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So I bought this Tikka. Now what?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by WrongHanded, Apr 16, 2018 at 3:24 PM.

  1. WrongHanded

    WrongHanded Member

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    After I was dissuaded from buying a use Ruger No. 1, I decided to get a Tikka T3x Lite Stainless in .30-06 Springfield. Great! It's simple, apparently a solid design, in a common caliber, and is supposed to be quite accurate. Thank you to those who recommended the brand.

    I have had a Nikon Prostaff 2-7x 32mm knocking around for a while, so I decided I'd use that. And there is a Game Reaper mount inbound, along with various ammo for me to test and see if the rifle has a preference.

    It's been a long time since I last shot a scoped rifle, never mind put a scope on a rifle. But I think most of my inaccuracy in the past was due to cheek weld, or a lack there of. I think I was also using a scope far beyond my needs or abilities (Leaupold MK IV 3.5-10 x 40mm), and I'm pretty sure I just didn't have it set far enough forward to get behind the rifle in a consistent manner. But I've done some reading and hopefully learned from my mistakes.

    Now as for barrel break-in, I'm pretty lost. There's so much conflicting information out there that I don't really know what to trust. I've read somewhere that the barrels on Tikka rifle are actually Sako barrels, and polished to a point where they don't need breaking in. But that's just something I read some place. Any input on what is really neccessary would be much appreciated.

    Although I understood much of the theory of rifle shooting and now how to zero the scope and use a ballistics calculator, I've just never been very good with a scope. I think I've also had a tendency in the past to rush my shooting, which has not worked out well for me. So let's imagine I've never shot a scoped rifle before. What tips would you give to a new shooter to help them become competent?
     
  2. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    In the past were you shooting offhand or rested? Many people struggle to shoot scoped rifles offhand because they see so much movement in the scope and they subconsciously try to fight it with body movement.

    As for scope mounting, put the scope loose in the rings and set up the rifle the way you will be shooting it on a table looking out the window. Close your eyes, shoulder the rifle, get your cheek on the stock with your eyes closed and find the most comfortable position. Open your eyes, and slide the scope back and forth till the eye relief is right. Make sure you have it far enough forward that the scope won't hit you in the face under recoil in an awkward position.

    I would not worry about barrel break in. Clean it before shooting and after the first shooting session. My tikka copper fouls after about 50 rounds with accuracy beginning to be affected at about 100. Best cleaner I have found for copper fouling is gunslick foaming bore cleaner.
     
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  3. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

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    NO barrels need any special breaking in procedures. ALL barrels shoot a little better after a few rounds have been down the tube. Some may only need 10-15 to reach optimum accuracy, others may need 100 or more. But the barrel can't count. Some people have these crazy routines where they recommend cleaning after every shot for X number of shots. Then clean after every 10 shots for a while etc. Clean it, shoot it, clean it again when it is dirty. You will likely get better accuracy after a couple of trips to the range than initially. But no special procedures are needed.

    You might want to consider replacing the recoil pad with a Limbsaver pad. Tikka's are very light, and 30-06 is right on the edge of recoil tolerance for most people. The Limbsaver pads REALLY work. Felt recoil is significantly reduced.

    Don't worry too much about a ballistics calculator for now. Zero the rifle at 100 yards and practice at 50 and 100 for now. When you get ready to move to 200 yards you'll only see about 2-3" of drop. Not enough to worry about. At 300 you'll see around 10". Just use an aiming point on the target near the top edge and you'll still be on paper to see how you did. Figuring out drops begins to be a factor beyond 300. Cross that bridge when you get there.

    To zero the scope 1st remove the bolt. Set the rifle up on the sandbags or rest with a target at 25 or 50 yards. I don't have any issues with 50, but some like to start at 25. Put the cross hairs on the bulls eye and without moving the rifle look through the bore. It will probably be pointing several inches away. If low and left, move the scope adjustments up and right. Keep repeating this until the scope is on the bullseye and the bullseye is centered in the bore.

    I then fire ONE shot and usually find it to be no more than 2" from the bull. If more than 2" I readjust the scope and fire a 2nd shot. I don't waste ammo getting a perfect 50 yard zero. I just want it close enough to ensure I'm on paper at 100 where shot #2 or #3 goes. It is only after getting very close to a perfect 100 yard zero that I start firing 3 shot groups and fine tune the zero if needed.
     
  4. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    You’ll want to make sure when it’s mounted that the scope is squared with the rifle so that you’re only adjusting one axis at a time (horizontal or vertical, not diagonal). Look carefully at the torque specs and don’t exceed them by too much lest you crush the scope tube. If you don’t have access to a proper wrench for settings then get to a store that will mount the scope for you, many offer this service free of charge.

    Placement should be as low as possible while still allowing you to cycle the bolt without smacking the scope or touching the barrel, and if you’re used to shooting iron sights then you should understand cheek weld. Same with a scope but often requiring some sort of riser to get you there. I often use Cheek Eez pads, available in various thicknesses to 1/4”. They also keep your face from freezing against a cold plastic stock.

