We started to have a look at overtravel in chapter 3, and that’s the starting point for chapter 4.
Some shooters want as much overtravel as they can get and some want as little as possible. Many 3 gun, speed gun and the short barreled tactical rifle style shooters tend to go with more. While accuracy based shooters look for less. Remember this information is for semi auto AR-15 rifles not a full auto M-16. That’s a whole different story.
First let’s look at an AR-15 set up, using a full length heavy barrel, and built for pure accuracy or any AR-15 built looking for as much accuracy as possible, the type of rifle that will be used for target shooting and maybe a few double taps. The overtravel will be kept short. By keeping the overtravel short the trigger stops just after the hammer is released. The short overtravel will give a crisp feel to the end of the pull. This helps the shooter set up for a smooth reset of the hammer. The smoother the pull, the greater the accuracy.
In the speed shooting crowd, most of the shooters look for a little extra overtravel. They need the play to help them stay on target when pulling a trigger as fast as they can. If you don’t let the trigger move after the hammer is released, the rifle will tend to jerk off target a little when the stop is hit. By adding some overtravel the shooter can use the extra pull distance as a cushion, allowing the trigger finger to stop itself rather then the trigger stopping it. This will help keep the rifle on target.
What it comes down to is this: If you’re looking to stay on target with a speed gun you need more overtravel. If you’re looking for accuracy and the most crisp trigger pull you can get, you need less overtravel.
Sales pitch time! What does The Wisconsin Trigger Company do for overtravel? On the M-K IIA1 model
trigger, the shooter cuts down the tail of the trigger to give the overtravel he wants. On the M-K IIA2 models we pre-cut the tail to give a good feel and a medium amount of overtravel. With its short reset disconnector, it gives the shooter good speed with the national match release M-K trigger are known for. The overtravel stop is the safety selector, the same as most other non adjustable overtravel triggers.
M-K IIA3 and M-K X triggers have adjustable overtravel. The M-K IIA3 and M-K X use a proprietary safety selector. Their selector has an adjusting screw that contacts the floor of the trigger. By turning the screw up or down you can select the overtravel you want.
There are other adjustable overtravel triggers on the market. All the ones I know have an adjuster that hits the floor of the receiver, so you have a screw hitting aluminum. The aluminum has some give to it and the screw can bite in. This gives the stop a bland feel. By using the trigger floor as the stopping point you have a screw pushing on hardened steel. This gives a very positive solid feel to the end of pull.
That’s it for chapter 4. Chapter 5 will cover the rest of the features and options to look for in a competition trigger.