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Ruger American Rimfire - Marksman Trigger Question

This is a discussion on Ruger American Rimfire - Marksman Trigger Question within the Ruger Bolt Action forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; So I just pricked up a Ruger American rimfire in 22lr. The rifle is barely used (less than 500 rounds down the pipe). The first ...


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Old December 11th, 2019, 08:22 AM   #1
 
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Ruger American Rimfire - Marksman Trigger Question

So I just pricked up a Ruger American rimfire in 22lr. The rifle is barely used (less than 500 rounds down the pipe). The first thing I noticed is that the trigger is REALLY light. It feels quite a bit lighter than my Ruger Mark iv which has a VQ trigger kit (I would estimate that one at 2.5 pounds, tops). I would guess the trigger on the RAR is 2 pounds at the most, although the glock-like safety lever thingy on the front of the trigger might be messing with my mind. On the other hand, after a bit of dry fire practice, I found that the trigger breaks very consistently and predictably, with zero pre-travel or over-travel, and is remarkably crisp. However, it takes me some focus to not squeeze off the shot before I intend to. I also did all sorts of safety tests (bouncing rifle butt-first, slamming the bolt home, etc) and was not able to trip the trigger inadvertently.
So: my assumption is that the adjustable trigger has been set to the absolute minimum weight. The previous owner said he had a “gunsmith friend” perform the trigger adjustment, so I suppose its possible that some other work was done as well (eg stoning the sear).
What are your thoughts? Is this normal behavior for the Marksman triggers? Does it sound like this trigger is unusually light, or TOO light (if there is such a thing)? My main use of this gun with be target shooting and plinking, but may include small game hunting in the future, although I will almost certainly increase the trigger weight if I ever use it for hunting.



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Old December 11th, 2019, 09:47 AM   #2
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taters613, Without a doubt, trigger pull is the single biggest myth in the gun business. Most people think a lighter pull means better accuracy but in fact, a pull weight of 5 lbs or less has very little influence on accuracy. A smooth creep free pull is different than a light pull and indeed does affect accuracy. That said, seems we all prefer a light trigger pull no matter if it helps or not because it just feels good.

My suggestion for trigger pull is to set it where you are comfortable …. not too light (hair trigger) and of course not too heavy. My target rifles are set no less than a crisp 3.5 lbs and no more than 4 lbs. This gives me reasonably good control of when I want the gun to go bang. My hunting rifles are set at 5 lbs …. just enough where putting a gloved finger in the trigger guard does not result in a bang.
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Old December 11th, 2019, 10:16 AM   #3
 
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Thanks for the reply Iowegan! I was honestly hoping you’d jump in!

I’m just getting into rifle shooting, and I’ve already found what you said to be very true, particularly with rifles as opposed to pistols. My impression from dry firing is that this trigger is about a pound too light for my taste. I find myself focusing on NOT pulling the trigger, rather than PULLING the trigger. Kind of like shooting in reverse I suppose 😜. It seems like such a light trigger would only be needed on a long range rifle, where tiny fractions of angular motion can make a huge difference in POI, but is a bit ridiculous on a little 22. Another consideration is that I’d rather not allow myself to get accustomed to a trigger pull that my poor old 10/22 or Remington 700 will never be able to match!
Im going to go ahead and tighten it up a bit before my first outing with it.
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Old December 18th, 2019, 01:55 PM   #4
 
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Just got back from my first range trip. After some more dry fire practice, i actually decided to leave the trigger as-is. I think, initially, the safety lever on the front of the trigger was messing with my mind: my finger wasn’t factoring in the weight of the lever into the total trigger weight. After a bit of experimentation, i found that pulling the safety lever requires maybe 1.5 pounds of pressure, and then, once your finger is pressed against the trigger body itself, approximately 1.5 additional pounds are required for the final break. Once I started thinking about it this way, I found the trigger to be extremely predictable and easy to manage.
Also, the range performance of this rifle far exceeded my expectations! I was regularly getting 0.5” 3 and 5 shot groups at 50 yards with all holes touching, which is pretty darn good for me! This was achieved with a Bushnell 4-12x40mm rimfire scope, a bipod, and plain old CCI Standard Velocity ammunition. It seems that the rifle is capable of at least MOA performance, and probably better than that with a skilled shooter behind it and the right ammo (I only shot CCI Standard today). And the best part: I spent all of $200 on the rifle, scope and bipod! 😁

Last edited by taters613; December 18th, 2019 at 02:03 PM.
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Old December 18th, 2019, 05:34 PM   #5
 
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Don't change a thing! You have a great shooting rig there. Congratulations on getting a real bargain.
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Old December 19th, 2019, 05:38 AM   #6
 
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Respectfully, I’ll offer the counterpoint of overwhelming evidence that trigger pull weight can and does influence group size. While it is true, a trigger never changes the inherent potential of the rifle, it’s clear the trigger influences the shooter’s ability to control the rifle without error.

