I recently traded a Sako TRG-22 chambered for 6.5 Creedmoor for this Tikka T3x TAC A1 in the same caliber. The Sako was a great rifle (I still have one in 308 Winchester), but I never warmed to its size and features. On the other hand, I have two other Tikkas that I’m very happy with, and after reading many highly favorable reviews of the TAC A1 in 6.5 I decided to switch platforms.
As pictured the rifle has been subject to a few modifications.
New 5-25×56mm scope and lens shade. Because the 50mm objective of the previous scope was so close to the rail on top of the handguard, I was concerned that I'd have to mount this one higher, but that turned out not to be necessary after I removed the top rail cover. I don’t know that the higher possible magnification will help me shoot better, but the previous scope went to a good host.
Filled the handguard slots with Magpul M-LOK type 1 covers.
Different vertical grip and sorbothane sheet on cheek rest.
One of the things I wanted with the Tikka was a way of mounting an Atlas monopod on the bottom rear of the stock. I could have done that with the TRG, but it would have been an extra expense and would have required some modifications. The T3x TAC came with a short Picatinny rail section in just the right spot.
Although the 6.5 cartridge doesn’t produce a lot of recoil, the rifle came with a generous rubber recoil pad and muzzle brake. The stock length of pull can be increased with as many of the supplied spacers as desired and the recoil pad can be moved up or down for best positioning. The muzzle brake pictured is an aftermarket Thunder Beast Arms Corp. model that takes a direct screw mount suppressor. The supplied brake is significantly larger and heavier; it may be more effective as well, but I haven’t tried it.
One thing for anyone who is contemplating a suppressor or other muzzle device on the rifle to be aware of is that there are two different factory threads used. The manual says the threading is M1×18.0 which is what my other Tikkas and TRGs had. I therefore expected to be able to use the brake/suppressor adapter that I’d removed from the 6.5 TRG. That turned out not to be true. When I queried Beretta about the threading, I was told, “If it’s not M1×18.0, then it’s 5/8×24,” and that’s evidently a change for the U.S. market.
The stock can be folded against the left side of the rifle. Shortening the overall length could be useful under some circumstances, but thus far I’ve used it only to move the cheek rest and recoil pad out of the way for cleaning. The stock locks firmly in the straight position, and I’m not aware that it’s a folding style when using the rifle. When folded and locked, there is a little back and forth play.
The adjustable cheek rest is another must have for me. With the scope I’m using I had to raise it about as high as it will go. The open underside of the cheek rest allows the bolt to be installed and removed without moving the rest.
Tikka changed the magazine design with the introduction of the T3x "tactical" or "precision" series of rifles. The T3 rifles used proprietary plastic magazines, and although I never had any trouble with them, I modified both of my older rifles to take AI style magazines. The T3x magazines for the models mentioned are essentially identical to TRG mags except that while not cheap, they’re less pricy than TRG mags. The rifle came with two magazines and an offer for
One thing, though, that I don’t like about the T3x magazine system is that single loading rounds without feeding and chambering from the magazine doesn’t work.* With the TRG, for example a single cartridge can be dropped onto a seated empty magazine and the round will chamber by pushing the bolt forward. That doesn’t work with the T3x, and I haven’t been able to find anyone making a single load block or magazine adapter. I assume that will change in time, but for now ….
* Update on this issue in a separate post below. In short, it depends on the ammunition.
The rifle chassis and handguard are all aluminum and the handguard has M-LOK slots. I added Picatinny rail sections and covers to the bottom of the handguard to permit attaching an Atlas bipod with QD mount, and to protect the handguard’s finish.
The trigger pull weight was 3 pounds, 3 ounces as measured with a free weight gauge. The pull weight is adjustable, and some reviewers complained that their rifle was set in the 4+ pounds range from the factory. I have rifles with lighter triggers, but I don’t plan to change this one.
But how does it shoot? In another thread I mentioned that I’d fired a few sub-MOA groups already, and today I needed to rezero the rifle because I’d removed and reinstalled the scope. After three sighters and moving the point of impact to point of aim at 100 yards, I fired the below group with Hornady 140 grain ELD Match ammunition from the prone using the bipod and monopod.
