Being nothing short of a rifle fanatic, I’ve had a bad case of Tikka Fever for some time. No it’s not from licking hand-rails in the Helsinki Airport, but it does come from hands-on experience. I bought my first Tikka a few years back, and it has changed my perspective on a few things. But today we are talking about another Tikka, the T3X TACT A1. This one happens to chambered in one of my favorite calibers, the .260 Remington. Everything seems to be going my way here doesn’t it?
HOW MANY K’s DO YOU NEED?
Tikka is a brand manufactured by Sako – If you haven’t already, go read my piece on the Sako 85 Finnlight – both Sako and their Tikka brand are well known for their quality. They are manufactured in Finland and imported to the U.S. through Beretta.
The T3X is a two-lug, 90-degree, bolt-action rifle. It features a Sako-style extractor, a two-position safety, and a machined bolt release opposite the bolt handle. The TACT 260 as I tested it also featured a two-stage trigger. Like the other Tikka’s I’ve shot, it is an outstanding trigger. This model featured a 24-inch barrel with a 1-8 twist and 5/8-24 muzzle threads to accept the portly muzzle brake.
The TACT 260 comes in a chassis, making it very adaptable to specific purposes and users. The chassis incorporates detachable 10-round box magazines that are surprisingly short. The handguard of the chassis features a full-length optics rail to adapt to multi-role optics. There is no canted angle in the optics rail.
The buttstock of the chassis folds to the weak side of the rifle, and it locks both in the folded and unfolded positions, which I found to be a welcome feature. The buttstock is compatible with AR-style accessories for those that wish to customize their rifles, a desire I found completely unnecessary. The fully adjustable buttstock can adjust for length of pull, riser height, and angle. There are several QD sling mounts on the chassis as well that are placed strategically for carrying the rifle in either the folded or unfolded configuration.
TO THE RANGE!
After thoroughly fiddling with the rifle and adjusting all the settings to my taste, I grabbed some ammo and headed for the hills where I do my shooting. Ammunition being what it is these days, I couldn’t find what I wanted in the shops. So instead, I found some component bullets, copied some data from a load book, and pressed out a few rounds of my own. After attaching an Atlas Bipod to the front of the rifle, I mounted a Kahles 318i rifle scope. These are two great accessories that are a perfect fit for this rifle. After bore sighting, I stuffed a bunch of cartridges into the magazines and laid behind the Tikka.
My first impression of this rifle seemed to echo my former experiences with Tikka and Sako both – extremely easy feeding and flawless function as cartridges flow through the action. The two-stage trigger feels even crisper when it’s sharpened by recoil. I could run that bolt all day. It was short work to confirm zero, and a few minutes later I was stretching its legs.
The .260 Remington is an impressive performer. It was doing what the Creedmoor does now but even better and a decade earlier. Shooting 140-grain bullets or heavier puts the cartridge well beyond 1,000 yards in my neck of the woods, so I wasted no time getting there. The Kahles scope and hand-loaded Tikka made hits at 950 yards look easy. I was stacking bullets into the hole in the dirt left by the previous shot. The rifle seemed to perform even better when I added a suppressor to the muzzle.
As usual, the accuracy of this Tikka was excellent. Groups under an inch are typical and, when using top quality match grade ammunition, half-inch groups are also possible. I was able to find a box of Federal Fusion 120 grain, and it shot very well in the Tikka.
With accuracy potential that good, this would be a superb rifle for shooting Precision Rifle Competition matches. I’d also imagine there are a few police agencies that would choose this rifle for marksmen.
WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE?
So far, it’s been a pretty positive review, right? It’s hard to hide my admiration of this rifle, but there are a couple of things I’d change about it.
First on the list is the weight. At 10.4 pounds, it’s a little tubby. That may sound unfair coming from a guy with an affinity for fat rifles, but that brings me to my second gripe. This thing is a bit long for my taste. A 10-pound rifle with an overall length of 30 inches isn’t too bad. But when it’s 45 inches long, there is a lot of weight out there in the end. This makes the rifle a little more difficult to maneuver and handle, but it shoots like a dream once you get it in place.
That’s it. If I had my way, the rifle would be a 20-inch barrel that had been put on the carbon diet, which is nice because Tikka offers several different barrel options on this rifle.
I could very easily overlook my gripes with this rifle because it is just such a smooth character. I let a few buddies run some shots through the gun, and they were equally impressed. If you are looking for a precision chassis rifle right from the factory, you’d be a fool to look past the Tikka. You would need to spend a lot more to get anything significantly better than the T3X TACT.
One thing I can guarantee is that there are more Tikkas in my future.