Defiance Deviant vs Big Horn TL3

Jul 13, 2013
310
10
18
The Woodlands, TX
#1
Anybody have input on this? I am looking to build a new 6.5 or 6mm for PRS and have narrowed it down to these 2 actions. I have heard, “when in doubt, default to Defiance.” But i wanted to see if anyone has experience with both. I have heard the BH is the smoothest action out there. Is this true?

Is there anything I should be considering in these 2? The changeable bolt head doesn’t mean much to me.
 

bjay

Private
Oct 19, 2009
3,176
160
63
Aloha state HI
#2
Anybody have input on this? I am looking to build a new 6.5 or 6mm for PRS and have narrowed it down to these 2 actions. I have heard, “when in doubt, default to Defiance.” But i wanted to see if anyone has experience with both. I have heard the BH is the smoothest action out there. Is this true?

Is there anything I should be considering in these 2? The changeable bolt head doesn’t mean much to me.
Im using defiance deviant control round feed i think its better comparison for tl3 push feed..i like them both if you're NOT planing to do switch barrel for one action deviant is great.switching barrel with TL3 definitely cheaper and easier just swap bolt face even to magnum..heres my deviant control feed
2016-05-26 23.01.44-1.jpg
 
Apr 24, 2017
908
136
43
Hoover, Alabama
#3
For the price, if it were my money, I would go with the Bighorn TL3. The mechanical extraction and control round feed are what sold me on the TL3. I would consider the Origin once they hit the market this summer.
 
Mar 16, 2017
155
40
28
#4
Or, go with the Defiance Deviant Elite, kind of like smushing together the TL3 and a Deviant

Controlled round feed, mechanical ejector, extended tenon and coned bolt nose. No swappable bolt heads though.

I have a buddy who has a TL3 and he thinks it is great too. We will be comparing in shortly.
 

DFC

General
Nov 4, 2002
72
4
8
Arizona
#5
I have a Defiance Deviant that I'm not impressed with. First the threads should have been 18 not 16 TPI. The threaded part of the action is too short for the heavy barrels we are using on these PRS rifles. This is what you get from great salesmanship.
 
Jun 17, 2009
731
209
43
30
Houston, TX
#6
I'm in the process of swapping out the Defiance action on my PRS rifle and replacing it with a Mausingfield.

Myself and others experience issues with Defiance actions in really dusty environments. I've had my Defiance action pretty much lock up in multiple matches when the conditions get dusty, I had to clean the action out multiple times every day of the match to keep it running (TX and OK). Meanwhile, actions such as the Surgeons are running in the same conditions and not missing a beat.

My action is an older Defiance (GAP Templar V1/Defiance Rebel), which I had the bolt turned down on. My shooting buddies with the newer Defiances have similar issues in dusty conditions, so I don't think it's isolated to older actions.

I like Defiance actions - my ELR rig has a long action Defiance Deviant which is Ionbonded and it is super slick (and hasn't even been broken in yet, so it's only going to get slicker). They are built extremely well and with the right coating they run slicker than most. Great customer service as well. But from my experience and from those around me, they aren't the best suited for multi-day PRS matches where you may encounter fine dust.

If you are not going to be shooting in really fine dusty conditions, the Defiance is a great action. Lots of people use them with great success in PRS, and it didn't deter me from getting one for my ELR rifle.
 

NateVA

Basement Dweller
Feb 10, 2017
694
90
28
#9
I'd probably go Bighorn if I had to choose between those two. People have already elaborated on the feature sets but Josh at PVA can spin you up a barrel without ever having your action in his shop. So when you need a new barrel you can order it in advance of when you burn out your current one and there's no down time waiting for some gunsmith to put on a new one. If you're going to be doing high-volume practice shooting I think it's a no-brainer, even before you consider the interchangeable bolt heads.
 

5RWill

Optics Fiend
Oct 15, 2009
4,124
385
83
27
Mississippi
#12
Have only handled a couple of deviants. We own a TL3, SR3, and soon to be an Origin. TL3 is mine, i got dad his SR3, and my brother is building off an Origin.

