One of the most desired modifications to an M1 Garand rifle is the so-called “National Match trigger.” Adjusting your trigger to a crisp, light pull is s simple task well within the capabilities of a skilled home craftsman. Note that we said it’s a “simple” task; it’s not easy unless you go slowly and carefully, and understand the principals involved in Garand trigger adjustment.
Tip: The National Match (NM) trigger adjustment is a legal procedure for the Garands used in Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) John Garand matches.
Tip: Note that this procedure applies to not only the Garand but also the M14 and M1A, all of which use the same trigger, hammer and safety parts.
Wise Precaution: Have a number of spare hammers on hand as you are likely to use up more than one while perfecting your NM trigger modification skills.
Pitfall: Be certain that your trigger group components are in good condition before you begin. You will find it impossible to get a good trigger if the hammer or trigger is loose on its pin, or one pin or the other is loose in the trigger housing.
Tip: Before beginning, first install your trigger group components without the hammer spring assembly to make sure that the hammer and trigger and sear don’t have excessive side play. If they do, replace components as necessary. Assemble the trigger group before beginning the modification procedure.
Tip: Be certain that the side of the left trigger hook is not dragging on the inside of
the trigger housing. If necessary, stone the side of the trigger hook.
Tip: Be certain the hammer slot does not drag on the trigger. Since the trigger is relatively thin, relieve the inside of the hammer slot if necessary.
Trigger Modification Principles
A National Match trigger modification should result in a trigger whose second stage is crisp and creep-free, and which can lift a 4.5-pound NRA trigger weight. The trigger must also pass the trigger safety tests at the end of this article. The trigger should also be durable—that is, unchanged over a long period of time. Therefore, the trigger’s engagement with the hammer must be symmetric and even. If the hook on only one side is engaged, the trigger will wear much more quickly than when both hooks are fully engaged. Wear will change the trigger pull, sometimes to a dangerously low level…
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