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Trigger Talk

This is a discussion on Trigger Talk within the The M14 forums, part of the M14 M1A Forum category; Having a good Trigger does not make the M1A more accurate. A good Trigger increases the possibility to impact a round on Target.. The M14, ...

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  • 8 Post By art luppino
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Old November 27th, 2011, 08:37 AM   #1
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Trigger Talk

Having a good Trigger does not make the M1A more accurate. A good Trigger increases the possibility to impact a round on Target..

The M14, M1A [ also the M1] Triggers are usually two stage movements, the first stage is the Trigger Pull, known as taking up the slack. The second stage is the Breaking of the Hammer, when it releases from the Trigger Lugs. If you want to call the Trigger Over-travel a stage, that can be added as stage three.

A good, or Improved Trigger, is one that is smooth in stage one and crisp and consistent in stage two. Not knowing when the Break is going to happen makes shooting a random act..

Good Triggers are not usually found in Service Rifles as issued, but it does happen.. Trigger pull is Personal, the one consistent feature we all recognize is a lousy Trigger.... Improving the Trigger is not a difficult modification but can cost you a Trigger and a Hammer if done poorly.

Do not confuse an Improved Trigger with a Match Trigger, the modifications on a Match Trigger are more extensive and require special tools and skills. Match Trigger are best left to Ted and Gus,, maybe Jay Wolf does them also..

Most of the M1A owners I visit with are capable of improving their triggers once they understand how the Trigger functions and and how to improve that function.

Improving the Trigger in a USGI Trigger Group seldom presents issues, that can not be said for Commercial products, they are far more likely to present issues. This is the crux of the matter.. Trigger Issues can be treated but not always cured. Using USGI parts seldom presents issues the can not be cured.

There are a few things to look for if you are not pleased with your current Trigger pull.. Check the Trigger Housing Trigger Slot for Trigger drag or Trigger Binding. The Trigger Slot can be cleared with a good File. If your Trigger Group contains an old style M1 Plunger, the type with Flanges, check to see if the inboard Flange is binding on the sidewall of the Housing. Also check to see if the other Flange is bearing against the front of the Housing, cocking the Plunger to one side. Although it is claimed the old style Flanged M1 Plunger is interchangeable when used in a M14 Trigger Housing, this is not the case in Commercial Housing, it can be used "Sometimes".. My advice is to remove it and use a Plunger without the Flanges.

The most egregious issue to encounter in a Trigger Group is when the Rear Hammer Hooks to not mate to the Trigger Lug Cocking Bevel in the cocking movement.. This misalignment pounds the Trigger downward which transfers to the Pins and entire unit. This issue can be treated not cured, because the Housing is out of spec., most of the time it involves the Pin holes.

I hope everybody have a Wonderful Thanksgiving and got to the Range at least once.. Art

Thanks from Lazerus2000, gunshy, RAMMAC and 5 others
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Old November 27th, 2011, 10:05 AM   #2
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Art - Thanks for another great talk.

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Old November 27th, 2011, 07:11 PM   #3
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I'm glad you mentioned the trigger being two stage. It seems to me that far too often people try and tune for lack of a better term the first stage out of their trigger. I want that slack. That slack allows me the shooter to maintain control.

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Old November 27th, 2011, 08:18 PM   #4
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I think the comment that you don't often get a good Service Rifle trigger is relative ... the M1/M1A stock mil two stage is SUPERB, compared to the miserable single stage on the M16.

That said, my idea of a great trigger is a smooth first stage, though that is not critical. Since any gritiness is only noticed while 'taking up the slack', the grittiness is really something that mostly messes with your concentration, rather than being a real factor (ok, messing with your concentration IS a real factor, but you know what I mean).

More important is creep, which is the amount of additional travel after the trigger hits the second stage until the hooks disengage. Ideally, a good trigger is tuned so that the felt trigger movement from second stage to hammer release is virtually zero, so the shooter knows almost exactly when the hammer will fall.


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Old November 29th, 2011, 06:19 PM   #5
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Great stuff, I would be too scared to do this myself, could get expensive.

I have a new SAI "Match" trigger that came on a M21. How do they compare to a true match trigger? If it can be improved upon I want to get it done. Would I be better off to buy another trigger group to get it upgraded? If so which trigger should I look for? I need a spare anyway.

It is amazing how much a better trigger group helps my shooting. I say this because I was taking a long range shooting school, 3 days of nothing but improving shooting skills and the basics of the trade. A short time time into the first day my M21 went full auto then doubled repeatedly. One of the hammer straps broke off. I could chamber a round safely, never had a slam fire, but I could only load 1 round in a mag at a time. I was hours from home with no spare. Shot 400+ rounds this way, I'm real good at quick mag changes now. The trigger pull was light and single stage only, but I shot it this way lights out, kept up with and did better than even the bolt guns, I won "top gun" 2 of the 3 days of the class, was holding 5/8" 6 shot groups. I have never shot that well since. I sent it back to SAI and they said they set it to 4.5# after repair.

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Old November 29th, 2011, 06:38 PM   #6
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4.5 lbs is the "legal" minimum for Service Rifle. It makes very little diff whether the scale trips it at 4.5 or 5 lbs as long as the second stage breaks real crisply at your command and resets consistently for the next shot without you having to take up the first stage again. That';s what Art is talking about where he emphasizes the squareness of the interface of the hammer hooks (both of them) to the sear. This requires a precisely-milled trigger housing, evenly-stoned hooks, and clean, straight hammer and trigger pins.

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Old November 29th, 2011, 06:57 PM   #7
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I understand the minimum safe trigger pull, I don't expect anything any lighter. The broken trigger showed me how much the trigger effects accuracy and how important it is to have the best trigger, as Art describes, as possible.

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