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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:mad:
I needed an accurate mini 14 for my wife to use on varmints so I turned to Accuracy Rifle Systems in Odessa TX to do the work. This co. advertises in Precision Shooting, varmint hunter & several other magazines, as well as an article in Performance Shooter. In the article the owner states that he took a new mini 14 and shot 3 to 4 in. groups. He rebarrelled it with a Walther barrel & got 1 1/2 in. groups. He then "piller bedded" it and got groups measuring .40. I thought, "This is the place for me." The following is my experience. I called ARS to find out what to do & was told not to send it, they were swamped, wait a few months & call back. I did, the price had gone up $100. I sent it anyway, got it back after not too long a wait. The work seemed to be good except for a slight ridge on the shoulder of the case. Since it didn't hurt anything, I let it go. The barrel itself was NICE...smoothest bore I've ever seen. I glass bedded it like A.M.U. used to bed M1&M14 rifles. With this setup I got 1 to 1 1/4 in groups. I should have been happy but I remembered those .40 groups in the article. Since I was going to TX any way & had to go through Odessa I decided to take it with me & show my bedding to him and see if he thought his "piller" bedding would make it shoot any better. He was out of town, so I left it & a case with his wife (nice lady) with instructions & a credit card # so as not to have to pay COD. Got it back after another wait, no case, the first thing I noticed was a ding in the stock that had not been there. I got to looking & found that it was not my stock, there was no sign of Bisonite bedding on this stock. Looking further I found the serial no. on the stock was different. Also with the gun were three targets...the best group was 1 3/4 in, worse than before. There was also an invoice copy showing I had been charged $25 for test firing. Oh, did I tell you he sent it back COD? Another $7.50! I called about the case. He said his wife had already chewed him out about it & it was on the way. As for the groups, he said the range was full of deer hunters & none of them had a spotting scope & they kept interrupting him & he could not spend all day on the range. On the bottom of the invoice was a note saying the bases didn't align with the bore & I would have to use windage adjustable rings. I mounted a 3 to 9 scope & zeroed without any trouble. Went to shoot, best groups 2in. I tried a new 6 to 24 scope, also no problem on zero. Groups no better with 10 different loads. I called TX. He said he could not understand how the stocks got switched & that all he could do was rebed in a brand new stock. He also asked about the scope ring problem. I told him I had not had a problem with either scope. I sent it back to be redone. I enclosed a letter to remind him of our phone conversation & told him again that there was no problem with the rings. I had sent my rings with the rifle at his request; I thought he just wanted to use them because they worked. Got it back with a COD bill for $94! Invoice showed $40 for " milling .030 off the front base to bring the scope back into its range of travel." Also a $35 charge for test firing the rest for shipping & handling & COD. There also were three targets. The best was 3/4 in. My first thought was to fuss about the bill but since it would now shoot under an inch I thought, "What the Hell, it shoots, I'll let it go." I start to mount scope & find that the .030 had been removed from the top of the base. To cure a windage problem you lower the base? I THINK NOT. Also what did the problem he claimed existed have to do with group size? I had to shim the scope in the ring to keep it from hitting the top of the handguard. He had included the load info. on the targets. I loaded 25 rounds plus foulers & went to shoot. Guess what? 2 to 21/2 in groups. Do you think maybe the 3/4 group was shot with something else? Anyone interested in a semi-accurized mini 14, I'll throw in the TX phone no. Sorry to be so long winded but I thought others ought to know how this outfit operates. LET THE BUYER BEWARE!
 

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Wow! Such great customer service and gunsmithing. I'm gonna send my Mini- to them RIGHT AWAY! (Not).:rolleyes:

Anyone else have experience with ARS?
 

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Larry glad to see you made it over from Gun and Games. Sorry about your luck with that company thats a few bad things I've heard about them. Maybe it will keep someone else from getting burned.
 

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My apologies for the length of this. I have talked with Mr. Kaufmann more since, and he scared the hell out of me.
--reloader

From: "David N. Kaufmann" <[email protected]> Save Address - Block Sender
To: [email protected] Save Address
Subject: ARS TROUBLES
Date: Sat, 24 Feb 2001 11:00:06 -0700
ReplyReply AllForwardDeletePreviousNextClose

Please take my/our advise and do not do business with Accuracy Rifle
Systems in Odessa Texas!!!

