A Very Unusual Tikka M65 Deluxe

Discussion in 'Valmet and Tikka' started by icebear, Sep 3, 2021.

  1. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Just picked up this Tikka M65 Deluxe .270, purchased on Gunbroker. It has some seldom-seen features that put it on my "gotta-have" list.


    First, it's marked as an M65. The M55/M65 Tikkas were imported into the USA by Ithaca as "Ithaca LSA-55" or -65. So that makes it an unofficial import, probably a GI bringback but possibly via Canada. The feature that really excited me was the large bolt knob. This was an uncommon option on Euro-market Tikkas, to make the bolt easier to operate with gloves. This appealed to Finnish hunters, among others. Years ago I had another M65, a .30-06, with the large knob. When I moved from Virginia to Arizona, a friend begged me to sell it to him and like a fool, I did. It's one of the few times I've ever regretted selling a gun. So ever since then, I've been on the lookout for another M55 or M65 with the large bolt knob and this is the first one I've found.

    The sights are another interesting feature. As is the case with L-series Sakos, few Deluxe grade M55/M65 Tikkas in the US market were equipped with sights. The standard grade sporters, on the other hand, all or almost all had sights. Unfortunately, some previous owner has removed the rear sight blade and front sight hood, so I'll have to scour eBay, parts sellers, etc. to find the missing parts. In the meantime, I'll probably remove the sights and put plug screws in the holes until I find the parts.

    Finally, there is the stock. This is the first time I've seen a Tikka Deluxe with a matte or satin finish on the wood. US-market rifles generally were shipped with high-gloss poly finishes. At first I thought maybe it was refinished, but after consulting Arma Fennica and reviewing some photos posted on the forum by Canadian Tikka owners, I believe the finish is original. The shape of the stock is also subtly different from earlier Tikkas. The lines are softer and more rounded, and it has fine-line checkering rather than the flat-top, skip-line checkering of the earlier Tikka (and Sako) Deluxes. It also has a checkering panel on the bottom of the forend, the first time I've seen that feature on any Tikka or Sako. The rifle is late production, probably 1986. This is significant because that's 3 years after Sako bought Tikka, and the change to the stock very much resembles the changes Sako made in changing from the L series to the A series. Look carefully and you'll see the single lines in certain corners of the pattern, as found in some A-series Sakos. Arma Fennica gives the last date of M65 production as 1985 and the last number in the 77xxx range, but this gun is a good 8000 numbers past that.

    The rifle came to me without a scope. I added a 3-9x Redfield because I had it handy and it fit the original Tikka low rings for the M65. I don't know when the Redfield was built but I'd say it's reasonably contemporary to the rifle.

    I now have three M55/M65 Tikka Deluxe rifles: an M55 in .222, an M55 in .308, and the M65 in .270. Each is a little bit different. The .222 has flat-top checkering and shiny varnish, the .308 has fine-line checkering and shiny varnish, and the .270 has fine-line checkering in a somewhat different pattern and a matte finish.

    Here are some photos of the M65.
    Tikka 270-1.JPG Tikka 270-2.JPG Tikka 270-3.JPG Tikka 270-4.JPG Tikka 270-5.JPG Tikka 270-6.JPG

    This is a very bad photo of the .30-06 mentioned in the post, which I sold about 18 years ago. Taken with a first-generation digital camera. They have improved, haven't they?
    Tikka06.jpg

    And here's the M55 .308. Scope is a 3-9x Redfield Widefield in Conetrol mounts.
    M55-308-1.JPG

    And finally, the M55 .222. The odd-looking recoil pad is to restore the length of pull after some previous owner cut the stock down for a very small person. Scope is a 12x Burris in factory Tikka rings.
    222 Phase One-1.JPG
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
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  2. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    A postscript - I just got done looking at the very back and bottom of my ammo stash for .270. Since I haven't shot a .270 in 20 years or so, it took some effort, but I did find something to shoot in my new Tikka. Found two boxes of 150 grain Federal Premium 150 grain, half a box of Hornady 140 grain, and a mystery box of reloads. The box was labeled, in my handwriting, 180 grain Sierra, 53 grains 4350. Now there's no such thing as a 180 grain .277 bullet, and that's an elk load for a .30-06. Obviously I copied the data from the wrong line of something, as there's no way that's a real .270 load. I guess I'll have to take one of the rounds apart, weigh the bullet, inspect and weigh the powder, and then decide whether I can safely shoot this stuff or if I should just pull all the bullets and start over. Probably Door #2, unfortunately. The only consolation is that the seating die is almost certainly set for that bullet, since that's the only box of reloads I have. Some days life throws a curve ball.
     
