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Timney Trigger for Ruger M77 Tang Safety Review

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RifleDude View Drop Down
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    Posted: September/13/2019 at 12:11
My very first hunting rifle was an old "Tang Safety" model Ruger M77 in .243 that my dad gave me for Christmas when I was 12 or 13 years old...I don't remember. Although I'd deer hunted many times prior to then with my dad - starting when I was 7 years old - this was my first "deer rifle" that was exclusively mine. I killed my first deer with this rifle, and many others to follow in the ensuing years in my teens and early 20's, before I had sufficient income to start buying more guns.

I hadn't hunted with this rifle in at least 2 decades, and a couple weeks ago while shuffling through one of my gun safes, the old girl cried out to me saying "why have you neglected me so? What have I done wrong?" So I decided for the sake of nostalgia, I would hunt with my old friend this season. But first, I decided I'd finally do something about its "terrible" trigger. More on that in a moment, but first, here she is:



The original stock got so beat up and abused during my teen years that when I was about 25, I decided to build a custom stock for her. At the time, I was still in the early stages of doing gunstock work and didn't think my skills were up to the task, so I had the now-defunct Reinhart Fajen company build the stock for me out of a fancy piece of American walnut. I couldn't afford a high end blank of European walnut or anything with super fancy figure, but I was very pleased with the wood they selected. Besides, good old American black walnut just seemed at home on a classic old American made rifle.





Originally, I had mounted an El Paso Weaver Micro-Trac Widefield 3-9X40 scope on the rifle. The scope was so long, I had to file a notch in the rear sight base to provide clearance for the objective bell. If you look closely, you can see the notch. Once I discovered I didn't have to tolerate a view that looked as if the lenses were coated in Vaseline and had sufficient income to do something about it, I mounted a few Leupolds on the rifle. Eventually, the screw heads in the original Ruger scope mounts got so damaged and the mounts themselves so marred up, I bought Warne QD mounts to replace them. Besides, I thought, if my scope ever went belly up, I could easily detach the scope and use the iron sights. Eventually, I discovered there were scopes significantly better than the Leupolds too, and installed the Zeiss Diavari C 3-9X36 she wears today.

Ok, with that bit of history out of the way, I shall return to the subject of this post, which is the Timney trigger I just finished installing yesterday. I have a truckload of Timney triggers on various rifles and have installed countless others for friends' and relatives' rifles, so I've come to trust in their products over the years. They aren't my absolute favorite aftermarket trigger, but for a hunting rifle, they are generally a very safe bet and it's hard to do much better for the money. For this rifle, I selected the 2 lb trigger pull model with the nickel-plated trigger shoe. For those unfamiliar with the Ruger M77 series evolution, keep in mind that the original "tang safety" model M77 has a radically different trigger design from the later non-user adjustable MKII and current Hawkeye "LC6" triggers with the 3 position wing safety. I've installed multiple Timney triggers for the MKII rifle, but never one for the original tang safety rifle until now. The original Ruger trigger wasn't the worst trigger I've ever experienced, but it was pretty bad, with a heavy, creepy pull. It was adjustable, and I did give thought to just tweaking the adjustments, but I thought since I'd already customized the rifle a fair bit anyway, my old trusted friend deserved a first-class trigger, so I opted for the Timney instead.

I'll save you the suspense... I cannot recommend this trigger, for reasons that have nothing to do with the quality of the trigger itself. Once installed, the trigger is quite nice and crisp. It's what you must do to provide clearance for moving parts of the trigger that I have a serious beef with. This installation left my wife stunned by the constant stream of profanity I unleashed. I'm not certain she'd ever heard some of the words I yelled come out of my mouth prior to yesterday.

First, Timney's installation instructions are terrible! Lots of pretty important information is left out that one must discover on their own. If I'd known ahead of time what needed to be done to make this trigger function properly, I never would have bought it in the first place. The instructions caution: "installing the Timney trigger on a Ruger 77 with a tang safety takes between one and two hours and involves removal of considerable amounts of wood" (emphasis is mine). Someone intending on installing this trigger needs to understand that this warning is a HUGE understatement! 

I have no doubt that under normal circumstances, with the benefit of experience from installing this exact trigger before, one can easily install it within the 1-2 hour time frame. After doing it, I think I can probably do it in 30 minutes or less. However, it took me at least 4 hours, due to the trial and error of "removing wood ==> installing barreled action in stock ==> realizing there still wasn't enough clearance ==> removing barreled action again ==> repeat process..." over and over and over again. My Dremel tool got quite the workout! No doubt different stocks will require varying amounts of material removal, but Timney provides zero guidance on where and how much wood to remove in their instructions or what part of the trigger assembly requires clearance. Photos and more detailed instructions, or at least a link to an instructional video would have been very helpful. It's tough to determine exactly where the problem areas are in the narrow recesses of the stock inletting, so it's a very "trial and error" process on one's first go at this trigger installation.

Here are the areas where wood had to be removed in my stock:



...and when I say "wood had to be removed," I mean A LOT of wood! I have a very hard time believing this is the best design solution Timney could have come up with, requiring such serious surgery to your stock. I understand that sometimes stock mods are required to accommodate aftermarket triggers, and I'm cool with that. This trigger on the other hand requires a degree of stock modification that I consider UNACCEPTABLE! A LOT of wood had to be removed from the left and rear of the trigger inletting, as well as in front of the trigger slot to allow clearance for the front mounting screw head on the Timney unit. 

