View Full Version : pull weight for a varmint gun

October 9, 2009, 08:12 PM
For those of you that change em from stock what trigger pull do you like? I'm about to do my first trigger job and was curious what you all like. Varmint only

October 10, 2009, 01:45 AM
2.5 lbs. Any less is dangerous in the field.

Kiwi Hunter
October 10, 2009, 02:47 AM
My steyr varmit rig goes 2.5lbs direct and 2oz on the set trigger (actually the gauge was struggling to get a reading..)

Which trigger are you adjusting? I have first hand seen some horribly dangerous "accidental discharge when closing bolt / handling rifle type" trigger jobs and all were under the 2lb mark. A nice clean let off is probably more important than going "super light"

October 10, 2009, 02:51 AM
I like mine nice and smooth and anywhere from 2 to 2.5lbs.

October 10, 2009, 04:25 AM
My mates swift is at 2lb, and its fantastic.

I have shot a hairpin trigger once at the range. It was a .257 weatherby mag. Didnt like it at all, and way too dangerous in the field.

Art Eatman
October 10, 2009, 07:20 AM
I try to set up all my rifles for a trigger pull just under three pounds. The quality of the sear engagement is important, which is one reason I prefer the Canjar. It's more like the proverbial "snaps like a glass rod" than the Timney.

October 10, 2009, 07:41 AM
I like about 2.5-3 lbs. For me, that's just about right for most hunting, and calling coyotes is no exception.

That said, my CZ 527 has a single set trigger that I can push forward to give me a trigger that would be measures in a few ounces. It's mighty nice for the occasional long shot where more precision is needed. I could almost blow on it and trip it. The "normal" trigger on it is set at about 2 1/2 lbs.


Brian Pfleuger
October 10, 2009, 09:24 AM
My varmint gun is set at 13 ounces.

There's no such thing as a "dangerous" trigger weight unless the trigger does not reliably hold. My trigger holds solid with considerable impact from any angle. If you follow the rules of gun safety then you will never touch the trigger until you're ready to shoot so the pull weight has no effect on safety. If you're not used to the trigger then it MIGHT go "BANG!" before you're really ready but it would still be in the general direction of the target so it's not "dangerous".

Mine is a Jard trigger on a Ruger MkII, I paid $79.99 I think. Every bit as good as the Timney that my uncle has on his Remington.

October 10, 2009, 10:04 AM
I'm right with peetzakilla on this one. You aren't stalking dangerous prey through rugged terrain----You're laying on a pad popping prairie dogs (and the like. I like my varmint rifle to be nearly touch-sensative, in that the moment I think about the squeeze, the round is alreay gone. I'm set at about 9-10oz.

October 10, 2009, 01:44 PM
I got a 1.5 to 2 trigger spring. Its for a thompson prohunter so I have to cock the hammer for it to fire. As pointed out I'll be laying on the ground to fire. I wanted to go as light as I felt comfortable with as far as being safe.

October 10, 2009, 01:47 PM
my remington is set at 28 ounces, works great

October 10, 2009, 01:54 PM
2lb timmey trigger on my rifle

bob kk
October 10, 2009, 02:36 PM
Bought a Win 243 bull barrel years ago. It had a trigger
pull in the ounces. It was safe but I didn't like it. Was to
easy to shoot before I meant to. Set it at a little over
2 lb. Smothe trigger is better than light.

October 10, 2009, 02:44 PM
I personally like a 2.5lbs trigger, but I have a buddy that likes his at 6 oz. but alot of his shots are over 400 yards and I guess he likes the light trigger for accuracy. I dont trust anything lighter than 2 lbs. no matter what rifle it is.

Brian Pfleuger
October 10, 2009, 02:52 PM
I would like to hear the rationale behind the belief that triggers under 2lbs are "dangerous".

My 13oz trigger will not release no matter how hard I slam the bolt shut. I've tried. I can close the bolt with enough force that I'm afraid of damaging the gun if I try any harder, and the trigger holds. At 13 ounces it will not go off if I release the safety and shake the gun HARD in any direction. With the safety off, it will not go off if I bump the butt with CONSIDERABLE force. The safety itself is BETTER than it was with the stock trigger.

I think people are confusing a functional, properly fitted, low weight trigger with a crap, improperly installed, low weight trigger.

.300 Weatherby Mag
October 10, 2009, 03:20 PM
For a something I'm going to carry 2.5 pounds is what I prefer... If it's a heavy gun that will be used in a stationary setup for ground squirrels and praire dogs then something lighter is fine.

