Copyright 2009 – Stephen Redgwell
It’s nice to have choices when you want to improve your rifle. This is especially true with aftermarket triggers. If you’re not happy with the factory design, there are alternatives. I know of at least five designs available. Prices range from $85 to $300.
Every time I bought a new Stevens – and there’s three in my gun locker now – I adjusted the factory trigger to try and make it better. The best one was the last – a 308. After tweaking, it broke at a little over 3 lb with some creep. It was certainly adequate for a hunting rifle, but you get spoiled after using an aftermarket trigger.
In 2005, I bought my first Stevens 200. It was a 223 Remington with the grey stock and a staggered column magazine. I played around with the original trigger, but replaced it with a Timney after six months. It was the best and least expensive option at the time. Using white box Winchester 45 grain ammunition, the average group size went from a little over an inch at 100 yards to a little less, with this simple modification.
I want to replace the barrel and stock eventually and make it into a varmint rifle. Obviously, replacing the trigger is an important step in that direction.
Group size was unaffected by the stock. All the trigger tests were done off the bench. I suppose that it was because it was a 223, but the twisting, limp stock that I had read about was a non-issue. I don’t crank or tug on the sling, but others do. This rifle has had a straight 10 power Bushnell Elite scope on it since new and it’s only used at the range or in open fields. I have a 222 for close in, brush hunting.
In 2007, the 243 arrived. The factory trigger adjusted better than the 223 and I kept it original until very recently. Because I made my own 6mm bullets, I wanted something that would shoot 76 grain open tips made with J4 jackets. At the end of 2008, I decided to swap it out with a Rifle Basix to tighten up the groups. It worked, firing my homemade bullets into .9 inch clusters. I bought the rifle primarily for coyotes, but it also had to be useful for deer. I’ll carry out some tests with the new trigger and 100 grain bullets in the spring.
In early 2009, I got the 308 and found that the factory trigger was the nicest of the three. I’ll leave it as is for a while, but eventually it will be replaced with a Rifle Basix as well. Since this was purchased with moose and deer hunting in mind, having a 3 lb pull wasn’t a priority. I was more concerned with load development.
This rifle, with the stock trigger, shot the best of the three, out of the box. It prints a little less than an inch. The question I’m wrestling with is,
“Do you replace the trigger when it shoots like this?”
As things stand right now, I won’t bother. Down the road, I’ll probably give in and order a Rifle Basix.
I’ve shot the Timney trigger more than the Rifle Basix, but there doesn’t seem to be any difference in feel. They are adjusted to 2.5 lb. Either is fine for hunters or varmint shooters. Both break crisply with no creep. Combined with other aftermarket options, these triggers will improve your groups.
Can you install the trigger yourself? If you are competent with simple hand tools, yes. The triggers come with instructions. If you are worried about properly adjusting the screws or are ham fisted, leave it to a gunsmith.
Here’s a very brief rundown of the most popular triggers. All information is from the manufacturers websites.
1. Sharp Shooter Competition Trigger – $97 US www.sharpshootersupply.com
The Sharp Shooter Competition Trigger is designed as a drop-in replacement. It may require some alteration to the trigger guard on some models, depending on the type of stock. It is fully adjustable in respect to engagement, over-travel and weight of pull, and uses the original factory safety. The pull range is approximately 2lbs. to 12oz. It comes complete with installation instructions and the wrenches needed for adjustment. It fits both Accutrigger and Pre-AccuTrigger models.
2. Sharp Shooter Evolution – $300 US Must be installed by Sharp Shooters Supply. – www.sharpshootersupply.com
This is a benchrest trigger. If you plan to re-work your action and build a competition rifle, you’ll want to look at this design.
3. Timney Trigger for Savage 110/Stevens 200 – $100 US (model 631) – www.timneytriggers.com
Provides the shooter with time-proven Timney quality and the fabled “breaking a glass rod” crisp trigger pull. The model 631 is designed to fit all Savage and Stevens 200 bolt-action center fire rifles manufactured since 1977 (excluding those rifles equipped with the AccuTrigger). The trigger pull weight can be adjusted from 1 ½ – 4 pounds. In addition it is fully adjustable for sear engagement (creep) and over-travel. EDM cut, CNC machined from solid steel. Case hardened to ensure a lifetime of trouble free operation.
Ordering notes: If you decide on a Timney, you will find that the Stevens 200 is listed separately from the Savage 110. They are the same however. Both are model 631 (model 635 if nickel plated. Add $10).
4. Rifle Basix SAV- 1 Trigger – $85 US www.riflebasix.com
100% drop-in • No cutting, grinding or fitting • ALL triggers use factory safeties. Instructions included. All 110 Type Rifles – Long & Short • Early & Late • Left & Right Hand Models: 10, 11, 12, 110, 16, 111, 112, 114 & 116 will replace standard trigger or AccuTrigger. Also fits Savage/Stevens Model 200 and Savage 210 slug gun. Adjusts from 1 lb. to 3 lb.
5. Rifle Basix SAV- 2 Trigger – $155 US www.riflebasix.com
All Rifle Basix Savage triggers use factory safeties. Instructions included. All 110 Type Rifles – Long & Short • Early & Late • Left & Right Hand Models: 10, 11, 12, 110, 16, 111, 112, 114 & 116 will replace standard trigger or AccuTrigger. Also fits Savage/Stevens Model 200 and Savage 210 slug gun. Adjusts from 4 oz. to 3 lb. Shipped with DVD installation video.
6. Mystic Precision – www.mysticprecision.com – For Canadians that need reloading equipment, Savage/Stevens parts, barrels, triggers, etc.