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Roll Triggers

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Post by Axehandle 12/13/2014, 10:45 pm

When I feel these things I can't help but remember a statement that came from the mouth of a AMU Pistol Team Coach in the early 80s along the lines of, "All triggers weight 2 pounds."   The explanation was that the shooter should immediately take up all but the last two pounds of the trigger as he prepared to fire each shot.   Is that idea the origin of the  roll trigger?  Next question is on durability.  How long do we expect a well done roll trigger to last before a tune up is needed?

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Post by Rob Kovach 12/14/2014, 1:24 am

Mine was a Cylinder and Slide drop in USMC roll trigger kit and I have over 10,000 rounds and countless dry fires on it and I wouldn't say I need any work done.  I wouldn't even say there is any noticeable wear.
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Post by beeser 12/14/2014, 7:18 am

Axehandle wrote:When I feel these things I can't help but remember a statement that came from the mouth of a AMU Pistol Team Coach in the early 80s along the lines of, "All triggers weight 2 pounds."   The explanation was that the shooter should immediately take up all but the last two pounds of the trigger as he prepared to fire each shot.   Is that idea the origin of the  roll trigger?  Next question is on durability.  How long do we expect a well done roll trigger to last before a tune up is needed?
I too would like to know the first part of this question.

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Post by Jerry Keefer 12/14/2014, 8:02 am

1998 thru 2001, a very talented (new) member of the RPD police team,  went from zero to High Master, State and National Distinguished, 1490 club  in that short period of time.. He won the expert police class at Perry two years in a row..Set a world team record with 9mm in PPC that held for 10 years... He never fussed or complained about a trigger..His motto was.."Just pull the damned thing.."   I sure  do miss that man...

His main consideration, was accuracy.. We tested guns, and ammo constantly.. He wanted the most accurate equipment possible...
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Post by Axehandle 12/14/2014, 8:15 am

Been shooting this roll trigger 38 Super that KC sent me.  The trigger in this gun is distinctly different from anything I shoot.  If I settle into it I will need to have a bunch of trigger jobs done.  And I thought KC was just being nice sending this gun down here!  Laughing

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Post by Axehandle 12/14/2014, 8:21 am

That 0 to High Master in a short amount of time makes me think of Phillip Hemphill and Jim Collins.  Saying that they went from 0 to 2650 club in a short amount of time without mentioning multiple PPC national Championships and 1500/1500 scores paints a distorted picture.    This side of pray and spray, handgun sight alignment and trigger control is pretty universal.

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Post by SteveT 12/14/2014, 10:14 am

I'll throw in my thoughts. Sort of. 

It is easy to hold consistent pre-trigger weight on a two stage trigger, you pull until it hits the second stage and hold that weight. Holding a consistent weight on a single stage trigger, whether roll or crisp, is more difficult. There is no indication of weight so it requires training or you have to err on the sight of light trigger pressure which means heavier 'final' pull weight. 

You have to be a little more careful with a roll trigger. You don't want it to start moving until you are pulling all the way through. Stopping a roll trigger in the middle will mess up the perfectly smooth and polished surface.

If you want to hold most of the weight you have to be willing to accept some early shots while you learn the technique. Don't beat yourself up if you let off the shot early. You have to accept it as part of the process of learning a new and better technique.
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Post by Axehandle 12/14/2014, 3:30 pm

I'm shooting the roll trigger gun fairly well.  My most significant concern with shooting the gun at this point in time is when match time comes and I have a transition from the crisp trigger 22 to the roll trigger 38 Super and then to the crisp trigger 45.  I've got a 45 in KC's shop that might get a roll trigger with a quick phone call.  Spare S&W 41 headed to NC soon.  We could roll trigger it too.  Just need to decide exactly what I want to do.

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Post by Jack H 12/14/2014, 4:31 pm

How I sense a trigger is what is important to me.  I like roll or crisp as long as I am not distracted by
Sensing it rolling.  Long roll today?  When is this thing going off?
Sensing it (crisp or roll) to be resisting my pressure.  When is this thing going off?

I just want to be only aware of my pressure on the trigger.  If my awareness transfers to it's rolling or it's resisting, those are distractions.  

In over 40 years at this game, there are only a few trigger sessions that were memorable.  Most are with crisp trigger revolvers* or perfect High Standards.  

*38 OMM and S&W 1955 model


Last edited by Jack H on 12/15/2014, 11:55 am; edited 2 times in total
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Post by DavidR 12/15/2014, 11:21 am

Back to the question of how long a roll will last, much longer than a crisp, because a roll is nothing but a long sear face and it will last for a long time. For me I love a roll trigger while dry firing, x after x seems to be the norm, but its just not that way for me in matches, keeping the trigger sliding on the hammer hooks while trying to stay on target is distracting, so I don't shoot them as good as I do crisp ones.
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Post by Axehandle 12/15/2014, 12:55 pm

Good point David...  When I talk shooting BE I make a point that all thought must be on the front sight.  Anything that pulls your mind from the front sight is counter productive.  I think that this roll will need many thousands of rounds for the movement to become spinal.

