Homemade trigger pull tester.....


Plank Road Farm
January 20, 2012, 11:28 PM
Has anyone made a homemade trigger pull tester?

If so, could you post pics?

Or explain the simplest way to accurately test the trigger pull.


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Mac's Precision
January 20, 2012, 11:43 PM
Well...depending on what you are looking to do there are a couple answers.

For simple bench use any of the store bought digital or spring scale options are fine. Lyman makes a digital one RCBS makes a common spring scale. Both have a wire rod with an L shaped end that you put on the business end of the trigger.

If you need NRA approved measurements there is a rod with individual weights.

Take a look here:


The rod / weight style could be copied at home if you had a good accurate way to calibrate your weights. If you happened to have access to a lab style triple beam scale you could make weights.

Since you can get into a spring style one from RCBS for ~$27 bucks...it would be hard to spend much labor to build something.

January 21, 2012, 09:38 AM
Save yourself some money, and get one of these. The fact that it doesn't say "gun" anywhere really brings the price down:
Then bend a coat hanger to fit so it'll reach the trigger and be clear of the stock. Works great!

January 21, 2012, 10:23 AM
I used to use a bunch of bank and pyramid sinkers in the usual surf fishing sizes - 1,2,3,4,6 and 8 plus a few one pound duck decoy weights. But I already had them so the cost was zero. Lead is expensive now.

Then I bought the Lyman digital.

Folks have used a plastic shopping bag, string and a piece of coathanger over the trigger. The bag is to hold whatever you own that has the weight marked. Five pounds of sugar, some full cereal boxes, etc.

The Lyman gauge let's you do up to 10 pulls in a row and then hit the average button.

Some people have added water to the bag until the trigger pulled and then measured the volume. The volume in ounces easily converts to weight.


Bwana John
January 21, 2012, 10:34 AM
Scuba weights and a piece of para cord.

Tie a loop of para cord through the weights and trigger.

Start with weights laying on ground then lift off ground with loop of para cord over trigger.

I usually want the trigger to break at more than 2.5 lbs and less than 3.5 lbs

The volume (of water) in ounces easily converts to weight.
Ounces are a unit of mass, not volume.

The volume of water in cubic centimeters converts very easily to grams (1cc=1gram)

January 21, 2012, 10:49 AM
The volume (of water) in ounces easily converts to weight.
Ounces are a unit of mass, not volume.
The volume of water in cubic centimeters converts very easily to grams (1cc=1gram)
There are ounces, which are a unit of weight (16 oz = 1 lb), and there are fluid ounces, which are a measure of volume.

According to the Internet (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_much_does_a_fluid_ounce_of_water_weigh), 1 fluid ounce of water has a mass of 29.57 grams. I don't own a gram scale to check this, but it would be easy to check if you own one - assuming you also own a graduated cylinder lol... but let's pretend the Internet knows everything.

One pound is 453.59 grams. Therefore, 1 fluid ounce of water (29.57 grams) is roughly equal to 0.065 pounds.

Not an incredibly accurate measure of trigger weight (lot's of room for human error in the measuring process), and possibly more work than it's worth, if you're lazy; but it could work to give you a very educated guess.

January 21, 2012, 10:51 AM
Anything that makes a right angle to the trigger that you can hang weight from will work.

I threw this one together with a 3/4" dowl, 1x2 and a bunch of washers.


January 21, 2012, 11:19 AM
I have about 8 old fish scales laying around and use them, use 3 or 4 and average, got 'em at a fun show over the years.

January 21, 2012, 09:10 PM
I have a heavy duty brass scale that goes up to 25#. Luckily I use it more on fish than guns.

A gallon of water weighs 8.34 pounds. There are 128 ounces to the gallon. Measure the fluid ounces it takes to trip the trigger and run the numbers.

January 22, 2012, 08:24 AM
The $5 digital fish scales read the same as my Lyman trigger scale and cost much less. $5 and a piece of coat hanger and your gtg.

January 22, 2012, 11:10 AM
I never could get an accurate reading on light triggers using $5 scales. And certainly not on something like a Jewell trigger at 1.5 ounces. Maybe they've improved in the last 10 or 15 years. I know the Lyman gauge isn't $30 or $35 anymore.

