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

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Old 05-03-2011, 15:01   #1
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Mini 14 problem with Nato 556 ammo

I have a problem with my Mini 14.

When I load it up with .223 (Sellier & Bellot) it shoots just fine. I haven't tried wolf.

When I load it up with 5.56x45mm NATO it shoots fine except sometimes that some cases gets a punctured percussion cap.

I don't know if I traslated it right but there is a bigger bang, lots more smoke and the casing thats comes out has a hole from the fireing pin. Always wear safety goggles!

This happends randomly and sometimes in the beginning of a new 30 mag or sometimes in the end. Theres no telling when.

Sometimes after 100 rounds and somestimes in the first few shots.

The gun can be clean or a little dirty.

The surplus ammo comes from different sellers and also ofcourse manufactured not at the same time.

The ammo is stored dry.

The gun can have different temperature.

All the cases that are fired (except the problem ones) look ok and are not disformed or have black sot on them.

The thing is.. that a friend of mine have the same problem with the same type of ammo and none of the Mini 14 are the target version.

His gun is a bit older then mine but it is still the newer version.

Is there anyone that knows about this or are experiensing the same problems?
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Old 05-03-2011, 15:53   #2
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im more concerned hes shooting 5.56 out of a target version
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Old 05-03-2011, 16:30   #3
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better just shoot the 223 and leave the other for me sounds safer.must be cheap **** nato ammo with soft primers. what brand ammo you shooting.
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Old 05-03-2011, 19:27   #4
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Hi Fosterlandet,

Welcome to the forum. Four things come to mind, first check the ammo brand, lot etc. and do a search to see if it has been recalled such as this ammo was recalled. Second, check the chamber and leade/throat area for carbon buildup. If the rifle has been fired a lot without proper maintenance or cleaning it MAY cause this sort of issue I suspect. Third, check the cartridge overall length as compared to the S&B / Wolf ammo. If the OAL of the NATO ammo is longer, the pressures could build up if there is a shorter jump to the rifleing lands (this is a complex topic and would be better left to all the reloaders here...not me). Last, if you can, check the firing pin protrusion. Although I do not have Ruger's specifications, it has been widely accepted that a protrusion of .026" to .036" is acceptable. If the pin has a protrusion in the .040" range, I would get some guidance from Ruger before I fired anymore NATO spec ammo.

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Last edited by edorfox; 05-03-2011 at 19:47.
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Old 05-04-2011, 00:16   #5
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The ammo is not cheat reloads it is the good stuff in orginal paper boxes. As I said, different guns and diffrent lots of ammo.

If you fire it in a AR type gun there's no problem. Never, just in th Mini 14.

The Guns can be very clean and a bit dirty. Not 500 rounds dirty!

If you change from nato 5.56 to S&B .223 nothing happends after the "problem".

But why does it happend so seldom and not all the time in there is a problem with the fireing pin that where discussed in anouther thread.
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Old 05-04-2011, 04:33   #6
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You didn't say what model Mini? Is it a "Target" model? If so, they are not designed to shoot 5.56 ammo.

Whatever the reason, stop shooting it. A pierced primer will etch the bolt face and ruin the tip of the firing pin. My guess is you have already done damage to the bolt and pin. Have it inspected my someone in the know.
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Old 05-04-2011, 05:11   #7
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None of the guns are the Target version (that can't handle the 5.56) and it's the later model post 2008.

It has only happend twice in my gun. The gun looks OK and works great with S&B ammo but it would be better if it worked with 5.56 as well.

Can't see anything wrong with bolt and/or pin in any of the two guns that has this problem.

Both guns are the newer model (serial number), not the target version and the risk that both guns, manufactured some time apart, at least one year and maby more should have the same problem with the pin...

Maby I'm not bying that...

So, it's the ammo but the ammo works great in an AR type of gun or guns. Lots of rounds down rage with no probelms what so ever.

Does anyone with an ordinary (no target version) Mini 14 had this problem with NATO 5.56??
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:07   #8
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I have shot over 20000 rounds out of a few different Mini's and never had a pierced primer. I'm kind of thinking a firing pin issue. Check the pin protrusion.
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:29   #9
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But would it not happend on every single one of the 5.56 casings and not just some very few random ones?
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Old 05-04-2011, 06:51   #10
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It could be the ammo. Is it happening with just one brand of 5.56? Most of the US 5.56 on the market is either overrun or seconds that don't meet Mil Spec. Check the ammo for high primers.
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Old 05-04-2011, 09:53   #11
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Originally Posted by Fosterlandet View Post
But would it not happend on every single one of the 5.56 casings and not just some very few random ones?
Hi Fosterlandet,

In general, the 5.56 NATO ammo is loaded significantly "hotter" than the .223 ammo mentioned and will magnify any mechanical issues. A combination of an occasional hotter than normal round and a firing pin at the long end of the specification might result in the pierced primers. As was noted, the NATO ammo available to civilians is frequently considered "seconds" and may contain some variations. The important thing here is for you to continue to observe caution and save the current group of NATO ammo you are using for the AR's in this case. Without examining the pin protrusion, chamber/throat and researching the ammo brand/lot numbers it will probably remain a mystery.

