Tikka T3X CTR 6.5 Creedmoor + Swarovski Z8i = One Fine Hunting Rig
By John Johnston

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My day started off as I sat down at my shooting bench inside my reloading room. There beside me was a rifle rack with three scoped rifles ready to be test fired for groups. The target is 116 yards down range. I do have a bench at 100 yards. The testing went well. The weather was a little cool even for Texas but I limited each rifle to five rounds before it was returned to the rack to cool off. The third rifle to be shot that morning was a new Tikka T3 CTR in 6.5 Creedmoor. It was topped with the Swarovski Z8I. As I settled down behind the rifle and lined up the target I mumbled to myself "WOW". 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 optics are in any light conditions. I know there are a few scopes being made today that are just as clear but I do not know of any that surpass Swarovski. But we will get to the scope in a minute.


The test today was really of the Tikka T3 CTR which was new when I started this project. At first look it appears to be like the old Tikka T3, but I looked closer. The action is still very slick, like butter. The stock has been altered some with a changeable pistol grip, better recoil pad and foam in the stock to aid in reducing felt recoil. The action which is slightly wider than the older T3, has an enlarged ejection port which also aids when you want to load single shots. The bolt shroud is now metal. It was previously made of plastic and I personally have changed a few out after the plastic one split. The action is fed with a detachable clip, which I prefer in my rifles.

The CTR I chose is stainless steel, weighs in at 7.5 pounds and has a light 20" varmint contour barrel which is turned (5/8 x 24) at the muzzle for a brake or suppressor and comes with a thread protector. The trigger broke at just less three pounds which is good for me and I am particular about the triggers on my rifles. You can purchase an aftermarket spring for a few dollars that will lower the trigger pull to about two and one half pounds. Overall Tikka guarantees the rifle to shoot sub moa. That was to be tested soon.