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

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Old 10-10-2011, 21:57   #1
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184 series ruger mini 14

I just acquired a 184 series ruger mini 14.

Only later did I realize the minis have changed a bit over the years, and people seem to like the later ones better.

Mine is stainless.

So anyway, what can any of you tell me about mine? It was made in 1985 based on the numbers...
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Old 10-10-2011, 22:04   #2
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i wouldnt be so quick to say people seem to like the later ones if you are referring to the 580/581 series. Most of these old farts love their pencil barrel mini more than they love their own family. Shoot it... have fun with it.. and dont be discouraged by the black rifle crowd
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:48   #3
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My first Mini was a 183 series and sometimes I still miss that rifle. I've had a lot of others since and currently own an early 580 series. If the rifle has been cared for it will work. You've come to the right place to learn tips and tricks to making it better, so don't feel like you ended up with a lousy rifle. Shoot it, care for it, learn to properly maintain it, learn its little quirks and you'll enjoy it for a long time.
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Old 10-11-2011, 07:17   #4
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They are absolutely dependable. The accuracy with some ammo is questionable. You can throw lots of money at it and change it very little for the better. An Accu-Strut will fix most of the accuracy issues. There is no reason to "fix" a problem that does not exist. kwg
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Old 10-11-2011, 08:14   #5
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I am more asking just to get a grasp for what makes this particular series different from others. Seems to be a great rifle to me. Little used as far as I can tell and as far as the dealer told me. I havent fired it yet, but it cycles well and seems tight. So Im not to concerned about all that. Although I am kinda wishing I had paid a bit more and gotten a new one. Although the new one was blued and I like it being stainless.

I will take it out to the range here soon. Cant wait. It feels "right" in my hands and intuitive. I think it will serve me needs well. Unless maybe there is more wear on it then my eyes can see or the dealer lied...

Really I just want to know as much about this particular incarnation of the mini 14, since it is the one I have.
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Old 10-11-2011, 14:47   #6
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so no one has anything for me?
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Old 10-11-2011, 15:16   #7
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There's nothing more to say really. The series number has little to do with the rifle as it's just the serial number. When they ran out of 185s they went to 186s. Until the barrels and receivers were modified with the late 580 series and into the 581 series the differences between the series were neglible until they all became Ranch rifles, and the Ranch series didn't really change much for a very long time. The rifle is largely the same as any other early Mini as the process and metallurgy didn't change. The 185 was a good series from a gunsmith point of view and judging from the number fo them I receive every year a lot of folks own them. Sorry I can't be of more help.
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Old 10-11-2011, 16:25   #8
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Like GunDoc said, there's not really much difference between the middle series of Minis. 180s are slightly different, then the 580/581s have the newer barrel taper.

Overall, they're all good rifles -- as they age, though, you have to be leery of how well they've been taken care of. Sounds like yours has been well cared for. Find the bullet weight it likes best (accuracy, not functionality) and go to town with it!
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Old 10-11-2011, 18:15   #9
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Okay... Well I didnt even really know those things. I have a decent amount of time logged with a 22 bolt action, and a smaller amount on a few others but really I am far from knowing much about such things.

Still probably should of gotten a new one instead of saving some cash. Oh well i did what I did. Like I said, seems like it was little used and the shop said the same thing, but you never know. Perhaps it just cleaned up real well.
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Old 10-11-2011, 18:56   #10
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My website has lots of info as well as owner's manuals for download. Also check out the videos section to see how to make some changes, do some maintenance, etc. I sense a little buyer's remorse here, but let it go. The Mini is a rugged design and I'm sure yours will perform fine. If it doesn't search the posts here and/or email me and I'll help you out. Most all of my guns were used when I bought them. All the bugs worked out, the first scratches out of the way, and the money you saved can be used to buy ammo, factory magazines, struts, etc. If you bought it from a reputable dealer he probably gave you a three day right of inspection, so go shoot it and look for any major problems. I doubt you'll find any if your dealer is respected and decent.
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Old 10-11-2011, 20:14   #11
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Yeah theres a bit of buyers remorse. Not for getting a mini ruger 14, but just because I cant be positive of how this one was treated in the past. The dealer i got it from is probably the most respected in my state. Part of that is because he is the largest but hes very respected as well. So i guess your right, he likely was honest when he said it looks barely used despite its age..

