How to Adjust and Replace a Remington 700 Trigger

Works for a Model Seven and Timney Trigger as Well


The first centerfire rifle I ever bought was not a Remington 700, but few since have been anything but, and most of those exceptions have been Rugers.  A 700 SS in .338 Winchester has since replaced one of those, a Ruger 77 in the same caliber.  And I did have a love affair with a Ruger 1B with a gorgeous piece of walnut in 7mm Remington Magnum, but that gun is gone as well.  Someday I am going to get a 1B in .223 Remington; I might even slap a nice piece of walnut or even maple on it.  I have often dreamed of a Mauser action varmint gun in .223 with a full-length stock as well.  Lately, I cannot get my mind off a .416 Remington Magnum Model 70 Winchester for my next trip to Africa; a controlled round action on a heavy rifle seems like a natural.  But otherwise, I am a dyed-in-the-wool Remington 700 fan. 


How come?  In one word: accuracy.  I have never had a 700 that I could not get to shoot well.  The action is easy to bed and the barrels seem to be quite accurate for factory jobs.  But a lot of the reason I have had good luck with Remington 700’s is the trigger – it is easy to adjust for a nearly perfect trigger pull.  But in these litigious times, the trigger comes from the factory heavy and creepy.  Luckily for us, the trigger is relatively easy to adjust.  What we will do in this article is tear into the trigger… how to adjust it, check it for safety, and how to replace it.


Before we dive into specifics, let’s spend some time defining the terms used to describe triggers and trigger pull.  A good trigger pull has often been described as akin to breaking a glass rod – the rod will not move when bent until it breaks.  Just like the glass rod, a good trigger will not move perceptibly until the firing pin falls.  We call movement before the trigger breaks “creep.”  A creepy trigger then, is one that has perceptible movement before the sear breaks.  The “weight of pull” or simply “weight,” is the amount of pressure required to break the trigger.  Finally, the term “backlash” is meant to describe how much the trigger moves after the sear falls.


 Speaking of the sear, exactly how does a trigger work?  As you might have guessed, that is a function of the trigger design.  In the case of a bolt action, the trigger serves to release the firing pin housed in the bolt.  The surfaces that control the release of the firing pin are called the trigger sear.  On a Winchester Model 70 trigger, the trigger itself engages the firing pin.  This makes for a simple trigger, but this design has drawbacks.  It is difficult to obtain a light trigger pull that is creep-free – there is too much friction.  The Remington trigger, which first came out in 1948, uses a lever between the firing pin and trigger to eliminate the friction problem.  Figure 1 illustrates the basic design of this trigger, which has been copied by many other suppliers.  A Timney trigger, for example, is almost an exact replica of the Remington (but of higher quality).  Essentially, the middle lever contains a square edge that bears against another square edge that is part of the curved trigger.  When a shooter pulls on the trigger, it causes the square edge to move forward, which in turn causes the opposing square edge on the middle lever to become unsupported.  Because the opposite side of the middle lever has an angled surface that bears against another angled surface on the firing pin, the lack of support of the middle lever causes it to fall and the firing pin to move forward.

The pressure required to break a Remington trigger is a function of the weight of pull and the trigger sear engagement, or the amount of engagement between the two square surfaces.  If you look carefully at Photograph #1, you can see the two surfaces (look at the hole in the trigger housing just below the receiver cut for the bolt handle).  Both the sear engagement and the weight of pull can be adjusted, as can the amount the trigger moves after the trigger release, also called backlash.  Photograph #2 shows the front of the trigger housing; the two screws in the photo are used to adjust the weight of pull and the amount of backlash.  Photograph #3 shows the backside of the trigger housing, which contains one screw used to adjust the sear engagement.


