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Monday, April 8, 2013

PPR: Timney Trigger for the Mosin-Nagant

Before I begin this review, I need to make a few statements:

This review is four months late.  While I have semi-good reasons for this -- Christmas holidays, my mother's hospitalization on December 26th, her subsequent surgery in February and her slow recovery while I took over her duties, general health issues on my end -- these are not sufficient excuses in my mind. If I'm going to be thought of as a professional writer and reviewer, I need to act like one, and being this far past a deadline (even if that deadline was self-imposed) is not at all professional. Therefore, I must beg the forgiveness of the Timney Trigger corporation, and hope that the thoroughness of this review will make up for its tardiness.

Any time I review a product for a Mosin-Nagant, I can always expect certain comments from the purists. "Why would you want to bastardize a perfectly good piece of history?" is one of them. "Why would you spend X amount of money on a cheap rifle that's only worth a hundred bucks?" is another.

The answer is simple: "Because I want to. This is my rifle, so I can do what I like with it, and who are you to demand I justify myself?"

Therefore, if you are inclined to ask these questions, I am going to warn you now:  This review is not for you.


If, however, you like modifying firearms, or at the least are tired of the 8-9 pound trigger pull on your Mosin, then these words are for you.


Palette's Product Review: 
The Timney Trigger for the Mosin-Nagant ($103.95)

When I first contacted Timney for a test & evaluation trigger, there were several things I wanted to discover:
  1. Will it drop in like they say it will?
  2. Will this trigger reduce the horrible pull weight of the stock trigger?
  3. Will it improve my accuracy?
  4. Is it, in fact, worth the price of a (pre-panic) Mosin-Nagant?
Little did I know that this simple request would send me on what can best be described as "An adventure in gun modification."  

1) Ease of Installation

Let me immediately clear the air about something:  When I first groused about "Not all drop-in triggers actually are," I was operating from an incorrect assumption.  I had seen that Timney triggers for both the AR-15 and the Ruger 10/22 were "drop-in"  (meaning no modification or gunsmith needed), and I foolishly assumed that all Timney triggers were drop-in.  This is not the case, and nowhere on their website, in their marketing literature, or on the product pages do they claim that all of their triggers are drop-in. This was my fault.

However -- and this is where I feel a bit vindicated -- any instruction manual which says "Step 7: Using a Dremel tool, remove enough wood [from the stock] so the trigger area will partially insert" without having previously warned you, either on the product webpage or at the beginning of the instructions with "Tools you will need" that you will, in fact, need a Dremel tool, has dropped the ball in a significant manner. I was quite irritated to have gotten my nifty new trigger only to find that, before I could install it, I needed to buy a power tool. 


This is the only bad thing I can say about the instructions, though. They are clear, concise, and well-illustrated. I particularly love Diagram B with its clearly labeled "Save these parts" and "Discard these parts."  Other accessory makers could take a lesson from the clarity of these instructions.

In addition, were it not for the required inletting of the stock, the trigger itself is, essentially, drop-in: Drift out trigger pin and unscrew trigger screw; insert Timney trigger; re-insert trigger pin and trigger screw. Assuming you've already removed the action from the stock, the entire procedure takes five minutes, tops.

The real time sink is in Dremeling out material from the stock in order to make the trigger fit, and that is where things got a bit crazy for me. Never having used a Dremel before, I became too aggressive with it and took off too much material. (I hope this is a common malady among new Dremel owners.)  This left me with a stock that might be dangerous to use due to the gaps and amount of slop and wiggle that would surely follow.  I decided that I might as well use this opportunity to bed the action; not only would this fill in the gaps, but I had read that a bedded action allowed for greater accuracy. 

I will spare you the details of the procedure. If you like, you may hum the MacGyver or A-Team theme while imagining me putting Vaseline on the contact surfaces of the action and forming Loctite Repair Putty * into the gaps while watching The Walking Dead. Instead, I will simply show you the final result, although this picture will no doubt shock and horrify the purists:

The reason it looks uneven in places is because I used a Sharpie marker to color in the places where the gray epoxy was peeking out past the stock. It's ugly, yes, but it works -- which is basically the entire point of the Mosin-Nagant, after all, so it all coordinates thematically.  More importantly, I did it myself without needing to pay a gunsmith to do it for me. If I can do this, then so can you.

