget rifle, they do make some concessions to affordability. However, the designers did a great job making the rifle look good; it has a bit of European flair, and the T3x has built on that with its replaceable grip. If I’m brutally honest, some US-made rifles are a bit ugly, and while the Tikka costs a bit more than these budget rifles, it’s still an affordable rifle which, of course, is another reason it sells well.
The rifle is based on the Tikka T3x Superlight but with a few nice upgrades. Firstly, the Strata stock has a very effective ‘True Timber’ camo pattern which, combined with the OD Green Cerakote finish on the barrelled action, makes for a very sharp-looking and practical set-up. The barrel, like the standard Superlight, is fluted and comes threaded for a low-profile radial muzzle brake. The bolt has an enlarged bolt knob for better grip, and the magazine is a 5-round version rather than the usual 3-rounder.
Next up is the scope which is a Steiner GS3 3-15×50; this magnification range is a good choice for calibres with longer-range potential. The GS3 is a 30mm tube scope with a useful 70 MOA of adjustment. The dials are capped and have low-profile resettable adjustments with well-defined detent clicks .
The ocular lens uses a fast-focus eyepiece and the reticle is a hold-over type with wind hold offs. The scope is made in the USA and has a matte non-reflective finish.
It’s paired with a set of Tikka Optilock rings that have gimbal-style plastic inserts to allow perfect alignment of the scope in the rings. Personally, I’m a big fan of Optilock rings and although they’re a $270 upgrade over the standard rings that come with a Tikka, it’s money well spent. Tikka T3X SuperLite Rifle
The last piece is the ammunition. Sako ammunition is now available in NZ – Beretta NZ say that it’s been tested extensively in Sako and Tikka rifles and provides excellent performance on game animals.
For this test, we were sent a Classic .270 Winchester rifle and three types of Sako .270 ammunition. The first was Gamehead, a traditional 130gn soft-point, flat-based bullet for medium-sized game like fallow, sika, reds etc. The second Gamehead uses the Sierra Tipped GameKing, in this case a 140gn version with a G1 BC of just over .5. The last round is the Powerhead II which uses the Barnes TTSX bullet; this is a 110gn monolithic copper bullet with a polymer tip to enhance BC. It’s worth noting that although the Barnes seems light at 110gns, its monolithic construction makes it behave more like a heavier bullet. Tikka T3X SuperLite Rifle
The first thing I did was lighten the trigger to its minimum setting – Tikka sets this to 1kg or 2.2 pounds. The bolt holding the trigger unit into the action acts as a natural barrier stopping the screw from coming out too far and going below 1kg. With this done, the pull weight was measured at 2.4 pounds and the release was pretty good with only the smallest amount of creep – barely noticeable, to be fair. The Optilock rings were a perfect match for the Steiner scope allowing just a few millimetres gap between the scope’s objective lens and the barrel. This is something that I personally like to see, as a low-mounted scope allows a better cheek weld on the stock which in turn allows for more consistent eye placement – that, in turn, makes it easier to shoot accurately. Tikka T3X SuperLite Rifle
Initial sighting shots showed the worth of the muzzle brake; recoil was certainly reduced, and I can’t emphasise enough how this makes shooting groups easier. When shooting lighter rifles in bigger calibres, you always get flyers when benchrest shooting, but after shooting just over 50 rounds, I had no flyers – a good trigger and brake are what I put it down to. Accuracy-wise, I shot the three Sako loads and they all shot well; best was the Gamehead which shot groups in the .7 MOA range with .6 MOA being the best. Next up was the Gamehead Pro which shot consistent .8 MOA groups. Last was the Powerhead II; this shot groups between .9 and 1.1 MOA – it’s fast with velocities well over 3100fps. I did note that the recoil was more noticeable with the Powerhead II rounds – this is possibly due to the higher muzzle velocity.
Looking through the scope, my initial thought was that it was a good clear image. Sighting in showed the 1/4 MOA adjustments were accurate, and I did a 10 MOA elevation check which was well within the group size of the Gamehead rounds. Tikka T3X SuperLite Rifle
My only real complaint was that at 15x magnification, some form of parallax adjustment would be nice; to be fair, it really only showed itself at shorter distances of 60m or less where you’d likely turn the magnification down anyway, and when I did this, it eliminated any focus issues when sighting in. Note that at 100 yards, parallax was not present and past 100, not noticeable.
The scope was obviously a demo unit, and after carefully cleaning of the lens, I was rewarded with an even clearer picture. A note to hunters … clean glass does make a difference – just don’t scratch the lens by using a dirty cloth, better to get back to camp and do it properly. Tikka T3X SuperLite Rifle
Testing on the USAF 1951 optical test chart printed on A4 paper showed very good resolution, just getting into the -2 scale. The image was pretty consistent from edge to edge with only a very small amount of degradation right at the edges – this isn’t where you generally see animals, so no big deal. Contrast was skewed towards the brown/warm and while this doesn’t have the striking pop that scopes with a blue/cold contrast have, I do prefer it as animals are brown.
The hold-over reticle is called the S1 by Steiner and has both hold-over hash marks and wind dots for a 10mph wind. The hold-over points are set up for what Steiner calls ‘common hunting cartridges’ and based on how this works with other scope makers, it’ll likely work well for cartridges like .270, .308, 7mm-08 etc. Unfortunately, there are no subtensions given for the hold-over points, and accordingly, Steiner do recommend sighting in at longer ranges to verify the point of impact. Personally, I’d feel very confident holding over to 3-400 yards and using the accurate adjustments to dial for longer shots. Tikka T3X SuperLite Rifle
The T3x Rifle is a much-liked rifle in NZ, and it sits in a good space being both well-made and affordable. The Strata adds a few nice extras that make it a bit sweeter to use – it maintains the 1 MOA accuracy standard and the Camo stock and Cerakote finish certainly add to the visual appeal while also adding real-world benefit to hunters. The extended bolt knob is no gimmick; the T3x is better with it and it enhances the bolt manipulation with no downside. I personally use an even longer bolt knob on my T3 and would never go back to a standard knob. The brake, while being a simple radial design, definitely works, and if you don’t like it, you’ve already saved money when it comes to threading the barrel for a suppressor. The 5-round mag is a personal choice and, if it doesn’t affect your handhold, is a nice upgrade for those what-if situations. Overall, it’s a nice upgrade from the standard rifle. Tikka T3X SuperLite
RifleThe Steiner GS3 is a good scope with reliable tracking, sharp optics and useful reticle. Combine these two (T3x rifle and Steiner scope) with quality ammunition and you have a package that’ll allow you to shoot comfortably out to 5-600m.
The Sako Ammo impressed me with its consistency. Extreme spread (ES) below 30fps shows it’s assembled with some care and is often an indicator of consistent neck tension and brass weight/capacity as well as bullets with consistent ogive to base dimensions. The Powerhead had an ES of 54fps which is around where a lot of factory ammo sits, but the Gamehead had an ES of 28fps and the Gamehead Pro was at 17fps – pretty impressive!
This is my first test of a rifle-scope-ammo combo from one company. What can I say? It all works and works well, and there’s natural fit as can be seen by the fit of the scope over the bore – it’s near perfect and I’d say it’s no coincidence that it works that way. It’s also nice to see another brand of quality ammo in NZ – we really are spoilt for choice.
Tikka T3X Superlight Strata
Steiner GS3 3-15×50 Scope