Tikka T3 CTR 6.5 Creedmoor + Swarovski Z8i = One Fine Hunting Rig

As a gun writer with many years under my belt, I have looked through a lot of scopes and it still amazes me how bright and clear the Swarovski...
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    Tikka T3 CTR 6.5 Creedmoor + Swarovski Z8i = One Fine Hunting Rig

    I sighted the rifle in with Hornady 140 Amax rounds. The end result was one ragged hole with one slight flyer. This test and evaluation was turning out to be very interesting. I cleaned the barrel well to prepare for more shooting.

    The stack of ammunition used in this test.

    The next day I pulled together all my 6.5 Creedmoor ammunition as seen in the photo. Each brand and type was given a chance to shoot the best five shot group. Each group was allowed one flyer which would not be measured in overall size of the group, after all I can occasionally pull one. If I felt I was not shooting my best, I re-shot a couple of groups. This Tikka rifle was a real shooter. There were no groups over one inch and most groups were around three fourths of an inch. The best group was using the Nosler 140grain match ammunition, .338 of an inch. The best hunting round was the 143 grain ELDX by Hornady. So it only made sense to order the custom turret from Swarovski for this round.

    Changing out the turret was easy as pushing a button on top to the turret, lifting the cap off and removing the MOA ring. I just slipped the new ring onto the turret and set it at 100, put the cap back in place and I was ready to go. I checked the 100 yard zero and it was right on the mark. It was time to bang some steel at distance.

    Set up to shoot at 400 yards

    The way I do this is by pulling a custom made trailer which has a shooting bench attached and is able to be leveled. The steel plates are set at the bottom of the back of a pond dam. My first stop was at 300 yards.

    My first three shots with the Hornady 143 ELDX were dead center and a little less the ½ MOA. Next I moved the rig out to just less than 400 yards. The group remained about ½ MOA with one flyer which I called.

    I have found that the Hornady ELD bullets quite often are more accurate at the longer distances. Hornady claims that they are more stable at the longer distances. The accuracy difference is not much and may not be even noticed by the average shooter.
    Jul 20, 2017 | Updated: Aug 1, 2017

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  1. the_ace41
    I would just like to add some of my experiences with the CTR. I have an older version the T3 that is chambered in 260. In case this helps someone, I put a boyds pro varmint stock on mine and I modified it to take the CTR bottom metal, which I recommend just switching to an aftermarket bottom metal that accepts the AI mags. however my setup works well. I pillar bedded the stock. I hand load and I have found so far that my favorite load is a 120 grain Hornady eld-m with 39 grains of varget powder, also using Hornady brass. I resize with a Forster sizer die and I use a regular RCBS seater die. I use CCI primers. I have found with this load at 100 yards my smallest groups are one hole groups to the largest being about .6 MOA. For hunting I can switch to a Barnes Triple X. I get my best groups before the barrel gets too fouled up and dirty ofcourse. I clean with a boresnake and butch's bore shine. I run it after every 30 rounds or so. At 200 yards I am droping 3 inches or less with sub MOA groups. I really like this rifle and the load that I have settled on. As far as factory ammo goes I have tried the Federal premiums with good results. When handloading I have found that sizing the brass right makes a huge difference aswell as trimming well. I do not turn brass. I do anneal occassionally. You do not want the cartridge to be too tight in the chamber. I like the hornady one shot lube but you really have to make sure you get it wet enough. Love my Forster sizer die, very coencentric. Thanks for reading and great luck to you!
    1. olsingleshot
      Thanks for your experience and observations. It sounds like what works with your rifle. I have three custom T3's that are extremely accurate including one built by GA Precision.
  2. olsingleshot
    I left the "X" off the rifle description. It should have been "Tikka T3X" all through the article. I guess I have too many T3's.