“The Best Rifle I Have Ever Shot” – By Joseph Klan

19

Dec
2013
Posted By : Jason McHann 7Comment
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     "The Best Rifle I Have Ever Shot"  

By Joseph Klan

 

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        My name is Joseph Klan and I own a Tikka T3 lite chambered in 30-06. I purchased this rifle two years ago for deer hunting in New York State. Not too many long range shots and thick brush does not warrant long barrels. I was at a local gun store and was checking every rifle that I could. All of the fancy high end rifles (with high end prices) didn't impress me. Loose actions, and bolts that felt like someone dumped sand in the breach. Then I checked a Sako and it felt wonderful. Weight and balance and the action was butter smooth. The trigger was perfect and precise.

        Then I saw the price and thought well in comparison to the other big name custom shop crap I thought if I could afford it I would buy that one. My friend behind the counter said try a Tikka, it’s a poor mans Sako. I said no way it’s as good. Well it felt exactly the same and I fell in love with it.

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        Would you believe I had that salesman and a few others tell me that the barrel is to short or its nice but too lite and flimsy? Or why don't you get a model 700 like everyone else. Oh, you mean the one with the action that fires whenever it wants to? Or the one that weighs 3 more pounds and requires force to push the bolt forward? No way!!!

        I purchased it and mounted a plain Jane Nikon BDC 12 power scope. I shoot Barnes vortex 180 grain bullets (150 for whitetail). Since my purchase I have laid to rest and devoured 1 Arkansas whitetail at 109 yards, and it drove it into the ground, and two Wyoming elk. Last year just after my friend/guide was done breaking my stones about the size and caliber of my rifle I shot a 6×6 elk at 265 yards quartered away in a 20 knot cross wind and it hunched up like a cat and flipped forward. It was dead before it hit the ground. Needless to say my friend said how impressed he was with the rifle after that and I haven't heard him say a bad thing about it since.

        This year I was out in Wyoming again but had a cow tag and went out with another friend looking. We found two calves a CIA and a spike standing 496 yards away slightly downhill from us. I was on one ridge shooting across a ravine to another hill. My friend asked “how are you at 500 yard shots?" my answer was “I'll tell you in a minute”.

        I threw my backpack on the ground and utilized that old Marine Corps training (I served twice, once in desert storm in 91 and again in Iraq in 2003), breath control, sight alignment, sight picture, and shot. Now the cow was quartered towards me so my aim point was right on the shoulder and I sent a round down range and it hit low about three inches behind and about 4 inches low of my aim point. The elk hunched up and took two steps and stopped so I knew it was hurting. Trusting my set up and ability I sent another round down range, no hit? Another and again no hit? Now I'm upset because I don't like to miss and I don't want the animal to suffer. So I stop and reset and find that I was aiming high through my 400 yard ring. STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!! So I told my buddy hang on, I screwed up, I got this now. He said OK but aim a little high just in case. (Never take advice from someone who doesn't know your ability or rifle). Well now that I have the correct aim point and some rejuvenated self-confidence, I settled in for the shot, exhaled and squeezed. I aimed for the top of her shoulder fired and what seemed like three seconds later it hit EXACTLY where I was aiming.

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        She fell over like a manikin in a wind storm. Now I'm curious to find your opinion on a Tikka long range caliber that I can reach out even further. Like a 7mm or something flat shooting in that realm. Although I love my Barnes Vortex, I am open to your input on ammo as well. I will stand on a soap box and preach to anyone and everyone about my little 30-06 Tikka T3 lite.


 

Al Quast’s .284 Winchester Throws Down the Hammer!

01

Aug
2013
Posted By : Jason McHann 4Comment
Al Quast's .284 Right Side

August 2013 Tikka of the Month

Al Quast, or YukonAl as he is known here at TikkaShooters.com, has been an integral member of the forum since its inception.  Al has provided thousands of Tikka Shooters words of wisdom from his vast library of shooting knowledge.  He is an accomplished marksman, winning matches with factory Tikka T3s.  Currently, his favorite competitive stick is the last, new Tikka T3 Super Varmint sold in America – chambered in .223 Remington. 

