ballistically challenged Tikka T3 Lite 30-06

Discussion in 'Long Range Scopes and Other Optics' started by MajorSpittle, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. MajorSpittle

    MajorSpittle Well-Known Member

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    So I got a Tikka T3 Lite 30-06 and put a Pentax Game Seeker 4-12 scope on it in the rings that come with the rifle and it was shooting about 1.5 in groups with various cheap ammo (150 Win Super X, Federal Power Shock 150/180, Rem Core lokt PSP 165)

    Needless to say I was pissed so I pulled the thing apart and dremeled out the barrel channel got everything locked down good and replaced the rings with some steal weaver bases and 1" rings, I also bought some aluminum tube and pressed it in between the action and the trigger guard filed it down to length as kind of an ass-backward pillar bedding job. Tighted the shit out of everything with lock-tight on and went to the range and shot 1.5-2" groups that wandered everywhere.

    So I decided that the Pentax was crap and sent it off to the factory. I bought a Redfield Revolution which I mounted, leveled with the breach, centered the crosshairs, and boresighted with my laser (perfect left and right 1" high at 20ft without touching any adjustment :) ).

    Took the rifle to the range with Fed 150 power shock and first shot at 100 is 3/4" low and 1" left. I think great, everything is lined up well :). I make adjustments 10 up and 4 right. Then shoot a 3 round group that is right where it should be but is about 1.5". Go to Fed 180 Power Shock 3" groupe. 165 Rem Core Lokt 2.25" group but 3" higher then the other ammo...... ????? WTF??? Proceed to waste a box of Fed shooting 6 round groups that balloon out to around 2-3".

    Everything is tight, I know I can shoot sub MOA groups from a bench all day long ( .5 -.75 groups with my Win. 7mm Mag ). So I cus and spit then pull the thing apart at the range and pull the aluminum tubes out of the stock and put it back together.

    Shoot another box of ammon getting same results. Everything is being shot at 12x on the scope, Everything is tight, these are my last groups with the rifle and this is the Rifle. Any suggestions, do you think tikka would honor their < MOA policy even though I dremeled the barrel channel to free float the barrel:

    [​IMG]






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  2. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

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    A few comments. First I doubt that the scope is the problem. If so this isn't the right sub-forum for this post.

    Second, you seem to be getting groups as small as 1.5" with some relatively cheap ammo. I recommend trying a few different types of premium ammo. The Tikka warranty probably doesn't guarantee <1 MOA groups withy ANY ammo.

    Third, how did you break in this barrel? If you didn't, it may be nearly broken in now. Clean the barrel very well. Then check group size. If still not <1 MOA, fire a 20 rnd box of ammo as fast as you can safely load and shoot. Let the barrel cool. clean it again and check group size.

    Fourth, if you aren't already doing so, I recommend paying close attention to possible sources of dispersion the next time you check group size: improper action screw torque, high trigger pull weight, barrel temp variation, and muzzle crown damage come to mind. You may already be aware of these potential factors; I can't tell from your post.
     

  3. MajorSpittle

    MajorSpittle Well-Known Member

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    No break in process, just clean the barrel before I go shooting. Everything stays tight, I do not torque action screws just tighten down the front, tighten down rear, retighten front so it is tighter then rear.

    Barrel has been kept cool while shooting the first 3 boxes of ammo as I don't like to heat it up a lot. The last box I went nuts and fired up 15 rounds quickly and really heated the thing up. The rifle has about 100 rounds thru it now, never had a rifle that didn't shoot MOA but every other rifle I have had I could bed the thing, can't really do that with this Tikka.

    Moderator, can you please move this post to the correct location. Thanks.

    Trying Federal fusion 150gr & Win Super X 150/180. If it can't shoot sub MOA with cheap ammo it can't shoot. All I have ever shot is cheap ammo and I can always find a couple brands/weight that tighten down the group under MOA in either of my 7mm Rem Mags, and my M1903. Maybe I have just been lucky with my last 3 rifles and expect too much, but have bedded other peoples rifles and lightened triggers and been able to get them sub MOA also.

    Also I have never heard of Breaking in a barrel before, I have heard that frequently rifles get more accurate after the first 50 rounds because the barrel smooths out from any machining imperfections and the copper coats it for more consistant velocity and hamonics. But I also assume that is more true with old manufacturing practices.
     
  4. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

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    Either you've been lucky with your rifles, or I've been unlucky with mine. I handload and usually have to try a few different bullets and powders to get something that shots small groups. I recommend that you try a few boxes of premium ammo before throwing in the towel on this barrel.

    There is a lot of folk lore about breaking in barrels. Some believe it is useful, while others do not. Yuor barrel is bro ably broken in by now.
     