  3. CerebralDistortion

    CerebralDistortion Well-Known Member

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    O, a bone stock standard M65...

    How markets differ. :)
     
  4. CerebralDistortion

    CerebralDistortion Well-Known Member

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    Not always...

    I regard a non rosewood fore end and grip cap on a deluxe stock a curiosity rather than something exceptional.
     
  5. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Here are a few more interesting facts about the Tikka M55/M65 rifles.

    1. The early Sako L61R action had a third lug at the rear of the bolt, which was discontinued around 1972. The Tikka M65 is similar, but there are two opposing rear lugs, not just one. This feature was only on the M65; the shorter action just had the usual two front locking lugs. Photo below.
    2. I wondered for a long time where the M55 and M65 designations came from. Finally I realized that 55 and 65 are the nominal action lengths, in millimeters. The M55 was designed around the .308 (7.62x51mm); the M65 is sized for the .30-06 (7.62x63mm).
    3. The range of calibers available in Europe (and probably Canada) was greater than what was imported to the US through Ithaca. In the US, we hardly ever see the long action in anything but .270, .30-06, .300 WinMag, and occasionally 7mm Remington Mag. Europeans also could choose from 6.5x55, 7x57, and 7x64. Arma Fennica lists the M55 in .308, .243, 6mm Remington, .22-250, .222, and .17 Remington. As is the case with Sako medium actions, the .243 is by far the most commonly found in the US. The .222 was sold by Ithaca in small numbers; I have an LSA marked .222. I've maybe seen one or two for sale in 6mm Remington, and I've never seen or heard of a .17 Remington. I wonder if that caliber may have been cataloged but never produced.
    4. There was a target/varmint version of the M55 with a heavy barrel and a massive target-style stock. It was available in .222, .22-250, .243, and .308. I think Ithaca may have imported a few. I used to have one in .222; it was marked M55. It was extremely accurate and I regret selling it. There was also a sniper rifle in 6.5x55, .30-06. and maybe .308. I saw one for sale years ago on Gunbroker but couldn't afford it at the time. It is not mentioned in Arma Fennica and very little information is available on this model.

    Here's a photo showing the extra lugs on the M65 bolt.
    Rear Bolt Lugs.JPG
     
  6. CerebralDistortion

    CerebralDistortion Well-Known Member

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    Addendum to 4.

    The "Sporter"/target version was available for the m65 as well to accommodate the 6.5x55.

    The finns have their own version of biathlon with high power rifles, roughly translated "Moose biathlon", where the Sporter was used. Minimum requirement is 6,5x55 or 308.

    As a parenthesis: Sauer made a stock model for this for their 205-action named "MBR".
     
  7. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Thanks. I thought they had made the target rifle in 6.5x55, but I wasn't sure and it wasn't mentioned in the documentation I have.

    I'm not familiar with "Moose biathlon," although I have hunted moose and skied cross-country in Finland. Can you tell me the term in Finnish? I tried Googling "hirvi ampumahiihto" which would be the literal Finnish translation, but all I found was references to an Olympic biathlon medalist named Juha Hirvi, and a couple of images.
    767px-Väinö_Hämäläinen_-_Hiiden_hirven_hiihto.jpg Hirvi-Hiihto.jpg
     
  8. CerebralDistortion

    CerebralDistortion Well-Known Member

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  9. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Fascinating. I had not heard of this sport before. Sounds challenging (as is regular biathlon). The summer version (running and shooting (see CD's link above), inspired the thought that they could also do a summer version on roller-skis, which are used by cross-country skiers for summer training. Rullasukset, the Finnish word for roller-skis, seems to be one of those words that just sounds funny in Finnish. My Finnish girlfriend could never say the word without giggling. I never tried the things; I enjoy both X-C and downhill skiing but the rollers looked kind of sketchy to me. Just for fun, I Googled roller-skiing in Finnish, and found biathlon on roller-skis!
    roller skiing.jpg rulla-ampumahiihto.jpg

    The Moose-Biathlon Rifle is quite impressive, sound suppressor and all. I suppose in Finnish it would be called a hirvenhiihtokivääri. You can buy a suppressor over the counter in Finland, as opposed to here where they require a special background check by the Feds, a months-long wait, and a $200 transfer tax. The rifle resembles centerfire biathlon rifles built before international competition switched to rimfire. Both Sako and Tikka built such rifles, and the Finnish military build some on Mosin-Nagant actions in 7.62x53R. Some of the military biathlon rifles resembled the m/28-76 target rifles imported into the US; others used modified military-issue stocks.
     