Of course, the first step in adjusting the trigger is to remove the barreled action.  On actions that have a floorplate, this is accomplished by removing the two screws on the trigger; on the ADL model there is a trigger guard retaining screw that must also be removed.  Following removal of the screws, simply pull the action out of the stock.  On an ADL model, you must remove a magazine box retaining screw; on the BDL version, this can simply be pulled away.  If you examine the trigger housing, you will see that the screws on the trigger housing are covered with a shellac-looking substance that prevents movement of the adjustment screws.  This substance must be removed before adjusting the trigger screws; a sharp knife or razor blade is best for this.  The back screw, the sear adjustment screw, is the most difficult to clean, but if you don’t do this, you will ding up the screw head.  Now let’s discuss exactly how to adjust the trigger.



The first screw I adjust is the weight of pull screw.  Cock the trigger by lifting and closing the bolt.  Backing the screw out will lighten the trigger pull, because it elongates the return spring.  Back out the screw and test the pull either by feel or with a trigger pull gauge until it feels right.  If you cannot cock the rifle, it means you have backed the adjustment screw out too far - screw it back in until you can cock the rifle.  The sear adjustment screw, the one on the back of the trigger housing, also controls the trigger pull – specifically, it is used to control creep, or trigger movement before sear release.  However, it also contributes to the weight of pull, because it controls the bearing surface between the middle lever and the trigger (in other words, it controls the how much metal to metal contact there is).  Screwing in the sear engagement screw reduces the amount of creep, or the amount of trigger travel before breaking the sear.  Moving the sear engagement screw in too far will result in an inability to cock the rifle (I usually play with both the weight of pull screw and sear engagement screw to achieve the desired trigger pull).  One criticism I have of the Remington trigger is the amount of goop they put on the sear engagement screw – I have dinged up several trying to turn them.


The next step in adjusting a trigger is the most important – ensuring safety.  I run through several tests, the most basic of which is cocking the action by lifting and closing the bolt.  If the action does not stay cocked when cocking the action very quickly, the trigger pull is too light.  If the action passes this test, I then lift the bolt, pull it back to the rear, and slam it forward as fast and forcefully as possible.  If the gun stays cocked after several iterations of this step, you are almost home free.  The next step is to cock the rifle, grab it by the barrel, and slam the gun against the floor.  If the sear releases, the trigger pull is too light.  Finally, if it passes all of these tests, cock the rifle and put the safety on “safe.”  Now lightly touch the trigger and push the safety forward.  If the sear releases, it is time to go back to the drawing board.


After establishing a safe trigger pull, backlash adjustment is next on the agenda.  This step is simple – cock the rifle, then screw the backlash adjustment screw all the way in.  Now, with the screwdriver in one hand engaged in the backlash screw, pull the trigger with the other hand.  The rifle will not release the trigger, but keep pressing on it and slowly back out the backlash adjustment screw until the sear falls.  Cock the rifle and press the trigger a few times to ensure the firing pin falls.  You are now finished adjusting the trigger.  The last step is to cement the screws with any agent that will freeze the screws in place so they don’t move.  I use fingernail polish; anything that can later be removed will work.


If you are not satisfied with your trigger adjustment efforts (if, for example, you cannot safely achieve a trigger light enough for your needs), you have two options…you can replace the factory original trigger, or you can send the action to a qualified gunsmith.  I recently had Gordy Gritters bed a Shilen-barreled .220 Swift for me, and for a mere $10 he replaced the original weight of pull screw with one that allowed the trigger pull to be adjusted much lighter than what was otherwise safe.  Having a quality ‘smith such as Gordy do your trigger work is certainly a fail-proof solution.  (Incidentally, after breaking in the barrel, the first group out of that gun, a factory load, shot in the three’s!)


The other easy solution is to purchase an after-market trigger.  Jewell, Timney, Canjar, and Dayton Traister are all examples of triggers marketed for the shooting perfectionist.  The first one I ever bought was a Timney, and since it worked wonders for me, like lots of other shooting products I have used, I have little reason to try anything else.  But that is not to say the Timney is the best…the Jewell is adjustable down to .25 (1/4) pound, and has a reputation longer than a Minnesota winter.


