here's the thing about the tikka. Aftermarket parts are hard to find. Why? Because there's not much they need.
Smooth Adjustable Trigger 2-4 Lbs? Check.
Removable magazine system? Check.
Sako style large extractor? Check.
Buttery smooth action? Check.
I've got a T3 .243 that shoots as good as anything I own. What have I done to it? Nothing but put a scope and sling on it. For a calling rifle, in and out of the truck, its about perfect.
As far as the stock, its a basic synthetic stock, not unlike all major rifle manufacturers offer. If you want something nicer, get the laminate or walnut stock. If you want a tactical stock, get a manners.
As far as the scope rings, there is a set included. If you get a magnum, buy a set of dednutz or other rings.
Lets face it folks, this is a $479 rifle that has the most popular options we want, and shoots great. What else is there to say?
p.s. these groups were measured outside to outside not center to center...
Ok, now switch your boltface and barrel to shoot 223, then go ahead and swap in a 338Edge barrel, while you're at it go ahead and slap it in your benchrest stock.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Tikka hater. In fact, I've heard many good things about them, and I'm sure they're good guns.
I prefer Savage because of the design features that allow them to easily change it to fit my needs. 5 years ago it thought I'd never want anything besides my trusty 30-06.
Times change, needs change, and desires change. I'm happy my Savage lets me build it any way I want.
I felt up a Tikka T3 the other day and found it completely horrible, the action was not as smooth as my Savage Model 12, the stock was just as cheesy as most other plastic stocks but you can not compare the pad to the one on a Savage. I really hated the ejection port on the Tikka, there is barely enough room for the casing. If you wanted to toss the stock what could you do with it? I have heard that it does shoot but I have heard the same for the Savage.
I have shot both the Savage and and the Tikka T-3. I own a Tikka T-3 in 270 wsm stainless with that "Plastic" stock. The bolt is smooth and rounds load smooth when hunting. I can't say the same for Savage. I have had extraction problems with a Savage and the bolt felt like I needed a jack to turn it. Unless you get a Savage with the new accutrigger, the first thing you will have to do with the Savage is get a new tirgger. The Tikka's trigger is adjustable from 7 to 2 pounds. This adjustment you can do yourself. If your are talking ugly, there is nothing pretty about that big nut between the barrel and action of a Savage. But here is what you really want to know. I have fed a multitude of different factory rounds thorugh my T-3 270 wsm and a large number of hand loads. I can't speak for other guns, but I have yet to have my gun shoot anything over an inch group that was not my fault. i save all my targets and I could upload a bunch of photos of five round groups that range from 1/2 inch to one inch. If you get the Tikka T-3 You will appriceate that aluminum pillar bedded plastic stock for its ability to withstand all kinds of weather and rough treatment. I would recommend the 270 wsm over the 270 though as this round is about 400 fps faster on average than the 270. I have found that for terminal ballistics for both pigs and deer the Hornady 130 grain SST (BC .460) is very hard to beat and performs better than the Nozler Ballistic tips. They are 1/2 the price have a better BC and when they get to the target, kill better in my humble opinion. Incredable hydrostatic shock and penetration. Most animals just drop in thier tracks. Of course I don't shoot prarrie dogs or shoot it in fancy tournaments with this gun where others will say it looks cheap and ugly. I just kill lots of deer and pigs with it. Oh, and you save money on targets as you can use them over and over again because you waste so little paper when you don't have to deal with scattered bullet holes.
Alright, you all have helped quite a bit. After reading through all of this I have just about made up my mind on the Savage. While there is definitely a case to be made for the Tikka, I definitely tend to have a case of tinkeritis! When I purchased my first center fire rifle I decided I wanted a super basic (OLD) Savage long action with a .223 barrel so that I could modify it into nearly anything in the future. I did a few mods like free floating the barrel and a trigger job, now I can't help but love the little guy. Why not just keep going with what I know works.
Now all I have to do is get all my ducks in a row and figure out what optic I want to go with Haha.
If you want or need the most aftermarket support... go Remington. If not, then the other brands offer good alternatives.
I'm using a Stevens action for my 243 with a Lothar walther barrel, but I did shoot the factory barrel. It seemed like it took about 30-40 rounds to break-in the barrel. I didn't borescope the barrel, but I suspect it was rough as other people have claimed. It seems that many people that talk down regarding the T3 have never owned one. I'm now a Savage convert due to the barrel nut, but the Tikka has much better fit and finish compared to any Savage I've seen. Its not even close. Same for the smooth action, but I think the tolerance on the Tikka might be looser to make it seem smoother.
