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Select-fire Mini-14?

Discussion in 'NFA Firearms and Accessories' started by heypete, Feb 14, 2006.

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  1. heypete

    heypete Member

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    I seem to recall Ruger making a select-fire rifle based on the Mini-14 platform. I've also heard that of the of civilian Class III/Title II manufacturers that are still around, they're one of the few that still support and service their full-auto rifles, even though they haven't made them for civilians since 1986.

    I think it's called the AC 556. Some listings appear online for it, which looks promising.

    Once I move out of California, I'm looking into getting a Title II machinegun, and the select-fire Mini seems to be a fine choice -- rather "innocent" looking, high rate of fire, reliable and time-tested action, lightweight, uses .223/5.56, and mags are reasonably plentiful (and there's now Mini-14 compatible Beta-C mags! Whoo!

    According to information I can see here (a picture taken a month ago in Scottsdale, Arizona), as well as some brief searching on Google, it looks like the mean going price for these rifles is about $7,000 which is substantially less than what full-auto M16s cost.

    I've got some quick questions:

    1) Is it true that factory service still exists for these guns?
    2) Do they use standard Mini-14 barrels? With a machinegun, I would imagine that barrels would wear out and need to be replaced on a semi-regular basis. Taking regular Mini-14 barrels would be great. It'd be even better if heavier or fluted barrels existed too...
    3) According to some stuff I've read, they can be easily converted to .22LR, and can be readily suppressed when firing .22LR and .223. Is this true?
    4) Are they safe-semi-auto, or safe-semi-burst-auto?
    5) Can regular Mini-14 accurizing techniques be applied? Not that a machinegun needs to be terribly accurate...
    6) Can normal Mini-14 accessories be added?

    Thanks all for your help. Once I get out of California, I'm looking to buy a machinegun to celebrate my newfound freedom, and this one seems to be a good solution. I'd much prefer a full-auto rifle rather than a submachinegun/machinepistol or huge belt-fed (I already have my semi-auto M1919, and would just get a crank for it), so this seems to be an economical, reliable, and durable choice.

    Cheers!
     
  2. KriegHund

    KriegHund Member

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  3. 357wheelgunner

    357wheelgunner Member

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    Some would argue with you here, but I digress.........

    Yes the AC556 is the full auto mini 14. I'm sure the barrels are the same, but not completely positive. I don't know why they'd have to change the barrel to make it semi-auto. As far as Ruger servicing full auto rifles, they don't even want lowly civilians to own magazines with more than 10 rounds, I doubt they encourage private ownership of "machineguns"
     
  4. KriegHund

    KriegHund Member

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    IIRC that 10 rnd qoute was taken way out of context. But i dont remember very well.

    I would hope the full auto version has a heavier barrel.
     
  5. heypete

    heypete Member

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    Hmm. That did answer a few questions, but I was really hoping to hear about any personal experience or cites to other information.

    This PDF file seems to have much useful information and praise for the AC556 gun, and also indicates that Ruger will still do factory service and lifetime warranty repairs to any unmodified firearms they sell or have sold. Interesting. I called their service department and left a message inquiring if this is indeed the case just to be sure. It also indicates the AC556 has a safe/fire safety much like semi-auto Mini-14s, and a semi-burst-auto switch on top of the receiver.

    I'm a big fan of the M1 Garand/M14/Mini-14 action, and have been quite satisfied with the Mini-14s I've fired in the past. I suspect I'd be just as satisfied with the AC556. The Small Arms Review PDF linked above seems to be quite impressed with the AC556. I'm particularly keen on the "stealth" aspect of it -- the Mini-14/AC556 systems look nearly identical, and seem quite non-threatening to those who might be alarmed by Evil Black Rifles. That, and the piston/op-rod mechanism keeps the chamber area clean, which full-auto M16s don't (ugh, I disliked firing my M16 and M4 on burst in the army...those suckers got dirty with cheap mil-spec ammo!).

