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My mini 14 experience….

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Mr transformer, Jan 1, 2012.

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  1. Mr transformer

    Mr transformer Member

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    I thought it appropriate to share this little experience.
    A mini 14…. I have never owned one, and never thought about buying one.

    Up until a few days ago, I had never held a mini 14 in my own hands, or used it, or looked up any information on them. Nether did I have any opinion on ruger products. I had never had any experience with them

    A few days ago friend of mine ask me for some help with a mini 14 he had. He bought it new many years ago, but never used it. He generally defaulted to his shotgun when he had to kill pest. So he never really had a need to pull it out and use it. Some coyotes had moved into the area and was killing pets and threatening livestock so he needed something that could reach out and touch something. So he pulled out the mini14 that he had stowed away. It was still in the factory packing. He doesn’t shoot much so he wanted me to take a look at it and make sure everything was still in good condition from the long storage.

    I pulled the handle off, and took a look at it’s underbelly. Everything looked clean with no signs of moisture damage. Put the handle back on and it cycles nice. The bore was factory fresh with nice sharp rifling and no rust. I gave the bore a swabbing. He had just bought a new $100+ bushnell scope for it, so I put that on while I was at it.

    We took it with a couple 22 rifles and some cardboard to a holler to sight it in and let him get use to the thing. We used federal lake city .223.

    I wanted to get it roughly sighted in so I put the target up at 75 feet. I was going to do one shot tests until I got it close then move out to a distance and zero it in with three shot groups, then let him have at it. The target in question was a piece of cardboard about 1 foot tall with a cross in the middle sitting right on the dirt.

    This is where things started to get strange.

    I took one shot, it hit about 4 inches high and 2 to the right. I did the necessary number of clicks to bring it down 4 inches and left 2.
    I fired again. It was right on the vertical line but 3 inches low. I cranked it back up about half the number of clicks that I had just cranked it down.
    I fired again. It hit 1 inch below where I had just hit (4 inches down.) and one inch to the left. At that point, I was starting to double check my memory to make sure I was cranking it the right way……. So I cranked it up another couple inches….
    I fired again, and it just barely clipped the top of the paper. About 6 inches high.

    I may be a slow learner but it was finally starting to sink in that something wasn’t right in Denmark. :uhoh:

    I double checked the scope mounts and anything else that may have been loose. Found no problems. So I made a three shot group at 75 feet just to see what would happen. First one hit the top edge of the paper. Second one hit right close to dead center. Third one hit the dirt right at the base of the target. I was utterly dumbfounded. It was a true *** moment.

    The only conclusion that my mind could come to was…. The new scope is busted. :cuss:

    So.. I took the scope off and send a half dozen round downrange with the iron sights….. for a reality check.

    My reality check bounced….. :eek: The first was high. Second hit low Third was high, forth and fifth hit the ground below the target. Sixth didn’t hit a damn thing. I checked the barrel to see if it was a squib, but the barrel was clear. At that point, I was wondering if I was drunk, but it dawned on me that I have never drank alcohol or taken drugs in my life, so that couldn’t be it. I pulled out the marlin 60 and proceeded to make a ragged hole at in the 75 foot target and then went open sights to mow down a line of pop cans at 200 feet, so I knew that it wasn’t me. He tried shooting it himself with the same results.

    Went to town and got some Remington ammo and tried it again with same results.

    Took the gun completely apart and everything looked good. Put it together with everything nice and tight and it did the exact same thing.

    After searching the web, I got the idea that it was a pretty inaccurate gun, but my mind had a hard time coming to grips with what I seen with my own two eyes. I have never seen a rifle shoot that badly in my life. (Unless someone took a hammer to the barrel)

    After a little more shooting, we found out that it’s “pattern” is about 5 feet in diameter at 100 yards. With the center of the “pattern” shifting depending on how fast you fired the rifle. (barrel heat)

    After doing a little more research, he came to the conclusion that it would be cheaper to buy a good used semi auto 223 and put the ruger in closet than try to get it to shoot good. It is just not worth messing with. He is just going to keep it in the house when he needs to shoot something point blank, because that is all it’s good for.

    Now I understand the statement “couldn’t hit a barn door from inside the barn”

    A rifle like that should have never gotten out of the prototype stage.. :banghead:
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  2. Cal-gun Fan

    Cal-gun Fan Member

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    Did you contact Ruger?
     
  3. Mr transformer

    Mr transformer Member

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    If he knew that he would get back a rifle that shot sub +/- 1 inch at 100 yards, he would have.

