397 finished
Benjamin 397 with curly maple stock and Williams peep sight.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8
Part 9
Part 10
Part 11

This report covers:

  • Different
  • Oh, oh!
  • Discussion
  • Off your high horse!
  • Making the sear smooth
  • Summary

Today we are going to look at the trigger of the new Benjamin 397. This will be interesting for all of us.

Different

I took the buttstock off the rifle and saw the modular trigger. Well, that looks different.  Let’s see.

397 trigger
The new Benjamin 397 trigger is a modular unit.

To remove the trigger assembly remove the threaded bushing in the front of the unit — that’s what the single stock screw attaches to. It has flats for this. Also remove both small Phillips screws on either side of the rear of the tube that houses the trigger. In the picture above look straight up from the trigger blade to see the screw on the right side of the rifle.

To do this job right take off the tension by opening the pump handle. If you don’t the valve body will push back when the bushing and the two side screws are removed.

397 trigger off
The trigger assembly is off.

397 pump open
I have opened the pump arm. This takes the tension off the firing valve that puts tension on the hammer and hammer spring. If I had done this first, the threaded bushing would have come out easily.

Oh, oh!

Now we come to the moment I have been dreading. This unit is split down the middle. In the old days the nasty engineers would put tiny ball bearings under spring pressure so they would release at the worst possible moment as you were separating the cases halves. After that you never knew where to put them,assuming you ever found the ball bearings again.  But those guys all retired and were replaced by more sensible guys who apparently don’t care whether you are looking inside. Let’s look.

397 trigger inside
The round coil of the sear spring fits over the pin just below it and the leg of the spring rests against the safety, putting tension on it.

397 trigger inside assembled
Here is the thousand-word picture. This shows almost everything about how this trigger operates. For example, you can see that the sear spring also puts tension on the trigger blade. Why do we need that coiled spring behind the trigger? You can also see that when the safety is pushed in from the left, the fat leg gets in the way of the trigger and blocks it.

Discussion

At this point I see that by removing the coiled spring that pushes against the trigger blade I will knock off a couple pounds of trigger pull. I don’t need to test it to know that.

But what about the sear? What does it look like? Let’s see.

397 hammer and spring
The sear looks like it was punched out or cut by an EDM (electronic discharge machine).

Off your high horse!

People will see that picture of the sear and immediately mount their steed to tilt at the windmill. Relax, guys — it works! Yes, when you see it enlarged 20 times it looks rough. But the way it functions, it is really no problemo. Contact is only made on the lower half of the part in the picture. That’s what gets in the way of the ridges on the hammer, preventing it from going forward until pulling the trigger lowers this sear out of the way.

397 hammer and spring
The hammer and hammer spring.

Polishing a sear like this is like chrome-plating the inside of your car wheels. It doesn’t make them roll better and no one will ever see.

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Making the sear smooth

However, since I have the opportunity, I will polish the sear lightly. On the internet I have read where guys say they need to “grind” on the sear. Not on this one, you don’t. This is no doubt a piece of 1018 or 1020 low-carbon steel that was cut and shaped and then tumbled.  Maybe someone touched it to a wheel before heat-treating.

The heat treatment is extremely thin. Grinding or filing will cut through to the soft, un-hardenable steel below and then you have a problem. But judicious use of an Arkansas stone will just flatten the high spots and make it smooth-ER. Go slow, use magnification and remember — this isn’t the real problem. The bigger problem is that coiled spring that we eliminated.

Summary

 I have another surprise on tap that I will tell you about next time when we look at the Benjamin 397 Regent Grade again.