One of the items that I wanted ARS to do was to drill and tap the
receiver for a Leupold STD Base. Upon receipt of my rifle I noticed
that the base was not mounted over the bore centerline, parallel to the
bore, but instead was angled approximately 5 to 10 degrees off to the
left. I took the base off and sure enough, neither of the mounting
holes were over the bore centerline.

In this condition it was impossible to mount the scope over the bore
centerline. The best that I could accomplish was to mount the scope
parallel to, but offset from, the bore centerline. This was
unacceptable to me for two reasons: 1) It looked like crap! 2) I
would have parallax errors at all ranges except for my desired sight in
range. I just spent big bucks for a match grade barrel. With the
butchered up scope base mounting, I would be unable to take advantage of

its' new accuracy potential.

Talking to their customer service was like talking to a brick wall. The

guy at ARS told me that it was impossible to be in the condition that I
described to him, and that I must be mistaken. I told him several times

that I was an engineer, that I am able to take angular measurements, and

that it was in fact the way that I had described it to him. Next he so
much as stated that the receiver metal was very hard and that he broke
several taps in the process and that I was lucky to have it tapped at
all. I told him I thought that his quality control was extremely poor
and asked how could such poor workmanship leave the shop? He then told
me that I was lucky to get the gunsmith who I got, since there were
other people in his shop who were not as good as the one that I was so
fortunate to have received! He was rude, condescending and stated that
the ultimate responsibility was mine for sending the rifle to ARS in the

first place! After all, they did not request that I send them my rifle.

I hung up the phone in shock!

I was unable too re-drill and tap two additional holes on bore
centerline due to the proximity of the butchered ARS holes. My solution

was to take the rifle to my local gunsmith and have him fill in the
screw holes with filler screws to cover up the ARS mess. I was now
forced into using an inferior non gunsmith type scope base that replaced

the rear sight unit.

In addition to the butchered up scope base mounting, ARS cracked the top

portion of the gas clamp. Also, the front sight/flash hider was
installed with a slight but noticeable cant to the left.

I have yet to shoot the rifle to see how much accuracy I picked up. I
think that I am hesitant to due so, knowing that I will have several
problems that I will need to be overcome.
 

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...the other one.
Subject: ARS
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 21:42:58 EDT
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected],
t[email protected], [email protected]
Guys,

I got a lot of responses to my comment asking what my experience was
with ARS. Here's the, not so short but detailed version. I also want to

apologize for the slow response. I wrote this last week but in my
preparation to go to the USPSA Championships last week I forgot to
forward it to all of you.

Fall of 98 I talked with Tim at ARS, asked him about what he offered and

such. Over a couple of weeks we decided that I was going to go with the

stainless match grade barrel. The middle of the three grades of barrels

that he offers. I was gonna go with a new stock but he said that he
could make the factory stock shoot just as well as a new stock so that
was saving me $. Finally settled on the stainless barrel, trigger job
to "Around 3 pounds" and bedding the action in the factory stock. He
guaranteed "Sub 1", 5 shot groups at 100 yds" this being with handloads.

I sent it off early Nov with a promised date of early to mid January.
Total cost being around $700, I don't have the exact figure in front of
me.

One of you said that there were multiple gunsmiths at ARS. I got the
impression from Tim and the woman who usually answered the phone that
Tim was the only smithy there. I was/am under the impression that it's
a one man shop.

Two weeks after the promised date I gave him a call, not rushing him but

just to see where we stood. This is where the fun started! He said the

barrel was on backorder. After another couple weeks it was still on
backorder. Finally in march I got it in. It looked great! The trigger

felt good, a good amount of take up but fairly crisp on the sear, at a
shade over 3.5 lbs. I'm used to my IPSC pistol at 1.25 lbs so this was
heavy but good for a utility rifle. I couldn't wait to get it on the
bench.

My shooting buddy is a pretty darn good riflesmith himself, he offered
to mount the scope and help me with the break in and bench work. We
started with the standard break in process. The 1 shot, clean for 5,
then 3 shots, clean for 15, then groups of 5 then groups of 10 between
cleaning until close to 100 rounds. We didn't try to shoot any serious
groups doing this but it did appear to be doing pretty good. We did get

the scope sighted
in pretty close. The scope by the was is a brand new Leupold 4.5x14x50
mm OBJ (This comes into play later).

