Great West Gunsmithing GunDoc can fix up your Mini-14 like no other...

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Old 11-14-2006, 05:18   #1
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Accuracy results of modified rifles?

On the Great Western web page for the accurization services you do to Mini's, it says:

"Factory spec is 3-5 inches at 100 yards. Our typical customer sees 1-1.5 inches at 100 yards with a growing number seeing results of sub MOA (minute of angle - approx. 1 inch groups at 100 yards) using select or hand loaded ammunition. Since there are so many variables, we do not make any accuracy guarantee."


What is the typical number of shots in the 1" to 1.5" groups that your customers are reporting?
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Old 11-15-2006, 07:45   #2
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Typically 3-5.
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Old 11-15-2006, 10:03   #3
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Originally Posted by gundoc
Typically 3-5.
Thanks. I understand that you don't care about groupings that much, but it is useful to know this. I'm still investigating this other problem I'm seeing--and a few other folks are as well--where you get a dual grouping pattern with flyers and the stuff that lands where you aimed it. I see the pattern first emerge after 5 shots, and the full pattern is revealed usually within 10 shots. After talking to some other folks, I'm wondering right now if this might mean I need to bed the gas block or something.
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Old 11-15-2006, 11:42   #4
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Bedding the gas block is a sometimes difficult job. There just isn't much surface area at the gas block to adhere the bedding to. It can be done, but depending on the stock material and bedding material, you may have to do it several times before it stays in place.

I feel that groupings are only important as a tool to determine the overall potential of the rifle. It takes a special rifle with attention to every detail in the rifle, optics and loads to achieve one hole groups. Hunting rifles capable of 1.5 to 2 inch groups are fine for hunting, but paper punching places a demand on shooter and rifle that must be very carefully attended to. Proper stock fit for repeatable cheek weld, extremely light triggers, expensive barrels and blueprinting, and on and on are needed to consistently achieve the level of accuraccy for competition. We're already using the mini in roles it was not designed for and acheiving accuraccy that it was also not designed for. The new mini has a heavier and longer barrel, and the sliding weight is a take off of the Browning Boss system. I have always contended that if Ruger wanted to make money and produce a superior mini, they would use mini 30 barrels and gas blocks, and chamber them for .223 mini 14's (not 5.56). Since they make the barrels, why make two? Just make one and chamber them differently. Manufacturing costs would decrease and the customer satisfaction would increase. Ruger has rejected my idea many times. Did you know that the headspace guage for a mini 14 is a proprietary part not available outside of Ruger? A .223 headspace guage will get you close enough, but it's not what Ruger uses. And since the lock up of the operating rod to the gas block is sloppy at best, the forces at work following the ignition of the primer let the op rod slap it's way down the channel and the bottom of the barrel. It does begin moving before the bullet is fully out of the barrel.

If you seriously want small groups on a regular basis, I would encourage you to use a different gun and make it a group shooter. You can keep pumping money into the mini 14 platform, and it may or not give you what you want. That's just an honest opinion, granted it's mine. Driving screws with hammers can be satisfying, but often it just leads to frustration and buying better hammers. Use the right tool and you'll be much happier. I'm not picking on target shooters, I'm picking on the mini 14. I like them, but I also understand their limitations and know that they're not always the best choice for the shooting I intend to do.
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Old 11-15-2006, 12:07   #5
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Gundoc wrote:

If you seriously want small groups on a regular basis, I would encourage you to use a different gun and make it a group shooter. You can keep pumping money into the mini 14 platform, and it may or not give you what you want. That's just an honest opinion, granted it's mine. Driving screws with hammers can be satisfying, but often it just leads to frustration and buying better hammers. Use the right tool and you'll be much happier. I'm not picking on target shooters, I'm picking on the mini 14. I like them, but I also understand their limitations and know that they're not always the best choice for the shooting I intend to do.


Timlt wrote:

Actually I think that's really great advice, and based on my recent experiences, it's also what I'd suggest to someone else if they asked me. You have no idea how much I appreciate your candor on this, I was starting to wonder about my sanity (ok, not really, but it WAS bugging me as to whether I was just missing something obvious). And in fact, I've already reached that conclusion and put it into action before we talked. Last week, I ordered an AR upper from White Oak Armament, which I will be using with a Rock River lower for CMP competition shooting in service matches.

As for the Mini, I agree with you, I still like and will shoot it, but I think I've reached a point where, unless some savvy person like you who works full-time with Minis (or enjoys part-time tinkering with them--like some folks in our forum) comes up with an approach that soundly resolves this issue, I am just going to chalk it up to the limitations of the Mini's design, stop flogging the issue, and move on. From the responses I've gotten so far when I ask others about this, it appears that almost everyone sees some form of this behavior, though they describe it in different terms. Bottom line: ask someone to take ten shots in 10 minutes at 100 yards, using your favorite optic, do that several times, and take the average group size. I'd be willing to bet well over half of Minis, even accurized ones that can shoot better 3 to 5 shot groups than others (and mine is happily in that category, thanks to you ), will see some degree of this bimodal pattern (or at least, a number of flyers, even if the flyer pattern itself is not consistent) reproduced in those 10-shot groups.

Does that mean Mini's are terrible guns, or a waste of time? No, but in their current form they're obviously ruled out as serious NRA competition guns, even in local competitions. Further, though many can and do hunt with them, on any given hunt I expect folks who have this issue should be prepared for varying degrees of success esp. at longer ranges, like the guy in our current forum who shot well at 50 yards, and then was disappointed to find that he had missed a coyote that seemed well within range. I think that Minis are at the best for probably 3 types of situations: informal fun shooting (and it's the "fun" aspect that probably appeals to most of us) or plinking in semi-auto mode (the kid in me still enjoys "blasting stuff", sorry it's juvenile, but I can't help it), hunting from fairly close range where the outcome is not critical to you, and self defense situations from primarily 75 yards or less, where the Mini's varying degrees of accuracy will be small enough that it would not make much difference on a human sized target. I realize others will probably strongly disagree, and certainly the above pattern is not happening with all Mini's, but in all honesty I do expect it is probably the typical experience if folks will shoot a larger test group and be realistic about the patterns they are seeing.

But having said all that, if you ever DO come across some brilliant idea for addressing this problem--and you would be a likely person to do so--I sure hope you'll share it with us or make it available at your shop. I'll be the first in line to buy the solution, if you do! Thanks for the feedback!

Last edited by timlt; 11-15-2006 at 12:10.
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Old 11-15-2006, 16:35   #6
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Thanks! I have a few ideas that I hope to try out in the off season and maybe one or two will be worth offerring.
While it is not true of all Mini's vs. AR's, the AR is "inherently" more accurate due to it's design and components. Some mini's will shoot better than some AR's, but it is usually the exception and not the rule. As for tinkering..... The sky is pretty much the limit with the AR platform. You'll enjoy trying different things out. Have fun!
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