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

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Old 03-19-2012, 19:07   #1
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1st shot always hits 3 to 4 inchs low

have new mini -14 with 2x7 scope .1st shot always hits 3 to 4 inch low , the rest hit where i have it sighted in for, used 10 round and 30 round ruger factory mags, it does it with all mags ,when loading 1st shot always pull bolt and let it fly . i know it is because of the difference between being hand feed and the rest of the rounds are feed from the gun firing , any suggestions?
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Old 03-19-2012, 19:26   #2
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Next time your out, try loading your mag one round short and see what happens.
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Old 03-19-2012, 23:05   #3
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For what it's worth, I leave a round in the chamber from the last magazine and the next mag is loaded one short. In my Kalifornia legal 10 round mags the 10th. round goes in with a lot of force. Might be slamming the bullet into the feed ramp too hard and creating bullet runout/ tweaking the case neck? I'm just sayin'. fishslayerbob
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:26   #4
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Some new rifles have sharp edges on the chamber face. If you notice pieces or shavings around the chamber it may be grabbing the round as it enters the chamber and pulling it off. I polished mine up and this helped, worse case is the stock and receiver ate loose and need bedding , not a hard thing to do.
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:39   #5
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Originally Posted by Jeff F View Post
Next time your out, try loading your mag one round short and see what happens.
^ This! I gave up loading mags completely full years ago for just this reason. The upward pressure on the bolt does seem to affect accuracy as the pressure changes. I always use the factory 5 rd mag when shooting to impress. YMMV
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Old 03-20-2012, 10:54   #6
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There are a lot of theory's why this happens, one that I checked out and found it to have an effect is which side of the magazine the bolt picks the first round up from.
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Old 03-21-2012, 17:07   #7
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Red face First shot low.

Originally Posted by remshooter View Post
have new mini -14 with 2x7 scope .1st shot always hits 3 to 4 inch low , the rest hit where i have it sighted in for, used 10 round and 30 round ruger factory mags, it does it with all mags ,when loading 1st shot always pull bolt and let it fly . i know it is because of the difference between being hand feed and the rest of the rounds are feed from the gun firing , any suggestions?
I have a new Stainless Mini with synthetic stock and have the same problem. It seems to be from a cold barrel. If I keep loading magazines and shooting steadily, I don't notice the problem. Letting it cool for 10 min. and the problem is back. I only have about 80 rounds through it and will complete breaking it in before I do anything drastic.

(remshooter) I will let you know how I progress with mine. I have shimmed the action all around the support areas extremely tight and will see if that helps next time out.

Last edited by Ranydl; 03-21-2012 at 17:15. Reason: add information
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Old 03-23-2012, 14:36   #8
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Originally Posted by Ranydl View Post
I have a new Stainless Mini with synthetic stock and have the same problem. It seems to be from a cold barrel. If I keep loading magazines and shooting steadily, I don't notice the problem. Letting it cool for 10 min. and the problem is back. I only have about 80 rounds through it and will complete breaking it in before I do anything drastic.

(remshooter) I will let you know how I progress with mine. I have shimmed the action all around the support areas extremely tight and will see if that helps next time out.
I got some more shooting in today. Mostly barrel break-in work. Conditions at the range were not optimal for critical testing. I did shoot one good group with no fliers by hand feeding each round from a clip with only one round in it.

Maybe there is a difference with using a fully loaded magazine? Now that my barrel is getting closer to broken in, I will do some serious testing of magazine feed versus hand feed.
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Old 03-23-2012, 14:41   #9
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thanks every body will try the mag thing 1st
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Old 03-23-2012, 14:52   #10
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I might have this going on with my Mini-30. I know it happened yesterday and I can check prior targets that I saved. In my case I'm only putting 5 rounds into my factory 20 round magazine so shouldn't be at risk for any magazine pressures. Will monitor and report back.
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Old 04-09-2012, 14:34   #11
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Originally Posted by Ranydl View Post
I have a new Stainless Mini with synthetic stock and have the same problem. It seems to be from a cold barrel. If I keep loading magazines and shooting steadily, I don't notice the problem. Letting it cool for 10 min. and the problem is back. I only have about 80 rounds through it and will complete breaking it in before I do anything drastic.

(remshooter) I will let you know how I progress with mine. I have shimmed the action all around the support areas extremely tight and will see if that helps next time out.
I have been back to the range and with about 200 rounds down the tube, groups are better. It is definitely NOT related to the 5 shot magazine (loading the first round by releasing the bolt). I have 4 magazines and did all shooting by alternating them into the locked back breach, then releasing the bolt.

