“The Best Rifle I Have Ever Shot” – By Joseph Klan

     "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.


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  1. Joseph

    I am a Tikka and Sako shooter and lover. My darghters both have 07-08 Rems T3 lites, ones a lefty. My Son (17yr.) shoots Sako 75 hunter in 260 Rem.

    I have several sakos and a new T3 lite in 300 win mag. and have put one of the new Mountian Tactical Walnut stocks on it and It is beautiful.

    You asked about 7mm. I would get another T3 Lite in 7mm Rem Mag. The 7mm bullets are out standing for long shots. Look at Nosler AccuBond Long rang with very high BC's. Nosler makes seven different bullets in four calibers. 1 in 6.5mm, 1 in 270, 3 in 7mm and 2 in 30 cal. The 175 grain 7mm has a BC of .672 that is outstanding,

    I wish you luck and Happy Holidays

    And Thank You For Your Service

  2. Thanks a lot for a really good hands on report on the T3. For me, it is particularly interesting as I have just purchased an identical rifle but havent had a chance to try it yet. My son, on the other hand has had a T3 lite in .308 for some time and is extremely happy with it. It is a joy to shoot and delivers very tight groups.


  3. Hi there i liked the T 3 that much i bought three of them in .243 light .308 varmint  and 300 win mag stainless varmint. for the money you cant buy a better rifle, pictures of myTtikka family to come soon

  4. I have two tikkas. I have found them very accurate with one requirement. You must shoot from a cool barrel to group well. 

    Take a shot, wait 5 min and shoot again. Adjust your scope to match. 

    Great rifles. 

  5. Good evening,
    After many years of rifle shooting and having had many rifles, some good and a few not so good I have decided at 68 years of age to just have one rifle.Most of my shooting over here uk is Fallow deer from high seat or woodland stalking and a long shot would be 200 yds most 50 to 100 yds.I have decided on 308, I would have liked rem. 7.08 but the importer here wants six months for delivery as a special order at my age could be dead before it arrives.
    Over here now I can get a 20 inch sporter barrelled stainless steel laminated stock in 308.I wondered if you could give me an idea of how good the accuracy can be with the tikka in this configuration and without emptying the bank a good quality scope around £500 (about $750) from your experience pleas?
    Regards Jeff

  6. Looks like you are doing very well with that '06!  Nothing wrong at all with the old '06 for anything in North America.  Hard to believe a 110 year old cartridge is still such a great performer in the field, but it is very, very hard to beat.  Don't let anyone ever tell you that you don't have enough gun for elk, moose or even big bears with that round.  If you are confident and know where that rifle shoots, it carries plenty of steam and enough bullet to do the job very effectively.  My grandad swore by the '06 and hunted all over North America from the 1920's through the 1980's with it and he never felt under gunned.  "Beware of the man with only one rifle" was most likely coined by someone commenting on a guy with an '06.


    I just got a Tikka Superlite from Sportsman's last month in 7mm Remington Mag.  I have had a number of 7RM's in the past and have had very good success with accuracy as well as down range performance.  I changed out the recoil pad to a limbsaver, mounted a leupold 4.5×14 on top.  Weighted about 2 pounds less than my old Remington.  I adjusted the trigger down to around 2 pounds and took it out to the range.  Took 3 shots to get it centered at 25 yards and then shot at 100.  My first 3 shots were under .75" with my 154 grain load and my second 3 shots were under .5" with my 162 grain load.  AWESOME!  And I didn't even need to get an aftermarket trigger or stock or bedding job to get it to shoot like that.  I am impressed.

  7. Great story and great shooting. I just purchased a T3 in 270 Win and hope to have a lot of great hunts. Thanks for the encouragement. And hope you have many more great hunts.

  8. I have a T3 Hunter in 270 Win. I use Hornady ELD-X 145 gr and in the last two years have dropped a 4,5,8 point and a doe (white tails). This rifle is possibly the most accurate I have ever owned. Plan on using it on elk in the next year. The best rifle for the money and I am not sure it could be topped for twice the price.