Well the Tikkas set a pretty high standard for smooth feeling actions. I wouldn't necessarily allow that to sway me away from any custom action. I own two BAT HR actions that have both been melonite treated, and I couldn't say that the BATs are clearly any smoother in function than my Tikka T3s. The action on T3s are so slick that simply tipping the rifle forward with an open bolt will result in the bolt sliding to the forward-most position.Had one guy tell me he thought his tikka was smoother than the Borden action he had.
I have experience with both. I don't judge an Actions quality and performance by how "slick" it is. Yes, some factory Actions may feel real smooth, but you have to look at the other factors that effect precision. Tikka is not close to any of the custom Actions in my opinion.
You're absolutely right, Tikkas as are no junk!I have two Borden rifles, a Timberline Magnum (300 RUM) and Alpine Magnum (270 WSM) and two Tikka T-3's (.204 and 270 win). As far as 'smooth' or 'slick', those are relative terms. The Tikka is incredibly smooth (both of them) the bolt will easily slide back and forth by it's own weight. The Borden's are very smooth as well, as close to perfectly machined as I have ever seen, but the tolerances are significantly tighter. They are both very 'smooth' and 'slick', and exude as fine of craftsmanship as I have ever observed on a rifle.
I certainly would not call the Tikka junk by any means. In fact, I believe it is the best value in a bolt action rifle available today. The 270 I mentioned is actually my sons' which I bought him for his 12th birthday. During load development, I had three different seating depths with a starting load of Varget under a 110gr Barnes TTSX. Two of three loads were at or under 1/2" (3 shot) at 100 yds. I have never had a bolt action shoot so well out of the box without tinkering (and many more that I could never get to truly acceptable accuracy levels). For this reason, I have pretty much given up on factory rifles lately.
If you can get that Borden at a decent price, go for it. They are everything people say about them.