Ruger Mini 14 GB Questions


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gfanikf
December 21, 2011, 10:00 AM
Hey,

I'm most likely picking up a Mini 14 GB (complete with the always neat LE restricted stamp) today. Apparently they used to belong to the CA Prison System. I just have a couple of quick questions:

1. The barrel is stamped .223, now the exact model on the Ruger site also lists 5.56. Most things indicate they even stamped. 223 only it will fire 5.56. Can anyone confirm that? I don't want to accidentally use too hot a load, plus the rule of only shoot your stamped caliber.
2. Which ammo is usually cheaper?
3. What tests can I do make sure everything is alright, besides firing it of course.
4. Is $425 a good deal? The gun shows very little wear and appears to have been an armory safe queen.
5. Any good scope recs? It appeared to already be drilled on the barrel for one.

Thanks!

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rule303
December 21, 2011, 01:09 PM
All Mini 14's will fire .223 or 5.56 per the Ruger manual. $425 is a good price for an LE marked GB carbine, but I would be concerned about the hole drilled that you mention. The only real way to mount a scope on the pre-Ranch Mini is the side mount from B-square or the scout mount that replaces the handguard.

BridgeTooFar
December 21, 2011, 01:37 PM
Is this the hole you're referring to?

http://picsorlinks.com/file/photo/ph_bi_175672_6e0c699.jpg

If so, no worries. That's just a hole where the handguard clip attaches to the handguard. It doesn't go all the way through to the barrel.

gfanikf
December 21, 2011, 05:44 PM
Is this the hole you're referring to?

http://picsorlinks.com/file/photo/ph_bi_175672_6e0c699.jpg

If so, no worries. That's just a hole where the handguard clip attaches to the handguard. It doesn't go all the way through to the barrel.
Yes that was it.

jem375
December 21, 2011, 07:54 PM
check out this website:
www.gunaccessories.com
I bought a mount for my 180 series mini-14 and it works great...

gfanikf
December 28, 2011, 03:37 PM
Thanks! It looks like I'll be getting the gun tonight. Despite one being sold when I was in the store last time, the other 2 are (to my happy surprise) still there.

walker944
December 28, 2011, 04:23 PM
Do you know what series it is (the first 3 #s of the serial number)? The series number has an affect (to some degree) on the aftermarket stuff such as scope mount, flash hider, etc.

W.E.G.
December 28, 2011, 04:33 PM
Any good scope recs?

Yeah.

Don't put one on it.

The Mini-14 is a good gun for what it tries to be - which is not a precision gun.
There are a million threads on this subject.

If you want an accurate, scoped .223 rifle, PLEASE do not buy a Mini-14.

Be satisfied that the Mini-14 is reliably minute-of-pie-plate with iron sights at 100 yards.
That is what it tries to be, and it does just that very well.

mtrmn
December 28, 2011, 06:46 PM
I agree with WEG on the accuracy-the scope will help at longer ranges, but you will have to shoot a group at 50 yds and sight it to the center of the group. Do not let this discourage you, the mini is the most fun gun I ever had. They are excellent close quarter weapons. It's just not a target rifle by any means.
My eyes are so bad that I can no longer use the irons to any degree whatsoever, so I have to have a scope or red dot. So therefore mounting an optic is a good viable option but don't expect to hit a dime at 100 yds. If a scope, I'd stick with a small 1-4X or something similar.
My mini could darken the sky with lead given a limitless ammo supply. The very few malfunctions I can remember were due to aftermarket mags or poor ammo. Otherwise it functioned every time. And it's obvious you've never owned a mini before-you'll be pleased with the ease of teardown and maintenance as well. They are loosely based on the Garand action, which can't be a bad thing. Parts availability (if you ever need them) is not the best.

Bill_Rights
December 29, 2011, 02:36 AM
Where were you experts when I needed advice on buying a Mini-30 versus foreign 7.62 x 39 mm rifles to begin with? Or is the Mini-30 looked down upon as a poor step sister to the Mini-14? Anyway, see here:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=632308
I did end up buying a new Mini-30 rather than SKS, Saiga/AK, etc. So now I am looking for modification/accessory info. THANKS for what you've pointed out so far!

