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Some ?'s on the Mini 14

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by DJ E., Jan 23, 2004.

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  1. DJ E.

    DJ E. Member

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    I was thinking about picking one of these up as a plinker and maybe a CQB weapon. I hear alot of different things about the accuracy, but maybe as a long term project I could work on that. I've heard that the barrel warps easily, but just how easy are we talking? Could it take five 10rd rapid fire strings in succession, or is that just asking for trouble? And how hard is it to mount some type of holosight or EOTech on the regular and ranch rifle? Is the rear sight on the ranch really that bad?

    Darn it, I know I have some other questions, but being what time it is while starving, my mind is beginning to bug out. Thanks for any input.

    DJ
     
  2. 308win

    308win Member

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    The barrel is thin so your poi will definitely be affected by heat. For CQB five ten round mags in rapid succession won't affect it enough at close range to make much difference unless you are going for eye shots.:p

    You can usually get under 2moa at 100 yds with a two simple steps, bedding and a muzzel brake to help with barrel harmonics. Also check the crown on anything you're are looking at.

    The rear sight on the mini ranch is not something I would want to bet the ranch on. You can get a nice rail system from Weigand that will give you a lot of options.

    The regular mini doesn't have the scope bases machined into the action so your low cost options are limited to the side mounts. Owners have had mixed results with these. I would go with the ranch unless you want a 7.62X39.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2004
  3. Daedalus

    Daedalus Member

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    I would pick up an AK in 223 if you are interested in that cartridge instead of supporting that tool Bill Ruger.
     
  4. Murphster

    Murphster Member

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    You might ask around and check the percentage of people who have had them and didn't like them vs. those who got them and like them. I've had two. Got them for essentially the same reason you're thinking of them. Got my first one as a more affordable alternative to an AR15. Liked it for about a week. Didn't like the stock, the sights, the price of good magazines, the way the top of it looked, or the terrible accuracy with any kind of string of shots. It was reliable. Got rid of it within a month. Got the second one after an apparent bout of amnesia. Got a ranch rifle stainless synthetic second time around. Better sights. Still couldn't stand the weapon. Same reasons. Dumped it after about a month. I don't know if I can put my finger on why I didn't like them. It seems that everything it is and everything it does, there's something else that's much better. Felt like I was having to "make do." With apologies to everyone who loves their Mini's. Just want you to be sure of your purchase so you don't blow a chunk of money on something you regret.
     
  5. dave3006

    dave3006 member

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    The key to making it a good gun is cutting down the barrel to 14.5" and installing a muzzlebrake to make it 16" overall. This cuts groups to about 2" and ELIMINATES POI drift with temperature. Buy the XS Sights rear sight apperture to replace the factory sight. Buy PMI 30 round mags for about $30 each and you are good to go.

    It will be more reliable and work in conditions an AR will not. Unfortunately, it is not tactical cool. If you live in occupied Kali, it is your best choice.

    http://www.perfectunion.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=2372&st=0&#entry28757
     
  6. dave3006

    dave3006 member

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    ...I mean find the PMI 30 round mags you purchased before the ban. Or buy Promag 10 rounders.
     
  7. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

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    Don't support Bill Ruger. Spend some money on people who actually respect our RKBA.

    The general consensus I've read is that Mini-14s, out of the box, are about as accurate as throwing bricks. For the time/effort/money spent "parting up" a Mini-14 (adding good peep sights, fixing the barrel/stock, hicap mags, etc.), you could get a decent RRA AR-15.
     
  8. TODD3465

    TODD3465 Member

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    I've owned 4 different Min-14's over the years.
    The first one I owned and the last one which I currently have were both capable of 1-2 MOA groups depending on the ammo. Both were 182 prefix rifles.
    The other 2 I owned were later production stainless ones. One of them was purchased new and would do 2 MOA at best. While the other was purchased used, looked like it had never been cleaned and the best I could ever get it to do was 4MOA. Don't remember the exact prefixs but all were 80's production.
    Quality of the newer ones I don't know about.
     
