Modern Hunting Rifles with Vortex and Kahles

I planned this to be a Photo of the Day post, but elaborated around the different rifles and the subject so there’s a lot of more detail.

This is about Modern Hunting Rifles with Long Range shooting capabilities. Some chose the one or the other for their particular rifle, some chose both. The rifles are certainly up to both assignments.

In some areas of the World (mainly Europe I think) there is a debate if the look and design of a rifle should prevent hunters (or target shooters) to get a firearms permit, i.e. they look too similar to Police or Military rifles. There are also local legislation that may prevent hunters from using more than 3, 5 or X rounds in a hunting rifle. This goes for bolt-action rifles as well as semi-auto ones.

You can call this a tribute to some of these rifles. These rifles got together for a few hours on a shooting range and TFB had the opportunity to examine, test fire and take some photos.

Modern Hunting Rifles:

Sako TRG M10 in .308 Winchester (.338 Lapua Magnum barrel on the side) with a Kahles 624i sight in a Spuhr mount.

Tikka T3x TAC A1 in 6,5 Creedmoor with a Vortex Viper PST Gen II 5-25×50 FFP EBR-2C (MRAD) and a Spuhr SP-3002 mount. This T3x is one of the first in private ownership in Europe.

Ruger Precision Rifle (Gen 2) in 6,5 Creedmoor with a Vortex Viper PST 5-25 MRAD (Gen I) in a Vortex mount.

I know that many people wonder, so I’ll make a try to compare the Tikka and the Ruger in a few short words. It’s a metaphor, so everyone might not get it, or even agree. You can tell me I’m wrong, or right, in the comments section below.

I would say that it is a little like comparing an Audi to a Ford Mustang. And I love both brands, so not saying that to downgrade anything. Both cars will take you from A to B, just like both rifles will put very nice groups far, far away. In fact, these rifles probably have more in common than Audi vs. Mustang, but the Tikka is a little bit better built, just like Audi makes Bentley-like interiors, but also heavier. The Ruger is a bit more Rock ‘n roll, just like you can’t run a V8 around without getting noticed and when you step on it the bonnet moves.

Below: Two similar yet different rifles, from the same supplier, but with different names. The Sako TRG M10 and the Tikka T3x TAC A1.

With 6,5 Creedmoor it’s not unlikely that the Tikka will out-range the M10 in 308 Win. That’s until the M10 gears up and change its barrel to .338 Lapua Magnum.

Below: The Tikka bottom and the Ruger Precision Rifle (Gen 2) top. Vortex scopes on both. Notice the compensators.

These rifles are very, very similar yet different. One is Made in the US, the other is Made in Finland. Both shoot really, really well. The 6,5 Creedmoor caliber is the one to get if you’re more into long range (target) shooting as well.

Notice the difference between the Spuhr mount and the Vortex mount.

Tikka T3x with Vortex and Atlas bipod. Note the MLOK and Magpul furniture.

Sending .308s downrange with the TRG M10.

The Kahles is a 6-24×56. It’s about twice the price of the Vortex 5-25x scopes.

Is it twice as good? No. But it’s definitely a better glass, but the eyebox felt a little less forgiving.

On the other hand, the TRG M10 is about 3 times (!) more expensive than the Tikka. And the Tikka is about 1.5- 2 more expensive than the Ruger. (Comparing local list prices, may differ depending on location and country)

Below: These are 5 (five, not three) shots GGG 147 gr FMJ (factory load) from 100 meters with the Sako TRG M10 in .308 Win.

This is just after zeroing the M10, that’s the one and only 5 shot group done by the shooter, so it’s not a result of endless trying.

This is about the cheapest .308 Win ammo you can buy from GGG = Giratés Ginkluodtés Gamlykla, which translates to Passion, Performance, Precision.

I have confirmed hits out to both 800 and 900 meters with some of GGG’s Sierra Match King bullets, in a Ruger Precision Rifle (Gen I) with a Schmidt & Bender 3-12x. I never shot the FMJ long distance.

Please feel free to discuss and post your own groups, preferably further out than 100 meters.

 

 



Eric B

Ex-Arctic Ranger. Competitive practical shooter and hunter with an European focus. Always ready to increase my collection of modern semi-automatic firearms, optics and sound suppressors. Owning the night would be nice too.


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  • Rasputin

    Except Europeans won´t buy any of these for hunting, as they are way too heavy.

    • Monies

      Get out of here with that logic and common sense. Same applies to most North American hunters too. Only the tacticool crowd would fathom a quadrupled cost, doubled weight rifle as a hunting rifle.