Like most gun owners who are not hunters you never want to HAVE to use it. I guess I just want to be sure it does what it should when I do need it. Of course even brand new rifles can be useless. I used to have a kel tec su16 and they sure dont have the reputation of ruger but I dont think I ever went through a single magazine without a jam.

O do have a few days I could theoretically return it for a 35 dollar few. But probably couldnt make it to the city (an hour away) before they close after work anyway. So for better or worse I have what I have.

I did get 2 factory magazines, they are easier to put in and take out then whatever it was it came with.

I will check out your site. Figure out what the struts are...
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Old 10-11-2011, 20:51   #12
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My advice, for reliability's sake, is to stick with factory mags. Others can be made to work flawlessly, but Ruger mags are the best "out of the box," every time.

The barrel struts (there are 3 manufacturers out there, the main difference among them is aesthetic) help support the barrel, keeping it from "drooping" during sustained fire. All Minis (yes, even the 580/581s) have a tendency to string shots as the barrel heats up -- shots hit the target lower and lower as the barrel heats.

No need for buyer's remorse here, the Mini platform is rock solid. There are members here who've had their rifles for 30+ years and literally 10s of thousands of rounds, and they're still running like Swiss watches.
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Old 10-11-2011, 20:52   #13
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Minis are built like thanks. Having an older one really isn't an issue.

Make sure that it's in good mechanical condition, then commence to modding it to your taste. GunDoc's trigger and bedding videos are excellent, I used them when modding my rifle, and the results were stellar.

Getting a barrel strut will tighten up your groups in an easy, bolt on modification. The big players are Mo-Rod and Accu-strut.

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Old 10-11-2011, 21:29   #14
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thanks for all the replies everyone. 10s of thousands of rounds and no major issues? sounds like if this one is bad I would have had the same chance of getting a bad one new then.....

Thanks for the heads up and explanation on the struts, I knew there would prove to be a good reason to come here. Id sure hate to actually have to need it and loose accuracy.

Like i said, I havent shot it yet (but will very soon) but it feels great in my hands. Perfect size and style for my tastes.
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Old 10-11-2011, 22:13   #15
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Yours being of an earlier vintage will have a slightly slower twist rate that should like the 55gr and lighter (read: cheaper) ammo. The later ones moved to a faster twist rate (1:9) that tends to prefer the heavier, and more expensive ammo more. This is a general statement, not an absolute rule of thumb. Mine is a 581 and it seems to like 55 to 69 gr, depending on the manufacturer.

I love the mini for it's handling. Light, balanced, and quick to bear. As a guy who has spent lots of time behind an M-16, I still find the Mini to be a great, fun rifle.
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Old 10-11-2011, 23:27   #16
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The main difference between your mini and the newest (580,581 series) is that yours is a standard model and the later ones are ranch only. The standard model is basicly a .223/5.56 simplified (by design and manufacturing methods) clone of the M1a/M14. The standard model has an easily adjustable rear peep sight and field strips down to 7 major components (I really like that!). The standard model is considered to be a big improvement over the similar M1 carbine. It was designed more as an iron sighted battle type, whereas the ranch model comes with built in scope base in the reciever that has been redesigned to deflect spent cases to the right, away from a scope.

I like both variations, but I have a soft spot in my heart for the standard mini 14. If I were ever in a close range fire-fight, I would rather have my standard mini in my hands. It seems to me to be a little less finicky about the ammo it is fed. I have never had a failure to fire (except when I used a crap aftermarket mag) with my standard mini. I will never let go of my 181 until I am physicly unable to shoot, then it will be given to my son. Don't feel bad about your 184, it is a good reliable (if not the most accurate) gun that should go bang every time you pull the trigger. I'll take it if you don't want it ( If price is reasonable). Have fun with it!
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Old 10-12-2011, 00:23   #17
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thanks for the replies. I feel a lot more content with my choice. Ive been reading about the struts. going to get one of these soon, they sound like they are worth it.