  9. R127

    R127 Member

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    I had a 186 series in stainless steel. I don't respect the 5.56mm NATO/.223rem as a fighting cartridge, but I do sorta kinda miss the gun. It's cute, handy, reliable and mine was fairly accurate. Not match accurate, but not too bad. Mine was never modified in any way, but if I still had one and were going to fix it up, I'd send it to

    http://ruger-mini-14-firearms.com/index-2.html

    for a .687 gas block, matching barrel(over 16" inches, please) and scout mount that allows use of open sights. I can "modifiy" my own handgaurd. There are a lot of other cool doo-dads, and honestly you don't need that scout mount, but I'd enjoy a setup like that as a toy or if I was someone who was satisfied with the performance of the cartridge, and it wouldn't cost much, especially if built on a used Mini 14. Oh yeah, have a synthetic stock for it.

    You know, these things really aren't that bad. Yeah, it sucks about Ruger's politics and all, but you're fooling yourself if you think most of these big corporate types are any different. Look at what Colt and Smith did. Buying used means you get the gun but Ruger doesn't get the money. As mentioned earlier, an AK in .223 will do the same, though I like that cartridge even less through a 16" barrel. Heck, get a 7.62x39mm AK. Either way I'd take a Mini or AK in this caliber over an AR-15, unless part of the deal was I could sell the AR-15 for one of these guys. At least I trust a stainless steel Mini to work every time, and ironically, it's also lighter. You gotta love it when a solid steel firearm is lighter than a plastic and aluminum/plastic/steel hybrid. Kinda like the M-92 Vs CZ 75.

    My ultimate advice is, unless you have lots of funding or an extensive collection already containing such a thing, forego the pea-shooter for a man's rifle in a serious caliber. An FAL, M1A, CETME/G3, SAIGA, VEPR will work just as good close in as they do far away. If overpenetration is your concern, get a SAIGA 12. Those things are impressive!
     
  10. dave3006

    dave3006 member

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    Mulliga, he lives in Kali. AR15s are scary black baby killing machines that fire evil mean bullets. The Mini-14 is a happy gun that shoots friendly bullets.

    (I already covered the accuracy thing. It is a non-issue with a chopped barrel)

    P.S. Would I love to own an AR? You bet. I can't. They each have their advantages.
     
  11. Buckskinner

    Buckskinner Member

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    Here we go again...

    MIni 14, possibly the most contentious rifle question there is.

    Mine works great, and the action is very cool because its reminiscent of the M1 family.

    CQB? Me too! Because if 5 or 10 rds don't do it with the .223, its time for a shotgun.

    How close? Expect 4" or less at 100 yards. But that's fine! Are you hunting or competing with it? NO! You've got other rifles for those things hopefully. At under 100 yards, its minute of beer can, no prob!

    Find those preban factory mags (you only need two for now) and go shoot up some National Forest!!

    There are lots of folks who can work on the gun for not much money. Be careful though, cuz you could spend the same amount as getting yourself a used M1A...
     
  12. Andrew Wyatt

    Andrew Wyatt Member

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    okay, first off, most of the accuracy problems relate to two factors. factor one is the factory overtightens the gasblock. factor two, the factory takes too much material off each pass when turning the barrels in an effort to save time, which jacks around with the stress relief.

    In any event, www.perfectunion.net has a mini-14 board that's considered a pretty fantastic resource for mini-14 shooters, and you won't get stupid comments like "why don't you just buy a rifle that's illegal in your area".
     
  13. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I've had two blued and two stainless Minis. I used the scope-sight base that mounts in the rear sight bloc. With a Weaver K4, I regularly got three-shot groups inside two MOA.

    For varmints, the only thing that really matters is whether or not the first shot from a cold barrel goes pretty much to the same place. Mine always did so. Group size beyond three shots or so just doesn't make any difference.

    For self defense, pin-point accuracy is unimportant, as pointed out in an earlier post.

    Reliability? I never had a problem with GI ammo, commercial, or gunshow reloads.

    The real weakness of the Mini is the availability and high cost of the twenty- or thirty-round magazines. My personal preference is the factory ten-rounders, which are no longer made. They are now available as after-market.

    But they just ain't target rifles...

