Ultimate Ultra gets even better

Rowan Engineering Replacement BSA Ultra & Scorpion

It's now easy to take a rifle and carry out a near-full rebuild using a host of aftermarket parts.

While some modifications are done for purely cosmetic reasons, most people would agree that a factory trigger is one area that benefits massively from some extra care and attention. Enter Rowan Engineering and the product reviewed here - a replacement trigger unit for the BSA Ultra and Scorpion.

As factory triggers go, the two-stage example on my Ultra was not bad out of the box, although there was some creep present. Nevertheless, I hoped Rowan's multi-adjustable trigger would give me a little bit more control. I wasn't to be disappointed.

Rowan's Ultra/Scorpion triggers come with a choice of polished aluminium, black or brass blades. I went with the basic aluminium blade, which ties in nicely with the trim on the rest of my already heavily modified Ultra. The standard of workmanship is very high indeed.

Getting ready

The trigger comes well-packaged in a bubble-wrapped zip-locked bag, along with a omprehensive set of written instructions and photos. It also includes a 2mm Allen key and a 1.5mm Allen key, which are needed to adjust the trigger. All you need to supply yourself is the M6/5mm Allen key that is needed to remove the action from the stock. A little grease is useful as well. Rowan's instructions are very good, but for anyone wanting to know what work is involved, I thought I'd share my own observations. Fitting the trigger is a relatively simple job and no special skills are needed - other than a little concentration.

The first thing to do is to clear a work area and set up your gun vice. If you haven't already got one then stop reading, go and visit your local gunshop and grab a proper cradle or vice. This will pay dividends in the long run for everything from scope mounting to barrel cleaning. And yes, airgun barrels do need cleaning too. Make sure your rifle is unloaded and uncocked, place it in the vice and unscrew the stock retaining bolt. Make sure the rifle is properly supported when the stock finally comes free so you do not stress the thread.

Removing the old trigger

You now need to take out the BSA sear and trigger assemblies and refit them using the new Rowan parts. You must take care not to lose the two small springs and brass top hats, which fit into the free end of each of the springs, as well as the two nylon spacers either side of the trigger unit. These all need to be reused.

The sear unit must be taken out first, and this is done by pushing out the 3mm retaining pin. I used the 2mm Allen keys to do this. The pin has to be reused as well - and is also pressed into service in a very ingenious way later on. Watch out for that tiny spring and top hat in the sear assembly. The BSA trigger unit can then be removed the same way. The retaining pin is longer here, and cannot be confused with the sear pin. Again, ensure you keep hold of the spring and top hat as well as the two spacers. Clean any gunk off the parts and re-lube with a tiny amount of grease.

Rowan's trigger unit can now be installed, with the addition of the original spring, top hat and spacers. A small dab of grease can be used to tack the spring in the circular recess in the trigger unit. The standard of engineering is exemplary, and everything fits exactly as it should. More grease can be used to temporarily hold the top hat in place on the open end of the spring.

The trick now is to reinstall the whole unit while keeping the nylon spacers in place. Rowan has come up with a clever way to do this. First, place one spacer on the inside of the trigger housing on the action of the rifle and keep it in place by using the trigger unit retaining pin. Insert this from the outside, and only push it in far enough to hold the spacer in the right place. If the pin stands proud of the spacer it will interfere with the trigger assembly when you slide it into place. Again, a small amount of grease can be used to tack everything in place temporarily. Now you can do the same with the other spacer, this time using the sear retaining pin to hold the spacer in place from the other side.

You can now position the trigger unit, making sure to line it up with the nylon spacers/retaining pins while making sure the small spring and top hat stay in the right place. The trigger unit is now held in place by pushing the trigger retaining pin - the long one - all the way through the whole unit. This will in turn push out the shorter sear retaining pin which was used to help locate the nylon spacer. All clever stuff.

Having fitted the new trigger assembly, it's now time to refit the original sear unit, again taking care to ensure the spring and top hat stay in the right place and do not fall out during installation. With that job done, you can now adjust the trigger itself by using the small grub screw in the top of the unit, with Rowan suggesting a good starting point being to centralise the slot with the safety catch applied. If you need to adjust it further, check to ensure the safety catch can still be applied, and of course check it will trip the sear when dry-firing the unloaded rifle with the safety catch in the off position.

Adjusting the trigger

The blade itself can be adjusted for angle, height and reach. The height of the trigger relative to the pad of your finger can be adjusted to one of two pre-set positions. The default position is higher, while removing the blade and reinstalling it upside down makes it sit lower. The default upper position was perfect for me, so I left it alone. The angle of the blade and the reach - how far forward it sits - can be adjusted at the same time by loosening the blade, moving it forwards or backwards to taste, turning the blade off-centre if required, then re-tightening. Having adjusted the trigger it's a good idea to lay down the rifle then pick it up and go through the motions of dry firing. The pad of your trigger finger should naturally fall on the blade. If it doesn't, then you need to readjust the height, reach or angle.

So how does the new trigger work in practice? I went to the range and put 50 shots through a variety of paper targets to get a feel for the new trigger. The main improvement is fit, as my trigger has now been set up perfectly to fit my hand. There is a lot of first stage travel, just like the original, but the new unit feels much more precise when squeezing off the shot at the second stage. The existing creep is still there, albeit very slight, but this time you can really feel the break point, making it much more predictable. I wonder what the trigger would be like if Rowan produced a replacement sear unit as well? That would be awesome.

My trigger cost me £36.50 and I think it's money well spent. I always shot well with my Ultra, but the new trigger is nicer to use and provides more feel. It's not an essential purchase, but it's an extremely good investment nonetheless.

Author Mike