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Old December 13, 2011, 02:23 AM   #1
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how light is too light?

I just got a USGI M1 Carbine, which seems to be in good shape. After checking headspace, trigger and bolt function, etc., I took it out to the range and hurray for Rule #2, because its trigger is the lightest of the 5 firearms in my collection. I was just settling in, sights on the target, when I caressed the trigger and it fired. Not an ND - I intended to fire, I was just starting what I figured would be a longer process.

I measured the trigger pull this evening and was surprised to see it's somewhere over 2.5 lbs. I can't imagine making it any lighter. Maybe my other guns have monstrously heavy triggers. Is that too light to be safe?
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Old December 13, 2011, 08:17 AM   #2
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2.5lbs on a carbine is very light, most are 5-8lbs. It's OK for a bench shooter but a Carbine isn't a bench shooter. Check the springs and sear angle.
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Old December 13, 2011, 08:56 AM   #3
Brian Pfleuger
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A 2.5lb trigger is not ridiculously light. It's light, yes, but if it feels so light to you that you think you barely touch it and it goes off, your other triggers must be ridiculously HEAVY.

I won't have a long gun with a trigger over 3 1/2 pounds.

My triggers range from 13 ounces to 3 1/2 pounds. Appropriate weight depends on the gun but I see no reason for anything over 3 1/2 and 2 1/2 is perfectly safe. As long as it operates correctly and will not go off abnormally because it was "Bubba's First Trigger Job", I'd be very pleased at 2 1/2.
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Old December 13, 2011, 08:57 AM   #4
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I agree that 2.5 lbs is fairly light for an M1 Carbine. I'd have that trigger checked by a competent gunsmith.
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Old December 13, 2011, 09:51 PM   #5
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It is very light for that gun, certainly not original spec - if in doubt take it to a gunsmith.
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Old December 15, 2011, 08:21 PM   #6
Major Dave (retired)
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I like 2 1/2 pounds

In fact I have all of my centerfire rifles adjusted to that weight, so that no matter which one I am hunting with, they all have the same trigger weight.

Works for me.
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Old December 16, 2011, 11:38 AM   #7
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Roger that Major Dave , makes them all safer too ! I like 1" groups and 3# triggers .
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Old December 16, 2011, 12:30 PM   #8
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For generations, 3-3.5lb trigger pulls were considered ideal for a hunting rifle. Lighter pulls were ok in varmint rifles, but for game rifles 3-3.5lbs was considered the best weight, heavey enough to be mechanically safe, and light enough for best accuracy under, field conditions.

Also note that for generations autoloaders were held to a generally higher pull weight, and 4-8lbs was considered acceptable. Pulls in the 4-5lb range were thought to be the best, but you could use a heavier one well enough.

This was because of two things, first, most of the common semi auto deer rifles were really tough to get safe, reliable light weight triggers on, and second the effect of hunting conditions on a light pull trigger in a semi auto, (or any other big game rifle) and the shooter.

Half the country, or better, hunts in the cold weather. Oils get thicker. Fingers get numb(er -even with gloves). When you have been in 20 degree weather for 5 hrs, sitting in a stand, or stalking, climing up and down hills, over logs and rocks, aren't in the same shape you are at the range in May or September. '

That fine light trigger pull that allows you pinpoint accuracy because of the precise feel of the trigger in nice weather, goes off early in the snow sometimes, because your finger is just "touching" it. You're actually applying that 2.5lbs force just like you did last summer, BUT, you don't realize it due to cold stiffened fingers. And that can mean anything from a clean miss to a bad hit and wounded (maybe lost) game because it went off before you were fully ready.

The smoothness, creep, and overtravel of a trigger are more important than the actual pull weight. You can actually shoot better with a 7lb trigger witha good pull than a 3lb one that stages and is gritty.

We are taught that the actual moment of firing should be a "surprise", and that's true. But, in a good trigger pull, you should be able to feel it, a point where you know that it will fire "now". And then "surprise" it does.

Semi autos have an added complication, they slam around. This is an important factor. Unlike other actions, they get jarred by the rapid movement of the bolt and other parts. One of the most common (and incorrect) methods of getting a lighter trigger pull is to reduce the sear engagement. Bubba (the guy who thinks he's a gunsmith) takes his stones (and god forbid, sometimes files) and "fixes" the trigger. Often he fixes it so well that it is just short of getting jarred off from the action cycling.