Between the two TL3 gets my vote but given the feature set a more fair comparison would be between it and the elite. TL3 still represents more value to me though. It comes DLC'd for $1250, with the same features (CRF/ME) and more with the switch caliber rig. Other thing is i imagine the extended Tenon on the Elite makes just finding a stock that inlets perfectly with it rather difficult. The Defiance is likely to be tighter and feel more refined but the TL3s are plenty smooth and their bolt lift has been the best i've felt on a 2-lug.
 
Feb 13, 2017
159
14
18
#13
Have only handled a couple of deviants. We own a TL3, SR3, and soon to be an Origin. TL3 is mine, i got dad his SR3, and my brother is building off an Origin.

Between the two TL3 gets my vote but given the feature set a more fair comparison would be between it and the elite. TL3 still represents more value to me though. It comes DLC'd for $1250, with the same features (CRF/ME) and more with the switch caliber rig. Other thing is i imagine the extended Tenon on the Elite makes just finding a stock that inlets perfectly with it rather difficult. The Defiance is likely to be tighter and feel more refined but the TL3s are plenty smooth and their bolt lift has been the best i've felt on a 2-lug.
How's the bolt close on the TL3? I've read some posts that said they weren't as smooth on close. Possibly timing being off out of the box?

I went with a Surgeon for my 6.5x47 but looking at doing a Defiance or Bighorn next
 

5RWill

Optics Fiend
Oct 15, 2009
4,124
385
83
27
Mississippi
#14
How's the bolt close on the TL3? I've read some posts that said they weren't as smooth on close. Possibly timing being off out of the box?

I went with a Surgeon for my 6.5x47 but looking at doing a Defiance or Bighorn next
Ours are extremely smooth, i have no complaints with either honestly.
 
Jul 13, 2013
310
10
18
The Woodlands, TX
#15
Have only handled a couple of deviants. We own a TL3, SR3, and soon to be an Origin. TL3 is mine, i got dad his SR3, and my brother is building off an Origin.

Between the two TL3 gets my vote but given the feature set a more fair comparison would be between it and the elite. TL3 still represents more value to me though. It comes DLC'd for $1250, with the same features (CRF/ME) and more with the switch caliber rig. Other thing is i imagine the extended Tenon on the Elite makes just finding a stock that inlets perfectly with it rather difficult. The Defiance is likely to be tighter and feel more refined but the TL3s are plenty smooth and their bolt lift has been the best i've felt on a 2-lug.
I have not seen the switch barrel option? I may need to google that one.
 

5RWill

Optics Fiend
Oct 15, 2009
4,124
385
83
27
Mississippi
#17
I have not seen the switch barrel option? I may need to google that one.
I mean in the essence of having bolt heads and being able to order shoukdered barrels action unseen. I also thought of asking bighorn if we use a slug on the origin.

The extended tenon on the Elite should not interfere with anything. It is a standard 700 foot print.
I realize it’s a 700 footprint. But would the extended tenon not, for all intensive purposes extend or lengthen the barrel shank? Thus being a little problematic for say something that is already inlet for a standard length tenon and shank associated with a standard tenon? Seems like i couldn’t just drop it in my Manners i would think though maybe that’s not an issue and I’m thinking the extended tenon is more exaggerated than it is.
 
Last edited:

BWB

Sergeant
Mar 18, 2009
340
12
18
SD
#18
How's the bolt close on the TL3? I've read some posts that said they weren't as smooth on close. Possibly timing being off out of the box?

I went with a Surgeon for my 6.5x47 but looking at doing a Defiance or Bighorn next

I have both a TL3 and a Deviant Tactical. The bolt "close" is more smooth on the Deviant BUT to be fair, what people are feeling on the close is the tension washer between the bolt body and the bolt head "crushing" on close. It's part of the design. Honestly once you run a few mags of ammo through a TL3 you don't even notice it. The TL3 I have that's DLC'd isn't as noticeable either as the bare action but I also have more firings on the DLC coated TL3. To be fair both TL3's are still new, I don't even have 500 dry fires on either one and I expect they will both get better with time.

