Mini 14 that lousy?


February 3, 2011, 12:07 PM
I've had the thing bore sighted, field sighted... It seems like it's about as poor shooting as a compact 9mm at 100 yards... I bought it new, sent it back, the barrel is straight. The factory "tested and approved it". No wind, sandbag rested , hand loads, commercial loads... I'm about to give up on this pos... Is there any thing else I can do? I love the rifle, it's just not accurate!

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February 3, 2011, 12:09 PM
My buddy had the same problem. He gave up on it and went with an AR instead.

February 3, 2011, 12:10 PM
I have an AR too, pretty accurate for what it is.. I'm thinking it just sucks...

February 3, 2011, 12:20 PM
Now the fanboys will line up and tell you how wrong you are.:banghead: Just bolt up some angle iron to the barrel and it will shoot better:evil:
Isn't it a fun gun to shoot:confused:

February 3, 2011, 12:38 PM
years ago I bought a new "plain-jane" blue mini 14.. after many attempts found it had unacceptable accuracy. I sold it and bought another. This time a NEW stainless "Ranch" model, unacceptable accuracy again. Really wanted to keep the gun so sent it to ruger with a nice letter describing my fondness of the gun, just need it to shoot tighter groups.. They returned it saying nicely, nothing wrong just find ammo it likes. I spent a small fortune on different brands and types of 223 ammo only to find the rifle won't shoot tight groups.

February 3, 2011, 01:35 PM
First of all: What are everyones definitions of inaccurate??

I think 2 inch groups at 100 yds is suitable for this rifle. Everyone is so obsessed and spoiled with accuracy from their bolt guns they think it should carry over into every different action type. True, ARs are pretty accurate, but they also have really tight tolerances.

Mini-14s are pretty well known for not having the greatest accuracy. Any internet search would have yielded that information.

You need to get a good trigger job done and have the disconnector reset so there is less travel in it, you can drastically reduce your groups. It will never be as accurate as an AR I dont think though. Plus they have those really pathetic sights on them. You almost have to get some kind of scope.

I think the Mini design is inherently more reliable than the AR so you are getting that.

Having said all this I would still rather have the Mini than an AR.

February 3, 2011, 01:40 PM
A tip for the mini 14 owners.
I thought I would do a post showing the 1911 buffer installation. It's the same for any buffer. I just use the 1911 because they are cheap (), they fit, they work, and come in 6-packs

The buffer goes on the recoil spring at the recoil spring/guide rod/receiver junction. You just grab the recoil spring & guide rod as one unit, pull it out of the buffer and buffer cross pin assembly and slip the 1911 buffer on the spring/guide rod over it, with the curved side toward the barrel. Pay special attention to the Tang on the guide rod when you pull it out of the buffer assembly and reinstall. The tang rests on the cross pin and there is only one position that will allow the op rod to cycle correctly. The Tang of the guide rod should always be facing to the top of the mini or the hand guard whichever is easiest to remember. I just remember TT, for Tang Top. There is no tang on the older standard mini 14’s, the guide rod just fits into a recess. The tang is only found on the newer minis with the built in scope mounts (tactical) and ranch mini’s, old & new. No need to completely remove the recoil spring and guide rod, just pull it back an inch or two to allow enough space to slip the buffer on.
I'm sold on the buffers, they absorb the impact of the op rod into the receiver and prevent metal to metal contact. One buffer should last 500-1000 rounds, they usually come in packs of 6, so one pack should last a long time. A pack usually costs anywhere form $6 to $8 dollars. I use the Wilson brand, there are other brands with different reputations for durability and softness. Some people use them on the front over the gas pipe in the gas block to absorb the front slam of the op rod into the gas block. I always thought they would melt, but after giving one away and having a couple of hundred rounds go through that mini I could see no signs of it melting. But one thing for sure it was taking a lot of impact from the op rod. I plan to try one there in the future. But as I am now working on trying different size gas bushings I am looking to start from a stock position for the gas system and ejection. A buffer in the front will hold the op rod back slightly from seating onto the gas block pipe. It may not matter, but for the gas bushing testing I am doing I don't want to add another variable to the mix right now.
I have not heard of any negative reports from people using the 1911 buffers at the back, but I have heard of reports of some of the commercial mini buffers being to thick and not allowing the bolt to go back far enough to cycle the rounds. In that case people are either shaving the buffer down or cutting them in two making 2 buffers out of 1.

