Most of my firearm conversations start with, “I have this old gun…” I have long appreciated guns that have lasted the test of time, the major World Wars and other hardships. That is one reason why I own Mauser and Mosin Nagant pattern rifles. Each one has a story and I have hunted with many of them over the years.
One particular gun I am proud of was a pawn shop find about 8 years ago. This FN (Belgium made) Mauser custom sporter rifle was chambered in .270 Winchester and built on the very 98 Mauser action, something that immediately caught my eye. What’s more is that I traded a Yugoslavian M48 Mauser, still in military configuration, for this fine sporterized hunting rifle and I still can’t believe what a deal I walked out of the store with that day.
The only main drawback to this rifle was the trigger. It was your standard military trigger which a high resistance and a creep that was like driving on five miles of gravel road before you got to the sweet spot of the gun firing. I took the rifle into a gunsmith a few years ago and they told me there was not much they could do with it.
Recently, I got to thinking how nice it would be to have a custom trigger for this gun. With all of my media and ad sales work around the SHOT Show and NRA Show, I had experience with Timney Triggers and had the pleasure of trying out some of their demo guns on the show floors a few times. I fell in love with the light and easy triggers of these demo guns and decided, after months of contemplating, that I wanted one for this custom Mauser. I was a bit nervous though. While I have done some light gunsmithing work, I had never swapped out a military trigger before.
I got up the courage and ordered the Mauser Featherweight Deluxe trigger from Timney Triggers and the package arrived at my doorstep just a couple of days later. I took some photos for this article and scoured the internet for installation videos before I even opened the Timney trigger package, noticeably a little apprehensive that I was going to take on such a massive undertaking. The nice thing was that this trigger came with well thought out directions!
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I had a small pin punch that I used to knock out the main trigger pin that held the military trigger to the receiver. A spring popped out of the front of the trigger assembly and that was all there in getting the old one off. The Timney trigger has a set screw instead of a spring and using an Allen or Hex key set, I tightened that set screw snug to the receiver body after securing the main trigger pin and that was all there was to it!
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So that was the easy part. The Featherweight Deluxe comes with a pre-installed safety lever that was going to require me to inlet the custom stock of this rifle. Now I had free floated the barrel on this stock in previous work on this gun so it was no big deal to get out the Dremel tool and shave down a little wood to make space for this integrated safety. I think this addition was inspired by the Winchester Model 70 as it is easier to use than the clunky old Mauser bolt safety. It is a good idea to check your progress when you are inletting something like a wood or synthetic stock since, as the saying goes, it is easier to take off material than to put it back on after.
It didn’t take a lot of filing to the stock to make room for the safety. Then I found I had an issue with the trigger not wanted to reset after I put everything back together, sometimes. I knew there was something I might me missing so I Facebook messaged my good friend and fellow FishGame.com blog author Jeff Stewart. He recommended I check out the lower receiver area where the trigger drops through to the trigger guard. Sure enough he was right. It was slightly binding in that area. I swapped out Dremel attachments and started widening out the metal in the top trigger guard hole.
Once I had clearance and there was no binding of the new trigger, I was back in the saddle with a completely working rifle and it was not near as much work as I thought it would be to get there. I adjusted the new Timney trigger easily with the two different screws on the front and one on the back which was easy and gave me immediate feedback. The directions even have some troubleshooting tips and they were spot on with what I needed to do.
As you can tell by the photos, this is a nice rifle and a good shooter too. I re-blued the barrel and swapped out scopes with the Sighmark Core HX (https://amzn.to/2xAGHVs) with Venison Hunter Reticle, a decision I should have made even earlier in my ownership of this gun. The one thing robbing the accuracy of this gun was the creepy, rough and hard trigger pull from the original military trigger. This Timney Trigger made all the difference on how this gun performs and, with a few other tweaks, the accuracy has never been better.
You can learn more about Timney Triggers at https://timneytriggers.com. If you have a somewhat common or popular rifle, they most likely have a trigger available for your gun too.
If Timney can make a trigger to bring this old warhorse Mauser rifle back to life, I am sure many others can see the same benefits for a high-quality replacement trigger.
Story by Dustin Vaughn Warncke