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

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Old 01-04-2011, 14:35   #1
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Mini 14 barrel replacement

Has anyone here (non gunsmith) ever replaced their own barrel? I mean NOT sending it to a smith, but doing it yourself. I am familiar with barrel swapping on bolt guns but wondering how much different the mini is, aside from the gas port issues?

I have these ideas rattling around (literally) in my head about swapping out the barrel on my Target model, to a more contoured version, say a fluted, magnum weight barrel.

I also know many smiths do it, but ASI's $799 is just a bit steep. For that matter $499 (their "discount" price) is more than I would ever consider.

If any here have, what pointers would you offer, things to do or NOT to do? Thanks
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Old 01-04-2011, 16:09   #2
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Give GunDoc a shout,..........
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Old 01-04-2011, 21:10   #3
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Originally Posted by handirifle View Post
Has anyone here (non gunsmith) ever replaced their own barrel? I mean NOT sending it to a smith, but doing it yourself. I am familiar with barrel swapping on bolt guns but wondering how much different the mini is, aside from the gas port issues?

I have these ideas rattling around (literally) in my head about swapping out the barrel on my Target model, to a more contoured version, say a fluted, magnum weight barrel.

I also know many smiths do it, but ASI's $799 is just a bit steep. For that matter $499 (their "discount" price) is more than I would ever consider.

If any here have, what pointers would you offer, things to do or NOT to do? Thanks
Looking for a non smith that's done it.
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Old 01-05-2011, 02:29   #4
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I understand that,......however, it's not a simple bolt on deal!
And John is the type of guy that will talk to you and explain what's involved.

Good luck finding a non-Smith that has done it....let me know if you find ONE.

I'll be surprised.
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Old 01-05-2011, 22:39   #5
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Yea I KNOW it's not a bolt on affair, it's an unscrew one and screw in another affair. It's also a headspace, and port timing affair, that I understand completely. I have changed several of my rifles from 223's up to and including 338 Win mags, changing the bolt heads, setting head space (with proper guages) and adjusting firing pin length to accomodate the different bolt head.

I am NOT new to barrel swapping or caliber changes. I was just wondering if any other non smiths here, had done it to a mini.

I suppose I'll have to be the first. It really isn't rocket science or black magic or anything to be afraid of. Just like anything gun related, it's a matter of knowing the do's and don'ts.

What I was specifically looking for was issues with using reamers to get proper headspace. Ie, is it better that way or slowly adding threads?

I am even considering doing it the Savage Arms way, making the threads long enough to accomodate a barrel nut and setting it that way. I'll worry about the gas port once headspace is set.

Thanks anyway.
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:37   #6
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And like I mentioned,.........pm GunDoc.
I'm sure he would be more than happy to give you any pointers & tips.

Good luck
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Old 01-06-2011, 06:32   #7
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Hi Handirifle,

I know you're looking for hobby input, but if I may I'll start you off with these thoughts. since this is an open forum I'll express some thoughts that you obviously know, but others may not, so please bear with me.

What I read above is that you want to swap out your barrel for another factory barrel. New barrel blanks will need some of the same work, but buying a Numrich barrel is a different critter altogether. The chances that it will index properly without further work is very low. Unless you have access to a lathe and/or a machinist you'll want to stop now. I'll assume you do, so with a proper action wrench and barrel vise take the barrel off. Please, for the folks without Handirifle's experience, don't use a hammer handle in the action to unscrew the to. You risk bending the action.

Screw the new barrel on hand tight and see where it lines up. If you're lucky it stopped just shy of being perfect, because you'll torque a couple of thousandths into it with your action wrench and check the headspace.But since it probably didn't it either fell short or went past perfect. Doesn't matter either way, the barrel always needs to be setback and rechambered. Never use washers or thread locker to make it fit. With your headspace gauge, check the old barrel with a depth micrometer to see where it fits. Be aware that Ruger uses a proprietary headspace gauge that you can't get. So it may look like you have huge amounts of headspace even though it was designed that way. Calculate the degree of set back and remove that amount, less about 0.002" for the torque, from the shoulder and the rear of the barrel tenon (the threaded part). Install the barrel to make sure you have it right and then remove it again. Since the Mini doesn't have a chrome lined barrel reamers are the way to go. Buy one or rent one that matches the headpsace guage you used if possible. You can do the chambering by hand, but since you have access to a lathe do it right. Set up the barrel and a floating reamer holder and chamber it. Then still in the lathe, cut the bolt recess that was made shallower by the setback so the bolt fits properly. The extractor slot can be done with a Dremel tool and a carbide burr, very carefully. Otherwise you'll need to mill it in. I have seen bolt recesses from some well known smiths that were simply cut over sized so they didn't have to bother with this. Lightly break the edges of the bolt recess and chamber to ease feeding.