For those that dont no what they are looking at. it is the Blue rubber bushing. This trick really helps with the beating a scope takes on a Mini

Another very good cheap upgrade is a strut. It will cut MOA by 1/2 if not more. Pluss your mini will look more like a M-14.

& last but not least. this probably is the best bang for your buck IMO when trying to improve barrel accuracy on older Mini & Ranch rifles. these tricks all came from Perfectunion. & they all work.

February 3, 2011, 02:07 PM
My AK 74 Bulgarian shoots 3 inch group at 100 yds. Thats pretty good in my book. If the Mini 14 shoots 2 inch at 100 yds, thats a a lot better. In case of a societal breakdown like what we re seeing in Cairo, the Bulgy 74 will be my choice, very light recoil, easy to carry and hi cap mags. The Mni 14 will also make a good SHTF rifle i have no doubt about it. Remember the riots of the late 60s and 1991 LA chaos. A light semi auto rifle is a comforting companion in times like that.

February 3, 2011, 02:19 PM
I'm too danged old (67) to be a "fanboy". What I AM is a rifleman of some sixty years'

Around December of '09 I bought a "Deluxe" Mini (Circassian walnut stock) and mounted a Leupold 1-4X Mark AR scope in its Ruger rings.

I removed the Ruger flash-hider and installed an L1A1 'hider (from the British FN-FAL)...this looks better and allows mounting of the British L2A3 bayonet(!). No other alterations of any sort have been done.

The rifle has never fired a factory-loaded cartridge. The handload is a 55 Hornady V-max with 26.0 grains of H335, sparked by CCI 400 primers, in Lake City military cases.

The rifle delivers RELIABLE 10-shot groups of 1.00 to 1.25 inches from 100 yard benchrest, as long as I don't overheat it. Reliability has been perfect. For an essentially service-type rifle, what more could I want? I have a full-size old-style IPSC silhouette cut from 3/8" AR500 steel, and the Mini lands 100% hits in the "A" zone from 300 yards (rested). Again, what more can I want? It's also accurate enough for 100-150 yard ground squirrels when I tire of blasting them with the .22-250.

On top of all this, it's FUN. I have a nice Armalite AR which I also esteem highly, but the two rifles are just.....different. I greatly enjoy both of them.

I'll be darned.....maybe I AM a fanboy!

February 3, 2011, 02:55 PM
Good info husker.

A used Mini 14 and the cost of some of those mods will still bring your Mini 14 to you for less than an AR. May not be as accurate yet, but who cares. Minis are not ARs. They are a bit of a different animal working off of a different action system.

Im still curious what these "unacceptable" groups are.

February 3, 2011, 02:58 PM
This is a wood/stainless Ranch. I took it to a very good friend of mine after Ruger "reapproved" it. This buddy of mine is a retired army Ranger and is head of SWAT for his pretty large town outside Atlanta. We went to his range, and he fired at least 10 different rounds , including a range of bullet weights. I am not kidding you, if all 10 rounds hit a paper plate at 125 yards, we high fived each other... That's inaccurate to me. My old worn out Mosin can poke holes with a 9" group at 125 yards!

February 3, 2011, 03:03 PM
I heard from gun club members 10 yrs ago that the Mini 14 were inaccurate esp the older models. But the recent ones made 5 yrs ago are really tack drivers. Could it be the older barrels are oversized bores and causing the bullets to wobble. Try slugging a round into the muzzle crown. If it swallows the whole bullet, its no good. If it shows some of the bullet, it is tight.

February 3, 2011, 03:06 PM
It's a tight new barrel. The gun has been sent to Ruger twice... I'm done with it.

February 3, 2011, 03:09 PM
Sorry Earl, but you can get a quality AR for considerably less than a Mini. Using as a reference Mini's are selling for between $640-$800. Figure shipping and transfer fees and you have a $700-$850 gun.

