One of the most important operations in improving the aim of sporting carbines is adjusting the trigger in order to obtain a weight that eliminates or at least reduces as much as possible any errors caused by the incorrect squeezing of the trigger.
In some cases, the intrinsic quality of the original product makes it possible to simply modify the trigger and components that are already on the mass-produced weapon (for example, the various TRG-22s or the old Remington 700 triggers that allowed for fantastic triple lever triggers). However, for the sake of simplicity it is often preferable to replace the original trigger with aftermarket parts.
Timney is a company that specialises in these products and has always been known as one of the best alternatives for trigger assemblies. Despite this, they had the notable limitation that their trigger pull weights were not suited to the discipline of benchrest shooting.
Employing a logic with which I fully agree, Timney worked with reasonable trigger pull weights that allowed the shooter to use their products in various types of contest, such as hunting or tactical shooting. Nevertheless, there are benchrest shooters who like to decrease the pull weight beyond the original settings of the product.
For a practical example, we can take a look at the list of Timney triggers for the Remington 700 and we can see that the range available for regulation on the various models runs from 1.5 pounds up to 4 pounds. If we convert this to grams, we have a weight range that runs from 700 grams up to 1.8 kg.
In my opinion, 700 grams is an optimal compromise. With a minimal amount of getting used to and practice, this weight can be handled without problems even in precision shooting, but there are sporting disciplines that require far lighter pull weights.
It is in this context that the new Timney model has been introduced: the Calvin Elite trigger group. The true novelty of this model lies in the trigger pull weight that can be set from 8 to 40 ounces (from 200 grams to about 1 kg), which exceeds the requirements of even the most demanding benchrest shooter.
The Origins of the Calvin Elite model
As we have already said, Timney is one of the greatest companies specialised in weapon triggers, so it may seem odd that there is a single man behind most of their projects: Calvin Motley.
This talented designer is the father of the “drop-in” Timney triggers for AR systems, the models for the Remington 700 actions with the trigger block safety, and many others. However, his designs have always been in line with the company’s philosophy regarding trigger pull weights that are reasonable and can be managed by human beings.
However, given the growing demand for ultralight benchrest triggers Timney decided to give Calvin Motley free rein to create a product that precisely meets all of his requirements, naturally including the trigger pull weight he considered ideal. The result is the “Calvin Elite” model.
At first glance, what immediately sets this model apart from others is the different colour used for the trigger group casing. Instead of the black used in most of the Timney triggers, the Calvin Elite model presents a gold finish.
There are no differences in the trigger assembly’s dimensions that are worth mentioning compared to other models for the same type of action. This ensures the ease of installation (which is a typical characteristic of this brand) has remained unchanged in this model. On the other hand, the inside of the trigger group has been completely redesigned in order to meet the new requirements.
Timney’s attention to detail is consistently very high. This latest model, considered the pinnacle of their production line, meets all expectations with finishings and machining that is superior to other models.
When checking the quality of the Calvin Elite finishings, I did notice a there was some slight lateral play in the trigger.
Considering the overall quality of the assembly and high-level finishing, I am keen to believe that rather than a defect, it may be a desired characteristic to allow the blade to follow the finger during any possible movement that is not at a perfect right angle, and thereby avoid any potential pull errors.
The trigger is machined from solid with numerical control, while the trigger blade is made using wire-cut EDM. The trigger housing has an anodised gold-coloured surface and is also machined from solid in 6061-T6 aluminium to limit the product’s total weight.
The company declares a dimensional tolerance for its products of 0.0005” (about 0.01 mm).
The parts subject to the most wear and tear are made of A2 tool steel tempered to a hardness of 58 HRC and the trigger blade is in Teflon-Nickel to ensure the highest precision and repeatability even after prolonged use.
Furthermore, the Calvin Elite undergoes a carbonitriding treatment.
The thermochemical process simultaneously diffuses nitrogen and carbon into the metal surface of metal parts. This coating is substantially harder than tempered steel and increases the long-term resistance to wear and tear as well as providing exceptional corrosion resistance and a lower attrition coefficient of the parts.
Thanks to these characteristics, the Calvin Elite is able to vastly exceed the military standards for rust resistance in the salt spray test.
Packaging and Instructions
The product is wrapped in the classic Timney cardboard packaging. Inside, there are the instructions, a sticker and a sheet of cardboard with a poem printed on it.
The instructions are the same generic ones for all the other models of Remington actions, so some of the steps are unnecessary, which in my opinion may cause confusion in beginner shooters trying to replace the trigger themselves.
