Your rifle weight can ruin a hunting trip or a trip to the range. Just like driving an 8 second drag car to get groceries, some things are better when they’re built with a purpose. Nobody wants to carry a 20 lb rifle on an elk hunt. We’ll go over when you might want that kind of weight and what might be better for those long mountain hunts.
The weight of a rifle will change the recoil characteristics as well as the handling. A heavier rifle will heave less felt recoil than a lighter rifle of the same caliber. This means it is easier to keep on target at the bench, but can be harder to handle in alternate shooting positions.
Too light of a rifle can have a lot of effect on felt recoil. It can also be difficult to hold the rifle steady in windy conditions.rifle weight
HUNTING RIFLE WEIGHT
A hunting rifle generally weighs between 5 and 8 lbs before the scope is put on. These rifles sometimes rarely see the light of day before hunting season. When they finally do get to stretch their legs, it’s usually just to check the zero from last year.
When deer hunting, you generally have around an 8 inch target for a nice clean shot. Most factory rifles now have a 1 MOA guarantee from the factory. This level of accuracy is usually overkill for people that rarely use their rifles at over 100 yards. There are a lot of factory options under 8 lbs before you mount the glass.
Several Remington, Ruger, and Savage rifles perform very well for this kind of use right out of the box. They have tactical versions as well; while these might be great for tack driving from a bench, they get heavy really fast on a longer excursion.
This is where a light rifle is worth it’s weight in gold(or more depending on the markets). Companies like Nosler and Proof Research have changed the game when it comes to lightweight hunting rifles. Aftermarket triggers, as well as carbon fiber barrels and stocks straight from the factory make these rifles a new breed entirely.
Nosler’s new M48 Mountain Carbon Rifle comes in at 6 lbs and is amazingly balanced. In calibers like 6.5 Creedmoor, 300 Win Mag, and 33 Nosler, there’s a cartridge that will get the job done. The carbon fiber wrapped stainless steel barrel is fully free floated. This allows the barrel to be consistent regardless of the weather or time of year. This rifle comes in at 6 lbs across all models.
Proof Research took this even farther with their Elevation rifles. The Elevation is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and weighs only 5 lbs before you mount your optic. Designed to be a small to mid-size trophy harvester, this is the lightest rifle in their hunting lineup.
These rifles can be great for stalking or a backwoods elk hunt, but may be a bit punishing at the range with larger calibers.
RIFLE WEIGHT WHEN HUNTING FROM A STAND
If you generally hunt from a stand, there are a lot of factory options that may fit your needs. Tikka makes a lot of very reliable rifles with a sub MOA guarantee. If you’re partial to Ruger or Savage, they also offer rifles with plenty of accuracy at a great price.
The Tikka T3X rifles have a mouser style action and directly feed the round into the chamber. The extractor on this style of rifle is generally much stronger than the Remington 700 style. The T3X Superlite comes with an adjustable trigger, and their module grips. This allows you to tailor the rifle to the shooter which improves comfort and consistency. Their Superlite models weigh in at around 6 lbs depending on the model.
Ruger has a great lineup with their American line of rifles as well. The standard version comes in at less than 6.5 lbs, while the American Hunter line is just over 9 lbs. These rifles all come with the Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger and are user adjustable between 3 and 5 lbs of pull.
The Ruger’s Power Bedding is an integral block that free-floats the barrel. This block makes a great home to their triple lug, dual cam bolt. Ruger uses a cold hammer forged barrel which provides great barrel life as well as exceptional accuracy.
AR platforms are commonly used for varmint hunting as well as wild hog control in the lower states. The weights of these rifles can vary widely as well. Some people want the lowest weight they can get and are under 6 lbs on their rifles.
Others like the Falkor Petra offer an AR platform rifle chambered in 300 Win Mag. Even with the carbon fiber barrel, this monster of a rifle weighs in at 10 lbs before an optic. A semi-auto rifle chambered in 300 Win Mag might seem like a great idea to anyone that’s ever been bear hunting.
LIGHTEST RIFLE FOR BACKPACKING
Sometimes you don’t think you’ll need a gun and don’t carry one because of it. This is exactly when Murphy will show up and you will wish you had. Even a single shot 22LR can be a life saver in a survival situation.
The Henry AR-7 is a semi-auto 22LR that packs away in it’s own stock. At 3.5 lbs and just over 16” in length this rifle is a featherweight ready for your backpack. Accurate and reliable, this rifle will be there for you in a pinch.