Now we're left with the gas system. There's two schools of thought depending on your smith. The gas system length has been shortened from the setback, so we need to correct it. You can either plug and weld the existing port in the barrel, cut a new one and call it good. Or you can shorten the op rod an appropriate length and adjust the forearm liner if needed. either way the goal is to return the system symmetry. To diverge just a moment - it drives me crazy to see gas block buffers. So many i have seen are way to thick and don't allow for full bolt lock up. Look at the left lug with the buffer on and off. If it's not in exactly the same position, the lockup has been compromised and you're risking a face full of bad news. One day it will fail, maybe catastrophically. Back to the issue - when you have everything where it needs to be, lightly polish the chamber and clean the bore/chamber. Load it up and test fire. pat yourself on the back for a good job.

Handirifle, I hope this answers your reamer question and I hope you get the response you're looking for from non-smiths.
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Old 01-06-2011, 14:08   #8
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Gundoc has it down pat. i had to replace a rotted bbl on a mini. Built my own action wrench 'cause I couldnt find one to buy.Wasnt all that different than barrelling my Fal, or my Galil. Same principals apply.
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Old 01-06-2011, 19:26   #9
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Thanks gundoc and mtdew.

Good pointers on the headspacing and I do appreciate it.

faawrenchbender
Sorry if I came across wrong, not intended, it's just sometimes the non smiths have made mistakes a smith wouldn't make and sometime the smiths tend to forget how lame we non pro's can be, and overlook the obvious.

I would like to hear more about the homemade action wrench. I currently have one for the rem 700's and Savage's.

By the way, are you an aircraft mechanic? Your name implies that, to me anyway. I am a retired controller. ZLA, for 26 1/2 yrs.

gundoc,
I am really thinking of a non ruger barrel, and am seriously considering making the threaded tenon extra long and fabricating a matchin barrel nut, like a savage rifle. Makes headspacing an absolute breeze. That is IF there is enough room between the barrel and the op rod. The nut wouldn't have to be very thick. For the gas port, I kinda figured I would make it on the fly, once headspace was set. And yes, I did notice on my Target model, the no-go guage for sure didn't stop the bolt so I fugured Ruger had made some allowances. Thanks for bringing that back up as well.
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Old 01-07-2011, 13:53   #10
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Here's a pic of homemade action wrench.PM for details.
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Mini 14 barrel replacement-wrench.jpg  
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Old 01-07-2011, 21:53   #11
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Thanks for the pic. Not having the rifle in front of m, what's the notch for? How thick is the steel? How'd you cut it?

Soooo many questions....Johnny five needs input!
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Old 01-10-2011, 19:43   #12
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the notch is where the rail on the left that the charging handle rests on fits into. 1" square. Cut w/ sawsall(reciprocating saw).
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Old 01-22-2011, 23:29   #13
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Mini 14 barrel replacement

handi........

Check out this old thread for another pic of an action wrench and a couple other tools that may be useful in your quest in doing a barrel on a Mini.

http://www.perfectunion.com/vb/mini-...tml#post538624

I used a Rotozip (bigger than a dremel) and an adapter I made for a quick change tool post to cut the extractor relief.

Mini 14 barrel replacement-cimg0148.jpg

With the old barrel still in the receiver, scribe the outer edges of the old extractor cut onto the inside of the receiver. I used a small tool bit from a lathe for a straight edge. Later when you screw in the new barrel and torque in place, you can transfer the scribe marks to it as a guide cutting to the lines. I used the Rotozip in the tool post mount, set at the angle of the original barrels cut, then rotated the barrel a little at a time while it is chucked in the lathe. Worked great for me.

Email or PM me if you would like to have me describe the headspace part of how I chambered mine.
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Last edited by Calif Mini; 01-24-2011 at 10:24.
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Old 03-11-2012, 17:45   #14
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Calif Mini
Sorry for the long delay, just found this thread again, computer issues , anyway I appreciate the info and pics and will follow up with an email or pm as suggested.

REAL good suggestion on the scribe marks.
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