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Mini-14 Self-Cleaning?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by steak-knife, Aug 30, 2009.

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  1. steak-knife

    steak-knife Member

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    Hi All,

    First off, while I do happen to know a lot about firearms, I admit that there's even more that I don't know.

    So, long story short, my firend stumped me with the question of why the Ruger Mini-14 is self-cleaning?

    His reference was from Wikipedia that quotes: "the rifle employs an investment cast, heat-treated receiver and a version of the Garand locking mechanism with a self-cleaning, fixed-piston gas system."

    My guess is that the loose tolerences where the piston meets the gas nozzule leaves enough room for "crap" to fall out.

    Anyone?
     
  2. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Pretty much self-cleaning just like the M1 Carbine and other gas piston guns.
    Or the gas tube on an AR-15..

    Hot high pressure gas blows the crap off of it every time you pull the trigger.

    rc
     
  3. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    That part of the rifle is self cleaning, to a degree. It does not obviate the need for bore and chamber cleaning or lubrication, of course. IIRC, you are not supposed to lubricate the gas tube.
     
  4. One-Time

    One-Time Member

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    No such thing as 'self cleaning' though on piston guns theres a few parts that require little maintenance and no lube
     
  5. DMK

    DMK Member

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    Anything marketed as zero maintenance is either marketing BS or planned obsolescence.

    Even gas pistons and tubes need cleaning. I had both a FAL and an SKS turn into single shot rifles because of carbon build up in the gas tubes. You don't need to clean them anywhere near as often as a chamber and bore, but they do need periodic maintenance. Just wipe off any oil or bore cleaner before reassembly so it doesn't coke up from the high temperatures and pressure.
     
  6. steak-knife

    steak-knife Member

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    Actually, when I was pondering this question, I had my SKS in mind, when trying to detrmine if after firing the same amount of rounds, which one was less dirty. Yes, it's apples vs oranges, because the SKS uses a piston rod to push back the bolt, while the Mini-14 blows gas right into piston/bolt. My observations were that my Mini-14 was dirtier (near the gas port) than my SKS at the same spot, even though I was using clean American made ammo with the Mini vs. Wolf ammo with the SKS.

    Hence, I couldn't come up with an answer as to why the Mini-14 was "self cleaning", and should have been less dirty. Perhaps it's because my Mini-14 is stainless and I can see the crap build more than on my blued SKS.

    Thanks for the responses, but I still don't grasp why the Mini is self cleaning. If it is the mere fact that the gas blows out most of the crap than that should be true with all gas operated systems.
     
  7. dispatch55126

    dispatch55126 Member

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    What is your definition of "self-cleaning"? If you fire any round that burns anything, there will be residue left behind. The op rod on the Mini is no different. For the purpose of a firearm, IMO, "self-cleaning" means that the residue from the previous round is sufficiently cleaned by the operation of the next round so that the rifle will continue to function.

    Yes, it'll get dirty, but there is only so much carbon buildup no matter how much you fire it.
     
  8. shotgunjoel

    shotgunjoel Member

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    Oh it came from Wikipedia, okay.....
     
  9. ndh87

    ndh87 Member

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    I owned a mini 14, trust me, there is nothing "self cleaning" about that gas system
     
  10. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    I don't understand that comment at all. The Mini-14 gas system directs gas into a chamber on one end of the operating rod. That chamber fits over a "nipple" protruding backwards from the gas block. The other end of the SOLID operating rod is connected to the bolt so please explain what you mean by "blows gas right into piston/bolt".

    I've never owned an SKS but it sounds like it has a similar gas system to the Mini-14.

    :)
     
  11. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    The force of the return spring and the fit of the piston/connecting rod over the "nipple" on the gas block does slough off excess carbon fouling and this is what's meant by "self cleaning". The nipple has carbon on it after a few hundred rounds, but it doesn't build up to the point that the firearm stops functioning. In fact, I put more than 2,000 rounds through my first Mini before I cleaned the gas block. When I finally got around to it, it took quite a bit of work to get it new-looking again, but in retrospect, I could have just left it alone since it functioned perfectly before, during and after.

    :)
     
  12. MarineOne

    MarineOne Member

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    LMAO!!! I was thinking the exact same thing!