The first clip was a vertical string of about 4 inches. The next clip was a 1.30 inch group. Clip #3 was three shots in 2" with two fliers 1" left? Clip #4 was 3.75 inches but in a circle pattern. The next 3 reloaded clips had similar results. I think the bore is still a little rough and tight as the best groups came right after the fouling shots, but before getting real dirty. There didn't seem to be any pattern to the fliers. All shots were about 5 seconds apart, with 5 min. between clips.

The action shim job I did with the credit card stock remains so tight that I have to bang the trigger guard home with the heel of my palm. I am completely satisfied with that.

I have settled on the American Eagle 50 gr hp as the best factory round so far. Second is the Winchester 64 gr power point. Tied for third is the Ultramax 68 grain hollow point and Remington 55 gr fmj. Last was Tula 75 gr hp. The American Eagle will give some shots touching, but have a flier or two to ruin the group. This gives me hope. I am still looking for a consistent 2 to 3 inch groups with factory loads.

Last edited by Ranydl; 04-10-2012 at 12:42.
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Old 04-19-2012, 06:10   #12
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me too

I watched for this and the first shoot with a clean and cold gun did not drop. I did notice it several times though. i have been loading 10 shoot mags with 4,5 or 6 rounds. both my "john masen" mags will do this but not all the time. i have 100 rounds threw the gun now with no ftf. federal 55gr ae223
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:38   #13
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From what I understand this effect comes from the geometry of the bolt varying with shooting. The wisdom on this is to be sure to sight in with one round fired, as the first round, before the bolt is cycled, has a different geometry. Your effects seem to come with a magazine effecting bolt geometry. Some people sight in with a non-cycled first round, knowing that is repeatable.
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Old 04-19-2012, 12:12   #14
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no walk away from that

Originally Posted by Fast View Post
I watched for this and the first shoot with a clean and cold gun did not drop. I did notice it several times though. i have been loading 10 shoot mags with 4,5 or 6 rounds. both my "john masen" mags will do this but not all the time. i have 100 rounds threw the gun now with no ftf. federal 55gr ae223

AND! if it does walk away make sure it is not in your direction.
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Old 04-20-2012, 10:53   #15
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Originally Posted by Ranydl View Post
I have been back to the range and with about 200 rounds down the tube, groups are better. It is definitely NOT related to the 5 shot magazine (loading the first round by releasing the bolt). I have 4 magazines and did all shooting by alternating them into the locked back breach, then releasing the bolt.

The first clip was a vertical string of about 4 inches. The next clip was a 1.30 inch group. Clip #3 was three shots in 2" with two fliers 1" left? Clip #4 was 3.75 inches but in a circle pattern. The next 3 reloaded clips had similar results. I think the bore is still a little rough and tight as the best groups came right after the fouling shots, but before getting real dirty. There didn't seem to be any pattern to the fliers. All shots were about 5 seconds apart, with 5 min. between clips.

The action shim job I did with the credit card stock remains so tight that I have to bang the trigger guard home with the heel of my palm. I am completely satisfied with that.

I have settled on the American Eagle 50 gr hp as the best factory round so far. Second is the Winchester 64 gr power point. Tied for third is the Ultramax 68 grain hollow point and Remington 55 gr fmj. Last was Tula 75 gr hp. The American Eagle will give some shots touching, but have a flier or two to ruin the group. This gives me hope. I am still looking for a consistent 2 to 3 inch groups with factory loads.
Back at the range again. No problems with the first shot being low. Shot only A/E 50 gr hp today. At 103 yards, First 5 shot clip was 1.75 inches, which is as good as I can see with my 1-4 power shotgun scope and failing eyes. The next clip opened to about 3 inches and was centered about an inch higher. Next clip was higher still and the 4th clip was about 3" high and grouped about 4". Obviously heating and fouling is affecting the groups and POI. I am satisfied with what I have now for hunting purposes. I know I can rely on the first 5 shots to be right on. Now to get out and call some coyotes and cougars.
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Old 04-20-2012, 11:07   #16
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Funny, after all the comments, no one mentioned cryo treatment. I am in the "yes, it stops stringing" camp. YMMV. Search the forum or even your favorite search engine for "cryogenic or cryo treatment", there are lots of discussions on the topic.

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Old 04-25-2012, 01:33   #17
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I'm actually all for cryoing, also, but I must report that while cryoing completely eliminated thermal stringing problems (on several rifles), it did not eliminate (maybe lessened) the initial cold barrel offset. My first shot is always 3 inches off, the second 1.5", and the third and subsequent shots finally settled in.
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Old 04-25-2012, 07:01   #18
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Mine does this too. I just aim 2.5 inches high on the cold bore shot and center the rest. My theory is simply heat in the gas block/barrel connection area. For me it's no big deal. I noticed it right away when i bought the rifle too. It's fun to analyze stuff. For me the simple solution was aimpoint correction. I handload too, but may not be the premier example of handloading when it comes to getting real picky. I go for cheap and simple.