My last AR cost me $650 out the door with sales tax included. The rifle came with a hard case, telescoping stock, cleaning kit and 2-30 round magzines. Add those accesories to the cost of a Mini, pay sales tax on it and you add another $150 or more to the cost of a Mini. The 30 round mini mags are $40-$50 each.

Mine shoots 3/4" groups with GA Arms bulk ammo at 100 yards out of the box with no modifictions

The Mini's generally are very reliable, but 2-3" groups at 100 yards are considered excellent for the rifle with horror stories like the OP not uncommon. When I could get one for under $300 used I bought and used several over the years. At $300 or so I'd recommend one, but not when you can get a very good, much more accurate rifle in an AR for much less money.

February 3, 2011, 03:11 PM
Was your AR NIB? Just curious because you quoted a new price for the Mini and didnt mention it with the AR.

Im not a Mini 14 fanboy. I am well aware of ARs superior accuracy. Im just trying to put things in perspective for the readers of this thread.

The rumor was Ruger started putting "heavier" barrels on the more recent Minis. Apparently people are seeing the groups tightening down a bit but they are not keeping up with ARs in accuracy even after that supposed change.

That is pretty bad groups I would say, even for a Mini.

February 3, 2011, 03:12 PM
What AR did u get that cheap??!!

February 3, 2011, 03:14 PM
Mine has a new barrel, it did not make any difference other than it is more tolerant of heat..

February 3, 2011, 03:19 PM
What AR did u get that cheap??!!

Thats why I asked if it was NIB or not. Even if it was Im sure it was some kind of unique circumstance.

There is a Bushmaster for 632 on Buds right now.....proves they exist at least.

You can get Minis for cheaper than 640 though too.

Bottom line is this though: If you want accuracy then dont get a Mini.

Andrew Wyatt
February 3, 2011, 03:24 PM
what size were the groups?

February 3, 2011, 03:26 PM
what size were the groups?

I am not kidding you, if all 10 rounds hit a paper plate at 125 yards, we high fived each other...

right there

February 3, 2011, 03:40 PM
This is after the factory has checked it out .... Twice. They put new guys, barrel, magazines, stock... They just keep approving it. I love my buddies 10/22 and Mark 3... Both swell guns!

Welding Rod
February 3, 2011, 04:03 PM
IMO if a rifle won't shoot 5 rounds 2" or better at 100 yards it belongs in a scrap heap.

Unfortunately I think a lot of Minis over the years haven't made that mark.

February 3, 2011, 04:08 PM
They string when the barrel heats up. 10 seconds of research would have told you that.
Would you buy a 1968 AAR-TA Cuda or Challenger for $125000.00 with out doing research,& making sure it is a papered car. Or would you just lay down the money & hope it aint a knock off,some one is trying to pass as a AAR-TA.
Peeps you have to do your home work. Plain & simple.

February 3, 2011, 04:15 PM
Sell that to someone who doesn't care about accuracy. Then go for an m1a or ar of whatever configuration you like. Look into model 1 sales for uppers or complete rifle kits. You can buy complete lowers from rguns. Plus you can get a .22 upper and magazines to practice with.

VT Deer Hunter
February 3, 2011, 04:33 PM
Ammo? I dont have one, there a cool gun but I have seen very accurate Mini 14s.

February 3, 2011, 05:30 PM
Husker, I wouldn't buy a 68 AAR, as they didn't make them until 1970... :) I'm not mad, just disappointed in the gun. I might just keep it for a 25 yard plinker... Put a phoney toilet paper/toothpick scope on it.. LOL.

February 3, 2011, 06:06 PM
Spend the money. & have it frozen. Its under 50 bucks.
I was you, in 2006 ,with the ranch I own. Since then I have spent about a $100.00 and it will shot better than I can shoot it. You can make a rod for $15.00 but if you have it Cryoed, you wont need it. I bought the accu strut for looks. So i guess i have about $200.00 in it now. I haven't shot it since I put the new Accu strut on it. I got pissed off like you & it sat in the gun case for a couple years. Then I got board with my other rifles. & decided to try some of what i had read on other sites. Im glad I did. next thing will be a adjustable gas block. A lot of guys swear that if you take out the 4 bolts that hold the gas block & then put them back in at 18lbs torque. you will shrink your groups.
That being said their is only 1 way to stop them from stringing when they get hot. & that is cryo.
PS DAM! I thought Mopar made the first trans am

Average Joe
February 3, 2011, 06:29 PM
Its just a fun gun, If you want a tack driver, get an AR.

