Best ammo for breaking in a Tikka T-3 .308 Varmint - THR

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Old December 16, 2008, 07:31 PM   #1
Join Date: December 16, 2008
Location: Hillsboro, OR
Posts: 111
Question Best ammo for breaking in a Tikka T-3 .308 Varmint

I have just ordered a T-3 308 blue Varmint. My previous experienced is limited to surplus Mossin Nagant style C&R bolt actions and an assortment of AK47/74 and SKS rifles. I am sticking it what I hope is a decent scope (Leupold Mk2 6-18x40). This is my first serious long range rifle. I am shooting for sub-MOA results (pun intended). But, I've never had to bother before with the concept of breaking in a barrel or sighting a high precision tool like this. I have experience laser bore sighting cheap scopes.

My next decision is to get the right ammo for the job for a reasonable price. I do not wish to over spend when I am not yet up to par with the tool. My 1st couple hundred shots will likely be mostly from 50 to 100yd and some as far as 200yd, at least until I am sure I have reasonably mastered the beast.

I'd like feedback about:

1. 250 rd of "Canned Heat" 308 Winchester 168gr Sierra BT HP from Georgia Arms for the initial break in and scope sighting and just plain <= 200yd shooting fun. Am I over or under-spending?
2. Is it true the barrel has to be cleaned after 5 to 10 shots? Hoppes 9 kind of bore cleaner, or is what kind of cleaning? What about a bore snake?

Last edited by civilian75; December 16, 2008 at 07:53 PM. Reason: new/inexperienced member
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Old December 16, 2008, 08:54 PM   #2
Join Date: June 29, 2008
Location: North Carolina
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You'll get differing opinions on this breaking in stuff.
Read what the manufacture says regarding break in and follow it for a bit. I would buy a box of "managed recoil" ammo and use that to start. It has lower velocities and pressures and will smooth the barrel burrs that might be there. You need to clean initially and Hoppes is fine. When you find those tiny bits of bullet jacket on the cleaning patch initially, you'll understand about break in.

You'll also hear from some to just go out and blast away with it and don't wory about a break in.

If the Tikka has a lapped barrel to start, it will require less break in.
I'm a believer that some break in is good.
250 rd of "Canned Heat" 308 Winchester 168gr Sierra BT HP from Georgia Arms for the initial break in...
I'm not familiar with this load from that company. Is this a Max high pressure load?

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Old December 16, 2008, 09:15 PM   #3
Join Date: December 16, 2008
Location: Hillsboro, OR
Posts: 111
Thanks for the advice.

Here is the link to Gorgia Arms site. This is bulk ammo. I have no idea who does the loading for them. Can we tell from the muzzle vel (2600fps) and the bullet weight (168gr)?

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Old December 17, 2008, 01:58 AM   #4
Join Date: October 12, 2005
Location: Concord, N.C.
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welcome to the forum. i say break it in with quality brass cased ammo, but the cheapest that you can get. it is just a break in and all you really need is the jacketed bullet to go down the barrel, some people say use the moly coated stuff, whatever how long have barrels been broken in with regular old fashion fmj bt? exactly. I have seen and know of a good number of precison rifles, and sniper rifles(in the military) that have been broken in with m118 and similar, and everyone knows that m118 isn't the best ammo out there.

speaking of georgia arms 2 of my buddies that competed in the International Sniper comp have had great luck with it before.
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Old December 17, 2008, 03:16 AM   #5
Join Date: January 12, 2006
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I used to shoot a lot of 308, don't anymore, but I would buy any and all various types of 308, including milsurp. Since i didn't handload, my goal was to see what over the counter stuff would really group for me. That being said, whenever i wanted to check , or reconfirm, or start over from a known zero, i would use, and allways go back to , South African milsurp. Was it the most accurate? No , but It was allways very consistent, and predictable, and i could go from there to anywhere with any other ammo, and return to reconfirm a zero, or scope settings no probs.
I also found, that for good milsurp accuracy, any old british empire stuff, except for Indian(run away!) was good; australia, singapore, Canadian, U.S., etc.
Also I got great results from any of the old Nazi/South American stuff; bolivian, argentina, venezuelan, etc. Very good results with Venez stuff.
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Old December 17, 2008, 06:26 PM   #6
Join Date: December 16, 2008
Location: Hillsboro, OR
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Possum, rangerruck, thanks for the great advise.
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Old December 17, 2008, 10:33 PM   #7
Join Date: October 6, 2008
Posts: 98
I have a tikka 3 in 223,I shoot over 300 rds before i COULD get a good group,I tried the molly coated ones,and that didnt help in the breaking in,

I talk to other shooters with tikka 3s and they shot 1/2 groups right out of the box.and were shocked,to hear my rifle wont shoot good groups.
But always shoot good ammo..I reloaded most ,today my rifle still wont shoot good groups with,rem, fed, or win, factory,I have no idea why, but i reload any how.
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Old December 17, 2008, 10:53 PM   #8
Join Date: January 1, 2008
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break in/shoot 5rds clean it,repeat,repeat,repeat make sure to let the barrel cool inbetween
no reason to overheat it during breakin
ammo the most accurate stuff i shot is my reloads but winchester,federal,remmington all shoots good also
the forum member formally known as 000Buckshot

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Old July 26, 2014, 05:23 PM   #9
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Lots of good info thanks guys
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Old July 26, 2014, 06:12 PM   #10
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Location: TN
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When I got my Weatherby, there was noting in the owner's manual about breaking in the barrel, but buried in the FAQs on their website I found their recommended procedure. Any decent jacketed bullet round should do, you'll need 40 rounds.

