There are many different things that can be done to smooth and lighten the action of the trigger, as well as easing its adjustment to feel most comfortable for you. Good, professional trigger jobs include many of the following modifications.
- Lighter springs
There are two springs in the Autococker frame. One horizontal one behind the trigger which returns it after pulling, and one vertical one which pushes the sear up to engage the sear part of the hammer. Both of these can be replaced with lighter springs to reduce the force required to fire. The trigger spring can be a bit tricky. It needs a bit of experimentation with springs of different lengths and tension to find one which is strong enough to completely return the 4-way valve after you fire the gun. If the spring is too weak the gun will jam frequently (the trigger will stick back). I prefer to use a long, soft spring. When I test it, if it works, I cut it and test it again. I repeat this until the gun starts jamming, then I cut a new spring of the same tension to just longer than the last one. This should be the lightest spring that will still allow the gun to function. The sear spring is less difficult to test, but just as critical to proper functioning. The real problem in selecting a sear spring is that it is going to be partially dependent on the mainspring you're using (pushing the hammer forward). If you're using a light mainspring, you can use a very light sear spring, just stiff enough to get the sear back up. Heavier mainsprings will force the hammer over the sear if the sear spring is too soft. In cases where the 'gun appears to be timed correctly, but the hammer isn't catching, try putting in a stiffer sear spring.
- Polished or aftermarket 4-way valve
This valve (commonly but incorrectly referred to as a 3-way valve) has two inputs, an output, and exhaust (4-ways!). It can be polished to reduce the amount of force required to work it. This allows you to use a lighter trigger return spring. If you have one of the old brass valves, you can do a reasonable job polishing your own 4-way by taking it apart and cleaning it out with Brasso. Many companies are now offering their own custom 4-ways. Most of them are considerably smoother than the stock valve, and some offer shorter switch lengths. Most of them have an increased chance of leaking, though.
- Adjustable trigger pull (trigger stop)
The Autococker's trigger is quite a bit longer in pull length than it really needs to be. Some people prefer to remove this slack in the trigger pull to shorten the pull-length up and allow them to shoot faster.
Before 1998, this was a simple upgrade. A screw could be installed inside the frame behind the trigger. It was screwed in and out to limit the distance that the trigger could move back. This had to be custom installed in stock frames, but came drilled and tapped as a standard feature in most .45 frames.
In 1998, WGP changed their trigger frames and plates, thickening the plate below the ramp where the trigger stop used to be installed. As a result, all Autocockers with post-1998 triggers had to use a new style of grip frame that made room for the new trigger plate. The unfortunate effect of this is that there is no longer room for the traditional trigger stop screw. Some companies (ANS and Bullseye come immediately to mind) have gone in the other direction, placing a stop-screw in front of the trigger in the top of the grip frame to stop out forward movement of the trigger rather than back. This works, but is not as convenient as you have to remove the trigger frame entirely to adjust it and it does not come as stock equipment on most trigger frames.
- Externally adjustable sear-lug (stock since 1998)
Adjustment of the sear-lug is critical to proper timing of the Autococker. The sear-lug is screwed into the bottom of the hammer and catches the sear when the 'gun is cocked. In older stock Autocockers you had to remove the frame to access and adjust it. New stock Autocockers and just about all custom Autocockers come with a hole to allow adjustment from above. With an externally adjustable sear-lug, a hole is drilled through the top of the gun over the hammer when uncocked and the sear screw is reversed in the hammer to allow adjustment from above. This way you can adjust the sear by dropping an allen wrench through the hole in the top of the 'gun and never have to take off the frame. This adjustment determines where in the trigger pull the hammer will be released and the gun will fire.
- Adjustable/threaded timing/actuator rod (stock since 1999)
This is the rod that goes from the trigger to the 4-way valve, and is the other critical component in timing the Autococker. With this modification, the rod goes into a threaded coupler that allows you to adjust the distance between the rod and the valve. This will adjust the position in the trigger pull when the gun will cock. I consider this to be one of the critical modifications for the Autococker. The stock timing rod is not threaded and slips out of time if the retaining screw loosens even slightly. Most threaded timing rods screw rather loosely into their collars and can lead to 4-way leaks. The best rod on the market is made by LAPCO and does not have that problem. The new 1999 stock Autocockers now come with a very nice stainless threaded timing rod as well.
- Double Finger Trigger-Shoe
In this upgrade, the trigger-guard is cut off, and the stock plastic trigger-shoe is replaced with a longer one which can be pulled simultaneously by two fingers. When I first saw this, I thought it was the biggest rip-off waste-of-money I'd every seen (with the possible exception of the "magic box"). But then I tried it out for myself. For rapid-fire, the double-finger-trigger reduces fatigue dramatically and for me, increases rate-of-fire as well. Some people like it, some don't. If you tend to suffer chronic finger-fatigue, this may be the answer to your problems. It is crucial to take all rotational slack out of the trigger with either a back guide screw or bending the trigger plate to make this trigger work well. Failure to remove trigger slack with a 2-finger shoe will result in trigger binding.