Finally we get it to the bench. I was working but Richard got a perfect

afternoon and put it on his bench (4x6's cemented in the ground and
bolted together, in his front yard, literally). He called me at the
fire
station to break the bad news. The best he got with several different
handloads and some factory match ammo was around 4", needless to say I
was
sick. Now for the record, Richard is a long time benchrest and varmint
shooter. He routinely shoots sub .4" or better groups with his rifles,
which he set up. Any problems with these groups was NOT shooter error.

I gave Tim a call, his answer was that my reloads were "inconsistent"
and that was the problem. So, I agreed to get some premium factory ammo

and give it another try. A couple days later I got a collection of
factory ammo. Some varmint stuff, some 'match' ammo etc. All good
quality ammo, Winchester, Federal and Remington, from 40 to 62 grains.

Again Richard got a pretty evening, no wind and perfect conditions. He
called me at the station again. Said that he couldn't do any better
with any of the ammo. Until the last box, some Winchester Supreme 55
gr. Ballistic Tips which he shot a 5 shot .680 group. We were thinking
we'd found the 'pet load'. He had the target for me the next evening
when I got over to his house. There it was, a nice group. Almost zeroed

on the target. We headed out to the bench to do it again. Same
conditions as the night before. Same box of ammo. Here is where I get
really bewildered and mad. The best it would do that day was around 4"
AND this group was 3" right and 4" high of the previous evenings group.
Now, the scope is mounted in properly lapped Ruger rings, lock-tighted
to the ranch rifle and TIGHT.

Here I am, on the phone with Tim again. Needless to say I'm upset and
concerned at this point. I'm asking two questions. First where are the

"Sub 1" groups" and second, why are the groups moving around? He pretty

much implied that we didn't know what we were doing. He finally agreed
for me to ship it back to him to check it out.

After two weeks with no word I gave him a call to find that he hadn't
touched it. Now I also own my own company and when I have a unsatisfied

customer he/she gets top priority. Obviously this isn't the case in
Odessa, Texas. Another two weeks and he says he shot it and it shot
"OK". After a lot of quizzing he finally admitted that he had
"recrowned" the barrel before going to the range. I'm not a gunsmith
but I know that a gunsmith wouldn't go to the trouble to recrown a
barrel without some reason. He denied that there was any problem, said
that it is "policy." I asked about the shifting of the groups which he
had totally forgotten about. He was gonna ship it back like it was. I
finally got him to agree to remount the scope, shoot it and wait a day
then shoot it again to compare. This took a lot of prodding. It was
several weeks again with no word so I gave him a call. He seemed upset
that I was calling and got fairly rude. I think that calling after
several weeks when my rifle was there for warranty work was reasonable.

A few days after that call I hear the UPS truck come up the drive. I
wasn't expecting anything until I see the long box he's taking off the
shelf. Now at this point I'm thinking, "Well, he could have let me know

it was coming". Then the UPS guy says, "I doubt you've got the money
order yet do you"? Come to find out he has sent my rifle back to me
without calling COD for $87!!! Now I'm furious. What in the world is
he charging me $87 for? This was warranty work wasn't it??? I could
see the shipping but that's not this much. Also he could have called
and I'd have put it on a card instead of paying the COD charge. Well, I

run out and get a money order while the UPS guy is in the neighborhood.

I open the box to find my rifle and 5 targets. No invoice or note.
Then I see that he's taken the rings off the rifle!!! Have any of you
lapped a set of steel Ruger rings??? It's a real pain in the A**.
After I finally get him on the phone he's the rudest I've ever had
anyone get on the phone. Says that the $87 break down as follows: $30

for "Test Firing" and $34 for ammo (34 rounds), the remainder for
shipping and COD charge. My first reaction after shock is that I need
to go into the ammo loading business!!! The ammo is $1 per round
fired??? I ask why I should pay for test firing and ammo when the rifle

isn't doing what it's "Guaranteed" to do. His stance is that he didn't
do any modifications and it's shooting 1" with one of the loads. It
appears that he forgot about re-crowning the barrel. Not sure about
everyone else, but that is modifying in my eyes.

