After nearly two years shooting my Ruger SR-556 I finally broke down and bought an aftermarket trigger for it. I had long considered this purchase and after looking at Chip McCormack, Geissele and Timney I finally decided on the excellent Timney AR-15 competition trigger. The specific model I chose was the 667, which is the 3 lb. pull version. I also went with the solid trigger shoe since I could see no reason to pay another $25 for something (skeletonized trigger) that is essentially cosmetic. Don’t get me wrong, I love beautiful things but a trigger is, well, a trigger.
MidwayUSA had the trigger in stock for $209.00 and had it to me in about 4 business days. When I got it I was surprised to see a hex wrench and some small set screws in the package. After a quick trip to YouTube I found numerous videos showing how to install the trigger and what those items were for. Although this is a “drop-in” trigger that uses the factory trigger and hammer pins, it does in fact use a unique system for holding everything together, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
I took the lower off the rifle, removed the grip and safety and then I was ready to get down to business. The factory hammer spring is under a lot of tension and I forgot to release the hammer before taking out the pin. I did have my hand over the assembly but it was still a little surprising when the springs came free. No matter, I then removed the trigger pin and trigger. I took one long, last look at that Timney logo on the side (yes, the housing looks cool) and slid the whole thing down into the lower. I then inserted both the hammer and trigger pins and suddenly realized that they were basically just sitting completely loose. I couldn’t tilt the receiver without them falling out. The way they keep those pins from “walking out” is by having two threaded holes that go down through the trigger housing and allow for set screws to extend downward to the bottom of the receiver cavity. This presses up on the housing thereby keeping the two pins under tension. The first two screws come already inside the housing. They are quite short. Once they are tight the second set are inserted in the same holes and are tightened down on top of the first set which locks it all together. With all these locked down tightly I can’t imagine those pins ever coming out by accident.
So, I was ready to put the gun back together and go shoot but…the safety wouldn’t go in after the trigger was in place! The instructions on the small paper that was included with the trigger don’t mention reinstalling the safety until after the trigger is in but clearly with the SR-556 this cannot be done once the trigger is in place. So, out came the top set screws. I only had to loosen the bottom ones and then the safety went right back in. Tighten it all back up, install the pistol grip and that was it. Even with the safety issue the whole thing was done in 20 minutes.
So, how does it run? I have to say that the difference is like night and day. The SR-556 is a great rifle but the trigger has always been a weakness. The stock trigger has about a 9 lb. pull with a fair amount of creep. The reset is equally obnoxious. The new trigger breaks right at 3 lb., has no creep, and enjoys an extremely short, light, crisp reset. I couldn’t be happier. I will be using this rifle for three-gun this summer and I am very confident in the performance with this trigger. Given the reputation that Timney enjoys, I expect this trigger will outlast several barrels, if not the rifle itself.
UPDATE: After running this trigger for a year it is worth adding a few notes. First, when I used this setup for the first time on some CQB drills I was alarmed to have the gun double-fire on me on three separate occasions. Yikes! This was while driving the gun as hard as I possibly could, firing at three different close targets (5, 10 and 15 yds.) When I slowed down the least little bit the problem disappeared. Timney has information on the instruction sheet that says to back out the adjustment slightly if this happens but I really didn’t want to change anything if I didn’t have to, so I left it alone. That was a year ago. After firing over 1k rounds since then it has not happened again. I don’t know if my finger was jumpy or what but even when driving it hard the trigger has not repeated this behavior.
Second thing worth mentioning: if you are shooting different guns you MUST be mindful when switching to this trigger. After several days of shooting my precision AR-15 last fall I returned to this rifle and was taken by surprise when the shot broke when first firing it. While not technically an accidental discharge, the shot went off well before I was expecting it. As long as you follow strict trigger discipline this will not be an issue but there really is no take-up on this trigger. Other than these two items, the trigger has been staggeringly awesome. For a tactical carbine I think it would be very hard to beat.