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Old 03-05-2016, 10:43 PM
Greg Ficklin Greg Ficklin is offline
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 594

Hey gang,
It's been a while since my last installment. I thought I had pretty much covered all I wanted to say to get people going, but a personal IM on a rifle purchase question has me wanting cover something I had left out.
The subject of triggers.

Next to ammo, and the new scope debates, the choice of triggers is way high on the list as the most important modification you can make on your competition rigs. To know what we need in our triggers we must first know the rules; What they say, and sometimes just as important, what they don't say.
Weather it's the "as issued" games matches, or full blown XTC Service Rifle, when it comes to M1's, or AR-15's the rule is that they must pick up no less than 4.5#. They don't need to elaborate anymore on it, and for our sakes, we are glad they don't. A trigger job isn't considered a NM modification when it comes to "as issued" M1's so long as you have USGI parts. Brand new Garands like the CMP specials, or trigger groups made from in the wrap N.O.S. parts can be terrible when it comes to total weight needed to get the shot out in standing Now if you remember my post on the standing position, second stage trigger weight is the same as time. Enough time to turn blue, lose focus with your eyes, and lose that great sight picture before the hammer finally falls, or be so hard that you push shots to make them go. No other characteristic of your competition rifle has more effect on your standing scores, and potential than the trigger.
The M1 Trigger: While I'm not going to describe how to do a trigger job in detail, I do want you to look at your triggers, weigh them, and know how they work. It is a testament to the genius of J.C. Garand, and is still the same mechanics used in the AR-15 triggers used today from RRA, Armalite, and Geissele. More on the Geissele later.
Reducing sear engagement is the key to reducing second stage weight in the Garand. This is done by increasing the distance the trigger moves in the first stage before a definite "stop". This has to be done by stoning the hammer hooks making them slightly shorter. Apart from making the M1 trigger slick and not gritty by polishing and lubing moving parts, there nothing else you can do, and should be done by qualified M1 trigger gurus. You could study up on it yourself, and become one, but my advise to you is to not try to get down to the magic 4.5 minimum. The M1 recoils a lot, and you need a little bit of creep to keep it from doubling. You don't have to necessarily feel it, but it has to be there
So what is "creep" anyway ? Well it is nothing more than second stage movement before the hammer falls. or excessive sear engagement.It has nothing to do with the first stage, and I cringe when I hear someone say they have creep in their first stage. The first stage can be gritty, it can feel like a gravel road, but it can't have creep. Some guns are notorious for creepy triggers. The 1903 Springfield, and US model 1917 come to mind, as well as cheap spring piston airguns, and the Daisy Red Ryder. But the Red Ryder's creep is more like a long roll, and very satisfying. I will add that a "roll" is creep. It's often desired by pistol shooters, and some riflemen when the M1/M14 was king. Roll is desirable, or acceptable creep.
Next we have Over Travel. OT is trigger movement after the hammer has released. It is often associated with small-bore, and match rifles, and not so much with service rifles. We just aren't so concerned with it because all military rifle have gobs of it, and we think it's just normal. Shoot a Remington 40X rim fire, and you will know what no OT feels like. It feels weird because the trigger seems like it doesn't move at all.
Now that we have the terminology, and language of trigger talk out of the way, you can now tell your trigger guru exactly what you want your trigger to do, which brings me to the Geissele. Geissele makes lots of triggers, but the one we want to use is the Hi-Speed National Match - Service Rifle Trigger. These things are the bees knees, and the gold standard that has been proven by the USMC rifle team, AMU, and too many national records to list. Their customer service is beyond reproach, and have the reputation of replacing any trigger that eventually breaks, even after tens of thousands of rounds fired. In our game they just don't get any better than Geissele Automatics.
So what makes them so great ? Remember the rules, and what they didn't say? They didn't say where the weight has to be, only that it has to pick up a minimum of 4.5#. This is the key, and what makes the SR trigger a SR trigger. The basic mechanics is just like the M1, but Geissele allows you to be a trigger guru armed with little Allen wrenches that adjust sear engagement independently from second stage weight, and a first stage that is a super smooth 3 to 4 pounds. This allows the second stage to be crisp and light 2# and under. In short it allows you to shoot a light trigger that still makes weight for service rifle because most of it is free on the front end ! The springy first stage doesn't add time to the shot so we don't care how heavy it is. It makes the rules, and leaves us with the sweet potential to clean the standing slow fire stage. The point/dollar potential, forever service life, lifetime replacement if it ever breaks, makes them worth every penny.
Distinguished Rifleman #2198
NRA HP XTC High Master (service rifle)
NRA Patron Life member
PCGC Junior Team coach
CMP GSM Master Inst.
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