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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In a post by Helix about .308 bolt action rifles, one of his concerns is smoothness. Thought it might be useful to carry it a little further without hijacking his thread. Would anyone like to describe how a rifle you own operates? Of 3 rifles Helix listed I picked a Tikka for function and smoothness so in hoping it will be helpful and not just the usual, brandX, nuff said sorta junk, I will describe a stainless T3 in .308. Might help someone make a better educated purchase in the future or avoid a feature they don‘t like.
My sample is a Tikka, T3 stainless laminate in .308. The action is a push feed with a spring/plunger ejector and Sako type extractor. They have the running on ball bearing feel empty with the only noticeable resistance being opening if un-cocked. If already cocked. They’re silky all the way. A cocked or loaded indicator protrudes from the back end of the bolt and the 2 position safety has a visible red dot when off. The safety must be off to open the bolt and I like the fact that it can be eased forward without any audible click.
The plastic magazine locks in securely with the release button in the front. A small block on the front of the magazine locks into the release and the rear is held by friction. I’ve never had one jump out but I would recommend the mag latch/release be kept clean and inspected on occasion as mags are expensive. The mag holds 3 in a straight vertical stack with retaining lips on both sides. Because of the design, you have to remove the mag for loading unless you want to drop in a single. No part of the mag contacts the bolt aiding in the overall feel of smoothness. Feeding/extraction/ejection is positive, reliable, smooth and flawless even with a full belly of 4 rounds. The trigger is a dream. Crisp and easily adjustable from 2 - 4 pounds, one of the best in factory offerings. The 22 7/16 inch free-floated barrel is cold hammer forged, astoundingly accurate and easy to clean as they don’t pick up much copper. Twist rate is 1 in 11 inches which according to the twist chart is good for bullets up to 200gr. An easy carry well balanced rifle at 6.8 pounds (unscoped). Recoil pad is fair but might need an upgrade on the Lite model in heavy calibers for those shy of being kicked to death. No complaints or problems with the plastic mag, trigger guard or bolt shroud but like most, I would prefer metal just because. Another plus, all mine came with factory supplied aluminum dovetail rings but the action is also drilled and tapped for screw on bases if desired. The recoil lug is an independent block that fits into a milled channel in the action and a corresponding slot in the stock.
Pros:
Well made, fit and finish is excellent. Very accurate, smooth and reliable.
Reasonable price and includes rings. T3 Lite SS synthetic in .308 is about $650.
Cons:
Some plastic parts. Undecided on the recoil lug design.
 

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The bolt action hunting rifles that I prefer are the pre 64 M70's. I have a battery of them. I bought my first one new in 1957 and I still have it and use it.

The pre 64 M70 operates in a manner to be reliable. It may not seem 'silky smooth' like some rifle that does not have clearances to function when some grit gets in it nor fail to feed or double feed like a Tikka that lacks the M70's control round feed.

The M70 is just smooth enough that I know it to be the perfect action for me. To each his own.

The Tikka design lacks other features such as a three position safety that controls the firing pin. I would not have one for free. I don't have the time for one.
 

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The Troll Whisperer (Moderator)
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Gee, Lumberjak - finished cutting down all the trees in the Okie Nat'l Forests, so you're down to peddling Tikka's, eh???? :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Gee, Lumberjak - finished cutting down all the trees in the Okie Nat'l Forests, so you're down to peddling Tikka's, eh???? :p
Gonna buy me some stock in the Tikka company;) And I didn't badmouth rusty Rugers...never once.
Besides, we need something different every once in a while than the same old bestest brands.
 

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I really loved the Colt-Sauer bolt action rifles and their silky smooth bolt movement.
I considered buying one but the right one never came along.
I ended up with pre-64 model 70s. I have a 30-06 from 1953 and a 375 H&H from 1936.

Only reservation I would have with my 375 H&H pre-64 as a dangerous game rifle is that when the bolt is all the way open (fully to the rear) the bolt can actually move to the side (toward shooter's face) just enough that it could refuse to move forward unless it shifts slightly back toward center. When I hunt, I always reload with a quick cycling of the bolt, so that I could be ready for a follow up shot if needed. I have never had the bolt hang when hunting, so maybe I am just overly cautious.

Bob Nisbet
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It may not seem 'silky smooth' like some rifle that does not have clearances to function when some grit gets in it nor fail to feed or double feed like a Tikka that lacks the M70's control round feed.

The M70 is just smooth enough that I know it to be the perfect action for me. To each his own.

The Tikka design lacks other features such as a three position safety that controls the firing pin. I would not have one for free. I don't have the time for one.
Would like to keep this as factual as possible. Opinions and comparisons are ok but please, no myths or hearsay. You cannot double feed a Tikka, the empty case clears the chamber before the next round pops up in front of the bolt. Now if YOU can actually double feed one or have, then describe that event. It aint a carving contest about what you don't like or a knock on any brand....useful, helpful information only. I gave Kdub a little kick on the Rugers but he knows I not only like Ruger, I own several. Sorry for my error in doing that.
And of course you are correct about the safety on the M70. It is indeed 3 position. Safe, center position is safe but unlocked and the 3rd position is safe with bolt locked. They can wear the bolts but otherwise an excellent safety. Also can be eased into the fire position quietly.
 

