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Seems the forums are loaded with questions and comments about trigger pull in a favorite gun. I thought I would present some issues and solicit comments from the forum.

To start, a good trigger pull doesn't make a gun more accurate, it just makes the shooter more accurate (usually). So many times I see people judging a gun by the trigger pull rather than things that really count, like fit and function. It's almost like judging a car by the steering wheel.

There are three things I look for in a nice trigger pull. First is how well the gun fits me. Second is the smoothness. If a trigger feels raspy or has too much creep, it can do a job on your accuracy. Last is the actual trigger pull weight. Though a light pull weight is nice, it really isn't necessary as long as it is not too heavy or too light.

There are two important issues involving trigger pull. I call them pre-sear release and post-sear release. Most shooters only think about pre-sear and don't even consider post-sear. As we all know, when you line up the target in your sights and begin to squeeze the trigger (pre-sear release), holding dead on target is very important. After the sear releases (post sear release), the gun's muzzle can move off target quite a bit before the bullet exits the muzzle.

Pre-sear release is mostly a mechanical process dictated by the internal parts in the gun. Post sear release is mostly an ergonomics issue related to how well the gun fits you. This includes grips and matching the trigger's rear most position to the length and position of your finger.

If you hold a handgun and watch how your finger moves when you operate the trigger, you may see your finger joints and muscles have a hard time pulling the trigger back without making the muzzle move. When a gun fits you really well, the trigger can be pulled from its static position to where it stops and the muzzle will remain very stationary.

So my contention is: though pre-sear release is important, the real marksmanship potential comes in post-sear release. In other words, get a gun that fits you and don't worry so much about trigger pull weight.

I would appreciate hearing your comments.
 

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I agree with Iowegan... In addition, how the shooter grips the firearms has a lot to do with muzzel movement. In my testing of my M77R MarkII, I noticed my thumb was performing "sympathetic" movement to my pointing/trigger finger... which was causing lateral pressure on the left side of the grip, and causing my support hand to become a pivot point. This pressure was causing shots to be left biased. It wasn't bad, as long as the pressure was consistant, which varies considerably, gloves, no gloves, relaxed, tense, warm, cold, ect...

Try it... Flex your trigger finger "without" moving your thumb... Can't do it, can ya? That's because it is a human reflex action...

My resolution was to modify my thumb grip and place it on top of the tang, parallel to my trigger finger, so the "sympathetice" pressure is in-line with the bore of the rifle. Bingo, zero lateral movement. It just goes to prove, much of it is in the shooter and style. Trigger pull is only but a fraction of the formula for accurate shot placement... good thread Iowegan!:)
 

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Interesting comments Iowegan. I guess I never really gave much thought to fit other than if I could reach the trigger using a normal grip on the gun. Triggers are really a subjective thing. I started out shooting with old, butter-smooth S&W revolvers with little or no over-travel. Single action pulls were somewhere around 3 lbs and double-action varying from probably 10 to 12 lbs. I've been spoiled ever since. I think I have reasonable expectations. I judge a trigger by the purpose for which the firearm was intended as much as anything. I've done a lot of shooting with Remington 700's. Given a little care, one can adjust them relatively easily to suit your needs. On my deer rifles I'm perfectly content with a 5 pound pull, if the triggers breaks cleanly. With gloves on, I don't want the pull to be too light. On my varmit rifles I like them at 2 - 3 lbs. (I know some guys like the pull measured in ounces, and that's probably OK for benchresters.) On a 1911 for bullseye I like a 3 lb, clean breaking pull with no over-travel. I don't get too excited about heavy trigger pulls on self-defense handguns. I seem to shoot my little S&W J-frame and Ruger Security Six about as well double action as I do sa. But I do hate creepy, scratchy unpredictable triggers on any gun! If Kel-Tec can build a $250 gun with a buttery-smooth trigger pull right out of the box, I really can't understand why others who sell guns for 2 to 5 times that much can't.
 

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Iowegan, I fully agree with you. I have shot guns for over 50 years and there some guns I shoot better than others. A gun can be accurate, but if it don't fit you right you can't shoot it good. Talking about trigger pull makes me remember as a kid, I could shoot a single shot 22 good until I shot a 12ga. shotgun and then I'd have to work on my trigger pull again for first few shots with the 22.
 

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Very intersting Iowegan. I have never thought about the actual mechanics of what you call "post sear release". I have experienced it, as I'm sure all of us have, but I never did dwell on the actual concept of how well a certain pistol actually fit. Pretty much I've only bought pistols that felt good in my hands to start with. Then I started working on trigger pull & such.
 

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Though my intent was really with handguns, the same techniques apply to rifles as well. Shotguns are a totally different animal. You typically slap the trigger not squeeze it. This can be a hard transition when you go from a shotgun to a single slug gun.