* Why Loctite epoxy putty?? Because it's what I had on hand, and I was impatient. Considering the epoxy has a bond strength of 1400 psi and can be sanded, I think it's a fine choice. I've since shot several hundred rounds of milsurp 54R through the bedded rifle and haven't had a single problem.

2) Trigger Pull

If you have ever shot a Mosin with a stock trigger, you know how terrible it is: that long, slow, painful draw until the rifle finally, mercifully goes "bang!"  It's a Russian design in every bad sense of the word.

The best way I can describe the difference between it and the new trigger is like this:  you know how instructors are always telling shooters that the gunshot should come as a surprise?  At the range  with this new trigger, I settled in and started pulling -- and promptly went "Holy crap!" when the rifle fired about a quarter through my expected pull. I was, literally, startled by how smooth and easy it was. Not only is the Timney trigger an absolute pleasure to shoot, it made my shots more accurate simply by eliminating over half of the pressure needed to squeeze the trigger. This meant I didn't have to concentrate on keeping the rifle from shifting as I applied pressure and could instead focus on aim and smoothness of pull.

3) Accuracy

This is me at 50 yards. I needed to fine-tune my scope a bit, hence the "walking in" effect.

And this is me at 100 yards, with the scope fully zeroed and having gotten used to the new trigger:

Compare this to the last time I shot my Mosin at 100 yards:

Considering that the time between these two pictures is about 9 months, I can't attribute all of that to an increase in skill. Clearly, the lighter and smoother pull is reducing trigger jerk, and that results in increased accuracy.

4) Reduction of Barrel Whip

Interestingly enough, after this I noticed that my Mosin did not do its expected "jump several inches into the air and come down on its bipod in a different place" dance like it usually does. (Note: I did not use the Armadillo Bag for this test.) Now, I do not for one second believe that the Timney trigger is responsible for this; I believe it's due to the action having been bedded. More contact area with the stock means more mass and surface area to counteract any twisting and whipping that will occur as the barrel (and therefore the action) attempts to twist out of the stock. Even indirectly, Timney has helped tame my beast of a rifle, and for that I am quite grateful.

5) Is It Worth Buying?

As always, the answer is "It depends."

If you enjoy having a cheap, no-nonsense rifle, do not buy this product.  If you enjoy abusing yourself or your friends with a nine-pound trigger pull, or if you cannot accept paying for a trigger that costs as much or than your rifle is worth, then do not buy this product.

On the other hand, if you enjoy having a manageable, adjustable trigger, buy this product. 

If you like having a safety that you can actually use (during hunting season, say), buy this product. 

If you enjoy shooting a Mosin for fun and want to increase that fun, buy this product. 

In short, owning the Timney Trigger has improved both the experience of shooting a Mosin-Nagant, and my performance with it. While it is expensive, if you are a serious Mosin shooter you will find it worth every penny. I highly recommend it all of my comrades in the Mosin Militia (especially AGirl, whom I know owns a Mosin), and I would consider it an essential upgrade, second only to a recoil pad.

Just make sure you have access to a Dremel tool.

My Rating:  A+

Obligatory finger to the FCC:  Timney provided this trigger to me for free and with no expectation of a good review. However, they did include a Watermelon-flavored Tootsie pop in their packaging, which is something that I wholeheartedly endorse. In fact, more manufacturers should include goodies in their T&E packages. Just sayin'. 


  1. A very helpful review, thanks for doing it. I've been plotting to buy one of these for a salvaged $50 M-44 parts gun. Looks like it is worth the little bit of tinkering required.

  2. It is DEFINITELY worth the time and effort. The biggest hurdle for most folks is going to be the price: can they justify a $100 trigger for a $75 rifle?

    I maintain that answer is "Yes," if they shoot the Mosin regularly.

  3. Although adding $100 to your rifle budget and buying a different rifle would yield the same, or better, effect, if you're just looking for target efficiency. If you're going to kit out a mosin, you're doing it because you want a mosin. Cultural capital and all that. However, if you do want a mosin, and you don't mind replacing parts, then a new trigger is the first thing you should get (unless it's a finnish Tula Mosin-Nagant. Those have a much lighter trigger pull. But then there is a reason why the finns refurbished those rifles in the first place). Military triggers tend to be built with the philosophy "To be able to pull this trigger you must REALLY want to", because they tend to feature a triggerpull of 6 pounds and upwards.