Then I take a good look at these groups. If the smallest one is "Under
an inch" then I need a new set of stainless calipers!!! It was right at

1.25". He had notes on this target saying that this group was shot in
"20-30 MPH winds". Now at this point I have to call BULL****!!! He got

rude, saying that it shot a 1" group for him and that's all he
guaranteed. It didn't shoot a 1" group, not that I got a copy of
anyway. He finally got so rude that I was getting really steamed. I
finally told him that he would never hear from me again and that the
three guys who I shoot with who were honestly planning to send him a
rifle would never call him if I had anything to do with it. I then hung
up.

I've been so upset with the service that I got that I haven't even shot
it yet since. I have gotten the scope mounted and it's in the truck.
Maybe I'll get to put it on paper friday afternoon.

Sorry for this turning into a book. So much for the short version huh?
All I can ask is that you really consider other alternatives before you
give ARS any of your money. I could live with the slightly larger than
promised groups if the service had been even remotely customer oriented
but I WILL NOT deal with a company who treats its customers the way Tim
treated me. I'll tell you how mad I was/am. I called VISA to see if
they could debit his account and get my money back. I was hoping to use

the warranty they provide but that only applies to products, not
services. DARN.

Again sorry for the length but I think it's worth it. Also, after my
first post to rec.guns another guy wrote me a note that was a mirror
image of my experience. Right down to some quotes when Tim was saying
that we didn't
know how to shoot groups and his false promises.

I hope this doesn't sound too biased. Well, actually I hope this does
sound biased!!! Please DO NOT DEAL WITH THIS GUY. Since I had these
problems I've talked to two guys who love their mini's after ARS did
them, and over a dozen who say what I am saying. Wish someone had told
me that a year ago...

Take care and good shooting.

Eddie Wood
[email protected]
Powhatan, VA.
 

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For my 2cents worth of experience with ARS: although I have not sent my rifle to them, Tim was very helpful in trying answer my questions on my "Kalifornia AR project". We corresponded over 4 e-mails and anwered all within 24 hours.
Although, he doesn't have my money yet!:eek:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
To djskit,

Take my advice and keep your rifle and your money at home. ARS is the poorest excuse for a gunsmith shop I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with. Of course if you just have a lot of money you want to throw away then go ahead and deal with them, but I would bet you'll be sorry. I can promise you this; you will spend at least $700 and the gun still won't shoot and every time you send it back to have something redone that wasn't done right to the first time it will cost you more. He talks a good show but you can't believe a thing he says.

Larry
 

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These negative responces to ARS are a surprise to me. I have corresponded thru email with Tim who seemed like a good enough person to me. I try not to ask for an accuracy garruntee from a smith because there are too many variables. There used to be a guy named Ridge Runner who posted here & he had a couple of Mini's done & swore by Tim's work. This all puts ARS on shaky ground as far as I'm concerned so I guess I'll just tinker with mine & hope for the best. Let's face it if you can do 2 MOA or better without spending more than a couple of hundred bucks you still have the AR-15 guys beat. It'd be a real job to find a standard A2 that shoots better than that anyway. After all when the factory doesn't expect better than 2" @ 50 yards you can't expect a tack driver.

Good luck
Bushwack
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
To Bushwhak,

When a man advertises 1/2 ingroups 7 writes articles (Perfornance Shooter Nov. 1995 ) detailing step by step what he did and says he got groups that measured .40 at 100yds I
sure as heck expect to get better than that.

Don't knock the AR15 to much my son has a Bushmaster that cost around $700, which is very little more than I paid ARS after paying for the rifle to begin with. Isure whis someone had told me about ARS before I got involved I'd would be $700 richer right now.

Larry
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Anyone can make a mistake. If you work you will screw up sometimes but an honorable man admits he messed up and fixes the mistake or refunds the cost. This JERK does neither. Instead he blames something or someone else & adds more cost.

Larry
 

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I got off the phone today with Accuracy Systems Inc. and spoke with Carl. He sounded pretty cool on the phone and we discussed my upcoming project. All in all he was helpful and easy to talk to. (I kept telling him I really didn't need a sub MOA rifle and he kept up his sales pitch of "well this barrel has done 3/8" groups all the time". That's great, just give me a 2" rifle! :rolleyes: )
I'm waiting on a stock I ordered so won't be shipping off my rifle for a couple of weeks and I'm keeping my options open.

Anyone dealt with Clark Custom? http://www.clarkcustomguns.com/min14con.htm I sent them an e-mail a couple of weeks ago and never heard back.
 

