For those going for the Mini M-14 look, I give you my 583 Series (thicker barrel) Ranch Rifle in 5.56:
In order of importance (I have a tightly fitting stock so I've don't need bedding):
- Use Good Quality Ammo - Accuracy requires good ammo, avoid Russkie junk and you'll enjoy it more
- Reduced Gas Bushing Size - .040"-.045" with full power ammo reduces recoil impulse and increases accuracy
- Trigger Job - Polished the sears slightly for a smoother trigger
- Accu-Strut SOCOM length - Aids cooling, dampens harmonics, and gives it that M14 look; what's not to like?
- Choate Handguard (painted brown) - Increases cooling dramatically and looks much better too
I also added a Tech Sight Mini 200 Rear sight, added Wilson 1911 Buffers both front and rear to avoid metal to metal contact, and added a M1 Carbine sling I had laying around.
Then I noticed that I was stretching my neck to get a good sight picture and didn't feel comfortable. I measured the 'heel to aperture' distance on my Ranch Rifle was 15.5" stock (15" with Mini 200 rear sight) while the 'heel to aperture' distance on my M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, and M1A were all only 14".
I decided to remove the rubber butt pad, cut 1" off the stock, replace the butt pad, and then sand it to the new profile. Now my Ranch Rifle's 'heel to aperture' distance is 14" and my head naturally falls in the right sight picture. This aids both in comfort and accuracy for me.
Note: I'd only recommend this step for those who also stretch their necks when aiming through their irons. I don't believe it necessary for scoped Minis or for those happy with the feel.
I'm also considering narrowing the front sight blade which is now .075" wide down to about .060" wide. The front sight on my M1A is a NM and measures .062" wide at the rear. I find the precision better with a narrower front sight blade.
All in all, it now it now is capable of shooting 1.5" groups with good ammo and a good shooter. I've recently stressed it with rapid firing a mag full on a 90+ deg day and with the next mag found little to no vertical stringing. The strut and handguard really helped with heat dissipation.
Even with 3 ARs, it's always a blast to shoot as I prefer the more compact receiver size and overall lighter, handier feel (even though it weighs a bit more than my AR middy carbine). As an irons plinker and overall fun shooter, it's perfect with 20rd mags and accurate enough that bowling pins at 200yds are great fun and go down quick and easy.