Tweek's link with Tod Jarrett pointed out some very good techniques. A gun may feel good in your hands but two shot drills really tell you if the gun fits and if you are holding it properly. Scoring both hits time after time tells you your strong side hand is positioned properly, your weak side hand is doing its job supporting the gun, and your trigger finger is positioned where it is supposed to be.

When you learn how to deal with post-sear release, your marksmanship will improve dramatically, no matter what kind of gun you are shooting. With shotguns, it's mostly a follow through, much like a golf swing. With handguns, it's all in the fit and hand/finger placement. With rifles, you are typically shooting at much longer distances so slight post-sear movement will really scatter your groups. Using a "triangle hold" is the most stable. This is where you pull the stock into your shoulder with your srong hand and pull the stock forward with your weak hand. A triangle is formed from your arms and shoulders.

My point in this post was to downplay the perceived importance of a light trigger pull. Though I admit, I'd rather have a gun with a light pull than a heavy one, as long as the trigger pull is smooth, it really makes very little difference with accuracy.


Let's hear some more thoughts about triggers.
 

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I think that with most quality handguns, the operator is usually the variable that needs the most improvement, and for whatever reason, it is usually the last thing that gets work. I've seen quality 1911s shoot 1" groups at 50 yards from a machine rest, where the operator was lucky if he could get 4" groups offhand at 7 or 8 yards. Is a lighter pull going to help a flinch, or jerk, or bad ergonomics or technique?

In theory, if a gun is capable of the accuracy described above, all that needs to happen to produce that level of accuracy is proper hold, and technique. In reality, it's easier for me to achieve better groups with a lighter trigger than it is with a heavy one. Perhaps it's prolonging bad technique (usually anticipating recoil) until after the shot has left the barrel?

I think lots of GOOD practice, that is, becoming fully aware of exactly what's going on at the critical moment can do wonders for ones groups. I have seen it with myself. I cannot shoot like Todd Jarrett yet. I can with great concentration and a good trigger, produce decent slow fire groups. Rapid fire, they go to crap. Hard trigger, they go to crap.

Where does overtravel come into all of this? I've heard overtravel is undesirable, and it is preferred for the trigger to reach the end of it's travel right when the shot breaks. Is there much weight to this theory?
 

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Don't want to break away from triggers but Calvin brought up shotguns and how they fit. I think there is a lot of truth in that. I bought a single shot 12 guage when I was 15 for duck hunting and missed a lot more than I hit. Someone let me use their Winchester model 12 and I was right on. He compared my gun with his and my stock was shorter and had more of a curve than his. We found I was shooting low when we jumped ducks. Years later after I got out of the service I bought an 870 and did good with that.
 

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Lately, I've been working on feeling the trigger reset on my handguns. I have a hard time with this. About 20 years ago I mashed the end of my trigger finger off. The doctor sewed it back together but left some of the feeling out. Anyway, since I contracted this pistol disease again about a year ago, I've had to learn all over. Lot's of practice & help from friends around here that shoot, & talking with you people have helped me a lot. I've also gone to a couple of UPSA & TSA matches. I was amazed at the things I picked up on at those. You move so fast (well, your supposed to anyway) that you don't have time to think about shooting, it just kinda' comes natural. So if you have a good basic knowledge of your stance, grip, balance & are intimate with the pistol you are useing, you just kinda' "Let The Force be with you, Luke"! The more of these events I attend, the faster & smoother I get. I'll never be a Todd Jarrett or any of those guys & I don't plan to be. I just enjoy the game & the things that go along with the sport of shooting.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Very good info in this thread. Tweek, trigger overtravel is one of the very few mechanical things that affect post-sear release. If the trigger travels much beyond sear break, the shooter has a tendency to keep pulling the trigger, thus moving the sights off target. When trigger pull is a bit on the strong side, your gun probably won't be influenced by trigger overtravel at all, however with a light trigger pull, you tend to feel movement much more. Excessive trigger travel usually results in shooting low. All sorts of overtravel stops have been used by gun makers or gunsmiths to counter this affect. The only Ruger I own with an overtravel stop is my MK III 22 auto. I have them in all my 1911 target guns. Trigger overtravel stops are discouraged in "duty" guns because wear or crud in the gun could prevent the trigger from releasing the sear. Not a pleasant surprise to draw your gun in a moment of need only to find out it won't shoot. So, trigger overtravel stops are reserved for target grade guns with light triggers.

Anticipating recoil is probably the biggest single fault of most shooters. I especially notice it after too long of a break between range sessions. It always takes a cylinder or magazine full before I settle down. This is purely a psychological thing and has nothing to do with trigger pull, fit, or how you hold the gun.

