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Old 07-22-2009, 00:11   #1
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Various ammo through Mini-30

I have shot a variety of ammo through my Mini-30 with a variety of results.

This is a non-scientific rating of the ammo.
The variables that I will not specify are: stock, shooting position, and magazine. For most of these, I tried more than one of each. I used iron sights, so there's something to consider.

Here's the gun in its two forms:



I used 3 different mags listed in order of reliability with the most reliable first:
Ruger 5rd.
Promag Steel 10rd.
Promag Polymer 30rd.

Here is the ammo:


These are good but expensive.
This was tied for most reliable with the next one.
They were the 2nd most accurate.
This box cost $15 at the range.


These are good.
This was tied for most reliable with the first one.
These two were the only brass cases and also the only ones with zero failures.
These were very accurate, but I would rate them 3rd.
This box cost $11 on the internet.


These had a 5% failure rate.
These were the most accurate and had the strongest kick.
They smelled odd and had a distinctly red muzzle flash.
They soiled my gun much more than the brass cased stuff.
This box cost $5 at a pawn shop.
They are a no-name Russian type with polymer coated steel cases. They have the same quality symbols on the box as the Military Classic and the Brown Bear.


These are terrible.
They had a 15% failure rate.
They were the least accurate.
This box cost $8 at a pawn shop.


These were the worst.
They had a 20% failure rate.
The lacquer coating provided enough friction between rounds to prevent the next round from shearing off the magazine >1/3 the time.
Their accuracy was a close 2nd to worst.
This box cost $8 at a pawn shop.


These were decent.
They had a %10 failure rate.
They were accurate.
This box cost $9 at a pawn shop.
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Old 07-22-2009, 00:12   #2
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I have not yet shot these.
They cost $30 for 100 rounds on the internet. Shipping was $11 when I ordered 200 rounds.
I also ordered some "XP" hammer springs from Wolff for $12.
I will no longer be able to test ammo with a stock Mini-30, but FTF on cheap ammo takes some of the fun out of shooting.
I will update this thread next week after I have tested these.
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Old 07-22-2009, 06:00   #3
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evidently some of the steel-cased X39 ammo is tough on primers of the M30. you should check the Mini page for more info concerning.
don't waste any time on the Wolf 'Black Box' X39 ammo it's not much. I suspect the 'Military Classic' is the same ammo I've read is OK to shoot. I haven't tryed any in my M30 but have in my Makarov pistol it did OK.
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Old 09-20-2009, 01:57   #4
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I forgot to write my range report of the Brown Bear with the heavy trigger spring.
Better late than never.

The heavy Wolff trigger spring made it so that I got 100% yield with the Brown Bear and I suspect all Russian ammo. Brown Bear was plenty accurate and has been at the low end of the cost spectrum for several months, so I will likely continue to shoot Brown Bear most of the time. The spring was well worth it for the cost savings in ammo. I almost thought that I broke by trigger assembly installing it. It was not easy doing something so visual from the simple instructions that I found on this forum. After having done it once, I know I could do it again much easier, but it still takes three hands to do it. The instructions that I read called for a vice. I don't have one, so I used a very large pair of slip-joint pliars and operated them with my knees as I compressed and inserted the very stiff spring. Also, the guide called for some kind of thin punch to hold the spring compressed. I didn't have one, but found that a thick sewing needle was the only thing that fit and wouldn't shear right off.

All was not perfect for that shooting session. I descovered that my polymer 30-round ProMag got little dents on the inside from the front of the bullets. These hung up the ammo so it stopped feeding almost entirely.

Does anyone know of a very reliable 30 round mag for the Mini-30?
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Old 09-21-2009, 18:14   #5
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I don't know of any maker of reliable 30 rd mage for the M30.
I have a couple of 'USA" brand 30's I got to doing OK with some tweaking. USA is no longer made, 'Western' And 'National' both make them but I haven't read any report on them.
the 'USA' 20 rd I have and 'American' and 'ProMag' 10's do fine.
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Old 10-07-2009, 19:08   #6
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what was the headstamp on the russian no name ammo?
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Old 12-02-2009, 14:53   #7
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Ammunition Sensitive is Right...