October 10, 2009, 03:41 PM
My question is do you think you will miss something at a crisp 2 1/2 pounds that you would have hit with a lighter pull?

October 10, 2009, 03:45 PM
A light trigger garners the title of "dangerous" if it is going to be carried loaded, possibly jostled hard enuff or gloved fingers inserted in the guard so that a round can be accidentally discharged...

October 10, 2009, 03:46 PM
Yeah I'm a little surprised at how many feel unsafe with it. I can see that for off hand shots but not supported to me at least its really what the shooter is comfortable and safe with I think.

Brian Pfleuger
October 10, 2009, 04:57 PM
My question is do you think you will miss something at a crisp 2 1/2 pounds that you would have hit with a lighter pull?

Bench rest triggers are frequently 8 ounces, maybe less. If it's not better then why do they do it?

To answer your question, yes, possibly. A deer at 100 yards? No, a 3lb trigger is just fine. A prairie dog, or woodchuck in my case, at 350, 400 yards some guys 600, 800 or a 1000? Yes, you might cause enough excess motion in the gun with a 2 1/2 pound trigger to miss. After all, your target might be 2 MOA or less wide at 400 yards.

A light trigger garners the title of "dangerous" if it is going to be carried loaded, possibly jostled hard enuff or gloved fingers inserted in the guard so that a round can be accidentally discharged...

That may be, but that's the user that's dangerous, not the trigger. In that case a heavier trigger is a safety blanket, a necessity of user incompetence, not a true safety hazard. The weight of my trigger has ZERO effect on the safety function. Unless something breaks then my gun CAN NOT fire with the safety engaged. Walking around with the safety off and/or putting your finger inside the trigger guard are USER safety violations, not equipment safety violations.

October 10, 2009, 05:11 PM
That may be, but that's the user that's dangerous, not the trigger. In that case a heavier trigger is a safety blanket
While I agree with you 100% I was just answering the question you posed.
I personally have all of my experience with fairly heavy factory trigger systems that have never had a set of stones taken to them to even smooth the feel.
I have fired a couple light triggers in controlled range settings and I am not comfortable in the camp of folks that like the "If it don't surprise you when it goes off, the trigger is too heavy..." mantra.
I have learned to acclimate my shooting to the ruff heavy trigger. I do not take long range shots but I do admit I "pull" my fair share of shots and can usually call it before the bullet impacts or misses...

October 10, 2009, 05:18 PM
I can see the gloved hand issue. However if you follow gun safety it should still be aimed in a safe direction. I realize that could cause an inadvertent shot fired. It should still be aimed at the target too. I get really nervous when I see fingers on triggers not pointed at a target with any trigger weight.

October 10, 2009, 05:20 PM
Personally I feel I shoot best with the lightest trigger I can control which for me is about 2 lbs. If this was a carryy gun I'd go 3

October 10, 2009, 05:30 PM
Bench rest triggers are frequently 8 ounces, maybe less

They may not even be holding the rifle which I would think is a different deal than varmint hunting.

A heavier trigger pull is inherently safer. It is totally illogical to say otherwise.

But, a lighter pull may be perfectly safe for some provided they don't break any rules in the excitement and improve their results.

October 10, 2009, 06:41 PM
I totally agree that a heavier trigger is safer but I think users make lighter triggers unsafe not the weight itself necessarily. That doesn't mean lightest is best. Too light for me means possibly less control.

Brian Pfleuger
October 10, 2009, 06:55 PM
It doesn't take much to get used to a light trigger. In fact, I wouldn't mind having my 13oz trigger a little lighter.

I don't think it's logical to even associate weight of pull with safety. They are not related.

My Glock has a 5 pound trigger and NO safety. My Ruger MkII 204 has a 13oz trigger and a rock solid safety. Which is more dangerous? The answer is neither. They're both perfectly safe, or equally dangerous, depending ENTIRELY on the user.

October 10, 2009, 08:19 PM
I certainly don't think the average hunter who might be reading these forums needs to get the idea that a super light trigger is the way to go.
For one thing they will have to do it themselves which is another can of worms. The smiths I know aren't going to set one that low.
Then you have somebody who takes the gun off safety, doesn't make the shot, and forgets to put it back on safety.
It happens. As has been previously mentioned gloves can make you lose your sense of touch.
It's not about winning or losing by 1/1000 of an inch in a controlled enviornment.

If you can't hunt with a 2 1/2 pound pull maybe you should spend more time at the range.