Early last year, Al told me he was working on a custom .284 built on a Tikka T3 action.  Seeing as this was the exact project I was wanting to build, I was all ears to learn what he was going to do. 

Through some strokes of luck, Al was able to acquire 5 Tikka T3 donor actions to build with to his heart’s content.

Al Quast The Project Begins

This action started its life as a .270 Winchester.  The long action caliber saved time since no modification of the bolt stop would be necessary to take advantage of the additional overall length the 284 would require for maximum performance.

Here is a shot of the completed barreled action ready to be bead blasted.  The trigger was adjusted to 1-1/2#.  Now the long wait for the McMillan – Sako Varmint Pattern Stock.

Al Quast - Barreled Action

As anyone who has ever built a new toy knows, the waiting is the hardest part.  But 4 weeks from this point, a package arrived and the finished product was put together.

Al Quast .284 Left Side

At this point Al just started to tease me with photos of the finished product, stories of how easy load development was, and of course proof of how accurate the rifle was.

Al Quast .284 Group

“Well, I've been fire-forming the first 100 WIN brass with 168 VLD's, and had 25 left-after I finished load work with the 168's. So I just threw some 5 shot loads together with the 180's (which I originally intended on using).

I have a match chamber, and when I sized, I sized to SAAMI specs-1.802" headspace (datum). All my fired cases are measuring 1.800" at the datum. So now I know why several cases damn near needed a hammer to close the bolt on, during fire forming. I didn't know if it was necks, or what. Well, at least I got all that crap done. Now I can size with .001" bump, and load 'em up and play. They'll all be concentric, and should shoot well…”

Judge for yourself but I think this rifle is a shooter.

Al Quast's .284 Hog

“Shot the .284 again at 400 yesterday on some life-size animal targets. Prone, in the snow, Harris bipod, no rear rest. 10 for 3" on the coyote, 10 for 1-1/2" on the deer. It's the real deal. I'm loving it! Now the fun starts…TX in Jan., maybe back down in Feb., or who knows where. Someplace else in March. But rest assured, it'll be bloody by spring.”

“I chrono'ed the 168's at 2800 fps.  The 180s go between 2600, and 2700 depending on powder selection”

Well, Al, now I need to catch up to you and screw my .284 together.  Thank you for sharing your project and knowledge with the TikkaShooters.com community.

Al Quast's .284 Right Side

Materials List:

Action – Tikka T3

Recoil Lug – Al's own lug design

Trigger – Stock tuned to 1-1/2#

Barrel – Kreiger 1 in 9 twist finished to 26”

Stock – McMillan A3

Brake – Vais

Rail – Talley

Rings – Night Force

Magazine – Standard Tikka Long Action

Brass – Winchester .284

Bullet – 168 and 180 Berger VLDs

Powder – H4831sc and V560

Primers – Federal 210M

 

As promised to all Tikka of the Month owners, Al will receive some Tikka Shooters swag from our grab bag.  If you have a great Tikka project or even just a Tikka story you would like to share, send your request to content@tikkashooters.com.  You and your gun could be immortalized in the digital annals!

Tikka T3 Tactical – Sniper Central

26

Jun
2013
Posted By : Jason McHann 2Comment
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Tikka T3 Tactical

 

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Caliber:

.223 Rem

.308 Win (7.62x51mm NATO)

300 Win Mag

Barrel: Heavy, Cold Hammer Forged – threaded
Barrel Length: 20" (508mm), 24" (610mm) - test rifle was 24"
Twist:

223 – RH 1:8"

308 Win & 300WM – 1:11"

Empty Weight (no optics):

8.0 lbs. (3.6 kg) – 20"

8.14 lbs. (3.7 kg) – 24"

Overall Length:

40.16" (1020mm) – 20"

43.75" (1110mm) – 24"

Magazine: 4-6 rounds (depending on cartridge)
Trigger: Single Stage
Stock: Synthetic, adjustable cheek piece and length of pull
Finish: Teflon bolt, parkerized barreled action
Price: Approx – $1,300

 

Snipercentral.com

Note: Tikka T3 Tactical was awarded the 2006 Rifle of the Year award by the American Rifleman magazine.

