Tikka T3 CTR – Reader Submission

We have gotten a number of requests for information on the Tikka T3 series of rifles. I have been given the opportunity to shoot them in various forms, several times over the past few years. However we have not been able to find the time to do a comprehensive review.

Jason Holmes contacted us and asked if we would be interested his experience with his Tikka T3 CTR. After reading his opinion, we felt our readers might benefit from it. We are still looking forward to a chance to complete a full review of a Tikka T3 and hope to accomplish that soon.


Jason writes:

“My idea for a new rifle and a new journey led me to the Tikka T3 Chambered in 260 Remington.  My objective was to find a rifle with precision features.  The 20 inch barrel on the CTR is a 1 in 8 twist and sports a light varmint profile.  Other superb features include a ten round magazine and an oversized bolt handle.  My previous rifle was also a Tikka and I like the triggers on these rifles.  They are also known for their smooth and true actions. Tikka now has a T3x version which has an improved stock and a larger ejection port.  Tikka rifles are imported from Finland.  Berretta has teamed up with Sako the parent company to make these rifles more available in the USA.

“Since my rifle is the original T3 CTR I decided to upgrade the stock.  I like shooting from a bipod and I did not like the flex of the factory stock.  Many shooters had complained that the stock is made cheaply.   I finally settled on the idea of going with a Boyds stock Pro Varmint with a Pachmeyer recoil pad.  I knew I would have to modify  it in order to make the bottom metal fit.  They inlet for Tikka rifles but not yet for the CTR.

“I have some woodworking experience.  I was able to make it fit but it was time consuming.   I started out with a chisel then I used wood files and sandpaper to whittle away untilthe bottom metal fit.  It was not the easiest way to upgrade, but it was the most cost effective.

“I ordered the stock with no finish so I could paint it.  I spray painted it desert tan, then I took some fine grit sandpaper and lightly went over the coat of paint to give it a soft matte antique look. To finish it I sprayed a clear satin coat.  I used a product called Quickwood (epoxy)  to reinforce some areas where the action and the bottom metal and the action met the wood.  I would not call it a full bedding job however it seemed to help.  Another way to do this upgrade without woodworking is to use an aftermarket bottom metal and magazine.

“Another modification was made  to the trigger which was a lighter spring made by “YoDave.”  The threaded barrel gave me the ability to add a standard style muzzle break.  The thread pitch is 5-8×24.  As for the optic I chose a modest yet effective Nikon Prostaff 4 – 14 x 50mm.  The features include a side parallax focus and illumination.  The rifle is shown above with a Harris style bipod.  I also got myself a reloading kit and I have really enjoyed reloading Ammo.

“I have always been a rifleman ever since my Father took me hunting when I was a youngster.  I never spent alot of time target shooting because the rifles I used for hunting were thumpers.  I finally found out that shooting a rifle doesn’t have to be a painfull experience.  I finally purchased a rifle chambered in something that I can shoot for hours and enjoy with little recoil and I am sure glad that I did.  Loading ammo for the CTR is fairly easy.  I have found that seating depth is not critical and I recommend the Lee factory crimp die.  Lapua brass is a great investment if you don’t mind the expense.  Hornady brass is the secondary option and with good prep it can be almost as accurate.

“Shown below is a typical group with my favorite hand load.  I’ve shot dozens of groups like this, with one or two  fliers which I attribute to problems with concentricity or shooter error.  Other bullets such as the Hornady V max did not group as tightly however were acceptable.  For a hunting bullet I would recommend the Barnes 127 grain LRX bullet got good groups at 200 yards.  Recently I tried the new Hornady eld-m 120 grain shown below.  I gassed it with 39 grains of Varget.

“The CTR is a nice budget option if you don’t plan to rebarrel right away.   Its also a kick to shoot and operate!  It does however have a long headspace.  I like the way Savage and Winchester do their headspacing and the barrel nut is great too.  I have often wondered why they do not offer a tactical stainless barrel.  Savage comes close with their tactical rifle but some of us want Stainless.  Changing the barrel on a rifle is always an option but it comes at a higher price.  The new Tikka T3x CTR is show below and has been described as a long range sleeper!!

“Longer barrel option are available for the shooter who needs more velocity.”

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