If you don’t mind adding an extra pound to your pack then you may be interested in the MAGPUL Backpacker for the 10/22 Takedown rifles. When stowed, this rifle hides 2 spare magazines under the cheek piece as well as a sealed area in the handle to stow a small survival kit or fire-starting supplies. You can find this stock here.
Either of these rifles can be a great option for a lightweight rifle to throw in your backpack for your next trip.
HOW MUCH DOES A BENCHREST RIFLE WEIGH?
This is where things start to get interesting. And heavy. Depending on the style of shooting, some rifles may weigh over 20 lbs. This includes lighter calibers like .223 Remington. The extra weight reduces felt recoil as well as barrel rise which gets you back on target faster after each shot.
An aluminum chassis is often used on competition and bench rest rifles. An aluminum chassis can add to the stability as well as the rifle weight. Some companies make weights that will attach to your mlok rail system and increase the weight of the rifle even more.
Different classes have different rules, so make sure you look them over before you start your build.
LIGHTWEIGHT TRUCK GUN
Just to be clear, everybody has a different picture in their head for this one. A truck gun is usually something cheap, so you don’t care that it’s getting banged around. It also needs to be reliable enough to take that abuse and keep sending rounds. What really makes the difference in this category is the overall length of the firearm.
The Mossberg 500 Tactical weighs 6.75 lbs and comes with an adjustable stock to shorten the pull by up to 4”. You can get a folding stock as well for the states that allow it, making the package even smaller.
V Seven offers an AR pistol chambered in 300 Blackout that weighs in at under 4 lbs. If you like the idea of a Ruger 10/22, a carbine with the synthetic stock comes in at 4.4 lbs. The price difference between these two may just bring a tear to your eye.
The weight of your truck gun really depends on your needs as well as how much you’re willing to pay for a rifle that you plan on abusing more than any other you own.
HOW MUCH SHOULD MY RIFLE WEIGH?
At the end of the day you want the lightest rifle that you can handle effectively for the situation you have chosen. If you can handle the abuse of a 300 Win Mag that only weighs 5 lbs for hours at the range, that rifle will be great during hunting season as well.
You may even end up building a few rifles just because you find your favorite bench gun so lacking in the woods when you’re hunting for whitetail deer. Pick a purpose for your rifle and build with that goal in mind. And never judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree.
I built a rifle to use as a long range hunting rifle. All said and done, a Remington 700 in a MAGPUL Hunter 700 Chassis weighs in at just over 10 lbs when topped with the Vortex glass. More on that build here.
After finding out New York allows rifle hunting for deer, I decided it was time to begin building a reliable hunting rifle. I wanted something that could drop any game in my area without being too much for hours at the range.
Need to know how to build a quality long range rifle? Here are the steps I followed:
STEP 1: CHOOSING THE RIGHT CALIBER
The largest factor in finding the right hunting cartridge is what you will be hunting and where you will be hunting it. Hunting grizzly requires different hardware than prairie dogs.
Where I am in New York, we don’t have anything bigger than black bear. This makes a .223 too small and a 300 Win Mag unnecessary as much as I’d love one.
Dense forests make up most of the area due to heavy logging years ago. This prohibits most longer range shots. A shot across the field may be 400 yards, but any shots made in the woods will generally be under 100.
308 WINCHESTER VS. 6.5 CREEDMOOR
The two calibers I was having a hard time choosing between were the flat shooting 6.5 Creedmoor or the harder hitting 308 Winchester.
The 6.5 Creedmoor has a lot of great options for factory ammo, and prices have been dropping. This cartridge is excellent for reaching out to 1300 yards with a very flat trajectory. The ballistic coefficient helps the slim bullet in the wind as well. As great as the cartridge is, it was designed as a target round.
The 308 allows for purchasing bulk military ammo for plinking and hand loads when more accuracy is required. Hand-loading my ammunition allows me to pay less than 50 cents per round for very high quality sub moa results. The 308 Winchester has the added benefit of being designed for hard hits and getting the job done.
I chose the 308 Winchester over the 6.5 Creedmoor because of the ranges I will be using this rifle for. My local shooting range is 400 yards and I don’t intend on hunting over that distance.
The 308 generally has a heavier bullet, which translates to more energy than the 6.5 within these ranges. With a hunting rifle, I want all the thump and energy dump I can get.