Replacing the standard factory trigger is easy.  If you examine the trigger housing you will note that two thin pins secure it to the action.  Using a punch pin, knock these out.  You will notice that the middle lever is secured by these pins – without them, the lever is not secured inside the trigger housing.  Replacing the trigger is as simple as removing the identical pins on the replacement trigger, lining up the new trigger housing with the pin holes, and then sliding the pins in to secure the housing.


The exact nature of adjusting the replacement trigger is obviously a function of the trigger design, but Timney triggers use the same design as Remington triggers, with two big improvements: the adjustment screws have small nuts to lock them after adjustment, and the screws are slotted for Allen wrenches.  Using locking nuts also necessitates using a screw that always projects from the housing, another plus.  Obviously, there are lots of triggers designed that will provide a lighter trigger pull than available from the factory, so if a light trigger is what you are looking for, do yourself a favor and buy an after market trigger. 


One thing I always pack on any hunting trip – varmint or big game – is a small tool kit that allows me to take the action out of the stock and adjust things if necessary.  A trigger pull that works fine in the summer may not work when the temperature is will below freezing…a bit of dust or grit in the trigger can prevent the rifle from firing.  The latter in fact happened to me a month ago as I write this story – and it almost cost me a trophy caribou.  Luckily, a hunter I made friends with let me borrow his .300 Winchester just as the herd turned and started to run.


Above all else, make sure that you do not adjust the trigger pull so that it is unsafe – it is not worth it.  Don’t believe me?  A few years back I was hunting in Namibia.  After a long stalk the first morning, my PH presented me with an almost too-easy shot on a huge gemsbok – nearly reward enough for having to crawl on all fours behind his butt.  As I raised my gun toward the bull, I placed my finger on the trigger, then gently slipped off the safety.  The gun erupted with an ear-splitting “boom.”  Dust flew a good ten feet in front of the gemsbok, which of course took off with the rest of the herd in a dead run.  The look on my PH’s face told me that he thought it would be a long ten days…

You may not end up missing a gemsbok, but worse consequences are easy to imagine.  I consider that miss a cheap lesson in trigger safety.


Remington Trigger Adjustments
14 May 2000
By Paul "Pablito" Coburn
First, the disclaimer

In the U.S.A., we live in a litigious society, and for those of you who live in Rio Linda, that means fools will do really stupid crap, and then sue someone else, because "It's their fault, they made me do it!".  For those of you that don't know what you're doing...  STAY AWAY FROM TRIGGERS...  you can hurt someone (usually someone else!)

Adjusting triggers is something that was once an expected job by the owner of a new gun, just like adjusting the seats in your new car.

But Remington (because of many lawsuits) takes a very dim view of adjusting their triggers... it's number "1" under Remington's "Felony list of no-no's".

Be advised, if you adjust the trigger, and send the gun back to Remington (in the USA) for repairs, they will charge you for a new trigger (they will NOT re-adjust the old one).

.. and finely, your mileage may vary according to road conditions.  If you are new at guns, and lack experience to do internal minor repairs and parts replacement... this may not be for you.  Do not do the following unless you are skilled enough to work on guns, and responsible enough to handle them safely.  I'm presenting this information as "Information Only"... it is SOLELY your decision whether you have the skill and ability to use this information.

If you have an accident, it means that you weren't skilled enough, or responsible enough, so you shouldn't have done the following, so it's not my fault, neither Sniper Country's!

Now on to the details

The Remington triggers are very good, except they come with a built in lawyer, and he weighs about 9 or 10 pounds.

You will need a bit of good quality gun oil (CLP or equivalent), and a set of small screwdrivers, and some white or red nail polish.

Remove the barreled action from the stock.

Looking at the gun and trigger so the safety is up, and the barrel is pointing to your right... the front of the trigger is to your right...


The three screws are as follows...

  • On your right, (the front of the trigger) the top screw, near the action, is over travel...
  • The bottom screw is spring tension...
  • On your left side, (the back of the trigger) is the engagement screw.

First, break the white "Seals of God" and screw the three screws out enough so that you see several threads.

