As the 2016 new year was approaching we were notified by Timney about some new product releases they had coming up and one of them caught our eye. It was a new two-stage trigger for Remington 700 rifles. The new trigger is available in two varieties, one with a traditional curved trigger shoe and the other with a straight trigger shoe. This new trigger intrigued us enough that we elected to bring one in to do a quick review on and see what we thought.
Timney’s Remington trigger replacements have been one of the big contributors to the growth of their company over the years and it is good to see them continue to innovate and introduce new products. They have triggers now for most types of modern rifles and some old ones as well. Their Remington triggers have gained a reputation of improved performance, higher quality, and better safety than the factory Remington triggers and are trusted on many custom rifle builders and snipers as well.
Our new 533-ST trigger arrived in the traditional yellow Timney packaging and we quickly realized a few things, such as the trigger body being a red color instead of the traditional black. The trigger still includes the normal instructions from Timney as well as their little sticker and inspiration thought (yes, I’m serious). Our first initial examination of the trigger revealed the same quality of craftsmanship as the traditional Remington Timney 510 trigger and all of the normal things we would expect. The one we brought here for review came with the safety already installed which makes life easier for the installation. The red housing itself is an anodized aluminum housing with two set screws at the front and one at the rear for adjusting the trigger. The adjustment at the rear is to adjust the sear and is indicated by Timney should not be messed with. The bottom screw at the front adjusts the weight of pull of the second stage.
All of the internal components of the trigger mechanism, including the three sears and other components, are CNC milled from hardened steel. The sears are teflon-nickle coated to help with lubrication and to help keep the operation smooth. The trigger shoe and safety, parts that are exposed to the operator and elements, are cabonnitrided finished in black to help with wear resistance and to maintain the black tactical appearance.
Remington triggers are pretty straightforward to replace with just two pins that need to be driven out and then reinserted with the new trigger. When installing the new trigger it can be a bit tricky getting everything lined back up at once with the bolt stop, bolt stop spring, and bolt release button/lever, but after you do it once, you can figure it out fairly easily. Of course, you can always take it to a gunsmith and it is about a 30 minute job and should be fairly affordable. We have done many of them here so we did it ourselves and everything installed without any issues and was straightforward.
So what is the big deal about a 2-stage trigger and why did we want to try one? Well, that is a good question. For those of you that may be wondering, a two-stage trigger refers to the stages of trigger operation. Just about every civilian rifle on the market today has a single stage trigger, meaning, you put your finger on the trigger and there is immediate resistance and once you overcome that “first stage” of resistance, the rifle goes bang. But a two-stage trigger has two stages of resistance. The first stage is a longer and lighter takeup and then the second stage is the more traditional resistance that once is overcome, the rifle goes bang. The two-stage trigger has long been the standard for military battle rifles and even some older sniper rifles like the M1D, Styer SSG-69, and others.
So one might also be asking if a two-stage trigger is good or bad for a sniper rifle, and the answer is … maybe, it really comes down to user preference. The argument for a two-stage trigger has been made that the long first stage acts as a “decision making” period, meaning that it takes a more conscious effort to take up the full first stage of the trigger and then to further apply the pressure for the second stage to discharge the rifle. This additional effort and take up period has to be consciously done so it provides a safety zone, or a period for which the operator can further evaluate the situation and make the full conscious decision to engage. The argument against a two-stage trigger is that by design it is more movement that the hand and trigger finger has to go through to discharge the firearm which can lead to less accuracy by the shooter. I personally like and prefer the two stage trigger on a sniper rifle, but others here do not. Outside of the military, there are not a lot of civilian made precision rifles with a two-stage trigger, the Ruger Hawkeye Target rifle (M77 MKII) is one of the few that come with a two-stage trigger from the factory, as does the SIG SSG-3000 and Sako TRG-22/42.
So how does this new Timney two-stage perform? Pretty good. We installed the trigger on a Remington 700 sniper rifle chambered in 308 and using McMillan Winchester Marksman stock. This rifle will be featured in an upcoming and unique ammo comparison for military style sniper rifles and we thought the trigger would make a good match. For our tests we left the trigger at the factory settings and did not make any adjustments.
The first stage is light and is factory set to 8 ounces, though our test trigger weighed in at 12 ounces. The 12 ounces still felt about right and that first stage is about .25″ long. We noticed on out test trigger that about half way through the take up of the first stage, the required effort built by another ounce or two. It was still smooth and not notchy, but there was a noticeable change in the weight of the pull of that first stage. Once the second stage is reached there is the increase in required pressure and then the trigger broke very clean at 2.25 pounds with no over travel. We cannot say there was no creep because the whole first stake can be considered creep, but once the 2nd stage is hit, there is no further takeup or creep. The model of the trigger is the 533-ST and the ST standards for “Straight Trigger” and is in reference to the trigger shoe, which is very comfortable and positioned very well for trigger control. We prefer the wide and ribbed trigger shoe on the traditional single stage Timney 510 and 517 (straight trigger) and were disappointed the 533 does not have that same wide shoe.
We wanted to compare the trigger to a tried and true two-stage trigger so we pulled out both a Steyr SSG-69 and SSG-08 with two-stage triggers to compare the Timney to. We had several other options like the Sig SSG-3000 and a Sako TRG-42, but we settled on the two Steyrs as they represented two rifles from past and present to compare the Timney to. On the SSG-69 the first stage was a very light 8 ounces and was about the same .25″ of length as the Timney, but there was no increase of pull weight through the entire first stage, it remained the same and very smooth and light. The 2nd stage was right at 4 pounds, which is pretty heavy for a sniper rifle, and it did not break as clean as the Timney, but this is to be expected on a military sniper rifle designed in 1969. We then pulled out the SSG-08 and evaluated that newer trigger to see what had changed over 40 years at Steyr. The first stage take up weight was the same very light 8 ounces and it was actually a bit longer, perhaps as long as .4″ and again, very light, smooth and consistent through the whole range. The second stage broke at a nice 2 pounds and while it broke cleaner than the SSG-69, it was still not quite as crisp as the Timney. Which of the three is better? The first stage on both the Steyrs was lighter and cleaner, but the second stage on the Timney was more crisp and broke better. If I had to pick one, the trigger on the SSG-08 is very nice.
This is very early in the production of the Timney 533 and I suspect they will continue to improve on the trigger and clean things up a bit. We like the trigger and it is absolutely a suitable alternative for a two-stage trigger for your Remington 700 sniper rifle. While it isn’t quiet perfect, but it is still good.