Hello everyone I have been looking around the internet for more information on my Mini-14 an you guys look to be the ones to pester with all my questions! I was in the Navy for eight years and have used both the M-16 and M-14 rifles. When I left in '96 the Navy was still using the M-14, shipboard (they won't throw anything away). I have seen a recient picture of an unrep and they are still the M-14 for the shot line. I have gotten a wild hair and decided that I wanted a 5.56 mm simi auto rifle. I am only going to use it for plinking, varmits, and the range for practice. I really liked the Garand style system of the two rifles I'm familiar with so I went with the Ruger. I love it. I put about 200 rounds through it Sunday with some friends, shooting at cans and such. My marine buddy really liked it too, I am pretty sure he wants one now. While I was cleaning it I noticed the gas port, in the gas block was loose. Is this normal? I bought it new (581 serial number), does shortening the barrel and adding a flash suppressor still increase the accuracy of the newer models? Barrel Strut? I plan on bedding the receiver, trigger job, bushings and changing the size of the gas port as those seem to be good changes. It was like Easter Sunday trying to pick up brass.