    +1 for cleaning before you shoot to remove factory preservatives and for getting a cursory glance at the bore. Give the lugs a little grease then sight in the scope. Run a patch down and start concentrating on groups. You won’t want to fatigue yourself but you’ll either see things tighten up or spread out. From there you must decide whether the cause is buildup, fatigue, or excitement for your new purchase. I clean after every range trip and sometimes certain rifles are cleaned once or twice between different groups or ammo.
     
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  5. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    I bought that EXACT same rifle about 2 years ago. Great rifle. It should serve you well for as long as you live.
    I would only give it a cleaning then go shoot. Don't worry about "break in." Shooting it is breaking it in.
    Here are the things I do to all my Tikka rifles (I've owned 4 now).
    1) Clean the barrel
    2) Remove the stock and use a dremel tool to remove that little plastic tab that "just" contacts the barrel about midway down the forend. All my T3's have had it and it's easy to remove. Then the barrel is completely free-floated.
    3) Paint the stock with a textured paint for appearance and grip
    4) On my '06, I replaced the factory recoil "puck" with a Limbsaver pad. You WILL want to do this on an '06 Tikka T3x
    5) Work up loads
    6) Try to stop smiling and sending pictures of my groups to my friends who don't own Tikka rifles. :D
    Enjoy!
     
  6. WrongHanded

    WrongHanded Member

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    I shot prone or from sitting. When prone I started with a bipod, but ended up using sandbags. Sitting, I used a GI style synthetic sling. I didn't do much benchrest because it was not readily available. And I never got consistent enough to really try offhand, except with ironsights.
     
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  7. eastbank

    eastbank Member

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    I have two 223 tikkas, a SS and a blue one. both are sub MOA with my reloads. one of the smoothest actions ever made.
     

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  8. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    You’d do well to practice a fair amount offhand. Get your hold/hand placement, breathing, sight picture, trigger squeeze, and follow through down pat so you trust both your and the rifle’s accuracy, then make a conscious effort to fire half of your practice rounds from different positions. This is where a .22 trainer comes in handy for teaching technique while sparing you excess noise, recoil, and ammo expense.

    I lean on posts, anchor a leg against the shooting bench, shoot sitting off my knees; whatever field positions that best reflect my hunting experiences. A sling can help with some positions but more often than not I don’t have time to deploy it as more than an arm positioner and rarely do I feel the need to.
     
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  9. M118LR

    M118LR Member

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    I've got to disagree, all new barrels need some careful break in to achieve maximum accuracy for thier lifetime. It starts before you send the first round downrange. Prior to taking your new rifle to the range, clean it IAW the Old USMC M40 Manual. You will be amazed at what factories leave behind after cutting your new barrel! For the first 10 rounds stop and thoroughly clean your rifle after each round. It's your rifle, you will be the one that uses it for a lifetime.

    About that scope mounting, I'm going to assume that you have read enough to ensure the mounts,rings,and scope end up level. But what are you going to do to ensure that you have the scope at proper eye relief? Usually I mount the rifle on my shoulder and mark with blue painters tape where my cheek weld is. Then you need to know what the eye relief of your particular scope is. Mark that distance from the end of your closed action with another piece of blue painters tape. Hopefully the eye relief of the scope you have chosen allows your bolt handle unencumbered range. When you mount the scope it should end up between the two pieces of blue painters tape. When using a variable magnification scope you must remember that eye relief varies with the magnification power selected. Just some Old School info that may be of use. JMHO.
     
  10. CarJunkieLS1

    CarJunkieLS1 Member

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    OP I bought a Tikka T3 Lite several years back. It's a fantastic rifle and the accuracy will amaze you...I had the same question you did about barrel break in and the person I talked to at Beretta (importer for Tikka) said to not let the barrel get extremely hot and to just shoot it. He went on to say that the barrels are very high quality and are hand lapped before the leave the factory. So in short keep it cool and shoot it.
     
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  11. M118LR

    M118LR Member

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    Did you ask importer what method they had derived to hand lap the grooves? Or did they just hand lap the lands? Just asking. ? Perhaps the lugs?

    https://www.midwayusa.com/Product/6...military-manual-by-united-states-marine-corps

    https://www.scribd.com/document/156432877/M40A1-TM-pdf

    I can assure you that the methods included within the simple M40A1 Manual are of Professional Quality.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018 at 7:31 PM
  12. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Howa has a barrel break in procedure. I think it's one shot and clean for 10 rounds then 2 shots and clean for another 10. I use a patch with solvent then several more dry patches to get the grim out. There's a lot of ugly stuff that comes out of a new barrel. I don't think I would want that in my barrel for 100 rounds or even 10.

    Howa has been building barrels for a long time. They build barrels for Weatherby rifles also. The break in is the same for both.

    I'm not going to say that I know if a barrel needs to be broke in or not but generally I'm going to follow the mfg's recommendations.

