Does Starting Somewhat Handicapped Increase Long Term Skill?

Hey all,

As most of you probably know, I’m a little over a week away from getting my license. Initially, I was going to get a Howa in an MDT XRS with a Muzzle Break. However, I changed my mind and decided I’d rather spend the extra money on a Tikka T3X Varmint for the smoother bolt and better overall finish.

The Tikka doesn’t come with a threaded barrel and the standard stock is quite light and makes calibres such a 6.5 Creedmoor kick a little harder than they would in a heavier stock.
I’d like to eventually have the barrel threaded and upgrade the stock to something from KRG or MRT. However, if I start bone stock and build skill with a rifle that needs a little more wrestling to group well, would you guys say I’d build more overall skill than I would if I got a Chassis/Heavier Stock and Muzzle Brake straight off the bat?

Or should I just fork out some extra money and swap out the standard stock straight away etc.?

I’m just wanting to work out what’s going to make me a better shooter in the long run.

Also a little off topic - before people say start with a .22 - I’ve already put my permit to acquire through for a 6.5 Creedmoor. However I want to get a .22 as a second rifle ASAP so that I can actually have a decent day at the range. With the price of 6.5CM rounds, I’ll probably be able to afford 40 rounds per shoot. So I’d be awesome to have a .22 to fire whilst the barrel cools on the Tikka etc. I also feel purchasing a .22 would take priority over upgrading the stock on the Tikka as well.

Anyhow - Does starting with less upgrades and a higher recoiling rifle do better things for long term skill than starting off with all the good would?

The stock standard rifle is going to outshoot you every day of the week. Shoot well with that and then think about upgrading.

I support your decision to get a .22 ASAP.


Technique is all that matters. Plenty of thought has gone into a Tikka stock. It’s more than adequate and won’t affect your groups in any dramatic way.
You can adapt to any reasonable stock.
What matters is
-breath control
-trigger control
-sight picture.
A decent shooter will shoot well with any rifle. Some better than others maybe, you won’t notice till you get better.
Fundamentals are all that matter. Nice gear is a luxury, learn to shoot before you bother chasing equipment gains.

If anything, a lower quality gun can make you a better shooter.
Learning to shoot a clunky heavy Milsurp accurately for example , will make a crisp modern bolt action almost feel like cheating.


Exactly what he said. Chassis and mb are for show really. They do add a level of comfort, but they add precisely zero to what you’re asking. Tikka is a premium brand, stock is fine. No break is fine. Just get the gun and go shooting.

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Bog standard Tikka T3 Hunter in 25-06 with factory ammo at 100m shooting off a cheap bipod. You don’t need fancy shit on your gun, you need quality trigger time. Perfect practice makes perfect.


So just to sum up what they all said…
Start with a .22 :rofl: I would even suggest getting one with iron sights and not putting a scope on it.
Smiles per gallon on a .22 are impossible to beat.
I like to throw an empty shotgun shell as far as I can and then shoot that with whatever (but my Lithgow mod 12 mostly) each time you hit it it’ll move either away and land in a different position. Golf balls are good for that too and can be easier to see, but not sure they are suited to a range coz they can end up flinging off into other people’s lanes.
So maybe buy a shotgun too, just to keep you in 22 targets.

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Starting with the least equipment will increase your skill and understanding of the factors involved in shooting. Starting slow and lean then you can add bits and learn how use them and learn what effect they have. Master one step at a time. Then 10 years down the track you re visit all the basics and practice them more.


Yep, 7 days to go I believe.

Thanks to all of you for all the info,

@Supaduke Awesome, because not that it matters, but I particularly like the Varmint Stock and find it more aesthetically pleasing than a Chassis. I’m looking forward to learning the fundamentals and developing skill in breath control and trigger control.

@juststarting I think I had been under the misconception that a heavier aftermarket stock or chassis would reduce recoil due to more weight. As for the Brake, I have read that they make sighting shots easier but when I think of it, I had just as easy as a time spotting 500m shots on my mates Tikka 22-250 without a brake as I did on another mates Ruger Precision that does have a brake. I just wish I still had the groups I shot with the 22-250 to compare to the groups I fired with the Ruger .308.