Next question: I am gradually noticing that, at some point, Ruger went to a thicker barrel, at least part way to the muzzle. This is desirable for longer shooting before barrel overheats. Do you know when that change was made by Ruger? I would dearly love a hardwood stock Ruger Mini-30 with the thicker barrel. But I have only seen the thicker barrel on synthetic stock models. I am hoping there were a few years in there where Ruger made them with BOTH thicker barrel and hardwood stock. Apparently, now you can only buy the Mini-30 in syn stock. No more wood. (However, the Mini-14 (.223 Rem) still comes in wood, classic "Ranch Rifle".) So, the QUESTION is: Can I buy a hardwood stock that will fit the brand new (late 2011) Mini 30?

mtrmn
December 29, 2011, 10:16 AM
Bill--Shoot me I guess. :o I never saw your mini30 post. But I will say here and now I'm far from an expert on ANY gun, but I know a little. (there's a song about "I know a little", but I digress.) I have no experience at all with ANY type weapon in 7.62x39.
I owned a mini14 for a long time until it met it's unfortunate early demise, but won't get into that. Bought it in about 1981 or so-series 183. It was ultra-reliable but you did good to keep all your rounds in a gallon milk jug at 100 yds with any ammo other than my reloads. And the best it EVER did was about 1 1/4" at 50 yds. (2.5moa by my calculation.) I love the mini14, but if I want something "accurate" at range I'll grab something else. (may be why the Ateam never hit anybody?) I hear all the talk that the new heavy barrel mini's are much better in this dept. But for the price I can get an AR15, (I have about 5 now) which will do at least 1 moa out of the box without all the fuss.

eazyrider
December 29, 2011, 02:12 PM
Since I bought my AR the Mini has not left the safe. It is a good gun but the AR is better in every way, to me at least. Worst thing about the Mini is the mags, expensive and hard to seat.

gfanikf
December 29, 2011, 03:22 PM
The scope thing was more of just a, huh I wonder what I could add down the road for laughs. In AR land (and sometime this time next year) I'm thinking of the Colt 6920 or Colt 6940.

I had a chance to shoot the gun last night, and boy was it a ton of fun. Very small recoil. Though there is one unique issue I had is I'm a lefty, an the gas ejection is near my face. It's a nasty odor. Does anyone know if it's a potential health issue? If it is, worse to worse I just wear a painters face mask when I use it and/or try and shoot on the right.

Do you know what series it is (the first 3 #s of the serial number)? The series number has an affect (to some degree) on the aftermarket stuff such as scope mount, flash hider, etc.

It's a 186 series from the mid 90s.

I agree with WEG on the accuracy-the scope will help at longer ranges, but you will have to shoot a group at 50 yds and sight it to the center of the group. Do not let this discourage you, the mini is the most fun gun I ever had. They are excellent close quarter weapons. It's just not a target rifle by any means.

Eh, it let me get two headshots almost on top of each other. As a (since October) new shooter I was really happy and it was a lot better than the Nagant I had for a while (though that was a M38), so for me it's pretty good so far. :) That said I also liked it's potential as a CQB weapon for inside the home. I also shoot indoors (meaning no green tip) and while I have the ability to be a guest at an outdoor range or go to another outdoor range nearby, until it warms up and the sun stays up a little longer! So a scope isn't really necessary yet (just ammo and another mag). I intent to keep one mag charged for home defense (though not loaded) and the other for target shooting. Shame I can't hunt with it in PA (though I don't entirely mind the ban on semi-auto hunting) even in "bolt action mode" since I think PA would say it's still semi-auto, but I need to ask.

Oh for those looking for cheap Mini Mags (while I'm getting one at my LGS, since it's only 2 bucks more) Midways USA has a sale on them now.

Back on topic, besides the gas, I love this gun. :)

T Slothrop
December 29, 2011, 03:46 PM
I know that this is an unpopular opinion on THR, but the newer 581-series mini 14s with the heavy barrels are FAR more accurate than their skinny-barreled predecessors. Mine shot 2.25" 100 yard groups out of the box. The addition of an Accu-strut brought that down to just a bit over 1.7". A tack driver? No. But certainly more accurate than I am off hand.

In the interests of full disclosure however, the 185- and 186-series (and earlier) are terrible, especially once the barrels get hot.

mtrmn
December 29, 2011, 09:40 PM
I forgot to answer Bill Rights' 1 question--I don't know anything about the newer minis. I don't THINK a stock off the old pencil barrel models (like mine was) will fit. I have no idea if you could put a new model mini14 wood stock on a mini30 or not, but it's an idea if you could find one to try. Or maybe just give the Ruger tech assistance a ring?

mtrmn
December 29, 2011, 09:44 PM
I know that this is an unpopular opinion on THR, but the newer 581-series mini 14s with the heavy barrels are FAR more accurate than their skinny-barreled predecessors. Mine shot 2.25" 100 yard groups out of the box. The addition of an Accu-strut brought that down to just a bit over 1.7". A tack driver? No. But certainly more accurate than I am off hand.