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As Flak says Randy at CPC has an excellent rep & I would not hesitate having him do any work on my rifle. As for Larry & reloader's horror stories all I can say is it's a damn shame. A man should have should have pride in whatever he does, even if it's just replacing a washer in a leaking faucet.

Just my 2¢
Bushwack
 

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I haven't sent my mini to ARS and won't after the posts. Mine shot 1in for two shots with reloads then the groups went wild. I recently bought a laminated stock, and yes (ARS adj) trigger, and a JP Muzzle break. Installed it all and adjusted the trigger. I have a Leatherwood Scope on it and shoot 60 gr. Hornady HP's w/25.5 gr. of H 335 w/CCI 41 srp. The first group ran 1.5" for 3 shots at around 75yds, after resighting the scope for stock and muzzle break it shoots 1" to less with these bullets. I also tried 62gr fmjscbt and they shot around 1.5". All of this with a stock barrel. I think the JP muzzle break made most of the difference, it weighs about 4ozs. and does control some of the recoil although it wasn't much to begin with. All in all I 'm satisfied with my luck.
 

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I saw a few people asking about places to take a mini-14 for accurizing or simply buy one already accurized. I have spoken to both the company in Odessa, TX and Accuracy Systems in Aurora, CO. I had heard some bad things about the guys in Odessa, like that they only enlarge your existing gas block in stead of custom making a beefed up one, etc. I decided to go with the guys out of Aurora. They guarentee under 1" groups at 100yrds. The guys did however tell me that they would only guarentee under 1" at a 100yrds even though realistically they were getting 1/4 to 1/2" at 100yrds with their "Ultra Match" barrels. I purchased a complete rifle from them for about $1,240.
1. Ruger mini-14 ranch
2. Ruger synthetic stock
3. Barrel: 18" Broached 1:10 twist, Stainless steel teflon coated, .750" diameter, heavy .750" gas block (teflon coated), 11 deg. target crown, free floated.
4. 3.5 lbs trigger
The nice thing about this weapon is that it is leagal in California, where I am stationed for the next 3 yrs, and as soon as I leave I can put a pistol grip stock on it and keep swaping it depending on what state I go to after that. I won't get this rifle for another month, but I'll report back after I've broken it in and seen what it can really do. If anyone has any further questions, my e-mail is [email protected]
 

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How ya all doing.First time here,and I've read some mighty interesting
takes on getting the Mini to hit something.On mine I went a different
route.I had heard good things about Shilen's heavy barrel,so that's what
I went and put on the snout of my receiver.This is a pretty sweet barrel
1:9 twist-20"long.This barrel is heavy from the gas block to the muzzle.
From the gas block to the breech it's around the same size as Factory.
Cost me around 165.00 to have it index to the receiver,extractor groove
cut,and to mount a JP Enterprize muzzle brake on the end.Barrel was
around 275.00 with cost/s/h.Mounted it in a Choate Sporter stock.It's
ok,but I would't buy another.I've shaved the front of the op-rod so as
not to hit the gas block.Some say this is nuts.My rifle.Have added a
recoil buffer.Micro polished the inners of the receiver,the bolt,the runners
for the op-rod and the inner section of the op-rod itself.Have rebuilt the
trigger using Wollf springs and get a trigger at around 2/12 pounds with
very little creep,as I like.After mounting the action in the stock,instead
of bedding it,I'm trying shimstock at different areas on both the port and
starboard side of the stock to action.I use Millet Angle lock high rings
with a Tasco,yes Tasco 6x24-40 world class plus stadia scope.With
Black Hills moly the gun prints anywhere from dime size 3 shot groups to
50 cent size groups out to 100 yrds.I also have a Harris bi-pod to hold
it and a Blackhawk cheek pc for me mug.A mini can be made to shoot.
It takes money and some work but it can be done.Sorry to hear about
the Tx sting.Hope you get it worked out.bg
 

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I just sent my mini-30 to ASI for "the works". I've been waiting for Bill Watson's review of his mini-14 (just came back from ASI), but he hasn't had a chance to shoot it yet (Mini14 talk-> Accurizing mini-14-> Barrel length advice).

Have you had a chance to shoot yours yet? Many of us are eager to find out about ASI's claims of under 1MOA.:)
 
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