I have over 4000 rounds on my Deviant, it's as broke in as you can get and the bolt lift is better on the TL3's, noticeably. I found the tolerances to be too tight on the Defiance to ever Cerakote it (unless none is sprayed on any internal parts/pieces - including the bolt shroud), this might not be important to most people, but is to some. That is not the case with the TL3, Cerakote away...
 
Aug 6, 2012
108
25
28
46
Oklahoma
#20
I, like many others thought having a nice tight action was the way to go. I have learned this does not dictate what a good action is. Yes I still like my Defiance, but I like the TL3 more. They are tighter than most actions...which will cause a bit of stickiness with wind blowing sand. The lugs gall a small bit, even tho I started pulling the bolt out to clean and lube before I shoot it each time. It makes things a small bit better. So in the end, I feel it just a bit too tight...but the machining is really nice.

The TL3 has a totally different feel. I believe this comes from the floating bolthead/spring. I have grown to love the mechanical ejector. The hardest part is figuring out how hard to work the bolt to get the empty cases to fall into my ammo box. But...rack the bolt hard and you can sling them across the room.

BOTH are good actions, but this is why I also like the TL3......

I got tired of always having to build a new gun and wait...........and wait.......well, months. The TL3 offers me being able to have a barrel spun up without a gun being down while it gets a new barrel...and the fact that you can switch out boltfaces to accommodate standard or mag cartridges is what originally sold me on it. I did not know the tolerances where so good you could spin up a new barrel without the action....so I consider this big bonus points. I do have my own barrel vise and have multiple barrels I can change over to on the defiance. I just did not have the time this year to get another spun up on the TL3 that I got last summer. Still debating on a 6.5 4s saum.

Bighorn just offers too many options for it to not be at the top of the list if your in the market for a custom action. After all...who has just 1 bolt gun ? Its much more economical.
 
Mar 16, 2017
155
40
28
#21
I get my Elite in 6Br in the next day or so I will find out shortly.

The smith who built it didn't mention anything being out or sorts when testing it.
 
Jun 17, 2009
731
209
43
30
Houston, TX
#22
I get my Elite in 6Br in the next day or so I will find out shortly.

The smith who built it didn't mention anything being out or sorts when testing it.
That's because Harley takes care of his business ;)

He did mention to me that the extra long tennon of the Defiance Elite "won't fit in a lot of stocks without hogging some shit out" - so it would take some work to get to fit certain stocks/chassis.
 
Likes: 5RWill

BLKWLFK9

come at me bro
Feb 13, 2017
333
66
28
#23
I have a Defiance Deviant that I'm not impressed with. First the threads should have been 18 not 16 TPI. The threaded part of the action is too short for the heavy barrels we are using on these PRS rifles. This is what you get from great salesmanship.
unless there's something im missing, Jake vibbert ran MTU contour barrels on his deviant. Hard to get too much heavier than that. Looks like a broom stick.
 
Likes: bjay

B-P-UU

Full Member
Feb 13, 2017
569
49
28
#24
Anybody have input on this? I am looking to build a new 6.5 or 6mm for PRS and have narrowed it down to these 2 actions. I have heard, “when in doubt, default to Defiance.” But i wanted to see if anyone has experience with both. I have heard the BH is the smoothest action out there. Is this true?

Is there anything I should be considering in these 2? The changeable bolt head doesn’t mean much to me.

TL3 is a nice action and I'm glad I have one for the flexibility alone. Going to build a switch barrel hunting rig/back up match gun with it now that my Dasher barrel is shot out.
If that feature doesn't interest you, there are better "dedicated" match actions. Lone Peak Fusion and Impact Precision come to mind. They are both far smoother than a TL3. TL3 is by no means bad, but the other 2 are on a different level. The BH doesn't run great dirty.. seems to gum up. That is true for TL2 and TL3 in my experience.

I don't think Defiance would make my top 3.
 
Top Bottom