Ruger M77 Mark II vs. Winchester Model 70 vs. Tikka T3


January 24, 2004, 10:24 AM
Sorry about all these "vs." questions...

After much deliberations, I've decided the AR-15 can wait till September. But I'm taking my friends out to the local range (hoping to convert a few fence-sitters to our side :D ) and I'd like to get a nice bolt action hunting/SHTF rifle in .308 Winchester (because I don't reload, and milsurp 7.62 is cheap and widespread). I've narrowed it down to three choices.

Ruger M77 Mark II Standard

Ruger is an American company, and I like to buy American rifles. The M77 is fairly accurate and has a nice Mauser extractor, and it looks nice to me (walnut stocks look good IMHO). I've heard Ruger rifles have a creepy trigger out of the box, but I can always get that adjusted. I also like the option to have fixed sights on the rifle in case the optics break down.

Winchester Model 70 Classic Featherweight

The Featherweight has roughly the same dimensions/stock style/weight as the M77, and has a similar extractor. It looks nice too, and has a better trigger out of the box (a bit of creep, but nothing major - I'm not using this as a competition gun or anything). The Model 70 has been given high praise, and it seems the most reliable/trustworthy of the bunch.

Tikka T3 Hunter

Great reviews for this one, including a feature story in American Rifleman. It's not made in America :eek:, but the European craftsmanship looks good, too. Great accuracy, fine trigger, and it's about a half pound lighter (though the length/LOP/etc. is similar). Limited capacity magazine, however; I'd have to buy another one.


All three rifles would "fit" me just fine, and all three are similarly priced. I only have money/need for one, however. Any comments appreciated.

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Brian Williams
January 24, 2004, 10:33 AM
I personally like the Win 70 Classic and have a Compact in 7mm-08 that is a very good gun. From a bench with my handloads it is 1 MOA but I need more practice to equal it capability.

I have a Leupold 3x9 compact on it and it make for a fairly light gun for hunting.
I know you did not mention Savage 10 but it has some rave reviews.

January 24, 2004, 12:34 PM
The Savage 10FP is a bit heavy and a little bit too long for my taste. This is going to be a carry-it-around kind of rifle. I may even have to ride my mountain bike with this thing, so the lighter, the better (but not too light - I wouldn't buy any .308 under 6 pounds).

The Savage guns are definitely worth the money, it seems. I just don't like synthetic stocks :cool: .

Thanks for the review of the Winchester, though .:D

January 24, 2004, 06:17 PM
I generally like Winchesters and Rugers having positive experience with both of them. But if we're looking at 'averages' here, the Tikkas seem to be consistantly very well received.

Just not sure what was wrong with the Whitetail.

January 24, 2004, 09:56 PM
Never owned a Tikka, but I own three model 70 Winchesters. One is a featherweight .30-06, and my all time favorite bolt gun. I've owned several Ruger 77s in the past, and IMHO, they just don't measure up to "The Rifleman's Rifle" the model 70 Winchester.

January 24, 2004, 11:20 PM
No Tikka info either, but I own several Win M70 and Ruger M77 rifles. If you are comparing the standard M77 to the Featherweight M70 the biggest difference is in the barrel contours. The M77 will have about a 3 BC where the M70 FW is about a 1 BC. In other words, the M77 will have a more weight forward feel due to the heavier barrel. The only way to see if this makes a difference to you is to try them out, try bringing them up to your shoulder and see how they feel as to stock fit and pointability. All very subjective of course.

Both also have a "three position safety". However, they are different in how they are implemented on the two rifles. The M70 safety locks the firing pin in the bolt like the original Mauser safety, where the M77 is a sear block type safety that also has a bolt "block".

As for accuracy, all my rifles are fairly comparably. After experimentation I found numerous factory loads that would shoot around MOA. With handloading I've been able to get around .75 MOA groups.

Between the Winchester and the Ruger, if I could only have one, I'd get the Winchester. But I wouldn't feel bad about getting the Ruger either.