    Kris
     
  13. steak-knife

    steak-knife Member

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    My bad, I meant to say the operating rod on the Mini, as you described. For whatever reason the correct term eluded me when I was writing the response. I was tempted to say that "thingy that fits over the gas nozzle that's also attached to the charging handle.":)

    BTW. The SKS operates on a different system and does have a piston inside the gas tube that, when pushed by the expanded gases, cycles the bolt carrier. Is it self-cleaning? No, but is appears cleaner than the Mini.
     
  14. Candiru

    Candiru Member

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    I've heard accounts of the op-rod locking up hard on the gas nozzle due to cumulative buildup. Obviously, it would take an amazing amount of crud to produce this result, but apparently it does happen. What's not clear is how the op-rod could go into battery, but then not be able to be moved rearward. Maybe oil or bore solvent came into play somehow.
     
  15. steak-knife

    steak-knife Member

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    BTW, wasn't the original Armalite M-16 also billed as self-cleaning, and as such, they were issued without any cleaning kits? It's common knowledge where that went.

    With that said, I'm going to tell my friend that the Mini has some self-cleaning attributes (loose tolerences where the op handle meets the gas nozzle, with gas blowing crap out of the way), but there ain't no such thing as a free lunch, which means sooner or later, I'll have to give phosphate bronze toothbrush and Hoppes #9 a work out.
     
  16. Average Joe

    Average Joe Member

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    Sure, just like your self cleaning oven...
     
  17. Mandolin

    Mandolin Member

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    Only ovens, Glocks, and dishwashers are self-cleaning.
     
  18. SpotlightRanger

    SpotlightRanger Member

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    Come on now Wikipedia? Really?
     
  19. steak-knife

    steak-knife Member

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    Spoke to my friend, and here's the link from Wikipedia that he was refering to:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mini-14

    Under "DESIGN" it states:

    Designed by L. James Sullivan[3] and William B. Ruger, the rifle employs an investment cast, heat-treated receiver and a version of the Garand locking mechanism with a self-cleaning, fixed-piston gas system. The Mini-14 product page [4] describes it as a “simple, rugged Garand-style breechbolt locking system, with a fixed-piston gas system and self-cleaning, moving gas cylinder.”[1][5] The rifle is available in stainless or blued finish with hardwood, synthetic, or laminated stocks and an 18.5-inch (470 mm) barrel. Target models are currently available only in .223/5.56x45mm, and come with a 22-inch (560 mm) heavy barrel and either a laminated wood or Hogue overmolded synthetic stock.[6] Most Mini-14s have a classic sporter appearance, in contrast to comparable autoloading rifles such as the AK-47 and M16 rifle.

    Hey, if it's on the internet, and there are pictures, it must be true.:D
     
  20. Shear_stress

    Shear_stress Member

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    "Self cleaning" firearms are sequestered away in the same vault where they keep perpetual motion machines, 100mpg Fish carburetors and a patented method for effective gun control.
     
  21. CZguy

    CZguy Member

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    Me too...but I have a bunch of magnets that attach to a fuel line that is supposed to straighten out the molecules in gasoline to get more MPG. :D
     
  22. MCMXI

    MCMXI Member

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    Here's a photo of a Mini-14 gas block that I'm no longer using. This one has seen a few thousand rounds and was simply wiped down with an oily rag. There are some stubborn deposits on the non-swept surfaces, but for the most part it's fairly clean and free of any fouling that would adversely affect function. Note the three annular rings on the "nipple" which aid in the removal of carbon from the chamber on the inside of the piston/connecting rod.

    [​IMG]

    :)
     
  23. steak-knife

    steak-knife Member

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    Thanks for posting the pics.

    Now that it's on the internet, and there are pictures, it really must be true.:D

    All kidding aside, it really doesn't matter if the Mini is self-cleaning or not. Mine has never jammed on me, hits what I aim at, and I'm happy with what it is.

    Cleaning and routine maintanence will never be replaced.
     
  24. Maverick223

    Maverick223 Member

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    The gas system is effectively self-cleaning not the entire rifle (chamber, bore, receiver, et al)...you do not need to clean it unless you shoot thousands of rounds through it...1858 probably had quite a ways to go before he needed to clean his. Despite all of the bad press that the mini garners...it goes bang a great deal more reliably than 99% of other self loading rifles right out of the box. :)
     
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