    :), Art
     
  14. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    Easily. It's not that it "warps," but that it gets slightly more flexible, changing the harmonics. This happens to all rifle barrels as they heat up (it's a property of steel), but the mini is more prone because (1) the barrel is relatively thin, (2) the barrel is cantilevered off the gas block, (3) the heavy gas piston launching off the gas block introduces extra vibrations in the barrel, and (4) the action-to-stock fit is not all that consistent. You can shoot quickly all you want, but your 100-yd groups may open up to 8-12" or so after a couple of 30-round magazines . . . but it will not be permanently damaged or "warped" beyond ordinary barrel erosion. My mini Ranch has at least 2000 rounds through it and still shoots about as well as it did when new (~6" groups at 100 yd with 55-gr ammunition).

    Not hard. Check out the UltiMAK Picatinny (sp?) rail that replaces the top half of the gas block. It's pricey, but rock-solid and puts the sight well forward, probably the best place for it. Someone else may make a less expensive version. I understand there are also sight rails that fit the Ranch Rifle's built-in bases.

    Yes and no. As far as sight picture, it's not significantly different from the rear sight of the regular mini (i.e., a small hole in a large wall). The advantage of the Ranch rear sight in CQB applications, as I see it, is that you can fold it down out of the way and shoot using a cheek weld and front sight only, which is amazingly fast and quite accurate inside 25 yd or so. People also talk about it being fragile, which it may be compared to an AR rear sight, but again it's not really worse than the standard mini rear (IMHO).

    I have a Choate pistol-grip stock on mine, slightly shortened (my arms are short). With that stock and a 20- or 30-rd magazine, it handles very much like an AK, except lighter.

    Ram-Line 30-round "Combo Mags" (also fit AR-15 and AR-180) work extremely well in the mini, just don't drop the rifle on the magazine or the mag will probably break. Stay away from the nickel-plated magazines with the stamped retaining catch on the back (welded-on catches seem to work better).
     
  15. Kestryll

    Kestryll member

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    The gentleman asked about a Mini-14 for plinking and CQB.
    So far we've had several derogatory responses towards the rifle mentioned and a couple of people urging him to commit major felonies that would ruin his life. That's helpful.
    There have been some good responses as well and some usful information given. Bravo to those who put the man's question ahead of thier personal biases.
    So far we hear that the Mini shoots "Minute-of-beer-can" and "as bad as 4MOA".

    Miunte-of-beer-can, so by inference I can hit a beer can at 100 yards? That sounds like a mighty fine plinker to me. I may not hit the exact middle of the Budwieser label but if the can dances at 100 yards I'm happy.

    4 MOA, so three to five shot groups of four inches at 100 yards. I'm to be disappointed that my CQB weapon can put 3 to 5 bullet into a mans heart at 100 yards? Somehow I think I can live with that.

    The odd thing is, most of the accuracy mavens lamenting the Mini-14's flaws would be the same people telling you that at long range you need to be firing somrthing in the 7.62 range as the 5.56 just doesn't have the power at range.

    For the most part the two areas people slam the Mini in are accuracy and Bill Rugers politics.
    Mini's can be made to be very accurate with a little work and care, and Bill Ruger is dead. That should handle both of those complaints.

    Rant mode: Off
     
  16. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    For your information:

    WILLIAM RUGER DIED on 6 July 2002!

    Could somebody please explain how buying a Ruger Mini-14 designed over 30 years ago by a guy who later died supports gun control? I'm all for boycots and the guy made a bad decision in his elder years; this is beyond extreme. He agreed with a limitation on magazine capacity when he was in his seventies. That's it people. Let his idea... stupid as it was, die with him. I'm sure if you spent 24 hours conversing with John Moses Browning, you'd probably hear something that didn't make you comfortable. But should that prevent you from buying a Browning over 60 years after he died? Get real.
     
  17. SodaPop

    SodaPop member

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    You left out the third factor............some people can't shoot straight.;)

    Mine shoots 8inch groups at 500yds and it's a stock Ranch Mini 14.
     
  18. Joe Demko

    Joe Demko Member

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    I owned a stainless Mini-14 and a blue Ranch Rifle. Neither was particularly accurate. Cold barrel groups ran to fist size at 100 yards. Hot barrel groups were all over the paper and looked more like shotgun patterns. This was with 55 grain ammo from various makers. Never reloaded for either rifle. Both were rather slovenly in their fit and finish, wood and metal both. As for the Ranch Rifle rear sight, yes it is that fragile. Mine self-destructed twice just from the recoil forces generated by the mighty .223 cartridge. Ruger charged me for replacements both times. Ruger does make some good stuff. I have a MkI and a MkII that I love. Have had a couple of 10/22's that were reliable and accurate. Have a.357 Blackhawk that is a lot of fun. But our friend the Mini? No thanks. I have no desire to ever own another.
     