    It takes a few hundred rounds to get a barrel truly broken in. I've seen that with 2 Howa rifles. I've also seen a Ruger barrel that never benefited from a break in. It was beyond hope new and beyond hope after a careful break in. I guess you have to have a good barrel to begin with.:(
     
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  13. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    How long does it take to follow a break in procedure? You've just spent $800 on a new rifle. It takes about an hour to do the break in. Shoot the rifle once and clean the bore. When you see the crap on that patch I'll guarantee you will want to do a break in. That garbage isn't coming from the FMJ bullet, it's coming from your bore.

    But it's your rifle.
     
  14. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    Tikkas are cold forged barrels so they are drilled and honed to a mirror finish and then the blank is hydralicly pressed into a carbide mandrel to form the rifling. If you eel like you want to follow someone’s break in procedure then do whatever puts your mind at ease.

    I will also note that tikkas come with a set of rings of the appropriate height for most people and they are a 60 degree bolt throw so clearance is not much of an issue.
     
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  15. rust collector

    rust collector Member

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    Everyone has an opinion, but I was always impressed with Gale McMillan's: http://www.6mmbr.com/gailmcmbreakin.html

    The TL;DR version: if the barrel is made properly, it shoots well from the very beginning.
     
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  16. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    After cleaning my new Tikka T3x '06 and shooting it a few dozen times (without letting it get too hot) it was already shooting better than I can hold. I literally cannot hold - even on bags - less than 1/2 MOA. If you do the math and factor in my hold, that 1 MOA is actually about 1/2 MOA from the rifle itself. I see no need for a prolonged complicated break-in process at that point.
     
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  17. CarJunkieLS1

    CarJunkieLS1 Member

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    The above post gets it...a barrel break in is basically to clean, polish, deburr etc all the tool marks and residue out of your barrel when it was made. A high quality barrel made to quality standards on quality machinery and then hand lapped does the same thing as a barrel break in.

    Now do some barrels seem to shoot better as rounds get sent down range...absolutely and thats because the fouling "fills the gaps" and that will increase accuracy.

    Besides anybody can dispute this but it's 100% true MANY MANY barrels are ruined from improper cleaning methods far more often than others being "ruined" by not breaking them in, whatever breaking them in means.
     
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  18. hdbiker

    hdbiker Member

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    I bought a Tikka T3 light in .243 Win about 10 years ago. Slick action and super accurate. I do wish now I'd have payed the extra 100 bucks and got the wood stock, I'm old school HAHAHA. hdbiker
     
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  19. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    I could be wrong but my understanding is Tikka quit supplying rings when they came out with the T3x. Tikka OEM rings are an abomination to me anyway.
     
  20. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    I think many a respondent has never looked through a borescope. Having a routine to follow is fine. Following a routine based on your personal findings for a specific barrel is better. Following a routine of nonsensical voodoo is akin to relying on magic.

    Leftover gunk from manufacturing? Clean it out before you shoot the first time. Worried about the amount of crap your barrel sweats out over a 3 day period after cleaning? It’s less than the amount deposited by a single firing. Worried about ruining the barrel with improper cleaning? Do some research and find techniques that prevent damage.

    Try taking a scientific approach so that your routine has purpose like leveling conditions when testing ammo or determining when accuracy increases or decreases. A manufacturer including random advice in a manual does not make it gospel, just skip to the page about never firing anything but factory ammo if you doubt me.
     
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  21. Newtosavage

    Newtosavage Member

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    I wasn't impressed with them at first either, until I bought a set of Talley rings that set me back $59 and used them for a while. Those Talley rings were nice, and light, but they were a bit too tall for me so I went back to the factory rings. I did add a stop pin in the rear ring screw hole. But those factory rings have never failed me. Not even once. My rifle shoots groups that are as small as I'm able to hold (3/4 MOA out to 300 yards routinely). The rings are nice and low, and light. Not sure what else a person needs really.
     
  22. cdb1

    cdb1 Member

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    The failure rate I’ve seen on them is quite high compared to Talley, Warne, etc. The aluminum screws like to strip. I’ve never had them strip when I installed them and I’ve installed a bunch. But they would strip with use. They are especially bad if you don’t have a torque wrench, which I do. Less room for error, over torque them just a little and they can strip. The screws in other brands of rings are more forgiving when overtorqued IME.

    Of course it’s a moot point if you buy a 30mm tube scope.
     
  23. BigBore44

    BigBore44 Member

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    The key to shooting lights out is your breathing and trigger control. Deep breath, exhale slowly. Deep breath, as you start to exhale, start squeezing the trigger slowly until half that breath has been let out, and finish squeezing. Then you can verify your success and smile.
     
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  24. Steve S.

    Steve S. Member

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    .....and don’t forget to relax and have fun. I see lots of range shooters that get frustrated, fatigued and in a hurry - shots are fired too fast and forced to the target which never aides consistency. Shooting should not progress as a task or as work - it should be experienced as concentration with a relaxed body/ mind. You would be surprised how groups open when the shooter is tense. Have fun with your new shooter.
     
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  25. 8ring

    8ring Member

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    If I remember correctly, Tikka barrels are cold hammer forged so there shouldn't be any "cutting" involved. If the barrels are also lapped at the factory, minimal break in should be needed.
     
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