Advice for a novice - Trigger sensitive and variable - too little and too much?

tdawson

Well-Known Member
Hi folks, I need some advice please? I have a Tikka M590 308 calibre, and one of my stalking guides suggested the sensitivity of my trigger is way too light (he used the gun to check my zeroing) . To test this, I held the rifle in a vertical position and tied a water container to some fishing line and hung this off the loaded trigger, and started slowing filling the container until the trigger fired, then weighing the container and water contents. It all seemed to work well, so I repeated the experiment 10 times. On average the trigger weight was 1lbs 8.5 oz, but there was quite a lot of variability (which might be due to the filling operation?) ranging from 1 lbs 11.3 oz down to 1lbs 5.1 oz. As I'm a novice (booked to do my DSC1 next month), should I increase trigger weight? It's obviously nice to not need to pull hard on the trigger to fire a round (less likely to move the gun), but it feels pretty scary when I turn off the safety catch, making sure I'm nowhere near that trigger!
 

Dalua

Well-Known Member
First - you're absolutely right that your finger should be away from the trigger at any time except when you're in aim and about to fire - safety-catch or not.

I think the creep-free nature of a trigger is more important than the weight - and folk have wide-ranging preferences as to the weight that suits them.
That said, a trigger for stalking should IMO allow you be to be able to feel the blade under your finger without fear of it going off at first touch even when your finger is very cold. For me, this means an absolute minimum of 2lb - and my preference would be 2.5-3lb.

As far as 'pulling' the trigger causing the rifle to move goes, it should be possible to work on your 'squeeze' to avoid that even with a heavier trigger-pull.
:)
 

andyk

Well-Known Member
Dalua speaks sense, you don't want the trigger too light. On the range, a light trigger is fine as you're finger is (usually) not cold to the point of lost sensitivity and you are only concentrating on shooting.

When hunting, your finger may be cold and less sensitive and you're pumped with adrenaline and considering many things other than trigger feel. That can make a really light trigger a risk as you'll get less warning that you're actually pulling it. That's likely less of an issue when you have more experience and can focus more when shooting.

You're correct to say you only put your finger on the trigger when ready to shoot but 'ready' is still a scale, you'll have to put it on the trigger some time before you take the shot and a really light trigger could see you shoot slightly sooner than planned, leading to a miss or wound.

As to the inconsistency, has the trigger unit been cleaned? That's an older rifle and there may be hardened grease/oil in the unit which could cause a bit of inconsistency. Equally, if you pour quickly on one occasion and gently on another I can see that making a difference.

Personally, I like my triggers light enough that I don't have to feel that I'm still pulling after making the decision to fire but want enough weight that I can feel some pressure on it without it firing. So long as it is consistent, you'll learn muscle memory and know when you're just at the point of no return.
 

bfltd0

Well-Known Member
Your trigger is currently set at around 1.5 lbs. If I were you, I would have it increased to 3 lbs. If you know how to do that (you don't say if you reduced it yourself to the current weight), you can adjust it and test it by the same water container method. If you don't, have a gunsmith do it for you.

Firstly, it is safer all round. Secondly, it is less likely to go off if you bump the rifle hard against something or accidentally drop it.

The weight of the trigger pull is often mitigated by the perception of the release i.e. if the trigger breaks at 5 lbs but very cleanly, it might feel like it only takes 3 lbs of pressure for it to go.

If the process is gritty, graunchy and feels like pulling a wooden spoon through week-old porridge, a 3 lbs trigger pull might feel like 5 lbs.

Either way, for field use, 1.5 lbs is a tad light.
 
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Overlay

Well-Known Member
Hi folks, I need some advice please? I have a Tikka M590 308 calibre, and one of my stalking guides suggested the sensitivity of my trigger is way too light (he used the gun to check my zeroing) . To test this, I held the rifle in a vertical position and tied a water container to some fishing line and hung this off the loaded trigger, and started slowing filling the container until the trigger fired, then weighing the container and water contents. It all seemed to work well, so I repeated the experiment 10 times. On average the trigger weight was 1lbs 8.5 oz, but there was quite a lot of variability (which might be due to the filling operation?) ranging from 1 lbs 11.3 oz down to 1lbs 5.1 oz. As I'm a novice (booked to do my DSC1 next month), should I increase trigger weight? It's obviously nice to not need to pull hard on the trigger to fire a round (less likely to move the gun), but it feels pretty scary when I turn off the safety catch, making sure I'm nowhere near that trigger!
Gunsmith - reset the factory poundage and adjust from thereon

don’t take chance on a dicky trigger
 

Daddy The Skunk

Well-Known Member
Gunsmith - reset the factory poundage and adjust from thereon

don’t take chance on a dicky trigger
I agree with you, all the rifles I carry in the field have at least 3 lbs trigger weight. Those used for bench work or prairie dogs are lesser but I wont ever use gloves with those.
 

Steff

Well-Known Member
Blaser has one of the best out of the box triggers and it is set at 1.5 lbs.
This is plenty enough to be able to touch it even with cold hands without it going off undeliberately.
 

Friendly Boar

Well-Known Member
All my rifles have factory set triggers. Never had a problem.

