Will I ever shoot any of my other BA rifles ever again?
I've owned my Tikka I bought new for a very good price of IIRC $565-$575 TMD
W/S&H + FFL/XFR (for a stainless steel syn/stock) for about 6-7 months now and spent that time as most reloaders would developing as accurate a load as I could find. I had decided to develop a reload that would be a do-it-all from whitetails to elk using a 180 grain bullet.
I was hoping for any MV at or over 3000fps. As it turns out my Tikka loves every 180 grain bullet I have fed it this far, including Hornady flat based & BT Interlocks, Nosler AB's, BT's and Sierra BTGK's.
I tried the fallowing powders in order of use:
All gave good to very good accuracy but nothing fantastic, and one day I was going through my powder stores and came across several jugs of IMR-4831 and figured WTH might as well try it.
First reloading I tried was 65.5 grains and it was straight out of the Nosler manual that was listed as most accurate with 180 grain bullets. It gave me VERY good results better than any other powder to date and showed promise.
I then made more reloads in 1 grain increments and ended up at 65.8 grains as that produced not just the best accuracy but superb accuracy and a 10 shot average muzzle velocity of 3068fps. Other loadings of IMR4831 gave me higher MV's and in the case of RL-17 a MV over 3100fps, but for me as with all most all reloaders, accuracy always beats velocity.
Fortunately/unfortunately I normally work 70 hours a week with spotty overtime, so I don't get to go shooting as much as I would like. Sure enough firearm deer season crept up on me and left me only with proven reloads not using what I had wished to be my do it all bullet the 180 grain Nosler AB, but instead the 180 grain Sierra Game King which shot as well as any bullet I tried.
Went to the range today to do a final zero check and my beloved Tikka did not disappoint me. Three shots at 100 yards exactly 2.5″ high dead center about the size of a penny.
Now here's the thing. My friend is presently in Utah elk hunting and barrowed my spotting scope an excellent long discontinued Bausch & Lomb 20-60x77mm, so I really couldn't see my group all that well. It was windy than I like out with 10-15mph winds gusting over 20mph. As I only had about 90 minuets of good shooting light left in the day, I hurriedly set up my rest and rear bags, adjusted my rifle in them and although not sloppy, I did rattle off three rather quick shots. All I was hoping for was a confirmation that I was still reasonably close to my already established zero.
I was nothing short of utterly elated at my results. So far this Tikka has given me superlative accuracy with IMR4831 and very good accuracy with several different powders, bullets and even one Federal factory load that gave me consistent 1.125″ 100 yard accuracy.
In short this is the most accurate rifle I have ever owned, shot or even seen and I still can not believe this rifle cost so little. With this level of performance all of my other rifles have been relegated to the role of back up or dust collector.
I strongly suspect more new Tikka rifles are going to find a home in my gun safe as I just love laminated stainless rifles.
I never cease to be amazed how such an affordable rifle shoots so well.
The reload I settled on is:
180 grain Nosler BT's, AB's or Sierra BTGK all shoot sub-moa
65.8 grains IMR-4831
Federal 215M magnum rifle primer.
Winchester or Hornady brass
Neck sized only using Lee Collet die
Trimmed using Lee Deluxe Quick Trim
Primed using Hornady LnL hand priming tool
Bullet seater used is a Forster BR seater
Primer pocket uniformed using K&M tool
Flash pocket de-burred using Lyman universal tool
Case mouth chamfered using Lyman 22* VLD tool
Case mouth and neck polished using 0000 steel wool
Loaded round COL of 2.266″ longest that will reliably cycle in my rifle but I am going to convert to a long action after deer season.
Simply stated IMHO you simply can not buy a better rifle than a Tikka for even 2x the price.
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