In the interests of full disclosure however, the 185- and 186-series (and earlier) are terrible, especially once the barrels get hot.
I believe if you could put a positive light on late-model mini14 accuracy it would be very welcome info to a lot of folks considering buying one. All I can base my opinion on is what I experienced with mine, which was rather old.

M1key
December 29, 2011, 10:36 PM
I believe if you could put a positive light on late-model mini14 accuracy it would be very welcome info to a lot of folks considering buying one. All I can base my opinion on is what I experienced with mine, which was rather old.

This might help.

http://www.perfectunion.com/vb/ruger-mini-14-mini-30/86528-mini-14-accuracy-poll-stock-without-modifications.html

My unmodified 580 Ranch rifle groups around 2.5 inches for 5 shots with 55gr PPU soft points.

M

ExAgoradzo
December 30, 2011, 02:20 AM
Both of my Mini14s are scoped. One has iron sight (usable) below the scope. It is an amazingly fun gun and the one I'd run out of the house with if the SHTF. Don't own any ARs (yet), maybe my opinion will change then: till then I like them both...

blume357@bellsouth.net
December 30, 2011, 07:53 AM
I'm going to flame the original poster just a tad. If he or she thought the rivit that holds the foregrip cover on was a pre-drilled hole for a scope then they need to attend a gun safety class and get familiar with firearms.

gfanikf
December 30, 2011, 01:00 PM
That was before I had a chance to look at the manual and keep in mind I had only glanced at it before.

Trust me I wasn't going to just buy one on a hunch and install it. :)

I've also taken a firearm safety course. Though I'll be fair and say it was a pistol one.

Oh also the gun and Tula aren't on speaking terms. Shot a bunch fine then had a FTF that was logged in the barrel.

I'm going to stop being cheap and just get PPU ammo for the 3 bucks more it costs.

M1key
December 30, 2011, 06:57 PM
Try some Federal XM193, too.

M

LoonWulf
December 30, 2011, 07:21 PM
American eagle, and PMC bronze, if its in your price range. I found both to shoot under 2"s in my 581.

gfanikf
December 31, 2011, 12:05 AM
Shot PMC Bronze today and it worked quite nicely.

Bill_Rights
December 31, 2011, 02:05 AM
M1key,
Thanks for the pointer to the Perfect Union forums. Based upon your advert, I finally signed up there last nigt. Excellent. [Other THR folks at the other THR Mini-30 thread I linked to above had mentioned Perfect Union, too, but your reference put me over the edge.]

mtrmn,
Thanks for all the personal attention and encouragements. Sorry to hear about the demise of your 1980's Mini. But the accuracy wasn't that great anyway, you say. That loss and the poor acuracy drove you into ARs, eh?
I hear all the talk that the new heavy barrel mini's are much better in this [accuracy] dept. But for the price I can get an AR15, (I have about 5 now) which will do at least 1 moa out of the box without all the fuss. Well, I am not interested in .223 cal but rather .30 cal. Let's see you find an AR-10, DPMS .308, FNAR or accurized FAL for $700. Can you? Or accurized AK or Saiga, for that matter. Maybe.

As a Johnny-come-lately to Ruger Mini-30, I am counting on a combination of what T Slothrop says ...the newer 581-series mini 14s with the heavy barrels are FAR more accurate than their skinny-barreled predecessors.and what you sayI believe if you could put a positive light on late-model mini14 accuracy it would be very welcome info to a lot of folks considering buying oneand hope this applies to the Mini-30. I'll let you know later.

All,
Wooden Stocks: Yeh, after poking around at Perfect Union and some of their vendors/advertizers, there seem to be a lot of wood and other stocks available for the Mini-14/30. Don't think I'll have any problem there.

pbrktrt
December 31, 2011, 11:01 AM
Bill Rights, I've played with both for years. The only change you need to do to fit a Mini-14 wood stock to fit the M-30 is a little relieving in the rear of the magwell area. The Mini-30 magazine is a little wider there. You will also need the related hardware which is available online. Two screws, washers, and the Mini-30 magwell reinforcement. Have fun.

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