Timney has a reputation for making some of the best aftermarket triggers available for a wide variety of firearms, at affordable prices. They are commonly used for hunting, target and competition shooting and have built a name on high quality, adjustable triggers that greatly improve the feel and performance of a stock firearm.
I recently started a project with a Smith Corona Model 1903A3 made in 1944. I found it sporterized at a local gun shop for a great price. The metal was in great condition and I planned on replacing the stock anyways, so I jumped on the deal. It was a great rifle, and I was very satisfied with the purchase but for one issue – it had perhaps the worst trigger I had ever felt on a rifle. Although the original trigger broke at only 5 and a half pounds, it had a mile of creep and terrible staginess. It was hard to ever know when the trigger was going to break, and the only consistent way was to almost slap it through the break.
Rather than try to clean up the trigger pull myself and mess with the sear interface or any of the stock springs, I decided to price out a Timney trigger. I found that Timney offers a “Sportsman” Model which can be found for the reasonable price of around $50. I ordered it and had it in the mail a couple days later ready to install.
Installation of the Timney Sportsman is easy and takes only a few minutes with the proper tools. You first remove the action from the stock and remove the bolt. Then you remove the old trigger and sear, by driving out a single pin (be careful as they are under spring tension). Back off of the installation screw (the instructions contain a diagram naming all of the screws). Put the Timney unit in in place, replace the old pin, and tighten down the installation screw. Check for proper function and the installation is done.
The Timney Sportsman trigger unit instantly made the rifle feel like a different gun altogether. No more creep, staging, or mushy trigger feel. The unit dropped in testing at just under 3.5 lbs trigger pull, which is perfect for the intended use for the rifle. There are a number of set screws to make adjustments on the trigger: Pull weight, overtravel, and sear engagement. For the demanding shooter who knows exactly what they want in a trigger, adjusting these is an easy way to tailor the firearm to your needs. I elected not to touch any of them because the trigger felt exactly the way I wanted it to.
Because the trigger unit is wider than the original, it would not drop into the stock the rifle came with. I am ordering an unfinished stock which will need some inletting and finishing anyways, so this is not a big deal to me. It is something to be aware of for installation, however. The best inletting tools, in my opinion, are some black inletting transfer dye and some sharp chisels, but opening up the trigger slot can also be accomplished with some basic files and some careful work. In addition, the trigger guard may need to be opened up for the wider trigger. This was accomplished with a couple minutes with a small Nicholson mill file.
All in all, for the low cost and ease of installation, Timney will be high on my list of go-to trigger replacements for future projects. The Timney sportsman is easily one of the easiest and most rewarding aftermarket modifications I have installed.