Ed
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:43   #12
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Thinking about it, is your chamber clean and dry, same for the ammo. No oil or a lightly lubricated chamber. If the chamber has any oil at all its possible that when the round goes off and expands it will not grip the chamber like it normally would. This can cause issues.
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:49   #13
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Another note, a pierced primmer or two or three will normally not hurt anything, but if it happens more frequently it could jack up the tip of the firing pin.
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Old 05-04-2011, 13:57   #14
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The guns are cleaned with "Bre*k Fr*e / C_L_P". Same as the AR's and in "the same ways" sometimes a little bit more love and sometimes a little less if you know what I'm talking about.

Sometimes the problem happends in the beginning and sometimes near the end.

The ammo comes from different lots but the same brand. The ammo is stored dry indoors. The "problem" occurs durings the year around and during different weather.

The problem can occur with just one or two cases out of many in the same lot. If the 5.56 ammo was of worse quality why does it not happend more freaquently then it does?

No oil or lubricant on the ammo.

It's true that the 5.56 feels a bit hotter, yes. But would not the primer and the casing be of much higher quality?
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Old 05-04-2011, 14:35   #15
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Originally Posted by Fosterlandet View Post
The guns are cleaned with "Bre*k Fr*e / C_L_P". Same as the AR's and in "the same ways" sometimes a little bit more love and sometimes a little less if you know what I'm talking about.

Sometimes the problem happends in the beginning and sometimes near the end.

The ammo comes from different lots but the same brand. The ammo is stored dry indoors. The "problem" occurs durings the year around and during different weather.

The problem can occur with just one or two cases out of many in the same lot. If the 5.56 ammo was of worse quality why does it not happend more freaquently then it does?

No oil or lubricant on the ammo.

It's true that the 5.56 feels a bit hotter, yes. But would not the primer and the casing be of much higher quality?
All i can say is don't go for the wolf spring upgrade and if you have one remove it. lol
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Old 05-04-2011, 14:47   #16
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No wolf upgrade installed.
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Old 05-04-2011, 15:18   #17
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You have not said the brand of ammo, just that it 5.56. My guess is it's hot ammo or maybe a soft primer. I think everyone has shot 5.56 out of their mini's with no problems. kwg
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Old 05-04-2011, 15:35   #18
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Mini's will eat 5.56 and spit the brass out all day long. They are chambered for it.
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Old 05-04-2011, 17:16   #19
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The standard causes of pierced primers are rarely to do with ammunition specifically. More often caused by a slight bur on the firing pin - inspect tip of firing pin with a magnifying glass and lightly stone any burs. If you leave it to long, continued pierced primer events will irreperably damage the firing pin and posibly the bolt face. Basically each time a primer pierces you get hot gases spot welding pin and bolt!
The other possible cause is poor headspacing (bolt face to breach) allowing the primer to unseat and force back to the pin. If you are using 'Mil-Spec' 5.56 this should not occur as you have crimped primers. Take a look at a fired, pierced primer and see if it is still flush with bottom of case. If it is not flush then; your ammo is not 'mil-spec' and your headspace may be off. But if your ammo is not mil spec, it may also be out of spec in rim to base size, thereby giving you a headspace issue.
Take a good close look at your spent shells (primers) and your firing pin.
None of the above is my expertise, there is a ton about this (pierced primers) in many reloading manuals.
But, although not necessarily ammo related, your mini does not like your 556 surplus. Do not put another one of those rounds through it until you have identified the issue, for fear of new firing pin and/or bolt.
Surplus ammo is very often surplus for a reason!
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Old 05-04-2011, 20:20   #20
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It almost sounds like you have a headspace problem (TOO tight). I'd send the rifle back to ruger with a detailed letter explaining the problem. Good luck.
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Old 05-04-2011, 22:24   #21
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My series 580 shoots Winchester USA Q3131 (NATO pressure) exclusively, without a problem. Have Ruger check out the problem. Send them some of the ammo, too.

Good luck.

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Old 05-05-2011, 00:56   #22
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First:

The Guns are not located in the US of A.

To send them to Ruger would be a one way ticket. The rules have changed last year where we live on some guns (semi auto) so that you no longer can get a license or a permit for them, specific guns for a specific "Philosophy Of Use ".

There is no need even mentioning the export or import rules...

The ammo is mil spec. Right out of the box from the store.
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Old 05-05-2011, 02:23   #23
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My 181 Mini so far has eaten everything I have fed it. From Hornady PMC federal American Eagle win. white box with not a hiccup.
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Old 05-05-2011, 05:16   #24
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You still haven't said what brand of ammo! Is is some sort of secret??
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Old 05-05-2011, 07:29   #25
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Originally Posted by Fosterlandet View Post
First:

The Guns are not located in the US of A.

To send them to Ruger would be a one way ticket. The rules have changed last year where we live on some guns (semi auto) so that you no longer can get a license or a permit for them, specific guns for a specific "Philosophy Of Use ".

There is no need even mentioning the export or import rules...

The ammo is mil spec. Right out of the box from the store.
Pretty much sounds like your screwed.
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