Mike Powell takes his first foray into .270Win and finds that this week’s Gun of the Week, the Tikka T3X Roughtech, bucks the trend for modern rifles.
A couple of firsts for me here; one being that this is the first T3 I have reviewed and the second is the fact that, despite shooting for more years than I care to remember, this is the first time I’ve tested and fired a .270Win.
Removing the rifle from the packaging I was immediately struck by just how light it was. As the years pass I become more and more interested in the weight of rifles, particularly those that I am likely to carry up and down the hills of Devon.
Weighing the rifle proved the point. Unscoped, it tipped the scales at a meagre 6.5 pounds – about the same as a shotgun – so it is easily a rifle that I can shoot freehand, should the need arise…
In typical Tikka style, the first visual impressions of the Roughtech were of a very straightforward, uncluttered design. Every aspect – apart from the bolt – was black, hence the name – Roughtech Black.
Removing the action from the stock was simple and revealed the very streamlined action design, typical of the brand. The action is only slightly bigger in girth than the barrel itself where it enters the action.
The polymer stock is extremely rigid for one that weighs in at less than two pounds; the surface has a new finish and a rough feel to it, again, hence the name.
This finish offers excellent grip in the wet and also gives a degree of protection to the stock itself. As you would expect from this maker the moulding is of excellent quality.
Bedding is incorporated in the moulding process with a steel recoil lug as part of the main bedding block ensuring a solid action to stock lock up when the two screws securing the stock to the rifle are tightened.
There are a couple of further interesting points about the stock; the first being that the butt is foam filled which helps deaden the sound some hollow stocks can make if knocked and will also give the stock itself some protection in the event of a heavy impact. I was rather intrigued with a screw set into the base of the pistol grip.
A little research showed that it held the pistol grip module itself in place allowing it to be replaced with another should you wish to do a little ‘customising’. Personally, I couldn’t see why one would need to alter the existing set up, as it provided a very comfortable and positive grip in its existing form.
The chequering on the forend was not overdone but again did the job it was designed to do. Apart from a few minimal design moulding features the stock was very uncluttered. There is provision for variations to the width of the forend to be made if required.
Two sling swivel studs come as standard and there is a reasonably thick, black, soft, rubber butt pad, which with the lightness of the rifle ensures absorption of the recoil.
All in all the stock was quite minimalist in its design but did everything required of it very well. With a length of pull that measures 13¾”, it should fit the vast majority of shooters perfectly.
The 20” barrel is screw cut at the factory for a moderator and has six eight-inch flutes cut into it. The very streamlined receiver has a relatively large ejection port and is drilled and tapped for fitting Weaver bases or Picatinny rails for several different scope mountings to be used, as well as the standard dovetails.
The bolt has two substantial locking lugs and extraction is handled by a plunger and single spring-loaded claw extractor let into the rim of the bolt face. The bolt handle is stainless and is finished with a black polymer hollow bolt knob that gives a positive and comfortable grip.
Perfect set up
The bolt body has been given an attractive candy twist finish and at the rear has a black shroud that houses a cocking indicator that protrudes, showing a clear red indicator when the rifle is cocked and ready to fire.
The adjustable trigger is excellent and let off weight can be adjusted from around two to four pounds if required. The trigger itself showed absolutely no creep when used and was as near perfect for a factory-produced unit as you get.
The straightforward safety was the standard, rear safe, forward fire, system, and again there was a red warning dot revealed when the safety was in the fire position.
On the left hand side of the receiver was the bolt release catch. The flush-fitting black polymer magazine was single stack design and in the case of the .270Win held three cartridges.
Overall, I thought the rifle looked functional and was clearly fit for purpose; the next thing was to try it on the range and possibly try for a fox – although this wouldn’t normally be what I would call a foxing calibre.
Tikka check all their rifles for accuracy before they leave the factory so knowing this – and also being aware that Tikka owners seldom if ever complain about the accuracy of their rifles – I couldn’t foresee there being any problems in that direction.
GMK had kindly supplied a couple of boxes of 130 grain Federal Power Shok soft point ammunition for the review so I was really interested to see how it performed. I had little doubt that, should I happen across any of my normal live quarry species, this ammo would take good care of it!
I was using the rifle with the supplied muzzle brake and setting up on my normal 100 yard range when I was once more reminded what a neat package this rifle is.
Many modern rifles are really heavy, although it isn’t personally a problem as almost all of my shooting takes place off either sticks or from the rear window of my truck. So, just for a change, I decided to shoot the rifle using the muzzle brake that comes with it.
The group test
Setting up on the back of my pick up – which provides an excellent and very portable shooting base – it didn’t take long to get the rifle lined up. I always feel it’s a little unfair on the rifle when I only use one type of ammunition because, as a general rule, rifles perform better with some ammunition than others. Federal is very good ammunition but the 130 Power Shoks were all I had.
After initial zeroing I was getting groups that ranged from a fraction over an inch up to 1.30-inches. Bearing in mind this was a new rifle and conditions were not brilliant I though the performance was good, but I have no doubt that trying other ammunition or, better yet, doing a little reloading experimentation could well achieve even better results.
The trigger was a joy to use, although a tad on the heavy side (I didn’t adjust it), and this probably had some effect on the grouping. However, in use the trigger was very good indeed and I am sure anyone who adjusted the trigger to their own liking would agree that it’s as near perfect as you could get from a factory-produced unit.
On the range
Unfortunately I had to settle for paper targets rather than going after roe or a fox as the weather broke and torrential thunderstorms put paid to any sensible shooting. But by this time I had already decided that the Tikka Roughtech was a very desirable rifle. It was light, accurate, easy to maintain and had clearly been designed to suit the serious shooter.
I was only sorry I didn’t have the chance to try it on a deer or fox as I would have been interested to see how the .270Win performed. However, I’m confident that it is more than capable of dealing with anything that I am likely to come across.
The Steiner Ranger scope that came with the rifle proved to be of very good quality and definitely up there among the top makes. I always find comparing scopes to be a real minefield as the vast majority of scopes work perfectly well for most shooters’ needs.
The Steiner – at a little under £1,000 – works just as well as others I’ve used costing twice as much. All I can say about the Steiner Ranger was that the glass was top class and it performed perfectly well for me.
To sum up then, I thought the Roughtech Black was an extremely practical, well-built rifle; I really liked its lightweight design and the fact there were features that could be changed, although if it were mine, apart from dropping the trigger pull weight, I would have left it just as it was.
The build quality and the thought that had gone into its overall design were first class. Having just reviewed a Sako and a Tikka rifle it’s easy to see why these makes have such a following among dedicated shooters.
Hunt it down
Tikka T3X Roughtech Black
Steiner Ranger Scope
01489 579 999
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