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The famous, rather the infamous Crosman Trigger

Why is this trigger hatted so much anyway?

If you read any customer reviews of Crosman spring and nitro piston guns like the Nitro Venom, you’ll find that they all may have good things to say about the gun, but very few if any sing the praises of the their triggers.  They are promoted as “two stage adjustable” triggers which will really depends on how you define “what is a trigger stage?”  Let me try to explain.

A true 2 stage trigger?

The trigger is the part that handles moving the sear out of the way to allow the hammer, or in the case of spring guns, the piston to fly forward and fire the pellet.  Essentially you have a lever, i.e. the trigger blade or maybe a strut, that handles this job.  In the traditional Crosman style system, you have a sear that goes down into the compression chamber and grabs a slot in the piston.  There’s a strut that rides on top of the sear that lock things into place.  When you pull the trigger you eventually rotate the strut away from the sear which allow the sear to rise and release the piston.

This is the standard Crosman Trigger. The bottom part that extends into the compression chamber is the sear. The part that rids on top is the strut. The videos below will help make more sense of things.

In a true 2 stage trigger, the first part of the pull, usually very light, would begin the rotation leaving the 2nd stage right on the end of breaking that connection and firing the rifle.  With the Crosman triggers, this is NOT the case.  All of the first “stage” is actually just tension against a spring in the trigger blade.  Nothing is actually moving in the trigger, i.e. the engagement between the sear and the strut does not change when you pull through the first “stage” of the trigger.   When you reach the 2nd “stage” is when you actually begin to see movement from the strut, reducing the engagement with the sear until it releases and the gun fires.

Why is the 2nd stage so long and what is the adjustment screw for?

The thinking behind this trigger system, which is used by many, manufacturers by the way, is all about safety.  Because there’s so much engagement between the sear and the strut it’s going to be next to impossible to see a misfire from this type of trigger design.   So what is the adjustment screw for?  Well the adjustment screw is almost always set all the way in from the factory.  The only adjustment is out, which takes the length, i.e. engagement, from long to longer.  That’s correct.  When you back out that screw, you are increasing the sear engagement and adding to the already lengthy 2nd stage.

I mentioned that there are many manufacturers that use this design.  Let me name a few: Crosman, Benjamin, Gamo, Stoeger, Hatsan, and many Chinese variants.  Now some are better than others.  For example, a long 2nd stage can be OK, especially in a field gun, so long that the parts are clean and finished properly.  That’s not always the case unfortunately.  When you get rough parts, then the trigger becomes long, and rough which leads to things being a lot harder than then need to be so see repeatable accuracy.

What can you do to fix this?

Well, there’s not a lot you can do that doesn’t completely void the warranty.  You can learn to live with the trigger and just get used to it, or if you are adventurous, you can opt to pick up one of the 3rd party replacement trigger blade options out on the market.  I’m not going to tell you which one to get.  I’ve tried most of them and they all basically do the same thing.  They change the geometry of the trigger and some add in a true first stage.   Generally they will reduce the trigger pull down around 1 to 2 pounds and allow you to adjust the break of the 2nd stage.  There is a downside however.  With an unmodified trigger, when you pull through the 1st stage and then do NOT take the shot, the sear and strut remain fully engaged, and thereby still very safe.  With the modified blades, after you pull through the 1st stage, the sear and strut are sitting on a hair trigger.  If you don’t take the shot, the strut and sear do NOT automatically return to full engagement, rather they stay at that hair trigger point.  The only way to return everything back to fully safe is to re-cock the gun.

I’ve heard there are other mods you can do to improve the trigger.

There are many “ideas” floating around the internet about how to improve the trigger for basically pennies.   All of them are basically reducing the sear engagement, reducing the 2nd stage to a hair trigger.  They do make for a very short and crisp trigger pull, but they also leave your gun in a very unsafe state prone to accidental discharge.

Rick, what would you recommend?

Well, as you can imagine, I’ve been asked this question a bunch of times over the years.  My answer may not be the most popular one on the block, but here it goes.  I feel that improving the trigger is really the responsibility of the manufacturer not the job of the consumer.  There are many manufacturers that agree and have released redesigned triggers, even their entry level airguns.  Gamo updated their trigger with the SAT trigger.  Beeman has the RS2 and RS3 triggers, and Hatsan has their Quattro trigger.  Ruger also has a new trigger, a required redesign so they could convert over to their Reaxis Gas Piston.  These updated triggers are not only on their high end airguns, but rather start in their sub $200 priced airguns.  Perhaps the best trigger in a sub $300 airgun is the T06 found in the RWS 34.   It seems that Crosman has also heard the call and their new NP Trail Version 2 is supposed to have a fully updated trigger system.  Frankly, I can’t wait to see how this new trigger system works out for Crosman.  Hopefully we’ll have one in for testing as soon as they become available.

It’s important to understand just how critical a trigger is going to impact your ability to easily achieve repeatable accuracy.  I hope that this article helps explain how these work and what you may want to look for in your next airgun purchase.  If you have questions or comments, please be sure to share them in the comments section.  We always want to hear from our readers!

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If you read any customer reviews of Crosman spring and nitro piston guns like the Nitro Venom, you’ll find that they all may have good things to say about the gun, but very few if any sing the praises of the their triggers.  They are promoted as “two stage adjustable” triggers which will really depends […]