Best Trigger Pull Weight

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  • Last Post 22 February 2020
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GBertolet posted this 18 February 2020

Just taking a survey, for discussion, not looking for a solution. What is your prefered trigger pull weight for offhand rifle shooting? I will tell what I learned, and what works for me. All my shooting, except load testing and zeroing, are done offhand. My shooting is cast bullets only. I re barreled several rifles, and put aftermarket triggers in them. I always requested the lightest weight they offered, usually 1-1.5 lbs, thinking I would shoot better with the light trigger. Boy was I wrong.

I found myself having the usual wobble area, varying from day to day, dependent on how my aging body felt, and how much caffeine I ingested. The rifle would not settle down. With my finger barely touching the trigger, out of desperation, I found myself slapping the trigger as the crosshairs drug across the target, which was usually a steel gong. I missed the gong an awful lot.

I then tried something counter intuitive, increasing the the trigger pull, and my shooting improved greatly. I could then rest my finger, with some pressure on the trigger. This pressure, however light, actually made the rifle hold steadier, and the break of the heavier trigger, was more of a surprise, allowing much better hits. Trigger pulls in ounces, are great for bench shooting, but for offhand shooting,  2.5 to 3 lbs, is now the desired weight for me. Heavier triggers are no longer bad, as long as they have a clean break.

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RicinYakima posted this 19 February 2020

My favorite off hand triggers are double set triggers. Second is the single set trigger. I am not a great off hand rifle shot, so I don't have the "snatching bug". When I hold the rifle and the sights are dancing around in the smallest area I can hold, I press the trigger. Never being able to hold the rifle still, it lead me to that type of shooting, hold as small as I can with the sights aligned and it will go bang somewhere in that area. The CBA Military Nationals are the only off hand matches I shoot, and about 80 is my normal score.

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M3 Mitch posted this 19 February 2020

I am OK with a more or less normal 3 to 5 lb trigger, the vast majority of bolt action rifles come right out of the box with a trigger I am OK with.  I also shoot almost exclusively cast, and I like to shoot offhand.  I have not shot a match in a long time, but want to get back into that.  I have an old Remington 742 pump in .35 Remington, and as you probably already know these have about the same trigger mechanism as an 870 shotgun.  The trigger is rather heavy and creepy.  Something I need to start doing is to shoot against time pressure and be working that bolt with the rifle still shouldered.  My self-assessment is that I am pretty good for accuracy, but I tend to take more time than I should to get the first and/or follow up shots downrange.

For me, too, it's the crispness of the trigger, not a very light weight, that helps my shooting. 

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Rich/WIS posted this 19 February 2020

Like my rifle triggers between 3 and 3 1/2 pounds regardless of shooting position, but just as important like them crisp.  For me nothing is worse than a creepy draggy trigger.  On handguns 3 1/2 to 4 pounds seems the best for accurate shooting offhand.

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Bohica793 posted this 19 February 2020

Exactly 2.76 lbs.  No more, no less.....

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John Alexander posted this 19 February 2020

I once bought a Mauser single shot 22LR with a long fairly heavy barrel. I understand it had been for training Nazi troops. It had the same trigger parts as other Mausers but someone had reshaped them to provide a 2 or 3 pound trigger that was ALL very smooth uniform creep.  You just pulled the trigger until it "fell off the end".  Since I hate creep in a rifle I am trying to shoot standing I was bummed out.  But when I tried shooting it I found that after some practice I could shoot it as well as a rifle with a good crisp two pound  trigger -- maybe a little better.

Another way to skin the cat.

John

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Ken Campbell Iowa posted this 20 February 2020

when my highly skilled shooting buddy 's  2 oz. Jewel trigger went ker-plunk, and we had a 22 RF ARA match soon, i installed an old style Rem 700 trigger adjusted to 1 lb. on his killer match rifle.  he shot just as well, though a BENCH shoot.   the point here is that maybe 1+ lb. really would be light enough even for standing.

on the other ( off ( g ) ) hand when i shot 22RF 4-position, i shot both the legal 3 pound and a practice 1.5 pound trigger .  i could shoot about 2 or 3 points better with the 1.5 trigger over the course.  which would have moved me up 2 or 5 places in a 20-man match.   no matter how much mental Zen i applied to standing .. the 3 pound trigger was detrimental.  i shoot standing by " leading " the bull as it goes by ... i have to lead further as the trigger gets heavier. ( i push the rifle across the bull, and lead the bull like a trap shot ) ...   

i find that by swiping the rifle across the bull, at least at some teensy time the sights are on the bull ...  if i use the * wobble and take the best sight picture in the first 4 seconds *  method .... there might never be a bull centered before fatigue/anxiety/panic overwhelms me.

... either method takes lots of practice ... i actually wore out a rem 722 trigger sear dry firing .

lastly, in the rabbit shoots i shoot offhand, and have fun with different triggers .. my worst, but kinda favorite, trigger is on my Win 54 .. heavy and long ... heh, but it has character ...  ( my best is my tikka , close is the Remmy 721 types. ) .

just some trivia.  ken

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RicinYakima posted this 20 February 2020

IMHO, trigger control is the hardest part of shooting.

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Ross Smith posted this 22 February 2020

I agree with Ric, even with my 2 oz Jewell.

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Larry Gibson posted this 22 February 2020

GBertolet

Having shot service and match rifles for years "across the course" I've come to pretty much the same conclusion.  The 1st stage of the NMC is usually 20 shots for record offhand at 200 yards.  We had an old say; "you win the match at 200 offhand and lose the match at 600 yard prone".....

The M1/M14 service rifles (match rifles) had 2 stage triggers that were 4 1/2 lbs at least as in "Leg" and registered matches the trigger pulls were weighed.  The 2nd stage usually broke at 2+ lbs pull so you could have an excellent "feel" of the trigger when the 1st stage "slack" was taken up.  Most of my Match rifles (M700 and M70s) had the trigger adjusted to 2 1/4 lb pull.  Many put 2 stage triggers in M16/AR match rifles for that reason.  However, I have used a Colt Competition AR with a 4 1/4 single stage pull that broke very cleanly with good success.  

All of my sporter weight hunting rifles with single stage triggers from 22 Hornet up through 375 H&H magnum have triggers adjusted to the same 2 to 2 1/4 lb pulls.  They also are adjust to break clean and crisp but not with a "hair" trigger.  That way I can put the pad of the trigger finger on the trigger and get the "feel" of it even when shooting off hand.

Bench, varmint, match and LR rifles shot of benches or prone are another matter.  I prefer a 1 - 1 1/b trigger on those as I still like to put some pressure on the trigger to "feel" it before firing.  I find I "flinch off" the 2 - 12 ounce triggers because my trigger finger is just "programmed" too much over the years to "feel" the trigger before firing. 

LMG

Concealment is not cover.........

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