- Bent Trigger-Plate
I first saw this mod on Bad Boyz Toyz Autocockers and have found it to be possibly the most important tweak for making a 2-finger trigger-shoe work well. It only works with 45-style trigger-frames. If you look at the back of a trigger-plate as it sits in a 45-frame, you'll notice that the back of the plate sits much lower than the front. This extra space in the back allows the trigger to rotate up and down, and can cause the trigger to bind and drag if you have a 2-finger shoe on it. If you bend up the back of the trigger-plate slightly so it's even all the way across, along with the trigger-guide, it eliminates all vertical slack in the trigger. Though other shops have begun doing this mod as well, Danny Love still implements it better than anyone else I've seen.
- Trigger Guide-Screw (Vertical Set-Screw)
This is usually tapped into the bottom of the trigger guard beneath the trigger. It is a small screw that butts up against the bottom of the trigger and holds it up, taking a lot of the vertical slack and sloppiness out of the trigger. This has to be custom installed in stock frames. The hole (but not the screw) comes drilled and tapped as a standard feature in most .45 frames.
- Rear Trigger Guide-Screw (Vertical Set-Screw)
This is a relatively new innovation created by, believe it or not, Cesare at P&P. He found that, rather than bending up the trigger plate (as described above), he could install a guide screw beneath the back of the trigger plate that achieved the same thing, and which was much easier to adjust precisely. These now come in all P&P .45 frames and I highly recommend it.
- Lateral trigger set-screws
These very small screws are put into the sides of the frame flanking the trigger and sear and hold them centered between the sides of the frame. These take all the lateral slack and sloppiness out of the trigger and reduce the trigger's area of contact from it's entire sides to a few small screw tips. There is some controversy as to how effective these are, and most trigger jobs do not include these. To my hand, it does not improve the gun's performance, but it does smooth out the pull. I like it. In fact, after I put these in the stock frame in my first Autococker, I polished the sides of the trigger and the heads of the screws (using Dremmel polishing tools) and the trigger moved like it was riding on glass.
- Fat Trigger & Sear Plates
Boston Paintball Supply, P&P Paintball Connection, and a few other places sell wider trigger and sear plates that fit grips frames a bit closer. The result of this is that there is less lateral slack in the trigger. The effect is similar to the lateral trigger set-screws described above.
- Coated Trigger Plate (stock since 1999)
One problem I've run into with polishing the stock trigger plate is that if you don't do it perfectly, it can and will wear quickly and scrape against the sear plate. Even in a stock trigger-plate, wear at the trigger-sear interface adds roughness to the trigger pull. The solution to this is plating the trigger with a more lubricious substance. I used to use a prototype titanium nitride (the same TiN coating they used to put on their 'mag bolts) coated trigger that Pro-Team was supposed to have released quite some time ago. They still have not released it, and I've heard that Budd Orr has asked them not to sell it. P & P Paintball currently includes fat nickel plated trigger plates as part of all their trigger-jobs. Both work marvelously to reduce friction and wear between the trigger and sear. The result is a smoother trigger pull and less wear over the long term. Now the stock Autococker comes with a polished, chrome-coated trigger plate that is every bit as good as any coated trigger ever released.
- Bevelled Sear Plate
This has long been a standard part of Automag trigger-jobs: bevel the sear to slope down to the side so it will drop off the bolt more smoothly and easily. I never would have thought to do this on the Autococker. Danny Love did. On a Bad Boyz Toyz Autococker I recently reviewed, I took off the trigger frame just to see if anything else was new in there. I saw that he'd actually shaved down one side of the sear plate where it catches the lug to release the sear lug more smoothly. The result was that the trigger was noticeably smoother than otherwise. Very cool, very new, only from Bad Boyz Toyz (as far as I know).
- Slotless Trigger Plate
This has been stock on the STO since 1999, the Autococker since the 2000 model, and on all ANS Autocockers. The idea here is that they have replaced the slot for the timing rod with a hole. This does the same thing as flattening the end of the timing rod with the old trigger plates, but taken to an extreme. The result is that there is no lag between the movement of the trigger and activation of the 4-way valve. The result is a very very short trigger pull. Unfortunately, this does not allow you to time in the standard gap between the firing and cocking stages of the pull to completely eliminate blowback. They will also slip out of time with less sear/lug wear.
By the way, if you have one of these new plates and do not like this new arrangement, you can get old-style slotted plates for both pre-1998 and post-1998 trigger frames. Both RAGE Sports and P&P carry them.