Sniper’s Hide continues to update the Tikka T3x rifle. We swapped stocks for the Cadex Defence Chassis with Competition handguard. We also changed the bolt handle to a Sterk AI style handle, and Sterk Bolt Shroud. Check out the accuracy we are getting out of the Tikka T3x.
Sniper’s Hide Project Tikka T3x
This is the second part of our Tikka T3x upgrade project and I have to say, it is moving along nicely. I did continued to shoot the rifle as is for a bit in order to get a feel for the use and accuracy. Out of the box, this is a very accurate rifle. Using factory Prime 260REM it is easily holding 1/2MOA accuracy out to distance. Even with the 20″ barrel. If you want to see more of the original rifle check out the Insite Arms Heathen Muzzle brake video.
Swapping the stock on the Tikka is very straight forward. It comes with the plastic stock from the factory and I surprised when I remove it, it was all plastic. No metal support underneath at all. Still accuracy was golden. Sitting here waiting was the Cadex Defence Field Strike Chassis with Competition handguard. The Cadex has the Tikka recoil lug built into the chassis as the original one is removable. Another great things about the Cadex Chassis, beside having one available for the Tikka T3x, is the ability to start smaller and work your way up. Originally the Field Strike chassis shipped with a Magpul PRS Stock on it. But we upgraded the kit to a Cadex Skeleton Stock and Competition Handguard. You can check those out below or on the Cadex Site.
Because this is a modular chassis changing out the core components is very easy. In fact you can start off with your own AR style stock and add it to a Field Core Kit saving you some money. It was a piece of cake replacing the Magpul Stock with a Cadex Skeletonize Stock. They have a threaded mount that screws in the same as buffer tube would, and then an adapter to hold the stock in place. One screw, very simple. It also looks good as the adapter helps blend it into the core of the chassis.
The next issue was changing the handguard. As you can see in the images above, the shorter handguard supplied with the Field Strike Kit is attached to the supplied 20MOA Rail. The Tikka T3x comes with a Pic Rail and as member of the Sniper’s Hide community put it, good luck removing the rail. Well, they beat me to the point. I went to remove it, put my torx in the first screw and immediately thought better of it. It was on tight and there was no way I wanted strip it out trying to switch them. The Competition Handguard differs slightly from the standard handguard in several ways. First of, on top the holes are not there. They keep the top solid to act as a mirage band. Second the competition chassis does not connect to the rail. It allows you to use your own rail. In the case of the Tikka this was a blessing because, man, those rail screws.
Here are the details on the competition series chassis from Cadex.
Again, super easy upgrade. I filmed much of the work, but it was so simple to drop in the barreled action, it wasn’t worth putting it in the video.
Tikka T3x Bolt Modifications
We also modified the original bolt with parts from Sterk Shooting out of Australia. They contacted me early in this process and sent me their AI Style Bolt handle as well as a bolt Shroud. With this, Sterk also sent over a bolt takedown tool. A plastic tool that assists in removing the assembly. The Tikka is modular, which I already said, but is worth repeating. So changing the bolt handle out to something more ergonomic for you is simple. Do a google search for aftermarket TIkka parts and you’ll have plenty of options to choose from or contact Sterk Shooting on Facebook.
This upgrade gives me a similar feel to my Accuracy International Rifles.
We had zero issue swapping out both the bolt handle and bolt shroud.
With the T3x, they apparently switched to a metal shroud, my understanding is, some of the other Tikka models have a plastic one. I am not 100% familiar with the brand, but it’s something to consider. Right now Euro Optics has pretty much every Tikka in the United States available. There is some outrageous number like 3500 in stock and ready to ship. I picked up my T3x from Jason at Euro Optics and it was here in less than a week. It’s worth noting that since receiving my 260REM version, Tikka has also made available a 6.5 Creedmoor version of the rifle. Euro Optics has those too.
Accuracy Above all Else
Out of the box this rifle is a hammer. I am using factory Prime 260REM Ammo, with the 130gr Norma bullet. As you can see it’s awesome in this rifle. The next thing to upgrade is the barrel. I have a Hardy CF barrel on the way, but honestly, it’s definitely the last thing you need to do. I can see people swapping out the barrel a bit sooner because it comes with a 20″ one and PRS guys might want more speed. But it’s so damn accurate out of the box, there is really no reason too in the beginning. Get at least 3000 rounds out of it before tossing it to the side. It’s that good. Still we will remove it and see how that goes in the next installment.
The big question I am getting asked a lot now that people are seeing me do this on Sniper’s Hide is,
Which should I buy, the Ruger Precision Rifle or the Tikka T3x.
That is a very hard question because so many claim the Ruger is hard to find. Out of the box the Ruger is gonna get you up and running quicker. With the Tikka you have to toss the stock right away. With the Ruger, I would recommend replacing the handguard first and keeping the stock as is. Caliber wise it is a wash, although the Tikka has more options in that department. One downside, which a chassis will fix is, the magazines. Tikka Mags are expensive and not optimal to use outside of their stock. In the stock they work, so if you are tossing the stock, switch to AICS mags and drive on down the road. It did not appear the Magpul AICS worked in the Cadex Chassis with the Tikka, the Accuracy International ones feed flawlessly. So the Ruger has the advantage in the Magazine department. I have to follow up with that, but my initial try was a no go.
Accuracy can go either way, my Ruger was awesome from the first shot, as is the TIkka. Some people have claimed to have accuracy issues with the Ruger, so you have to look at that. Tikka has a much better reputation for barrels than Ruger does. I would say the Tikka is gonna be a smarter choice in this case. Even with the short barrel in a 6.5.
Upgrade options are about the same. With the Tikka, you may require a gunsmith where the Ruger you don’t necessarily need one. Upgrades are a wash, with Ruger being just slightly ahead depending how you look at it.
The Tikka also has Left Handed Models, the Ruger does not. Lefties can get a Tikka, but some calibers maybe limited.
The money is the same, the work about the same, it’s just how quickly you want to get up and running.
In my experience both love the Factory Prime Ammo, so you can start out there.
As a final note, I weighted the rifle with scope and it came in at 13.3 pounds. That is pretty close to right for a PRS style competition / Tactical Rifle. With the Cadex Chassis it feels great, so ergonomics are tops kitted out this way. I would not hesitate to compete with this set up.
For now, Thanks for Watching.