Best 10/22 Trigger Buyer’s Guide

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Like every other component of a factory Ruger 10/22, the trigger mechanism is reliable and functional. That said, there is always room for improvement, and a 10/22 trigger upgrade may be worth considering.

10-22-Triggers-Feature
A spread of Volquartsen TG2000 triggers in various colors.

Why Upgrade A 10/22 Trigger?

While Ruger trigger housings are polymer, most aftermarket 10/22 triggers use CNC-machined aluminum housings and feature a better fit and finish as well. Precision-machined components and housings simply fit and function better. Everything has the necessary clearance to function smoothly, avoiding the gritty, binding feeling that is present on some factory triggers.

But tighter tolerances are only part of the benefit. Installing an aftermarket 10/22 trigger can not only provide a lighter pull but a more consistent and predictable one too. Obviously, if you know when your trigger will break, less effort is required to do so. In turn, your potential for accuracy increases.

Another thing to consider is that tinkering with and upgrading something like a 10/22 is just plain fun. There doesn’t always have to be some arcane or highly specific reason to upgrade something. By replacing factory components, you give it more of a personal touch—something that says, “this is MY 10/22.” Even if you had no practical justification for making the modifications, shooting a gun you customized yourself will always be more fun than with an off-the-shelf model.

Ruger-OEM-Trigger
An OEM Ruger 10/22 trigger housing.

10/22 Applications That Could Benefit From A Trigger Swap

Different triggers are designed to accomplish different things. Prospective buyers should consider what they want the upgrade to achieve before selecting a model.

Because the 10/22 is a very versatile weapon with many practical applications, so too are aftermarket 10/22 trigger options. Some merely provide a generally nicer feel while others are more geared towards specific qualities like precision or speed.

Regardless, at the end of the day, a nicer trigger makes for a nicer gun. Even if your Ruger 10/22 doesn't serve a specific purpose, it still deserves an upgrade. Here are just a few possible roles where a 10/22 trigger swap could shine:

Trainer: If you employ a 10/22 as your designated trainer rifle, a trigger upgrade is certainly worth considering.

There is virtue in training someone on a barebones setup given they can't crutch on upgrades. On the other side of that coin, upgrading a well-worn 10/22 for the express purpose of training also make sense. Working on fundamentals, newbies aren't distracted by a stout, gritty switch at the expense of everything else.

Plinking: A 10/22 primarily tasked with plinking would be a great candidate for an upgraded trigger. A plinking 10/22 is likely shot often. So why not put a nicer trigger in?

A variety of trigger types fit the plinking 10/22 role. Single-stage triggers allow a user to shoot faster and benefit from a cleaner and more consistent break. Two-stage triggers’ greatest benefit is their predictability and consistentancy. Two-stage triggers are generally lighter and crisper than what comes from the factory too.

Of course, a binary trigger also fits the bill when it comes to plinking. If you’re going to burn a considerable amount of .22LR, why not do it even faster?

Ruger’s base-model 10/22 auto-loader might be the most popular .22 LR around. They’re affordable, dead reliable, feed on any ammo you load in them, and they’re also highly customizable. A factory 10/22 is a wonderful rifle, but aftermarket parts often boost accuracy.
A factory 10/22 is a wonderful rifle, but aftermarket parts can often boost accuracy in the field.

Hunting/Field Use: An upgraded trigger might put more meat in the pot, plain and simple.

A variety of aftermarket options exist that would benefit those who take their 10/22 into the field. You can balance having a consistent and predictable trigger pull that isn’t so light as to compromise safety.

Besides, an upgrade allows you to spend more focus on making good shots than wrestling with a less-than-optimal trigger.

Benchrest Shooting: Here, an upgrade is almost a must. Aimming for maximum accuracy, any extraneous movement and effort potentially disrupt stability. In turn, accuracy.

A lightweight trigger with adjustable pretravel and overtravel are invaluable to benchrest shooters. Options, such as the Calvin Elite from Timney Triggers, allow even more customization, like the trigger shoe itself.

Competition Shooting: If you are racing the clock, a lighter trigger is certainly desirable. Additionally, there are some boasting welcome assets.

Timney Triggers Calvin Elite and Volquartsen’s TG2000, for instance, have extended magazine releases. These allow for rapid magazine changes increasing one’s possible speed. When it comes to competition it only makes sense to maximize your potential for success.

Timney Triggers’ Calvin Elite trigger group for Ruger’s 10/22 offers the company’s renowned crisp operation, but it also sports a trigger-shoe design that offers custom positioning to any shooter’s tastes. It also comes with four trigger-shoe options.
The Timney Calvin Elite trigger with its adjustable shoe and extended mag release.

Installing An Aftermarket 10/22 Trigger

Generally, 10/22 triggers come in either drop-in form or as components that replace parts in an existing trigger housing.