    They're also significantly less expensive, which is always a plus for me. :D
     
  6. MGshaggy

    MGshaggy Member

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    Pete-

    The ACs are fun, but not a good alternative to an AR15/M16. Ruger WILL service factory guns, but not aftermarket conversions. Most ACs you'll find for sale are factory Ruger guns, but there are some ther were originally bought as semi-auto Mini-14s, and then legally registered and converted by individuals or other manufacturers prior to the May 1986 cutoff date. When you start looking be sure to ask who is listed as the manufacturer on the form 3 or 4. Anything other than "Ruger" means Ruger won't touch it.

    If the main problem with a full auto AR15/M16 is cost for you, I would then suggest you consider a registered "lightning link". This is a small piece of metal which makes any standard AR15 fire in full auto. They currently go for about $7000-7500.
     
  7. adaman04

    adaman04 Member

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  8. heypete

    heypete Member

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    Hmm. Good advice. When I look at them up close, that'd be something to consider. The Scottsdale Gun Club in (not surprisingly) Scottsdale, Arizona had an AC556 factory made by Ruger for about $7k, which is something to consider. They seemed knowledgeable, but were occupied with customers actually buying stuff that day, so I was happy to let them serve the other customers.

    I've heard about the lightning links, but have gotten mixed reviews on them. I've heard that their reliability can be questionable at times, which is unacceptable to me. I've also heard that they only support full-auto only...no semi fire at all, which is also an issue. Also, have a $7,000 piece of stamped steel that could be easily worn, bent, or broken is not something I'd want to trouble myself with. :D

    I wouldn't be buying the rifle as a substitute for an M16. I've had enough trigger time behind the M16s in the military and with civilian ARs. While the ergonomics are nice, and there's tons of accessories, dealing with cleaning issues (particularly with full-auto fire) is not something I want to trouble myself with greatly. That, and having Ruger available to do factory service for the AC556 is a major plus.

    I'm particularly keen on the everyday looks of the AC556. I tend to be pretty subtle with most of my guns (the "scary" ones I own are an SU-16B and a semi-auto Browning M1919. The rest are all "traditional" looking ones. Of course, the M1919 is a hit at the range, and is the very definition of "unsubtle", but that's the exception rather than the rule), and having a discreet-looking firearm capable of full-auto is nice. It gives me the opportunity to be discreet at the range (or in a SHTF scenario, but I'm not seriously considering it as a SHTF gun) if I want, or to to be non-discreet at my choosing. Common as they are, AR15s are a "scary" gun to some, and can draw unnecessary attention at certain times.
     
  9. MGshaggy

    MGshaggy Member

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    Links aren't as bad as they sometime get made out to be. I have one, as well as several M16s and other NFA weapons. There is a select fire kit available for the lightning link which will allow both semi and full auto, but after a while the paddle can get worn a bit and either need replacement, or just a good pounding with a hammer to return it to its flat shape. Fortunately the paddle is not a restricted or serialized part and you can have extra paddles on hand. If you're still seriously set on an AC though, check out www.davidspiwak.com Dave is a friend of mine and a respected C3 dealer who has quite a few ACs in stock in various configurations.

    One of the major problems with the Rugers is mags. While good AR15/M16 mags can be had for $10-12 each, only Ruger and possibly PMI make decent 30rd mags for the AC556s and they are much more expensive $30+ each
     
  10. 4v50 Gary

    4v50 Gary Moderator Staff Member

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    Being longer, the receiver of the AC-556 is different from the Mini-14. Some parts of the trigger group are interchangeable, but as you've guessed, the AC-556 has a slightly different group. A lot of Mini-14 accessories will fit it though and yes, Ruger will work on it.
     
  11. eab

    eab Member

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    Just a word of warning on it being descreat and all. Not that you were thinking of this at all but thought I should bring it up.


    Serveral years ago a H&K employee used a full auto mini 14 to defend his life in the H&K parking lot. He had YEARS of leagle battles and large leagle costs. He ended up losing his job everything went to heck for him. All cause he used a "machine gun" to defend himself instead of a "normal" rifle.
     
