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1000yd 6.5mm best choice from Tikka?

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The next purchase is probably a long way off but one can't help the mind frivilously wandering towards "the next step"..

Research suggests a 6.5mm of some sort is a good choice for 1000yd. So far I'm satisfied with my newish .223 Tikka Varmint (some hopefully non-too-serious teething troubles notwithstanding) , plus they're the only manufacturer who do anything interesting / niche / target-centric in a true left-handed format; so please on suggestions of alternatives from other manufacturers ;)

I've been looking at their two more target-oriented T3x models; the Sporter and Tac A1.

As most of you probably already know these guns are based on the same platform and both are available in blued / blacked carbon steel (sadly no stainless option) with 24" threaded barrels. Past this point they begin to differ a fair bit.

Stock: The Sporter has lovely traditionally-styled adjustable laminate woodwork while the Tac is a lot more contemporary with AR-type butt and pistol grip, along with a host of rails around the barrel.
Trigger: The Sporter has the standard single-stage unit found on most Tikkas, while the Tac has the two-stage unit also found on the arctic.
Mag Assy: The Sporter uses the standard plastic Tikka Varmint mags and trigger housing, while the Tac uses the higher-capacity double-stack mags found on the CTR and others.
Scope Mounting: The Sporter has the standard Tikka rails while the Tac has a Picatinny rail fitted.
Calibre: The Sporter is available in (amongst other larger and smaller bores) .260 Rem and 6.5x55 while the only 6.5mm offering for the Tac is the currently trendy 6.5mm Creedmore.
Mass: Somewhat surprisingly given the sizeable stock on the Sporter, it's apparently lighter than the Tac at 4.4kg versus 5.1kg with the longer barrel.
Cost: SGC list the LH Sporter at £1745, while the Tac comes in at £1845, so there's not a whole lot in it.
 

Cherry picking from both I prefer the aesthetic and probably ergonomics of the Sporter stock; especially since I don't think there is a true-LH stock option on the Tac - meaning the comb adjuster knobs may well stick into the face of a leftie. That said having had a play with a Sporter in the flesh a while ago I was a bit disappointed by the very large mag well in the underside of the stock. I also suspect that the stock / action interface might be better on the Tac given that it's a "chassis-based" system. 

I like the two-stage trigger of the Tac, although looking at a picture of the unit I think it's only really a single-stage with a bit of sprung travel to the blade; so potentially nicer in terms of usage but little different in terms of sear engagement / functionality. I've heard tales of the feed lips wearing on the plastic mags so the metal one seems preferable; also for its higher capacity. While I appreciate that the Picatinny rail is more versatile than the standard Tikka setup, I'm very happy with the Optilocks on my Varmint so would be quite happy to go this way again.

Of the three calibres on offer I'd take the Creedmore over the rest as it seems more popular (at least currently) than the .260 and more efficient than both the .260 and the 6.5x55.

Finally, comparing the specs of both guns and their cost the Tac seems to offer a lot more than the Sporter (trigger, mag system, scope rail) for not a whole lot more money; although I suspect the stock of the Sporter adds significantly to its price; since give or take the action appears the same as that of the Varmint; which in a similar format is nearly £700 cheaper!

My head says the Tac but my heart loves the appeal of the Sporter with its proper target stock in the classic 6.5 Swede chambering. Currently my wallet is shouting at them both to Foxtrot Oscar, I have no slot on my ticket and plenty to learn from the .223, so I can't see a purchase of either being imminent.. but I'd love to hear any opinions or experiences of either anyone might like to share ;)

 

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I put a 6.5x47 together using a Tikka M595 off Guntrader for £295, a GRS Hybrid stock ready inletted for £625, and a Lothar 30" 8 twist barrel blank, £300, plus £300 for chambering and proof.

Excellent 1000yd rifle using 123 grain or 136 grain Scenars.

Bear in mind that the 6.5 Swede is an old hunting calibre, and not widely used by the target shooting fraternity.

Re-Pete

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Pete...I'd take a look at all the Scandinavian target shooting disciplines. Short, medium and long range precision stuff, mostly using the excellent Sauer 200 SRT chambered in 6.5x55. Granted it's THEIR local calibre, but if it ain't broke...

In a modern rifle with good Lapua brass, modern powders and 130-140g+ bullets, you'll gain better velocity than the 6.5x47 and 6.5 Creedmoor, and be on par with the .260rem. It is an inherently good design and forgiving to load for and shoot.

