Bruce Potts investigates the enduring appeal of the Tikka LSA 55
The origins of the Tikka LSA 55
Tikka began to manufacture firearms components in Finland in 1918 and in 1937 it produced its first hunting gun, the H 45 single-barrel shotgun, which featured an interchangeable rifle barrel. It was not until 1967 that the first Tikka bolt action rifle was made, the fabled LSA 55. In 1983 Tikka merged with Sako. Later the company merged with two other Finnish firms, Nokia and Valmet, and eventually became known as Sako-Valmet Ltd. From this point on Tikka rifles were produced at Riihimäki, the Sako works where the Tikka T3 is manufactured to this day.
Famously smooth operation
- The bolt action on the LSA 55 is famous for having a smooth operation with less lateral wobble than other Mauser-type configurations.
- The lock-up using opposed twin lugs is good and positive, and its fast lock time ensures accuracy.
- Every part is well machined and fits flawlessly.
- If you are buying one second-hand it is important to check that it still has its separate mortised recoil lug, which is essential to ensure the correct bedding of the action to stock.
- The original barrels were made in steel manufactured by Bofors of anti-aircraft gun fame with precise concentric bores and accurate rifling.
- There was a Sporter version with the option of open sights and a Varmint heavy-barrelled model named the Continental.
- The barrels where chambered for .17 Rem, .222, .22-250, 6mm Rem, .243 and .308 Win.
- Larger calibres such as .30-06 or .300 Win Mag were available in the longer action version LSA 65.
- The Tikka was praised for its free-floating barrel and integral scope rails. These contributed to consistent accuracy even in the most taxing climates, a characteristic for which the rifle became renowned.
Detachable rifle magazine
- The rifles detachable magazine has a three-or five-round capacity and is made entirely from steel.
- It is extremely hard-wearing, but replacements are hard to source.
- The stock is beautifully proportioned with well-executed hand-cut chequering and a comfortable palm swell in the pistol grip.
- No synthetic materials were used in the rifles manufacture.
- It wasn’t until 1997 that Tikka produced its first allweather rifle with a stainless steel barrel and action, and a synthetic stock.
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Conclusion – buy if you can find one
The Tikka LSA 55 or longer action LSA 65 models can now only be bought second-hand, but they are still reliable and accurate rifles that if cared for will outlast their owners.