Tikka is a Finnish company that has been making rifles for a long time. Their recent T3 offering has made quite a stir in the hunting rifle market, as these rifles are built right alongside the much more expensive Sako rifles, are extremely smooth functioning and come from the factory with a 1 MOA guarantee. Not bad for a rifle that costs less than your average Remington 700 BDL. Tikka also makes a Varmint rifle that is available in a number of calibers not available in most varmint rifles, though the USA importer, Beretta USA, only imports the .223, .22-250 and 308 into the USA. Then there is the Tactical rifle which we are reviewing here. This rifle is not just a varmint rifle with a matte blue finish, but is a whole new offering, and as such, costs about twice as much as their varmint rifle and has some "real" tactical features. Because their hunting rifles carry a 1 MOA accuracy guarantee, I was hopeful that their heavy barrel tactical rifle would be able to do considerably better than that.

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A 20" and 24" barrel is available on the T3 tactical; we ordered one with a 24" barrel. The T3 Tactical has a fully adjustable stock including an adjustable cheek-piece that adjusts up and down after loosening the hand knob on the side of the butt stock, and then raising or lowering the cheek-piece to the desired position and then tightening the knob back up. The length of pull is adjusted by adding or removing spacers. The pistol grip area has a slight palm swell that helps fill the palm. The palm swell is not as thick as the palm swell on the HS stocks found on the Remington 700P, which may or may not fit your hand better. I would like to see a bit more vertical profile to the pistol grip though.

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The forearm area of the stock is a semi-wide beavertail style with a slight slant to it. This provides a fairly solid forward rest area that can be slid forward or back along the rest to raise or lower the point of aim. Honestly I seldom use that feature on any rifle, as a squeeze of the sand sock is easier and more logical in shooting situations. The material that the stock is made out of is a synthetic of some flavor that is great in all weather conditions, but the texture is a bit too smooth for my liking. With face paint and sweat, one may have some issue with your cheek sliding on the cheek-piece a bit, though with a clean and dry cheek, it was no problem. There is texturing on the pistol grip and forearm area that does offer some all-weather griping in those areas, but overall, it is not as nice as a HS stock. All the desired features you want are on the stock, but I don't like the layout as much as a HS or McMillan stock, but it does get the job done.

One feature I do really like on the stock is all the positions for the sling studs. The studs thread into metal threaded mount points in the stock and there are various positions all around the stock. The traditional positions under the forearm and butt stock, as well as positions on both sides of the forearm and butt stocks. This provides a lot of flexibility on how to arrange your sling & bipods. You simply need to remove the Allen screw that is there as a plug, and screw in the swivel stud. Here is a picture of the bipod mounted on the forward stud as well as a sling swivel on the side.

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The action is a traditional T3 action, which is enclosed all the way around except for the ejection port. The action is noted for being very smooth, and I concur. The action is VERY smooth and we had no failures of any sort when testing the rifle. The bolt handle is normal size with a tapered shape. The safety is on the side of the action and easy to reach and operate with the thumb. The rifle uses a detachable single stack magazine that is synthetic (plastic). Plastic things on a rifle make us a little nervous, but it held up fine in our tests. It does hold five rounds of 308, and most importantly it functioned perfectly. In fact, the action fed extremely smooth from the magazine, which impressed me. The action also fed fine with hand fed single loadings not using the magazine. One thing I did note is that you MUST insure the magazine is locked in 100%. A couple of times, until I figured this out, the front of the magazine did not latch, and the first round fed fine, then upon firing the magazine would drop from the rifle. I learned that you simply must insure that the magazine "snaps" into place, this is most easily accomplished by applying pressure toward the front of the magazine when placing it in the rifle.