  12. heypete

    heypete Member

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    A wise and prudent warning.

    The only time I could ever possibly conceive of using such a firearm in self-defense would be in only the most dire of needs, like a real SHTF scenario.

    Of course, that's rather unlikely, and there's any number of more appropriate firearms (pistols, semi-auto rifles, shotguns, etc.) than a full-auto gun. If it were a REAL SHTF scenario, then ammo conservation would be key, and full-auto would be pretty stupid.

    Realistically speaking, though, it'd be used for fun at the range. :)
     
  13. MGshaggy

    MGshaggy Member

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    Well, considering that former HK employee (aka Gary Fadden) went on to become the current president and CEO of Al Mar Knives, I think he's doing ok.:D
     
  14. Oldtimer

    Oldtimer Member

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    There were, basically, two models of the AC-556 that were made: The "government barrel" model, which was a full-stocked, 18" barreled, select-fire "carbine" (similar overall length and appearance to the Mini-14, but with the pinned "government" front sight), and the "NFA" short barrel (10") with the front sight positioned on the top of the gas system/"barrel band" of the rifle and it came with the factory-made folding stock.

    From what I have gathered, Ruger attempted to gain favor with the military, government agencies and police departments with their AC-556 models. They were supposedly espoused as being "tanker" weapons, due to their condensed size, and espoused as being the "ultimate" firearm for usage by government prison guards. Testing was done, but none of the government agencies liked either one of the versions. It supposedly all went back to the design features of the "investment-cast" receiver and the flimsy contour of the barrels. Both versions were "select-fire", but not equipped with the 3-round burst capability.

    OVERHEATING was one of the major problems. Second was the gas system, which tended to foul. Also, the gas system "jet" pipe, which bleeds off pressure from the fired rounds tended to erode rather quickly, due to the heat that it was subjected to. Another "issue" was with the ease of field maintenance procedures. The "barrel band" requires a special hex key, and the bolt required (supposedly) too much "playing with" to remove, then return into place.

    I fired one of the first AC-556's available, and was only moderately impressed. It just wasn't accurate for anything other than close-quarter shooting, and the ergonomics SUCKED! Add to that, the overall configuration seemed to heat up MUCH faster than any other similar firearm. Shortly after I fired that AC-556, I heard rumors about the investment-cast receivers failing, due to fissure cracks on the receiver. One of those rumors was that there were several ruptures, not just fissure cracks.

    Hey, I happen to own TWO Ruger Mini-14's, and I know what their limitations are. They're "okay" for casual shooting purposes, but NOT for long duration/rapid fire. They tend to need a LOT of maintenance, and I have often questioned the quality of Ruger's "stainless" steel and their "cheaper-to-mass-produce" process of investment casting! Make mine FORGED, and properly heat-treated! I'll PAY for the extra machining processes!
     
  15. KriegHund

    KriegHund Member

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    The bolt just takes a little practice. Its easy once you get the trick, but it takes a few minutes of time to figure out.
     
  16. Slimjim

    Slimjim Member

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    Also, for 7 grand, your in the FN FNC price group. But parts may be easier to find for the AC556. You could also buy two mac-10s, double the fun.
     
  17. Father Knows Best

    Father Knows Best Member

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    The latter is technically called the AC-556k.
     
  18. THE MACHINIST

    THE MACHINIST Member

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    ac 556 trigger pack

    heres the full and semi positions on the trigger pack.
     

    Attached Files:

  19. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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    You need to get with the times, they aren't like that anymore, Mr. Ruger died and he was the one with those views. Don't they sell the 30 rounders offline on their website? Oh and last as I recall they will service the AC556.
     
  20. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    You just responded to a 4 year old post.

    Reading is fundamental.
     
  21. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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    Well like they say, "the internet is timeless".
     
  22. nalioth

    nalioth Member

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    . . . but unfortunately, even the best of us are not.
     
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