So was 495 a good price? stainless steel.

Also are there advanced iron sites I can get? what are my choices for adding scopes? Ive never actually had a scope.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:56   #18
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IMHO the best choice for scoping is to use a scout rail like the UltiMak and use a red dot or pistol scope. A traditionally mounted scope will interfere with your rifle's ejection angle. Factory spec on your rifle was to shoot 3-5" groups at 100 yards. At that time the accuracy quest was in full swing and we hadn't really played with the Mini, so lots of folks simply put them away and didn't shoot them. With today's ammo and the things we've learned from experimenting the Mini can be a very accurate rifle.

If it makes you feel better, think of your rifle as "classic" or "vintage" as those words always sound better than "old". Beware the Mini Bug - once you start to mod your rifle you'll get bitten and it can be many times worse than BRD (Black Rifle Disease).

Have fun with your rifle and love it for what it is - a simple, rugged, reliable friend.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:19   #19
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Originally Posted by gundoc View Post

Have fun with your rifle and love it for what it is - a simple, rugged, reliable friend.
Yeah you guys have me feeling a lot better about having gotten a used one over the new one. the place that has one for 650 is blued and I prefer the stainless anyway which I could only source for 800 new. 300 (that i saved) is alot to me at the moment. being a simple rugged and reliable rifle is exactly what I was after... so all is good.

thanks for the replies everyone!
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:52   #20
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Originally Posted by silvertree View Post
thanks for the replies. I feel a lot more content with my choice. Ive been reading about the struts. going to get one of these soon, they sound like they are worth it.

So was 495 a good price? stainless steel.

Also are there advanced iron sites I can get? what are my choices for adding scopes? Ive never actually had a scope.
definitely a good price for a stainless mini.
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Old 10-13-2011, 19:03   #21
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Holy cow!!! I LOVE this thing!!! Im not even sure Im going to bother with a scope anytime soon. Im not sure i need it. Atleast not out to 50 yards or so. I dont know enough to know if any work was done to it or not, but accuracy didnt seem to be an issue. I never shot a rifle I was better with. Still going to get one of those accu struts though. If I can convince them to send to a PO box, apparently they wont.
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Old 10-13-2011, 21:23   #22
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Sounds like the onset of a unique strain of Black Rifle Disease -- Rugeritis. No known cure, but most patients report that 50 to 72 grains of 5.56 NATO, taken as needed, provides temporary relief. See GunDoc for further treatment as the ailment progresses.
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Old 10-13-2011, 21:53   #23
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Originally Posted by COBrien View Post
Sounds like the onset of a unique strain of Black Rifle Disease -- Rugeritis. No known cure, but most patients report that 50 to 72 grains of 5.56 NATO, taken as needed, provides temporary relief. See GunDoc for further treatment as the ailment progresses.
black rifle... mini.. how dare you sir... H O W D A R E Y O U!
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Old 10-13-2011, 22:09   #24
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Originally Posted by silvertree View Post
Holy cow!!! I LOVE this thing!!! Im not even sure Im going to bother with a scope anytime soon. Im not sure i need it. Atleast not out to 50 yards or so. I dont know enough to know if any work was done to it or not, but accuracy didnt seem to be an issue. I never shot a rifle I was better with. Still going to get one of those accu struts though. If I can convince them to send to a PO box, apparently they wont.
Glad you like the rifle and it sounds like you got an awesome deal, enjoy!
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Old 10-13-2011, 22:14   #25
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Originally Posted by whofarted View Post
black rifle... mini.. how dare you sir... H O W D A R E Y O U!
Just saying the affliction is every bit as bad as BRD... In no way am I comparing the Mini-14 to a pile of unfortunate airplane parts.
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