The thing that really irritates me is the amount of clearance needed to accommodate the "bow" in the Timney safety connecting bar! Timney uses a pivoting "safety fork" lever that blocks the bottom of the trigger sear from downward movement when the safety is applied. This is a good design mechanically, but the geometry of the fork requires a large offset bend in the safety connecting bar, which requires a correspondingly large amount of clearance inside the stock inletting for it. The bottom of the safety fork and its pivot arc during safety movement also requires a lot of wood removal.





As you can see from the photo, the bend in the safety connecting bar protrudes beyond the receiver tang, so in order to provide clearance, you must remove a section of wood adjacent to the tang that produces an unsightly gap next to the bolt shroud. With the bolt closed, it's not that noticeable, but I don't like it, as you can see daylight through the stock in that area. I'm still fuming over this, as it's an eyesore on an otherwise nicely executed custom stock!


The more I think about it, the more it pisses me off! There is no way I believe this was the only design option Timney had to make this assembly work. If you don't remove enough wood in all the areas shown by the red arrows in the above photos, the safety either cannot be moved at all, or you can't engage the safety completely. On my first several attempts of removing enough wood behind the Timney trigger housing where the safety fork pivots, the firing pin would drop as soon as I moved the safety into the "fire" position. This was due to wood pressing against the bottom of the safety fork and trigger sear, as I discovered later after a LOT of trial fitting.

My other main gripe with this trigger is the fact that it uses the stock Ruger sear, and you are instructed to stone the sharp corner of the sear engagement with the trigger sear to round the edge slightly. This is fine except you discard the Ruger sear spring that helps keep the sear pin in place by applying pressure against it. This means that the sear pin can very easily fall out, which I quickly discovered after I unwittingly set the barreled action down while applying wood finish to the bare wood I'd created inside the stock. After an hour of searching in the carpet in my living room and a lot of profanity being hurled into the atmosphere, I finally found the little b@stard. When the action is installed in the stock, the stock itself contains the pin and prevents it from drifting out. Timney advises to use TAPE (I kid you not) on the sear pin head to prevent it from drifting out. A better option would've been for Timney to provide a replacement pin with a circlip groove and circlip on the opposite side to contain it against drifting out. 

I also had to grind off 2 projections on the underside of the trigger guard because they contacted the Timney trigger housing.



But, this isn't noticeable when the trigger guard is installed.



Yes, the installed trigger has a nice feel. I have no complaints about the quality of the trigger pull or the trigger itself, as has been my experience with all other Timney triggers I've dealt with. From a design execution standpoint, however, I think it sucks. Maybe they just don't sell enough of these triggers for the tang safety Ruger 77 to justify improving their design, I don't know. But now that I've gone this far, it will remain installed on the rifle. 

I would not recommend this trigger in a wood stocked rifle at least, because I believe the factory trigger can probably be massaged a bit to have an acceptable quality pull. Maybe there are some synthetic stocks out there that don't require as much whittling on the stock for clearance. Nevertheless...buyer beware! Don't believe the description on Timney's website that says "a true drop-in trigger," and "no gunsmith needed, easy to install." Yeah, it's pretty easy to install once you're aware of where and how much material you need to remove from your stock. But do you REALLY want to remove so much material near your receiver tang and leave a noticeable gap? It sure would've been helpful if Timney had been much more upfront about this and had provided better instructions with detailed photos on said material removal. I looked for an instructional video on installing this trigger online prior to purchase, and couldn't find one. I certainly don't consider this install for beginners unfamiliar with trigger function. 

I'm pretty %$&!ing angry with Timney at the moment!


Edited by RifleDude - September/13/2019 at 12:43
Ted


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote supertool73 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2019 at 12:47
Dang ted, that is a bummer.  That is a beautiful rifle by the way.  

I bought a Timney for a Mossberg bolt gun I used to have.  It took a lot of dremmeling of the stock and grinding to get it to fit also.  It was supposed to be drop in as well.  It felt nice once it was done, but took way to much work for drop in. 


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2019 at 13:04
Oh, I forgot to mention...Timney included a Tootsie Pop in the box with the trigger. Yes, that's right...a Tootsie Pop!

Maybe that was some kind of consolation for the justifiable guilt they felt for releasing such a sh**y design!

I bought the trigger direct from Timney. I would've bought it from our host SWFA, except they didn't have the 2-pounder version listed for sale on the site.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dogger Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2019 at 13:24
Good thing it was you trying to install that thing and not me. I probably would have given up in frustration and thrown the damn thing out. No excuse on their part for instructions lacking so much detail. Happy to hear that at least it works reasonably well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2019 at 16:15
Sorry to hear of your frustrations with the Timney trigger.  That is a dang fine looking rifle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sparky Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: September/13/2019 at 23:30
I know what you mean Ted!!!! I bought one from our host SWFA, a 3 pound version since they didn't have the 2-pounder version for my CZ 455 Precision Varmint Trainer. Figured I could adjust it to 2 pounds. Read the instructions which seemed to be missing a number of steps, couldn't get it to work. So went to Rimfire Central and found some better info. Still couldn't get it to work so called Timney and tried again and still wouldn't work. Called Timney again and again still wouldn't work. Finally it was determined that my trigger was one of the original ones and they had redesigned the sear. So they provided a UPS prepaid label to ship it back to them. And don't even get me started on the UPS prepaid label. Two weeks later I had it back. Plus they adjusted it to 2lbs. Still had some issues and so more calls. Finally got it to work. I am  pleased with the trigger a huge improvement over the original trigger. And would love to install one in my CZ Ultra Lux, but not sure I want to go through the frustration of the install again.
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