Dwell Time And Your Trigger

By Darrell Holland

We all indulge in flights of fancy during the quiet moments in our life. One popular indulgence is that we are a shooting machine and that we NEVER flinch. Hmmm, I wish that were a reality...

In most cultures men can do 3 things "Really" well! Those being: drive like Michael Schumacher, make love better than Casanova and out shoot Daniel Boone in 3 out of 5 matches! Unfortunately, when the lights dim, when we buckle up or grab our trusty rifle, the results are less than admirable.

By understanding the workings of our trigger and dwell time, we can turn in a better performance in the shooting game at least! For the other 2 items you are on your own...

Dwell time may be best described as the amount of time the bullet is in the barrel after the trigger breaks and we have ignition. This critical time is around .025 thousands of a second and the rifle will recoil rearward approximately .250 -.375 inches before the bullet exits the barrel. Variables being the weight of the rifle, muzzle velocity and bullet weight. For all practical purposes we'll stick with the above numbers in explaining dwell time and the hazards of too little over-travel.

Most serious shooters have installed Jewell triggers in their long range rifles, if not, you may be missing something? Having a light trigger pull weight in your rifle is an important asset when it comes to precise long range shooting. The exact weight is indeed a bone of contention with many shooters and many campfire stories have gotten out of hand regarding the subject. I like a pull weight of around 1-1.5 lbs in most of my hunting rifles, this allows a safe and feel-able trigger weight under cold hunting conditions, at least for me. Jewell triggers can be adjusted to ounces safely, but this is mainly necessary in target and varmint rifles that are shot from the bench. Each shooter needs to feel comfortable with his or her pull weight; shoot as light of a pull weight as you are comfortable with.