Drop-in triggers are easily installed, simply replacing the existing trigger unit. Making things easier, access to a 10/22’s inner workings is the same regardless of model.

Remove the existing trigger group by drifting out the lower set of receiver pins, allowing the unit to drop free. From here, install the drop-in unit in place of the old one. 

Ruger-10-22-Takedown-Screw-Samson-Mfg
Ruger 10/22 takedown screw. Photo: Samson Manufacturing.

A non-drop-in trigger upgrade is quite a bit more involved. Essentially, once the trigger group is removed, you drive out the hammer pin to remove the hammer and associated components, then the trigger pivot pin before removing the trigger assembly from the housing. From here you'll take out the trigger reset pin behind the trigger. After all this, you install the aftermarket hammer and trigger components into the housing.

Drop-in or components upgrade, save yourself the headache and pay attention to the instructions.

Aftermarket 10/22 Trigger Buyer’s Guide:

As one of the most popular and iterated upon firearms in America, there is a wide variety of aftermarket 10/22 triggers in existence. The models vary as much in design and performance as they do in price. It's up to you to determine which will best suit your needs.

Ruger BX-Trigger:

Ruger-BX-Trigger

Recognizing the desire of shooters to modify their firearms, Ruger gave their blessing by manufacturing their own trigger upgrade. A stock 10/22 trigger breaks around 5.5 to 6 pounds while this factory-approved upgrade comes in with a 2.5 to 3 pounds.

The BX-Trigger also boasts a more positive reset and less overtravel than its stock counterpart. This option is great for someone curious about upgrading their 10/22 trigger as it allows them to do it affordably with an OEM component that is easy to install.

MSRP: $89.95 // ruger.com


Timney Triggers Calvin Elite Replacement 10/22 Trigger:

Timney-Calvin-Elite

Timney Triggers has a long-standing reputation as a quality aftermarket trigger manufacturer. The company offers a variety of options for a myriad of firearms, so it is only natural that they support the 10/22 as well.

This drop-in trigger includes an extended magazine release that aids in fast and efficient magazine changes. The Calvin Elite also includes multiple trigger shoes tuning it to fit a wider variety of shooters.

The unit features a fixed 1.5- to 2-pound trigger weight, making it a great option for those who want a competition-oriented trigger.  

MSRP: $285.99 // timneytriggers.com


Volquartsen TG2000:

Volquartsen-Ruger-Triggre

This drop-in option from Volquartsen features a CNC-machined aluminum housing and is available in a variety of anodized colors. As a bonus, Volquartsen includes their automatic bolt release and extended magazine release with this drop-in unit as well. These upgrades would shine in competition as they aid in getting the gun reloaded and into battery more swiftly than a factory job.

The trigger features a fixed 2.25-pound break and can be adjusted for both pretravel and overtravel. The result is a consistent and crisp single-stage trigger that would be a great choice for those who want to get into competition shooting or just generally improve the feel of their 10/22.

MSRP: $287.00 // volquartsen.com


Franklin Armory BFSIII 22-C1:

Franklin-Binary-Ruger-Trigger

Franklin Armory is best known for its binary triggers for guns such as ARs, AKs and CZ Scorpions. While not in the same class of firearm, it is only natural that Franklin offers a 10/22 binary trigger as well.

Unlike drop-in triggers, the BFSIII 22-C1 utilizes an existing trigger group and replaces most of the factory components besides the housing. The trigger includes a safety selector that replaces the typical cross-bolt safety with a three-position design that toggles between safe, single-shot and binary fire modes.

For those who don’t know, binary triggers facilitate faster shooting by firing a round when the trigger is pulled and then firing another once the trigger is released. Put simply, a 10/22 with a binary trigger can make quick work of a BX-25 magazine.

The ability of this model to toggle between single-shot and binary is also good because it enables more versatility than if it were permanently locked into binary mode. Essentially you aren’t married to only firing in binary mode, which increases the potential for fun without sacrificing practicality.

MSRP: $299.99 // franklinarmory.com


KIDD Two-Stage Trigger Unit:

KIDD-10-22-Trigger

This trigger option from KIDD is highly customizable. Besides the color of the housing and trigger, the pull weight, style of magazine release and hammer springs can all be customized through KIDD’s website as well. Regardless of the options chosen, you will get a drop-in trigger unit with aluminum housing and tool steel trigger group parts.

While the pull weight is customizable, the two-stage functionality remains the same. The first stage features a bit of takeup before stopping at a definitive wall that precedes the second stage. The second stage then only requires a small bit of rearward travel to release the hammer and fire.

One thing to note, this trigger unit is advertised as a drop-in option, KIDD states that you should contact them if the unit is going into an SR-22. This is so they may remove material from the rear tang to best fit into the SR-22 chassis.

MSRP: $350.00 // kiddinnovativedesign.com


More On The Ruger 10/22:


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