Add in some thickened oil from cold weather and you have a potential for disaster. Things can stick, and then go off seconds later (really bad). Or not reset for the next shot (bad). Or even go runaway (really, really bad). Lots of things are possible.

A 2.5lb pull on an M1 carbine is sweet, but waaay lighter than milspec. That means that either the gun has been worked on, or something is worn to just short of the failure point. Either way, you should have the gun checked out by a competent gunsmith (not Bubba) to find out which, and if it has been worked on, was the job done well, leaving the rifle safe?

What if it is to the point that the next time you chamber a round, it jars the trigger group enough to fire? OR fire when you take the safety off?

Personally, I've never had a gun that I haven't dry fired a couple of times, at least (using snap caps if needed), to get a feel for the trigger, before I load it with live ammo. Some of my guns have very light triggers. They are safe that way, in my hands, because I know how light they are (the feel, not the specific pull weight).

All guns are different in small details. Knowing each one you use, and knowing it fairly well means you get the best performance from it, and the best safety on the range, or in the field.
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
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Old December 16, 2011, 02:21 PM   #9
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I had a Mini-14 that I used for target shooting.
The Mini trigger, being two-stage, military type, is , well...a military two stage trigger

There's a smith that specializes in the Mini platform that does a lot of accurizing and trigger jobs, and has a vid online (quite detailed, and extensive as you'd expect) for DIY. I followed his instructions to the "T" and ended up with an amazing trigger. Similar to yours- 2.5 lbs, zero takeup, and just a hint of creep.

Perfect for benchrest or prone target shooting.

Too light, I think, for a hunting application.

Most shooters draw the line of resistance based on the usage of the rifle. I have a MN sporter with a Timney that came in at 3 lbs.- but I want to adjust down to 1.5-2, as it's used benchrest. If it were a hunting rifle, I wouldn't want any less than 3-3.5 lbs.

Sounds to me like a trigger job, hopefully a good one, was done on the rifle.
Have you thumped it pretty good to rule out the possibility of any bump-fires?
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Old December 16, 2011, 03:14 PM   #10
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I have a Timney on my Weatherby that is set right at 2.5 lbs. The reason that I set it that light was to get familar with a lighter trigger, on a hunting rifle. The rifle that I mostly hunted deer with "forever" was a Rem. 700 3006, the trigger is right at 4 lbs. Paw Paw helped me figure out that it was made in '76' or '77', anyway I hunted with that rifle for 20 years, and then gave it to my oldest son, who I refer to affectionately as #1. That difference in trigger-pull has been notablebly different on the bench but in the field not so much. I like the three position safety on the timney.. But if I had a USGI- M1, I probably wouldn't want or need the trigger to be that light.

Sorry for rambling on fellas
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Old December 16, 2011, 06:21 PM   #11
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My main hunting rifle is set to 1.5lbs and has never been a problem. I have killed many deer with it and never had an accidental discharge. Well not with the rifle anyway.
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Old December 16, 2011, 07:19 PM   #12
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I would think like most things the trigger pull weight is up for debait which is better. I agree a 2 1/2 trigger pull on a M-1 Carbine is rather light. l would have trigger group checked and if no problem use it. As long as the shooter knows the trigger is on the light side, whats the problem?

I have a Smith 41 set at 2 pounds, a brace of M-1 Garands and AR-15's with a couple of 1911's set at at least 4 1/2 pounds and my favorite hunting rifle set at 3 pounds. If you like a heavy trigger, more power to you.
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Old December 16, 2011, 08:55 PM   #13
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I have no clue about the geometry or tolerances of a m1 carbine trigger. But if guys that are familiar with the internal workings of this trigger say it needs to be checked, thats exactly what I would do. The last thing you want is a semiauto going full auto, or an accidental discharge.
That said, I have triggers on bolt guns that range from 3.5 lbs to a couple of bench rest rifles that break at 4 ozs. Depends on what you use the rifle for.

Last edited by bigautomatic; December 16, 2011 at 10:53 PM.
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