The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer – Tikka T1x By: Luke C.

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Hello and welcome back to another edition of The Rimfire Report! This ongoing series is all about the rimfire firearm world and its various guns, gear, ammunition, and history! Last week we took a look at the ultra-rare (and ultra-cool) Tippmann Arms half-scale 1919 machine gun. The pint-sized rimfire belt-fed sure was a joy to witness working in person even though its performance wasn’t perfect. I think I can speak for most of us (if not all of us) in saying that were Tippmann to offer even the semi-auto versions for sale again, it would be quickly added to our 2022 Christmas wish lists! A man can dream! A couple of weeks before I had the chance to get a closer look at the Tippmann Arms 22LR 1919, I was out in Idaho with fellow TFB writers Rusty and Adam doing some quite unique testing on new types of ballistic eyewear. While we were out there, Rusty brought along a couple of his own firearms for us to goof around with and one of them happened to be a Tikka T1x. As a rimfire enthusiast, I was instantly drawn to the rifle and after just one afternoon with the rifle, I think I can safely say that it just might be the best varmint hunting rifle I’ve ever come across (so far). Today we’ll take a look at what Rusty’s Tikka T1x started out as, and how (and how much) it came to be one of the most precise 22LR rifles I’ve ever shot – the Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer if you will.

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More Rimfire Report Articles @ TFB:

  • The Rimfire Report: The Miniature Tippmann Arms 1919 Belt-Fed Pistol
  • The Rimfire Report: The Antique $5 Mossberg Brownie Pocket Pistol
  • The Rimfire Report: Federal Personal Defense Punch Rimfire .22 WMR
The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer (Tikka T1x)

Photo: Rusty S.  The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer – Tikka T1x

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer – Tikka T1x

Rusty’s Tikka T1x started off just like any other off-the-shelf rifle. That being said, the Tikka T1x is one hell of a factory offering and doesn’t shy away from features right out of the box. The rifles were first offered up at SHOT Show 2018 and predictably went out of stock almost immediately afterward – a testament to their feature set and the name in accuracy that Tikka has made for themselves. The Tikka T1x comes in two standard factory configurations including one with an adjustable stock. Both rifles, however, come with cold-hammer forged crossover profile barrels which are a bit heavier than a standard taper barrel but offer all the benefits of a heavy barrel. The T1x feeds from a standard 10-round magazine and also features a stainless steel bolt, synthetic stock (one with an adjustable comb/length of pull), and of course a threaded barrel.

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer (Tikka T1x)The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer (Tikka T1x)

The Tikka T1xs bolt, and magazine

Rusty’s initial groupings with the unmodified factory T1x yielded sub 1/2″ groups at 50 yards without breaking a sweat using both match ammunition and factory CCI Mini-Mags. However, Rusty was able to stretch out the effective range of the factory configuration to over 150 yards and to get repeatable and reliable hits on steel eyebox targets measuring just 3.5×1.5″ (about the size of a USPSA target’s head A Zone).

It’s hard to build on an already phenomenal rifle but with the help of TFB alum Tom G, Rusty was able to improve the ergonomics, handling, and accuracy of the rifle and has turned it into what he now calls “Definitely my #1 long range pest elimination gun.”

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer (Tikka T1x)

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer – Tikka T1x

Rusty’s Tikka T1x Build:

  • Rifle: Tikka T1x – $622.50
  • KRG Bravo Chassis – $369.99
  • KRG Midas 2-Stage Midas Trigger: $289.99
  • 782 Custom Gunworks T1X Rail: $65.00
  • Schmidt & Bender PM II 5-25×56: $3,800.00
  • CGS Hydra-SS Rainbow PVD: $499.00
  • Harris Bipod: $79.18
  • Total Build Cost: $5,725.66

Obviously, some of the items like the suppressor and the overkill optic might be considered a bit unnecessary for the task of varmint hunting but for as long as I’ve known Rusty, he’s always been a highly discerning individual who demands a lot from his most used rifles and this is one he almost always has with him for pest control duty.

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer (Tikka T1x)

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer – Tikka T1x

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer (Tikka T1x)

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer – Tikka T1x

Shooting Experience

My experiences with Rusty’s rifle were quite limited in the scope of what the rifle is capable of. Rusty has told me that he’s easily been able to dispatch groundhogs at distances of around 200-yards without breaking a sweat. The range we were at during my time with the rifle was limited to 100-yards but had an interesting array of steel targets ranging from standard-sized silhouettes all the way down to some smaller 2″ circular plates. Rusty’s Tikka T1x made every one of those targets a simple point-and-click affair when using a few different types of ammunition including Lapua Polar Biathalon as well as their X-Act 40-grain match ammunition.

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer (Tikka T1x)

A sub 1/4″ group at 50 yards using Lapua Polar Biathalon

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer (Tikka T1x)

100-yard group with the same ammunition

The three primary qualities that make this rifle the “ultimate” in terms of small varmint hunting are the trigger, the action, and the suppressor. The KRG Midas 2-stage trigger could easily be mistaken for a single-stage trigger by an untrained marksman and it breaks at a crisp and clean 2.5lbs. While the trigger is adjustable all the way down to just 2lbs, KRG does not support anything lower than 2.5lbs in order to keep compliant with SAAMI drop-safe specifications. The action, while still stock, is probably the best .22LR action I’ve experienced, it’s a buttery smooth short throw that allows for quick follow-up shots if you can manage to miss with this thing. Lastly, the CGS Hydra suppressor is insanely light at just 6.5 ounces and this allows you to shoot at varmints all day long without having to worry about your hearing, it also has the added benefit of not alarming any nearby neighbors or other pests in the area that might become spooked from the sound of gunfire.

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer (Tikka T1x)

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer – Tikka T1x

I wanted to give myself a bit of a challenge while I was out there with the limited range, so I ran myself through a single-position mock Rimfire PRS stage using the available targets and I was repeatedly able to nail every single one of them at 100-yards without much effort at all. The combination of the smooth and short action with the ultra-light trigger makes taking shots from any position a breeze and in my opinion, you really can’t ask for a better set of features or accuracy from a rimfire bolt gun.

Closing Thoughts

If you nix the super expensive optic and replace it with something more reasonable like a Vortex Venom 5-26×56, you just might have the most accurate rimfire bolt gun on the market without crossing into the price and feature-set territory of guns like the Vudoo Gun Works Three 60 or the V22, both of which cost well north of $1,000 just for the action.

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer (Tikka T1x)

The Rimfire Report: The Ultimate 22LR Varmint Slayer – Tikka T1x

I really do have to give credit to both Rusty and Tom G for their joint effort in putting together one hell of a .22LR varmint slayer! However, I’d also like to hear your guys’ thoughts on this specific build as well as any of the individual components you’ve had experience with over the years. If you were building your dream varmint hunting gun in .22LR, what actions, optics, and accessories would you go with? Let me know in the comments below and as always thanks for stopping by to read The Rimfire Report! We’ll see you all next week!

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