Sterk swept bolt handle; review and speed test

beetroot

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Ever since I first saw the Sterk swept bolt handles for the Tikka T3 I knew I had to get one, I'm a firm believer in the saying; "if you can't be the part, at least look the part", there's no doubt that the Swept handles look cool but I've always wondered do they give a functional improvement and if so, is it quantifiable?

About a month ago I finally received my bolt handles, one for my T3 and one for my T1.
I installed the handle on the T3 first, it made a huge difference to the way the bolt felt the added length and shape appears to reduced the amount of force required to re-cock after firing, the swept shape also gives the feeling of a less than 70 degree bolt lift.
The swept bolt handle felt much better when dry firing and even better still when actually shooting the rifle.
The T1x handle on the other hand was a much less noticeable improvement, especially comparing it to the slip on rubber bolt knob I've been using the last year or so (best $10 I've ever spent).

While the Sterk did feel better I wasn't sure it actually felt any quicker/easier to cycle the bolt, not in the same way it transformed the T3, so I decided to conduct a test to see if there was actually a measurable improvement in speed.
I feel like speed involved with rapid fire bolt action shooting has many opportunities for error, but I think the test I conducted gave pretty good real world results and had minimal chance for error that was unrelated the function the different bolt handles provided.

Basically the test was as follows:
Using a shot timer, fire 3 shots as fast as possible on a steel plate at 60m using my 22lr T1x, due to the shot timer being fussy with positioning to pick up the 22lr shots I fired from a supported standing position using a sling, there was a considerable amount position change required from setting the shot timer before each string, so the 1st shot reaction times should ignored.
NOTE: after the 1st shot was fired the other two were unaffected by the positional changes.
-The first shot was a closed bolt on a chambered round and effectively just my reaction time to the shot timer beep.
-The 2nd and 3rd shots were both on the same steel target trying to shoot as fast as practical while still hitting the target.

I repeated this test 5 times, with each of the follow set ups:
-Standard bolt handle
-Standard with rubber ball
-Sterk swept handle

The results I used were the splits between the 1st and 2nd shot, and the 2nd and 3rd shots.
I'll attach a picture of all the data I collected, to cut a long story short the results were exactly as I expected/ hoped;
Averaged splits:
Standard - 1.64 seconds
Rubber - 1.45 seconds
Sterk - 1.39 seconds

Like with the T3 when actually shooting the rifle vs dry firing the sterk handle felt a lot quicker and nicer to operate quickly, the results show that it was indeed quicker but more importantly the grip I was able to get on the bolt handle was far more positive and it felt like it took less effort to operate the bolt quickly.
I have lots of experience with the rubber bolt knob and knew it'd give the same benefits as the Sterk did, whilst it was a big improvement over the standard handle the Sterk was still noticeably better in feel and of course the times.

TL;DR
-the Sterk handle is a definite quantifiable improvement over the factory T1x and T3 bolt handle and is well worth the money.
The added length and swept shape make it easier to grab quickly with less chance of slipping or fumbling about.

And most importantly, they look cool.
 

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beetroot

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Having done some more shooting with the T1x and Sterk I have to say this swept handle is amazing.

The oversized bolt know seems to be in the perfect position thats you done even need to think about cycling the bolt, it just happens naturally and os very very fast.

I might have to repeat the test with the Sterk afternoon some more practise as Im certain ill get even quicker.
 

TheChief

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I don't have a Sterk, but I did buy an Anarchy outdoors swept back handle and their titanium bolt knob. Gotta say it's a definite improvement. It's so fast, and right there in the perfect position for quick manipulation. I love it.
 

BLKWLFK9

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    I refuse to have a tikka without a sterk handle. period. I dont even shoot them until i have it on the bolt. Im an AI sucker so its only natural for me to have the same handles on my tikkas
     

    6brshooter

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    Euro optic if they're in stock, I've saw several here for sale. They seem to pop up in pairs. I missed a couple, got antsy cause oos at euro, bought a glades armory one, and then a week later 2 or 3 popped up in the accessory px here.
     

    beetroot

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    I refuse to have a tikka without a sterk handle. period. I dont even shoot them until i have it on the bolt. Im an AI sucker so its only natural for me to have the same handles on my tikkas

    It's one of those small details that makes far more difference than it should.
    Definitely a must have for all my future Tikka purchases.
     

    6brshooter

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    What sling are you running? I like the butler creek but haven’t found any with flush cup connectors.

    It's a padded sling from triad, its definitely not camp Perry worthy, but it's a solid sling for packing and some position shooting. I added the flush cup ends on it.
     

    alfmoonspace

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    Hardly hear about the Badgers. Are they overly heavy or what? Why would you pick others over a Badger?
     

    TheChief

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    The Anarchy Outdoors swept back handle with a titanium knob is very nice. I tried it out on my CTR and its fantastic.
     

    Gizmo0803

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    Anyone here have any intel on when/if the Sterk T3 bolt shrouds and handles will be back in stock?
     

    cannoncrossfire

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    Anyone here have any intel on when/if the Sterk T3 bolt shrouds and handles will be back in stock?
    The facebook page has the latest updates, or asking me would give you the answer - handles are machined, shrouds are being machined and then everything is being cerakoted, so only a couple more weeks.
     
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    Jcaplinger199

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    Just bought a t3x CTR. I don’t have it yet but I ordered a anarchy outdoors swept bolt handle because I had never heard of sterk. Is there any difference? One better that the other?
     

    6.5SH

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    Hmm on the email list for the T1 handle but not seen anything yet.

    ETA:
    They are listed as in stock, but wasn't notified. Thanks for the heads up or would have been another long wait.
     
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    fanninland

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    Yeah I was on the notification list for both T3 handle and shroud. Received notification for shroud but not handle…just happened to check and showed handle in stock. Maybe they haven’t yet updated some items.
     
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    Smooth_87

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    Sterk gear is fantastic. I am one of the few that was in the first production models and it’s great to see all of you enjoying them too.

    I’ve had every handle Sterk makes and had multiple swept ones.

    Great job Sterk. Long time no speak!
     
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    Charlie112

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    Yeah I was on the notification list for both T3 handle and shroud. Received notification for shroud but not handle…just happened to check and showed handle in stock. Maybe they haven’t yet updated some items.
    I ordered my Swept Handel last Thursday, and installed it tonight!! Very happy, Tikka man 9 years….Charlie112