What can I do with a Mini-14?


March 7, 2011, 01:50 PM
Back when I was broke, and couldn't afford an AR, I stumbled on a good deal for a pre-ban stainless Mini-14. It is drilled and tapped for a scope, but it's not a Ranch Rifle.

Currently, it has a Butler Creek folding stock, and a couple of Ruger magazines (everything else sucks, IMHO).

It's not a solid shooter; 6" at 50 meters is about all I can get from it currently. I'm getting a bit older, and can't shoot iron sights like I used to.

Given the lack of accuracy, the lack of Ranch Rifle mounts, the fact that I now have a much more fun and accurate Rock River AR, and my stubborn unwillingness to sell firearms, what would you do with it?

I've considered shortening the barrel and adding a soldered brake to keep it legal, but that would probably cost more than I paid for it initially.

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March 7, 2011, 01:52 PM
Truck gun.

March 7, 2011, 01:57 PM
Agreed, put it behind your seat.

March 7, 2011, 02:06 PM
A red dot sight is well matched to the rifle's capabilities, and an Ultimak forward rail is a good way to mount one. The folder makes it compact to store as well.

Depending on funds, you might also consider having a gunsmith cut and recrown to 16.1" and move the front sight back accordingly; making the barrel less whippy and recrowning often helps inaccurate mini's. Threading for a flash suppressor and adding one (especially a fairly heavy one like a Smith Vortex) might also help accuracy by adding mass to the free end of the barrel. But merely adding a decent dot on an Ultimak will probably shrink your groups a good bit, and you could just have the barrel recrowned at its current length if the existing crown is bad.

March 7, 2011, 02:17 PM
Truck gun. Ideal candidate.

March 7, 2011, 02:28 PM
I haven't used it, but I've heard this thing - Accu-strut (http://www.accu-strut.com/) works well. Cut down and recrown the barrel, add the accu-strut, and you will have a super compact and handy carbine.

March 7, 2011, 02:31 PM
I'm all about fun truck guns but an inaccurate rifle is nothing more than an expensive noise maker. It doesn't have to be a match grade shooter but 6" at 50 yards is unacceptable in my opinion. I've got pistols that shoot better than that.

If you are determined to not sell it then I'd try to do things to improve the accuracy. Shortening and recrowning the barrel. Maybe some stock work. Look at your scope options. If you could shrink your groups down to 2-2.5" at 50 yards or 4" at 100 yards then I'd consider it a great truck gun.

.223 has great potential. It's silly to consign it to being a 50 yard rifle due to it's inaccuracy. If that's all you're going to get out of it you might as well go trade it in on a hi-point carbine.

March 7, 2011, 02:36 PM
you can get them to shoot pretty-well easily and affordably. I'm certain that your rifle can group better than 6" at 50 yards.

Its a good idea to make sure the upper and lower sections of the gas block are bearing on the barrel uniformly and that the screws are torqued evenly. Locktight them in place afterward.

Make sure the rifle's crown is undamaged.

Properly bedding the stock, given the "drop-in" nature of the receiver into the stock, can greatly affect Mini 14 accuracy.

Try different ammunition, as these rifles can be fussy about what they like: I have a Mini that shoots much better with 62 gn bullets, and another that shoots much better with 45 gn bullets.

Should you want to spend money to get is shooting better, their is alot you can do, and most of it is relatively affordable. However, I'm pretty confident you can get your Mini to shoot well by trying out these few things

March 7, 2011, 02:41 PM
You can try to tighten up the groups by modifying the weapon or just enjoy it for what it is...

March 7, 2011, 03:01 PM
I'd never suggest buying a Mini today, but can remember the days when they were a LOT cheaper than AR's and they were a solid rifle for the money. Today you can get a good AR for less than a Mini-14.

I have no idea what used Mini-14's will bring used now, but it is quite likely you can sell it for more than you paid for it if you have had it since they were cheper than AR's. If so I'd sell it in a heartbeat and buy something I would use. Using it as a cheap knock around truck gun is not a bad option if you don't want to part with it, or if you'd lose too much money selling it. I'd not put another dime into it however.

