I rolled onto the range late in the afternoon with a couple rifles to test-fire. I had it all to myself. Excellent! After stapling up some targets, I set up the Savage 112BT .223 rifle at 100 yards on a rest and commenced shooting. After my first (fouling) shot I settled down to shoot a group.
The next four shots went into .260-inches center to center. Holy cow! Not bad for a factory rifle my friend had bought used. The only modification I made was the installation of a competition trigger.
Shooting tiny groups with a heavy trigger is difficult at best. The factory trigger on this (1998) rifle was the conventional Savage style in use from 1966 through 2002. Trigger pull weight is adjustable down to three pounds or so, but the mechanism becomes unreliable below that point.
Trigger reset is accomplished with a piece of wire tensioned by a screw, and once the screw is backed out past a certain point, the trigger no longer functions. Three pounds is fine for a hunting rifle, but not desirable for a dedicated target rig. Not to worry. A solution is as simple as calling Brownells.
The Sharpshooter Supply competition trigger has been available for many years, and was a factory option on Savage rifles before the AccuTrigger appeared in 2003. It will fit models manufactured from 1966 thru 2002 and also the later AccuTrigger guns with modifications to the trigger bracket.
The current rifles with the bolt release on the front of the trigger guard require modification to both the release and the guard. The earliest rifles made before 1966 are equipped with a different sear system that is not compatible with Sharpshooter triggers. Early rifles can be identified by barrels counterbored to fully enclose the bolt head similar to the Remington 700.
Installing the trigger in our test rifle, a model 112 manufactured in the late ’90s, was pretty straightforward. The original trigger is mounted to the trigger bracket with a pivot pin retained by a E-clip (see photos). Pull off the clip and push out the pin to remove it. The return spring and adjustment screw also become spare parts.
The Sharpshooter trigger installs into the factory trigger bracket with a button head machine screw serving as the pivot pin. The screw is retained by a nut. Do not tighten the nut to the point it pinches the trigger housing.
Trigger adjustment is clearly explained in the included instructions, which I found to be excellent. The four adjustment screws allow the user to tune sear engagement, pull weight, overtravel and safety bar tension. Be careful with the sear adjustment. We want the sear to release with minimum creep, but don’t want the rifle to fire unless we pull the trigger.
If you don’t feel comfortable adjusting the new trigger, take it to a gunsmith familiar with trigger systems. I test-fire every firearm that receives trigger work in my shop to make sure it is safe. I also want to feel the trigger in actual use to make sure the release is clean.
Sometimes it seems fine on the bench, but I notice creep or a heavy release when I’m actually firing the rifle trying to shoot a group.
When installing the stock on the barreled action, inspect it for clearance. The trigger should not touch any part of the stock or trigger guard. The slot in the trigger guard on this rifle was too narrow, causing it to put pressure on the trigger housing when the rear action screw was tightened. I widened the slot about 1/16-inches for proper clearance.
Final pull weight was set at 1-1/2 pounds, roughly half the weight of the factory trigger. The Sharpshooter Supply Competition trigger is available as part number 436-100-110 from Brownells for $109.99. You won’t be disappointed.
- A right side view of the Savage factory trigger shows the slotted adjusting screw and spring. Minimum pull weight with this system is about 3 pounds.