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The rifle comes with a nice picatinny rail already mounted to the rifle. You can remove it and use the standard Tikka groves and Tikka specific rings, but I think that would be unwise. The trigger is wide with groves in it, much like a Remington and was set from the factory at 3 lbs. In fact, the trigger was a very nice treat compared with 95% of the triggers that come on factory rifles. There was no take-up, and the break was nice and crisp. The bolt release is located on the left side of the action and functions as one would expect.

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The barrel on the rifle is a hammer forged medium weight barrel. It has a 1:11" twist which is odd for a factory rifle, but ideal for 175gr ammo. The overall rifle package seems to be thought out well in many of these little ways. The muzzle comes from the factory threaded for a suppressor or muzzle brake (available for sale separately, and not evaluated in this review). This is another nice tactical touch for a factory rifle. One thing that is odd that you will not see on many rifles is that near the muzzle, starting maybe 6-7" from the muzzle, the barrel actually gets thicker. If you look closely in some of the pictures of the rifle, you will see it. I can only assume this was done to support the weight of a suppressor. Though I may be wrong! Honestly, I don't know if this is good or bad in terms of muzzle whip or harmonics, though I figure Tikka would know best how it affects accuracy.

For the shooting evaluation of the rifle, we mounted a Mueller 3-10x44mm TacII scope with a set of Warne Tactical rings on top of the factory provided rail. Now, I don't know if this is typical, or if we were extremely lucky, but I am not kidding when I say we mounted everything up, then bore sighted and everything looked good as is and I made NO adjustments to the scope. So, with the scope at factory zero (zero-zero on the knobs) we fired the first group. It was merely .75" to the left of point of aim at 100 yards with federal gold medal match 168gr ammo. I have NEVER seen a rifle that close to zero without touching a single dial on the scope after mounting. I call that precision (or extremely lucky). So, with three clicks of right on the scope, we were zeroed.

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The rifle recoils fairly briskly for a tactical rifle because of its lighter weight and thinner recoil pad. But it was still mild compared to light hunting rifles, and it is only a .308. Extraction is VERY positive offering no doubts that if possible, extraction will happen. Like I have mentioned earlier, the operation was very smooth throughout the tests and this really showed in the rapid fire tests. I will say that in terms of ultimate accuracy, I was hoping for .5 MOA, but I never did achieve that. I was close on numerous occasions, but never broke that mark. But I will say that this rifle was extremely consistent. It pretty much shot everything I fed it at less than 1 MOA. It didn't seem to care what ammo I fed it. Ultimately federal GMM shot the best with an average of .623" and a best group of .55". I also fired ABT 175gr and HSM 178 AMAX that also averaged below 1". The ABT was about .75" across the board and the HSM about .8". With a higher magnification scope and breaking in the rifle a bit more, I'm sure those groups would have come down and probably would have broken the .5" barrier, but it did not happen with this scope during these evaluations. Performance was very good, though not excellent.

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In conclusion: This rifle is a nicely thought out tactical rifle from Tikka. The cost puts it in with the FN SPR rifles (lower end ones) and the Steyr SSG's, and it competes okay there. The performance is very smooth though the stock could use a new material and some tweaking to its shape (possibly more traditional in design?). The accuracy is good and will probably get a bit better over time, and because of its consistency it would serve very well in a tactical role. The ability to mount the muzzle brake (about $200) or a suppressor is nice to have from a factory rifle. A new stock would really make it a gem.

Test rifle kindly provided by Greg Smith

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Reprinted with permission.  Visit www.snipercentral.com to view this and other exciting gun articles.

Learn more at www.tikkashooters.com

Tikka T3 – By Dave Anderson

26

Jun
2013
Posted By : Jason McHann 6Comment
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Tikka’s T3


By Dave Anderson


An Intriguing Sporting Rifle from Finland

 

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Tikka rifles are rapidly earning a fine reputation for accuracy, quality and value with American hunters. Tikka rifles are manufactured in Finland by Sako. Both Sako and Tikka are owned by Beretta, giving them access to Beretta’s well-established and extensive dealer and distributor network.