A big fish flopping around on one of those cheap scales was always what busted it from what I've seen. That and the sand and sea spray. I just looked at the Bass Pro site. The cheap digitals are $20 to $35 and don't say if they'll measure in tenths of an ounce. Okay, my curiosity is satisfied.


January 24, 2012, 10:50 PM
Haven't built it yet, but I'm going to. 7000 grs = 1#

Using a similar method jmorris uses, Use a wire bent like Brownell's weigher, but hang a plastic "pan/container" like a large powder scale pan on the bottom hook.
Weigh a number of 125 gr bullets and you'll find that 14=1/4#, 28=1/2#, and 56=1# weights to place in the plastic pan.
The wire and pan would be tare weight measured just one time on a powder scale.
Prepackage enough of the bullet weights shown reasonable for you gun. Add or subtract bullets until the hammer just drops every time. Repeat several times. I would be content with this result.

I know 125 gr bullets aren't perfectly accurate weights, but the average weight is VERY close and good enough for most users' trigger measurement interests. One could weigh the bullets that drop the hammer on a scale + the tare weight for more precision.

Wouldn't cost ANYTHING to try using bullets you have on hand, simple to make the wire hanger (see Brownell's pic) and a plastic cup can be made from a plastic Coke bottle or other kitchen trash. Anchor the gun muzzle up in a padded vice or another method. Hang the wire and pan and add the weights . Done

Dang it, I may do it tomorrow.

January 25, 2012, 08:41 PM
I changed my design a little. Small dia. dowel, cut-off plastic lemonade bottle and string. Muzzle up pistol in a padded vise. Hung on the trigger curve.

It worked. My trigger pull came out about 6 Ozs heavier than I expected, but it's probably very close to accurate.
Taking "one" bullet out of the cup and it wouldn't drop the hammer. Adding it back in did drop the hammer. Numerous times. 135 125gr bullets + tare weight = 2 Lbs - 6 + Ozs.

January 26, 2012, 10:43 AM
1SOW, I've built it already several months ago. I straightened a coat hanger and fixed a small plastic jar to one end. Hang it on the trigger, add 115 gr bullets until the trigger releases, and weight the whole thing on a scale that weighs in ounces.

I had everything and though I would try it. It seems to weigh reliably and I've used it on several guns.

January 27, 2012, 02:05 AM

I don't have a scale, so I ad lib'd

January 28, 2012, 07:07 PM
Coat hanger-light weight tin lid-4-1lb Lyman bars-1 box 240gr bullets=Trigger Weight Tester. The coat hanger must rest on the trigger at the same area each time, or reading will be different. Get close with the 1 lb Lyman bars, then add 240gr bullet, till hammer drops. Works for testing hammer spring weight on revolvers also. :D http://i338.photobucket.com/albums/n420/joe1944usa/Firearms%20%20and%20%20Reloading/TriggerWeight1.jpg

January 28, 2012, 08:56 PM
Went to walmat, bought a small cheap fish scale, bent a coat hanger to go around the trigger and it has worked great for a couple of years now.

September 18, 2013, 12:22 PM

September 18, 2013, 02:54 PM
I used a gal jug and added water till the hammer failed. All you need is a stiff wire to hang the jug. Then take the jug to postal scales to see what weight the hammer dropped at.

September 18, 2013, 08:08 PM
This won't measure really light triggers but will get vary close with a rifle or shotgun trigger. Set the butt of the UNLOADED gun on a bathroom or baby scale and balance it gently without adding to the weight. Note the weight. Now press down on the trigger until it breaks and again note the weight when the trigger broke. Subtract gun weight from final weight and you have trigger pull weight.

September 18, 2013, 09:45 PM
Two ways that work for me...not gnat's fanny precise, but good enough, IMO. :)
Loop of cord over the trigger, tied to a plastic grocery bag. Canned goods, either going by net weight, or with a scale to get the excat weight. Add cans till the trigger releases.

Or, what I did with my 10-22 before the VQ target hammer reduced the pull to 3 lbs. Pup, in his harness, maybe 5 lbs soaking wet, including the weight of the harness, attach string to harness, lift pup gently off the ground. He wouldn't even trip the trigger. He thought it was all great fun! Now grown up...11 1/2 lb. of fighting fluff! :D

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