February 3, 2011, 06:32 PM
I have a 25 year old Mini-14 that will shoot 1 1/2 groups at 100 yards with any ammo.
I have an Omega Ranges rail and a Leupold 2.5 power Scout scope on it .
Innacurate i dont think so It is a service rifle not a bolt gun.
I bough mine used about 20 years and never had a problem with it.
They have pretty sorry triggers so you have to take your time squezing the trigger.
A friend has a new mini 30 and complained about how inacurate it was , well I shot his rifle and at 100 yards I was able to hold 1 1/2 inch group, but he could not so go figure.
Blaming the gun was easier for him but after I shot it he had no excuse.

HD Fboy
February 3, 2011, 06:41 PM
The Mini 14 I sold recently would not shoot 2 inch groups at 100 yards. It was fun to shoot but it was not a range gun. I sold it after I had purchased and shot my AR.

February 3, 2011, 07:41 PM
2 to 4 inch group ,is average for pencil barrels.& worse as they heat up. I think the new 580s average around 1-1/2, 2 out of the box. i have never shot one so I dnt no for sure. They are a fun gun to screw around with & try & fine tune. And old ones can be had cheap if you look around

X - Man
February 3, 2011, 08:01 PM
Husker has made some important points about the Mini.

Having the barrel cryo-treated really helps. Cryo-pro is a good place to have it done. Had it done to my Mini Ranch.

Historically, the Mini doesn't shoot all that well straight out of the box. It will need to be "tuned and tweet'd" for get it to perform. There are numerous mod's that can be employed to improve its accuracy. But once tuned up it's a great little carbine. Mine will shoot tighter that 2" @ 100y, with no POI drift, after making the needed mod's.

Frankly, it's not a rifle for everyone. It will take time and effort and a bit of cunning to get it set up. It seems these days no one wants to take any time to develop a project. The Mini, being an old school design, like the M1 and M14, takes more skill to master.

February 3, 2011, 08:45 PM
My 188-series Ranch Rifle never did better than 5.5" at 100 yards, from a rest and rear bag with factory premium match loads (and I tried 40gr, 50gr, 55gr, and 69gr). I never did find a load that it shot much better than any other.

If I had the money and patience, I would have probably tried a smaller gas bushing (to make the gas piston launch less violent) and a flash suppressor (to add muzzle mass), and/or had the barrel cut back to 16.1" (which is effectively stiffer than 18.5") and recrowned. I'm sure it would have done better after that, but I decided to swap it and a .380 for an AR instead.

February 3, 2011, 08:49 PM
my 581 series with the heavier barrel and a 2x7x33 Redfield deals hogs and coyotes misery (and I got lots of both to shoot) it'll do 1 1/2" 100 yard groups, I shoot it more often than my ARs.

February 3, 2011, 09:42 PM
Anybody Bull barrel one of these? It's too neat of a gun to give up on this easy...

February 3, 2011, 10:02 PM
As long as a combat rifle is "minute-of-man" at 250 yards of so, its OK with me. Of course, if shooting accurate rifles for sporting purposes is your objective, then that's a different matter entirely.

February 3, 2011, 10:06 PM
I tried looking for "bull" barrel as my shootin buddy has one. Have not found one yet :(

February 3, 2011, 10:11 PM
Why would you want a heavy bull target barrel on a carbine ?
If you wanna throw money at it. oh never mind.:banghead:

February 3, 2011, 10:13 PM
What CornCod said.

I got a new all-weather Mini last summer for $599. Chose that one because it's light, reliable, will shoot minute-of-bad-guy at 100 yds (that being the longest shot I expect I would ever have to make in a SHTF situation)... and is known to go "bang" every time you pull the trigger. With a few 20-rd. mags loaded, I feel safe and secure. It's easier to clean and has fewer fiddly little parts than the ARs, also.

Now... can anyone recommend an inexpensive red dot for it?