One thing I learned many moons ago was; one handgun can not fit all shooting needs. The four main categories are carry, bullseye target, tactical, and hunting. You could add several sub-categories such as CAS, pins, plates, etc. With each category comes the need for special purpose equipment such as grips, sighting systems, and of course trigger pull. With exception of the MK series 22s, Ruger really hasn't catered to the competition shooters much. Their DA revolvers and P-guns are excellent carry pieces and can hold their own for tactical applications. The Ruger SA revolvers rate very high in their unique applications. Here's just another reason to buy more guns!
 

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quote:Originally posted by Baldy

I know one thing for sure that this is a great thread. Theres a lot of good information here.
To All In This Thread: Although "new" to this Forum and the "other" Forum I have been shooting, collecting and smithin' for well over 40 years now and these are "this" man's observations. The points on pre-sear and post-sear let off are well taken. Here is "another" point I bring up for discussion and I know there are many different "views" on this subject. "Lock Time"! From my experiences, this term has been way over used, and overrated. I'll give my reasons why. I have decreased "lock time" on guns of all types for many a customer a well as my own weapons. In the vast majority of these "jobs" the customer reporting back to me has not seen any significant increase in accuracy! Good shooting "technique" far outways the 1/10th or 1/20th second you gain in sear fall. Just what is lock time? "Lock Time" is defined as the time it takes from completing the trigger pull until the firing pin strikes the cartridge primer, igniting the cartridge. Good hand/eye coordination (bringing the weapon to the target), good sight enhancement (being able to quickly see and put the sights on the target), proper trigger "squeeze" (smooth and steady) along with good breath control (a sometime needed equation) go a lot further toward hitting what you aim at than decreased lock time. Granted, decreased lock time in "some" of the old military "two" stage triggers will often times help out, but it's my observation that "lock time" for 99 out of a 100 of us shooters who hunt game casually throughout the year, and plink or "can & bottle" shoot down at the local gravel pit, or even semi-competition shoot at the local gun clubs, is plain and simple, a "non-entity" factor! For the guy or gal, trying to hit an apple size target on the 1000 yard range at Camp Perry, or the Bench Rest Competitor, etc., "decreased" lock time "will" be a very important factor but for us bangers', I believe not in my experience! A lot of magazine "articles" have been written (money in someone's bank) and plenty of lightened parts, etc, for sale out there (more money in someone else's bank) but is it money "well spent"![:p]...........Dick
 

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Discussion Starter #14
bowhunter, Guess you missed my points. First, this thread was intended more for handguns. Rifles are a much more stable platform, typically have a much faster lock time than handguns, and are just more accurate in general.

Now if you take your Ruger SA out to the range, you can bet your bacon lock time plays a huge roll in the accuracy department. It's amazing how far your muzzle can move after the trigger is pulled but before the bullet exits the barrel. Think of it this way. A mere .005" (the thickness of a sheet of paper) of muzzle movement causes an average revolver to shoot 1" off at 25 yards. The faster the lock time, the less opportunity for post trigger pull movement.
 

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Here's a clip from one of my books concerning this subject.

Revolver Accuracy

The first section involves the gun’s intrinsic values, which are best defined as internal mechanical functions that cannot be changed easily. They would include; cylinder to bore alignment, forcing cone condition, cylinder throat diameter, and bore condition.

A changeable variable is ammunition. A combination of ammunition and intrinsic values make up the mechanical accuracy potential of any gun. Assuming a gun was clamped in a Ransom Rest, these functions set the base line for accuracy.

Human interface is made up of sights, grips, and trigger pull. These issues all affect the gun before the sear releases the hammer.

After the sear releases, there is a delay of a fraction of a second. This delay is a product of mechanical lock time and the burn time of the primer and powder until the bullet leaves the barrel. This “Post Sear Release Period” (PSRP) is the true test of a shooter’s ability. The gun must be held on target for that fraction of a second of PSRP or the bullet will surely miss its mark.

Most shooters understand how a good set of sights, a well fit set of grips, and a light and crisp trigger pull will affect marksmanship but rarely think of PSRP. Both pre-sear release and PSRP have a profound affect on marksmanship.

The things that helps PSRP is a good set of grips capable of holding the guns stable after the trigger has been pulled and a full power hammer spring (mainspring). Installing a lighter hammer spring will lessen trigger pull but will lengthen lock time. Often this is counterproductive tradeoff because you have to hold the gun on target longer to achieve accuracy. SA revolvers have a much longer lock-time than any other type of gun on the market so marksmanship the hardest to achieve

Most shooters get so strung out on a light trigger pull they don’t consider the aftereffects. Here are some things to consider: If the sights move just .005” during PSRP (about the thickness of a piece of paper), an average revolver will shoot 1” off target at 25 yards. Moving the gun .035” during PSRP (about the thickness of your thumbnail) will drive the bullet 7 inches off its mark. If you concentrate on holding the gun on target until you hear the bang, likely you will improve accuracy much more than relying on light trigger pull.
 

