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Tikka rifles: taking a look at the M590 and M690

Tikka rifles such as the M590 and M690 have a reputation for robustness and reliability – and come in a range of options to suit every shooter, says Charles Smith-Jones

Tikka rifles

Tikka M590

The brand name of Tikka has long been synonymous with high-quality Finnish hunting rifles and this month’s Blast from the past looks at two older Tikka rifles, the M590 and M690 models which nevertheless remain highly respected and sought after to this day.

Two Tikka rifles in depth

The rifles are, effectively, the same gun, but the M590 was designed as a short-action rifle and chambered for calibres ranging from .17 Remington up to .308 Winchester. The long-action M690 catered for a number of popular hunting calibres, and also came in a Magnum version for 7mm Remington Magnum, .300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Winchester Magnum. As a result, the range of rifles appealed to a wide variety of shooters, from vermin controllers and deerstalkers to those who sought larger and more potentially dangerous quarry.

These Tikka rifles were available in several variants conformed for differing needs in respect of stock material or design and barrel length. The standard version was the Popular, which had a 24in barrel and plain stock, while the Deluxe came in a higher-grade walnut option with a raised comb and rosewood grip cap and fore-end tip. The Battue catered primarily for the driven hunter with its shorter barrel and raised rear sight for quicker target acquisition. There were also Continental and Trapper models. They were offered in both right- and left-hand versions, a practice that was not widespread at the time and certainly not commonplace among rifles priced towards the more affordable end of the market.

Tikka rifle

Tikka M590 – .243 The basic Popular model used plain wood, while the Deluxe came in higher-grade walnut

The M590 and M690 date from a time after Sako acquired the Tikka brand in 1983 but before Beretta took over ownership of Sako. Sako and Tikka barrels came from very much the same stock material. As a result, the rifles marketed as Tikka came with the same levels of accuracy as the more expensive Sako models – all that really differed was cosmetic presentation.

Tikka rifle

The rifles come with four tapped mounting

Trigger units

Trigger units are crisp and fully adjustable. New rifles were supplied from the factory with a flush fitting, three-round detachable magazine that is removed from the rifle body by depressing a catch on the right-hand side of the stock. After-market magazines were available with increased capacities of five, eight or 10 rounds and spare magazines can still be sourced fairly easily, being interchangeable with those for Tikka models M558 and M595 (M590) and M658 and M695 (M690).

It is also possible to obtain a loading block, which reduces the rifle to single shot, a capability that some find useful for training, range work and load-development uses. However, the limited size of the ejection port on these rifles can make manual loading fiddly.

Moderator use was not widespread when these rifles were manufactured so screw cutting did not take place in the factory, though most rifles encountered will probably have been adapted at a later date. Although leaf open rear sights and a hooded front blade were fitted as standard, rifles came fully prepared for the mounting of a telescopic sight with four tapped mounting holes (two each at front and rear), a recoil notch and a fully connected 16.5mm dovetail. The receiver was more rigid than earlier and even later models, making the M590 and M690 highly preferable in many eyes. (Read more on moderators here.)

One-piece mounts intended for other Tikka rifles, such as the M558/M658, M395/M695 and T3/T3X, which are designed to fit the dovetail and make use of the recoil stopper, will fit these rifles as well. Other mounts will also fit but only providing that they are compatible with the recoil stopper. Otherwise the correct Tikka mounting bases for Sako’s excellent Optilock system provide robust and reliable fixed mounts.

Tikka rifles

A three-round detachable magazine was supplied with the rifles

Pleasure to shoot

An M590 or M690 that has been well looked after will be a pleasure to shoot and produce consistently tight groups, while carrying Tikka’s reputation for robust and accurate hunting rifles. Although any example you come across on the used racks will probably now be in the region of 30 years old, anyone seeking a reliable vermin control or deer rifle might be well advised to consider it. (Read more on how to choose a riflescope.)