The reason for the Creedmoor's success is partly marketing (just such s huge push behind it by Hornady) and the fact that it does maximise what can be done in a  short action IMHO. The 6.5x47 is a wonderful round (I currently load for it myself) but unless you go with one of the few off the shelf rifles (like Sabatti) your only other option is the semi/full custom route. The .260, with long bullets seated out of the powder column, won't really work in a short action magazine. You'll end up having to seat bullets into the powder column or single load. The 6.5x55 is really an intermediate action length...too long for s true short action...so if you do go with the SWEDE, you'll need a medium/long action.

Each has their pros and cons and it's up to you to see which one fits the bill best - long or short action, single feed or magazine fed, off the shelf or semi/full custom etc...Not suggesting the SWEDE is the best of the bunch (not much between them all tbh) but certainly not to be discounted.

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Don't discount the 6.5x55, it's very capable. Have you seen Laurie Hollands' review of the 6.5's . . .

And because it's not fashionable there are some good offers out there. Just a quick scan of Guntrader shows a new Left-hand Tikka T3 Varmint Stainless 6.5x55 for £845, which leaves alot of money from your budget for a new stock. The only drawback I can see is the 20" barrel, but I'm sure there will be other similar offerings out there.

As far as I know the T3 only comes in one action length, they use a stop shorten the bolt stroke for shorter cartridges. So one stock fits all models - as long as it's left hand in your case!

Good luck anyway.

 

Triffid 

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The swede is still a performer, but you certainly won't get the best out of its case capacity from a 20" barrel.

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I love my 6.5CM Tikka TAC 1, but at around the 15lb mark, scoped, and modded, it's not a carry gun. For my at least...

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17 hours ago, Re-Pete said:

I put a 6.5x47 together using a Tikka M595 off Guntrader for £295, a GRS Hybrid stock ready inletted for £625, and a Lothar 30" 8 twist barrel blank, £300, plus £300 for chambering and proof.

Excellent 1000yd rifle using 123 grain or 136 grain Scenars.

Bear in mind that the 6.5 Swede is an old hunting calibre, and not widely used by the target shooting fraternity.

Re-Pete

Thanks - I had considered the custom route but a fairly significant issue for me would be finding a LH action I imagine.

I also like the simplicity of an off-the-shelf option, although granted your custom route has evidently paid dividends with the ability to fit a much longer barrel.

Granted the Swede wasn't created for target use and has an excellent rep as a hunting round, however it was developed for a military application and I believe is looked on favourably on account of its accuracy.
 

16 hours ago, Catch-22 said:

Pete...I'd take a look at all the Scandinavian target shooting disciplines. Short, medium and long range precision stuff, mostly using the excellent Sauer 200 SRT chambered in 6.5x55. Granted it's THEIR local calibre, but if it ain't broke...

In a modern rifle with good Lapua brass, modern powders and 130-140g+ bullets, you'll gain better velocity than the 6.5x47 and 6.5 Creedmoor, and be on par with the .260rem. It is an inherently good design and forgiving to load for and shoot.

The reason for the Creedmoor's success is partly marketing (just such s huge push behind it by Hornady) and the fact that it does maximise what can be done in a  short action IMHO. The 6.5x47 is a wonderful round (I currently load for it myself) but unless you go with one of the few off the shelf rifles (like Sabatti) your only other option is the semi/full custom route. The .260, with long bullets seated out of the powder column, won't really work in a short action magazine. You'll end up having to seat bullets into the powder column or single load. The 6.5x55 is really an intermediate action length...too long for s true short action...so if you do go with the SWEDE, you'll need a medium/long action.

Each has their pros and cons and it's up to you to see which one fits the bill best - long or short action, single feed or magazine fed, off the shelf or semi/full custom etc...Not suggesting the SWEDE is the best of the bunch (not much between them all tbh) but certainly not to be discounted.

Thanks for the above - I'm always skeptical of the "latest great thing" and I'd guess that the short action compatibility doesn't matter for most of us on this side of the pond, unless you're allergic to longer bolt strokes.

That said having run through all the load data on the Vihtavuori website the CM seems to be quite a bit more efficient than the Swede (around 10% on aggregated load data, I'm guessing because of the latter's greater case volume); which rightly or wrongly suggests to me greater barrel life for the CM.

