From: email@example.com (Daniel Chisholm)
Subject: Re: Target rifle
Date: 1 Dec 1995 17:45:43 -0500
In article <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Daniel Chisholm <email@example.com> wrote:
#The trigger on a Savage can and should be adjusted for target shooting,
#though. Email me if you want instructions.
I've had several requests for this, so here it is. Comments/questions
Trigger adjustment on Savage 110 series Rifles
(as appropriate for target or varmint rifles)
The following is how I adjust the trigger on a Savage bolt action
rifle, for target shooting. What this means is I never have a round
chambered until I am ready to shoot, and if the rifle ever fired
unexpectedly, I would be surprised (and perhaps lose points in a
match), but no one would be hurt. I also handle a rifle in
the field in the same manner, FWIW.
I own two target rifles, one is a Winchester Model 70 with
a single stage Jewell trigger (set to 3.5 lbs, as required for
Canadian Target Rifle shooting), the other is a Savage 110
with a factory trigger. With the adjustment below, the Savage
provides at least a comparable quality trigger pull.
You must decide if this adjustment is applicable to your
Take your rifle out of the stock. The trigger spring is a more or less
straight piece of fairly thick music wire, that rests against a screw
with a shallow notch ground in it. This notch engages the music wire
spring every half turn. Turn the adjustment screw such that the spring
pressure is reduced; this will lighten the trigger pull. At a certain
point, the music wire will no longer exert any pressure at all on the
screw - at this point you've gone too far (jarring the rifle may cause
it to fire). Be sure to have at least one (preferably two) half-turns
worth of compression on this spring.
The other adjustment available is sear engagement. This is the "other"
adjustment (I forget now exactly where it is - it is horizontally oriented,
whereas the pull weight screw just discussed is vertical). With the bolt
closed and cocked (chamber empty ;-), you can adjust this screw until the
trigger fires - this is the point of zero sear engagement. From this point,
back out the screw 1/8 to 1/4 of a turn. This will give minimum safe
engagement. If you have too much engagement, you'll have excessive creep -
the trigger will move a fair bit before firing. Too little engagement makes
the rifle quite shock sensitive (may fire from a jolt), and some people
also argue that the greater resultant pressure on the sear face may lead
After any trigger work, you should check for safe operation. The rifle
should remain cocked, even when the bolt handle is slammed shut.
The adjustments I mention above, principally the sear engagement adjustment,
may prevent engaging the safety, or the rifle may fire with the safety
engaged. This is not a concern to me, since I never use a safety - the
rifle is unloaded until I'm ready to fire. If you need to use the safety,
you should understand how it works (prevents the trigger from moving), and
the implications on it's operation of the adjustments you'll be making.
In order to engage the safety, some small amount of trigger clearance
is required; to slide the safety "on", you need clearance - this
means that you can also pull the trigger a minute amount. If your
sear engagement is minimal, this may be enough to allow the sear to
disenage. Reliable and assured operation of the safety will probably
require increasing sear engagement beyond what would be otherwise
preferred for target shooting.
One important note about Savages and "trigger jobs": The trigger (and
it's face that engages the sear) are sintered (made from powdered metal).
This process results in a part that has a very hard, thin outer surface, yet
is soft and ductile inside (both these properties are desireable). However,
a gunsmith that does not know this may attempt to "stone" or polish this
part, in an effort to "clean it up" and reduce friction. This exposes the
soft, underlying metal, which will cause this part to rapidly wear (and
the soft underlying metal will have higher friction!). Knowing this
(and avoiding this mistake), you can get good performance from your
(BTW, the weight of pull adjustment screw gives about 6oz per half turn
The trigger pull adjustment screw may be modified by grinding a shallow
slot perpendicular to the one ground by the factory. This then makes
it possible to adjust the trigger tension in 1/4 turn increments.