Are the new Mini-14s better than the older ones for accuracy?


Float Pilot
December 30, 2009, 03:16 AM
Years ago I tried a couple of friends mini-14s and they were less than stellar with their accuracy. But they did seem to be fairly reliable compared to an AR platform.

So I was wondering how the newly made Mini-14s stack up... Is the twist rate now OK for heavy bullets and are their barrels any better quality?

I am about sick of ARs when it comes to something to launch a 5.56mm sized round. 33 years of them is enough for me...

Some of the new Minis that I have fondled seem to be robust, but I wonder how good their barrels might be...

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December 30, 2009, 10:31 AM
I had an earlier Ranch Rifle that would group 1 MOA for the first five, then open up to 8-10 MOA as the barrel heated and I got rid of it.

Ruger has improved the minis with stiffer, tapered barrels which minimize shot stringing. Several folks are claiming 2 MOA with no other modifications. Inspired me to go out and buy two...:D

I am in the process of testing them for accuracy.

December 30, 2009, 02:37 PM
Not that I could tell, but I haven't shot the new 16" barreled one. I suspect that it will be more accurate than the standard one.

December 30, 2009, 02:43 PM
It took about $200.00 worth of mods to take my early non ranch mini from 12" hundred yard groups to 1.4" at 100 yrds. My newer ranch goes the same size 1.4" groups, these are 5 shot at 100 Yrds, with no mods. FRJ

December 30, 2009, 03:18 PM
I hear that the newer ones are more accurate but then,I was happy with the older(1990ish)ones.

December 30, 2009, 03:27 PM
I've got the black, 16" flash hider model, (Ruger calls it "tactical") and with a cheap scope it will shoot 1.5 to 2 inch groups, all day at 100yds. From what I have read, this is fairly typical.

On a good day, I've shot from 1.5" groups, down to 1.250" groups. I think it is capable of 1 moa, but I'm not. LOL :D

December 30, 2009, 04:05 PM
The new ones are suppossed to do 2" at 100yds,went out to buy one but came home with a Ar 15 for 75.00 more.

Float Pilot
December 30, 2009, 04:41 PM
Up here the average AR goes for $1,000 to $1,100 new, while I have seen a couple of the new Minis in the $600 range..
I already have a couple ARs. A Stag 6.8 which will group at 0.75 inch with most loads and a light weight Israeli style Bushmaster that will only shoot 2. inch groups. My old Colt H-BAR would shoot half inch groups with match ammo, but then again my old VALMET M-76 in 5.56mm would shoot 1.5 inch groups and it was an Ak type platform.

I wonder what the new Mini rifling twist has become.

December 30, 2009, 04:47 PM
I have heard that the new target models are pretty good accuracy wise. I have never tried one personally though. My dad has an early 2000's stainless mini that does about 3" groups at 100 yards with a 4x scope on it. Not the best, but still acceptable accuracy. They are all a 1:9 I believe... not the best twist for heavier rounds. I would prefer a 1:7 personally.

December 30, 2009, 04:49 PM
I was told 1 in 9 also that they seem to shoot the heavy bullets the best.
60 gr.+ but thats what they say.

December 30, 2009, 08:12 PM
The new 580 Series Mini-14 with the heavier contour barrel is more accurate than the older ones..............:D

December 30, 2009, 10:11 PM
Definitely more accurate than the older 180 and 190 series Minis.
I have a new 580 Tactical with the 16.25"bbl, and it is an absolute tack driver at 25yds and 50 yds, and at 100yds I can still keep everything within 3"-4" wjile using the factory peep sight. I have seen some shooters shoot 2 moa and one guy shoot a 1.5moa with the peep !:eek: His target is posted here
See post 193 and 181 (I think) One of the guys did do some mods to his Mini, the other is a stone OTS gun.
Hey...I have owned all of them...Minis, AR's AK's, SKS's, and shot even more during my tour of duty, but this is a real nice little RELIABLE, CARBINE. DID I MENTION THAT THEY ARE RELIABLE ? My mini will eat anything that you feed it. Period. I would tell you to stay with factory mags though. They can be expensive from the factory ($38.00) but they are getting cheaper on the market from big supply is selling them right now for $24.99

Float Pilot
December 31, 2009, 01:19 AM

I may dump one of my finicky ARs and get one of the new Minis....

Remember back in the 70s when they came out and how everyone predicted the Minis would be the every-man's rifle of the future?

Of course back then nobody could afford a Colt AR-15 or get them to work if they could.
And nobody back then had an AK,,,, I had an SKS but could not find ammo back then.... Odd how things turn around...

December 31, 2009, 01:32 AM
YES. the newer ones with the heavy barrel are more accurate than the older ones.

December 31, 2009, 01:55 AM
they say you can mod a steal rod to attach to the barrel from underneath to improve groups. its a simple trick. i have not tried it on my 180 ranch yet but that will change soon & it looks good when done right. gives it the gas tube look of an M-14

January 1, 2010, 12:11 PM
They are called "Accu-Struts". They do work but there are other mods you can do that are much, much cheaper. I sent you a PM.
Some real Mini experts can be found here

Mini's are all these guys do and they know them well.

January 1, 2010, 02:50 PM
I have the mini-target. Paid $850.00 for it a year and a half ago. After experimenting with different weight bullets, found that my rifle likes the 68 grain. Consistent 3/4" 3-shot groups at 100 yds. Has 1-9 twist, if I remember correctly.

January 1, 2010, 03:22 PM
and that the newer models have heavier barrels and are overall more accurate than the older ones. This would be a great thing if true, they are very handy rifles otherwise.
Might replace my old Chinese SKS with one.


January 1, 2010, 06:36 PM
Just read the above posts. There are several testimonials to that very fact that Ruger has finally addressed the accuracy issues.
Now that the "Obama Sale" is basically winding down, you can pick up a 580 Series tactical for around $600-$650, depending on your location.

Ignition Override
January 1, 2010, 11:56 PM
Maybe this is academic, but what sort of targets were the original Mini 14s designed to hit, and at what approx. range?

Float Pilot: for people who walk through the wooded areas of Alaska, are they better off with something more accurate than an older Mini 14, or, if a trade-off is acceptable, is reliability more important (if not both)?

Elm Creek Smith
January 2, 2010, 02:04 AM
The Mini 14s were redesigned and retooled in 2006. The heavier barrel helped quite a bit. In fairness to the earlier Mini 14s, they were about as accurate as the M16/M16A1s and for the same reason: skinny barrels. The M16A2 was more accurate due to better sights and a slightly heavier barrel (however the barrel was only heavier from the gas block forward since it still had to fit the M203 grenade launcher mounts that needed the skinny barrel. Most accurate AR platforms are like the Colt HBAR which has a heavy barrel from the receiver forward.

Oh, yeah, the Mini 14, like the AR15/M16, was designed to meet military accuracy standards of around 4 moa or less at 100 meters.

BTW, my brand new 581 series Mini 14 Ranch Rifle in .223 Rem/5.56x45mm NATO was $607.00 at Walmart. I've not seen a new AR anywhere for less than $700, and most were higher.


Art Eatman
January 2, 2010, 10:45 AM
Ignition Override, my experience with four of the older Minis was that the first shot always went to the intended point of aim. For a hunting rifle, it's hard to do better than that. The groups tended to open up after the third or fourth shot, which isn't really important when hunting...

January 2, 2010, 11:22 AM
I have a series 180, GB model, it works fine. May not be as accurate as a modern AR Colt 6920. Price on the mini is half of the Colt.

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