Last edited by justasking; 04-25-2012 at 16:24.
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Old 04-25-2012, 16:17   #19
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My problem of the "first shot low" has gone away after I shimmed the action VERY tightly at every contact point and put a few more rounds through it. It will start stringing the groups as it warms up, but the first 5 round clip is a nice 1.4 to 1.8 in. group right on the point of aim. After 15 rounds, the groups are 4" high and open up to about 3". I am totally happy with the first 5 shot performance. I usually make the first shot count, so having a couple reliable backup shots available is perfect. I used old credit card stock for the shimming and stuck it in place with superglue. So far, it seems to be holding up fine....
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Old 04-25-2012, 18:52   #20
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I went shooting today and noticed after letting the barrel cool down the first shot out of a loaded 5 round magazine seemed to hit about 3 inches low. But then I tried loading only 4 rounds in the same 5 round mag. and all four shots were all with in a inch! I tried this the last 2 magazines after I was satisfied with my zero shooting 581 Fiocchi 50 gr. V- Max. I am not taking rhis gun apart to clean it. I will clean the chamber and bore and see if I can duplicate this.
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Old 04-27-2012, 19:04   #21
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Used to hunt with my Old SS Mini and before all the mods it always hit low left with a cold barrel, so that's what I'd zero it for, that first cold bore shot. At the range if I'd set and let it cool between shots and use a hand loaded round off the top of a mag thats where it would hit.
After all the mods it don't matter anymore............................
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:29   #22
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Originally Posted by justasking View Post
Mine does this too. I just aim 2.5 inches high on the cold bore shot and center the rest. My theory is simply heat in the gas block/barrel connection area. For me it's no big deal. I noticed it right away when i bought the rifle too. It's fun to analyze stuff. For me the simple solution was aimpoint correction. I handload too, but may not be the premier example of handloading when it comes to getting real picky. I go for cheap and simple.
I thought I had my "four + one" problem solved until I took it apart for cleaning. On the first trip back to the range, the problem was back. First hand cycled round off the top of a five shot clip shot low and left. I have been reading a forum on M1 carbines and this is a very common problem with many carbines that have this type of operating system. One of the theories is that the operating rod does not seat the same when released by hand, even if it is dropped from full compression. Another theory is that the action and barrel shift into a different position with the first recoil and rod operation. In fact some shooters have a ritual of rapping the unloaded rifle butt on the ground to "seat" the action before loading the first clip. This has me thinking that even with a bedded action, there could be a difference in the way the operating rod assembly sits in contact with the barrel. Some shooters get better groups by wrapping their fingers completely around the fore end and gripping it firmly for each shot. On my rifle there is a small bap between the OP rod and barrel when seated. As Justaskin says, maybe the contact between the OP rod and barrel changes after the first shot? I have been trying to come up with a way to provide a consistent contact between the barrel/OP rod/gas block area. Any ideas?

Last edited by Ranydl; 04-30-2012 at 11:20.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:57   #23
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I finally scoped my 581 MINI 14 6.8 this weekend and had the same exact results. I thought I was insulated from the other reviews I have read but I am glad I'm not...Kind of. Now I wonder if it can be fixed? This gun is supposed to be a hunting rifle for deer out to 100. If I can't the gun is no good to me. I have already done a trigger job, recrowned the barrel and evened the gas block, not torqued yet but evenly set. I will bed it next. I did have a buffer both front and back after further reading I have now taken the front buffer off but I doubt it will make that much difference. After the first shot though I was satisfied with the groups for deer hunting purposes.

My other problem was the scope. I could not get enough elevation in the scope for POA and POI. I have never had this before but also seen it on a 10-22. Has anyone had this before. I can shim the rings but man. I am talking 6" low at 100 yards with the scope cranked up all the way. Yes I adjusted the other way to make sure too.

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Old 04-30-2012, 13:53   #24
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"I am talking 6" low at 100 yards with the scope cranked up all the way. Yes I adjusted the other way to make sure too. "

Man this sounds like there is an issue with either the rings or the receiver mounts! No?
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Old 04-30-2012, 15:09   #25
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When I put together my new 581 with factory mounts and new Bushnell scope, it was over a foot off POA at 25 yards. Luckily there was plenty of adjustment in the scope. I have never had a new setup be this far off. Also be sure that the mounts are down in the recoil grooves (front to rear position), as well as the right side clamp studs are rotated correctly so that they bottom out flush with the surrounding ring base.
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