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Ignorance is bliss

03 Nov 2016
@ 06:03 am (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Well a big thanks to Nathan for the Long Range Shooting book, both in all sincerity and some tongue in cheek.

Truly it's been a great read but now I have the knowledge to know better!

I've been thinking about getting a Tikka T3x Varmint (synthetic stock, heavy barrel) but now I'm not sure... I might be leaning towards my original purchase of the Laminated Stainless model. Do I take the heavy barrel and less stable stock or the solid stock with the lighter barrel???

Or do I spend the money on a second hand rifle with heavy barrel and solid stock combination???

Please, any comments are very welcome based on your combined experience.

Also, Nathan, if you're reading this, I really love the way you've written the books and the content too. You've made a non nonsense, no bullshit, straight forward easy to read book that has greatly encouraged me in my shooting. A lot of what was in there was very in line with how I was taught to shoot as a young boy and what you've written will be how I teach my daughters to shoot and approach shooting/hunting in general. Cheers mate.


03 Nov 2016
@ 07:18 am (GMT)

Cor Nepgen

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Hi Andrew,

I do not own any of the above rifles so you might want to wait for some of the other guys to add their voice of reason..

I think there's a couple of factors you will need to weigh up. A logical starting point would be the intended use of the rifle. If you intend to save a bit of weight, perhaps overall weight would play an important role? Also time between shots, I have a Remington sps and the barrel will only allow 3 consecutive shots before a cooling off time. So do bare that in mind. It really doesn't bother me and I won't be doing culling work with it. Also gets too expensive to shoot too many animals haha.

How do you like the ergo's of the synthetic stock? If it feels really good in hand and suits your build/ hand it may be worth while going this route. Following the steps in the accurizing book you can stabilize and bed the stock and end up with quite a decent stock. I went this route and really enjoyed the process and learned a tonne. Alternatively you can also get an aftermarket stock if your budget allows then have the stock and barrel of your choice?

Don't underestimate the value of a stabilized and bedded synthetic stock, however if it doesn't feel right I wouldn't bother. Personal preference I think would play a role.

I don't think theres a clear cut right and wrong here, more a case of preference and what would be best suited for your particular application. But either way, its fun and remember that it is fun so don't get too serious. Once you have made a decision stick with it, follow the advice in the books and enjoy shooting!!

03 Nov 2016
@ 09:51 am (GMT)

Rob Kennedy

Re: Ignorance is bliss
A comparison of the Tikka T3x and the Ruger American is currently on the NIOA website (Ruger importers for Australia - probably a business bias there!!) but it is interesting none the less. I was unaware of the bedding system with the Ruger which is unusual. Any comments from more knowledgeable people? Here's the YouTube link.
03 Nov 2016
@ 03:24 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Just my opinion but to me the Ruger American is not a bad rifle, however as is the case with most recent tupperware stocks from the larger firms, it is just too flexible.

I would guess with some work and Nathan's filler and bedding materials that could be fixed, however I would rather count on a new and better stock, or buy a different rifle.
03 Nov 2016
@ 05:12 pm (GMT)

Paul Leverman

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Is it just me? Although the comparison was good, and the fellows did a fair job, there are some things that perplex me. One is the way the shooter has the front rest set up on the Ruger. If the legs are set up the way he has it positioned, the rifle recoil makes the rest jump up. Now, I don't have any fancy letters after my name, and my education could be called lacking, but wouldn't the tripod be better positioned if the third leg was set up in direct line with the recoil forces?

Another point is that they both comment on the "new" three lug bolt. Is this new to Tikka? Because it certainly isn't new to the gun world.

Just me being picky.
03 Nov 2016
@ 08:08 pm (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Its not just you Paul.

The Ruger has three lugs. The Tikka has two lugs. And I'll say it for you. It doesn't matter how many lugs you have if they are not square and making good contact. Thats the one advantage of more lugs, it means more "CHANCE" of contact without having to hand hone each individual action (time / cost).

Both the Ruger and Tikka have their quirks. I own both, each have similar mag length issues, each have bedding quirks. But of the two, the American is the more difficult as the bedding lugs (not bolt locking lugs) cannot be re-positioned. I dedicated a piece to the American in the Shooting book- chapter "A budget plastic stocked rifle".

Four approaches to accuracy for the American and without re-hashing book detail:

1. NO BIPOD!. Alter trigger (or Timney), shoot over sand bags or pack when in field.

2. No BIPOD! Glue n screw (See Accurizing book). Alter trigger (or Timney) and shoot over sand bags or pack. This method recommended for testing rifles that will not shoot straight.

3. Stabilize forend, then bed start of barrel channel only. This creates strength at the weak point where the action finished as barrel starts. Bedding very small but can be tricky. A dam must be set to prevent compound flowing back to the V lugs, a second dam fowards in the barrel channel. Again, this is just a basic short barrel / knox bed.