      • DangerousClown

        My Howa 1500 in .308 is more capable than I am. Throwing more money at it won’t fix that.

    • iksnilol

      Depends what you’re hunting and how.

      IE for hunting seals (here in Norway) suppressed .338 lapua is very common since you shoot at them out of a boat when they’re surfacing from the water.

  • Michael Farrell

    Call me crazy, but I would like to see a Howa HCR Chassis rifle in the mix too

  • fintroll

    Having had the possibility to try out those three rifles, the Sako is definitely my favourite. But is priced way out of my price range. Here the Ruger and the Tikka are pretty much matched in price, but the Tikka is a lot smoother (no sandpaper like feel when using the bolt like with the Ruger) and has a nicer finish. Anyway all where a blast to shoot and very accurate.

    • That’s the major point of irritation with the Ruger rifles. It’s clear that they turn the bolts on a lathe, but instead of doing a polish run on a belt sander or similar, they just leave the lathe marks giving you that “Scratched record” sound/feel when you rack it.

      I’ve managed to, with significant effort, smooth the bolt out for customers to give it a clean motion, but it’s just a very disappointing oversight on a precision rifle.

      • Monies

        A orecision rifle that has trouble out shooting a $300 Walmart special Savage Axis?

        • jonp

          I got my $240 Axis down to .5 groups with handloads. That’s with the crappy stock. If it’s going to cost me several times that amount it had best do better than that.

      • iksnilol

        How’d you smooth out the bolt?

        Here we just take a smidge of polishing compound on the bolt and work it many times then clean.

        • Started with 800 grit wet-or-dry doused with cutting fluid, then worked my way up to 2000 grit until I had a pretty good smooth finish. Final step was to use jewelers’ rouge and a polishing wheel, but stopping just short of actual mirror polish. Takes about 2-3 hours to get a good outcome, but it’s a thing of beauty when it’s done.

  • Monies

    Modern hunting rifles hell. Nobody but a tactitard would try to hunt a $1000+, 15-20lb rifle when a >4 moa gun will work just fine and still be more accurate than the average shooter is capable of.

    • iksnilol

      How bad are average shooters in your boonies ? I mean, you can’t shoot better than 4 moa (IE in the prone with only a sling)?

      Also, those rifles probably weigh less than 5 kg.

    • gusto

      how do you even sight in a 4moa rifle?

      4 Moa can easily take you out of the heart/lung area, especially if your sight in was all over the place

      head or neckshots are not to think about

  • gusto

    I don’t care for them much
    guess i am a traditionalist

    you can get a rifle in a regular conservative stock shoot as well as these monstrosities

    and those rifles will be lighter and more easily carried

  • gusto

    If i were to spend Sako TRG money it would be a mauser 98 system, in a useable calibre, nice piece of wood made to fit me and a couple of scopes in good qr mounts and a nice set of iron sights

  • Martin T

    There is no way you are walking any significant distance with either of these rifles to hunt with them. I own an rpr and the thing is a beast.
    I guess I would consider shooting at p dogs on a hill from a fixed position, not sure I consider that hunting though.

  • Tom

    Sako > TIkka > RPR, which shouldn’t be surprising the Sako is $15K as setup. Most hunters are not interested in carrying a rifle that’s over 15lbs especially up/down over rough terrain. Can you do it? Sure….I can take an F150 to a race track too but the lap times are going to suck because it’s the wrong tool for the job.

    Now of course these days the new definition of hunting appears to be to drive to a spot, take a shooting bench out of your truck, set up a weather station, set up a video camera, get on your phone to get geolocation/elevation profile information between you and your target. Then get on a 15-20lb rifle, take 3-4 sighter shots to dial in, and then try and hit a deer at 900 yards that has no idea you are even there. To me that’s not hunting it’s just shooting, it takes a lot of shooting skill, but zero hunting skill.

    You can easily build a sub 8lbs rifle with an optic that will shoot sub MOA with handloads for 3-4 shots till the barrel heats up (which is the biggest advantage to those huge heavy barrels), that will handle just about any N. American game easily. I do like these kind of guns, but they are the wrong tool for “hunting”.

  • CavScout

    Are we really trying to make ‘Modern Hunting Rifles’ a thing? Even ‘MSR’ is really crap PR verbage. Modern Long Sport Rifles is even better than Hunting.

    • CavScout

      But hunting? Really? No one wants to spend that or carry those heavy as guns around for hunting. So name doesn’t fit.