The definition of a good trigger is broadly interpreted. A good trigger on a competitive firearm is different from a good trigger on a service firearm, but both should have similar characteristics. A good trigger should be consistent, whether it’s on a shotgun or an Olympic Smallbore rifle. It should break cleanly, and while it’s permissible on some firearms for there to be travel, a gritty trigger is never acceptable as a good trigger. The best triggers break consistently and with a limited amount of overtravel or backlash. They allow the shooter to consistently break the shot during the best hold. Bad triggers leave the shooter carefully working his way up to the let off and take the shooters focus off hold and sight alignment.
There have been major improvements in triggers for bolt-action rifles in the last few years. Savage Arms started the improvement in good triggers on low cost firearms with their Accutrigger. This design involves a blade within the trigger that provides a passive safety, allowing a lighter trigger pull with less danger of accidental discharges. Since that time, other gun makers have incorporated similar arrangements and we’re now in a golden age of good triggers on affordable rifles.
As much as I appreciate those modern advances, I also sometimes lean towards more traditional firearms. At SHOT Show last year, I spotted a lovely little Mannlicher-stocked rifle in the Century Arms booth. It was a diminutive bolt-action, the Model 85 Mini Mauser, made by Serbia-based Zastava Arms and I just had to try one. When my rifle arrived, I loved the fit and finish and the way it operated and shot, but I was a little disappointed with the trigger.
Fortunately, I knew there was an easy fix. Timney has been making trigger upgrades for over 60 years. They manufacture every major component in their product and come with a lifetime warranty. They make triggers for almost every imaginable need, including the Zastava Model 85 Mini Mauser.
The Timney trigger is an almost drop-in installation on the Model 85. There was a need to take a little wood from the safety cut in the stock to accommodate the safety, but installation was straightforward and fast. The result is remarkable. My trigger now breaks clean with only a slight overtravel. Both overtravel and break weight can be adjusted, but I think hunting and defensive triggers should have minor overtravel to assure the trigger can reset.
Ultimately, the trigger is the interface between the shooter and the firearm. A good trigger gives a shooter confidence and enhances accuracy, especially in hunting situations where the shooter doesn’t have a solid rest. Timney has been providing shooters with improvements in triggers for six decades and I’m thoroughly impressed with what a better trigger has done for this little rifle.