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Current setup of Anthony Haines:
- Gun: Tikka T3 Superlite (synthetic stock, stainless fluted barrel) in 7mm Rem Mag. Limb Saver recoil pad. Caldwell XLA Pivot Bipod 6"-9".
- Scope: Vortex Viper HST 6-24x50 VMR-1 MOA.
- Rings: Talley Light Weight Ring and Base Combination, High, 30mm, mounted and lapped by me.
- Preferred Factory Ammo: Hornady Superformance 7mm Rem Mag 162gr SST.
As far as the rifle itself goes, it definitely lives up to its name, weighing a whole 6lbs. 6oz. The entire setup weighs in at right around 8lbs, so it has been a delight to shoulder when I am hunting. The action is very smooth and I have not had any issues with the polymer bolt shroud, magazine, or trigger guard that I have read about some people having. I have made sure that the barrel is fully free floating and it is centered in the stock with no spots touching between the barrel and the stock. Regarding fit and finish, my gun came pretty much flawless from the factory and I haven't had any glaring issues with accuracy that weren't my own fault. Tikkas come with a 1 MOA guarantee right out of the box and this has proven to be true when I am doing my part and not flinching like a baby (my shoulder always pays at the end of a range day). The pictures I included are all at 100 yards and they are some of the better groups I've shot (the one with my thumb beside it is actually a 3 shot group and the best I've shot in my life with any gun. I haven't even come close since). I have run Remington Corelokt, Federal Powershok, Hornady Superformance, and Nosler Trophy ammunition through it and I can usually average around 1 1/2 MOA with the lower price stuff and 1 MOA with the mid to higher end (The groups on the black targets are Hornady, the orange is Nosler). I have the trigger set to the lowest weight possible, which on mine is 2.2lbs and it breaks clean every time with no accidental discharges.
The Viper HS-T has also served me quite well, with no issues to mention so far. The glass is very clear at low power and does lose a bit of brightness at max power, but I am still able to decipher everything I'm looking at, from long range targets to game animals. The scope tracks well and has not lost its zero on me, even after a fall onto pavement (thankfully I had a scope coat on it). One issue I did run into with my particular scope and gun combo is that I had it mounted with medium height Warne Permanent attach rings and when I would try to eject a spent case, it would hit the wind turret and fall back into the chamber. Because of this, I switched to high Talley rings and though the scope now sits a bit high for my own liking, it fixed the ejection issue, which is more important to me as a hunter. Hopefully, me finding out the hard way can keep you from doing the same. I would always recommend seeing how your gun ejects an empty shell or a dummy round before doing the final scope mount. Both brands of rings do come in Tikka T3 specific fitments and there are also one piece rails available if you prefer that style. I have not had a negative experience with the quality either brand of ring. Both held up really strong on my gun, though I have found that the top half of Talley rings can sometimes be a little tight on the tube, so it is something to watch for when getting a scope mounted.
To date, I have managed to shoot and hit steel out to 670 yards and would like to see how my gun will perform at the milestone that is 1000 yards. If anyone has their own experience with their T3 at 1000, please do share. Pictures are always appreciated too. Unfortunately for me, I cannot yet attest to the effectiveness of my setup on a game animal, as all my hunts last season turned into hikes. Spring bear is just around the corner though, so I will do my best to have an update on that topic. Happy shooting!
GR Gear Specialist