Torque the Gas Block Screws?
When I first heard about tightening the 4 gas block screws to a specific torque setting, I couldn't think of a logical reason for doing so. My previous expereince with torque settings was limited to automotive projects, and I didn't understand the application for firearms. A couple of metal-worker friends explained the technical benefits to me, so I purchased a torque screwdriver from Ridge Equipment Co. It was a used Sturtevant Richmont Roto-Torq torque screwdriver, & has a 2 to 36 in./lbs. torque range with a 1/4" hex drive. I set it at 30 lbs. & tightened the 4 screws in a rotating pattern to keep the air gap consistent on the gas block halves. I did this concurrently with the reinstall of my trigger assembly received back from masterPsmith. I took this 196-series Mini-14 out to the range & set up at 80 yards (space limitations). My first three shots hit bullseye (on the crosshairs) and were overlapping. The next two were within 1/2 inch of the first three. This rifle was previously the least accurate of the three Mini-14's I currently own. It was OK before, but it's unbelievable now. Setting the torque was an important part of this improvement. Other keys to accurizing this Mini:
- .040 ID gas port bushing
- trigger job, as mentioned
- Wolff extra power recoil spring
Most people would be surprised what a Mini can do when properly set-up. Great job.
It never ceases to amaze me how such a simple thing as screw torque can have such a dramatic effect. Most gun owners never even think about it.
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