"The Best Rifle I Have Ever Shot"
By Joseph Klan
My name is Joseph Klan and I own a Tikka T3 lite chambered in 30-06. I purchased this rifle two years ago for deer hunting in New York State. Not too many long range shots and thick brush does not warrant long barrels. I was at a local gun store and was checking every rifle that I could. All of the fancy high end rifles (with high end prices) didn't impress me. Loose actions, and bolts that felt like someone dumped sand in the breach. Then I checked a Sako and it felt wonderful. Weight and balance and the action was butter smooth. The trigger was perfect and precise.
Then I saw the price and thought well in comparison to the other big name custom shop crap I thought if I could afford it I would buy that one. My friend behind the counter said try a Tikka, it’s a poor mans Sako. I said no way it’s as good. Well it felt exactly the same and I fell in love with it.
Would you believe I had that salesman and a few others tell me that the barrel is to short or its nice but too lite and flimsy? Or why don't you get a model 700 like everyone else. Oh, you mean the one with the action that fires whenever it wants to? Or the one that weighs 3 more pounds and requires force to push the bolt forward? No way!!!
I purchased it and mounted a plain Jane Nikon BDC 12 power scope. I shoot Barnes vortex 180 grain bullets (150 for whitetail). Since my purchase I have laid to rest and devoured 1 Arkansas whitetail at 109 yards, and it drove it into the ground, and two Wyoming elk. Last year just after my friend/guide was done breaking my stones about the size and caliber of my rifle I shot a 6×6 elk at 265 yards quartered away in a 20 knot cross wind and it hunched up like a cat and flipped forward. It was dead before it hit the ground. Needless to say my friend said how impressed he was with the rifle after that and I haven't heard him say a bad thing about it since.
This year I was out in Wyoming again but had a cow tag and went out with another friend looking. We found two calves a CIA and a spike standing 496 yards away slightly downhill from us. I was on one ridge shooting across a ravine to another hill. My friend asked “how are you at 500 yard shots?" my answer was “I'll tell you in a minute”.
I threw my backpack on the ground and utilized that old Marine Corps training (I served twice, once in desert storm in 91 and again in Iraq in 2003), breath control, sight alignment, sight picture, and shot. Now the cow was quartered towards me so my aim point was right on the shoulder and I sent a round down range and it hit low about three inches behind and about 4 inches low of my aim point. The elk hunched up and took two steps and stopped so I knew it was hurting. Trusting my set up and ability I sent another round down range, no hit? Another and again no hit? Now I'm upset because I don't like to miss and I don't want the animal to suffer. So I stop and reset and find that I was aiming high through my 400 yard ring. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!! So I told my buddy hang on, I screwed up, I got this now. He said OK but aim a little high just in case. (Never take advice from someone who doesn't know your ability or rifle). Well now that I have the correct aim point and some rejuvenated self-confidence, I settled in for the shot, exhaled and squeezed. I aimed for the top of her shoulder fired and what seemed like three seconds later it hit EXACTLY where I was aiming.
She fell over like a manikin in a wind storm. Now I'm curious to find your opinion on a Tikka long range caliber that I can reach out even further. Like a 7mm or something flat shooting in that realm. Although I love my Barnes Vortex, I am open to your input on ammo as well. I will stand on a soap box and preach to anyone and everyone about my little 30-06 Tikka T3 lite.