As I get older, I want lighter weapons for trips into the wild, which includes mountainous and harsh places on earth where just getting there is half the battle.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an expert mountain climber or sheep herder, but I will argue that the Adirondacks and Catskills of New York state have some very tough places where a change in the weather can put your life in danger.
Even though I have a lot of great memories with the rifles I own, I didn’t know that the Tikka T3x Lite was my favorite until recently.
I’ve never liked so-called “ultralight” guns because, despite their low weight, I’ve found that they’re not well-balanced in other ways. For how small and light it is, the Tikka T3x has everything I want in a backcountry rifle.
The Finnish Tikkakoski Factory
The Finnish Tikkakoski factory has been making parts for guns for more than a hundred years, but the company didn’t make its own gun until 1981. The rifles made by Tikka Guns, which are now made by Sako, are known for their accuracy, just like the rifles made by Sako.
About 15 years ago, a friend asked me to help him make a handload for his Tikka rifle. It was the first time I had ever heard of the brand. 25-06 rifle with a chamber for a custom bullet that isn’t sold commercially.
Soon enough, we had copies of that gun made. The rifle had groups of 5 minutes of angle, and I liked everything else about it as well.
Importance Of Tikka T3x Lite
The Tikka T3x Lite is a great mix of portability, accuracy, and reliability. The polymer magazine can be taken off of the synthetic stock, and the design is a push-feed bolt-action. The synthetic stock is very comfortable to hold.
The T3x Lite’s receiver has an oblong ejection port and a number of screw holes that can be used to mount the gun in different ways. The two-position safety on the T3x moves forward and backward, with “fire” in the forward position.
The bolt release on a rifle that is used with the right hand is on the left side of the receiver. Under the back end of the metal bolt shroud, there is a small red “cocking” sign.
This bolt has a hollow bolt handle, an extractor on the edge of the bolt that is held in place by a spring, and two 180-degree locking lugs. The trigger is very smooth, with almost no creep and almost no overtravel.
The T3x Lite’s stock is well made. Foam padding on the back reduces the famous “knock” that synthetic stocks make when hit. Even though I like the feel of warm, figured walnut, I know that polymer stocks can be useful in less than ideal conditions or when trying to keep the weight down.
But I don’t like how many polymer stocks feel in my hand. They are either too slippery or have sharp edges where they don’t need to be, and both of these things bother me.
The pistol grip and forend of the T3x Lite have an asymmetrical grip pattern (I hesitate to call it “checkering”) that makes it easy to hold the rifle securely but comfortably.
The stock insert that came with my rifle has a nice curve to it that makes it easy to hold in both the bench and field positions. If you want to try out different grip angles, you can buy other stock inserts separately.
A soft, one-inch recoil pad reduces the force of recoil and keeps the rifle balanced on the shoulder, even when it’s raining.
The single-stack magazine is made of light polymer and can hold three or four bullets, depending on the cartridge. It is easy to carry and load.
I thought the 7mm-08 Remington would be a good choice for this light rifle because it can kill medium-sized animals like deer and antelope but is still easy to use with a light rifle.
The case size of the 7mm-08 works well with a 22-inch barrel. I put my Talley Lightweight rings on my Bushnell 4500 Elite 2.5-10×40 scope and went to the range.
The gun worked well even before it was taken out of the box.
Tikka has a guarantee of 1 minute of angle (MOA), and I had a few factory loads that would either hit that mark or be a little wider. When I started getting the occasional flyer, a friend gave me a simple idea for getting rid of them.
I ordered an aluminum trigger guard/bottom metal from High Desert Rifle Works because I like to try new things. When I switched out the weak OEM polymer guard for a more solid High Desert one, my rifle got a lot better.
The rifle prefers the Federal load with the 140-grain Nosler AccuBond bullet, which reduces the group size from 1 to 114 inches to 5/8 inches.
This is more than a big-game hunter really needs, but it definitely boosts confidence when it’s time to take the shot. No matter how fast the gun shot, it was easy to load and remove the bullets.
The Tikka T3x Lite, which costs about $680 and weighs less than 612 pounds, is a great buy.
It comes in tried-and-true calibers for both small and large game, has a user-adjustable trigger, a neatly bedded action, and shoots accurately at long range.
The Tikka T3x Lite is a great gun for people who love the outdoors but are on a tight budget.
• Action: bolt-action repeater, push feed
• Calibers: .204 Ruger, .222 Remington, .223 Remington, .22-250 Remington, .243 Winchester, .25-06 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Remington, 6.5×55 Swede, .270 Winchester, .270 WSM, 7mm-08 Remington (tested), 7mm Remington Magnum, .308 Winchester, .30-06 Springfield, .300 Winchester Magnum, .300 WSM
• Weight: < 6.5 lbs. unscoped
• Stock: black polymer
• Barrel: 20″-24″, depending on chambering; blued steel
• LOP: 14”
• Magazine Capacity: 3 (in 7mm-08 Rem.)