Greetings, and a couple of questions - Shooting Sports Forum


Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 family of rifles

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Old 04-17-2017, 17:04   #1
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Greetings, and a couple of questions

Hi there, Mini noob saying hello. I bought a 583 a few weeks ago and I have a couple of questions. It's fun to shoot and I'm planning some mods to try to tighten up the groups.

First is a magazine issue. It came with two 20 round mags, and I also bought a factory 30. The 30 gives me lots of trouble. Inserting it into the mag well empty and cycling the action manually, it doesn't lock the bolt open. Unless I grab the mag and hold it back (there's more movement when it's in place than there is with the two 20s). Then when it's locked back, when I remove the magazine the bolt slams forward.

When shooting it I get the same problem, but also sometimes the bolt will go forward and not pick up the next round. I don't realize this has happened until I pull the trigger and get a 'click', then I remove the mag and the bolt goes forward the last bit (it doesn't go fully into battery when it does this). I pull the bolt back and the chamber is empty, so it rode right over the next round instead of picking it up.

The gun functions 100% flawlessly with both the 20 round mags. So my question is about 30 round magazines. At first I thought I got a bum mag, but then I did a little googling and it looks like the Mini is known for having reliability issues with 30 round mags. I'm okay with using the 20s but I wanted to use 30s as well. So does this mean my gun is just incompatible with the 30s, or what? I'm not sure what to make of it.

The other thing is bedding. I heard about someone bedding their Mini using credit cards. I've done some searching but I can't find a discussion on it. Is there a write-up somewhere that someone can post a link to? Thanks.
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Old 04-17-2017, 17:50   #2
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Frogger, first and foremost: Welcome to the forum from Central Virginia!

I have a 583 Tactical and a 181-series (ca 1977) Mini, and both seem to be fine with the two factory 30-rounders I bought last year. Not everyone has had the same experience and most will recommend - for maximum reliability - the 20-rounders. Make sure you thoroughly clean new mags, as that may impact reliability. Check the feed lips on your '30s and compare with your '20s. You may also want to consider loading less than 30 rounds at first...Perhaps 28 rounds. Try to keep to an even number.

There are several threads about "bedding" with credit cards in a synthetic stock - something I did with my new 583 mini in a synthetic stock. It is pretty simple, actually, and only requires the investment of an old credit/debit card (or a "gift" card"), some glue and a clamp just to keep it in place until the glue sets.

The search function on this site is less than stellar, but the info is buried here. Perhaps a Google search might be a bit more revealing: "Mini-14 Credit card". A good start on a thread is here:
Mini-14/Hogue Stock Bedding

Good luck! We're here for you!
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Old 04-18-2017, 09:39   #3
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I already cleaned out the mags and made sure there were no bits of plastic molding on the follower that might cause it to drag. I don't think that's the problem. I also checked the feed lips, the angles and everything look identical to the 20s and the edges are smooth so there's nothing snagging the cartridge or anything like that. The whole thing just seems to be a sloppy fit. Compared to the 20 round mags, it's a looser fit in the mag well, hangs lower (probably accounts for missing the next cartridge and not locking the bolt open), doesn't keep the bolt locked securely (slams forward when the mag is removed), harder to lock the mag into place, and harder to remove it.

It's pretty surprising considering the cost and the Mini's reputation for reliability. It's not until you buy one that you find out that you have to use smaller mags to get that reliability. As much as they charge for the 30 round mags, I'm surprised they aren't gold plated and do the laundry for you. It's hard to believe they can't fix something that they charge so much for.

But now that I've got that gripe out of the way, I'm sticking with my Mini anyway because I still enjoy shooting it with the 20 round magazines and I'm looking forward to having a new project and seeing how much I can tighten up the groups. So I'll start off with the bedding. Thanks for the link, I'll see if I can find more info on that.
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Old 04-18-2017, 10:41   #4
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Welcome to the Forum.
From your description of the problem, my guess is that the locator-tab on the back of your 30-Rd mag is in the wrong place...as-in, the bottom edge of the tab is too high in relation to the top of the mag body.

As you may have noted from your research, that's not an uncommon problem with the 10 and 30 Rd Ruger mags, and there's not really much you can do about it.
My suggestion would be to give Ruger Customer Service a call, politely explain the problem you are experiencing with that particular mag, and ask that they exchange it (which they most certainly will do)...or better yet, just to avoid any possible future disappointment, see if they'll work you some sort of deal on exchanging it for a couple of 20-rounders instead.

Yeah, I know that your heart may be set on a 30...but...the present situation on that is what it is, has been for some time, and has yet to show any signs of being solved...so...?