    But… by looking at other peoples experiences he knows that if he does the customer service dance, the best he is looking at is a rifle that will do +/- 5 in without heavy aftermarket outfitting, then it’s kind of pointless. It would come back more accurate than it is now, but still not accurate enough to be useful at it’s intended application.

    So he isn’t even going to start down that road.

    Sometimes it’s best to quit while you are ahead.
     
    Last edited: Jan 1, 2012
  4. firesky101

    firesky101 Member

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    ummm that bad of accuracy is a big problem with that specific rifle not the model. I just tried a mini 14 I was thinking about trading for, it was from 1991 and was no tack driver, but I was putting down consistent 3.5 MOA ten shot groups.
     
  5. TexasPatriot.308

    TexasPatriot.308 Member

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    my series 581 shoots 1 1/2" groups. most are not tack drivers, the newer ones are better and they are all fun to shoot.
     
  6. jojo200517

    jojo200517 Member

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    5 foot diameter pattern at 100 yards?:what: He can do that bad with some high end buckshot. Might be time to trade that thing on an AK. Even the worst internet rumored, canted sites, worn out assembled by blind monkey ones will shoot slightly better than 5 feet at 100 yards.


    In all seriousness was it really that bad? I just can't fathom accuracy being that horrid in anything that isn't physically damaged. 3 shots shouldn't be enough to really warm the barrel up any.
     
  7. RaceM

    RaceM Member

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    Bad rifle. Neither of mine are tack drivers, but they'll do 10" groups at 100 yards with irons.
     
  8. Mr transformer

    Mr transformer Member

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    He said that later on down the road , he may cut the end off the barrel (where the front sight is) because people have said they have had luck improving the accuracy with that. That is because ruger swaged the front sight on which crushed the bore at the very end.
    If that doesn’t work, he will probably get an aftermarket barrel. But that is the limit he said he is going to mess with it.

    He is not a gun person. He just has guns to do what he needs done. He doesn’t want to wait weeks for it to be shipped from here to tim buck two. All the while, the coyotes are killing his animals. If this unit is going to be a problem child, then he is the type of person that would rather be rid of it. And get something he can depend on from the box.

    It’s his stuff, and it’s his business. I am just relating my experience. I am not going to tell him he has to deal with a company that he already has a dim view of.

    I don’t know if he has already got another rifle but I will probably know in a few days.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2012
  9. Mr transformer

    Mr transformer Member

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    Yes, that is why assumed the new scope was busted until I tried open sights.

    I checked for a bent barrel, or other signs of impact.
     
  10. MistWolf

    MistWolf Member

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    A target to help identify what a shooter is doing wrong
    [​IMG]
     
  11. Nicky Santoro

    Nicky Santoro Member

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    OP,
    Your friend needs to have someone else try it out. The biggest problem with accuracy is shooter error. Just saying.
     
  12. blume357@bellsouth.net

    blume357@bellsouth.net Member

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    Hard one to call ... I suspect the problem is not one specific thing but a number of issues.... the bottom line is he for sure doesn't want to use that on varments... unless he wants to give them a serious advantage.

    I think if he wanted to do anything... I'd change out the barrel.... I would not do the receiver beading .... but the barrel and maybe the trigger at the same time.
     
  13. Double Vision

    Double Vision Member

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    My newer Mini-14 is a very good rifle and I've shot some decent groups with iron sights.
    And I'm not a very good shooter.
     
  14. wingman

    wingman Member

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    $100 Bushnell problem 1,operator error problem 2, while the mini14 was never a tack driver something seriously wrong with this story, not sure what "pulling' the handle off means but expect stock was removed, possible problem 3.
    Certainly a bad rifle can be purchased of any brand/model but stories like this tell me there is more to the story.
     
  15. Skyshot

    Skyshot Member

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    I'm no mini-14 expert, but I have owned several and currently have a 581 series tac carbine that shoots about 1 1/2 moa @ 100 yards. The problem you are talking about to me sounds like the gas block is not in alingment. You might want to try to re-aline and retorque the block and see what it does. You can find a lot of info a the Perfectunion website for mini-14's
     
  16. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    Mistwolf-It took me a minute for it to dawn on me, but that target is some funny @*&^.

    On another forum somebody wrote this classic statement about mini's:
    "I have a Mini14 I bought new in 1985 with the factory folding stock. It will go bang as well as any gun I own. Very reliable. For accuracy testing I take a Hula-Hoop and place it about 30 feet to my right on the ground. Then I shoot a ten shot group to 100 yards. Take the freshly fired upon target and compare it to the group of expelled brass in the Hula-Hoop. The brass generally wins. But it is fun to shoot!"


