The Tikka (pronounced tick-ah) T3x Lite Compact is a lightweight rifle designed and manufactured by Tikka in Finland. Part of the T3x line that was introduced in 2016, the Tikka T3x Lite Compact is an outstanding rifle.
Light hunting rifles are very popular among hunters, especially those who will be hiking up the backcountry or carrying their rifles over distance. The Tikka T3x Lite Compact fits the requirement to a T.
When discussing the Tikka; you are talking about a rifle from a company with a long history of excellence. Tikka is owned by Sako, who, in turn, since 2000, has been owned by Beretta. These are all reputable firearms brands.
Tikka rifles could be said to be Toyota to Sako’s Lexis. They are made in the same factory, to the same high standards. The lower price does not mean lower quality. Tikkas are known for their accuracy, durability, versatility, and overall quality.
Tikka T3x Lite Compact Review
The Tikka T3x Lite Compact comes from the factory with a 3-shot 1-MOA guarantee. Out of the box, the Tikka T3x Lite Compact is more accurate and precise than many of those who plan to shoot it.
The T3x has a modular synthetic stock, allowing the shooter to replace the pistol grip and the forend with parts that suit them. The parts are sold separately. I like the feel of both the forend and the pistol grip, but the Tikka T3x allows you to go a different direction, which is a great feature.
Another nice feature that Tikka T3x Lite Compact includes with their synthetic stock is a foam insert in the stock. The insert cuts down on noise generated by a hollow synthetic stock banging around.
The grip texture on the Tikka is described as “asymmetrical.” The asymmetrical grip is designed to make the grip pattern effective in multiple weather conditions. Having used this rifle for hunting the East Texas Piney Woods, at the range, in sweltering humidity, and in the Texas version of a cold winter, I feel like the grip texture works.
The Trigger on the Tikka T3x Lite Compact is crisp. You have the option to adjust the trigger to between 2 & 4 pounds. My rifle has a 3-pound trigger pull out of the box.
Another means of cutting weight Tikka used to lighten the T3x Lite Compact was to have a hollow bolt handle.
|Caliber||7mm-08, other calibers available|
|Barrel Length||20 inches|
|Overall Length||39.4 inches|
Pros & Cons
- Accurate out of the box
- Good out of the box trigger
- Quality construction
- Durable & lightweight
- Polymer trigger guard/bottom
- Lightweight might lead to higher felt recoil
Special thanks to Hornady for providing ammo for the review. During my most recent range trip, I shot both Hornady American Hunter and Hornady Precision Hunter. Both rounds zeroed very easily and were very precise.
I have owned the Tikka T3x Lite Compact since 2020.
Since I first brought the rifle home, I have shot a decent amount with the rifle. Over 300 rounds downrange with zero issues. I have shot Remington Core-Lokt, Hornady Superformance, Hornady Custom Lite, Hornady American Hunter, and Hornady Precision Hunter.
I shot sixty rounds of Hornady American Hunter and Hornady Precision Hunter on my recent trip to the range. Zero issues were experienced.
Most groupings were sub-1-MOA, although I occasionally experienced a flier.
I attribute the flyers to the shooter, me, and not the rifle. I have had visits to the range where all groups were sub-1-MOA.
When I shifted to shooting Hornady Precision Hunter, the T3x Lite Compact responded very well, and all my groups were under 1-MOA.
I also spent a significant amount of time shooting 12-inch diameter plates at 300 yards and was very pleased with the rifle’s accuracy and precision. Shooting without a spotter, I could ring the steel on all but a couple of shots.
The Overall feel of the Tikka T3x Lite Compact is fantastic. The rifle fits the hands and points well. I initially bought this rifle for smaller shooters like my wife and kids, but I have been so pleased that it is my go-to when hunting.
3-shot Sub-MOA Accuracy Guarantee
This was the feature that put me onto the Tikka T3x Lite Compact. Knowing that if I did my job, the rifle was precise enough to put three shots into an inch at one hundred yards was exactly what I was looking for.
As my primary hunting rifle, I have used the Tikka to harvest many animals. The rifle has never failed to put the animal down quickly and humanely. As a hunter, it is my job to ensure I use the appropriate tools for the job, and the Tikka T3x Lite Compact fits this requirement.
The Tikka T3x Lite Compact has this name for a reason. For those looking for a rifle with less weight and one that can be easily carried for long periods of time, the Tikka is it.
