I've often wondered and may have even asked before but don't believe I ever got an answer to the above question. Typically, I buy a rifle and then try to tune a load to the rifle. I understand that the harmonic dampener on the Mini-14 target model allows you to tune the gun to the load. I like the idea of a mini-14 hunting rifle and have one that does 1.5 MOA pretty consistently with handloads. I've heard that the Target model is way too heavy for a hunting rig. What about just unscrewing the dampener and working up a load for the rifle in the usual manner? Has anyone tried working up a load without the dampener and gotten decent groups? How about shortening the barrel to 16" and trying it? I read where several of you have done that to their 18" guns to stiffen the barrel and improve accuracy so wouldn't it work on the Target model (particularly the 5828 standard stock rifle) too?