Tikka T3 7mm-08 Range Report


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Vern94
October 7, 2012, 11:43 AM
I took the rifle out yesterday to get ready for the upcoming deer season. Scope is 2-7x Nikon ProStaff. The included picture is my final 3 shots. This is from 100 yds shooting Federal Power Shok (blue box) 150gr. I was satisfied with this grouping, as it is certainly minute of deer. I then moved to the 200 yd range and shot 5 times. I didn't take a picture, mostly because the result was less than stellar. Everything really opened up. The first shot was dead center. The remaining 4 shots were all low and right. Two were about 4 inches low and right and the final two were just on the edge of the target low and right. I was shooting at a Birchwood Casey target probably 12" in diameter.
I was shooting off of sand bags and had a reasonable steady rest that would replicate what I would have available from my stand. My concern/question is how everything opened up at 200 yards. Is is the ammo? Tikka's are known for good accuracy and not being finicky about what they are fed. 150gr isn't optimal for 7mm-08 and I'm planning to load some 145gr Speer Hot Core's with IMR 4350 for the season. Was it the weather conditions? It was low 40's with 8-10mph wind from the NW and the range faces east. It is sheltered fairly well the 1st 100 yds, but is more exposed for the next 100. Finally was it me? I've never shot at the 200 yd target and never shot a deer past 125 yds. If its me, then the solution is easy...practice and shoot more. Thoughts, comments, and criticism are all welcome and appreciated.

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sixgunner455
October 7, 2012, 11:52 AM
Probably you+ammo, with maybe some wind.

If you've never shot that far, you don't know how it is to shoot that far. Practice, as you say, is the answer.

Good 100 yard loads are not always good 200+ yard loads. That's just life, and takes checking things out - which goes hand in hand with practice.

Wind can affect things as well, of course, but only 200 yards, unless the wind was gusting more heavily than what you indicate, shouldn't have affected it very much.

Good luck!

rswartsell
October 7, 2012, 12:06 PM
What do you think about the T3? I'm considering one in 7mm 08.

Vern94
October 7, 2012, 12:12 PM
So far I really like it. Light weight, & handles well. Should be ideal northwoods Minnesota deer rifle. I have only shot about 30 rounds through it but. Trigger is really crisp and set about 3.5 lbs. My only regret was not getting the stainless version. I would also caution about getting anything larger than .30-06 due recoil issues with a light rifle. I'm not recoil sensitive, (other rifle is S&W 1500 .300WM) but I wanted something that wouldn't really kick hard.

Pacsd
October 7, 2012, 10:40 PM
what is the twist? Could be the twist don't like the 150 gr bullet. That caliber should be a tack driver...mine is.

Vern94
October 8, 2012, 11:29 AM
According to Tikka's website, twist is 9.5".

Robert101
October 8, 2012, 12:36 PM
I don't use 3shot groups...... I think 5 is a better indicator. You didn't say how many groups, oe shots you fired that day. Maybe you need just a little more trigger time with that rifle.

adelbridge
October 8, 2012, 01:19 PM
You are going to be challenged with a 2-7 scope at 200 yards. Even a 3-9 at 200 yards is tough. That Nikon you will have some slight issues with parallax since that scope is probably preset at 100 yard focus. Add in a cross wind, low magnification and lack of experience and I would expect 4-6" groups. Keep in mind 4-6" groups is 2-3 MOA at 200. You could be getting 1.5" of wind drift very easily.

savanahsdad
October 8, 2012, 01:39 PM
not sure what the parallax is at on a 2-7x? but a Nikon 3-9X40 is set at 200 yards , I shoot better at 200 yards with mine than at 100 or 250 yards, oh I have 3 Nikons.

as for your load , I get best groups with Sierra's 140 gr spitzer boat tail (#1905) with 45gr of H414 good luck , the 7mm-08 is a great round I have taken lot of deer with mine (savage 16 7mm-08)

readyeddy
October 8, 2012, 01:59 PM
I also don't put much stock in 3 shot groups. 10 shot groups will give you a better view of our rifle and ammo combination. As for the Federal Power Shoks, your results sounds typical. I would not even consider the rifle as being the cause of the group sizes until you shoot hand loaded ammo using quality components.

FiveInADime
October 8, 2012, 07:46 PM
It takes some work to start shooting sub-MOA at 200yards even off of a solid benchrest. I was working with my .243 for a long time and I had lots of accurate groups at 100yards but struggled to do better than 3" with those same loads at 200. Now I have loads and the technique to shoot that .243 into ~1" 5-shot groups at 200 yards but it took careful handloading and lots of lead downrange to accomplish that.

I just picked up a stainless Marlin XS7 in 7mm-08 last week. I am going to put a barrel chambered in .260 Rem on it when I get the money but I want to play with the 7-08 in the mean time. The Marlin also has a 1:9.5" twist, so if you do find a super-accurate factory load post it so I can try it, as well. I am going to start my handloading with 150gr. Sierra Matchkings and a medium powder like 4064, varget, or rl15.