Any rifle I own doesn’t just see 5-10 rounds every year to check the zero before hunting season. I put at least 100 rounds through any rifle I take to the range with me, so reliability is a necessity.
SAVAGE 10 FCP-SR
When I went to my local gun store, I originally went looking for the newer Savage 10 FCP-SR with a 20” bull barrel and the Savage Accu-Trigger. This rifle features a threaded barrel and a 10 round drop magazine from the factory.
This rifle has a beautiful snakeskin camo finish on the synthetic stock. The tactical bolt knob gives plenty of real-estate to work the bolt even with a scope mounted.
The fluted barrel helps to prevent overheating the barrel during long sessions. The threaded muzzle allows the mounting of a suppressor or muzzle brake.
I went to run the bolt on the rifle and it bound instantly. Any pressure on the outer portion of the bolt caused it to bind. This may have been because of the extra length on the tactical bolt knob.
RUGER AMERICAN GO WILD
Next up was the Ruger American ‘Go Wild’ edition. This rifle comes with a 22” threaded bull barrel, muzzle brake, aluminum bedded chassis, and a free floated barrel. The AICS pattern magazine that comes with the rifle only holds 3 rounds, but has a great low profile for going through the wooded areas.
The action has a durable bronze Cerakote finish shared with the cold hammer forged barrel and muzzle brake with a camouflage stock. The synthetic stock has the Ruger Power Bedding system which ensures a solid platform for the action as well as free-floating the barrel.
This rifle, like the Savage comes with a very nice factory adjustable trigger. The only problem I found with the rifle I felt was a gritty action. This is surprising with the Ruger Americans one piece three lug bolt.
REMINGTON 700 ADL TACTICAL
Running out of options at the local gun store, the last rifle that caught my eye was the Remington 700 ADL Tactical. When I was younger, Remington had a great reputation as a company the produced quality farm rifles that got the job done. Newer Remingtons have had questionable quality control over the last few years.
The price on this rifle is what caught my eye. This rifle was nothing special. Non-bedded synthetic stock that flexed in your hands. It didn’t even have the X-Mark Pro trigger.
The ADL Tactical had a threaded barrel, but no muzzle brake installed like the Ruger. It did, however, have a 20” bull barrel and an action as smooth as glass.
For the price of buying a better rifle and making it what I wanted, I might as well start with a well known platform with a ton of aftermarket options for any issues I may come to down the line. And so began the build.
STEP 2: BARREL BREAK IN
Before I started throwing money at the rifle, I wanted to see how it shot out of the box. Before I test a factory barrel, I always like to do a proper barrel break-in.
I don’t know for a fact that barrel break-in makes any difference at all. The thought process of smoothing out imperfections without overheating the barrel just seems like a very logical start to a new barrel’s life. My process could be very different from yours; I just use what I was taught 20 years ago.
I start with sending three rounds down the barrel and give it a good clean. Then I double it to six rounds and give it another good clean.
Repeat this process for 12 rounds and 24 rounds, cleaning each time with a good copper solvent until you stop seeing the green on your cloth. This is copper jacket left from the bullets and is now being removed.
If you want to see if barrel break-in makes a difference then you should start by shooting groups with your first 5 and last 5 rounds. At this time I had not ordered my scope yet, so I was just firing at a backstop for my break-in.
STEP 3: CHOOSING THE RIGHT SCOPE
The scope you put on your rifle is a critical component. You don’t want a long range precision scope on the shotgun you use for trap shooting. Not enough magnification and you won’t be able to reach out, too much and you may have a hard time locating a closer target while hunting.
Deciding on a purpose and a budget before you build the rifle can save you a big headache down the road. If you have $1000 to spend, you would be much better off with a $800 scope on a $200 rifle than the other way around.
The cheapest rifle you can find will benefit from good glass, but putting a $200 scope on top of a $5000 rifle wont let you reach out past 1000 yards. Always use the best glass you can afford for the build.
FIRST FOCAL PLANE VS. SECOND FOCAL PLANE
Another important decision to make is if you want a first or second focal plane on your scope. Second focal plane means you can zoom in on the target without your reticle changing sizes on you. The target gets bigger, but your reticle stays the same size.
The issue with this system is that your subtensions change as your magnification does. This results in your subtensions only being correct at a specific magnification. This isn’t a problem at longer distances when under high zoom most of the time.