February 3, 2011, 10:23 PM
I owned a Mini-14 years ago. It would string shots as it warmed up. Sold it, used the money towards an AR15 pattern rifle. Much happier with accuracy. I find the AR15 pattern rifle easier to clean too. Ever try to clean a Mini-14 barrel from the breech with a coated rigid cleaning rod?

February 3, 2011, 10:23 PM
I snagged that pic. Not my rifle. but mine is very close less the stock.

February 3, 2011, 10:55 PM
The Mini-14 is dying. In 1973 it was supposed to be a cheap alternative to the AR-15. Problem is these that days AR-15's are cheaper (whether you build them or not), the magazines are cheaper, the accessories are cheaper, they're more accurate, easier to scope, and come in more calibers.

It simply hasn't evolved. In 38 years the only change between a 2011 Mini-14 and a 1973 Mini-14 is the barrel, which is something Mini-14 enthusiast complained about for -wait for it- three decades. Another thing Mini-14 lovers hate is that Ruger hi-caps, from Ruger, cost upwards of $60 a piece and damned if they work properly. All this is known and well documented on Ruger's biggest fan-forum, The only organization more deaf to the cries of it's fans than Ruger would be the Washington Redskins. Although thinking about it, that's not entirely fare. Bill Ruger had the courtesy to die. Something we Redskins fans know Dan Snyder doesn't.

Point is, the Mini-14 is on it's way out the door. With AR-15's becoming the cheaper, more innovative alternative to the Mini-14 you'd have to be an idiot to want one. Which is why it's so popular, in France.

February 3, 2011, 11:12 PM
Why not have both. or more
Rem Mohawk 600. 5.56
Ruger ranch 5.56
Colt AR-15 5.56
rem 700 5.56

February 4, 2011, 01:38 AM
I dont own a Mini 14, with that said after reading all the responses here, i ll take a lowly Yugoslavian M 59 66 SKS anytime. Its simple and robust and shoots good. But the once cheap prices on them have creeped up . No wonder....

February 4, 2011, 07:34 AM
Anybody Bull barrel one of these? It's too neat of a gun to give up on this easy...

I tried looking for "bull" barrel as my shootin buddy has one. Have not found one yet

Accuracy Systems, Inc. does heavy barrels on Minis. They offer a lot of different packages (styles), many of which come with an accuracy gaurantee of <MOA. (A couple of the "varminter" packages even carry a <3/4 MOA gaurantee.)

The packages include bedding the stock (sometimes a new stock depending on package choosen), trigger job, new gas block, rails and/or scope mount (depends on package) etc.

I've yet to have a rifle done (other "more important" things keep coming up). But I have had good service from the company on several different orders.


February 4, 2011, 07:40 AM
I’m not in to making the Ruger Mini-14 into more than what it is. My rendition is the Ranch Rifle model blued with hardwood stock 581 series on average 2-MOA at 100yds with the Federal bulk pack 55Gr FMJ.

I didn’t acquire it for way out there but for 50yds an under applications. Its nothing more than a simplistic carbine and simple is what I wanted.

I have precision rifles that I shoot to extended ranges but those rifles are for different applications.

The comment about $60.00 dollar magazines is OOL :what::what: as 20Rd OEM magazines are mid to low thirty dollar range.

If I find a situation were I need more than 20Rds :uhoh: then I’m back to being a mud Marine and those days are gone but not forgotten.

February 4, 2011, 12:14 PM
I have a 25 year old Mini-14 that will shoot 1 1/2 groups at 100 yards with any ammo.
come now. How about "with all the ammo I've tried"? Even that's a pretty tall claim. 3-shot groups? 5?

Hold onto that mini; you got a good one.:cool:

February 4, 2011, 12:15 PM

February 4, 2011, 12:23 PM
2 to 4 inch group ,is average for pencil barrels.& worse as they heat up.

This has been my experience with probably 40-50 Mini-14s I've owned and/or fired over the past 35 years or so. When they heat up they shoot about the same as a warmed up AK.

February 4, 2011, 02:04 PM
JWF III, thanks for the info. I'll pass it along.

