Adjusting the Remington 700 Trigger

To Steve, many thanks for showing me how to do this many years ago!

Background:

The Remington trigger system is a very good system that in years past came directly from the factory with a crisp and reasonable pull. These days however, Remington is producing triggers that are not as smooth and are liability proof with pull weights that have gotten to the point of being ridiculous. These changes are due to Remington trying to reduce the cost of their rifles and the ever present fear of civil liability from a trigger that is too light. If you are not conscious of gun safety and are not smart enough to keep your fingers off your trigger until you are ready to fire, I kindly ask you to read no further and find another hobby as I accept no responsibility for stupid people. The modifications that I am about to discuss have the potential to be extremely dangerous if not done carefully! If you have the slightest doubt about what you are doing, I strongly urge you to have a competent gunsmith adjust your trigger for you as the cost is minimal.

The Remington trigger:

The Remington 700 Trigger has three screws as shown in the following image.


When you look at your trigger you will see that the heads of these screws are covered in a glue or loctite. To adjust your trigger it will be necessary to scrape this glue off the screw heads and then determine if your screw heads are slotted or allen head. The next step in this process is to break the screws loose and add a small drop of oil to help with adjustments. I normally run the screws in and out a couple times to make sure that the screw is not binding and the surfaces of the screw are completely covered in oil.

Adjusting the trigger:

Back out the spring tension (trigger pull) screw to a light trigger pull that is adequate to keep some pressure on the trigger but is very light (trigger pull will be set later). Next back out the sear engagement screw, and the over travel screws several turns.

Once the screws are adjusted as above, close the bolt (without dry firing) and SLOWLY turn the sear engagement screw in until the firing pin is released. From this point, back the screw out a half turn. Without recocking the firing pin, screw the over travel screw in until you feel it contact the trigger lightly, preventing the trigger from moving. From this point, back the over travel screw out a quarter turn. When you pull the trigger at this point there should be a very slight movement of the trigger.

To adjust the trigger pull, adjust the spring tension screw to a pull that you like. As you turn the screw in the trigger pull will be increased and the pull will be reduced as the screw is backed out. I would not recommend going lighter than 1 to 1.5-pounds with a factory trigger and I prefer a trigger closer to 2 to 2.5-pounds for a big game rifle.

Work the bolt several times to cock the rifle and try the trigger with the trigger gauge and your finger to make sure that you are happy with how the trigger pull and release feels and the weight is something that you are comfortable with. I also recommend the use of a good trigger gauge to confirm that you are getting a consistent break. If the break you are getting is not consistent, then you may need to increase the trigger pull or consider having the trigger rebuilt or replaced by a competent gunsmith.

Safety Checks!

After you are happy with the feel of the trigger it is essential that you perform a safety check as described here. First, slam the bolt closed HARD up to a dozen times watching to see if the sear allows the firing pin to be released. If the firing pin is released, back out the sear engagement screw another 1/4 turn, and repeat slamming the bolt again.

Next, cock the firing pin and put the weapon on "SAFE" and pull the trigger, release the trigger, put the weapon on "FIRE". Repeat this process several times and if the firing pin is released, increase the trigger pull and repeat this process.

Once these safety checks are performed, take nail polish and seal the heads of the screws and allow it to dry. I normally try to use two coats to make sure that the screws are properly glued in place. Once adjusted, the Remington trigger rarely needs additional adjustment and can be as good as many after market triggers.

Postscript:

I have recently purchased a new Remington 700 Classic that quite literally had the God awful worse trigger I have ever felt on any gun. This trigger was rough in the sear engagement and the trigger spring itself was too stiff to allow for any adjustment that was acceptable for my taste. I understand that it is possible to buy replacement trigger springs and to have the sear surface polished but these are tasks that are beyond my level of understanding so I took a trigger out of a well used Remington 700 ADL from the early 1970's and swapped it for my new trigger. I felt guilty selling my old ADL with that new Rem. 700 trigger that was so lousy, but at least the gun that I wanted to keep has a crisp 2-pound trigger that I can trust to work as a quality trigger should!

If your rifle has a really bad trigger, you may wish considering looking for replacement in the form of a used factory or an aftermarket trigger. Click Here to find another trigger for your Remington 700!

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