It’s tough, durable, accurate and competitively priced — the Tikka T1X bolt action rimfire Sporter rifle is an absolute winner, says Bruce Potts
Tikka’s entry into the rimfire market a couple of years ago was both a surprise and a welcome addition. Since then, its T1X bolt action rimfire Sporter rifle has been extremely popular, partly due to Tikka’s excellent accuracy and build quality, but also the price of £645. You have the familiar feel and handling of a full-sized Tikka centrefire rifle but tailored for the .22LR and .17HMR rimfire cartridges.
Similarities to its bigger brother, the T3X, are obvious, with only the shorter bolt movement, smaller ejection port and magazine projection from the stock defining it as a Tikka T1X.
The action has the standard 11mm dovetail rail, so all manner of scope mounts can be fitted for day or night sights. You can choose a 16in or 20in barrel and, in either .22LR or .17HMR cartridges, I would certainly go with the shorter 16in length as it greatly aids handling and makes for a compact rifle, even when a sound moderator is fitted. Either are ideal for a spot of pest control.
A nice feature is that the barrel is hammer forged, thus there is a high degree of precision from the rifled barrel with its 1-in-16in rifling twist rate. Barrels are secured to the action face via three Allen screws and it forms a free-floated union after 5in from this point, which is always good for accuracy.
Overall, a great price point for the features that real hunters need and want.
Tikka T1X need to Know
Type: Bolt action
Overall Length: 34in
Barrel Length: 16in, threaded ½in UNF
Finish: Blued steel
Magazine: Detachable 10 shot
Stock: Black moulded synthetic Sporter
Trigger: Single stage
Sights: 11mm dovetails for scope mount
Importers: GMK 01489 579999
Price: £645, spare magazine £35
In depth – the Tikka T1X
The Tikka T1X has ideal, practical finishes: the all-steel action with matt blued finish; the polished stainless-steel bolt handle and bolt body; the trigger-guard and magazine in polymer. These traits are good on a hunting rifle because moisture, dirt and grime are easily repelled or cleaned off.
The action takes the same bedding inlet of a T3X, achieved by the front section of the action having a projecting spur that the recoil lug in the stock locks into for a secure union. A polymer cradle set into the stock caters for the difference in barrel contour.
The T1X bolt is a little gem, being very smooth to operate. Extraction of a spent case is via a large single claw extractor, while a long steel sprung ejector in the action wall pings the fired cases out. In use, all the .17HMR ammunition fed, fired and ejected reliably. This is also due in part to a nice, easily grabbed extended base to the detachable 10-shot magazine.
The low bolt lift is also a great asset for fast bolt manipulation and avoiding hitting the eyepiece on larger scopes. As you cock the T1X and close the bolt, a small red protrusion shows from the large bolt shroud as a visual or tactile aid to indicate that the rifle is cocked.
Familiar to handle
The barrel also has a nice profile to it. Being short, it can be a little thicker, so is profiled at 0.895in at the action, tapering to 0.728in at the muzzle with a ½in UNF thread.
The trigger is typically T3X with adjustment for weight and a nice crisp single-stage pull of just over 4lb. The safety is a simple on-off side lever.
Finally, the stock is so T3X and that is why the T1X feels so familiar to handle and shoot. Nice move. It’s an injection-moulded black polymer that is glued together.
Though quite hollow, it does not flex due to the reinforced sections. So you have a lightweight yet strong stock with a finish impervious to weather, dirt, blood and so on.
Moulded-in chequering is added for extra grip. The pistol grip, which can have alternative accessory grips by exchanging via a single Allen screw, is clever.
GMK sent a new Burris Four Xe 3-12x56mm scope and I fitted the Stalon RC sound moderator, which worked surprisingly well for its small size of just 5×1.25in.
The best 17-gr load suitable for rabbits and crows were the 17-gr Winchester Supreme, which produced a healthy 2,511fps for 238ft/lb energy and 0.5in 50-yard groups.
The non-lead Hornady 15.5gr NTX loads always surprised and again sub-½in groups with velocities of 2,543fps and 223ft/lb energy.
For foxes, the CCI GamePoint 20-gr never disappoints and it is my favourite with its stronger and more controllable expansion, with 2,408fps for 258ft/lb and tiny bug hole groupings.
Sighting in at 0.55in high at 50 yards gives a good 100-yard aim on scenario and I was after some troublesome crows. I lay in wait, well camouflaged, with netting and floppy hat to conceal my face a tad, and loaded with Hornady 15.5-gr NTX ammunition. It was not long before a lone crow had spotted my dead rabbit decoy in the field in front of me. That shy old crow lofted himself just over 125 yards in an old beech tree nestled against the old railway bank for a better look.
The Burris was lined up in no time at all, due in part to the steady aim achieved by the good handling and stable platform of the T1X. A slight caress of the trigger-blade and a muted muzzle report, then there was a small puff of feathers and he dropped down stone dead.
The Tikka T1X is the perfect companion for pest control and every part does its job perfectly. The barrel is accurate, the stock is tough and practical, and the handling is excellent and will be familiar to T3X users. Add to this the price and the fact that there are a lot of customisable options to personalise the T1X and you have an absolute winner.
Tough, durable, accurate and competitively priced