Hope this helps - JohnDog

January 25, 2004, 05:09 PM
I went through a similar debate a month or so ago, and at that time eliminated the Tikka T-3. I planned on a short action cartridge (.308, etc.), but the Tikka comes in only long actions. I also don't care for the recoil lug, which is decidedly non-standard. (Instead of being on the action and fitting into a stock recess, the Tikka's is mounted in the stock and fits into a groove in the receiver. Better? Worse? I don't know, but it's different, and I thought I'd "wait and see" on that approach. Also, I'd question the statement that lengths of pull are similar. The Ruger and the Winnie (Featherweight) are 13.5 inches; the Tikka, like most European rifles are longer - 14 inches, IIRC, and I find that length uncompfortable.

I had decided on the M70 Featherweight (in 6.5X55, if it matters), due to my pleasure at the quality of the first Winchester M70 I've ever owned, an M70 Classic LT in .300 Win Mag. This was and is a fine piece of work, and I thought to see if the Featherweight could match it. I expected to pay a little over $600 and was looking around for one.

Then I found a new M77 MkII locally in 6.5X55 for $489 and I bought that, instead. Compared to the M70 LT, the Ruger is a little more...primitive. The trigger's bad (though not as bad as I'd been led to believe), and repair or replacement of it isn't bad at all. The bolt throw's not as smooth as the M70, but I'm considering ways to smooth it. I like the integrated ringmounts - they just have a feel of solidity, that you aren't betting everything on eight tiny screws in the mounts of a standard rifle. I guess the thing I like least about the M77 MkII is the factory blue job; it really shouldn't sit next to my other rifles. OTOH, since I'm using it as a project rifle, to learn about tweaking, that's not so bad at all - I wouldn't want to muck up a really pretty one.

Are either the M70 or the M77 MkII perfect out of the box? No. Are either a good testbed for tweaking? Yes.


rust collector
January 25, 2004, 10:35 PM
The Tikka 308 T3 is light, handy, slick to operate and has a good adjustable trigger. It is fun to shoot, but I have had limited opportunity to work on ammo choice and groups here in the frigid north.

You can't go wrong on any of the rifles named. If you sling a lot of lead, the T3 isn't your gun as the mag carries only 3 rounds, and spare mags are $50+ (for a bit of plastic :scrutiny: ).

January 26, 2004, 08:26 AM
I would go with a Tikka or the winchester 70. Just from personal experience i've had great luck with rugers but not with the mkII. I've owned 7 ruger mkII's and i've kept 3. They are in .308, 22-250, and 7mm mag. Probably getting rid of the 22-250 also because this is the 2nd one i've had in the ruger mkII and it shoots almost as poorly as the first.

January 26, 2004, 10:08 AM
Can't comment on the Tikka

Have you looked at a Winchester "Coyote" they come in .308 and are a nice balance between a walking around gun and a varmint gun. It will be on the heavy side, but for me it is bearable. I have one in .243 that I love.


January 26, 2004, 11:12 AM
The others listed aren't even in the same league as the Tikka----its just that simple.

Get the Tikka and don't even waste your time with the others.

January 26, 2004, 12:01 PM
^^ he's right. The tikka has one of the greatest actions too.

May 8, 2010, 12:08 PM
I've never shot a Tikka or Winchester 70 so I can only write empirically about the Ruger M-77s. They shoot the tightest groups of all of my bolt guns, right out of the box. So I'm really prejudiced in favor of all Ruger firearms.

May 8, 2010, 01:19 PM
Of the many bolt-action rifles I've had or shot over the past fifty years or so, the make/model I've come to favor is the Ruger 77/MKII 77. I currently own four of them (two earlier tang-mounted 77s and two MKII 77s) and can say that they are like most other 77s I've either owned or shot previously: accurate, well-made and finished, nice handling, good-looking, reliable, American-made rifles. I like the two-position, tang mounted safety and the latest three-position safety because the bolt-handle stays locked when I want it to and they both are easily accessed. I prefer the massive and sure-acting Mauser type extractors found on all 77s and the "controlled-feed" as found on the MKII series. And, finally, I appreciate the good way that Ruger treats its customers.
On the less than positive side; yes, the 77s generally can benefit from some attention to the factory triggers most come with-though I've heard that Ruger has improved the trigger pulls on the latest 77s.