March 7, 2011, 03:44 PM
Make it a SBR and suppress it. Cutting down the barrel might make it more accurate, and if it's a close range suppressed carbine, who cares if it isn't MOA?

March 7, 2011, 03:57 PM
Truck, you can at least use it to scare the crap out of something, or someone.

March 7, 2011, 05:34 PM
Using it as a pry bar is always an option :neener:

March 7, 2011, 05:44 PM
There isn't much you can do with it other than waste a lot of ammo. I keep mine for "home defense". I put a hogue black synthetic stock on mine.
I tried scoping in, but that wasnt worth a hill of beans.
The iron sightss kinda suck in low light. put a flash suppressor on it.
Accuracy, has mine is a early version, it's not too bad. I can hit a coyote standing still at about 200-250 yards out.
AR's are much better.
If you are inclined, you can "build" your own 30 round mag's by changing out the follower and drilling a very well placed hole in a AR magazine. There not that much different. Just keep in my you may not get the first mag to convert just right. The converted mags are great for blasting away at the range.

March 7, 2011, 06:03 PM
http://www.midwayusa.com/viewproduct...tnumber=241631 1911 buffers
all 3 work. The buffers fit in nice. & are cheap
The strut worked as advertised.
& the cryo freezing process has proven to stop the stringing. & these guys are supposed to be the best at it. http://www.300below.com/firearms-cryo-barrel/

Jake Tyler
March 7, 2011, 06:14 PM
someone will dispute this Im sure but my old series 180 can do 2 moa with 55gr I hear they group better with 62s

having an extra automatic rifle around shouldnt be a burden to anyone.

let me know where I can pick it up WoodyTX I'll take it off your hands!

March 7, 2011, 06:15 PM
I use the one I have to take up space in the safe more than anything else. You can make it waste a lot of ammo with a staple in the right spot. Fires upon pull and reset of each pull...

That being said 6" is pretty bad, and AR they are not but they can (or should) do better than that. 6" at 100 yds makes a good truck gun. I wouldn't spend the money on SBR and suppressor, my 10.5" AR is more accurate than my mini.

March 7, 2011, 07:09 PM
If you don't want to sell it then give it to me !!! That will save you tons of frustration...........:rolleyes:

March 7, 2011, 10:49 PM
I may just have to take it back to the range and see what I can get out of it. I don't recall if it strings or is just all over the place.

Once I get this resolved, I've also got a Sako 7mm Rem Mag with an 18" barrel that might need replacing. If the bullet misses, the fireball gets 'em.

March 7, 2011, 11:18 PM
6" at 50 yards? Open up that rear sight some, if your eyes aren't what they once were it'll help. No mods will help if you can't see the sights.


March 7, 2011, 11:31 PM
I had a ranch rifle many years ago that was pretty bad, about 8+" @ 100 yards. The stock was sloppy loose. I bought a replacement stock that looked like the factory stock but was black plastic. The action was tight going into it. With nothing else done, it shot about 2 1/2"-3" groups afterwards.

March 8, 2011, 12:31 AM
I had one like that I fianilly sold it and will never buy aanother one.Worst gun I ever owned and I would never by one again no matter what they do to them

Ignition Override
March 8, 2011, 03:40 AM
In addition to the many excellent ideas here, have you looked at "Perfectunion"?

They specialize mostly in the Mini 14, even some 6.8 and Mini 30 topics, but have other categories.

For other people who (also) don't like the large post sights on older models, the flash hiders ($40?) have a thinner post, similar to the front sights on the new Minis.

March 8, 2011, 10:07 AM
Two suggestions.

If your eyes are not up to snuff, there is nothing wrong in using a fixed power scope say (3x) on your weapons. Also, scopes give you one focal plain to deal with and it helps. Some folks I know even go with a 1-5x varriable scope.