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quote:Originally posted by Iowegan

Here's a clip from one of my books concerning this subject.

Revolver Accuracy

The first section involves the gun’s intrinsic values, which are best defined as internal mechanical functions that cannot be changed easily. They would include; cylinder to bore alignment, forcing cone condition, cylinder throat diameter, and bore condition.

A changeable variable is ammunition. A combination of ammunition and intrinsic values make up the mechanical accuracy potential of any gun. Assuming a gun was clamped in a Ransom Rest, these functions set the base line for accuracy.

Human interface is made up of sights, grips, and trigger pull. These issues all affect the gun before the sear releases the hammer.

After the sear releases, there is a delay of a fraction of a second. This delay is a product of mechanical lock time and the burn time of the primer and powder until the bullet leaves the barrel. This “Post Sear Release Period” (PSRP) is the true test of a shooter’s ability. The gun must be held on target for that fraction of a second of PSRP or the bullet will surely miss its mark.

Most shooters understand how a good set of sights, a well fit set of grips, and a light and crisp trigger pull will affect marksmanship but rarely think of PSRP. Both pre-sear release and PSRP have a profound affect on marksmanship.

The things that helps PSRP is a good set of grips capable of holding the guns stable after the trigger has been pulled and a full power hammer spring (mainspring). Installing a lighter hammer spring will lessen trigger pull but will lengthen lock time. Often this is counterproductive tradeoff because you have to hold the gun on target longer to achieve accuracy. SA revolvers have a much longer lock-time than any other type of gun on the market so marksmanship the hardest to achieve

Most shooters get so strung out on a light trigger pull they don’t consider the aftereffects. Here are some things to consider: If the sights move just .005” during PSRP (about the thickness of a piece of paper), an average revolver will shoot 1” off target at 25 yards. Moving the gun .035” during PSRP (about the thickness of your thumbnail) will drive the bullet 7 inches off its mark. If you concentrate on holding the gun on target until you hear the bang, likely you will improve accuracy much more than relying on light trigger pull.
Iowegan, I hear what you are saying, and I was talking about "lock time" in handguns as well as long guns. I stand by my previous post. That simply has been my personal findings on this subject. The fact that we can agree to disagree is what makes this country great! The "theory" sounds great but with the majority of shooters I have questioned, the "practicality" of good shooting technique was at the front. I have seen shooters on the range with terrible flinches that shot very well because their "bad habit" was as consistant as food is to our lifeblood. I like you, would like to hear others findings on this subject..............Dick
 

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Good info. here...

Tweek, thanx for the video link
 

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quote:Originally posted by Iowegan

Here's a clip from one of my books concerning this subject.

Revolver Accuracy

The first section involves the gun’s intrinsic values, which are best defined as internal mechanical functions that cannot be changed easily. They would include; cylinder to bore alignment, forcing cone condition, cylinder throat diameter, and bore condition.

A changeable variable is ammunition. A combination of ammunition and intrinsic values make up the mechanical accuracy potential of any gun. Assuming a gun was clamped in a Ransom Rest, these functions set the base line for accuracy.

Human interface is made up of sights, grips, and trigger pull. These issues all affect the gun before the sear releases the hammer.

After the sear releases, there is a delay of a fraction of a second. This delay is a product of mechanical lock time and the burn time of the primer and powder until the bullet leaves the barrel. This “Post Sear Release Period” (PSRP) is the true test of a shooter’s ability. The gun must be held on target for that fraction of a second of PSRP or the bullet will surely miss its mark.

Most shooters understand how a good set of sights, a well fit set of grips, and a light and crisp trigger pull will affect marksmanship but rarely think of PSRP. Both pre-sear release and PSRP have a profound affect on marksmanship.

The things that helps PSRP is a good set of grips capable of holding the guns stable after the trigger has been pulled and a full power hammer spring (mainspring). Installing a lighter hammer spring will lessen trigger pull but will lengthen lock time. Often this is counterproductive tradeoff because you have to hold the gun on target longer to achieve accuracy. SA revolvers have a much longer lock-time than any other type of gun on the market so marksmanship the hardest to achieve

Most shooters get so strung out on a light trigger pull they don’t consider the aftereffects. Here are some things to consider: If the sights move just .005” during PSRP (about the thickness of a piece of paper), an average revolver will shoot 1” off target at 25 yards. Moving the gun .035” during PSRP (about the thickness of your thumbnail) will drive the bullet 7 inches off its mark. If you concentrate on holding the gun on target until you hear the bang, likely you will improve accuracy much more than relying on light trigger pull.
Thanks Tweek, I went ahead and downloaded that video, that one is a keeper.

Thanks Iowegan, this was quite enlightening to say the least and I hope no one minds my long quote of the post. peace
oops, I see someone else quoted it also, well never too much of a good thing, peace.
 
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