Can a Mini-14 safely eat 5.56mm?


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Country Boy
March 18, 2008, 01:03 PM
My Mini-14 is done with its sabbatical and is again out of the safe. Before I buy some surplus 5.56x45mm ammo, I need to know if 5.56 ammo is safe to use in my .223 Rem? My Mini-14 manual and a book by Duncan Long says firing 5.56mm in my Mini-14 is OK, but SAAMI (http://www.saami.org/Unsafe_Combinations.cfm) considers it an unsafe combination. What's up?



"Mini 14 Rifles are chambered for the .223 Remington (5.56mm military) cartridge and are designed to use either standardized US military, or factory loaded sporting .223 (5.56mm) cartridges manufactured in accordance with US industry practice." Ruger Mini-14 Instruction Manual

"Having been designed with both the sporting and paramilitary markets in mind, the Mini-14 also uses the larger headspacing needed to chamber 5.56mm NATO rounds; unlike other sporters which can't safely handle military ammunition, the Mini-14 can handle virtually all types of .223/5.56mm ammunition." pg 18 of The Mini-14 by Duncan Long

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TexasRifleman
March 18, 2008, 01:05 PM
Mini 14 Rifles are chambered for the .223 Remington (5.56mm military) cartridge and are designed to use either standardized US military

My Mini14 has eaten in excess of 5,000 rounds of M193 over the years in addition to .223 white box etc.

Get after it.... :)

but SAAMI (http://www.saami.org/Unsafe_Combinations.cfm) considers it an unsafe combination. What's up?


SAAMI has to take the "worst case scenario". In a rifle marked as .223 with no other information such as what you have in the Mini's owners manual then SAAMI is right to be cautious. There are enough differences between the two rounds to cause problems in some .223 rifles. But Ruger clearly states you're good to go so you can ignore SAAMI for that rifle.

ArmedBear
March 18, 2008, 01:09 PM
Ruger's manual is so overlawyered (can't blame them in today's America), that I'd trust it. If Ruger says specifically that you can shoot 5.56 or .223, you can believe them.

It is common practice in AR's and its cousins, to design chambers that work safely with both types of ammo.

The 5.56 is noticeably loud and has a helluva muzzle flash in the Mini. This can be fun in some circumstances, but wear hearing protection.:) I find that UMC .223 is a bit more pleasant to plink with, but it doesn't make all that much difference.

I did crack the recoil buffer (free replacement in the mail from Ruger) in mine. I'm not sure if this had anything to do with my feeding a good amount of 5.56 through it.

Also, I put a bunch of .223 through an AR recently, then put through a box of 5.56. The second round didn't feed quite all the way, which I believe was due to a fouling ring from the .223 (similar to shooting a bunch of .38's in a .357 but much more subtle). The Mini, though, slams the bolt shut with serious authority, and there's a lot of momentum stored in the op rod, so I never noticed this happening with it.

Vicious-Peanut
March 18, 2008, 03:34 PM
Yep. The first rounds I shot through my new-to-me mini were Korean? M193. It was plenty happy to eat them. However they did smell like cat pee. :)

ArmedBear
March 18, 2008, 03:55 PM
However they did smell like cat pee.

Or Korean food?

diesel83
March 18, 2008, 04:03 PM
My Mini consumes both just fine. Accuracy deltas with different weight of bullets for sure, but they all go downrange.

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