4. Fit replacement stock, then go back to step 2.

In each case, check trigger and bolt lugs as per the Accurizing book steps. The order of steps holds true regardless of new methods of gun manufacture.

As far as the vid goes, the Tikka bears no resemblance to the Mauser. Just because a car has four wheels, does not make it a Ford. The K98 actually had three lugs, the third being in reserve.
03 Nov 2016
@ 08:31 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Firstly, what's your intended use for the rig Andrew? Walk around, bench, LR?

I wouldn't call the Tikka stock flimsy and it now has the options to modify with the replaceable grip etc. I have just set up a good friend with a 308 T3x SS and with my 308/168 loads it put down multiple .5 moa groups. So it will only improve with tuning!
My sons 308w lite syn was also .5 but needed weight added to the stock to settle the recoil. Another factory T3 223 is under .5 with factory ammo including win bulk, OSA outback, Hornady & my hand loads (shoots them better than my Howa, GGGGRRRRR).
My 9.3 is a sporter barrel in the laminated Boyd's and having owned and worked on all the variants the Varmint is my pick. Going that way if l had to start again in that combo and its a stalking rig though a big cal.

The Ruger American's will shoot as Nathan has discussed with me multiple times, .5 and better from many cals. I know he's looking at them to use as hacks during projectile testing.
I thought that review was a bit one sided, but there you go. Oh and the Tikka dovetail has a recoil pin that they didn't mention!
03 Nov 2016
@ 08:35 pm (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Ignorance is bliss
You posted whilst l was typing Mate!

As l said a bias review in many ways
03 Nov 2016
@ 08:47 pm (GMT)

Bryan Webster

Re: Ignorance is bliss
When Ruger came out with the weird recoil lug I was curious and read the hype too much. Bought one in 7mm Rem Mag.

Would not shoot worth a darn. Very cautiously bedded it and floated the barrel.
Was still not what I needed so sold it and happened on a pre-64 M70 30/06 with a stout 24 inch barrel. It was well used and looked after so I bedded it and it shot bughole groups. I kept that rifle for a long time but someone watching me shoot at a competition I was in offered me way too much money for it and stupid me sold it.

Just my biases showing, but I am not at all anxious to revisit the current generation of Ruger big game rifles but would jump all over a decent deal on the appropriate Tikka T3X or a number of other goodies...Even with the Tikka rifles however, it is a pain to go through a epoxy bedding process on one and had I not bought all of Nathan's books and looked over all the info on this site, I might never have bothered...I like conventional rifle actions like Remingtons as well as the custom actions others manufacture (that are nearly all basically similar in dimensions yet better made than the stock Rem actions), Mausers and Winchesters and their like.
03 Nov 2016
@ 08:52 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Well this is the thing, I'm getting back into shooting after a long absence. So I'm looking for a one size fits all rig. But now I know that it's not so simple.

Really, I want a LR set up, both for hunting and targets, but also would like to take it walk about too, there are some really nice areas very close by than can be hunted, pigs, deer, foxes, rabbits (and roos where I can but that's another story, very good eating).

I'm thinking .308 and the Tikka Varmint has a longer and heavier barrel than most of their other rifles and it's in a good price range too... I'm still eaning this way because the stock can be stabilised and bedded down the road.

If I purchase the laminated stock rifle then the barrel cannot be improved (become heavier and longer).

So it's probably not that much of issue to choose the varmint and improve the stock down the track yeah?

Nathan, can you enlighten me on the locking log issue? Do you find that its common for not all the locking lugs to be in contact?
03 Nov 2016
@ 10:45 pm (GMT)

Ben Law

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Hey Andy,
My 2 bob, If u go the tikka get the varmint, theyve got a bit of weight but not that heavy, still easy to carry.
It will no doubt shoot straight out of the box, upgrade stock later if you like.

My 2 other options would be howa and rem700.
Howa do a nice 20" heavy barrel, add a boyds or b&c stock = very nice.
Remington have more configs than i know of, i think their sps varmint has a heavy 26" barrel which is pretty heavy, easy to find aftermarket stocks. 20" heavy barrel would be nice, im not sure which models they normally come in.

Be interesting to see which way you go.
04 Nov 2016
@ 12:49 am (GMT)

Warwick Marflitt

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Andy get a 30-06 Rem700

Trick it up using the books and you'll have it for life. Reload for it and you'll smile every time you pull the trigger.
04 Nov 2016
@ 02:24 am (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Cheers for the input team,

Warwick, that Remington is a little out of the price range for me, but cheers for highlighting another firearms supplier that I was unaware of :)

Originally the post was designed as a tongue in cheek thanks for Nathan's work. But sincere nonetheless, now knowing that shortcuts in shooting form and rifle choice are only really cutting myself short...

But I'm loving the input from everyone too.
04 Nov 2016
@ 03:36 am (GMT)

Martin Taylor

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Forum posts often wander of in different directions hey!

Ok you have identified the Tikka varmint which is a great rifle that suits your application and will nearly always impress as you would have found reading Nathans books.