1-10 rounds, let the barrel cool and clean between each round. For the next thirty, let the barrel cool and clean after each 3 shot group. I started sighting in my scope during the three shot groups.

Remember, your barrel is only new once.
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Old July 26, 2014, 06:30 PM   #11
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I don't really follow a particular break-in schedule for new rifles, but I have definitely seen the need for rounds through the tube. A few years back I picked up a Savage Weather Warrior .308, and I was very disappointed with the 1"-1.5" groups I was getting. This was fine for a deer rifle, but I was hoping for more. This rifle was billed as a tack driver. After re-torquing the action to spec, running a bronze brush through it, I purchased 5 different factory loads. Remmy Cor-Lokt 150 gr soft points were the clear favorites, with groups hovering around an inch from a cold barrel. Still not what I was hoping for, and the round count was around 50 at this point. Still not broken in.

It took 12-15 boxes (250-300 rounds) before the gun really started to shoot. I use a bronze brush sparingly; most cleaning is with hopps#9 and a bore snake.

The gun now shoots .375" groups from bags. It is not uncommon for the first two rounds from a cold barrel to be a single hole group. Three shots rarely open up wider than a single ..50" hole at 100 yards.

My advice is to shoot it a lot, and see how it settles in. I've not had another gun take this many rounds to settle in, so it may have had some internal flaws that needed deburring or something. Point is, in the future, I will not judge accuracy of a rig without a bunch of rounds down range. I nearly got rid of this savage, and I would have been trading off what is now my best shooter.
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Last edited by AKElroy; July 26, 2014 at 06:48 PM.
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Old July 26, 2014, 10:33 PM   #12
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1-10 rounds, let the barrel cool and clean between each round. For the next thirty, let the barrel cool and clean after each 3 shot group. I started sighting in my scope during the three shot groups.
HexHead has got it. I've always broken in my factory barrels and let the patch dictate when I was done, usually between 20 and 30 rounds. I cleaned with a copper remover (Butches) because you WILL get copper fouling. When the patches start coming out with little fouling after 3 rds you're done. I had one factory barrel that was so rough it pulled tufts off a bore swab on initial cleaning. Ended up hand lapping that one before break in.

I'd stay away from bore snakes, too many bad stories of ones broke off in barrels. Get a good one piece fiberglass or carbon fiber rod and a BORE GUIDE. Clean ONLY from the chamber end.
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Old July 27, 2014, 10:08 AM   #13
the count
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It's a gun, not an Italian sports car. It is made to be shot with (most) kinds of factory ammo. Clean it BEFORE you take it to the range to make sure that there are no obstructions in the barrel and/or chemical residues (rust inhibitors). Get a couple different brands and try them out. Every gun is different in how it likes ammo. Just because brand X works great in your buddy's exact some Tikka does not mean your gun will shoot well with it. Unless you have a very high end bench rest rifle there is no need to follow complicated break-in procedures.

Last edited by the count; July 27, 2014 at 10:42 AM.
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Old July 28, 2014, 05:28 AM   #14
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I use a patch with denatured alcohol initially through the bore. Shoot 1 clean, shoot 2 clean, and keep going like that. A good product is Holland's Witches Brew. It removes carbon and copper fouling and has a mild abrasive to assist in smoothing the bore.
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Old July 28, 2014, 06:01 AM   #15
Join Date: June 23, 2011
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Unless you have a very high end bench rest rifle there is no need to follow complicated break-in procedures.
Actually high end custom rifles and BR guns generally DON'T require barrel break in because they are hand lapped.
Barrel break in is probably one of the most misunderstood principles out there. You generally won't hurt a factory by breaking it in, unless your cleaning habits are atrocious. You do however have the opportunity to make it better. For the average shooter they won't be able to shoot good enough to see the difference. Doesn't mean an improvement hadn't been made.
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Old July 28, 2014, 09:48 AM   #16
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OP I had the same question when I bought my Tikka T3 Lite in .270 Winchester. I called Tikka (Beretta) andthe shop tech I talked to said go out and shoot it. He did say use brass cased factory ammo. This was a brand new rifle so I cleaned it thoroughly and picked up a box of Federal Fusion 130gr. I did take my time and didn't "hot rod" my barrel but after 4 sighters my first 3 shot group at 100yds was .862 inches.

That was 7 rounds total I took it home and cleaned it. I'm at less than 40rds now and its a consistent 1/2 MOA shooter with my handloads.
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