A year ago Timney two stage triggers were as conceivable as Han Solo’s son killing him in the new Star Wars movie. Both happened. Odds makers in Vegas might have placed longer odds on Timney two stage triggers. For seventy years Timney has been committed to producing outstanding single stage triggers for a broad variety of guns. I used Timney triggers before I was part of the industry, and I toured the Timney factory a couple of years ago. They had robots making trigger parts, but there was no two stage trigger talk then. But today, after a year of research, development, external beta testing and production tests, Timney announced two stage AR-15 and Remington 700 triggers. Historically, I’ve preferred single stage triggers, probably because that’s what I learned to shoot with. But now that I’ve had the opportunity to install and use some Timney two stage triggers I’m rethinking my old expectations. Keep reading, and you might just join me in that.
Since I’ve not shot much with two stage triggers I figured an almost scientific experiment was in order. Could I shoot better with a two stage trigger? I grabbed an AR-15 with the best factory trigger I’ve ever used. It’s a long, smooth 6.5 pound pull. I used a US Optics SR-8C 1-8X at seven power magnification. Going prone on the roof of my four door jeep, I shot a one inch group with 70 grain Barnes TSX. Pretty decent for me. Time to swap and test drive the two stage Timney Targa AR trigger. Oops, I left my tool bag at home…
A true drop in trigger, the AR Targa two stage trigger is positioned using the same pins your factory trigger used. Then you tighten two set screws in the trigger housing against the floor of your lower receiver to secure it. Timney improved upon their prior AR-15 trigger design by integrating a nylon thread locker into the trigger eliminating the need to apply just the right amount of liquid thread locker yourself. It’s simpler, faster and ready to go immediately. We all like the immediately part.
The following day it’s back to the range, the Red model Timney two stage trigger installed (piece of cake). Sure enough, same gun, same range, same optics, same ammo, more wind, and I shot a .625 inch cold bore group. That’s a 38% improvement in my shooting and a 250% bigger grin!
Here’s the magic: Think of a two stage trigger like this: If you’ve ever used an autofocus camera, you know you push the shutter release button until it stops and focuses the camera. When you’re happy with your focus and your subject, you apply a little more pressure, the button drops and your picture is captured. Essentially, that’s a two stage shutter release and it gives you much more control over exactly when the picture is taken. Timney’s two stage triggers for AR-15 and Remington 700 rifles perform similarly.
Apply a little pressure (two pounds) to the AR Targa trigger and it moves back a short distance to a stop, often called a “wall.” Apply a little more pressure (two more pounds) and the trigger crisply breaks, making your gun go bang. The gun will not go bang until you have applied four pounds of pull on the trigger. Strangely, though it measures four pounds on the trigger scale when the hammer drops, I don’t feel the weight of the first two pounds when I pull the trigger through the second stage to fire. It’s like I’m shooting a two pound trigger. Sweet!
In comparison, the instant a premium single stage trigger moves at all you expect your gun to go bang. That’s what I’ve counted on from Timney for longer than I’ve worked in the firearms industry. And that’s what I experienced when I pulled through that second stage. That and happiness.
Gear Geek pause, here are the vitals on the AR Targa straight from Timney: “The trigger housing is constructed of military grade, 6061 T6 alloy that is CNC machined using state-of-the-art robotics and is anodized for superior durability. The hammer is wire EDM cut from S7 tool steel, combining hardness to resist wear with superior impact resistance to withstand heavy use without chipping or breaking and is Teflon-nickel coated for lubricity. Other components are wire EDM cut from A2 tool steel, then heat treated to Rockwell 58 for long lasting, dependable service life.”
Here’s a bit of comparative technical two stage Timney AR Targa trigger trivia (try to read that out loud): Even though you get the feel of a two pound trigger when it breaks, the trigger/hammer engagement is three times more than single stage. You have to take all that up before your gun goes bang. Some would call that a safer trigger.
Let’s look at the triggers. All four Timney two stage models are being released with straight triggers. I’ve seen plenty of argument about which is better, straight or curved. Some people say that since your finger is curved your trigger should be. But for the best leverage on the tip of the trigger the straight trigger wins accolades. You’ll have to find your own preference here, but at this point I have to say I’m enamored with the flat trigger – and the groups I got shooting with it.
Both the Timney AR Targa two stage trigger and the two stage replacement trigger for the Remington 700 come in Red and Blue variants. On the two stage Targa AR trigger, Red models have shorter first stage take up than the Blues. The Red model initial take up is .053 inches while the blue is .078 inches. That difference looks minute when you read it, but it’s obvious when you pull it. Which you’ll like better I don’t know. For hunting, I think I’d prefer the Red with its shorter reset. Time will tell.
For fifty years Timney has built single stage replacement triggers for the Remington 700. They know a little about this platform. The new Remington 700 Timney two stage replacement trigger has both adjustable first and second stages. On the Red model, the first stage is one to two pounds and the second stage is 1.5 to 3.5 pounds. Total pull weight maxes out at 5.5 pounds. This will go in my hunting/precision rifle.
The Blue Remington 700 Timney two stage trigger is a Calvin Elite model named for Timney’s trigger engineer. The first stage is adjustable from 8 ounces to 1 pound. The second stage adjusts from eight ounces to 2 pounds. If you want an ultra light two stage trigger for a Remington 700, this is it.
Gear Geek pause again, we have typical Timney built triggers: “The 2-Stage Straight trigger features machined and hardened steel work surfaces milled from A2 tool steel and all three sears are Teflon-nickel coated for added lubricity. The trigger housing and shoe are CNC machined using state-of-the-art robotics and the sears are EDM cut from high-grade solid steel. The trigger housing utilizes an anodized aluminum body and the trigger shoe and safety are carbonitrided which dramatically increases the surface hardness and wear-resistance properties of the metal.”
All these triggers should be available on Timney’s website in January and available through retailers shortly thereafter. The AR Targa runs $228.75 and the two stage Remington 700 trigger is $195.95. Like the rest of the Timney Trigger catalog, both come with lifetime warranties.
It took Timney 70 years to jump into the two stage trigger business. I’m glad I didn’t have to wait that long. I’m going to update my Remington 700 precision rifle and a .300 Blackout from Tactical Solutions with Timney two stage triggers. I’m not altogether done with single stage triggers yet, but the infatuation with these two stage Timneys keeps me grinning right now. It seems like a stretch, but if I could shave 38% off a group from the precision rifle at 1000 yards, you and I would both want to know it!