  4. Safety? Is rifle, is supposed to be dangerous!

    I'm considering machining a muzzle brake for one of my Mosins. I don't know much about muzzle brake design and I'm not an experienced machinist. What could possibly go wrong?

    I suppose I should find a source for replacement barrels, just in case. Any ideas?

    My goal is to shoot to Rifleman standards at a Known Distance Appleseed without turning my shoulder into hamburger.

  5. "In Soviet Russia, trigger pulls YOU!"

    Had to say it. I'm sure the designers of the Mosin figured all the soldiers in the "Worker's Paradise" all had strong fingers from working gloriously. And that none of them would have little girl hands like Erin.

  6. Also, yes, taking too much off with a Dremel is pretty common.

  7. i will absolutely do this trigger, when i get the $200 archangel stock :)

    hopefully, i can source a "good" shooting mosin barrel/receiver ...

    though for almost the same money (at current prices, all new), WPA VERP Hunter.

    or both :)

  8. I dunno what I like better, the cool review of a neat product, or the awesome 2010 references.

  9. There's something almost perversely delightful about tarting up a $75 rifle, isn't there? :)

  10. What do you mean "it's not as good as one out of the box"?

    Bah! Youngsters these days!

  11. You... have never used a dremel before?


    Oh, the things you learn...

  12. Get a chance, go to; go to the gunsmithing forum and read the stickies on ramp and throat jobs. You'll see why people cringe when someone says "Just get your dremel and polish the following-"

  13. Well.
    1. He used a finnish mosin which is an entirely different breed. Much lighter trigger pull, better fitting etc etc.
    2. He made most of his shots from very close range (as far as sniping goes) at under 200 meters (although...200 meters with an iron sight is a lot better than I can shoot). While a great shot (he won several marksmanship competitions after the war) his greatness is more as an infiltrator. Finding the target, remaining unnoticed and making the kill at the opportune moment. Note that almost half of his kills were made with the Soumi KP-31, a submachinegun. Supposedly the Soumi is pretty accurate as submachineguns go, but it's still a submachinegun.

  14. "This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this is mine."

    Nice post.

  15. If it wasn't for Warhammer I wouldn't have used a dremel either. Ever.

  16. I'm trying very hard to ensure there are no other rifles like mine. ;)

  17. One of the best reasons to do something like this to a Mosin (besides I CAN) is the learning experience. Sounds like you gained valuable knowledge, improved a gun you like and had fun.

    Thanks for the review and the tips on how to do this.

  18. The olden military triggers were supposed to have a pull weight of the weight of the gun or thereabouts to allow for sloppy handling by conscripts etc not resulting in them all shooting each other as they moved etc.. I wish i could remember where i read that, but in theory you should be able to hang the gun by its trigger and it not go off.

  19. Cheapest mosin around her is $180, $650 if you want the sniper.

  20. That makes a surprising amount of sense. Thanks!

  21. I have a nice Dremel already. I suppose I need a Mosin or six now.

  22. Being a gunnie and not owning a Mosin is like being a nerd and not having seen Star Trek.

  23. great review, you ever think about using clay in the barrel channel too absurb the barrel wip you put a small ball of clay in front middle and 8" from reciever put it together and go shoot let me know maybe groups better

  24. I've got a ziplock full of 7.62x54r, courtesy of a buddy, so that's a plus. Add in being in somebody-else's...wonderful country every other year, and it's kinda slowed down the buying. :D I plan of fixing it when I get home this time.

    And I've seen Star Trek, so :P

  25. Too True. Not to mention the intense gratitude obtained when hearing purists groan at the very idea of you doing so. ;)

  26. Here is my theory. I can either buy a $2500 dollar rifle and spend another $1000 dollars modifying it to be what I want, or I can spend $100 dollars on a rifle and spend $1000 dollars modifying it to be what I want. The truth is how much different is a "modern" bolt action rifle, compared to a "outdated?" bolt action rifle. I've seen $1000 dollar rifles that don't shoot as accurate as a Mosin, and the beauty of that is, if I don't like it the way it shoots a Mosin only cost me $100 bucks. Besides it is more fun to build a custom rifle that represents your personal character than it is to purchase a ready made rifle that represents somebody else. But that is just my opinion. Great review. I will certainly be using a Timney in my build up.


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