by Claude Gatewood

NOTE:  These procedures are to be used at your own risk.  Adjusting a trigger is a serious and potentially dangerous activity.  It should only be performed by qualified gunsmiths. If you decide to adjust your own trigger, you do so at your own risk with no liability from the author or the website operators.  In any event, please be safe and triple check the operation after any modifications.

This is how Savage trigger work is performed in my shop. Using this method its fairly easy to get a 2 pound safe pull with little or no creep and reduced overtravel. You will need a vice, a diamond stone, a spring steel wire that measures .040 (replace the .055-.060 factory wire) Pliers to bend the wire. Moly or synthetic grease. Unload gun, take stock off set. I clamp the end of the barrel into a padded vice to hold it while working on the trigger. Remove the “c” clip that holds the trigger pin in. Set the factory wire aside. STUDY THE MECHANISM TO UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP OF THE PARTS. You will be taking the trigger apart and putting it back together often- get used to it. Check your work often, this way you won’t be calling Savage, or me!

This first photo shows the first point we will start working on. The upper end of the sear closest to the pencil is where metal needs to be removed to reduce the “creep” or slack felt before the firing pin falls.

The next photo shows me using the diamond file to gently file off the metal from the top of the sear. Take about 5 strokes from the top (look for the bluing removed to keep it even) and reassemble check to see how much metal was removed. The final amount won’t be all that much, so go slow. This photo shows the relation of the stone and sear.

Next we clean up the face of the sear, this geometry is CRITICAL to the pull and safety, you must have a slight positive relation. Look at the face of the sear under light and you’ll note the bluing removed make sure this is even and square. Again, a couple of strokes at a time. Reassemble and test with the factory spring.This pic shows the relation of the stone and sear face.

This will reduce the pull but go slowly. Constantly reassemble and test your work.

Now we are going to work on the infamous Savage boltstop/sear combo. This is going to be stoned at a 90-degree angle to receiver. Note the bluing removed to maintain an even cut. You will want the geometry relationship nearly neutral. The red stone fits neatly up inside to stone this area.

Reassemble the entire trigger assembly and install the new .040 wire spring (cut and bend it to match the factory unit)

Pencil point shows the screw that controls the pull weight. Make absolutely certain the wire is tightened enough to hold a constant pressure on the trigger shoe. This is where a great number of trigger jobs go bad. The person backs out the spring to a light pull the spring MUST hold tension to work. The reason for the light wire is so you can have suitable tension on the trigger shoe. A stiff wire barely resting on the tension screw will go off unexpectedly.

This is the overtravel screw. Screw it in gently until it stops, cock the rifle and unscrew it until it fires. Add a ½ turn more. At this point test your work, cock the gun, cycle the bolt vigorously. Make certain it stays cocked. If it wont stay cocked increase the tension screw. If you feel “creep” go back in and restone the trigger sear (tip; use a black magic marker, work the assembled trigger and look to see where its rubbed off, make sure its even, if you see a “hitch” or uneven wear, use the stone). This is easier than it looks. Finally don’t panic if it’s still heavy, study the relationship of the sears, and remember we want a nearly neutral engagement.

Ok, now we are getting down to the wire and need to final check everything. This pic shows the safety adjustment screw. Cock the gun, apply the safety, screw in until it bottoms out gently. Play around with this making sure this works like the lawyers want it to. Namely, the gun shouldn’t go off when the safety is on. It should slide on easily when cocked.

Ok now we take everything apart one last time. This pic shows where you lube both sides of the trigger assembly with moly or synthetic grease. DON’T apply to the sear surfaces.

If you have access to some more serious machine equipment you can drill and tap the trigger shoe for improved pull, this is extremely hard metal and you’ll know up front what you’re in for. Drill a #29 drill and tap 8-32 blind screw, this will adjust the creep down to zero and will enable you get the pull to less than 30 ounces. The pencil point shows where to drill and tap. This pic shows the set screw already installed. You can see it in the above photo as well. As an afterthought you may be able to bring it to a machine shop and have this done, who knows?


This last pic shows the completed trigger assemble installed with the new set screw. The new homemade wire spring and sear work. And NO tension on the spring wire, again, with the wire barely resting on the back of the trigger the pull is about 18 ounces, very tempting but very dangerous. You must have adequate tension for everything to work in unison.

Enjoy, These Savage triggers can be adjusted safely down to 2 pounds with only a little bit of careful work.


“Skill comes from Diligence”