  5. JeffP40

    JeffP40 Well-Known Member

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    First off, I think an attitude adjustment is needed. You state that you "decided" that the scope is junk and sent it back without testing another one first. Then you junk a mounting system that almost never gets bad press. Then you say "if it won't shoot with cheap ammo, it won't shoot". Do you really expect to come on a forum like this and get us to think you will take any of our advice. Your post makes you sound like a bubba with no experience and brick wall opinions.
    Floating the barrel is a good thing, just so you didn't go postal with the dremel. Who knows what the "pillars" did. It sounds like you are just trying to make excuses instead of making improvements. If you had taken a more reasoned approach, maybe you could have reached a conclusion about something. As it now stands, you know nothing more than when you started. It is doubtful the rifle will not shoot, their reputation is better than average, but it is evidently going to take a different approach than you have taken thus far.
    I would clean it good with a good product, not #9, my choice is Bore-tech Eliminator, or one of the foam products. Then, as others have suggested, get some good ammo and put in some more time at the bench. The rifle may like to be held tight, or like free recoil, your cheek weld may be off for this style stock, even parallax can be an issue. I had a Burris that was horrendus at 1-200yds, but it is unlikely a scope problem.
    Let us know what you come up with, these usually shoot great without any tweaking. Remember, this is just what I gleaned from your post.
     
  6. bruce_ventura

    bruce_ventura Well-Known Member

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    Actually I think the OP's attitude is fine. I've interacted with him before. He's open minded and smarter than he lets on. He just has an authentic way of writing that I think is kind of refreshing.

    I would like to think that folks like that are welcome here.
     
  7. JeffP40

    JeffP40 Well-Known Member

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    Sending a scope back for no reason is open minded? Saying that everything should shoot with cheap ammo is refreshing? I find it hard to believe it is his writing style, and it has nothing to do with being welcome.
     
  8. MajorSpittle

    MajorSpittle Well-Known Member

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    @ Jeff, I appreciate your input and can see how I come off on the forum as not being so open minded. I did try 4 different types of ammo, 150, 165, and 180 grains and remounting the scope in steal rings with weaver style base vs the aluminum rings that it comes with in the rifles dovetail. I verified that the action screws were tight and yes I looked at the $100 Pentax Gameseek made in china as the culprit and was wrong. Keep in mind that this rifle is guaranteed to shoot sub MOA with ANY factory ammo out of the box and i was getting 1.5 at best and 2+ MOA as the usual.

    Anyway, I just got back from the range, after firing 3 new types of ammo and I had my old Simmons WTC 3.5-10X50 mounted for a sanity check and also took my Redfield scope.

    1st I shot 150gr Super X with the WTC from the cold cleaned gun fired 2 shots to sight in then a 1" 3 rnd group. Let the gun cool for 30min and then fired a 2.25" group with the same ammo. I then pulled that scope and remounded my Redfield that was still mounted in the same rings (Weaver bases and rings on both Scopes).

    2nd, I cleaned the gun and it sat for about an hour before I fire my first 3 round group with the same 150gr Super X ammo and scope set to 10x the same as the WTC, 1 1/8" group. Let the gun sit 15 min and shot my second group with the same ammo 2 3/4".

    3rd, let gun cool 30 min and shot 3 round group of Super X 180 gr. with scope back at 12x for a 1 3/4". rest of the groups were with scope at 12 power.

    4th, let gun cool 30 min and shot 3 round group of Fusion 150gr. 1.25" with 2 rounds in same hole. Let gun cool 15 min and fired 3 more at same target putting first round in same hole as other two, next round 1.5" off by itself, next round half in the hole that was 1.25" away in first group. So that was a 6 rnd group 1.5".

    5th, let gun cool 15 min and shot 3 round group of Remington 165gr. Core Lokt PSP 2", let gun cool 10 min and shot 3 more into same group 2" total for 6 rnd group.

    Ammo tried Federal Power ShoK 150/180, Rem Core Lokt PSP 165, Win Super X 150/180, Fusion 150gr, and an old box of Win Super X 150gr and old box of Federal Classic 150 gr.

    2 mounting systems, Factory and Weaver base and rings.

    3 scopes. Simmons WTC, Redfield Revolution, Pentax Gameseeker.

    Rifle with stock in factory configuation, barrel free floated in factory stock, aluminum pillars (removed after 12 rounds because didn't help and no difference with or without them).

    Nothing shooting sub MOA, mostly getting 1.5-3" groups.

    The gun seems real sensitve to heat or not having a clean barrel from what I can tell, but reguardless it does not shoot sub MOA even under the best of conditions. It is my experience that more expensive factory ammo doesn't really mean better groups. Guns like certain bullet weights and powder loads, be it a $20 box of ammo or a $40 box of ammo. I know I could fire sub MOA with my M1903 with the majority of the ammo I have tried in this gun. I'm not looking to tighten up a 2" group at 300 yards here by going to a solid point boat tail with a hand load.

    I guess I will be calling the factory next week. Needless to say I am not impressed with my Tikka T3 Lites accuracy.

