Tikka has made a great name for themselves here in the US firearms market. Ask the question in most any forum about what is the best buy for a sharp shooting rifle, and many of the comments immediately start coming back with: Tikka, T3X, and so on. Today we are taking a look at another popular model, the Tikka T1X rimfire. The T1X maintains a great deal of Tikkas popular design and features, some of them just downsized to fit the rimfire sized action.
Opening the box
I have to admit, I was quite pleasantly surprised when I opened the box containing the T1X. The handsome little rifle had come to me married to a Boyd’s At-One hardwood stock, in a bright red color. The handsome curves of Tikka actions flow very well with the aesthetics of the stock, and the fit was good and tight as well. Of course after checking the rifle I had to get it to my shoulder and see how it felt. The thumbhole-stock was not what I call a good fit to my hand, but it was not an issue at all as I generally run my thumb parallel to my trigger finger.
Handsome polymer sections were placed at all the likely ground contact points, and dual front sling-studs for both a sling and a bipod. The polished finish of the T1X bolt-knob was reminiscent of every T3 rifle I’ve ever shot, and ran similar as well. But I was so expecting to feel what my T3 does, that it caught me off guard to have such a short bolt-throw and stroke. The trigger in the T1X is a great little single stage trigger, the clean break also reminded me of the trigger I fell in love with on my T3. The rifle came chambered with a twenty-inch .17HMR barrel with a one-in-nine twist, and as it should be, the muzzle was nicely crowned and threaded 1/2-28 which is exactly what my host-less rimfire cans need. The detachable ten-round magazine fits neatly into the bottom of the stock, and the forward mounted release tab is easily manipulated for loading. At the back of the stock, there are depressible buttons to adjust both the comb height and length of pull. This feature made the rifle easily fitted to a new shooter in just a few seconds.
Time to burn some ammo
With rifle and ammo in hand, I headed to my shooting spot to get this Tikka warmed up. I had mounted my Kahles 318i on the rifle, which is much more scope than this rifle needs. But the high quality scope made an excellent addition to the rifle and was sure to give solid confirmation on the accuracy of the T1X.
I adjusted the stock to get the best eye relief and feel, the adjustments on the stock only required that you push in and then adjust the height of the comb or length of the recoil pad. A simple depressing of a button seemed a little too simple and potentially easy to accidently move, but to my surprise they were quite stiff. As a matter of fact, I had quite a time getting the recoil pad adjusted due to the force required to push the button. This is a small concern for me, as its not something I expect to adjust frequently.
Next was bore-sighting the rifle. I’ve never seen the need for bore-sighting tools, my Grandfather taught me his method learned through an artillery sight in Korea. I simply set the rifle up on a Harris bipod, and centered an easily identified object at the center of the bore. The key here is to ensure that your eye is perfectly aligned behind the breech. The circular shapes of the action, bore, and muzzle should all be concentric, and then your distant object centered in the middle of the bore hole. That’s the easy part, once you’ve got that, you need to very carefully and without shifting the rifle in any direction adjust your scope turrets until the crosshair is centered on the same distant object in the scope. I’ve done it this way for decades now, and its always on paper, and occasionally dead nuts on target. Continue Reading Here…
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 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. 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? Continue Reading Here…
I suppose you could say I’ve come full circle, I started this game with a .25 caliber rifle, and after many many years I have a new one. I learned much with that first rifle, a Ruger M77 in 25-06, I still have it, and I dont think I’ll ever get rid of it.
My love for the 1/4 bore was cut short, by the lack of high Ballistic Coefficient bullets. There is a good assortment of 115-120 grain bullets, but many of them peeter out long before my then goal of one thousand yards. So despite claiming many of my first’s, the 25-06 went to the back of the safe.
In the defiance of time, I always had a 1/4” hole in my soul. Turns out that I wasn’t alone, and some folks with impressive math skills finally saddled the long range quarter-horse. Black Jack Bullets is a new manufacturer with a specialty in high BC 25’s. 2022 Edit: Blackjack has ceased production as far as I can tell
As soon as I had spoken with the owner, I was convinced that my old love of the 25 needed to be rekindled. I almost immediately started Operation Quarter Lord, my goal; a .257 rifle that I could build light, and haul all over these Rocky Mountains to take antelope, deer, and even elk.
Due to the piles of 6.5 Creedmoor brass I had laying around, I decided to go with the 25 Creedmoor. I wanted to stay with a mag fed short action, and with Black Jack’s new high BC bullet (.330G7) it would outperform even the heaviest 6.5 Creedmoor loads.
The project came together very quickly, parts started arriving, and my gunsmith took minimal arm twisting to spin it up. We started with a Tikka T3 action, then added an X-Caliber .25 caliber, seven twist blank. Cut to finish at twenty two inches, because I dont like long rifles. All that was left, was a chassis system. I have always been a big fan of KRG, so I took this opportunity to get hands on their new Bravo chassis, it’s rigid and intuitive design was a perfect fit for this project that I wanted to keep light, but tight. Everything was cut, chambered threaded, and finished at ES Tactical, Eric does great work, and Im beginning to lose track of how many barrels of his I have.
