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The TandemKross Manticore Trigger is the most feature-packed trigger available for the 10/22 and similarly-patterned firearms. This innovative trigger assembly is adjustable for weight, pre-travel and over-travel. It’s also got a magazine release that works whether pushed or pulled. Instead of a button, the safety is now a rotary (toggle-type) ambidextrous safety. And the bolt lock gets an extended button for easier locking. All this in a newly designed housing that drops right in, just like the OEM unit.
Since the trigger performance itself is going to be the main concern for some, I’m breaking up this review into the trigger, and then all the other features. If you already read my original overview of the TandemKross Manticore Trigger, some of this might be old news. The difference is, that article was based on the details they provided me. This article is based on my hands-on time with the trigger. So let’s get to it.
TandemKross Manticore Trigger specs and stuff
This fully adjustable trigger is based on the flat-faced Victory trigger shoe. If you don’t like that, you might as well stop now, but you’d be missing out. It’s become one of my favorite triggers over the last few years, and I’ve got some variant of it on at least five different firearms. Here, it gets the usual pre-travel and over-travel options. Plus it’s adjustable for pull weight. Out of the box, it’s set to between 3 and 3-1/2 pounds. Their instruction page lists how many turns to go from 2 lbs, 11 ounces, all the way up to 5 lbs, 12.5 ounces. There may be some slight variance there, but you get the idea. It’s easily set with the included wrench, but must be done before installation, as the screw is located next to the hammer.
On the left side of the housing, in line with the top of the trigger shoe, is the screw for setting the pre-travel. It’s possible to get the trigger to the point where there is little, if any, takeup. Pull, bang. Repeat. And of course, the screw in the face of the trigger sets the over-travel. This is always nice, but when combined with a short reset, it’s a much more noticeable difference. As far as servicing the Manticore, it looks mostly familiar inside. I’ve got a few other aftermarket triggers, and everything inside is so proprietary, I’m hesitant to even consider taking them apart myself.
Preinstallation: Setting up the TandemKross Manticore Trigger
The first thing I did (after photos, of course), was adjust the pull weight. I just turned the screw a bit in both directions, until I found what felt right to me. I wasn’t after a specific number, but it turns out that 2 lbs, 8 ounces is my ideal for this trigger. That’s taken with my gauge at the bottom of the shoe. From closer to the middle of the trigger, it measured 2 lbs, 12 ounces. Lesson: Unless you are at a competition where a specific weight is required, set it to what feels best, and don’t worry about what your gauge says.
While the pre-travel is easily set, it was already perfect for me. As was the over-travel. This may be due in part because each TandemKross Manticore Trigger is handbuilt to order. I’m sure that once the final assembly is complete, someone does a bit of adjusting and testing. So pre-travel is almost imperceptible, as is over-travel. Once the trigger breaks, it stops. With everything set to my liking, it was ready to be installed.
Unlike the usual “drop-in” complete trigger installation, there are a few extra steps. I already had the toolless Bolt Keeper button off as well as both rotary safety levers. They need to come off for the trigger to fit into the opening in a stock or chassis. Beyond that, it goes into the receiver like any other trigger group, held in place by the cross pins. Or KrossPins, if you like convenience. With those parts removed, it drops right in. After the action screw is tightened down, reinstall the Bolt Keeper button and the safety levers. The Bolt Keeper doesn’t require tools, while the safety levers are installed with the included wrench. This may get tedious for anyone obsessive about cleaning, although the features probably outweigh that for most users.
To save anyone from asking, here’s the full build specs. Elite 22 receiver with a matching bolt and charging handle. Summit Precision barrel, threaded for one of their muzzle devices, when being picked up by a timer matters. It’s set in a Luth-AR MCA-22 chassis for perfect ergonomics and light weight. And I topped it off with a Viridian RFX 15 green dot. At exactly 80 ounces unloaded (an even 5 lbs) it weighs the same as a stock Ruger carbine or Target model, and a pound less than their own Competition model. Although I suspect it performs a bit better than any of them.
So does the TandemKross Manticore Trigger itself feel like 375 bucks?
Disclaimer: I have another aftermarket trigger priced within $5 of this one. But comparing a two-stage benchrest trigger to the TandemKross Manticore Trigger is an apples to bananas comparison. The Manticore seems more targeted (see what I did there?) at Steel Challenge-style and Rimfire Challenge shooting. At 2.5 lbs, I could absolutely use this trigger for a precision rifle. But it wouldn’t be the best tool, any more than using a six-ounce trigger would be while standing and engaging multiple targets. Had to get that out of the way before I discuss what this trigger feels like.