Newest members of the Tikka line are the T3 Hunter (wood stock) and T3 Lite (synthetic stock). The test sample on consignment was a T3 Lite Stainless in .270 WSM caliber. I compared it to a Tikka Whitetail Hunter (Stainless Synthetic) from my gun safe.

 

Compare and Contrast

 

Action differences are quite minor. The T3 has a smaller ejection port, with the integral grooves for scope rings running the full length of the receiver. Scope rings to fit the integral receiver grooves are included with each T3.

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My older Tikka has a larger, squared-off ejection port with ring grooves on the receiver bridge and front receiver ring. The Whitetail Hunter also has a notch in the receiver ring to accept a stud in the scope ring, intended to keep the
ring from moving forward under recoil.

Both use detachable, single-stack box magazines. The magazine locking latch is on the side of the rifle in the Whitetail Hunter, and on the front of the magazine in the T3 series. The T3 bolt knob is hollowed out while that on my Whitetail Hunter is solid.

Otherwise the actions are similar. There’s plenty of steel in the thick, high side rails, making for a very rigid action. Bolts use twin forward locking lugs, a Sako-type hook extractor, and spring-loaded plunger ejector. Even though this is a two-lug action, bolt lift is a relatively short 70 degrees, leaving plenty of clearance between bolt handle and scope.

The T3 uses the same fine single-stage adjustable trigger as the Whitetail Hunter. The two-position safety locks sear and bolt handle. Both are fitted with hammer forged barrels, the same barrels as are used on the much more costly Sako rifles.

Cost savings are achieved with the T3 by offering fewer options. The Whitetail Hunter is offered in both short and long actions, right or left hand versions, wood or laminated stocks. In addition there are Target, Varmint, and Long Range Hunter variations.

All T3s are made on the same long action. T3s for short cartridges are fitted with a longer bolt stop so bolt throw is shorter.

Currently the only options, other than cartridge choice, are wood with blued steel, or synthetic stock with stainless or blued steel. The recoil lug, a flat steel plate, fits snugly in a recess in the stock. When the barreled action is bolted into the stock, the recoil lug engages a slot cut in the bottom of the receiver. Manufacture is no doubt simpler and less costly than receivers with integral recoil lugs, or designs with the recoil lug sandwiched between barrel and receiver. The uncluttered, simple shape of the receiver makes it easy to machine to precise dimensions. It also makes it easy to manufacture the stock to similar dimensions, enhancing stock/receiver fit. The barrel is free-floating.

 

Better and Better

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I was pleasantly surprised by the lightweight synthetic stock. Unlike some lightweight, injection-molded stocks the T3’s stock is extremely rigid. With the barreled action removed, grasping the pistol grip and fore-arm and twisting hard, I could detect no movement at all in the stock.

The stock is made of a very “hard” synthetic. There’s no need for pillars around the stock screws, as the hard stock material has no more give to it than steel. I was concerned it might be brittle, so I took a non-marring nylon mallet and gave the stock a few whacks in various places, with no effect. The stock is strong as well as hard.

Weight of the T3 Lite is just six pounds, three ounces, while wood-stocked T3s weigh six pounds ten ounces, both weights for standard cartridges. Rifles for magnum cartridges are three ounces heavier. Depending on caliber and scope
choice, weight of rifle and scope will run in the range of 6 3⁄4 to 7 1⁄4 pounds. Barrel lengths are 22 7⁄16 inches (57 cm.) in standard cartridges, 24 3⁄8 inches (62 cm.) in magnum cartridges.

 

Smooth With A Capital "S"

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I don’t know of a rifle currently being made which has a slicker, smoother working action than the Tikka. The newer short magnum cartridges don’t always feed well from Mauser-type, double-stack magazines. I’ve seen examples in which cartridges would sometimes bind when making the “turn” from beneath the left or right feed rail. The T3’s single stack magazine feeds short magnum cartridges straight into the chamber, smoothly and with complete reliability.

