A steady position, aiming, breath control and trigger control are the four basic rifle marksmanship fundamentals. All are important, however, trigger control has the ability to wreak havoc on the other three.
For years, the triggers found on most production rifles required the use of nearly two fingers to get the rifle to fire, as manufacturers were protecting themselves from liability in the event it was set off accidentally. Many firearm enthusiasts blame the potential for such litigation for these triggers. But rifle buyers grumbled and demanded an adjustable trigger, and slowly but surely firearm manufacturers began listening.
How a Trigger Works
Triggers on rifles gone-by can be described as bad, but why?
Creep—The movement experienced before the hammer is released. Though some rifles, like semi-autos, must have this to operate properly, this is not an attribute wanted on a bolt-action rifle. Too much creep makes trigger pull feel much heavier, causing the shooter to jerk the trigger.
Older rifle triggers were often plagued with a rough or gritty feeling. Short of stoning or installing an expensive aftermarket trigger, there wasn’t a lot of hope for these triggers.
Enter the Modern Age Adjustable Trigger
What to Look for in a Trigger
A Trigger by Another Name
A gun-cleaning cradle or vice can act as a third or even a fourth hand when disassembling or reassembling a rifle.
Warning: In a few cases, adjusting a trigger voids the warranty of the rifle. Some triggers actually have a sealant on the head of the screws to tip off any adjustment outside the manufacturer specification. Be sure to double check your warranty information or contact the manufacturer directly before attempting any adjustments.
Sounds simple? Well, there is a caveat. There is a point on any trigger, no matter the manufacturer, when it is set too light. On most triggers the rifle will not cock if set too light. Another problem when adjusting triggers is slam firing, when closing the bolt fast or pushing the safety off the rifle fires. Neither of these is good. If you are the least bit apprehensive or if you get caught in the middle of the situation, a competent gunsmith can adjust your trigger for a nominal fee.
The Remington X-Mark Pro
The single adjustment screw that changes the trigger pull is on the trigger itself. By turning the screw counterclockwise, it will lighten the trigger pull. Likewise, turning the screw clockwise will increase it. Over-travel and creep are factory adjusted and not adjustable by the user.
The Browning Feather Trigger
Remove the magazine and the bottom metal screws (a 4 mm wrench fits nicely) and lift the bottom metal from the firearm. The trigger adjustment screw is located in front of the trigger. It will have some type of sealant on the screw. The adjustment screw (2 mm) turned clockwise increases the trigger pull, counterclockwise decreases it. If the trigger pull is set too heavy, the trigger cannot be pulled and must be re-adjusted. If all suits you, re-install the bottom metal and tighten the screws.
The Winchester M.O.A.
Winchester warns of overturning screws either way; over-tightening can ruin the spring, loosening too far—the screw can fall out.
Winchester recommends using a chemical thread lock, aka Loc-tite, to keep the screws in place after adjusting. Re-install stock, bottom metal and torque screws to 35 inch-pounds for both screws.
Putting it All Together
Adjusting a trigger isn’t rocket science; work slowly and turn one screw at a time. Once you have the perfect trigger your shooting scores will improve, but be prepared: Your shooting buddies might talk you into adjusting their triggers as well.