They may be hard at first, but they are NOT staked in place.  The screws and trigger body are carbon steel, and may be rusted, or they may have a sealant on them.  Just break them free.  Drop a teeny bit of oil on the threads.  Run the screws in and out several times until the oil is in the threads, and they turn freely.

OK, now down to business.

Back out the spring tension screw out until there is just enough pressure to keep the trigger forward, but it's very light (4 or 5 oz's) and easy to move.

Back out the engagement screw, (the single screw on the left) and the over-travel screw (the upper screw on your right) out, so there's play to adjust.

Close the bolt on a cocked pin (don't pull the trigger) and VERY SLOWLY turn the engagement screw (on your left) in until the firing pin drops.  Back it out about 1/3 to 1/2 of a turn.  With the firing pin down, you should now feel the trigger wobble back and forth if you pull it because there is excessive over travel.

Because the back surface of the trigger is NOT undercut, you have to adjust over-travel with the pin "down".

Now, with the firing pin in the "fired" position, screw in the over-travel screw until it "just touches" the trigger lightly, preventing the trigger from moving... back out the over travel screw 1/4 turn.  Pulling the trigger now, (with the pin "down") you should feel just the "slightest" free movement.

Now turn in the spring tension screw (lower right) to a pull that you like... I'd strongly suggest a good trigger pull gauge, instead of guessing.

Cock the pin and try it... it should break like glass.

Check by:
  • Slam the bolt closed a dozen times, check to see if the pin dropped each time.  If the pin drops, back out the engagement screw 1/4 turn, and do again.
  • Cock the pin, set the safety, pull the trigger, release the trigger, and release the safety, a dozen times... if the pin drops, increase the spring tension (shouldn't be necessary, unless you're down around 10-15 oz's, and this trigger is not reliable at that light a pull.

Put white or red nail polish on the screws.  Let dry, and put another coat on it again, and again.

There will be no "take up slack", this is a single stage trigger, and can't be adjusted to act like a two stage.

These triggers are easily capable of going to 24-26 oz's, and they keep the setting year after year, and I've never had to re-adjust one.


Replacing Rem 700 J-Lock Bolt Shroud
CFVA Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/19/10
Posts: 732
Loc: Virginia
Just wondering what all is involved in replacing a j-lock bolt shroud on a M700 Remington? Thinking of installing one of these:


Curious as to if there would be any fitting needed and which of the following tools would be needed:

M700 tools


Edited by CFVA (08/20/10 07:22 AM)
God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy...

#4342404 - 08/20/10 07:27 AM Re: Replacing Rem 700 J-Lock Bolt Shroud [Re: CFVA]
Notropis Offline
Campfire Ranger

Registered: 04/16/08
Posts: 1747
Loc: Coastal N.C.
I just got one from Brownells and put it in with no extra tools. A spring compressor might be nice if you were doing a bunch of them, but a vice or a set of vicegrips works just fine.

Edited by Notropis (08/20/10 07:28 AM)

#4342420 - 08/20/10 07:34 AM Re: Replacing Rem 700 J-Lock Bolt Shroud [Re: Notropis]
CFVA Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/19/10
Posts: 732
Loc: Virginia
Thanks. I had thought about getting the little tool that slips over the end of the shroud and holds the cocking piece back thinking it would be nice to be able to take them apart for cleaning a little easier. If I decided to get that little tool, would that be the only one necessary for changing the shroud out?
God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy...

#4342423 - 08/20/10 07:37 AM Re: Replacing Rem 700 J-Lock Bolt Shroud [Re: CFVA]
UtahLefty Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 20602
you really want to change out the whole piece, including the firing pin and spring -- not just the shroud:

you could buy that $27 tool to do it, or stick a dime in the slot (that would only cost about $0.10 wink )

#4342445 - 08/20/10 07:46 AM Re: Replacing Rem 700 J-Lock Bolt Shroud [Re: UtahLefty]
CFVA Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 02/19/10
Posts: 732
Loc: Virginia
Now you're talking my language, 10 cents sounds good. Is it safe to assume the coin slot is on all of the assemblies? And which shroud/pin/spring assembly would you recommend?

