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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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?
 

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I'm new to the mini platform, so I may not know what I'm talking about, but I'd wager a bet that "tuning a load to the rifle" has a lot to do with how the gas system is reacting to a particular load. Just a hunch, really.

The whole harmonic dampener thing seems like a really wacky way to tune a rifle. The barrel shouldn't have POI impacting harmonics to begin with, IMHO. I think a cryo treatment plus an adjustable gas block makes more sense. Just my opinion, which may well change after a few hundred more rounds.
 

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Just to get to the heart of the matter;
Back when I was getting involved in NRA Service Rifle competition, I was taught by my mentors that there's three things which have the most influence on the mechanical accuracy/precision of a rifle...barrel, bedding, and bullets.
Back then those things were known as the "three B's", but regardless of what terminology one uses, they are in fact the three (basic) things which must be optimized if one wants his rifle to perform at it's best...and that's not going to change...

So to me, the question at hand is not so much "how precise will a Target Model Mini shoot without it's damper?"...it's more a question of how's it's bedding?, it's overall barrel condition, chamber, crown, twist rate etc. in terms of design/execution?, and how well suited to our goals is the ammo we are feeding it?...
In short, the answer to those questions are going to determine how well any given Mini is going to shoot, and the Target Model is no exception. Thing is though, without actually having the exact gun and ammo in their hands to examine/test, no one can answer them.

On the other hand, there are things we do know.
For example, we do know that the Target Model has a somewhat more precise .223-only chamber, that it's barrel profile is configured differently than the Ranch Rifle models, that it has a dampener to fine tune the effects of barrel harmonics, and that the question at hand involves "what to do?" in terms of what might need to be done if/when the advantage of having the factory installed adjustable-dampener is done away with.

All in all, my best guess to that is that anything which has been proven to work on a Ranch Rifle will also work on a Target Model. After all, once we remove the factory damper and/or shorten the barrel, the only thing left of the Target Model is it's chamber and somewhat different barrel profile than Ruger uses on a Ranch Rifle...which also means that what we'd really have is basically a RR with limited ammo options, no sights, and depending on the exact use we put it to, may-well need the same sort of after market strut which one would put on any other Mini.

I'm not saying that I think starting a gun project by using a Target Model is in itself a bad idea, just saying that it may pay to think through what we're about to do in terms of all the "what's and why's" before hand.

Hope that something here has helped somewhat.

DGW
 

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The target model is similar to the Browning Boss System for tuning the harmonic vibrations or barrel whip. Brown gives a good explanation with a video on adjustments that are similar to the target model dampener.

How do I tune my BOSS?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Octhed,
I've cryo'd a couple Mini-14s and it had no effect on accuracy.
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I posed the questions because I was just thinking that one might be able to have a more portable but more accurate Mini-14 for a hunting rig by getting the Target model, chopping & crowning the barrel, bedding the action, doing a little trigger work and have a nice 1MOA coyote gun after some load work up. I think a strut would just add weight and it would need to be a custom job as no one makes them for the heavy barrels. It shouldn't need one.
 
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I had the barrel on my Target model chopped down to 18.5 inches, which basically removes all of the ultra-course threading that the harmonizer rides on. The gun shot 1MOA before the chop with many good loads, and still does now. Having lost the adjustability of the harmonizer, I slipped on one of the Limbsaver rubber-donut accurizer gadgets, which seems to have just as much effect on group sizes with various loads as the harmonizer did. Harmonics exist in any barrel, and playing with them (either with the harmonizer, or by altering the placement of the rubber donut) definitely affects accuracy.

I also installed an Amega Ranges picatinny-front hand guard, which clamps tightly to the barrel and may act as a strut of sorts. I did this on a standard model Mini in the past and immediately achieved improved accuracy (went from 2 MOA to 1.5MOA just with the scout scope mount). I can't really say that I see a difference with this rifle before and after the scope mount installation.

I also switched the laminate stock out and got a Hogue. The Target model out-of-the-box is a pig; it's now much lighter and handier, and is my favourite coyote rifle.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
johnwm,
That's the exact kind of info I've been trying to get for quite some time. I love the Mini-14 platform which is quite natural for me but it is a bit of a hobby accurizing them (which I have done: bedding, strut, smaller bushing, buffer, etc.).
 
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