I've yet to compare the load data from the .260, however I think this is a bit less efficient than the CM too, while it seems to be falling out of favour on this side of the pond. There's a lot of hype surrounding the CM currently but that of course is no guarantee of longevity. It does seem to be perhaps the most well-rounded and appealing of the "middling" 6.5mm cartridges though, and seems to have been fairly widely adopted so I think once the hype has died down it will still be carried by its legitimate merits.
 

15 hours ago, Triffid said:

Don't discount the 6.5x55, it's very capable. Have you seen Laurie Hollands' review of the 6.5's . . .

And because it's not fashionable there are some good offers out there. Just a quick scan of Guntrader shows a new Left-hand Tikka T3 Varmint Stainless 6.5x55 for £845, which leaves alot of money from your budget for a new stock. The only drawback I can see is the 20" barrel, but I'm sure there will be other similar offerings out there.

As far as I know the T3 only comes in one action length, they use a stop shorten the bolt stroke for shorter cartridges. So one stock fits all models - as long as it's left hand in your case!

Good luck anyway.

 

Triffid 

Thanks - I read through Part 1 of of Laurie's epic last night and am picking through part 2 now. Interesting stuff, if somewhat complex in terms of all the variants available. I thought the Scandinavians were unique in their adoption of the high-SD 6.5mm rounds, but evidently they were investigated by a lot of Governments at the end of the 19th century.

I too saw the T3 and was a little tempted, although as you suggest IMO the 20" barrel is a bit on the short side. That aside though I could still stick a GRS stock on it and have change from the price of a Sporter.. although somehow this doesn't appeal as much.

You're correct about the action lengths so the stocks could indeed be swapped around; presuming the bottom metal / mag formats are the same.
 

15 hours ago, baldie said:

The swede is still a performer, but you certainly won't get the best out of its case capacity from a 20" barrel.

Thanks - I thought similar. I'm happy with the 20" barrel on the .223 but if going larger I'd definitely want the longer tube.

14 hours ago, chaz said:

I love my 6.5CM Tikka TAC 1, but at around the 15lb mark, scoped, and modded, it's not a carry gun. For my at least...

Ta - that sounds like a lot of gun! I bet the weight brings benefits during use though. Is there anything you don't like about it?

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Not sure where people think the supposed "hype" around the creedmoor is coming from ?

The cartridge has been around since 2007. I built one of the very first in the UK, and in that time, think I have worn out several reamers.

It is without a doubt, the most popular cartridge today.

Yes, it was slow in the early years, and I have to admit, I kept quiet about it, simply because it was so good, and a real breath of fresh air at the side of the .260.

Its old ground, but the cartridge, to me, has no drawbacks at all. Not something you can say about any of the other 6.5 chambering really.

1 . It was designed from the ground up to have a similar performance to the .260, but with a better shoulder and neck length. 

2. It was designed to take a 120 and 140 grain, secant ogive bullet, and put it onto the lands, out of the industry std AI length magazine.

3. No feed issues.

4. Short action, .308 bolt faced Action.

5. Good choice of brass now.

6. Will run on a wide variety of powders

7. Will run adequately on a 20" barrel, though a bit more length never hurts if real long range is the goal. My last barrel was 20" and I shot it to 1000 yards happily.

8. Reasonable barrel life, certainly no less than any of the others.

9. A wide variety of factory ammunition, should one not reload.

I also love the 6.5 x47. I've just put a new barrel on one of my AX's, but specifically for 123's, which I have always liked. I run heavier 140's etc in the creedmoor.

The .260, 6.5 x 47, and the swede are all excellent rounds, but do not fulfil the 9 points above, in one respect or another.

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2 hours ago, baldie said:

Not sure where people think the supposed "hype" around the creedmoor is coming from ?

The cartridge has been around since 2007. I built one of the very first in the UK, and in that time, think I have worn out several reamers.

It is without a doubt, the most popular cartridge today.

Yes, it was slow in the early years, and I have to admit, I kept quiet about it, simply because it was so good, and a real breath of fresh air at the side of the .260.

Its old ground, but the cartridge, to me, has no drawbacks at all. Not something you can say about any of the other 6.5 chambering really.

1 . It was designed from the ground up to have a similar performance to the .260, but with a better shoulder and neck length. 

2. It was designed to take a 120 and 140 grain, secant ogive bullet, and put it onto the lands, out of the industry std AI length magazine.

