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Why Install an After-Market Trigger on Your Rifle?

Lead photo: The trigger is installed and I'm out in the high desert country testing it out.

By: Tom Claycomb

There is a long list of items that can be hindering you from obtaining a tight group with your favorite rifle. Here is a short list of the most common causes:

1. Rifle is inaccurate.

2. Shooting the wrong ammo.

3. Scope is loose/bad.

4. Bad trigger.

Due to lawsuits, most (the majority) of the gun manufacturers sell their rifles with heavy trigger pulls, 6.5-8 pounds. And most manufacturers throw in the bad creep free!

If you’re a serious shooter and do a lot of shooting off the bench, you may favor 1-1 ½ lb. triggers. I shoot a little off the bench, but I’m a hunter. So, I like a pull of 3 ½-4 lbs. Not a right or wrong, it’s just my preference.

If you’ve never shot a rifle with a good trigger, you may be wondering why I’m making such a big deal of good triggers. The older I get, the more I like tight groups, and a good trigger is a big component in that equation. I guess my passion for good triggers started years ago when I started tricking out Ruger 10/22s. Up until then, I just thought that the lowly .22 was inherently inaccurate. Now I can get ¼-inch groups. Maybe sometime I’ll see if Teresa will let me do an article on tricking out a Ruger 10/22, but for now, the topic is triggers.

To prove the point about the need for a good trigger, do this: Next time you’re at the range, make sure your rifle is unloaded. Look through the scope down range and zero in on your target. Make sure the safety is on. Start squeezing the trigger. Notice how as you strain to pull the trigger, you pull it off target a little. That is exactly what happens to you if you have a heavy trigger.

Another characteristic of a bad trigger is that it will have creep. I was testing out some cheap airgun pistols last week, and one of them had horrible creep. Creep is when you start pulling the trigger, and it takes it forever to go off. On this one, I nearly had to stop, re-catch my breath, and then continue pulling! It was that bad.

I don’t want to say that it is impossible to get a good group with a bad trigger, but even on a fairly bad trigger, you have to totally focus on getting a good pull. If you install a good trigger, then you can focus on the main thing: holding your breath, holding still, getting a good pull, etc. Why spend 90 percent of your focus on dealing with a bad trigger?

So with the above said, I recently met Rick Beren with Bowden Tactical at the Professional Outdoor Media Assn. Conv. in Franklin, Tenn. Bowden Tactical makes a big assortment of aftermarket items for our ARs. And they are of top-notch quality, and to add icing to the cake, they’re made right here in America.

The Bowden Tactical Parametric Trigger before installation.

After meeting Rick, I was soon lined up to test some of their products. I will cover the other items at a later date, but replacing your factory trigger is a big enough item that I needed to cover it in one article alone.

I have a Ruger AR556 that needed dressing up, so to begin, I got a Bowden Tactical Parametric Trigger. The trigger on the Ruger AR556 was heavy. My trigger gauge doesn’t go that high, but it had to have been over 7-8 lbs. Surprisingly, for a factory trigger, it didn’t have any creep, but still, it was way too heavy.

The Bowden Tactical Parametric Trigger was easy enough to install. I’m not an AR expert, so I recruited my daughter’s boyfriend to help me out, since he has all the necessary AR tools (not that it takes anything special).

Removing the factory trigger.

We disassembled the rifle, removed the factory trigger, and then installed the Bowden Tactical Parametric Trigger. Then we reassembled the rifle.

Now to test the trigger. I racked the action and squeezed the trigger. Nice. No creep and a good crisp squeeze.

Now to check the poundage. I pulled out my RCBS Trigger Pull Gauge and hooked it on the trigger. Don’t jerk the gauge down while checking the poundage. Pull it slow so you can see exactly at what poundage it fires. I always check three times to make sure that I don’t have an anomaly happen.

Good, it clicked right at 4-lbs. I like for my hunting triggers to be 3 ½ to 4 lbs. Like I alluded to above, if you’re shooting off the bench in a controlled setting, a 1-1 ½ lb. trigger is fine, but when I’m huffing and puffing up a mountain or stalking an animal on the high desert and excited, I want a little heavier trigger so it doesn’t touch off if I look at it. The Parametric Trigger will work perfectly for me.

So, if you aren’t able to get the tight groups that you want, install a good trigger, and I bet that it will help you out.

BOWDEN TACKTICAL SPECS:

Parametric Trigger

Engineered to give you increased accuracy at a price you can afford. Our Parametric Trigger is our answer to the gritty triggers that destroy your accuracy.

  • All steel components are hardened 4140 steel, black nitride and cut 100% with wire EDM machines for exacting tolerances of .0002 in critical places.
  • The hammer spring is made from heavy duty spring steel giving you the hard hit needed for even the hardest primers.
  • Designed to reduce the amount of pressure it takes to fire the rifle. Factory set and locked between 3.5-4.0 lbs.
I shot the new trigger on my airgun range, so of course it was close yardage, but still, for using open sights, the new Bowden Tactical Parametric Trigger trigger helped me obtain an enviable three-shot group.

Tom Claycomb III is a product tester for outdoor manufacturers, hunter, and outdoor writer, writing from Idaho.

 
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