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Ruger 77/17 Varminter 17HMR, Target Grey, Black Laminate K77/1
by Robert C. J Date Added: Wednesday 03 June, 2009
These little Mauser style rimfire rifles are beautifully made but have terrible triggers for a 600 dollar plus rifle, especially as compared to the most recent Remington 504 (now discontinued I belive and replaced by similar rifle out of the custom shop with high gloss bluing and stock with black forend tip etc but same gun for sure) and the smaller Anschutz rifles built on the Mark II and 64 actions.

What to do.?
There is ONE fully adjustable tirgger by Jard but the adjustments are difficult because of the tiny 4x40 setscrews needed (especially for the sear engagement adjustment) and you will NOT like the appearance of your rifle as compared to stock if you by this trigger as I did, then sent it back.

The OEM trigger is a simple two lever trigger (as are Win 70 and Rem 700 units) and thus you have to reduce sear engagement by removbing metal from the tip of the sear (or go with a setscrew in the sear as Timney does in their replacment unit). NONE of these fixes are "drop in" so save your money on those "drop in" units by Volquartsen and others as the results I had were not acceptable.

My first rifle was a heavy barrel laminated stainless unit in .17 HRM (which is a tack driver) and I adjusted sear engagement to a minimum by stoning the tip of the sear to reduce it a bit at a time until the release was quite crisp even compared to a good 40X or Anschutz target rifle. The factory safety remained fully functional and required no adjustment.

My second rifle was another heavy barrel laminated stainless gun but in .22 LR caliber and this time I purchased a "sear kit" from Volquartsen and found it had about the same creep as an OEM unit, so as it was not costly, I simply stoned it's nose to attain the crisp pull I needed. So much for "drop in" sear.

My third rifle was a sporter in blue carbon steel with wood stock in .22 WMR and I bought a TImney sear kit to try. Timney ALMOST got it right as they knew sear engagement had to be reduced and they do so with a 4x40 setscrew in the nose of the sear that limits the depth that the top of the trigger can engage...but it still had some creep and the screw was in there so tight with Loctite RED (permanent) that I was afraid to heat it to break it loose and then reheat treat with some surface hardening agent like Kasenit (works great on soft steel parts making them rock hard, about Rockwell 50, to a depth of about .005"). So I stoned the nose of the sear VERY SLIGHTLY to get the diamond sharp release I demanded. It took little work to do so and really MOST people would have been satisfied with the "drop in" Timney unit, but they need to define "drop in" as with the Timney unit one has to stone the end of the safety cam to get the safety to work, on on this one rifle I have a modified safety and if I want to go back to an OEM sear I must now replace the safety cam too....not ideal.

OK,all three rifles have great releases now and the pull weights came way down wiht the reduction in sear engagement. I removed ONE coil off the trigger-sear return spring and have pull weight in the 2.5 pull range.

But what about OVERTRAVEL...and there is LOTS of overtravel.

The only way to deal with this is to drill and tap a 6x32 or 8x32 allen head setscrew into the front face of the trigger housing and this is a bit difficult. I did this on the first two guns (stainless action and barrel) and stainless is notoriously difficult to drill. I used carbide tipped bits and had to dress them up on a daimond wheel "Drill Docor" two or three times until I got the hole all the way through and then had to use MUCH CAUTION and LOTS OF TAP FLUID in doing the tapping so as to avoid the tap breaking off in the hole. Actually on my first try I tapped 6x32 and broke the tap so had to shatter it to remove it from the hole, then drilled oversize and tapped 8x32 which is a stronger tap and less easily broken, but you can still break it easily. Now I had a setscrew that I could screw against the trigger with the action cocked, then pull the trigger while backing out the screw until the rifle striker fell, then backed off an additional 1/2 turn to be sure there was proper clearance. It worked perfectly.

Last rifle done was the .22 WMR with blue action and barrel and I anticipated an easier job in drilling for the overtravel screw but NO, the action was rock hard and I again had to carefully drill and tap for the 8x32 setscrew.

All three rifles are really nice to shoot with these good triggers but in a gun of this cost and quality an owner should not have to be taking drills and Arkansas stones to the trigger to get it to work properly. It could be dealt with at the factory with an adjustable sear like Timney's and with a factory drilled and tapped hole for the overtravel screw in the trigger hanger on the rifle. Holes for trigger pivot pins and sear pin are alrteady there so what would one more hole with an internal thread and setscrew cost?

Other than the triggers, the rifles are all really nice to shoot, with the .17 HMR a real cannon (will penetrate 1/8 mild steel plate with 17 gr ammo at close range (!!!!) but will NOT penetrate a gallon jug of water, with the bullet exploding inside and all the parts sitting in the bottom of that jug! Great Fun!

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]
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