Triggers and trigger weights.

I am often asked to adjust and/or tune triggers and one thing often becomes apparent and that is people have no real concept of trigger weight.

Many years ago I was asked to service and adjust a sporting Sako trigger to 3.5lbs, which I did, the customer tried it when he came to collect the rifle and declared it was far too heavy. Well it was on exactly 3.5lbs and it turned out he wanted something closer to half that. Lesson learned for all of us.

In an ideal world I will make the adjustment whilst the customer is with me until we reach a weight that suits the customer.

The one thing that always worries me is when people make their own adjustments and fail to check the operation and safety of the rifle afterwards and I cannot over stress the importance of such checks. If in doubt, leave it alone or ask a grown up. Lighter is not always better!

I remember working on an F Class rifle a few years ago and commenting on just how horrendous the 2oz (55 grams) trigger was.The owner admitted later that it had failed in a competition and he shot the last few rounds by carefully closing the bolt to take the shot, so it was effectively slipping over the trigger sear as the handle was depressed. it reminds me of an F Class competition once when the competitor to my left was taking his first sighter, there was a shot followed by “Oops”

Anyway, this particular trigger job was an Anschütz 1807 and I was asked to increase the trigger weight and give it a once over.

First job always has to be to check the operation and confirm the existing trigger style and weight and this one was set to a scary 5-8 grams, I would hate to shoot it with cold fingers!

These days I use a Lyman trigger pull gauge, I misguidedly lent my old electronic gauge out and never got it back hence the Lyman. These are actually quite accurate and I sat down with a known weight and ran numerous tests when it first arrived and I would say it is accurate to +/- 1 gram which is quite an improvement on the more traditional spring gauges and tins of shot on a piece of string. Of course the accuracy is dependant on the way you use the gauge and yanking the trigger back with the gauge will give vastly overweight figures.

What I do like about the Anschütz triggers is the range of adjustments for sear engagement, first and second stages and trigger weight and these are one of my favourites. This particular trigger has now been cleaned and set to ~100 grams

What can you best do to keep your trigger in good working order? Well, avoiding contamination with bore cleaning solvents and oil is a good start. I always use a Cleaning rod guide/Bore guide (Obviously) and trap a piece of kitchen roll folded in half under the back of the guide to prevent the ingress of contaminants when cleaning.

If you need to clean a trigger in the field, remove the trigger, hold it in the same orientation as you would shoot the rifle and pour a liberal amount of lighter fluid in from the top, this will flush a lot of the contamination and gunk away and when the fluid dries it leaves a slight residue that aids in lubricating the trigger until you can get it checked and cleaned properly.

DO NOT dump the contents of a can of brake cleaner followed by a liberal coating of gun oil and certainly do not put WD40 near it as you will be back to square one.

Do not lighten your standard trigger excessively and always, always check the operation before use.

And why am I telling you this? Because you need to know.

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