With a first focal plane system, as you zoom in on the target, you zoom in on your reticle as well. This allows subtensions to stay consistent at any magnification level, but under higher zoom settings may block out the target on longer range shots.
Constantly changing ranges within 400 yards pushed my decision towards the first focal plane option. Every build is different and think about what you really expect out of the rifle before you spend hard earned money on something that isn’t exactly what you’re looking for.
With the barrel broken in, it was time to do a preliminary accuracy test. By now my scope had arrived.
QUALITY OPTICS ON A BUDGET – VORTEX DIAMONDBACK TACTICAL FFP
I went with Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50mm for the task at hand. I decided to go with Vortex mainly because of their warranty. For a hunting rifle, I thought their lifetime VIP warranty would be perfect for a scope that would be going up and down trees as well as through brush.
I have a Chinese manufactured scope on my .223 and my 22LR. For being $35, they work great, but I would not trust them on top of a 308 Winchester when I need reliability during hunting season. A fogged lens or bumped zero can mean missing the animal, or even worse, wounding the animal.
The CVLIFE scope is also second focal plane. I have missed a few crows because I didn’t check my magnifications and my subtensions were off. I know at 24x magnification, I can hold 1 Mil high and hit a crow at 100 yards. However, at ANY other magnification, this is not true.
This is why I went with the Vortex in first focal plane. The FFP setup is much better for hunting in closer ranges considering I never know what magnification I might be using at what distance.
The Diamondback Tactical comes with side parallax adjustment, exposed tactical style turrets, and some pretty clear glass for the price point. Yes, you can spend $5,000 on a scope and it will no doubt be much better. This is a hunting rifle, not an ELR build.
The clarity doesn’t really become an issue unless you’re at the higher end of the zoom range and at a farther distance. Over 20x magnification is about where the chromatic aberration begins. This likely won’t affect a 400-yard shot. However, if you’re building for longer ranges or a competition rifle, you may want to spend a bit more on the glass.
The turrets track very well and return to zero easily. There is no zero stop, but there are clear markings on the turrets to give you an idea of what revolution you are on. Count the lines showing and just return it there when dialing down after your shot.
Vortex does a great job with any of their scopes. You get what you pay for every time. They offer scopes under $200 to scopes over $3000 and any price in between. Any of their optics have the VIP warranty.
If you pick the right scope for the rifle, your marksmanship can only get better. More on this scope here.
STEP 4: CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRIGGER
After a quick 50 yard zero, I was grouping just under 2 inches with factory ammo. This isn’t terrible for the cheapest Remington 700 I could get my hands on. The factory stock was not bedded in any way and the factory trigger was horrible.
The pull out of the box could have just about lifted the bull barrel rifle. When the trigger pull is just as heavy as the rifle, it makes it very difficult to make a shot without moving the rifle.
TriggerTech Primary Trigger
For this task, I turned to the TriggerTech Primary trigger. There were a lot of reviews on Timney and Jewell triggers on the market, but I didn’t like what I heard about their repeatability and break-in due to their sear engagement.
The TriggerTech Primary trigger solves this problem with their FRT technology, which is their friction-less roller system. This design allows the pull weight to start at zero during manufacturing. They then engineer the required tension into the system.
This is what keeps their clean, crisp break and the consistent pull weight shot after shot, even when exposed to dust. The FRT system also helps keep the trigger system safer by not sacrificing sear surface area for trigger pull weight.
With a Timney trigger, I have had the weight change over the break in period. This has not been true with the TriggerTech Primary. Over 500 rounds through the rifle so far with zero malfunctions and every shot as crisp and clean as the first.
Even with their Primary model, I have heard nothing but “wow” from my range buddies. I have tried several times to get a malfunction on an empty chamber and the safety mechanism with these triggers just works.
Installing this trigger was a breeze. The install took less than 15 minutes with nothing but a hammer, my punches, and an Allen wrench for adjustments. I pulled the two pins holding in the factory trigger and left one pin partially in to hold the bolt stop and spring in place.
Next, take the old one out and put the new one in. Tap the pins back in place and do a function and safety test, then you’re good to go. If you would like to read more about the process, see this page.
STEP 5: PICKING THE RIGHT STOCK OR CHASSIS FOR YOUR RIFLE
Now it came time to find a stock for the rifle. This decision is almost as important as the scope. There are many options from MDT, Hogue, MAGPUL, and McMillan. Any of these aftermarket options will likely be much better than the factory synthetic.