May 8, 2010, 02:02 PM
It's been 6 1/2 years, I hope he has made up his mind by now.

May 8, 2010, 02:52 PM
I have three model 77's which have served me very well. IMO they are good looking rifles with good accuracy. My latest one is a Ruger Compact Magnum in 338 RCM. It's a very nice and compact rifle. If you were a handloader, I would suggest the 300 RCM as an option.

I had two model 70's which both had unacceptable accuracy. One was a 25-06 and the other 22-250. I ended up selling the 25-06 and rebarreling the 22-250. I don't believe my limited experience with the model 70 accurately reflects their quality. I probably just have had bad luck with them.

I don't have any experience with Tikka but hear good things about them. One drawback (for me) though, is that they cannot be top loaded. This may or may not be a concern for you.

May 8, 2010, 03:44 PM
i liked the tikka till i saw the cost of magazines.

May 8, 2010, 05:23 PM
I don't care too much for the Tikka (not saying it is bad, I just don't care for it), the other two are both fine rifles, but are you sure that they still make the Mk. II in a Standard rifle ( all I see in their catalog is the Target and Magnum variants)? While the Ruger looks a bit nicer (if you meant the Hawkeye instead of the Mk. II, this no longer holds true), I have to give the edge to the Winchester for value, light weight/balance, and stock fitment (which may differ for you).

Personally I would choose the 7mm-08Rem. instead of the .308Win., due to the better ballistics, near equivalent effects on target, and lesser recoil, but that is neither here nor there.

Whatever you decide on make sure and budget good glass (Sightron, Vortex, Bushnell Elite, Nikon, Zeiss Conquest, et cetera) in for it, if you haven't considered this I would opt for a less costly rifle...not a less costly scope.


May 8, 2010, 10:43 PM
The others listed aren't even in the same league as the Tikka----its just that simple.

Uh, what are you smokin?? Have you even seen a new FN produced Winchester Model 70?? The Tikka-Toy (aka Remington 770 of the Sako line) is not even close to being as nice as a Model 70. Its claim to fame is being relatively cheap for an accurate rifle. If feels cheap too... plastic-fantastic! The Winchester Model 70 is heads and shoulders above the other two choices.

May 9, 2010, 08:29 PM
Jmr40 that is funny. I hope that he has made up his mind by now also.

May 9, 2010, 08:39 PM
Can't comment on the Tikka, never owned one.

I have owned a pre 64 Model 70. They are nice and the quality is evident.

The new Model 70's either come with the controlled feed or not. Without I would not consider one. With and post 64 you have an equal to the Ruger.

I do have a Ruger M77 MK II in .308. It has what I would call a mini mauser action. Just like the Model 70 only smaller. Mine is in stainless with a laminated stock.

Mine has a controlled feed claw. I spent a few very well thought out minutes with a stone and my Ruger trigger is excellent. It also has the three way safety.

To develop a load I used the optimum charge method with my Ruger and I have a 165 grain round that I can shoot quarter sized groups with at 100 yards on a repeating basis. But I did have to work up that load to "ring" the barrel just right. I have verified that the load is consistent and repeatable.

In my opinion the Pre 64 Model 70's set the standard and even though they want a lot of money for the new ones I think they are working on mystique rather than any other advantage over a Ruger.

May 10, 2010, 11:05 AM
Jeeze---things change in 6 years from a dug up old dead thread.

The Ruger Hawkeye and new Model 70 are vastly improved from the old models---the Tikka while still good has skyrocketed in price and made it not such a good deal---availability and cost of mags just kill it---you would think by now both of those issues would have been addressed.

Art Eatman
May 10, 2010, 11:21 AM
Nuthin' like necrothreadia...

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