At this point I’m very happy with the rifle.
Added: Edited to clarify the magazines thing. T3x rifles use two different types.This message has been edited. Last edited by: sigfreund,
Pretty much mirrors what our customers have been saying about this rifle.
That is sweet! There’s one for sale locally, but I have a custom 6.5x55 built on a Borden action that shoots the 143 eldx right around 2800fps so it seems pretty redundant. But tempting nonetheless. Really enjoyed the review!
P220 Carry Elite SAO Nitron
P239 .40 SAS Gen II
S&W Model 10 .38 Special
FN-P 9mm TT
There's no single feeding in TACtical rifles
All kidding aside most mag fed bolt rifles don't single feed very well, dropping a round on top of the mag. You can permanently modify a mag to act as a loading block. Epoxy the follower in its most upward position to the mag body then go at it with a Dremel. Most action bodies/mag wells sit slightly forward of the stock/chassis magwell. That lip is what indexes/stops the mag. Paying attention to that index point you can remove lots of material from the follower and feed lips.
I have been spoiled by either having a single round loading block (AI type mags) or mag insert. What struck me as odd is that single round chambering by just dropping a round in and pushing it forward works fine with the TRG and its identical magazines.
Thanks for the guidance on converting a magazine. I was wondering if that might be possible, and it may come to that.
Great thread! I have been thinking about this T3x TAC, a Sako TRG22, a Christensen MPR and re-barreling a Tikka T3x with KRG chassis in 6.5 Creedmore. I am looking for an under 1/2 MOA rifle and don't want to spend more than $3,000. After owning a couple Steyrs I'm starting to drift away from the Remington 700 action.
From your experience, does your T3x shoot the same accuracy as the Sako TRG? That way you can spend the money on something else?
Unfortunately I can’t answer that definitively because the conditions I shot them under were different. In addition, I never shot the TRG-22 in 6.5 for precision testing all that much, and now the T3x has been limited to 32 rounds thus far. But … based on what I have experienced thus far, my impression is that the T3x produces groups with the 140 grain ELD as well as the TRG did. If there is any difference, it’s too small for me to detect by looking at my records.
It’s claimed that Sako makes the barrels for Tikka rifles, so unless they have a deliberate policy of their not being the same quality, I would expect similar performance. There are a number of Internet reviews of the T3x TAC A1, and everyone seems to like it.
I briefly considered getting one of the non-TAC Tikkas and using a KRG chassis. That would have saved me a little money if I’d purchased the T3x outright rather than doing the trade. My 308 Win T3 is in a KRG X-Ray chassis, but I don’t like it quite as much as the Tikka TAC, so I’m glad I pursued the option I did. I will also point out that Tikka claims a higher accuracy standard for their “tactical” rifles than the rest: sub-MOA for five shot groups rather than three, IIRC. I can only speculate why that might be, but it could have do to with the aluminum chassis or perhaps barrel selection—?
As I mentioned in the first post, the one thing I was disappointed with the rifle was the inability to load and chamber single rounds dropped into the ejection port. Being able to do that is often a convenience when testing loads, measuring velocities, etc. As it turned out, though, that is not a problem with ammunition loaded with bullets having very sharply pointed meplats (tips). The snap caps I have for 6.5 Creedmoor have blunter tips that catch at the edge of the chamber, as may certain bullets intended for hunting such as the Fusion Soft Point. This magazine modification eliminates problems with such bullets, and may provide smoother chambering of all rounds.
As mentioned above, there are various single round loading blocks available for different magazines, but none that I could find for the magazines used in the Tikka CTR, TAC, and UPR models.
After offgrid suggested that modifying a standard magazine might be the solution, it occurred to me to try a “Bob Sled” single round follower that was designed for the original polymer T3 magazines that were not based on the TRG-22 mag design. The problem was that the TAC magazine’s follower tilted the “sled” over at an angle and made it unusable. The solution, therefore, was to remove the plastic follower and place the Bob Sled directly onto the flat magazine spring.
Because the sled is held in place by the magazine spring and body, it was usable even without trying to ensure that the sled wasn’t displaced in use. To avoid problems at the range, though, I glued it in place with a dab of Shoe Goo adhesive which should be removable if I want to convert the magazine back to its original use.