Some stocks are designed for PRS matches, others are designed for hunting. Some are simply made to look pretty. You may want something with a rail that you can add weights to, or the lightest carbon fiber has to offer. Whatever your purpose, there are plenty of aftermarket options for the Remington 700 platform.
MAGPUL HUNTER 700
I decided to go with the MAGPUL Hunter 700 because of the mlok rails and adjustable length of pull, as well as the adjustable cheek piece. I prefer a hunting rifle style grip over a pistol style when hunting or even shooting from a bench.
The v-style aluminum bedding block makes sure the action is planted firmly, with no need for a glass bedding job. There is plenty of room for an aftermarket recoil lug as well, but the factory lug sits firmly against the bedding block.
The TriggerTech trigger dropped right in with no clearance issues. There is a spot for a QD cup, but I went with just putting my sling in the slot on the side of the butt-stock.
A screw on the butt-stock releases the pad so you can add or remove spacers to fit your length of pull. After removing the butt-stock, you’re also able to swap out the cheek riser to the height of your liking. There is a tab on the riser locking it into the butt, so you don’t have to worry about that falling out when you’re walking through the woods.
I always follow the old trick for sizing a rifles length of pull. Hold your forearm and bicep at 90 degrees while holding the rifle. The butt of the stock should rest just against your bicep with your hand on the gun comfortably.
This is an easy way to know if the gun is still just too big for your youngin’ or your wife to shoot. MAGPUL has made the Hunter 700 adjustable for this exact reason. You can adjust the length of pull from shooting in the summer to your layered hunting clothes as well. Only downside is it’s not a quick adjust, but it’s a much more solid system than most buffer tube style chassis.
This stock is a bit hefty for those deep-hills elk hunts. With the bull barrel and Vortex scope, the rifle weighs in at just over 10 lbs. That adds up quick on a long hunt when you’re looking for a rifle that weighs less than 7 lbs scoped. On a long trip ounces make pounds and pounds make pain.
This didn’t discourage me considering that we don’t do week long, 5 man elk hunts in New York. This chassis is perfect for a day hunt or time at the range. The extra weight makes the rifle a blast to burn through ammo with when compared to a carbon fiber 300 Win Mag that weighs just 5 lbs.
The bedding and free-floating that this stock provides cut my group size to ¼ what they were before. When I purchased the rifle, the best group I could get with hand loads was just under an inch.
Any factory loaded ammunition I used was closer to a 2” group. This chassis brought a 10 round group under 1 moa including the fliers. A 5 shot group of hand loads was consistently under a half inch at 100 yards.
I may not be the best shot in the world, but I like to know my rifle can perform better than me. At least if I miss a shot, I know the rifle and ammo are not to blame.
They also offer a bottom metal that allows the use of AICS pattern magazines. This allowed me to turn my cheap internal magazine ADL into a drop mag style for a very reasonable price. More on this stock here.
STEP 6: INSTALLING A MUZZLE BREAK
The 308 doesn’t really kick like a mule, but 100+ rounds was leaving me sore the next day. I knew finding and installing a muzzle brake was the next step, especially if I wanted to convince my girlfriend to shoot this baby.
Installation was pretty simple. I tried using a crush washer to begin with, but wasn’t a fan of the one time use. I got a lock nut for the brake and used that in place of the crush washer.
The first step is to make sure your rifle is level in the vise. You can generally place a level on the scope rail as long as it is true on the action.
Thread the lock nut onto the threads at the end of the muzzle, all the way down. Next, thread on the muzzle brake. The lock nut should be at the bottom of the threads. You want as much engagement as possible here.
Most brakes have a flat spot on the top for timing. This makes sure the gases are expelled in the right directions. A brake not timed properly could result in the rifle pulling left or right during recoil.
Run the muzzle brake down to the lock nut and back it off to level. Use the flat area on the top of the brake to level your brake true to your action.
JP RECOIL ELIMINATOR MUZZLE BRAKE | IS IT ANY GOOD?
I went with the JP Recoil Eliminator Muzzle Brake. When looking for muzzle brakes, I noticed there were a lot of negative reviews about this brake because of the size, but there are smaller options if that’s what you’re looking for.
The Recoil Eliminator brake is big for a reason. It cuts the recoil of the 308 to right around what the .223 is. The muzzle rise is cut considerably as well.
