Tikka T3

Tikka T3 & T3x are first class

Q: I have been given a Tikka T3 Hunter in .300 Winchester Magnum. It was bought by my brother, who couldn’t handle the recoil. He claimed it kicked too hard, but I find it is manageable and can put three shots into 1.25” at 100yd.

What can you tell me about this rifle, which appears to be well made and accurate into the bargain? Could you recommend a load with a good 180gn bullet?

Shane Warren

A: The Tikka T3 – and its successor, the T3x – is one of the most technically advanced and finest factory bolt-action rifles produced anywhere in the world. There are no compromises in materials or performance.

The one-piece bolt has dual-opposed locking lugs with a 70-degree lift instead of the usual 90-degree lift on most bolt guns. And instead of locking at six and 12 o’clock, they lock at about four and 10 o’clock. The 10mm wide lugs taper in height from 3mm at the rear to virtually nothing at the front and there’s a radius cut on each side of both of them. The lugs lock into the receiver itself, not into a barrel extension.

The extractor is a spring-tensioned pivoting hook and the ejector is a plunger type. The bolt sleeve is polymer on the T3 (alloy on the T3x). Bolt travel is unusually smooth and fast.

The receiver is dovetailed to accept Tikka’s proprietary mounts and drilled and tapped for Weaver-style bases. The barrel is cold-hammer forged by Sako, since both brands are made in the same factory in Finland.

In my opinion, for all-round use, the .30 magnum is best served with a good 180gn bullet. With your choice of a 180gn bullet I recommend you work up from 77gn of AR2217 toward a likely maximum of about 80gn for 3000fps. With an all-copper bullet, start 2gn lower.




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Nick Harvey

The late Nick Harvey (1931-2024) was one of the world's most experienced and knowledgeable gun writers, a true legend of the business. He wrote about firearms and hunting for about 70 years, published many books and uncounted articles, and travelled the world to hunt and shoot. His reloading manuals are highly sought after, and his knowledge of the subject was unmatched. He was Sporting Shooter's Technical Editor for almost 50 years. His work lives on here as part of his legacy to us all.