Just a little story about how perserverance and patience can get things to work out in the end...
After getting a bad case of M1A fever I picked up a Norinco M1A with USGI flashider about two months ago for $650.
Well, after I received it I ran into a few issues. First, mags would not engage and lock properly. The castle nut setscrew was missing. The trigger group has some obvious wear/mashing on the parts, most likely from someone switching on the safety when not charged. And it had a chicom bolt.
The first thing I did was order a USGI trigger group from Red Cloud and a Birch and a synthetic stock from Fred's
The new birch stock solved the mag lock problem (old stock had compressed from 10 years in a gun locker in South Carolina weather!). The USGI trigger group got me up to proper parts count and smoothed out the trigger...time for the range.
Well, I was disappointed. at 25 yards the rifle was shooting 6" groups offhand, and even on the bench with a sling I was still shooting about 4" groups that were stringing. This was with Aussie and SA ammo, the Aussie actually shooting the worst groups. It turned out the castle nut and the gas plug kept coming loose. To fix the gas plug I heated the gun up with a good string of shots, and cranked the sucker closed as hard as possible. When the gun cooled it would not budge.
Strangely, the hardest thing in the world to get right now is a 50 cent castle nut set screw! Almost everyone was out of stock, but I lucked out and found a guy with a few for sale on a forum. Installed the ssetscrew, figureing it wouldn't really make a difference, but what the hell.
At this point I had my synthetic stock painted a nice mottled green, and got the whole thing together. Some USGI mags to boot, and back to the range I went not really expecting it to shoot all that much better. (I also picked up a USGI bolt but have yet to have it headspaced)
Well, although I was rusty as I haven't gotten much shooting in this year, things are markedly improved. After a few warmup groups I shot my best group of the day with only about 3 seconds between shoots. I fired witha sling, elbows on a bench and kneeling , which works very well for me. The rifle will now group 5 shots into 1.5" or so at 25 yards (the only range I tried it at) and I expect that with some practice on my part I could do the same groups at 50 yards.
Needless to say, I was fairly impressed at how much improvement a few tweaks could make, and it was well worth the money I have put into it!
I'm glad you figured it out. It feels good don't it!!! Be safe and shoot straight.