Free Floating a T3 Lite Test
Hi guys- How's this for my first post ;D
I just purchased my first Tikka which happens to be a .223 and first impressions were that I need to get the barrel free floated.
Let me back up a bit and say I did a lot of research, and although I did find some posts were people talked about removing the pressure point tabs, there really wasn't any stories with fully free floating the entire barrel.
So, I figured why not me; although it may just ended up proving my theory wrong 😉
I thought I would post this information hoping that the results will be promising and informational to help other new and long time Tikka owners decide if they too want to perform this modification. Also keep in mind that the T3 Lite configuration is perfect for my application, so I don't really want to upgrade the stock if I don't have to.
I went to the range last night to do some initial load development. The results were not surprising. I used various loads and bullets, and I found a couple of patterns arise.
Shooting 3 shot groups, I had two incredible groups for such a light barreled rifle that were around .3's. Both groups were shot with two different style bullets and with a STONE COLD BARREL. All the other groups I shot last night were very consistent between 1MOA and .75 MOA type of groups. I didn't have any bad fliers, as all the groups were typical triangle shaped.
Now, don't get me wrong the rifle shot decent and I realize what I am working with. Heck, many guys would be happy with 1 – .75 MOA groups from a factory light barreled rifle, but I don't happen to fall into that category.
So, my theory is and always has been (you can't change my thinking so don't even try ;D ), that pressure on the barrel is the enemy. I know Tikka is not the only factory rifle with models designed with pressure points, so this is not a shot a Tikka. In fact, I think I'm falling in love with this little gem. However, I personally call BS on “the engineers know what they are doing, so leave it” theory 😉 Try asking custom gun makers who also shoots competitively to build you a rifle (heavy or light barreled) but do not free float the barrel. I am sure they would, but you would have to sign some sort of waiver. ;D
So, after shooting all my test loads, I went home and started taking out the pressure points in the barrel channel. NOTE: I am assuming the same for all Tikka T3 Lite's, But My particular rifle needed material removed all the way from the obvious “Tabs” on the ribs to the front of the receiver. The barrel is now fully free floating.
This may or may not improve the groups, but I am convinced it can't hurt…..I am willing to eat crow if I'm wrong.
Tonight and this weekend I will test some more and post the results……Stay tuned.
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