    Edit: Interesting article: http://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/minute-of-angle-moa-accuracy-out-of-the-box/ They only used 1 type of ammo and got Sub MOA out of 4 or 5 different rifles out of the box.
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  9. JeffP40

    JeffP40 Well-Known Member

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    I understand your frustrations. I have a small ring in 6.5x55 that does pretty much what you are experiencing, two shots looking good and a third away from the group. I haven't shot it in almost two years because I was pulling my hair out trying to figure it out. I have a couple of 3/4" groups with it, but most are 1 1/4" or greater. I have tried two scopes, lots of handloads, two or three stocks, etc.
    It sounds like you have about run out of things to try and still no acceptable results. You may be right about it not shooting when dirty, some barrels are very finicky. My cousin has a Cooper that goes between 25 and 40 rounds and heads south. Clean it up, and it shoot amazing.
    If I were you, I would try the one-shot, clean break-in method on this one. It may be a case of the fouling layering on top of itself over whatever imperfections the barrel has, and not having a chance to smooth out. You didn't say what you clean with, my recommendation is the "Broz" approach. :) He is a poster on here, and is very sold on Bore-tech Eliminator. The theory says that each bullet smooths the imperfection a bit, but it needs to pass over clean steel instead of the previous fouling. By cleaning after each shot, you are returning it to a consistent condition, and doing the same work each time. My only attempt at this was with my daughters' 7-08. I built a Parker-Hale with a cheap Adams and Bennett barrel and figured it couldn't hurt. There is no way to prove one way or another, but the thing shoots better than I had hoped. I can pretty consistently hit things at long ranges with it, and so far, does not seem to go south due to fouling. It can't hurt to try, and if it doesn't help, then I agree with sending it back. A rifle such as this does need to shoot better than you are seeing.
    After seeing what all you have done, I get a Clinton on this one, "I feel your pain" :) Let us know how it goes, maybe I'll learn something about my troubles.
     
  10. countryrebel

    countryrebel Well-Known Member

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    It's more likely your ammo. Inch groups are good but I do not think 1/2 inch is going to be a deal breaker. My tikka that I had in 243 was a 3/4 inch shooter untill I shot cheap factory ammo in it. Then it shot 1 1/2 groups.
     
  11. Joe King

    Joe King Well-Known Member

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    I agree with Jeff

    Cheap ammo is cheap for a reason, goes bang bullets out the other end, is about all you can expect. Tikka's have their reputation for a reason, you can't feed it the cheapest crap walmart carries and expect premium results, just doesn't work that way. The ammo that you've listed isn't worth buying, you'll get much farther ahead much much faster using A LOT better quality components. Leave your scope alone also, if your poi isn't shifting, and your groups are still 2moa or better your scope is holding zero, it's fine.

    You've already altered your rifle, so if I was Tikka I wouldn't honor it.

    My advice settle down and go get a box of known good ammo (premium) and have your range master or a gunsmith go with you and give you a hand, I'd put money on it that you'll see very very different results.

    don't get me wrong, not trying to jump your case just pointing out that there's a much better way to go about it and it sounds to me like you could use a hand.:)
     
  12. 37L1

    37L1 Well-Known Member

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    Try this:

    Tightening the Action Screws on a T3


    I spoke with a Beretta Tech Support guy last week to ask him what the proper procedure was for tightening the Action Screws on a T3 rifle. He said to first line up the Recoil Lug in the stock to the cutout in the Receiver. Then thread in the Reciever/Action screw and Tang screw and lightly snug these up. He said you should be able to tell if you have the Recoil Lug in the right place during this step. Next, he said to hold the gun muzzle up and tap the butt of the stock on the ground a few times to get the Receiver to seat against the Recoil Lug. While it's seated in it's furthest back position, tighten the front screw first to 51 to 52 in-lb, then tighten the back screw to the same torque.

    I've never taken mine apart yet so I don't know how the whole Recoil Lug thing works.
     
  13. MajorSpittle

    MajorSpittle Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Jeff i think you may have nailed it. I went out this morning and decided to try a couple different things with the Ammo that seemed most promising, the Fusion 150gr.

    I cleaned the barrel good as I always do with hops #9 solvent, then Break Free CLP, then dry patches. I decided not to shoot sitting from my sand bags and instead grabbed one of the ranges cheap plastic rifle rest and shot standing behind the bench from it ( not nearly as stable as my bags ).

    Any how, I did three shots at 5 min intervals, hand loaded, and ran a patch with Break Free up and down the barrel between shots. ~ .6" group with the flyer being along the vertical from most likely the barrel heating.

    Then I cleaned my barrel, BS'd with people 30 min, fired a shot to dirty the barrel then fired a quick 5 round group from my sand bags sitting like I normally do ~ 1 3/4".

    Must confirm if it is my shooting position or the cold clean barrel by repeating this next week changing shooting rests for the Cold Clean barrel shots. If it seems to be the barrel it needs to go back to the Manufacturer IMO, if it is me shooting from the bags I will have to figure out a way to bed the recoil lug and action screws I guess to keep everything tight and inline for the recoil.

    here are the groups:

    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  14. MajorSpittle

    MajorSpittle Well-Known Member

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    THANKS!!!! I will try this, my monkey fisting the action screws could be the problem and I never did tap down the action to make sure it is seated good. Also I know I don't get even torque on both screws because I was taught to always make sure that the front was tight and the rear was firm so that it doesn't put stress on the action or relieve pressure on the front lug. If it is my shooting position that changed the groups this could very well fix that without me trying to glass bed the lug in place. Thanks again.