@Bent_arrow Absolutely love the look of your rifle and that’s a super nice group.

@sungazer Sweet, all sounds good to me. Saves me te dosh of upgrading the stock and threading the barrel. I’ll worry about all that down the track and get as good as I can on a bone stoke rifle first. Also, the money I’d have spent upgrading the stock can now go to a .22 soon after purchasing the Tikka.

I know it’s going to be somewhat dependant on bullet velocity etc - but does MOA stay relatively the same per 100 yeards of distance (assuming decent shooter skill) as in, if a rifle can shoot a 1 inch group at 100, will that generally equate to 2 inches at 200, 3 inchea at 300 etc.?

Posting in here and learning all these bits and pieces is killing the time of the waiting period and I’ll be going in with a bit more knowledge. When it comes to crunch time, I’m probably going to be able to get to the range once a month.

They do reduce recoil and break sometimes makes it easier to sight shots. It’s not the point though. You asked whether it will be less of a handicap… No, if you can’t handle recoil, you can’t handle recoil. It won’t contribute to you being a better or worse shooter is what I am saying. They are all comforts, but won’t make you shoot better.

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Sweet, all makes good sense.

All that a side, a cool tactical chassis and a mb on a 6.5 is almost a necessity these days :smiley: (gets ready for wood and steel brigade to start knocking on his door). Maybe not at first, but they are seeeexxxyyyy. Realistically, with your budget, you can get one but not the other. Get a good rifle, shoot it and have fun. The end. They are all good. Your Tikka choice is perfect.

…in the meantime save for a great chassis that you love and ticks all boxes, not for one that’s “it’s almost what I want, but I will settle due to lack of funds”.

Go and shoot something of a large intermediate, like a 458 WinMag, or a 416 Ruger. Shoot ten rounds offhand at your own pace. Take your time, absorb every shot.

After this everything else will feel like a .22
(Actually, anything with ‘Weatherby’ in the name is not included. Roy Weatherby was a sick man. Sick I tell ya.)


Few main takeaways from this.
You can’t spend your way out of overcoming poor technique.
Don’t get obsessed with improving your rifle.
Light triggers are nice.
Quality optics are nice
Fancy chassis is nice.
None of them will shrink a 4 inch group to a 1 inch group.
Assuming the rifle is up to it, you should be able to print a 1 inch group at 100m with all but the shitiest of guns mounted with a $100 Chinese optic.

The other fundamental is “aim small, miss small”

Meaning don’t aim at the centre of the target, rather aim at the centre of the centre.
Pick a particular pinpoint to aim at. Not a vague central area.


I like the stock shaped Chassis such as the KRG Bravo, KRG X-Ray and MDT XRS.
I also like some of the offering from German Gun Stock and another one I came across that I think was called PSE.

I’ll get the .22 first and eventually save up for one of these “crossover” chassis eventually. But in the meantime I like the Tikka stock and going off what you’ve all told me, it’ll do just fine in the meantime.

Also, the Tikka Varmint I’m after is available blued or stainless. I have no idea what the advantages or disadvantages are here so any input would be much appreciated.

Stainless is easy to care for.

That’s a good idea and logic.

A guy I know has a .338 Lapua he said I could have a go on so that might do the trick.

Stainless is easier to clean, more rust resistant (not rust proof).
Chrome Moly (blued) barrels are arguably a harder metal, they don’t wear out as fast.
Realistically, it doesn’t matter till the very end of a rifles life cycle.
In the end, one is shiny, One is blue. Neither offer any perceptible difference to the average shooter. Pick the one you find aesthetically pleasing.


Okay cool,

I like the stainess better on the Tikka stock but long term I think blued would look better in an aftermarket stock.
No biggy, I’ll decide on that when I view both in store.



Awesome thanks. These are 2 groups I shot on a Ruger Precision .308, I think they’re a little under 1 inch. Point of aim was the red so I must’ve had some grip inconsistency, maybe pulling left a little where I had the half decent group of 3. These are from my second time at the range, hopefully I can match this and then tighten them right up with the Tikka and practice.