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Post by 1banger 12/16/2014, 7:06 am

I have 2 Pardini Pistols for BE. The SP BE in .22lr and HP in .32ACP. These have a 2 stage roll trigger. Easy to take up the first stage and then
a smooth pull until it goes off. And both triggers feel almost identical thanks to the awesome adjustability of the triggers on these pistols.

I have found that the slow fire portion is not as easy as sustained fire portion. In slow fire after the first stage take up it's hard to determine
when the shot will actually go off, although I am getting better at it with a lot of dry fire practice using my Scatt target system. However,
during sustained fire it's very easy to establish a rhythm and my scores reflect much better accuracy during those sections.  Another
problem is, during dry fire I am in my garage/man cave where it is heated. While the club where I shoot the actual relay is not. I have found
that at the club range when it's cold I can't feel the roll portion of the action as well. I use hand warmers in my coat pockets between
strings to try and compensate. But that only helps a little. Of course temp will effect most everything when shooting I think, so this
may effect everyone's trigger pull.

I also have KC Crawford building me a "Wadcutter" .45 and it will have a roll trigger installed because I want it to match the feel of
my Pardinis. Overall I like the roll trigger feel. I have Volquartsen .22 upper and lower pistol and it has a clean break trigger. After
using the pardini roll triggers and going back to the Volquartsen, I find I now prefer the roll triggers hands down. YMMV Cool

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Post by davekp 12/16/2014, 7:17 am

Axehandle wrote:Good point David...  When I talk shooting BE I make a point that all thought must be on the front sight.  Anything that pulls your mind from the front sight is counter productive.  I think that this roll will need many thousands of rounds for the movement to become spinal.

What do you mean "become spinal"?

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Post by Axehandle 12/16/2014, 8:03 am

"Spinal" refers to the "Mind, No Mind" concept of Zen.  In our shooting it boils down to the reason we follow a very strict routine when we practice.

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Post by davekp 12/16/2014, 8:11 am

Axehandle wrote:"Spinal" refers to the "Mind, No Mind" concept of Zen.  In our shooting it boils down to the reason we follow a very strict routine when we practice.

So are you saying it will take a long time for the operation of a roll trigger to become unconscious?

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Post by dronning 12/16/2014, 8:37 am

Axehandle wrote:"Spinal" refers to the "Mind, No Mind" concept of Zen.  In our shooting it boils down to the reason we follow a very strict routine when we practice.


When I dropped in 3 of KC's Roll Trigger kits in my 22 (Nelson), wad gun and ball gun I was committed.

The first two weeks I had them I would sit on the couch eyes closed or in the dark, rack the slide and pull the trigger.  I did this because it eliminated all other distractions, the only thing I could feel/sense was the trigger.  I'd also dry fire following my shot process 10 to 15 minutes 2x a day. Once or twice a week I'd dry fire with my SCATT too.

They say it takes about 21 days for something to become "second nature" and that is about what it took for me. 

- Dave

Oh and great triggers!  The quality cause me to order a CF gun in 9MM I'd been thinking about from KC.


Last edited by dronning on 12/16/2014, 8:41 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : clarity and added info)
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Post by Jerry Keefer 12/16/2014, 8:42 am

Trigger control is a life time pursuit....
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Post by Jon Eulette 12/16/2014, 8:57 am

Having shot MANY match pistols over the years with both crisp and roll triggers i feel qualified to comment on this. I was regularly shooting international and BE for a 6 year period. I was shooting BE (4 different guns including service pistol) and international (free, air, standard, and cf). 7 different pistols and at times using several different guns for one match to see what I liked. Through practice and dry firing I knew all my triggers. Crisp or roll didn't matter, I knew my guns. It never took me long to adjust to a trigger, but I did have to make minor changes for the individual trigger pull. Crisp triggers require constant pressure until breaking. Roll triggers are the same, but with an exception; you have to really, really HOLD harder when waiting for the shot to break. I've found that it's easy to relax as shot is breaking and you'll start to shoot a low group. So I call it 2 grouping; centered shots (good group) and low shots (bad group). I find roll triggers to require moreeeffort to shoot well. That's why I shoot a short roll. If I'm squeezing confidently I can barely feel it. But when chicken finger sets in I can feel that trigger is moving and know that I am applying pressure and it will go bang! In other words I think the short roll prevents jerking the trigger because it didn't go bang yet. I think roll triggers require betterffollow through. Roll triggers also require the trigger to travel further when squeezed because of more sear engagement. As far as life span, I just finally had to do a trigger job on my .38 longslide after shooting it for 20 years with a short roll on it.a good trigger job will last many years. The worst thing that I think wears a sear is over travel screw set up too tight and hammer beats up the sear with half cock notch battering the sear. I love short roll triggers:p)
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Post by Axehandle 12/16/2014, 9:00 am

"unconscious?"  Without question!  The second your mind drifts from anything other than the dot or front sight all is pretty much lost. Smile

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