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|REMOVING THE BROWNING OR
WINCHESTER 1885 TRIGGER & SEAR
By Wayne McLerran
Due to the factory trigger pull-weight the most common modification to the
Miroku manufactured Browning or Winchester 1885 is to lighten the trigger pull.
The limited adjustment pull-weight is fine for hunting but even at the lightest
setting it’s considered too heavy for competitive shooting. In my book on the
rifles I included a long chapter on lightening the trigger pull. In it I note that
after-market set triggers are not available for the rifles and discuss the four
common methods to reduce the trigger pull-weight, but only recommend two for
safety reasons. A simple and safe method is to replace the trigger spring with a
lighter one but most competitors find that the resulting weight reduction is not
adequate. The preferred solution is to have a trained professional gunsmith work
on the trigger sear.
The trigger spring is located under the rear of the trigger, surrounding the trigger
adjustment screw. The trigger sear is pinned to one end of the trigger. In order to
access either one the stock must be removed and the trigger pin pushed out,
releasing the trigger/sear. As detailed below, the process is relatively simple.
Take your time and take note of the caution comment on removing the stock bolt.
Removing the Stock:
In the order listed, remove the butt plate screws, butt plate, the stock bolt, and
receiver tang screw. Removing the stock bolt requires a common blade (flat-
bladed) screwdriver with a shaft approximately 8.5” long, and note the caution
comment below. The receiver tang screw should be removed after removal of the
stock bolt. On some rifles, lateral pressure from the stock bolt will lock the tang
screw in place, making it quite hard to remove, increasing the risk of twisting off
the screw or damaging the screw head.
The stock can now be removed. Due to a tight fit the stock may require some
gentle (very gentle) “wiggling” to release it from the receiver. Be very careful so
as not to split the stock on either side of the tang slot.
Caution - when removing the stock bolt using a standard wide flat-blade
screwdriver, the blade tip can easily and unknowingly become wedged between
the stock bolt head and the stock, cracking the stock when the screwdriver is
Tip - to ensure the screwdriver tip is centered, slip a thick piece of rubber tubing
over the shank an inch or two above the tip, or wrap the shank with tape until the
diameter is slightly smaller than the stock-bolt hole.
Removing the Trigger/Sear:
With the rifle upside down (bottom of the action facing upward) and the stock
removed, push out the trigger pin. When the action is held in the normal shooting
orientation, the trigger pin is located just behind the receiver in the lower portion
of the trigger housing assembly. Using a brass punch or similar tool, it should be
easy to push out from either direction, allowing removal of only the trigger
assembly and trigger spring. The trigger assembly consists of the trigger, trigger
sear and trigger sear pin.
By the way, with the trigger and trigger spring removed, take the opportunity to
check if the trigger pull adjustment screw is free to adjust. Once the trigger pull
is adjusted by the factory, shellac or some type of varnish-type adhesive is
applied to the screw to minimize adjustments. If you’re not the 1st owner of the
rifle, the prior owner may have discovered that once the shellac is removed the
screw is easy to adjust. If yours is hard to adjust, using an appropriate fitting
screwdriver, complete remove the screw and remove any shellac. Also check the
recessed and threaded hole in the bottom of the trigger assembly, which is where
you’ll likely find the remaining shellac. In most circumstances the adhesive
comes out with the screw and can be easily removed, but an 8-32 tap may be
necessary to get it all. Once all the shellac is removed, reinstall the adjustment
screw. Screw it all the way in than back it out about ½ turn prior to reinstalling
the trigger spring and trigger.
Installing the trigger/trigger sear and trigger pin:
1. With the rifle upside down (bottom of the action facing upward) install the
trigger spring by sliding it over the trigger pull adjustment screw.
Note: Prior to installing the trigger assembly, ensure that one end of the hammer
sear spring is properly resting in the groove of the rear mainspring pin/rocker.
The end of the spring and the mainspring pin/ rocker should be visible by shining
a flashlight into the trigger housing. When the trigger is removed, tension is
removed from the hammer sear. If the rifle is jarred or shaken, the hammer sear
spring can move out of the groove. If the hammer sear spring is not seated
correctly it can cause the hammer sear to rotate back too soon, resulting in the
hammer catching in the half-cock position when attempting to fire the rifle. Once
the trigger is installed, spring tension will hold the end of the hammer sear spring
in the groove.
2. Insert the assembled trigger assembly consisting of the trigger, trigger sear
and trigger pin.
3. Align the hole in the trigger assembly with the hole in the trigger housing
and push in the trigger pin. It should slide in easily if the trigger and trigger
housing are aligned, but may need a light tap with a hammer. It cannot fall out
once the stock is installed.
4. Install the stock using the reverse of the procedures outlined in the
disassembly above. Be very careful so as not to split the stock on either side of
the tang slot. Install and tighten the receiver tang screw first. Heed the previous
warnings to ensure the stock is not cracked with the tip of the screwdriver. And
do not over tighten the stock bolt, which will increase the risk of cracking the
Wishing you great shooting,