DGW
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Old 04-18-2017, 11:03   #5
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DGW, good point on the tab!

Frogger, try and measure to the bottom of the tab to something at the top on the 20s and then check the 30. They should be identical. If not, give Ruger CS a call: they might exchange it for you.

If that doesn't work, perhaps you can get a 'smith or a welder to extend the tab until it matches. Would need to re-blue (after checking it works) - hence recommending a 'smith.

I guess I was lucky with my two. They were actually superior construction compared to the four factory 20-rounders I bought about the same time. Different factory made them, I think.
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Old 04-18-2017, 11:46   #6
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Welcome from SoCal, Frogger:

Here is a link to my not-as-often-as-I'd-want post on my journey with my Mini. On pg. 2 of the thread I show pics of the shimming process. Was pretty simple and cut out the receiver movement:

5817, 583 Series

I did most of the mods recommended here by the Wise Ones. Haven't got the Accustrut, but hope to this year. It may not necessarily help with accuracy, but it will help with the cooling when I'm out in the desert. Plus, it has that 2nd-level coolness factor to it.

All the mods I have done have given me a platform to help me focus more on the marksmanship fundamentals. I am leaning more and more that the mods don't directly improve accuracy any more than buying a $2,000 Martin guitar makes you Tony Rice. They do, in my short experience, create a better platform for someone like me to work on the fundamentals. Can it be done without them? Absolutely! But the mods make the entire shooting experience more enjoyable....as my Martin makes pickin' more enjoyable

I would say the same about the 1911 buffers, changing out the gas block bushing, a Brimstone trigger job, and getting the TechSights. Spent a little less than $200, but I have a noticeable improvement in the experience. For a Rifle I will keep the rest of my life, and will use in 80% of rifle shooting situations, it is well worth the investment.

Since I live in the Kali-Fascist zone I can't help much about the 30-round mag. I have 2 Ruger 20s Kali-compliance modified. They work great. I also have 2 Ruger 10 rd, and 8 ProMag 10 round. All the 10-rounders don't lock in with a closed bolt, but will be doing modifications on the followers and springs soon to help that out. There are a few posts about that around here, may help you with your issue.

Hope that helps. And welcome again to the addiction...
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Old 04-18-2017, 14:28   #7
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Some 30 rd mags have had a few problems, if it's Ruger brand I would try to send it back.
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Old 04-18-2017, 15:09   #8
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I checked the locking tab on the back of the magazine. It's a different design, but the placement seems to be the same. It's hard to tell if it's off just by eyeballing it; it can look good or not depending on how you look at it. But when I measured from the bottom of the tab to the top of the metal mag body with my caliper, the measurement is the same as on the two 20s. I also measured the thickness of the mag bodies and found that the 30 is a bit thinner than the 20s. I'll give Ruger a call and see what they say.

tc, thanks for the bedding pictures. I noticed a slight bit of forward/backward movement in the stock, I'll see if I can shim that up, too.

Regarding the other mods you mentioned, I already had some of those in mind. I'm planning to get a Tech Sight, but for now I'm using a scope for accuracy testing while I do these mods. Eventually I was thinking an Ultimak rail for a dot sight. I'd rather not use the rail that came with the gun so I can leave the top of the action open. I'm not planning to replace the gas bushing anytime soon. Maybe eventually, but right now I just want to deal with the accuracy mods. I'm glad you mentioned Brimstone, saves me from having to ask where to send it for a trigger job.

All I've done so far is install a stronger recoil spring and buffer I got from ASI. It runs fine with those installed. What about a buffer for the other end, to go over the gas pipe in the gas block? I put another ASI buffer there but the hole wasn't the right size to go over the ring at the base of the gas pipe. After a couple of minutes it was chewed to bits. Is there a buffer designed to fit correctly there?

I think I got the picture attached correctly. The 30 is on the right.
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Old 04-18-2017, 17:14   #9
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Frogger,

Welcome to the forum. Tapco makes reliable 30 rounders for Minis. Make sure you get the Gen 2 with the metal reinforcement around the top of the mag. Also, the credit card shimming of my 583 synthetic stocked 300 BLK made a big difference in groups. My $.02


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Old 04-19-2017, 07:22   #10
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Originally Posted by Frogger View Post
All I've done so far is install a stronger recoil spring and buffer I got from ASI. It runs fine with those installed. What about a buffer for the other end, to go over the gas pipe in the gas block? I put another ASI buffer there but the hole wasn't the right size to go over the ring at the base of the gas pipe. After a couple of minutes it was chewed to bits. Is there a buffer designed to fit correctly there?
I don't know about the ASI stuff. I use the Wilson 1911 buffers on both ends and they've worked fine. The one around the gas tube was a tight fit, but I got it all the way on. It did break up early. One thing you may want to try is The Harris Mod where you file the edges of the gas block end of the op rod where it comes in contact with it. There is a lip there that seems to chew up buffers...which may be the only reason it is there