Firstly, take an Appleseed 2 day course. Will cost you around $80 and will teach you fundamentals of shooting. About 75% of those taking it are using 22 LR.

After Appleseed, I'd try that Ruger again to see what you can wring out of it. If it is still shooting as you say, call Ruger and see if they will fix it for you. I've know others who have done this and Ruger has taken care of them. Worse case scenario is they say no. Also, might charge some small fee and you would end out with a more accurate rifle out of it.

March 8, 2011, 11:17 AM
jmorris: "Today you can get a good AR for less than a Mini-14."

Any idea where you can find a good AR cheaper than $680? Cause I've been looking hard.

March 8, 2011, 11:27 AM
Traded mine


Art Eatman
March 8, 2011, 12:07 PM
If you're mostly gonna punch paper and want tight groups, don't get a Mini.

If you're gonna use it for hunting, it will do just fine. All four of the early-version Minis I had were quite reliable for the first couple of shots always going where I intended. Group size is irrelevant, other than when sighting in, and even then three-shot groups will tell you all you need to know.

I always stuck a Weaver K4 on top of my Minis. Worked great.

In 1980 or 1981 there was a fantastic population explosion of jackrabbits in northern Nevada and southwestern Idaho. A buddy of mine and I took our Minis out one morning and in about an hour shot over a hundred. Ranges to maybe 150 yards. Hot barrels didn't seem to be a problem...

March 8, 2011, 05:24 PM
If you shoot with a lot of guys I would have a contest for a winner takes all crappy rifle shoot. All of you put up your worst rifle and then pick from a hat which rifle you will be competing with, everyone grabs at he rifle they picked shoots your course and the winner takes all the rifles home.

Or like the guys said make a game of getting that thing to shoot right- I think by fixing things ONE AT A TIME you might learn a lot about the weapon and what effect various factors have on it. You might end up with a nice rifle when you are done. Maybe it is something really dumb that is wrong with it and a few tweaks will get you a good gun!

March 8, 2011, 07:03 PM
Put an Accu-strut on it or better yet make you own, I'll bet you can get it into 2or 3 moa @ 100 yards

March 8, 2011, 07:58 PM
From zzyzxx "There isn't much you can do with it other than waste a lot of ammo. I keep mine for "home defense".

About the best answer i've seen. Always wanted one of these things, don't know why. Relegated it to my "CHTF" gun, but occaasionally took it out just to stay familiar with it & give it a run every now & then. At 25 yds, a tack driver. I'm at the stage where open sights are starting to give me a pain but even I could shoot 5 rounds and get a quarter to cover them @ 25. Go to 50 yds and it was a pos; 10-12" span and all over the target.
I might as well just turn the gun around & use it as a club. Figured something else has to be going on. The gun is presently out getting a "fix". Its beyond me. Fires everything, loves my reloads, but with factory/reloads can't do anything over 25yds. Only rifle I have ever owned that had this type of problem. Dependable, rugged, will fire in the mud/rain, but don't expect anything close to accurate. Thank the stars if you can do sub 6" grps at 50 yds.

March 9, 2011, 12:03 AM
Nothing better than out-shooting an AR fanboy with my 16" NRA edition Mini.........:D

March 9, 2011, 01:39 PM
It is very common for these rifles to have issues fitting into their stock properly. If they're the least bit loose, the receiver moves within the stock, under recoil, ruining accuracy. If they're too tight, accuracy will suffer as well, and the rifle's action may have problems functioning. The importance of proper bedding can't be underestimated.
While they're not tack drivers, Minis can shoot. And they do shoot.
6" at 50 yards, or worse as some folks stated, is indicative of a problem. Assuming all the parts are there, and properly attached, I'd carefully inspect the crown for damage, bed the stock and re-fit the gas-block. Nearly free and your Minis will shoot better.

