I would pick, that if you live in NZ, you already know about the Tikka T3X. I would say it is a safe bet that its predecessor, the T3 it is one of, if not the, most popular hunting rifles in New Zealand.
So, when something as popular as the T3 Lite gets an update, it is worth checking out. The price has gone up, are the changes worth it?
Improvements to the Tikka T3X
For the Lite model, again, the one the majority of us end up going for, there have been some significant alterations. I don’t think I need to copy over the list of changes to the rifle – pop over here and read it on Tikka’s page. Instead, a few comments to go along with the video above.
This one if for the Target Shooters – of at least, the guys now used to a pistol grip through using a pistol or an AR style platform.
Since starting to shoot a pistol, every time I go back to the traditional grip on my X-Bolt, I can’t help but think that my finger position is less than optimal on the trigger. It feels like my finger goes down over the trigger and ends up pulling it backwards but also upwards. Everyone will accept that the best way for a trigger to go is straight back, so to me having my grip twisted less, the finger can travel directly back to the trigger stop. Again, for me, it just feels more natural and optimal.
So, the ability to choose between the two is great. The question, for some of us, is whether it now decreases the desire to put the rifle into a chassis system – often the first step for guys wanting to accurize a target/field/practical shooting rifle. Maybe, maybe not. There is apparently a forthcoming ‘adjustable’ version – so maybe so.
The front, flatter foregrip… maybe? I don’t know if the T3X Lite would be the first choice for a bag resting target rifle anyhow?
New Recoil Pad
Well, never going to complain about better recoil mitigation – I guess we will have to wait until we start hearing back from the guys who decide to use a lightweight T3X 7mm Rem Mag as a hunting rifle. Though I expect everyone will benefit from it.
Stock Noise Reduction
To me, this is the big one. Probably the biggest complaint I have ever heard about the T3 (apart from one guy complaining he had nothing to complain about) was the noise of the ‘hollow’ stock. For a hunting rifle, having a stock that makes ‘tok tok’ sounds every time it brushes against something is a pain. Enough that many guys put a stock pad on it to dampen it down. This new one is a LOT quieter than the model it replaces – so think this alone is going make people happy.
Improved Grip, Redesigned Ejection Port, Improved Rail Attachment, Metallic Bolt Shroud, Steel Recoil Lug, all good upgrades, all worthwhile. They may be a personal pet peeve of yours or they may not be. Regardless, nothing to detract from the new upgrades here.
The overall result?
The Tikka T3 platform has been getting a lot of excellent traction internationally in the last couple of years – even the Americans – often the Remmington 700 Action stalwarts, have started using the Tikka Action as a base for precision and long range rifles. They just work! So it could have been considered a risky move by Tikka in changing something that was working so well.
However, the changes all look good. It seems like they have been listening to their customers and made changes requested. Is it worth the extra (roughly) $100? I think so.
Many thanks to Christian and the guys at Beretta NZ for letting us have a look at the T3X.