  19. AZ Jeff

    AZ Jeff Member

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    I'll throw my 2% of one US dollar in here, too.

    I find it interesting that many of those who criticize the Mini-14 for it's accuracy use the various AK-type rifles in .223 (or 7.62x39) as a benchmark. Those rifles are certainly NO MORE accurate than your typical Mini-14, and when firing crappy ComBloc ammo, are probably WORSE.

    The fact is that the average Mini-14 is a 3-4MOA rifle, and makes an excellent ultility rifle, but not a match rifle.

    Many of you may not remember, but when the Mini-14 came out in the early 1970's, Ruger billed it as "the world's most expensive plinker!!"
     
  20. DougCxx

    DougCxx Member

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    I had a stainless ranch purchased in the early '90's, I sold it in the late '90's for various reasons. It functioned well enough but wasn't very accurate. At that time I had never heard of shortening the barrel; the certain way to make it an accurate gun was to put a match barrel on it for $300 or so.
    ---------
    I don't know of they're Cali approved, but if you want a cheap plinker in 223 the Saiga guns are available and only cost around $220--quite a bit less than the $450+ asked for a new mini-14.
    ~
     
  21. Kestryll

    Kestryll member

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    The Saiga's are base on an AK action and are illegal in California.
    Even without hte pistol grip or any of the barrel attachments they still have that AK style receiver that can make you snap and shoot up a busload of Nuns.
     
  22. HIPOWER

    HIPOWER Member

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    Hello. The Mini-14 has had its fair share of detractors on this and other discussion boards, and I don't doubt that many have had serious problems. But I personally like the darn thing. Mine has been stone cold reliable with any cheap surplus ammunition, and the 20 and 30 round PMI mags have worked flawlessly for me. Sure, its not a tack-driver, but it is accurate enough to kill most critters and two-legged predators out to 200 yards. I nailed a white-tailed bunny at about 80 yards with mine, using iron sights, which aint all that shabby in the accuracy department. Barrel does heat up quickly, but only when you're in "blasting mode."
    It is a lot of rifle for 450 bucks. Go for it!
     
  23. Mulliga

    Mulliga Member

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    From Dean Speir's "The Gun Zone":

    http://www.thegunzone.com/rkba/papabill.html

    ...on 30 March 1989 [Ruger] had his proposed legislation delivered to selected members of the House and the Senate. A portion of his document read:

    The best way to address the firepower concern is therefore not to try to outlaw or license many millions of older and perfectly legitimate firearms (which would be a licensing effort of staggering proportions) but to prohibit the possession of high capacity magazines. By a simple, complete, and unequivocal ban on large capacity magazines, all the difficulty of defining "assault rifles" and "semi-automatic rifles" is eliminated. The large capacity magazine itself, separate or attached to the firearm, becomes the prohibited item. A single amendment to Federal firearms laws could prohibit their possession or sale and would effectively implement these objectives.

    It wasn't the seventies, guys. Buy a used Mini-14/30, if you must. Hell, buy whatever you like. But maybe with every Ruger sold Sturm Ruger and Co. should get a letter criticizing Bill Ruger for appeasing the gun grabbers...
     
  24. MeekandMild

    MeekandMild Member

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    Back when I was young and naive I wondered why my mini 14 couldn't get 3/4 moa groups like the model 77 I had at the time. I showed the rifle to a former marine who was sitting at the next bench and asked him to check it to see if it was broken.

    He got a much smaller pattern than I was able to accomplish, I forget how much smaller, maybe teacup sized instead of dinner plate sized and told me there was nothing wrong with it. :neener:
     
  25. Kestryll

    Kestryll member

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    Not really sure how to respond to this. Both Badger Arms and I tried to make it pretty clear but perhaps it was to small to see, I'll try it a bit bigger.


    WILLIAM RUGER DIED on 6 July 2002!
    WILLIAM RUGER DIED on 6 July 2002!
    WILLIAM RUGER DIED on 6 July 2002!
    WILLIAM RUGER DIED on 6 July 2002!
     
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