Thanks again
God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy...

#4342451 - 08/20/10 07:49 AM Re: Replacing Rem 700 J-Lock Bolt Shroud [Re: CFVA]
tzone Online   content
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 02/23/04
Posts: 18860
Loc: MN
You could be really cheap like me and use a penny. smile
Hey Tommy, quit playin with your dingy!

#4342465 - 08/20/10 07:57 AM Re: Replacing Rem 700 J-Lock Bolt Shroud [Re: tzone]
UtahLefty Offline
Campfire Kahuna

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 20602
I like the Gre-Tan unit here

Pacific tool & gauge makes a good one too


#4342562 - 08/20/10 08:41 AM Re: Replacing Rem 700 J-Lock Bolt Shroud [Re: UtahLefty]
jerrywoodswalker Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 01/17/08
Posts: 389
I took mine to my gunsmith and watched as he put a dime in the slot of the bolt to remove it. Took him all of about 1 minute (most).

The gre-tan (and probably most of the others) look like a major improvement over the others.

The gre-tan shroud is aluminum, so it will drop an ounce or two also.


Edited by jerrywoodswalker (08/20/10 08:43 AM)

#4342610 - 08/20/10 09:02 AM Re: Replacing Rem 700 J-Lock Bolt Shroud [Re: jerrywoodswalker]
MagMarc Offline
Campfire Outfitter

Registered: 09/27/08
Posts: 8183
I use the dime method also, takes nearly 2 minutes (1 minute to find a dime wink )

#4342647 - 08/20/10 09:15 AM Re: Replacing Rem 700 J-Lock Bolt Shroud [Re: MagMarc]
eddief Offline
Campfire Regular

Registered: 09/15/05
Posts: 966
Loc: Southern Michigan
Replace the whole unit with a OEM assembly from Brownells (they are non J-lock of course). They are the best IMO. Trying to mess with faster lock times and etc. seem to make the rifle more finicky than not.

As far as the dime and penny trick, you guys are high dollar.

Just use a piece of a plastic zip tie. This way when you remove it, you wont nick or scuff the finish off the back edge of the shroud.
Eddie Fosnaugh

Callahan Speedlock Aluminum Firing Pin Assembly Remington 700 Non-ISS Short Action Gloss Black

Product #: 157795Manufacturer #: 157795
Date expected in stock: 11/5/2011


Precision Machined To Enhance Accuracy

CNC machined with tight tolerances to ensure consistent sear engagement and smooth, straight firing pin travel. The lightweight aluminum bolt shroud has close-tolerance bottom flats to prevent bolt side play. Gives consistent, cocking piece, sear height for repeatable engagement/release with all factory and aftermarket triggers. Firing pin is fully polished with the tip ground smooth and hardened. Firing pin spring has reduced OD and ID to minimize unnecessary bending and drag. Assembly includes shroud, firing pin, cocking piece and firing pin spring.

SPECS: 6061 T-6 Aluminum shroud, Matte Black (Blk) or Silver (Sil) finish, Silver. natural finish. 4140 steel firing pin; LA wt. 3.19 oz (90.4 gm), SA wt. 2.95 oz. (83.6 gm). Tool steel cocking piece, heat treated and hardened. Fits Remington 700 standard and ISS Locking bolts, eliminates the ISS Lock system.



Anybody know how to thwart the damnable remington j lock without the key?
03-21-2010, 08:27 AM
The j-lock is part of the shroud, so it comes off with it just like the other remington bolts. If you don't have a tool to do it, you can use a shoelace or I like to use a coat hanger. There is a video somewhere showing how to field strip a bolt with a boot lace.
podunk kennels
03-21-2010, 08:40 AM
Ive already dissassembled the bolt( BTW that bootlace deal works never woulda thought of it myself) . How can i get at the lock when its apart? Its still in the shroud.

I managed to unlock one for a guy at our range by manipulating it with two pin punches.
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