The downside of the single-stack magazine is it takes up more space vertically than a double-stack magazine, projecting from the bottom of the rifle.

I used the supplied rings to fit a Weaver Grand Slam 3-10x40mm scope. These rings clamp to the integral rails in the receiver.  There is no notch or slot to prevent ring movement. I was a bit skeptical the rings would hold tightly enough to prevent creeping forward under recoil. So far, though, the rings have not moved during the firing of some 120 rounds of .270 WSM ammunition.

If a shooter doesn’t like the supplied rings for any reason, Tikka solid steel Optilock™ rings and bases with polypropylene ring inserts fit the T3. The T3’s receiver is also drilled and tapped to accept other popular bases and rings.

Especially in magnum cartridges this light rifle recoils briskly. In .270 WSM, depending on the load, recoil energy is approximately 32 ft.-lb., while recoil velocity is 16 feet per second. By comparison a 10-pound .375 H&H magnum has a recoil energy of approximately 35 ft.-lb, and recoil velocity of 15 fps.

 

On The Range

 

Winchester Supreme ammunition was used for accuracy testing, in loads with Ballistic Silvertip and Fail Safe bullets. Three-shot groups were fired at 100 yards; best group was .41", worst group 1.78", average of 15 three-shot groups was .92".

Light rifles in relatively powerful cartridges aren't the easiest to shoot from the bench. With the good stock design and recoil pad the rifle isn't unpleasant to shoot, but it does move quite a bit in recoil so seemingly minor pressure differences in hold make quite a difference in point of impact. All of which excuses are meant to explain driver error probably played a part in group sizes.

Subsequent range trips were used to test the qualities of the rifle from hunting positions, on steel targets at various ranges. The T3 balances and handles beautifully; light for fast handling, but with just enough muzzle weight to hold steadily. The crisp trigger, virtually free of creep and over-travel, certainly enhanced practical accuracy. From the box weight of pull was just under four pounds, and it can be easily adjusted to as low as two pounds.

The slick bolt operation, short bolt lift and bolt throw and smooth in-line feeding made for fast follow-up shots. Functioning proved completely reliable.

 

Personal Note

 

The only criticisms I can make are purely subjective. I don't care for detachable magazines. They have a way of getting separated from the rifle, especially as I get older and more forgetful. From an appearance aspect I wish the magazine didn't extend below the line of the stock, though I'm willing to pay that price in return for the smooth and reliable straight-line feeding.

The T3 Lite Stainless is a fine example of the modern hunting rifle. For traditionalists who believe rifles should made of blued steel and figured walnut, these modern rifles can be a bit hard to accept. I tend to fall into the traditionalist category myself. But the T3 is so darned practical.

Here we have a rifle that is light, tough, accurate, that handles and operates with speed and precision and is virtually impervious to the elements. At a suggested retail price of $646 it is an outstanding value and an impressive rifle.

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OAL: 42 1/2" std cartridge, 44 1/2" magnum

Barrel length: 22 7/16" std cartridges, 24 3/8" magnum

Weight: 6 lbs., 3 oz. std, 6 lbs., 6 oz. magnum

Capacity: 3 1 (4 1in .223 Rem.) Plus 2 magazines available for all but WSM cartridges.

Calibers: .223 Rem., .22-250 Rem., .243 Win., .308 Win., .25-'06 Rem., .270 Win., .30-'06 Sprg., 7mm Rem. Mag., .300 Win. Mag., .338 Win. Mag., .270 WSM, .300 WSM.

Finishes: Synthetic/blued, synthetic/stainless or wood/blued Scope rings included.

MSRP: from $549 to $646

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Beretta USA Corp.

[301] 283-2191

www.berettausa.com

COPYRIGHT 2004 Publishers' Development Corporation COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group

Reprinted with permission.  Visit www.gunsmagazine.com to view this and other exciting gun articles.

Learn more at www.tikkashooters.com