My T3 in 300WSM was literally accurate from the very first group (after sighting in the scope). It was easily 1 MOA accurate. And not only did it group well, it was precise. My practice targets have grids on them. My zero was 3" high at 100 yards. That T3 would place bullets exactly 3" high, and on the center line. Literally on the line, not some pretty group off to the side somewhere. Tight groups are one thing, but that rifle amazed me in that it put bullets exactly where they were sent.
And I don't think my rifle was all that unique. I've never really heard many people complain about their Tikkas. I have heard/read a lot of people rag on them that don't own them, though. Some people, and this is just my speculation, don't seem to like them because they shoot so darn well, have a very nice trigger, and a smooth action for a good price. I compared my T3 to comparably priced 700, 77, etc. rifles (in the store and at the range) and the difference just in the triggers was night and day. The others felt crude in comparison. The guys that had the other rifles seemed bitter that they spent the same amount or more and seemed to need to find something to complain about. I'm not saying that is what is happening here, but if you frequent some other shooting forums you'll see what I mean.
I don't get the complaints about the T3 Lite stock. I think its actually pretty good for a budget rifle. In my opinion its much better than the comparable versions from anyone else. The plastic on the budget Stevens and Savages are more like a toy rifle. I know, I have one sitting in my closet and its an absolute joke for a rifle stock. Its about the flimsiest stock going, but nobody seems to rag on it like the T3 Lite. I like the T3 Lite stock better than the cheap Hogue as well. But stocks are a personal thing. we just can't expect a Manners, AICS, or McM on a cheap factory rifle.
As for Chuck Hawks... I think he's very biased. Not just regarding Tikkas, but in a lot of other things. If we all listened to him, we'd be shooting low recoil, medium velocity cartridges at close range.
Sorry for the rant, just wanted say there's merit in both brands. If it weren't for the barrel nut on the Savages I would happily own another Tikka. But that nut makes a big difference to me since I like to tinker with my rifles.
Sorry to hear that, I too have had the tinkering bug. I've had a Ruger 280 that had a sendero barrel cuctom trigger job, ported and all. I have used a buddys winchester 30-06 that was his sniper rifle in Korea tha had been tiricke out by the best gun smiths Quantico produced and I have shot national match shoots while in the Navy and on and on. So I guess that I must fall into Chuck Hawks deffinition of someone who doesn't know much about guns or the difference between a pre 64 Martin 6 string and a WalMart $50.00 guitar. You know what I bet Eric Clapton could make the WalMart guitar sound good and I know some writhers that would make a dog howl if they plucked the Martin (metiphorically speaking of course).
But you originally asked about a gun that would shoot right out of the box and not one to build on. If you want a gun to build on an older Savage would give you something to work with. You could put a new trigger in it, Get a barrel chambered for 6.5 284 (my dream round) get a new stock or a laminated stock that you could install aluminimum pillars in and bed yourself (Midway has good kits for this) Put on a pictanny rail so you could change out scopes or add night vision for pigs in the dark. But now your are talking more than $500 in the rifle. Which is OK it that is what you want. With all things and especially guns, do what makes you happy and gives you confidence. I truly wish you luck and that what ever you do you get a gun that puts em where you want em to go.
PS if I seem a little cranky, I apologize, I just had some pos break into my car and steal my Ruger P-98 in .40 SW and my Pre 1964 Remington 1100 shotgun that I had a new barrel put on with a set of choke tubes, fiber optic front bead and custom cheek piece on the stock. I was getting that gun just about the way I wanted it.
I really appreciate the help. Every time I turn around I'm changing my mind again. It's most likely going to come down to whatever my preferred shop has in stock when I go in.
I keep going back and forth, and the more I think about it the more I realize that I'm most likely going to keep this rifle stock. I was hoping for something to greatly sway me in one direction or another, and I keep going back and forth. What this really makes me see is that I can't make an awful choice, they're both great rifles for my situation.
Bruce, sorry to hear about the loss. I have to say that the 1100 is one of my absolute favorite shotguns. Every time I pick one up it just seems right! Also, the more I read Chuck Hawkes the less I pay attention to him...