First, consider the simplified physics of the system to define how and why trigger pull weight matters - if your rifle weighs 6 pounds (mass) and your trigger pull requires 5 pounds (force), considering that Force = mass * acceleration, you have a strong opportunity to significantly influence - accelerate, aka “move” - the rifle from its static position than if the trigger pull were only 2 pounds. To counteract that influence, we have to shoulder the stock and palm the grip - balancing the controlled force from a highly dexterous finger with force from a relatively “dumb” shoulder. The less you have to push on your rifle, the less it will move - pretty simple.

Because of this opportunity to influence - move - the rifle with the trigger pull or the counteracting shoulder pressure, we see lightened triggers being used in every shooting sport in the world. Heavy triggers are only used when competition rules impose a minimum weight. This also exposes the illogical paradigm of “trigger weight doesn’t matter unless you’re competing.” These professional competitive shooters have far more practice in delivering consistent, controlled trigger pulls, but still find the advantage of reduced resistance. Many of these shooters are using heavy weight rifles on highly expensive, heavy weight front rests or skipods and rear bags, with everything specifically designed and built to hold steady on target - but the shooters STILL use 2-4 ounce triggers to reduce their influence on the rifle. If these thoroughly practiced professionals with heavy rifles and elaborate supports can still botch shots due to imperfect trigger pulls, what hope does the casual Joe Blow who only handles his lightweight hunting rifle a few times each year really have?

Not every shooter needs to shoot in the zeroes and ones, but there’s not much sense in making your job more difficult than it needs to be. The minimum weight of the Ruger trigger (3-5lbf for Americans, 2.25-5lbf for Precision rifles) is still heavy enough to stave off “fat finger” premature shots, but running the low end instead of the high end reduces the opportunity to push your rifle off of target during trigger pull.
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Old December 19th, 2019, 06:29 AM   #7
 
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I've found that Ruger American triggers, both centerfire and rimfire, really can't be adjusted much below 3-1/2 to 4 pounds using the small allen head adjusting screw Ruger installs in them, even if you back it out completely.

The commonly recommended "poor man's trigger job" on these triggers is to cut one or more coils off of the trigger spring and there are numerous YouTube videos showing how this is done. I wonder if the previous owner did this to the OP's rifle.

I performed this "springectomy" on both a .223 Rem American centerfire and an American Compact Rimfire and it reduced the trigger pulls to a bump-safe 2-1/2 pounds for both rifles. Alternatively removing the factory spring and substituting the spring from a cheap retractable ballpoint pen accomplishes the same thing.

I've heard that removing the spring completely will reduce the pull to under 2 pounds but that gets into the realm of unsafe even if the Glock-style interior safety lever is left in place. I've even read of some shooters removing the safety lever too but that really gets into the unsafe area and the gun has to be strictly a bench shooter at that point.

I agree with Reticlelife that a light trigger pull does enhance the ability to shoot any gun well. As he noted serious target and competitive shooters all use the lightest trigger pull they can. The only reason for a heavier pull is to assure safe handling and avoid unintended discharges for a firearm carried for hunting or defense purposes.
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Old December 19th, 2019, 07:09 AM   #8
 
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Thanks for the input guys!
@GP Fan: I bet you’re right about the “poor mans trigger job” having been performed.
I would make one observation about trigger weight: I feel like the philosophy “lighter is always better” is really only applicable with long range bench rest shooting. With all other disciplines, there’s at least a lower limit to this philosophy. For example: when I shoot a lightweight rifle off-hand, my sight picture is wavering all over the place. The real challenge is recognizing the pattern in the wavering, then timing my shot so it occurs at just the right moment. The easiest way to accomplish this is to apply some pressure to the trigger, then save the last couple ounces of pressure until “just the right moment”. This technique really isn’t doable on a sub-1lb trigger (at least not for me) since simply touching the trigger will likely set it off.
Anyway, take all I say with a grain of salt because I’m an absolute newb with any type of rifle shooting 😁.
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Old December 19th, 2019, 08:31 PM   #9
 
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@taters613 - once you handle a “sub-1 pound trigger” for a while, it starts to feel like any other trigger. Your finger makes contact, you start building pressure, and then it breaks. I shoot 6 ounce triggers in my PRS rifles, and have used one of them hunting quite a bit the last two years also. Even rushing on the clock, and contorting into weird positions in matches, the 6 oz trigger does NOT go off as soon as I touch it. It’s the same game - quickly set your NPOA onto target, let the wobble area nestle into the center, and break the shot with steadily building rearward trigger pressure as the reticle moves where it should.
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