Today we’re going to discuss the topic of trigger selection. We will go over what options are available in the aftermarket and which ones might be better suited to some specific purposes than others. There are a wide variety of triggers available and while we surely can’t cover them all we will discuss several of the more popular options along with any advantages or disadvantages the different designs have. One of the more important aspects of trigger selection is the kind of use the rifle is going to see. Specifically what kind of conditions will you be shooting in and how reliable does the gun really need to be to ensure success? Lets not forget one of the other big aspects of trigger selection, safety! We don’t want anybody getting hurt so we’ll touch on this a bit also!
Trigger Selection: Reliability Vs Feel
The conditions the rifle is going to endure are extremely important when considering different triggers for purchase and installation on the precision rifle. Obviously the needs and type of shooting different shooters engage in will influence their requirements and desires of performance in a trigger. We lean toward the tactical rifle type of shooting at AccuracyTech which would be defined as a ‘field use’ type of shooting. When we say field use we’re talking about any conditions, rain or shine, hot or cold, clean or dirty. This tends to be a demanding set of requirements when we start talking about how a trigger feels.
Likewise the folks that shoot Benchrench, F Class, and some of the other square range disciplines may be less concerned with the trigger’s inner workings getting fouled up and more with how the trigger feels and performs. Neither set of requirements is wrong or better than the other, they are just different. You do need to consider the feel of the trigger and how that relates to your own shooting performance just as carefully as the conditions the trigger must perform in during the course of fire.
Trigger Selection: Field Conditions
When talking about the kind of field conditions a shooter is likely to encounter at a tactical rifle competition, or with Law Enforcement or Military use, reliability is of the utmost importance. If the trigger gets fouled up with dirt, grit, mud, snow, whatever and doesn’t work that poses a serious and immediate problem for the shooter. Shooters in this category are unlikely to be a few steps from their vehicle with spare parts and tools at the ready. The gun just has to work and it’s as simple as that. So what triggers fair quite well in this area?
I really don’t think you can go wrong with a Timney trigger when talking about a Remington 700 or any of the custom actions that use the same receiver footprint like Defiance, Bighorn, Surgeon, etc. I’ve had a Timney trigger on my original precision rifle for years. It’s been in the dirt, the rain, the snow, and the moon dust that we see on the plains of Colorado and Wyoming. In fact, I think that stuff is worse in Wyoming than anywhere else I’ve seen so far. I’ve had dirt cake itself into every nook and cranny of the rifle during a day’s shooting in Wyoming that took a good bit of time with q-tips and solvent to remove later. The Timney 510 on that rifle has never let me down.
Another trigger that I’ve only had passing experience with but have discussed with some fellow shooters I know is the CG Extreme. This is a two stage trigger as opposed to the single stage of the Timney. It’s a bit of a different feel but I think most people like them once they give them a chance. The downside to two stage triggers is cost. They are easily 3x the cost of a Timney. You can get your hands on a Timney 510 or 517 for around $140.00 USD. The CG Model 22 runs as high as $350.00 USD. So which style you go with, single stage or two stage, can have an impact on your wallet. Both of these choices have a good reputation for reliability in field conditions though and that’s the name of the game in a tactical rifle match!
Trigger Selection: The Best Feel
In the feel category it’s really hard to beat the king, Jewell. These have possibly the best reputation for a crisp and clean break. If you aren’t going to be in field conditions or will be close to your vehicle where you can service a trigger if it becomes necessary, these are hard to beat. However, they also highlight the importance of picking the trigger for the task. On a square range with access to tools and cleaning equipment you really can’t go wrong. However, Jewell has a bit of a reputation for failing in the field. This reputation isn’t without merit, I’ve seen shooters experience misfires when their trigger locks up from the dirt and grime common to field matches.
I’ve heard good things about Rifle Basix triggers, Huber Concepts two stage triggers, and even David Tubb has a new two stage trigger out now! Unfortunately I don’t have any experience with these so I can’t speak to their feel or reliability. I will say after watching some of the YouTube stuff David Tubb has put out that his new two stage trigger may well earn itself a place in the running for a trigger with excellent feel and reliability. I’ll have to look into getting my hands on one to take a look at and give it a whirl!
Trigger selection is about finding that sweet spot between extremes. If reliability is important, look at Timney, if feel is the most important, look at Jewell. If I was going to build a Benchrest or F Class gun, and I very well may, I’ll be sticking a Jewell trigger in the gun for that build, no doubt. Like anything in life you just have to be realistic with regard to expectations and limitations. If your type of shooting requires the absolute best feel and trigger feedback then a Jewell is probably your best bet. If reliability takes the front seat and you are willing to sacrifice a little feel for extra reliability in poor conditions I’d take a hard look at Timney. If you want something really high speed like a two stage trigger for your rifle then I highly recommend the CG Extreme, but you’ll pay for the features. When deciding which trigger is best for your shooting application take a hard look at the kind of shooting you do and decide how much money you have to put towards a trigger. Consider the reliability and feel factors before making your decision! Most high end triggers are adjustable to tweak the feel to the shooter’s desire. Please don’t set your trigger below a pound unless you really know what you are doing. Let’s all be safe! Questions or concerns? Drop them in the comments below!