Here's a link to it:
1911 recoil pad disintergrated on me

And the link to an Ed Harris article about it:
Ed Harris: My Observations on the Ruger Mini-14 - www.GrantCunningham.com www.GrantCunningham.com

Many of The Wise Ones on this forum recommend it for chewed up front buffers.
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Old 04-19-2017, 08:34   #11
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Just in passing....
When you added that "stronger recoil spring", you decreased the op-rod's reward impact...but...the price you paid for decreasing it's impact against the receiver was increasing it's forward impact against the gas block.
Not saying that that alone is what caused the early failure of your front buffer, just saying that it's obvious to me that adding an over-powered spring into the mix certainly wasn't helping anything in that regard.

Hope you found this useful.

DGW
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Old 04-19-2017, 16:45   #12
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I'll look into the Tapco mags and the Harris mod.


Originally Posted by DGW1949 View Post
Just in passing....
When you added that "stronger recoil spring", you decreased the op-rod's reward impact...but...the price you paid for decreasing it's impact against the receiver was increasing it's forward impact against the gas block.
Not saying that that alone is what caused the early failure of your front buffer, just saying that it's obvious to me that adding an over-powered spring into the mix certainly wasn't helping anything in that regard.
I figured the impact on the gas block would be harder, that's why I wanted to install a buffer at that end. But I think it got chewed up because it didn't fit over the ring at the base of the gas pipe and it was getting pinched every time the slide went forward.
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Old 04-19-2017, 17:12   #13
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Greetings, and a couple of questions

I put an ASI buffer over the gas pipe with a little help from a hair dryer. It lasted 400 rounds with a factory recoil spring. Model 583, 300 BLK


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Old 04-19-2017, 19:35   #14
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Frogger, the Harris mod is a leap of faith. I had some judgment juice and experience with an earlier Mini to get me through that. No ill effects at all. the critical factor is uniformity. If you're uncomfortable, a machinist can do you right. To me, it is a vast improvement. Never figured out why Ruger put that stupid lip on there.
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Old 04-20-2017, 15:25   #15
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Okay, I see the lip on the end. I don't really have any way to remove it except to just file it off. I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble if I don't know what purpose it serves.

If you remove it, is that enough to eliminate contact between the end of the the slide and the gas block? Or do you have to remove more metal from the end?
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Old 04-20-2017, 17:03   #16
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Frogger, just the lip - nothing more. Then a 1911 buffer up front and you'll be good to go,

If you're a little uneasy with that, then follow COSteve's advice and just round off the sharp edges,

My personal recommendation is follow COSteve's guidance and if all is well, stick with that. If it still chews up the buffer, then do the Harris mod, Just be patient with the filing/grinding...
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Old 04-20-2017, 17:17   #17
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Originally Posted by Frogger View Post
Okay, I see the lip on the end. I don't really have any way to remove it except to just file it off. I'm not sure if it's worth the trouble if I don't know what purpose it serves.

If you remove it, is that enough to eliminate contact between the end of the the slide and the gas block? Or do you have to remove more metal from the end?
Mr. Harris and his accuracy experiments aside...Be aware that if you take enough material off "to eliminate contact between the end of the slide and the gas block" you'll be causing the little roller-shaped tab on the RH side of the bolt to absorb all of the forward force of the slide each time it slams to a stop.
As designed, that force is supposed to be absorbed by the gas block...not the comparatively-small "roller tip" of the bolt lug.
I realize that there's people whom have got by with doing that, but myself, I have concerns relative to the resulting long-term reliability of the effected parts.

In other words...to paraphrase a concept that got drummed into my head by a very-good gun smith I once knew....the lip and projections which Ruger chose to put on the Mini's gas block weren't put there for decoration, and it might just be that they know more about how to design a gas block than I do..

Just something to chew on...no offense meant to anyone.

DGW
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Old 04-21-2017, 07:24   #18
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Originally Posted by DGW1949 View Post
you'll be causing the little roller-shaped tab on the RH side of the bolt to absorb all of the forward force of the slide each time it slams to a stop.
As designed, that force is supposed to be absorbed by the gas block...not the comparatively-small "roller tip" of the bolt lug.
I was wondering about that too as I was reading the article. Altering how it works and changing a stress point to something that wasn't designed for it. Not sure if that's a good idea.