As to why do it - well some folks already have a Mini14 and don't want another rifle, they just want better performance :)

This is a useful thread in that the bad points are coming out, AND being addressed :)

February 4, 2011, 05:35 PM
Have you tried an accustrut on the barrel, or you can make one yourself and use the UTG #2 barrel mount. I have done a few for friends and it seems to get them under 3 moa at 100 yards, You did not say which series mini you have, they have different rifling twist rates, could be your ammo.

February 5, 2011, 01:11 AM
I could throw rocks more accurately than my old Mini could shoot.

February 5, 2011, 01:21 AM
I have done a few for friends and it seems to get them under 3 moa at 100 yards,
That's the thing about the Mini, you work for 3MOA when the rest of the world starts there.

February 5, 2011, 08:43 PM
Well all I can say is, I have a new 581 mini and I have an M1 Stag Arms AR, The Stag out shoots the mini off the bench, but if I had to pick a SHTF rifle it would be the mini, because it is light and it runs when its dirty and I can field strip it in the dark and make 200 yard hits in an 8 inch pie plate off hand. The scoped AR out weighs the scoped mini by almost 2 pounds. The mini is not a bench gun but it is a survivalists rifle.

February 5, 2011, 09:33 PM
I owned a mid 1990's Ranch rifle for many years..and gave up trying to scope it...accuracy was more or less random...usually get maybe one or two shots pretty much on target..and then it would just wander shots around the target..didn't need to heat up the was just pointless scoping the thing. It was a 50 yard/closer iron sight plinker.

I traded it for a Century AR..and it was much much better..the Century being an A2 version..and has a really thick HBAR shoots good.

Step forward to Christmas a year ago...a friend talked me into a joining a group buy for stainless Mini 14 police trade ins....I had second thoughts..but he was getting dealer cost..and it included two new Ruger 30 shot I relented and sent him my money.

Was sort of expecting a Ruger Mini 14 GB..but what we got were standard Mini 14 rifles with brand new mags. He saved me a clean one..and I didn't shoot it for several months, figuring the accuracy would be the Ranch Mini was.

When I did take it out was fine!!!???...I mean can hit the target repeatedly!

I got hold of a B-Square mount..and rigged it up with a scope...and despite the side-mount scope mount system...this stainless older Mini 14 is a shooter..a good shooter.

I took a good long look at the pieces that make up this gun...and it ain't nothing special. Really don't think the stock fit is as good as the Ranch rifle's stock did...only real difference between the two is the stainless steel construction..wood handguard..and rear sight...that stuff..and the fact the older stainless gun uses a side-mount instead of machined on Ruger scope mounts.

I decided that the Ruger Mini 14 accuracy is just a matter of luck. I've owned two..and one shoots great. Must be about a 50/50 chance(or less) of getting a good shooter.

You talk to one Mini 14 owner and he will report decent accuracy..the next one will tell you they are crap!

February 5, 2011, 11:00 PM
2008 NRA edition Mini that will do 1"-2" all day long with cheap 55 gr Federal bulk packs from WM.

Art Eatman
February 5, 2011, 11:20 PM
Nope, the Mini-14 isn't anywhere near being a tight-group range gun. No doubt. That's been a "known" for a helluva long time.

But as a hunting rifle, all four of my early models worked just fine. They all were reliable at having the first shot go to the desired point of impact, which upset coyotes and jackrabbits. Mostly, I could figure on 1.5MOA for three shots, which is plenty good for a casual hunting rifle.

So, for a truck gun where I'm figuring on a "maybe" shot on a coyote or suchlike, or for plinking on tin cans, they work just fine. Plenty good enough in any self-defense situation where a .223 is okay.

IOW, if you're not doing the tight-group-on-paper thing, use and enjoy.

Redneck with a 40
February 6, 2011, 10:19 AM
I must have gotten a good Mini-14, because mine will shoot 2-2.5" (5) shot groups all day long at 100 yards, with my handloads. I'm happy with that, its a very fun rifle to shoot, rugged and reliable. I'm willing to bet the AR would choke without cleaning, before the Mini would.

February 19, 2011, 09:49 AM
should be getting 2-3 MOA, is it a 180 series or a 580 or 581 series. Those 180's are 300 dollars for a reason.

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