ApplePie
October 9, 2012, 12:31 AM
To get really good groups at 200 yards, you need a more powerful scope. It makes a big difference. Even the shape and size of the target you are using is a factor. I've really tightened groups on a rifle by switching from a 4x-12x scope to a 6x-20x scope and shooting at a tiny aiming point with the scope turned up to 20 power.

Also, any wind more than 5 mph is a factor. The wind is almost never constant. In addition, you have to be concerned with that thin barrel heating up and changing point of impact. For big game hunting, the first shot from a clean and cold barrel is the one you need to be most concerned with.

Point is, the only way to know for sure what the rifle is capable of at long range would be to use a more powerful scope and give that light barrel time to cool down between shots. If you're an accuracy fanatic, you would also need to fire a fouling shot after cleaning, and not count that first shot in your groups. Or... clean after every shot.

I'm an accuracy fanatic with my heavy-barreled varmint rifles, but for big game rifles, I don't worry about it that much. The target is huge compared to a prairie dog. Besides, it's not that much fun absorbing the recoil from those big game rifles at the range.

I love the light weight and smooth bolt of those Tikkas. I'd like them even if they were not as accurate as they are.

GooseGestapo
October 9, 2012, 08:13 AM
fwiw; My Nikon 2x-7x is the "shotgun" version (has std duplex reticle). Parallax is set at 75yds. As such, it shoots beautifully at 50-100yds with either .22lr or the current rifle, a BLR in .358. Good scope and shouldn't handicap you even at 200yds.
I shot prarie dogs to 400+yds successfully with a Leupold 2x-7x with a 2min dot reticle. But as others related, it takes practice and familiarity with the rifle.

I wouldn't be concerned with accuracy till you got 200+ rds down the rifle. It takes that many shots for the barrel to lap in and heat-treating to stabilize.
My .257Roberts I built in 1983 with an E.R.Shaw barrel took about 300rds to "shoot in". When it did, (with above mentioned 2x-7x Leupold) I shot several 200yd 3-shot groups under 1" and one with 3 touching. 5-shot groups ran ~1" or 1/2moa. BUT, it took a particular target to allow me to get a precise sight picture, proper seating of the 7lb rifle to the bench, and minimum 1minute between shots.... AND, I was shooting handloads taylored to the the rifle....

Vern94
October 9, 2012, 04:04 PM
Thanks for all the comments....FWIW, I shot about 20 rounds when I went out the other day and waited at least 3-5 minutes between shots to avoid heating up the barrel too much. From the responses I got it, I need more practice, use better quality ammo, and better optics certainly won't hurt. Of these, practice and better ammo aren't a problem. As far as optics go, for now I'm stuck with the Nikon 2-7x. Would like better glass but no funds for it right now.

C-grunt
October 9, 2012, 04:51 PM
Thanks for all the comments....FWIW, I shot about 20 rounds when I went out the other day and waited at least 3-5 minutes between shots to avoid heating up the barrel too much. From the responses I got it, I need more practice, use better quality ammo, and better optics certainly won't hurt. Of these, practice and better ammo aren't a problem. As far as optics go, for now I'm stuck with the Nikon 2-7x. Would like better glass but no funds for it right now.
Your scope is a good piece of glass. It's just that it's a hunting scope, not a target scope. Also cheap soft point ammunition is not going to give you the best accuracy.

627PCFan
October 9, 2012, 04:56 PM
Overthinking an already good group?

Vern94
October 9, 2012, 05:22 PM
Good point abouts about overthinking this grouping and expecting better results from bargin ammo. This reinforces my feeling that better performance comes down to better quality ammo and more practice.

Pacsd
October 9, 2012, 10:57 PM
Personally, I don't think you are limiting yourself with a 2X 7 at all. I live and hunt in western SoDak where 300 yd shots are not uncommon. I seldom move off 4 power with a Nikon 3 X 9.

ApplePie
November 1, 2012, 02:45 AM
Your 2x-7x is all you need for big game hunting. I shot an elk at 442 yards with one, dialed up to 7x. Perfect heart shot. My only point in mentioning a higher power scope is to help you understand you should not expect the best groups on paper with only 7 power, and that the gun is more accurate than your sight picture. I wouldn't put a 20x scope on a big game rifle. Not needed. Your existing scope is fine.

DanTheFarmer
November 1, 2012, 07:53 AM
I went to Staples and got flourescent orange file folder markers. They are 3/4" self adhesive circles that I put on the bullseye of targets. I found I was losing the black crosshairs of the scope on the black center rings of my targets and guessing where the middle was. Guessing isn't so good when accuracy testing a load. The orange dot acts like an "eye magnet" and helped me in my load development process. I also just learned for myself the value of letting the barrel cool between shots but you've already got that figured out.

I'm only shooting at 100 yards but when 2 shots hit a 3/4" dot and the "flyer" is 1/2 away I figure I've got a pretty good hunting load.

My 7mm-08 with a 1:12 twist likes 120 grain Sierra Pro Hunters with BL-C(2) pushing it along and my 7mm-08 with a 1:9.5 twist likes 154 grain Hornady Interlocks with H414 or Ramshot Hunter. I working on more options and will try to this board posted.

Good Luck.

Dan

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