The shape is what really makes the Recoil Eliminator interesting. It has a triangle shape vertically and horizontally. Wider at the bottom than the top, and wider at the front than the back.
The large surface area to the front helps soften the recoil, while the smaller surface at the top allows for more gasses to be vented in that direction. The gasses expanding up help reduce the muzzle rise.
Due to the effectiveness of this brake, it tends to be very loud. It is not really suggested for hunting situations if you hunt with anyone else. Using their shoulder as a rest may destroy their hearing and your friendship irreparably.
The muzzle blast doesn’t kick any gasses or debris in your direction, but stay clear of the sides.
The Recoil Eliminator is build like a rock. The only marking is the JP logo engraved on the front at the top. They offer this brake in Stainless and a matte black coating.
The installation was pretty simple as well. I used a vice and leveled my action, then leveled the muzzle brake to the now level action. I went with using a nut instead of a crush washer. I can remove it for hunting season without needing to replace any pieces.
Overall, this is a great brake that really does the job well. The round is still going to kick, but it removed any harsh recoil feel.
STEP 7: ENJOY YOUR NEW RIFLE
This is the rifle I’ll break out at a party when my buddies and I want to have some fun ringing steel. If your wife is comfortable with a bit of kick, take her to the range and let her have it.
My lady was scared to shoot the rifle because of the volume. After she built her confidence with smaller rifles and even a few pistols, she decided it was time to try the 308. She sat down and emptied the magazine, ringing the 8” steel every time at over 200 yards. The JP Recoil Eliminator Muzzle Brake turned a rifle I wouldn’t let her shoot into a rifle she’s already asking me to shoot again.
What Was the Final Cost of My Long Range Rifle Build?
New Remington 700 ADL Tactical: $200
Vortex Diamondback Tactical: $400
TriggerTech Primary trigger: $150
MAGPUL Hunter 700 stock: $179-$260
MAGPUL AICS Bottom Metal: $65-$75
JP Recoil Eliminator: $90-$100
Total Cost – $1,084 to $1,185
To have a reliable ½ moa rifle that should fit all the requirements, this seems like a steal. It may be more than necessary for a hunting rifle, but when you build it yourself, you can turn it into anything you want. This was an excellent building experience and I hope to do it again in the future.
This TriggerTech Primary trigger breakdown will tell you what sets this trigger apart from the competition.
There are plenty aftermarket trigger companies to choose from when it comes to bolt action or semi-automatic rifles. From Mil-Spec to hair triggers for shooting in competitions or shooting from a bench.
Companies such as Timney, Shilen, and Jewell also offer great options for aftermarket trigger options for the Remington 700 as well as other rifle platforms.
TriggerTech is relatively new to the scene but is making quite an impression among the professionals. They pride themselves on quality and innovation.
I recently put one of their Primary models on my Remington 700 project to see if they really knew what they were doing. More about my long range hunting build here.
Table of Contents
WORTH UPGRADING TO TRIGGERTECH?
The factory trigger from Remington on my ADL Tactical model was the same old XMark trigger they have used for years. Not adjustable, plenty of creep and over-travel, and far too heavy to use for any kind of accurate bench shooting.
When just pulling the trigger moves the entire rifle, making a good shot becomes a lot more difficult.
Since the TriggerTech Primary trigger is designed in the same basic style they have used for years, many options can be installed within minutes. After a basic function check, you’re on your way.
Even though it’s an easy enough job with the proper tools, we always recommend taking your work to a qualified gunsmith. When it comes to the trigger of your rifle, one can never be too safe.
LOOK AND FEEL OF THE TRIGGER
The TriggerTech Primary trigger housing is made out of aluminum. All the pieces are well machined and laser engraved with the company name and the model of the trigger. No rough edges or burrs left over from the machining processes.
The safety is ergonomically shaped with nice serrations on it for extra grip. When you reach for it, there is enough surface area to provide a nice positive feel as well as an audible “click.”
TriggerTech offers models in both matte black and silver for the Primary trigger. The black has their PVD coating.
PVD stands for Physical Vapour Deposition, and is a durable coating thats is very hard which is applied to external stainless steel components to give them a clean black color.
The trigger also features a stamped logo on the outside of the safety lever. The safety is a matte metal finish and really looks great. Some people may prefer black. They offer both curved and flat triggers in brushed metal and coated black configurations.
