Timney Sets the Standard
Timney has been the top dog in providing quality replacement triggers for more than 71 years and I admit to being a fan. I haven’t taken a survey but I’d be willing to bet that more gunsmiths use Timney triggers than any other brand. They’re just that good. Timney has made another breakthrough in precision triggers with the custom fit of their Calvin Elite .
Everyone knows that the better a gun fits you, the better you’ll shoot. Shooters who are looking for speed and accuracy go to great lengths to ensure that they have the right length-of-pull, the perfect drop at comb, and a number of lesser measurements. Now, thanks to Timney, you can get the perfect fit for your trigger as well.
- Type: Single Stage
- Trigger Weight: 1.5 pounds (not adjustable)
- Assembly: Drop-in Design
- Four-way Adjustable Fit: Horizontally, vertically, cant, rotation
- Accessories: Four Trigger Shoes – Curved, flat, heeled, knurled
- Compatibility: AR Platforms and Remington 700
- MSRP: AR $299.95, Remington 700 $259.95
The Perfect Fit
We all have different hands, bigger or smaller, with fingers that are longer or shorter, fatter or skinnier. When you get your firing grip, your fingers naturally curve into the trigger guard. This means you’re contacting the edge of the trigger first. A small distinction but small movements at the trigger can mean big deviations in shot placement. The Timney Calvin Elite addresses this by being fully customizable by the end user. It comes with four different trigger shoes so you can use the one you like the most, whether it’s a straight trigger, curved, heeled, or knurled. It’s also user adjustable vertically, horizontally, can be canted in or out, and the trigger shoe can be rotated to ensure that your trigger finger contacts it squarely.
A perfect fit combined with a 1.5-pound trigger weight and a short reset makes the Calvin Elite ideal for competition shooters or anyone else who wants the best speed and accuracy their gun can deliver. Three Gun matches, for instance, are often decided by tenths of a second. This trigger can give you the edge. As far as distance shooting is concerned, a light trigger provides the least chance of upsetting your sight picture. The trigger has no creep and breaks like the proverbial glass rod. You just have to experience it for yourself it to see how good it is.
A complaint of many light triggers is that the hammer spring doesn’t have the power necessary to consistently ignite the cartridge primer. Timney was well aware of that particular shortcoming and developed the Calvin Elite with a full 5-pound hammer spring for the utmost in reliability. That’s backed up with a no questions asked lifetime warranty.
We’ll get to shoot it in a minute but let’s take a look at installing the trigger in your AR to see how easy it is:
Installing the Timney AR Calvin Elite
The Calvin Elite is like other Timney triggers in that it’s what’s known as a drop-in design. The trigger, hammer, sear, and springs are assembled in a housing to ensure ease of assembly as well as component close tolerance fit for superior consistency shot-to-shot. Here’s what you get with the trigger assembly.
The first step, obviously, is to remove the magazine and clear the weapon. In their instructions, Timney simply says, “Dry fire the rifle.”
Push out the two pins that hold the upper and lower together. Set the upper aside as it won’t be needed until you’re ready to test the trigger.
It’s necessary to remove the grip to free the safety. Turn the receiver over with the grip pointing up, unscrew the retaining bolt with a 3/16th wrench while maintaining pressure on the grip to retain the spring. Gently remove the grip and spring. There’s also a plunger in the hole the spring came out of. Invert the receiver with your hand underneath to catch the safety plunger. Wiggle the safety if necessary so that it falls free. Otherwise, you can push it out with a punch or piece of wire. Slide the safety selector lever straight out.
Use a punch or one of the tools that came with the trigger to push out the hammer pin. This is easier if you carefully drop the hammer first to remove the tension on the pin. Then simply lift the hammer out of the receiver.
Next push out the trigger pin and lift out the sear and trigger.
There aren’t a lot of small parts but I’ve dropped enough that I like to use a magnetic dish to securely hold them until needed. (It’s amazing how easily a tiny part can become lost amidst the dust balls, wood shavings, and extraneous dirt on my workshop floor.)
You’ll have to remove the trigger shoe to put the trigger pack into the receiver. The trigger hole in the lower isn’t wide enough to let the trigger shoe pass through. I simply installed the knurled trigger to try first. Cock the hammer of the Timney trigger pack and gently insert it into the receiver, then reinsert the retaining pins. The pins are not yet secure in the receiver and can fall out if you’re not careful. You can secure them in place by using a piece of tape on each side. However, if you just pay attention to what you’re doing, you probably can skip that step.
In their instructions, Timney now directs you to replace the safety. However, I’ve found it easier to first tighten the trigger pack lock screws, already installed, one on either side of the trigger. This also locks the retaining pins in place. Go easy here, especially if you have a polymer receiver, but ensure that the screws are tight. Timney updated this trigger pack by transversely mounting a nylock dowel to hold the screws and keep them from backing out. This is the first resistance you’ll feel as you tighten the locking screws. As you pass this resistance, you’ll feel them bottom out.
(If changing the order of the directions that come with your trigger bothers you, rest assured that the Timney experts who install triggers in Timney’s Mobil Command Center that they take to shows and shooting events, also secure the lock screws before reinstalling the safety.)
The instructions now tell you to install an additional two locking screws over the locking screws which you just tightened. On most Timney triggers these are needed to keep the primary locking screws from working loose. However, the Calvin Elite trigger pack has been redesigned to eliminate the need for the secondary screws as noted above.
To reassemble the safety, first insert the safety selector into the receiver. Next turn the receiver over and insert the plunger. Place the spring back into the grip if you removed it, and carefully insert the spring into its hole being sure not to bend the spring as you push the grip into position. Finally, tighten the retaining bolt, configure the trigger how you want it, and you’re finished. That’s it. Easy peasy.
- Reassemble the upper receiver to the lower, work the bolt to ensure that it moves freely, and test the trigger and safety to confirm that they’re working properly.
You’re now ready for the fun part . . . shooting your new Timney trigger.
Shooting the Timney AR Calvin Elite
I was surprised to find that I preferred the knurled trigger. I felt like I had better control. The other trigger shoes are wider and made the trigger weight seem even lighter than 1 ½ pounds. Guess you just have to play with it to find what suits you.
As mil-spec triggers go, the Mossberg MMR is pretty good. There’s no creep or grittiness, but the pull weight is a typical 7 pounds. That may be OK for combat use, but it’s too high for optimizing the gun’s inherent accuracy. I like my hunting and competition rifles to have about a 2-pound trigger weight so the 1.5 pounds of the Timney wasn’t far off.
***Check out our How to (Legally) Build an SBR.***
The Timney trigger was a joy to use. The light, crisp nature of the trigger made shooting for accuracy much easier than the mil-spec trigger. I shot better than I normally do with the Mossie AR although that may have just been luck. It’s really hard to say from one outing to another. You have bad days and you have good days. But one thing I can say for sure is that it was much easier and more enjoyable to shoot with the Timney trigger. For me, I find that if my gun is easier to shoot, in the long run, I shoot better.
Transitioning from close to mid-range targets like you encounter in Three Gun was also much easier. The quick reset was a major advantage here. It has a feel and sound that helps you know that it’s reset and it made for faster follow-up shots and smoother transition from target to target.
My overall impression is that the Timney AR Calvin Elite trigger works as advertised and is far superior to the factory trigger. MSRP is $299.95 but I’ve seen it available in the market for around $50 less. If you want the ability to shoot quicker and more accurately, this trigger will serve you well.
For more information about Timney triggers, click here.