As far as the lip goes, I'm no engineer but maybe they decided that placing the impact on the gas block only on the portion closer to the barrel is best because it's strongest there. Anyway, I don't think I'll remove it. I might just round off the sharp edges and try another buffer.

I might go back to the factory spring as well if that doesn't work. It's supposed to reduce the impact on the receiver (and improve the stripping of the next round from the mag and pushing it into the chamber) but I'm not sure if it's worth it when you get a harder impact on the gas block.
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Old 04-21-2017, 08:47   #19
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My opinion is that instead of putting buffers up front, just get some new gas bushings instead.
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Old 04-21-2017, 09:04   #20
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Hello Frogger...I'm no engineer either, and in my case, it's caused me to learn a lot of things the hard way.
One of the good things about learning the hard way though, is that it taught me to employ a lot of critical thinking in terms of what I'm about to do, why I'm doing it, and what the side effects are going to be...

...Hence my stance on Mr. Harris' infamous accuracy modification. Not saying that he was wrong in what he did, just saying that I personally do not find the side effect of what he did to be something I'd care to take a chance on.

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Old 04-21-2017, 11:11   #21
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Originally Posted by Steak n eggs View Post
My opinion is that instead of putting buffers up front, just get some new gas bushings instead.
Just for the sake of discussion...
While reducing gas flow to the piston and it's cylinder will certainly reduce the op-rod's impact against the receiver...it will not do anything to reduce the impact on the gas block, because the impact on that end is strictly a result of the op-rod's mass being launched towards the block by spring pressure. Two different energy sources, one for each direction of travel...that's what I'm saying.

That said though, I'm not a fan of adding a buffer to the gas block either.

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Old 04-21-2017, 11:19   #22
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Originally Posted by DGW1949 View Post

I'm not a fan of adding a buffer to the gas block either.
Why not?
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Old 04-21-2017, 11:51   #23
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Well, I did the Harris mod to my 583, and run buffers fore and aft - all to no adverse effect, with the bonus of front buffer survival, a complete change in the feel of the recoil, and a bit softening of the forward blow - which does help with optics' survival.

My 181 Mini - built in 1977 - didn't have that lip and IIRC, non-Ranch Riffle Minis were that way through 2004. My 181 Mini has untold thousands of rounds through it and has never had even the hint of a malfunction in the 37 years I've owned it, so I didn't really hesitate much to make the face of the 583's op-rod the same. Adding buffers fore and aft to it a few years ago resulted in a much nicer feel during the cycling, and I will never go back. My front buffers are made from vinyl baseboard material I had laying around, which are pretty much indestructible (without the lip). It is about the same thickness as the protrusion of the lip when it was there.

I didn't do the Harris mod for accuracy reasons, I did it to match my very reliable 181's op rod face (and to help with front buffer life).

To each their own. My two Minis run like a top and neither has hinted at a malfunction.
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Old 04-21-2017, 17:53   #24
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Originally Posted by Frogger View Post
Why not?
Mostly because the "before and after" 100-Yd accuracy testing I've done with two different Mini-14's did not show one bit of measurable difference in terms of the front buffer being there, or not...
Strike one.

Plus, this ain't my first rodeo with a Mini-14/Mini-30. Over the years, I've probably owned close to a dozen all together, which includes everything from the early versions right up to my present 582-series, both calibers, and two different stainless models. There's no telling how many rounds of ammo I may have fired though the Mini platform in all that time, but it's been a bunch...and the fact is, I still buy 5.56 for my 582 by the can or case to this very day. Point is, I've had a LOT of trigger time behind these things and have yet to see one single thing which suggested to me that a front buffer is needed as a means to prevent wear or damage to the parts it is supposed to be protecting, because the fact of the matter is that there never was a problem with those parts which needed fixed to start with...
Strike two.

Then there's my concern over installing a relatively fragile part which may or may not bake, char, split, chunk, break, and/or otherwise fail in some manner which may cause a stoppage of the gun before I get around to (hopefully) replacing it so it don't.
And just in passing, part of my experience with the Mini platform centered around my time as a deputy sheriff, a policeman, my service with the Travis County Organized Crime Unit, and with the Texas State Guard...so compromising my rifle's reliability is not a small thing to me, and never has been...
Strike three.

In other words...myself, I know of three good reasons why my gun doesn't need a front buffer, but not a single valid reason why it does. So that purty-much settles it in my mind.
On the other hand though, I do realize that we each have or own way of looking at things based on our own experiences, wants, needs, and goals...so hey, if the next guy is happy with having a front buffer, that's fine by me..

DGW
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Old 04-21-2017, 18:03   #25
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What about softening the shock that's transmitted to an optic? I figured that was the primary reason for using one.
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