3. No feed issues.

4. Short action, .308 bolt faced Action.

5. Good choice of brass now.

6. Will run on a wide variety of powders

7. Will run adequately on a 20" barrel, though a bit more length never hurts if real long range is the goal. My last barrel was 20" and I shot it to 1000 yards happily.

8. Reasonable barrel life, certainly no less than any of the others.

9. A wide variety of factory ammunition, should one not reload.

I also love the 6.5 x47. I've just put a new barrel on one of my AX's, but specifically for 123's, which I have always liked. I run heavier 140's etc in the creedmoor.

The .260, 6.5 x 47, and the swede are all excellent rounds, but do not fulfil the 9 points above, in one respect or another.

Thanks for the comprehensive argument! As for hype, the 6.5CM is all over the net and seems to be the cartridge of the moment; not to suggest that the attention it's getting isn't deserved.

I'd already pretty much settled on the CM as the ideal mid-range 6.5mm cartridge in isolation for some of the reasons you describe although hadn't considered some of the others you've mentioned - such as the throat dims. Just out of interest why would you suggest that the sharper shoulder angle is "better"? Are you considering this form the perspective of case capacity or are there other reasons?

Perhaps it's time to fire Tikka a message to see if they plan to do the Sporter in 6.5mm.. they seem to have a fairly arbitrary selection of features for some guns and really all they'd have to do would be to pinch a CM barrel from another mode - the rest of the gun would be .308 I believe.

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I think the reality is...pick one, shoot it, master it and enjoy it.

Any of the above will suit your middle/long range needs, especially transitioning from a .223. And any of them will do it to the levels of accuracy (and ease of reloading) that 99% of shooters can realistically achieve - myself included. 

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6 hours ago, clover said:

Thanks - I had considered the custom route but a fairly significant issue for me would be finding a LH action I imagine.

I also like the simplicity of an off-the-shelf option, although granted your custom route has evidently paid dividends with the ability to fit a much longer barrel.

Granted the Swede wasn't created for target use and has an excellent rep as a hunting round, however it was developed for a military application and I believe is looked on favourably on account of its accuracy.
 

Thanks for the above - I'm always skeptical of the "latest great thing" and I'd guess that the short action compatibility doesn't matter for most of us on this side of the pond, unless you're allergic to longer bolt strokes.

That said having run through all the load data on the Vihtavuori website the CM seems to be quite a bit more efficient than the Swede (around 10% on aggregated load data, I'm guessing because of the latter's greater case volume); which rightly or wrongly suggests to me greater barrel life for the CM.

I've yet to compare the load data from the .260, however I think this is a bit less efficient than the CM too, while it seems to be falling out of favour on this side of the pond. There's a lot of hype surrounding the CM currently but that of course is no guarantee of longevity. It does seem to be perhaps the most well-rounded and appealing of the "middling" 6.5mm cartridges though, and seems to have been fairly widely adopted so I think once the hype has died down it will still be carried by its legitimate merits.
 

Thanks - I read through Part 1 of of Laurie's epic last night and am picking through part 2 now. Interesting stuff, if somewhat complex in terms of all the variants available. I thought the Scandinavians were unique in their adoption of the high-SD 6.5mm rounds, but evidently they were investigated by a lot of Governments at the end of the 19th century.

I too saw the T3 and was a little tempted, although as you suggest IMO the 20" barrel is a bit on the short side. That aside though I could still stick a GRS stock on it and have change from the price of a Sporter.. although somehow this doesn't appeal as much.

You're correct about the action lengths so the stocks could indeed be swapped around; presuming the bottom metal / mag formats are the same.
 

Thanks - I thought similar. I'm happy with the 20" barrel on the .223 but if going larger I'd definitely want the longer tube.

Ta - that sounds like a lot of gun! I bet the weight brings benefits during use though. Is there anything you don't like about it?

You're right, the extra weight was appreciated when shooting at distance.

As regards to negatives, i can only think of 2 and i only suffered the one. The magazine bluing wears off very quickly, and if you forget to wipe it over with a lightly oiled rag after a days shooting, it goes orange very quick. Which i found out after one cleaning session after a few days in the cabinet...

The other is something along the lines of how the shoulder is cut, when the muzzle is screw-cut for a moderator. Some moderators, (even when screwed on correctly) go out on concentric. Causing bullets to strike the baffles, and the obvious poor grouping that goes with it. I use an Aim-Zonic Predator and have had no issues. However, there is another member on here who bought the same gun and mod as me as he had some right problems. I believe he changed moderators, and all was well after that. He's VarmLR, incase you need to give he a pm. He knows more about it than me. I must admit, even with the mag rusting, and the all up weight, i love my TAC 1, and don't see myself getting rid of it any time soon!