Iíve read a lot on these forums about how inaccurate the minis supposedly are--especially the mini-30. I have a mini-30. I am not any kind of expert, but can tell you from experience that the gun is VERY ammunition sensitive. When I first got the mini, I tried cheap military ammo in it and was appalled at the accuracy: I would get 50 yard groups that started out at 3Ē (first 4 shots) and opened to 7Ē or 8Ē as the barrel got warm. Ridiculous. I was ready to throw the thing away. I experimented with ammo, however, and found out just how ammo sensitive the gun is. I finally settled on Winchester Super-X 123g soft point ammo, which will give me 50 yard groups of 1.5Ē for starters and open up to about 3-4Ē as the barrel warms. This is with iron sights, too. The warm stringing is mostly vertical, so youíll still be hitting what youíre shooting at, if itís a silhouette. The ammo your mini likes might be different from what mine likes, as some wise person on this forum has already mentioned.

Lots of people also talk about how easy the minis jam. From the start I used the Promag steel magazines in mine, and it has NEVER jammed in over 400 rounds. Iím in Kalifornia so I use the 10 rounders. They are good. Get the Promags.

What people say about waiting for the barrel to break in is also true. Accuracy improves as you go through your first 200 rounds. Wait for that barrel to settle down.

Observe these 3 considerations before deciding the mini is worthless. My mini-30 is a relatively short-range (under 100 yd.) self-defense weapon--the large majority of self-defense encounters will take place within that range, especially if youíre urban or suburban instead of rural. I equipped my mini-30 with an XS Sight Systems ghost ring rear sight, for fast target acquisition (you donít want a scope, except for long range). The mini-30 is plenty accurate enough, considering I use iron sights anyway, and it is totally reliable. In the real world, sub-MOA accuracy is probably not going to make the difference, but fast target acquisition and reliability ARE). Yes, I know, there are indeed more accurate guns (e.g. AR-15) but Iím in Kalifornia and do not have those options unless I want to hassle with a bullet button (I can just see myself dying, with the tool or cartridge in my hand trying to change the damn magazine, so no thank you). I tell you: a well-fed and well cared-for mini is not that bad an option hereÖ
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Old 12-02-2009, 15:56   #8
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Originally Posted by calbear View Post
My mini-30 is a relatively short-range (under 100 yd.) self-defense weapon . . . I equipped my mini-30 with an XS Sight Systems ghost ring rear sight, for fast target acquisition . . .
ditto . . .

and Welcome to the forum calbear !
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Old 12-03-2009, 05:37   #9
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good write-up and welcome to the forum calbear.
several here likely will agree with your intended purpose for the M30, I have small glass on mine for hunting/tactical useage but installed the Eagle brake with the HK front sight for better iron sights in case I loose the glass for inside 100 yd shtf situs.
with some mods that I've done on mine I figger 300 yd shots are about the limit under good conditions of course. with a 100 yd zero drop wil be about 18" at 300yds. not so hard to compensate for with a mil-dot scope.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:10   #10
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+1 for Promag 10 and 20 round mags. Russian Barnul 7.62X39 is both reliable and accurate in my Mini-30.
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Old 12-30-2009, 11:51   #11
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I just got 50 of the new Hornady VMAX for less than $30 at Cabelas and it is outstanding! All I use for all my hunting is Hornady and the Mini30 will be no exception. I had the same experience with the junk import stuff.
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Old 12-30-2009, 15:40   #12
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I load the Hornady 123gr VMax .310 dia slug over 680 for groups that match or exceed Lapua Match X39 factory ammo, the best I've shot. wish it was made in 150gr weight for deer. with the small mil-dot reticle glass I have on my M30 I would not hesitiate to fire on 300 yd targets in SHTF situs. I have got 5" groups at 200 yds off a rolled up sleeping bag rest several times with Win fmj. this before I got the Lapua and rolled my own with the VMax I have'nt been to the 200 yd range since.
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