The information sheet does not even mention the screw used to adjust for over travel. Such information should be there to make things clearer. In any case, these problems can be overcome with a bit of common sense and an internet connection.
Timney has made some modifications since the first Calvin Elite trigger model in order to improve the installation process.
The trigger group being tested belongs to this latest version, which has the trigger blade fixed with a rivet that is independent from the one used to anchor it in the action.
This change further decreased the play of the parts and above all made the mounting process easier.
The installation of the trigger group was quick and simple and required no modification of any kind. It was enough to remove the two pins (paying special attention to the bolt release), replace the old trigger group with the new one and then lock it in place by reinserting the pins and the spring in the right order.
The trigger fits perfectly into the action and there was no noticeable lateral play at all between the action and the trigger group. The two gold-coloured strips visible from the outside of the top of the weapon provide a distinctive look to the weapon as a whole.
The external dimensions of the Calvin Elite are almost identical to the factory part and required no modification to the seating, for either the original or the custom “full inlet“ Remington 700.
One of the greatest advantages of the Timney triggers is the possibility (when ordering directly from Timney) to receive the product with the trigger pull weight set to you own specifications, so that all you have to do is replace the trigger group without wasting time adjusting the weight and release parameters. These operations can take some time if you choose to do them in a painstaking manner using a specific instrument to determine the correct release weight, but the default settings can be modified without having to substitute the internal spring, which is required for the Jewell triggers.
The Calvin Elite model has three adjustment screws.
The screw in the back to adjust the blade is set at the factory. The orange wax threadlocker, which can be clearly seen on this screw, holds the small bolt in place to avoid accidental movement. The two screws in the front are used to adjust the trigger pull weight (the lower screw) and over travel (the upper screw).
Given the positions of these screws, it is clear that they can only be adjusted after the group is removed from its seat in the action. I believe this is the only limitation in the practicality of this trigger.
Novice shooters need only concern themselves with one of the three adjustment screws; namely the one to regulate the trigger pull weight.
The other two are already pre-set at the factory and there is absolutely no need to modify their settings. On the contrary, it is best to keep in mind that these delicate operations may compromise the correct function of the trigger.
When testing several pull weights, I was even able to achieve a value with the Calvin Elite that was below the 200 g declared by the manufacturer without any problems with the trigger even when quickly cycling the lock. However, when the action was hit with the palm of the hand with a certain force, the trigger blade released the firing pin 1 out of 3 times.
I therefore decided to leave the trigger pull weight within the suggested parameters by bringing it to about 250 g, which eliminated any involuntary trigger phenomena. As an additional precaution, I also anchored the two front screws with a drop of super glue, due to the fact there are no closure bolts on these screws.
Impressions on the shooting range
Compared to the classic Timney mod.510 trigger, there is a net improvement in the repeatability of the pull weight even with the lighter settings.
The behaviour and sensitivity are excellent with a “glass rod” break that is truly noteworthy.
The shape of the trigger has been changed from the wider form to a more contained thickness and no vertical grooves.
Many shooters prefer having a larger surface on the trigger, or a surface that is grainy and flat. However, the choice to use the classic design for the trigger allows the Calvin Elite to be compatible with the several different floor plates of the various stocks for Remington. This choice also increases sensitivity when squeezing the trigger. It is for the latter reason that that this construction characteristic is used in most triggers for benchrest shooting, such as the famous Jewell triggers.
The nature of this trigger does not account for the initial travel typical of the “academic” Anschütz or Sako-TRG triggers, and some shooters may find it does not meet their needs. Personally, having used both triggers I believe it is just a question of practice and after just a few shots I had developed a liking for this new trigger.
At the beginning of last year, some of the Remington 700 models were subject to a recall due to some defective trigger groups and many American shooters decided to take the opportunity to substitute the factory trigger with an aftermarket part rather than wait for the time needed for the manufacturer to repair them. Some of them opted for this product based on its sturdiness and its simplicity of installation, and after having tried it I can understand the reasoning behind this choice.
The Timney Calvin Elite trigger group is a valid alternative for those who desire a very light benchrest trigger but also want sturdiness and simplicity of installation. Of course, it does not reach the 100 grams or less of certain specialised products, but as I have explained, it is my opinion that extreme options penalise the weapon by confining it to one specific type of competitive contest.
In conclusion, this new Timney trigger is a pleasant surprise that marks another point in favour of Timney and Calvin Motley.