At the range, I set up two targets at 25 yards. Having to transition back and forth was the goal. With a fresh magazine, I let loose. And while my adjusting and dry firing may have prepared me a bit, it did not disappoint. Pulling the trigger, there is the tiniest bit of slack, and then it hits the wall. At 2.5 pounds, it’s not a “glass rod” breaking, but still very crisp. Maybe thick glass rod? The reset is instant, with a barely audible click, but enough tactile feel to know it’s ready for another pull. No wasted travel on this trigger. For shooting against the clock, it rocks. Over a few hundred rounds, it felt like it operates in a tiny range of a few millimeters. I can see the appeal for any sort of dynamic shooting. And all rounds were kept well within a 5″ circle, so 8″ steel plates would be no problem.
Which brings me to the rest of the features of the TandemKross Manticore Trigger.
Cornerstone Rotary Safety
I’ll start with what I am sure is the most controversial, or polarizing feature. Love it or hate it, the Cornerstone Rotary Safety is certainly interesting. When in the horizontal position, it slightly blocks the trigger housing. This is obviously the safe position. And I say “obviously” because it’s much easier to see than the typical pushbutton safety. Pushed into the vertical position, it’s ready to fire. When looking at the original photos, I had some reservations about it. In use, I really liked it, as I found it intuitive, and it took almost no time to adapt to it. My wrong-handed (lefty) friend thought it was great. Of course. Verdict? Don’t dismiss it until you’ve tried it.
Fireswitch Extended Magazine Release
I still owe my readers a full review of this, but I can sum it up right now. Awesome*. Yes, awesome, with an asterisk. Being able to drop a magazine with a simple push or pull of the Fireswitch makes it one of the nicest features. If you shoot multiple firearms, you may have one that requires a push, and others that require a pull. No need to think about it here. Just move the lever in either direction, and you’re golden. So why the asterisk? If you happen to be the kind of person that frequently bumps your release, this may not be for you. It can be unforgiving by its very nature of being so easy to use. Otherwise, this is easily one of my favorite 10/22 accessories. So it deserves its place on the Manticore, and is available as a separate upgrade for your OEM trigger too.
Bolt Keeper Extended Bolt Lock
If the Cornerstone is questionable, and the Fireswitch is awesome without question, the Bolt Keeper is my neutral. Yes, it allows one-handed bolt locking, but so does the TandemKross Guardian. This just makes it a little easier. Use your thumb to pull the bolt back while engaging the button with your forefinger. Release the bolt by pulling back on the charging handle and letting it go. Users with small hands may not appreciate it as much. Just as users with very large hands, who struggle with the stock-sized blade of a lever, may appreciate it more. I want to say that I can take it or leave it, but perhaps over time, it will grow on me.
Finger index points and oversized trigger guard
I almost forgot to mention these features, since I didn’t use them at all. Inside the trigger guard, and just behind the safety, there are cuts on either side. Semi-circular, they fit fingertips quite well. They are designed as an indexing point – a place to rest your finger just outside the trigger guard. But my large hands and long fingers would require an awkward bend to use them, so I didn’t. I can see where it would be useful for others though. The transition from finger off the trigger to on would be quick. And I like the larger trigger guard, although I have yet to wear gloves when shooting. It’s nice to have that option too.
About those color options…
When ordering the TandemKross Manticore Trigger, you can choose from two color options. Either all black, or with a red trigger, safety, Bolt Keeper and Fireswitch. Traditionally, TandemKross has added a small upcharge for the red bits. But I’m happy to say that as of this writing, either option is priced at the same $374.99.
Conclusion, or “who is the TandemKross Manticore Trigger buyer?”
When I got my sneak preview of the Manticore, I was impressed with the entire package. Lots of features, plenty of adjustability. Then I saw the price, and my enthusiasm faded a bit. But after spending some time with it, I’m certain there is a market out there that wants this exact setup. It’s a great trigger for all sorts of competition, as well as general use. It’s full of innovative features. My guess is that it will be purchased mostly by shooters looking for an edge in their competition guns. And a smaller group of enthusiasts who prize innovation and quality, but don’t need a six-ounce trigger, will also snatch them up. That said, I had to do a bit of math.
If you upgraded an OEM trigger with the Ultimate Trigger Kit, Fireswitch, and Bolt Keeper, you’d be looking at $210. Which wouldn’t get you all the adjustments, the rotary safety, or the aluminum housing. Let’s say this is a full custom build though. Now you’d have to source an OEM standard or BX trigger, at a cost of $50-$80+ with taxes and shipping. At the low end, you’d be in it for $260, and still wouldn’t have the full adjustments and rotary safety. In that context, it starts to make a little more sense financially, seeing as how you’ve probably got at least $500+ wrapped up in your receiver, bolt, and barrel. Dropping this in your stock 10/22? Maybe not so much. Pricey? Yes. Worth it? To those that want all the features, absolutely.
I’d like to thank TandemKross for providing their Manticore Trigger for my testing and evaluation. And as always, feel free to use the comment option below to ask any questions or offer your opinion.