Going along with Warwick's idea!
If you want to explore accursing a bit further a Remington LR 30-06. Priced around the same (here in OZ), good solid stock & by far the easiest action to bed.
Keeping in mind the currant Rem's don't have the build quality of the Tikka, though generally end up a solid performer if you put the effort into them.
04 Nov 2016
@ 03:47 am (GMT)

Nathan Foster

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Hi Andy, very common, hence why lug checks and corrections are addressed early in the Accurizing book.

Lots of good advice from the guys here. Thanks again Marty.

04 Nov 2016
@ 04:42 am (GMT)

Thomas Kitchen

Re: Ignorance is bliss
hi Andrew
the tikka is normally is a straight out of the box performer (synthetic stock), they are almost so accurate they are boring in away.
it sounds like you plan on doing a lot of range work so look very seriously at heavy barrels.

now when you start looking into rifle designs as Nathan has taught most of us so well, you start to see things.
you got to understand that its a competitive market so rifle manufactures look at ways to save costs.
two ways that have always been around to save cost are mass producing and cutting down on the amount of machining needed.

example of tikka is every action is the same for everything from 223 to 338 win mag, only the bolt stops and mags differ so you have mass production.
the floating recoil lug is to reduce machining because its a separate piece from the action.

the ruger american is the ultimate in saving machining.
from everything from starting with bar stock and machining recoil lugs into the action.
to the full size bolt so they only have to machine just behind the the locking lugs and mill a channel in for the bolt stop. it also means they can counter bore the action most of the way through (only leaving meterial for locking lugs to lock against) rather then having to slot it for the more traditional 2 lug bolt design.
lithgow has perfected this even more by having the locking lug rebate a separate piece that looks kinder like a washer that sits against a shoulder in the action

now everything has its pro's and cons as the guys have talked about and most of the time rifles shoot well.
but you need to look into the designs because the engineers make them then the marketers try to make cost saving features into marketing features.

think im bit off topic sorry guys
04 Nov 2016
@ 06:19 am (GMT)

Cor Nepgen

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Hi All,

Well this turned into a very interesting thread and some good reading! Apart from all the very good advice given above, I would highly recommend slowing down a bit and go through the books step by step.. Especially the Long Range Rifles book. It really does go through the basics of what you want, as well as the pro's and cons of each action.

So take your time and go through all the books step by step. If you need to save up some, that is actually a blessing in disguise because it gives you enough time to do research and you make more informed decisions (and prevent quick buys haha.

Avoid media hype, this is more or less the only place I've found that cuts through the marketing bs. You will also be shocked with the lack of knowledge the average guy has. The internet has given a platform for anyone to share their "wisdom" most of who should keep quite.

I think once you settle on a caliber for your intended purpose, the rest will fall into place, things like magazine length may make the choice between the M700 and Tikka easy.

Anyways, follow the books and avoid disappointment, it really is that good.

04 Nov 2016
@ 06:48 am (GMT)

Rob Kennedy

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Cor you have said it all. I am chastened to sat that I had to go and actually read what Nathan wrote about "budget plastic stocked rifles". Maybe I skipped over that part because I thought it wouldn't have any relevance to me. ( OK. OK, I do admit however that I own a few of those cheap plastic stocked Vanguards.) Nathan has achieved what all the gun reviewers/writers have not, and probably could not do. And that is to educate firearms users about some very important facts about design features of all those rifles out there. For example, why don't "they" mention magazine length in their reviews? I'm an old guy but his books have been a revelation to me and essential to be able to cut through all the marketing "spin" we are bombarded with. Thanks Nathan and all you guys who take the time to write in to this blog.
04 Nov 2016
@ 09:20 pm (GMT)

Andrew Murray

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Maybe I should get a .338LM because <a href="">Craig Harrison</a> got the longest confirmed sniper kill with that calibre? Maybe get the rig too? The L115A3 system used by the Brits and Aussies (and Kiwis?), I'll need the face merkin, I mean tactical beard err, man growth... Otherwise it won't be worth it.

Full nightvision, range finding, auto dialling, coffee making and bad breath curing scope too.

On another note, there is an aussie couple that shoot their 338LM to some extreme ranges, just gongs, it's fun to watch, even if their technique is somewhat "mainstream" or as Nathan put it "those who use a bipod in a manner that looks like they have taken a face plant and fallen asleep with their arms folded."

338 Lapua Maganum @ 100, 1000, and 3000yards

But in all seriousness, the 308 sounds like a good all round calibre for my present needs.
05 Nov 2016
@ 12:23 am (GMT)

mark whiteley

Re: Ignorance is bliss
Hi Andrew,
the ruger all american is an accurate rifle for no mods, I've seen them at the range and thought what a piece of crap until I saw the targets,
enough has been said about the tikka being a good choice budget rifle,
and I know its not to everyone's taste but I rate the ruger vt's very highly,
and maybe they should be on your short list of makes to think about


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