TRIGGERTECH’S BOLT RELEASE MECHANISM
The bolt release on the trigger I received seemed a bit sticky to start with, but I couldn’t find any information about it happening to others so I plan to see how it works out in the future.
It is a bit thicker than the factory release and mounted in a more effective manner resulting in less flex and a much better feel than the factory Remington triggers.
The bolt release has been a questionable spot for a long time with the factory triggers. The TriggerTech Primary mechanism provides a nice positive, reliable operation of the bolt catch in my experience with them.
The trigger shoe is available as either curved or straight. You can choose the one you like, but I have used curved for 20 years and don’t see a reason to switch it up now. The trigger is the same matte finish as the safety.
If you’re looking for a tactical trigger, you may want to go with the flat version. The TriggerTech Primary trigger is much wider than the factory one and felt great on my finger. The ribs are spaced well and the trigger has a great design and feel overall.
ADJUSTING THE TRIGGERTECH PRIMARY
Directly in front of the bolt release tab is the only adjustment for their single stage triggers, the all important pull weight. The Primary model is adjustable from 4 lbs down to 1.5 lbs using this single screw and an Allen wrench.
I find that the heavier weights are great for hunting with thick, warm gloves. When you’re going for that 1000-yard shot, you don’t want the trigger weight being more than your barreled action.
TriggerTech’s Special model goes even lower – perfect for varmint hunting and ringing steel in any competition. If your rifle is used generally for competition, then you may even want to try their Diamond trigger.
This bad boy is adjustable from 32 oz all the way down to 4 oz. Each improved model costs a little more but still seem very affordable compared to competitors. TriggerTech also offers them in right- and left-handed configurations.
When adjusting the TriggerTech Primary trigger weight, each click of the screw is supposed to be 1oz of pull weight. This feature makes it very easy to go from hunting to bench shooting and back again.
On the lighter end of the weight range, the clicks were much less audible. The higher the weight, the more audible and tactile the clicks.
I just set it to feel with my good gloves on and knew it would turn out better than my factory trigger regardless of if I had it down to 1.5 lbs.
HOW TO INSTALL THE TRIGGERTECH PRIMARY
I had already removed my barreled action to place into my MAGPUL Hunter 700 chassis. After almost putting everything together, I realized it would be a disgrace to not include a trigger as well.
Time to get out the old punch and hammer for the two pins holding the factory trigger to the action.
The TriggerTech install was a breeze due to the trigger’s sealed sear design. Less than 10 minutes after getting my hammer out, I was putting it away.
After a few function checks, it was time to assemble the rest. I used my Wheeler Fat Wrench to torque the barreled action to the new chassis for the first time.
It was a beautiful moment. Another check and it’s time for the range.
FEATURES OF THE TRIGGERTECH SYSTEM
TriggerTech is a Canadian company that began their journey making trigger systems for Remington 700s and crossbows. More recently, they have started making different models for the AR-15 market.
What really sets them apart from the rest of the trigger manufacturing world is their patented FRT or Frictionless Release Technology.
Trigger designs from other companies use sliding friction between the sear and trigger during operation. TriggerTech’s FRT technology uses a roller between the sear and trigger. This improves the break when releasing the sear by reducing friction.
Think about traditional trigger systems. A nice flat sear, pushing against the flat hammer to keep it from falling.
All of the springs in the system impose a lot of tension, putting a lot of pressure on the smallest amount of surface area.
As you pull the trigger, your finger must overcome both static and kinetic friction built into this style of system. The contact area between the sear and hammer gets smaller and smaller, which increases the amount of pressure on those surfaces. Until it slips.
The more sear overlap you have, the safer the engagement between the two becomes. More overlap will make it less likely to fall accidentally.
However, more overlap directly means more pull distance required to fire. This is known as creep and is usually frowned up in any aspect.
To get the trigger pull as crisp as possible with the traditional friction design, you have to limit overlap as much as possible while balancing safety. Essentially, making a trade between the two.
To remove the friction between these surfaces, TriggerTech placed a free floating roller between the sear and trigger.
One reason these triggers are so consistent shot after shot is because the company starts with a near zero resistance design, and then they engineer the appropriate weight into the system.
With their use of the FRT system, TriggerTech basically eliminates the compromise between performance and safety. The sear engagement does not change regardless of adjusted trigger weight.