That's a damn expensive solution for single round feeding. The Tikka mag is a $100. Somebody come up with a 3D printed option.
Nah, only $85, plus that’s the free one from Beretta for buying the T3x TAC model.
But of course, you’re right, and that’s why I was happy to come up with a solution that didn’t destroy the mag. And right now it’s the only solution I’m aware of. Someone like Score High Gunsmithing may come up with an offering sooner or later, but I suspect there’s not a high demand from owners of Tikkas that use that magazine, and especially as it’s not necessary with all ammunition.
Sigfreund, what is your scope setup there?
I have the T3x Tac A1 and scope build in progress, but I haven't yet done the measuring to get the right scope ring height.
The scope has a 50mm objective* and 34mm maintube. When I was switching guns, I originally hoped to use the same Spuhr mount for 34mm maintube that I had on a different gun, but because the Picatinny rail on the T3x extends forward in the same plane as the mount, there wasn’t room. I ended up with a Spuhr model SP-4602, and as you can probably see, with the Vortex lens cap and Camoform wrap, it couldn’t be any lower. When the lens cap is closed, one of the engagement tabs actually touches the rail cover lightly.
The mount has a +6 mil slope and the height is 38mm (~1.5")
* Reference to the first scope I mounted and was moved to a different rifle. The scope pictured in the first post above has a 56mm objective.This message has been edited. Last edited by: sigfreund,
Thanks for the info. My scope is 56mm, but I'm putting on a Badger 22moa riser rail as a base so that should give me enough height to use medium rings instead of high. Hopefully.
Good on your rifle. Hope you like it as much as I like mine.
Sigfreud, what’s the barrel life expectancy on the tac a1?
Thanks for the great write up. Super informative as always.
All I know is what I read in the newspapers ... er, on the Internet. Below is a link to what seems to be a knowledgeable article. Note, however, what I do know is that barrel life is highly dependent on rate of fire, as the article mentions. I don’t shoot high volumes at rapid paces, so I would expect my barrel to last significantly longer than what is mentioned in the article (2000-2500). The fact is, of course, that it’s been long recognized that as the caliber goes down and the powder charge goes up (or even stays the same), barrel life goes down.
It would be interesting to get the input on this from our high volume precision rifle shooters here.
About 10yrs ago I had a 6.5CM chambered on a Kreiger barrel. Sold the barreled action with 2800rds, still shooting to my ability at the time.
Shot out two 6.5x47 barrels. About two grains lower in powder charge then a 6.5CM. Around 2500rds the barrels were no longer competitive. Beat on these barrels much harder then the 6.5CM. Heat is the killer.
How sigfreund described his rate of fire, 3000-3500 would be a reasonable barrel life to expect.
Thanks. That's useful information.
Just a couple notes. The TRG-22 and Tikka Tac A1 magazines are NOT identical. The Tac A1 mags have a rubber floor plate that makes them NOT work in the TRG-22. TRG-22 mags work perfectly well in Tikka Tac A1's. The MF'ers at Sako couldn't have $85 Tikka mags replacing the $200 TRG mags so they made Tikka put a rubber floor plate on them to Screw over TRG-22 owners. Sako owns Tikka and so Tikka had to go along with it. They do use the same barrels.
I have both a TRG-22 and a Tac A1 in 6.5 CreedMoor. The Tac A1 shoots every bit as good as the TRG-22 and has a far more adjustable stock that folds for easy cleaning. You have to buy expensive spacers to raise the comb on the TRG series.
I actually prefer the far less expensive Tikka. The Tikka is like a Corvette that circles the racetrack as fast or faster than a Ferrari for half the price and is WAY cheaper to buy parts for!
The TRG's ARE extremely nice rifles don't get me wrong but side by side in a match or whatever the winner is going to be determined by the shooter, Tac A1's are that good..........DJ
Remember, this is all supposed to be for fun...................
I believe I mentioned that.
But it’s worth making clear. Other than the rubber base plate, though, the magazines appear to be identical and I was surprised they couldn’t be used in the same way.
Thanks for your comments about the Tikka; we obviously agree, and coming from you that means a lot.
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