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May 01, 2008

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Timney Trigger Happy

Happiness might be a warm gun, but real pleasure is found in a gun with a sweet trigger. I’ve recently upgraded a couple favorite rifles with Timney triggers and in both cases the effect is like falling in love all over again with your sweetheart.

Replacing a trigger is not difficult. Equipped with basic mechanical skills and a small selection of appropriate tools just about anybody can do it. In most instances, as with my Weatherby Vanguard Sub-MOA, you simply take the old one off and put the new one on—plug and play. I popped out a pin or two, tightened a screw and, voila, my .257 Weatherby now has a crisp two-and-a-half pound trigger that is second to none.

Other trigger swaps require a little bit of fitting and tweaking as was the case with my Remington 798.

The Model 798 is based on a Mauser action and trying to make a one-size-fits-all trigger for something as ubiquitous a Mauser, which has been produced in variations too numerous to catalog, is a Sisyphusian task.

But all I needed to complete the job was to bend the trigger’s safety plate away from trigger in order to give the bolt enough clearance from the safety. I did this by placing the trigger plate in a soft-jawed vice and bending it to the correct angle with needle-nosed pliers. In addition, I had to open up the inletting of the stock just a touch around the safety, again to give the safety enough room to move back and forth unencumbered. This was accomplished with a file.

Lastly, I had to remove a bit of metal from the inside of the trigger guard to give the bottom of the trigger plate the appropriate clearance, once again in order for the safety to move back and forth. A file would have worked just fine, but my Dremel tool equipped with the correct bit made quick work of the job. I touched up the freshly-filed metal with a dab of instant bluing agent and the rifle was good to go.

I’m planning to replace another factory trigger with a Timney in just a few days, on another Remington 798, as luck would have it. As I write this, I’m on my way to northern Alberta to hunt bears, and one of my rifles is the 798 Safari in .375 H&H that I mentioned in this post on sighting-in.

The factory trigger is about the only thing on the rifle that I don’t like. I’m able to shoot the rifle well enough off the bench and even from well-supported prone and sitting positions. But as I would like to bring the .375 to Africa in June as my light rifle for plains game, I’ve done a bit of practicing with it off shooting sticks, which is the most common way game is shot in Africa. The amount of creep in the factory trigger does not inspire confidence (or good accuracy) from a standing position, so a new trigger (or “fire-control mechanism” as some have taken to calling it) is in its future.

If all goes well, the new Timney should be waiting for me when I get back next week and I’ll be able to transform the Remington 798 into the sweet-shooter it deserves to be.

As an aside, if you’re interested in replacing a trigger on one of your guns and have questions give the guys at Timney a call. The number there is 866-484-6639. They’re good folks, knowledgeable and very helpful.

—John Snow

Comments

Phillip

I had Phil, the gunsmith at KDF Incorporated in Seguin, TX put the Timney in my Savage 110. He's installed a lot of Timney Triggers in his job, but I guess this was his first on a Savage.

Anyway, I got to be there while he did the operation, and I'm glad I was. It was definitely NOT a simple "drop-in" project. The fine tuning for simple safety, not to mention proper performance, was way more than I'd have been eager to do myself.

Point is, mechanical skills and patience can get the job done, but if you're not familiar with the internal workings of the trigger assembly, I'd strongly suggest letting a qualified gunsmith do this "simple" job.

Besides the tricky installation, I love what this trigger has done for the rifle. It's become a really sweet shooter.

Jim in Mo.

Phillip,
Boy your post came none to soon. I have a Savage 111 and while the trigger is good I'd like it lighter and was thinking of doing the job myself since an acquaintance at the range said it was simple. But he has a different gun.

Scott in Ohio

john,

Ever thought of doing a sort clip on installng a timney and addng to You Tube with a link to your blog?

John Snow

That's a good idea. I can either do that or set up a step-by-step sequence of photos. I'll try one (or both) of those with the next trigger I do.