    Mr Transformer-- You could not sight mine in either--you patterned it like a shotgun at 50 yds and adjusted the optic/sights to the center of the pattern and called it good. I loved the gun, it was a lot of fun to shoot and seriously it was "accurate enough" for CQB within 50 yds or so but that was it's limit. I tried to make it better by working up a load for it--off and on for over 20 years. Best I EVER got was about 1 1/4-1 1/2" at 50 yds. And that was not repeatable.
    :cuss::banghead:


    All that said, where in the country are you located? If your friend wanted to maybe recover some of his money to go towards a good AR15 (read: accurate out of the box) I might be willing to take it off his hands and it would be somebody else's problem. My mini met it's demise recently and although I never could make it live up to my accuracy standards, I find myself missing it for some reason. Glutton for punishment maybe?:confused:
     
  17. Hangingrock

    Hangingrock Member

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    A 60"Ø cone of fire at 100yds, I’ll simply refrain from further comment as it would not be productive.
     
  18. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    I own a 580 Series Mini and have had accuracy frustrations with it. I fired it with open sights and a scope. Most times, it would just keep all the shots on the 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper on which my targets are printed with a scope or the irons @ 100.

    I tried PPU 55 gr., Federal American Eagle 55 gr. and PMC 62 gr. X-Tac with the PMC being the worst. I bedded it, but this didn't help. I finally tried a few handloads and it actually shoots them pretty decent....well, at least they're easier to keep on the paper. Specifically, 63 gr. Sierras are the best. But, you buddy doesn't handload.

    35W
     
  19. greenlion

    greenlion Member

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    No offense, but if you think taking one shot out of a cold bore (and a gun you have never fired before) and immediately zeroing for where that hit, then taking another shot out of a warm bore and resighting to match your second shot is the way to zero a scope, then you need to let someone who knows more about rifles shoot his gun before you write it off as defective. I've had inaccurate rifles before, but it takes a lot more experimenting with my technique, bullet weight, and scope/sights before I pronounce it useless.
     
  20. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    You are absolutely correct in your statement. When I read " I took one shot, it hit about 4 inches high and 2 to the right. I did the necessary number of clicks to bring it down 4 inches and left 2..." I thought what you thought. When sighting in a rifle with a scope, it's always best to shoot a group, three shots or so, then adjust the scope based on the location of the center of the group.

    BUT after reading on I realized this had far less to do with technique than it did with the rifle, and I say that from experience.

    35W
     
  21. mtrmn

    mtrmn Member

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    From my earlier post: "I tried to make it better by working up a load for it--off and on for over 20 years. Best I EVER got was about 1 1/4-1 1/2" at 50 yds. And that was not repeatable."

    The old-model mini will NEVER be the mid-level predator/varmint gun the OP is looking for without a complete re-barrel/rebuild. The money he spends doing this would be much better spent on a good AR15 which will do at least 1.5MOA straight out of the box. Even a bottom-dweller AR15 AR will shoot very well with the right ammo. I don't think there is a right ammo for those older mini's.

    Mine was a 183-series bought in/around 1981. The OP's description suggests the subject gun was bought sometime back in the day, so I assume it is in the same general time period.

    Aside from the accuracy issue, parts availability and the unwillingness of the manufacturer to repair mine is what brought about the untimely demise of my mini. I can get AR parts at my local pawn shop if I need to bad enough--ALL parts. Try to find a mini14 bolt, and THEN try to find somebody to properly fit and headspace it. But I digress and will stop now before it escalates into a full-blown rant situation.
     
  22. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

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    Does it have a mini-30 barrel on it???

    Mini's aren't known for accuracy, but that's absurd. Mine was about 3 MOA, came down to < 2 MOA after cutting the barrel to 14.6" and welding a flash hider to make it title I legal. I use it for coyotes out to 200 at night:

    [​IMG]
     
  23. dprice3844444

    dprice3844444 member

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    se fla i love claymores 01/sot
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2012
  24. husker

    husker Member

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    Shorten the barrel or get a strut for it.. Have the cryogenic freezing process done to the barrel. For the price of a mag you can have it done
     
  25. K1500

    K1500 Member

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    1. A mini will absolutely wreck a cheap scope in short order. A $100 bushnell is a cheap scope.
    2. Shoot 5 shot groups very slowly with the mini. Chasing one shot like you would do for an initial zero is a fools errand with a mini. You may have to do math to find the center of your 5 shot 'group'.
    3. Welcome to the frustrating world of the mini. They are fun, and the new ones are supposed to be more accurate than the old ones.

    Adding a brake or flash hider on the end seems to help accuracy some.
     
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