Cheers

Chaz. 

 

 

 

 

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22 hours ago, Catch-22 said:

I think the reality is...pick one, shoot it, master it and enjoy it.

Any of the above will suit your middle/long range needs, especially transitioning from a .223. And any of them will do it to the levels of accuracy (and ease of reloading) that 99% of shooters can realistically achieve - myself included. 

Absolutely - might as well pick the best (subjectively and objectively) though!

21 hours ago, chaz said:

You're right, the extra weight was appreciated when shooting at distance.

As regards to negatives, i can only think of 2 and i only suffered the one. The magazine bluing wears off very quickly, and if you forget to wipe it over with a lightly oiled rag after a days shooting, it goes orange very quick. Which i found out after one cleaning session after a few days in the cabinet...

The other is something along the lines of how the shoulder is cut, when the muzzle is screw-cut for a moderator. Some moderators, (even when screwed on correctly) go out on concentric. Causing bullets to strike the baffles, and the obvious poor grouping that goes with it. I use an Aim-Zonic Predator and have had no issues. However, there is another member on here who bought the same gun and mod as me as he had some right problems. I believe he changed moderators, and all was well after that. He's VarmLR, incase you need to give he a pm. He knows more about it than me. I must admit, even with the mag rusting, and the all up weight, i love my TAC 1, and don't see myself getting rid of it any time soon!

Cheers

Chaz.

Thanks for your thoughts.

The bluing issue in wear areas doesn't really concern me; however I recall reading about the corrosion issue and that puts me right off tbh. I'm quite astonished by the tales of how readily these guns apparently corrode. Corrosion resistance wasn't at the top of my list of reasons for going Stainless (yeah, I know it can still oxidise) however it reinforces my choice and makes me a little disappointed that the TAC A1 and Sporter are only available in carbon steel. 

On the subject of corrosion, how do you find the stock on the TAC for attending to the finish? The accessory rail / shroud / handgrip around the barrel looks to be a bit of a nightmare from the perspective of cleaning / oiling the finish; although I'm guessing it comes off via the two bolts at it's bottom near the breech..?

I also remember reading about the sholder issue - IIRC this is only a problem on the guns with 5/8 UNF(?) threads at the muzzle (CTR and the TAC series I think). The thread on my Varmint is M18x1 and appears to have an appropriate undercut; while I can screw the thread protector on both ways around (it's threaded all the way to the front) suggesting no issues with the base of the the thread.

Glad you're happy with yours!

 

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Clearly you've missed the point.

The point is; your question is the same question that's been asked many many times before. There is no 'this is THE best' because if there was there wouldn't be any need for more people to ask the same question over and over again.

In all reality, there is no one definitive best of the lot. If you're hoping for a definitive clear cut answer to one over the others...you're not gonna get it. However, be rest assured that with any of the cited options you'll be laughing all the way out to 1000m+ with the ease by which you're doing it.

If you already feel there is or are leaning towards a choice (you've said a few times before that the 6.5 CM appeals) then more power to you...go get it and enjoy. 

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I was talking to another member of my club today. He recently bought a used Tikka T3 in 6.5x55 with the 20" barrel. On its first outing, he used it sucessfully in challenging wind conditions at 1000X on Stickledown, with factory PPU ammunition.

The availability of a range of factory ammunition at reasonable price is another good thing about the 6.5x55.

 

Triffid

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Don't forget the T3X Varmint if you can live with a synthetic stock, available in 260 and 6.5X55mm with a 600mm barrel length option.

Alan Seagrave has used the older T3 Varmint / 600mm / 6.5X55mm to frequently win the 1,000 yard Factory Rifle Class in benchrest matches at Diggle for some time now and has shown it is competitive against rifles like the Savage 12 'Precision' in its 6.5-284 F-Class and 6mm BR Benchrest versions at this distance.

(The Savage 12s are another option for 1,000 yard out of the box performance, the two mentioned above, 12 FTR in 308, and LRP (Long Range Precision) in 260 or 6.5 Creedmoor. Sadly they're nothing like as cheap as they were some years ago when we first saw them here.

The F-Class, BR, and FTR are single-shot jobs with 30-inch barrels; the LRP a DB magazine with 26-inch barrel.)

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