I see folk having all sorts of problems, mostly due to incorrect finger positioning and technique

have a gunsmith reset the trigger and an experienced shooter look at your technique
 

Tim.243

Well-Known Member
My .243 rem is factory set from the US compared to the .270 which has been adjusted is a fair pull.

I have dry fired a coupe of triggers which are lightly set....not for me as....

1 I don't do any range shooting.
2 I was brought up rough shooting (shot guns) so learnt what it is to walk through all sorts or tertian.
3 Years of walking miles out foxing over ditches, pushing through hedges, waking at pace to cut off a fox
then you do get out of breath, a light trigger would be a disaster for those situations in my opinion.
4 My big fat welders fingers need a little resistance lol
 

User00025

Well-Known Member
Oh the joys of a set trigger. Standard 2.5 to 3lbs pull. Set about 12 Oz. Works ok for one of my tools, others are 3lbs.
 

20-250

Well-Known Member
So in a nutshell, a guide suggested your trigger is too light.
What do YOU think? It's your rifle.
I don't have a single rifle with a trigger as heavy as your appears to be- although why you're messing about with water rather than a spring balance is another issue altogether...
 

tdawson

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone, thanks for the valuable advice - much appreciated. The gun was bought 2nd-hand and I hadn't made any adjustments beforehand. I decided to adjust the trigger mechanism myself following a YouTube video - pretty straightforward - and I used some blue locktite on the adjustment screw thread to ensure it doesn't move! After messing around a bit, my final setting is currently at around 3-3.5 lbs. I'll take it out on the range and check it out and see if I'm comfortable (and accurate) with that. Personally, I feel a bit more comfortable knowing I have to squeeze a bit more than before to fire off a round. BTW, I'll probably invest in a digital spring balance now, but the water bottle trick was immediately to hand! Cheers!
 

homer

Well-Known Member
Personal i think 1.5lb is fine, as long as you are aware of its lightness, and you have good feeling in your fingers.
Both my rifles are 1.5lb and I ve never had a problem. Even in cold weather, just take your gloves off, I never shoot with gloves on.
 

rem284

Well-Known Member
Triggers are a personal thing. They should be adjusted to suit the individual but within the specified limits of their manufacturers stated limits.

I have a Jewell trigger on a Remington and it is at 8oz. The weight of a trigger should not be a safety factor. Correct handling of the rifle is the main factor followed by the rifle functioning as it should and reliably but the user should always bear in mind that it is merely a mechanical device and as such can fail.

The Jewell at 8oz has never failed. Three trigger/safety catches on rifles I have had with triggers over 2lb have.
 

Tim.243

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone, thanks for the valuable advice - much appreciated. The gun was bought 2nd-hand and I hadn't made any adjustments beforehand. I decided to adjust the trigger mechanism myself following a YouTube video - pretty straightforward - and I used some blue locktite on the adjustment screw thread to ensure it doesn't move! After messing around a bit, my final setting is currently at around 3-3.5 lbs. I'll take it out on the range and check it out and see if I'm comfortable (and accurate) with that. Personally, I feel a bit more comfortable knowing I have to squeeze a bit more than before to fire off a round. BTW, I'll probably invest in a digital spring balance now, but the water bottle trick was immediately to hand! Cheers!
Good effort....rifles are like cars/trucks once you are used to the light/heavy clutch you just get on with it....
 

jer

Well-Known Member
Hi everyone, thanks for the valuable advice - much appreciated. The gun was bought 2nd-hand and I hadn't made any adjustments beforehand. I decided to adjust the trigger mechanism myself following a YouTube video - pretty straightforward - and I used some blue locktite on the adjustment screw thread to ensure it doesn't move! After messing around a bit, my final setting is currently at around 3-3.5 lbs. I'll take it out on the range and check it out and see if I'm comfortable (and accurate) with that. Personally, I feel a bit more comfortable knowing I have to squeeze a bit more than before to fire off a round. BTW, I'll probably invest in a digital spring balance now, but the water bottle trick was immediately to hand! Cheers!
You will have plenty of advice on what the trigger should be set at and everyone has a different preference, I have a Tikka M590 in 22.250 bought when they first came on the market and the triggers are pretty good, mine is adjusted down to be very light and it is spot on for long range foxing. My advice would be to make sure you establish and maintain a good safe routine when using your rifle and set the trigger to where YOU feel comfortable and safe when using it. In my opinion a trigger set at 5lb or 1lb should make no difference to how safe your rifle is, when the round is chambered and where the rifle is pointing is far more relevant to safety.
 

NullMac

Well-Known Member
1.5lbs is fine.

Light is measured in oz.

Lots of triggers are about 2lbs and they are considered safe enough, assuming the trigger works properly.

Heavy (4lbs) is just as bad and is a bit of an American lawyer thing. Keeps the companies safe but screws your shooting.

Try a spring gauge to ensure the trigger release is consistent otherwise you are good to go.
 

dropmdead

Well-Known Member
My suggestion is leaving the trigger "as is", and get some time behind your rifle - ideal scenario is to practice for your up and coming dsc1.
Even if it's ppu ammo and you don't get sub 1 moa accuracy, it's about time behind the rifle, and it becoming second nature, and not thinking about all the "IFS" of the trigger.
 
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