New Tikka T-3
I got a cost-of-living retirement check and went shopping for a new rifle. At Cabelas, I found a .243 Win, Tikka T-3 Lite for $549 and couldn't pass it up.
I'm very impressed with the rifle, especially the stiffness of the synthetic stock and the accuracy it affords. The bedding system uses an imbedded steel recoil plate that fits tightly into a notch in the forward part of the receiver. The action goes into the stock snugly. A T-Wrench is supplied for the Torx action screws and it's possible to tighten the screws well and there
is very little stock compression.
Using an old Bushnell 3-9X scope and after adjusting the trigger to 3.5 lbs, I was getting 5/8" groups with my Hornady 80 grain, GMX hunting load at 100 yards. The GMX bullets are very hard-hitting and work well on deer. The scope is crappy, so I ordered a new Leupold 3-9x for it.
The bore is very smooth and has a slight tight spot at the muzzle, just like my older Tikka 595 (.223 Rem). Barrels that have tighter muzzles are usually more accurate than those that have the same internal diameter and something that many custom gunsmiths seek.
The rifle seemed to be a bit light at the rear, but after mounting the scope, it's well-balanced at the front screw. The detachable magazine works better than the one on the 595, having a stronger spring and better follower.
This rifle will be used somewhat by my teen and subteen grand-kids for deer under 200 yards. The deer around here are generally under 160 lbs and the kids are very good shots. I'll use it for a walkabout rifle in the off-season, should coyotes or other large varmints be encountered on the property. With scope, it weighs one pound less than the little .243 Win, Handi-Rifle it's going to replace.
Bottom Line: I'd recommend this rifle to anyone wanting a very accurate, fairly light rifle. It feels better to me and seems to function better than other fairly low-priced rifles I considered, including Weatherby Vanguard, Ruger American, Remington 700 ADL/SPS, Howa, and TC Venture.
People are like rifles. Some are tried and true, having great eyes, personality, and fun to be with. Others never seem to hit the mark with you. Still others go off half-cocked. Still, it's nice to know most of them.