With a twenty MOA scope base mounted on the Tikka, I mounted up my new scope, the RTS Mod 5 6-24X50 from Riton Optics. You can read more about the scope here: Riton RTS Mod5.
For rings I went with Aadland Engineering thirty milimeter HD rings, Mr. Aadland makes top notch mounts and I’ve always loved the quality.
Now that I had the rifle basically built, it was time to start manufacturing the top fueled cartridges that would make the Xcaliber hum. I started fireforming the Alpha Munitions 6.5 Creedmoor brass. I considered myself lucky to have such high quality components available. Alpha makes probably the best brass money can buy, and their small rifle primer brass was perfect for this high pressure project. To make the 25 Creedmoor brass, I swapped my Redding 6.5 Creedmoor die’s bushing out for a .281. Then I would run the lubed neck over a .257 expander ball. I was amazed at how consistent the Alpha brass was, seating depths were extremely uniform due to the constant neck tension. Looking back, I’d probably go with a .282 bushing, to work the brass less.
I also tried several other brass manufacturers, just for the sake of science. I made 25 Creedmoor brass out of Hornady, Lapua (SP), Federal, and Petersen. As you might imagine, the Federal and Hornady had some pressure issues and stiff extraction with the hottest loads. Even the Petersen was a little sticky, but the small primer cases won the day for sure. Both Lapua and Alpha had zero stiff extraction, but the Alpha took a smidge more powder. This allowed for a non-compressed load, with the best velocity, and no pressure related problems. Alpha is definitely the way to go. As you can see a few pictures up, Alpha Munitions has since produced 25 Creedmoor headstamped brass, and it is perfect.
With both bullets and brass so rare, I was very slow and methodical in my loading. The long pointed tips of the 131 Ace seemed to fit just fine in my 6.5 seating die, and despite their long nose, they still fit the AI mag. I seated the bullets twenty thousandths off the lands, and charged the cases with 42.7 grains of Hodgdon H4350.
The chronoed loads with the 131 Blackjacks averaged 2930fps, with single digit SD numbers. The groups fired were easily 1/2 MOA, and if I wasn’t so terrible at shooting groups, they’d likely cut in half. The X caliber barrel obviously was a big part of the accuracy, which wasn’t a surprise to me as the other X caliber’s I have shot were also very accurate. And even though we cut it at 22 inches the velocity was right where I had hoped it would be.
The main appeal of the Ace 131 is obviously the BC, which is advertised at .330(G7), I have found that number to be fairly conservative.
Unlike many manufacturers, Blackjack must not inflate their data. After punching in all the data to various ballistic engines, I was consistently shooting over targets by a minute or two. The only way to compensate for it was to true up the BC to a slightly higher number. Once I did that, my Trasol program was predicting the bullet path close enough to make cold bore hits on 1-2MOA targets at 575,840, and 1057, each with a follow up confirmation hit. All this in a very switchy wind as a storm came in, the Ace didnt seem to mind. With my average DA here in the high desert, the Ace should stay supersonic to almost a mile.
My next project for this rifle is hunting season, which is only a few days away. I might make it easier on Junior by just taking the one rifle for both of us, and any deer within half a mile would be foolish to show his tines. With a trajectory nearly as flat as my 7SAUM shooting 183 Sierra Match Kings, but the tender recoil of a Creedmoor, I cant imagine a sweeter little deer rifle. And first chance I get I’ll put it up against wild Wyoming’s pronghorn as well, but the likely precursor will be Rocky Mountain Elk.
My very first elk fell to a single shot from that old 25-06, and with the added power and accuracy of the Blackjack Ace 131 I am very confident both Junior and I can pull it off again.
Im a hunter at heart, so thats where I always turn towards. But the 25 Creedmoor would really shine in a competition setup. With its light recoil, super flat trajectory, and great accuracy, it would stand ahead of most of it’s 6.5 competitors.
This project is still very fresh, so I will continue to update this post with new information as I get it. There will be acompanying youtube videos soon, on both the rifle and its components. Follow my social media pages for frequent updates, and for answers to your questions. And follow the links here in the article to get to those mentioned.
Edited to add:
So far in the fall/winter season of 2018, we have managed to kill three mule deer with the 25 Creedmoor, and two elk. Shots varied from 220yds, 500yds, and 600yds on the deer. And both elk were shot right at 300 yds with a neck shot.
In the fall hunting season of 2019, Operation QuarterLord took another two deer. The first one, a small mule deer at an astounding 1100 yards. The second one, a larger three-point was taken at 450 yards. Both of them took a single shot through the vitals, and neither of them made it more than a few steps.