March 9, 2011, 02:52 PM
Any idea where you can find a good AR cheaper than $680? Cause I've been looking hard.off the top of my head a delton kit plus stripped lower would make it under. so would a nothing fancy upper receiver group plus a plum crazy complete lower.

X - Man
March 9, 2011, 03:36 PM
Woody, I'd use it as an opportunity to learn how to accurize a gas operated rifle. By making a handful of mods', most of which can be done at home, a Mini can shoot @ 2 MOA. It will take some creative thinking, but it's been done by others.

Some people simply take the easy route, and quit. "It's too hard" is their usual response. Go buy a XYZ rifle, it's easier. But they never take the time to learn.

GigOldTrees has made some valuable suggestions. Learn how to bed a stock to the rifle. Do a trigger job on it, the procedure is very similar to a trigger job on a M1 Garand. Add a flash hider to the barrel; helps with overall accuracy by acting as a vibration damper. Change the front sight, for a better sight picture. Do the gas block mod, and change the gas bushing to a smaller size. These are some of the more common mods' made.

And there are even more ways to continue improving the action of a Mini. But always start simple, and try out each mod as you go.

My eyesight has definitely not gotten better over the years. So I have figured out how to mount an AR style front sight post onto the flash hider. Has really helped as I still have the original rear peep sight on my Ranch Mini.

My Ranch used to be a 6"+ nightmare. No longer. I'm waiting for drier weather and spring so I can give a actual range report. Have a bunch of hand loads to try out.

March 9, 2011, 05:11 PM
New 580 Ranch Rifle from Walmart

1. Replaced wood stock with factory synthetic (1/2 inch shorter, fits better, local shop had one for $25)
2. Opened up rear sight aperture to 3/16 inch so I could actually see through it.
3. Retorqued gas block screws so they LOOKED even.

Now shoots dead center sub-inch groups (5 shots) at 50yds with Winchester Q3131. No complaints from me.

Just ordered me a new Mini-30 Tactical. :cool:

If I were you, I would try a Hogue stock, Choate flash hider, and an Accustrut. Good luck.


March 9, 2011, 07:52 PM
What types of Ammo have you tried in it? It may just hate what you've been feeding it. GI spec. ammo doesn't group well in any rifle. :scrutiny:

X - Man
March 9, 2011, 08:14 PM
I'd like to quote M1key, but can't for some reason. His comments apply to both models of the Mini. Just be certain to purchase a new style Houge stock, with the internal aluminum bedding block.

A Mini owner must also know what the rate of twist their barrel is. This is an important piece of information, and there are several different twists of barrel. This allows the Mini owner to choose the appropriate weight of bullet that is best suited for their barrel. It can make a great deal of difference in bullet performance.

If one doesn't know the rate of twist, go to the Ruger factory web site to find out.

March 9, 2011, 08:36 PM
Do the same thing I do with mine....put it in the safe. Let it sit there.

March 9, 2011, 11:10 PM
Please don't take offense as this is only an opinion.
My eyes are not what they used to be too. If any of my guns with iron sights were shooting that bad of groups, 1st I would let a good known shooter try them out. If the problem continued then try some of the "Mini fixes". If the groups tightened up to a satisfactory level with another shooter, then get a scope for the Mini.
Did you see the post with the scope on the revolver? When I was a young man I would have thought that to be absolutely crazy. And now I think it might be a necessity even for my carry weapon. I'm becoming a "Mr Magoo".

March 10, 2011, 12:00 AM
My eyes ain't what they used to be, either. How about mounting a low power scope or red dot?


March 10, 2011, 08:12 AM
If I can get it to shoot somewhat accurately, I'll go with optics. There are plenty of inexpensive but not cheap options out there for optics.

March 10, 2011, 08:42 AM
Any idea where you can find a good AR cheaper than $680? Cause I've been looking hard.

A DPMS sportical has an MSRP of $725. No reason you couldn't get it for a little less. If you are willing to build it yourself you can actually make one for $600-650 as long as you take time to catch stuff on sale. Guys here have done before.

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