The polymer stock, lightweight barrel, hollow bolt, and other weight-saving features ensure the Tikka isn’t a strain on the shooter’s arms and shoulders and can be carried for as long as necessary.
The modular synthetic stock is another major feature of the Tikka T3x Lite Compact. The changeable pistol grips and forend are great. Parts for these changes are available from multiple retailers.
The Tikka T3x Lite Compact has multiple ways of mounting optics. I mounted my optic directly to my Tikka T3x Lite Compact using DNZ Products Tikka Tube Mount. The Tikka T3x Lite Compact can also have a Picatinny rail attached to the top. The variety of ways for mounting optics means you can find the method that works best for you.
Upgrades Over the Tikka T3
Tikka upgraded the T3x with features that shooters of the earlier T3 requested. Improved rail and scope attachments were added. The ejection port was redesigned, making feeding one cartridge at a time easier.
Another change that Tikka made to the T3x line was to change to a metallic bolt shroud instead of the polymer one on the T3. Sticking with the theme of improving materials, Tikka improved the recoil lug to ensure minimal deformation, even with large calibers.
How We Tested
I tested my Tikka T3x Lite by taking trips to the range and hauling it through the piney woods of East Texas when hunting.
Hornady provided me with high-quality hunting ammo in 7mm-08 for my most recent trip to the range. The two ammunition types provided were Hornady American Hunter and Hornady Precision Hunter.
Both ammunitions produced 3-shot sub-MOA groups out of the Tikka T3x Lite Compact. Of the two, the premium Precision Hunter seemed to shoot slightly better, but the differences in results were negligible enough at the distances I was shooting.
The Tikka T3x Lite Compact is 100% reliable. I have never had a single issue with the rifle.
The Tikka T3x Lite Compact feels great in the hands and points well. The lightweight makes it a great choice for anyone needing to carry their rifle further than the nearest bench rest.
The pistol grip is replaceable. The forend is replaceable. There are multiple mounting options for optics. The only knock here is that you don’t see the same level of support for Tikka as you might for an offering from Ruger.
Out of the box the Tikka T3x Lite Compact is a basic-looking rifle. It has a bland but functional black synthetic stock.
The Tikka T3x Lite Compact is an incredible value. It shoots as well as a much more expensive rifle. With a price well under $1,000, you can expect a rifle that will shoot a 3-shot sub-MOA group, is rugged, light, and customizable.
High Desert Rifle Works aluminum trigger guard for the Tikka T3x is a must-have accessory. It increased the rigidity of the rifle and the tension between the stock and the action. Overall this is a really good upgrade that can increase the precision of your Tikka rifle.
A LimberSaver recoil pad is a good accessory for your Tikka T3x Lite Compact.
As with any light rifle, the lightweight of the rifle does not do as much to mitigate felt recoil. While the Tikka does come with a recoil pad, it is not as good as the LimbSaver recoil pad. Either get the permanently attached pad or a LimbSaver Airtech slip-on pad.
THe DNZ Products Game Reaper – Tikka is a great way to mount your scope to your Tikka rifle.
Made in the USA from a solid block of aluminum, the DNZ Game Reaper securely holds your scope and ensures that the rifle stays zeroed.
The Weatherby Vanguard is a very similar rifle to the Tikka T3x Lite Compact. The Vanguard has a synthetic stock, is lightweight, and comes with a 3-shot sub-MOA group guarantee. The Weatherby Vanguard Synthetic Compact is a quality rifle at an affordable price.
The Bergara B14 Hunter is a synthetic stocked rifle. Competing in the same market as the Tikka T3x Lite Compact, it weighs slightly more than the Tikka. As with the Tikka and the Weatherby, the Bergara B14 Hunter has a sub-MOA guarantee. Bergara’s B-14 line is known for its excellent rifles.
Check out our Bergara B-14 HMR review for more info!
The Ruger American has a synthetic stock and a similar form factor to the Tikka T3x Lite Compact. It offers a crisp trigger and a lightweight, ergonomic stock. While the Ruger American does not offer a sub-MOA guarantee, plenty of shooters report that their rifle shoots sub-MOA.
Tikka’s T3x Lite Compact is an excellent rifle. The 3-shot sub-MOA guarantee helps the rifle get its foot in the door. Once the Tikka gets your attention, though, it really knocks your socks off with its quality stock, ease of handling, collection of features, and overall feel.
Anyone looking for a rifle to go hunting with, shoot at the range, and overall shoot and enjoy should add a Tikka T3x Lite Compact to their collection.