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I've never really given the "smoothness" of a rifle's action much thought. I've noticed some of my long-action rifles have a little slop when the bolt is fully to the rear, but I've never had any trouble getting them to cycle the next round into the chamber. Unlike Bob, I don't quickly cycle the action to be ready for the next shot. This may sound absurd, but I "follow-through" on a rifle shot, in much the same way I do with an arrow released from my bow. I shoot, allow the gun to recoil and return to the position it was in when I fired it, then look to see if the deer is already down or which direction it might be heading. I have frequently gotten all the way to the deer before ejecting the spent round and never do put a live round back in the chamber.

Maybe this is a function of shooting good quality guns, but to be honest, I've never made a distinction between my Model 70, 7.7 Arisaka or 03A3...they're all bolt guns and they all cycle. I guess how smoothly they do it doesn't matter enough to me to pay any attention.
 

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I'm a huge fan of the mod 70 action, both pre '64 (have owned several) and post, mod 70 Classic, the modern version. Nothing against Tikka, except I detest plasticky parts on a rifle. Mod 700 Rems are OK, but older ones are smoother (I'm not truly concerned about CRF on a typical hunting rifle). I do like Ruger bolt rifles, but smooth they are not. Tough and dependable, they are.

Of the scores of rifles I've owned, two come to mind when I think glassy smooth actions. Both are FN actions; one a 40+ year old Husqvarna and the other a 50+ year old Sako. They are both very fine rifles, IMO and likely to never leave my collection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm a huge fan of the mod 70 action, both pre '64 (have owned several) and post, mod 70 Classic, the modern version.
Have you owned all 3 types of Winchester actions? Any with steel bottom metal, aluminum or a mix. Have you ever changed any to all steel as some people feel the aluminum is inferior?
Triggers...adjusted, replaced, perfect the way they came?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Only reservation I would have with my 375 H&H pre-64 as a dangerous game rifle is that when the bolt is all the way open (fully to the rear) the bolt can actually move to the side (toward shooter's face) just enough that it could refuse to move forward unless it shifts slightly back toward center. When I hunt, I always reload with a quick cycling of the bolt, so that I could be ready for a follow up shot if needed. I have never had the bolt hang when hunting, so maybe I am just overly cautious.

Bob Nisbet
Don't think I have ever heard that before or thought of it. I just tried binding the bolt on a short action pre-64 by pulling it sideways fully rearward. I could increase the effort to push it forward but it still functioned with no problem. When you hold a pre64, you kinda hate to put them back in the safe....
Interesting and excellent information.
 

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The plastic on a Tikka really bothered me, but in reality making the magazine out of plastic allows it to be self lubing and it wont rust or dent. It is one of the smothest operating magazines availlable. Drive over a Tikka magazine in the freezing cold and it will still function perfectly. Most metal magazines will dent and become useless with the same abuse. The other plastic parts are still stronger than pot metal, I don't recall anyone ever have a problem with breakage. The Tikkas are one of those rifles that grow on you because they do everything very well at a bargain price. It would be nice to have a metal option, and Berretta customer service is horrible.
 

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Have you owned all 3 types of Winchester actions? Any with steel bottom metal, aluminum or a mix. Have you ever changed any to all steel as some people feel the aluminum is inferior?
Triggers...adjusted, replaced, perfect the way they came?
I've had both steel and alum bottom metal on pre '64s and a .270 pre '64 Featherweight (usually has alum) with steel bottom metal from the Custom shop is one of my favorite guns. The aluminum seems to work fine on the ones I've had, simply wears faster. To be quite honest, I've never had any of the triggers adjusted, the stiffest belongs to a 1966 in '06, but it can still shoot sub MOA, so I just use it. I think these post '64 rifles, scorned by many, are the best buys out there. Many can still be found in mint condition and purchased for under $500. That's a heck of a rifle for that money! I'm wanting to buy a new FN F/W so I'll have one of each; already have a pre '64, post '64 (80s) push feed and a F/W classic with CRF.
 

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The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
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Smoothest thing I've owned to cycle has been old mauser 1888s. Like butter! They had been worn in by the time I got them, though.
 

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Id say bolt a Weatherby MkV, then compare to your firearm in questions. If smoothness is anywhere close, then yes, your rifle is smooth.
I have owned one. Have these others still, it lives somewhere else now.:eek:
 

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The thing with the savage bolt is that cocking on bolt lift "thing " which I hate . Only swear at it once as I chamber a round in before the hunt . From there on in it's smooth and the bullet goes exactly were I sent it .
Now the 94 with it's "clickly Clang" well worn in is too as sweet as butter .
But right out of the box Tikka gets the nod
 

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But the things is, some people get too wrapped up in the smoothness thing. The important part is how well it performs once the bolt is lower. The open bolt and its sliding is meaningless.

They are all different, so compare the smoothness, is apples to oranges. Ruger's controled round feed is smooth, but a tad stiff at times. Remington's are very smooth, but lets face it, the extraction system is just dumb. Savage, most feel like the bolt is going to wobble out on the back stroke, but when its slammed shut, it's all business. I've only owned these three, so thats the ones Im commenting on.
 
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