  10. CerebralDistortion

    CerebralDistortion Well-Known Member

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    The Finns have a long time enemy at their eastern border...
     
  11. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    A Finnish official once said to me, "Finland is a neutral country - but the guns point to the east." This was in the 1990s, when Finland was still nominally neutral and coordination with the US and NATO was done quietly. Now, as we see in the media, Finland is openly discussing NATO membership.
     
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  12. dphauto

    dphauto Member

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    tikka 17 remm picture 3.jpg
    This is for Icebear, a Tikka M55 in 17 Rem. They are out there and a deluxe to boot! tikka 17 rem.jpg tikka 17rem picture2.jpg
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2021
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  13. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    A very nice find, and it confirms the information in Arma Fennica. Now let's see if anybody comes up with a U.S. market M55 (Ithaca LSA-55) in .17. The European and Canadian markets seem to have been offered a much greater variety than the U.S. One of the Forum's Canadian members even has a full-stock version - I forget which action length and caliber.
     
  14. Branxhunter

    Branxhunter Well-Known Member

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    It's not unusual to see second hand Tikka M55 in .17 Rem here in Australia. If you were really serious about spotlight shooting foxes for skins back in the 70's, 80's and 90's you had a Rem 700, Sako L461/A1 or Tikka in .17 Rem and a Kahles, Pecar or Leupold scope.

    Marcus
     
  15. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Interesting to see the geographical differences in who can buy which Sako or Tikka rifle and where the demand is greatest for particular calibers or models.

    Just to add some more Tikka information:
    1. All three of my M55/M65 rifles have floating barrels. Tikka seems to have adopted floating barrels somewhat before Sako. (Although Sako gets the original prize for floating a barrel; the m/28-30 rifle built for the Finnish Civil Guard had a metal sleeve at the front of the stock to keep the stock from pressing on the barrel. It was one of the most accurate general-issue military rifles ever built.)
    2. All three rifles have crisp trigger pulls with no creep or overtravel. All three are in the range of 2-1/2 pounds.
    3. The M65 weighs 9 pounds, 1 ounce with the scope. The M55 in .308 is the lightest at 8 pounds even, and the .222 is in the middle at 8 pounds, 9 ounces. The very long 12x scope likely contributes to the difference over the .308.
     
  16. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    Today was range day for the Tikka. Results are shown in the photo below. First group once I got the scope tweaked to my satisfaction put three rounds in half an inch. I'm a happy camper. Ammo was Federal Premium 150 grain BTSP. When I get around to it, I'll try some 140 grain loads, just to see how they do. The perfect 2-1/2 pound trigger pull and the excellent Redfield glass were a big help in putting the bullets in the bull. I'm realizing that a lot of those old Redfields were really good scopes. For a long time I never would look at anything but Leupolds, German and Austrian scopes, and the occasional Burris, but I acquired a couple of Redfields attached to rifles I had bought, and when I tried them out I was quite pleased. I now have Redfields on two of my Tikkas - a 3x9 Widefield (TV view) on a .308 M55 and the conventional 3x9 on this one.

    One more point on Tikka rifles - Tikka actions are among the smoothest and slickest ever built. With the magazine out and the bolt open, you can hold a Tikka at eye level, rock it gently back and forth, and watch the bolt slide back and forth as you tip the gun. The only other rifle I've ever seen this work on is a Krico.

    Tikka M65 9-17-21.jpg
     
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  17. bigcountry4me

    bigcountry4me Well-Known Member

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    Now you need a Kaibab Plateau mule deer tag, for one of those monsters. Nice shooting.
     
  18. stonecreek

    stonecreek SCC Secretary Forum Owner SCC Board Member

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    The Denver-made Redfields once held the top spot as hunting scopes. In the 1960's they were priced about 15% higher than the corresponding Leupold. Since all of them were gloss finished they make an excellent contemporaneous scope match for an older Sako with its glossy bluing.

    By the way, I see that the moose hunter on skis in the illustration is carrying both a crossbow and what appears to be a ski pole equipped with a spear point and a rope tether. Is he supposed to spear the moose then hang onto the tether as the moose pulls him cross country until it drops from blood loss; kinda like a 19th Century whaling boat being pulled by a harpooned whale?
     
  19. icebear

    icebear Sako-addicted

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    You may be right with the harpooned whale analogy. That painting was done by a well-known Finnish artist, and there's no reason to believe he was making things up. I know that back in the day, hunters and woodsmen using skis for transportation typically would use a single pole, not a pair. It was employed like a canoe paddle, pushing on one side and then the other. I've also seen pictures of double-ended ski poles, used like a kayak paddle. Personally, I prefer two poles and Purple Klister.
     

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