Choosing And Fitting Triggers

Considered by many to be the most important feature of a firearm, a quality trigger is critical.
by RK Campbell

I don’t know if Davy Crockett adjusted his rifle trigger for a smoother release but chances are he did. Ever since folks began contemplating long range work with the rifle they have addressed the need for a light crisp let off to allow them to hold the sights steady as they pressed the trigger. On the other hand, military men remain frightened of the troops using a light trigger. Heavy two stage triggers are the rule there. This can be an aid in marksmanship when the nerves are rattled or when wearing gloves but sometimes these military rifles end up in the hands of sport shooters. We are used to lighter and crisper trigger actions on commercial actions. When military actions were cheap and plentiful the trigger gets lots of of attention.

There have been plenty of military rifles in the hands of sportsmen who despised the original triggers. The two stage trigger is a good choice for the military and not a bad choice for hunters using rifles at moderate range, especially those hunting in cold climates with gloved hands. You always know that you are in control with the two stage trigger. There is a bit of take-up and then the final compression. Still, for top accuracy there is no question that a lighter, crisper trigger action is needed.

Some have taken the path of modifying the original trigger action by polishing the sear. I prefer to replace original two stage triggers and not modify them. While this may be a controversial statement in some quarters, the availability of modern triggers leaves no profit in attempting to tune a two stage trigger given the time and effort. I have come to feel much the same concerning the 1911 trigger action in pistols and use quality ignition sets rather than modifying the original. The good gunsmiths that attempted to modify military triggers, such as the late T.N. Hughston, knew exactly what they were doing. Others did not.

Read more in our March 2015 issue. Back issues are available.

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