Brian Pfleuger
October 10, 2009, 08:47 PM
You're talking about two different kinds of hunting. No one has suggested that every gun should have a sub-1 pound trigger. A one pound trigger on a 12ga shotgun in NY in November makes as much sense as a 3 pound trigger on a varmint gun.

There is ZERO excuse for triggers over 1 1/2 pound on a dedicated varmint gun. If someone can't handle a 1 1-2 pound, or even 13oz, trigger on a varmint gun then they definately need to lay off the caffeine... or something.

Once again, the trigger weight does not determine the guns "safeness". Some pull weights are more appropriate to certain situations but I consider a 3 pound trigger to be MAX on any gun. My shotgun that I use in November and December in sub-freezing weather and with gloves on, has 3 pound trigger.

If the shooter wears inappropriate gloves or "forgets" to put the safety on then they need to rethink their apparel and/or get those safety rules engrained in their minds.

I have never once "remembered" to put the safety on... But every time I check, it's on. Why? Because putting on the safety is habit not memory.

October 10, 2009, 09:52 PM
What about varmint rifles with out safeties?

October 11, 2009, 12:15 AM
The heavier the trigger pull the harder it is to make the gun go off accidentally.
You can tie yourself in a linguistic knot and you can't get around it.

October 11, 2009, 09:59 AM
The heavier it is, the harder it is to make it go off---period! Well, you're arguing a non-argument. I like my varmint rifle to go off VERY easy. It's personal preference. Don't like it? Guess what---I really don't give a rat's hind-end what you like. I built my rifle. What YOU consider safe, I might not. But it's still opinion vs. opinion. You've beat yours to death, and a few of us don't agree. Get over it.

October 11, 2009, 10:24 AM
don't think it's logical to even associate weight of pull with safety. They are not related.

the trigger weight does not determine the guns "safeness"

The heavier it is, the harder it is to make it go off---period!

Thanks for agreeing with me.

I suppose there is some difference between you reiterating your point and me? It's not like the hunting forum is going to be overcome with traffic or something.

Art Eatman
October 11, 2009, 11:49 AM
Seems to me that a guy building a dedicated varmint rifle is NOT your Joe Average type of shooter. IOW, the issue of some particular minimum weight of pull for the trigger is irrelevant to the discussion.

Basically, seems to me we're talking Indy cars, and what's needed for Driver's Ed. doesn't matter.

Generally, deer hunting is not precision shooting. When you consider the adrenalin for many shooters, a three or four pound pull makes sense from the standpoint of safety. But it's sorta hard to get all "adrenalin rushed" over a prairie dog--and that definitely is precision shooting. In essence, then, it's two wholly different worlds.

Brian Pfleuger
October 11, 2009, 12:08 PM
The difference being that you automatically assume "harder to make it go off" is a good thing.

I don't think there's any argument that a heavy trigger is harder to pull. That seems like basic physics. The argument is, one, when is a light trigger better and, two, is a heavy trigger "safer".

Answer one: light triggers clearly and unarguably have their place. All the way down to 8oz and lower. To unequivicably state that they have no place, are never better or are universally unsafe is to deny reality.

Answer two: No, a heavy trigger is not safer. Safety comes from the rules of gun safety, not from the trigger. Never point a gun at anything you're not willing to destroy. Never put your finger inside the trigger guard unless your ready to pull the trigger. So, if you're pointing at something you're willing to destroy and you're ready to pull the trigger then how can a light trigger be dangerous? It can't. WORST case is the gun goes off before you're 100% ready. Would that be less than ideal? Yes, that's why there's a place for 3 pound triggers too. Would it be unsafe? No, it would not.

October 11, 2009, 12:17 PM
Well, in the end you have advised the OP, admittedly doing his first trigger job, to go 13 oz.

I may have over done it, but just pointing out the downside to it.

No hard feelings on my part anyway.

Brian Pfleuger
October 11, 2009, 02:00 PM
The OP didn't ask for recommendations. He asked what "you all like". If I was making recommendations then it would be much more than a pull weight.

First of all, "doing my first trigger job" should not actually mean "doing" because that IS dangerous. Buying or installing is one thing "doing a trigger job" is another thing all together. So, my advice to the OP about doing a trigger job is simple: don't. Unless you're being trained by a professional and, if that's the case, then the professional can help you with the proper pull weight. If what the OP means is installing a new trigger then my advice is to buy a Jard trigger and spend the extra $15 on 3 extra springs and try them all until you get one you like. That way you can have 2 1/2, 2, 1 1/2 and one pound triggers, all for about $100.

(No hard feelings on my end either. I appreciate an opinionated yet civil discussion. :))