This allows them to make a 5 lb mil-spec drop-in trigger still feel nice and crisp as well as keeping the 4 oz Diamond trigger on your precision rifle just as safe.
With the AR-15 platform, TriggerTech changed how the entire game is played with this technology. Generally, the trigger has to move 5x more than the sear to overcome the friction in the standard mils-spec system.
With the FRT in the housing, the TriggerTech Primary trigger can now move even less than the sear and acts like a lever. This is why TriggerTech has some of the best feeling triggers in the drop-in market, even with more overlap than the competitors.
TKR is for what they call the Ticker, which pivots freely and keeps over-travel to a mere .030”. They say it is for the feel of the break as well.
According to TriggerTech, the Remington 700 should be as low as .015”, which is quite impressive. It feels great the entire time. There is no creep like with a 2 stage trigger.
I don’t personally feel any travel at all, just building steady pressure until *click*. The nice clean break with near zero travel.
CLKR is for the “clicker” technology that allows you to finetune your trigger weight. There is also a safety mechanism that prevents the trigger from locking if it gets over-tightened or even removed.
To help with corrosion resistance, not only do they have the anodized aluminum housing for the components, but they made the trigger out of 440c stainless steel.
With these features combined with the low friction of the FRT system, TriggerTech has done a lot to minimize maintenance and failure points common to the factory triggers as well as some aftermarket trigger designs.
Seems like an excellent reason for them to offer their Lifetime Warranty with their products.
One should note that the 1 oz per click is not exact. The click is to be used only as a reference tool.
The best way to adjust to an exact pull weight is by using a scale. The clicks seemed to be more accurate in the middle of the adjustment range.
This seems like a minor issue, as I don’t know anybody that adjusts their trigger back and forth every time they go to the range. The CLKR seems like a great tool to know about how much you have adjusted the weight.
The consistency of this system was pretty one of a kind. Across all of our tests, there was very low variation in reading on my scale. I don’t have a digital, so including any mechanical error in my spring style, they were within 1/10th of a pound.
TESTING THE TRIGGERTECH PRIMARY
After testing at the range, I settled at just over 3 pounds of pull. Using my thickest gloves, I wanted to make sure it wasn’t a surprise when it came time to pull the trigger. What feels good at the bench might feel different in a blind when it’s 10 degrees out.
The adjustment screw is much more difficult with the rifle assembled. Now hidden by the trigger guard, the turns on the screw have to be very short; however, it’s certainly still possible to turn the screw with the rifle fully assembled.
May be a better idea to do a rough adjustment with the barreled action removed from the stock and finetune once everything is where it’s going to be.
The real question becomes: does any of it make a difference? With the TriggerTech Primary trigger installed on my new build, the testing began.
I took a scale to the trigger and was amazed at the consistency right off the bat. It didn’t matter if it was at the high end of adjustment or the lower end of adjustment – as far as my scale could tell it was exact every single time.
I believe this is due to their FRT roller system. Even their cheapest model shows the amazing qualities of their design. The Primary has zero perceivable take-up and the break is outstanding.
At around $150 from TriggerTech the price puts them right in the range of the Timney triggers, but still less than a Jewell. These triggers are not to be trifled with and we intend to use them on more of our future builds.
As of now, TriggerTech does not offer triggers for any bolt action other than the Remington 700.
They do, however, offer several models that will drop into your mil-spec AR style rifle. These models range from a fixed 5 lb to an adjustable that will go down to 2.5 lbs.
We have not yet had the pleasure to review these products but will try to bring them to you in the future.
SHOULD YOU BUY THE TRIGGERTECH PRIMARY TRIGGER?
The .015” of over-travel must be right, because you feel none of it. Crisp, clean, and consistent every single time. The curved shoe feels great on the finger and much more comfortable than the factory feel.
If you want a reliable and consistent trigger for years to come, the TriggerTech Primary trigger may be just the right option for you. This trigger is very budget friendly and is packed with features for it’s price point.
TriggerTech offers unique and feature-rich products that are sure to please even the pickiest shooter. I look forward to future products from them and hope I get the chance to geek out over their newest nextiest pew pew accessory.
Great scope for those looking for something packed with features for a budget-friendly price. The CVLIFE Optics Hunting Rifle Scope 6-24×50 is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a budget-friendly scope to throw on a lighter caliber rifle. The CVLIFE scope mounts very easily and comes with high rise rings for an AR … Read more