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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone had their MINI-14 barrel cut down to minimum legal length, properly crowned, and had the factory sight re-installed (without installation of a muzzle brake or flash suppressor)? If so, did you notice any improvement in accuracy? Also, was the factory sight re-pinned on or was it silver soldered? I see a lot of posts about cutting the barrel down and installing a muzzle brake but none about retaining the factory sight only. I have a Colt Match Target with a lightweight 16" barrel (no muzzle brake or flash suppressor) and wish to duplicate the same for the MINI. All inputs will be appreciated.
 

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That's funny you mention that because I was just thinking about doing the same thing the other night.
I pulled the front sight off of my ranch rifle (didn't need it) to see how it all fit together.
The first problem is that the factory front sight would have to be reamed out to a uniform diameter because the front portion is constricted to match the barrel contour. It can't go farther back the way it is.
I've read recently here that the muzzle flash is much more pronounced with the shorter barrel.
My problem is that I am in Cali and am very reluctant to put anything on the end of my barrel but I understand that people have had great results shortening barrel accuracy wise.
Let me know if you come up with some solutions because I gave up.
:ar15:
 

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Just sitten here looking at my mini with the tape measure, and calipers. The barrel is .011" thicker at this point. Don't believe I would try reworking the sight my self, but a gun smith could. However if it were mine, and was going to cut my barrel off:eek: I would think about getting the upper gas block half with the front sight on top, so I could change it out myself. Tried to find the link to see how much it cost. Bet it would be cheaper.
 

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Shortening the barrel seems to produce very good results for most that have tried it.

When I chopped mine down, I made sure to test fire groups before and after. The test groups I fired after shortening the barrel were made without any sort of barrel attachment whatsoever. The accuracy improvements with a shortened barrel were noticable and measurable by every standard.

As mentioned, the muzzle flash is quite pronounced with the shorter barrel, and the muzzle flip is also a little more noticable.

As for adding the stock front sight back on...yes, it can be done...but you will most likely have to have a gunsmith do the work.

Cajungeo's suggestion of the front sight that fits on the gas block is a great comprimise and it keeps the muzzle "Kalifornia clean."
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Per discussion with Dave at DRC, he only did one conversion cutting a MINI-14 barrel down and installing an Ashley sight, not the factory sight. He didn't know what if any accuracy improvement resulted. I called Brownell's gunsmithing and they said they have never cut a MINI-14 barrel down. I also contacted a local gunsmith and he had never done it either. I'm getting the impression that it is not commonly done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Originally posted by cajungeo
Just sitten here looking at my mini with the tape measure, and calipers. The barrel is .011" thicker at this point. Don't believe I would try reworking the sight my self, but a gun smith could. However if it were mine, and was going to cut my barrel off:eek: I would think about getting the upper gas block half with the front sight on top, so I could change it out myself. Tried to find the link to see how much it cost. Bet it would be cheaper.
Cajungeo,

What do you mean by an upper gas block half with the front sight on top? Is this an aftermarket sight?
 

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Hey valley -
The next thing I was thinking of was the Ashley front sight. It's similar to the factory. Did DRC mention if it was a easy job? - that would be my answer because I'd like to keep the sight radius as long as possilbe.
The gas block top Cajungeo was referring to was from the gov't model mini-14 - it has a front sight built in the top gas block. Check out the gallery as Codger has one on his heavy barrel model. You'd have to get one as a used part.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Originally posted by djskit
Hey valley -
The next thing I was thinking of was the Ashley front sight. It's similar to the factory. Did DRC mention if it was a easy job? - that would be my answer because I'd like to keep the sight radius as long as possilbe.
The gas block top Cajungeo was referring to was from the gov't model mini-14 - it has a front sight built in the top gas block. Check out the gallery as Codger has one on his heavy barrel model. You'd have to get one as a used part.
Djskit,

I am now leaning toward DRC cutting down the barrel to 16-1/4" and installing the Ashley sight. I talked to Dave of DRC this morning and he said the same machining steps are involved whether you go with the Ashley, the Choate flash hider or the factory sight. In all cases, the barrel has to be turned down to fit the inside diameter of the sight body. If you notice, the MINI-14 barrel has a step in it and the barrel cut is made past the step where the barrel diameter is larger. Thus, the barrel has to be turned down. I don't really want a flash suppressor, muzzle brake or dog ears. My primary interest is minimum legal barrel length, not improved accuracy, muzzle braking or flash suppression. That's why I'm leaning toward the Ashley. With the Ashley, you will preserve around 1 additional inch of barrel length over the Choate installation.

The Ashley has a slightly narrower post width than the factory. According to Dave, the Ashley is nothing more than a factory MINI-14 sight machined down to a smaller post width along with some other machining on the edges. It also has a black oxide finish.
 

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Origionally posted by valleypine
I'm getting the impression that it is not commonly done.
True. Before Z-man only a few pioneers had tried this, and most of them did it themselves. I would not cut my barrel, but thats just my personal preference. The only other concern I would have if I were you is if Dave is shure the new sight is of the same height so you wouldn't have to replace your rear sight as well.

Like Z-man said shoot groups before, and after your mod so you can see how much things improve. Good luck ;)
 

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I had Dave @ DRC cut my barrrel down to the minimum legal length & then he silver soldered a Choate Sight & flash hider. The accuracy improvements were incredible- I truly mean this. I couldn't be more happy with the results or his work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I was wrong about the barrel cut being after the step. If you measure three inches (the approximate cut for the Choate sight), the step is after the barrel cut. It does appear, however, that a portion of the Choate sight overlaps the step. Thus, the need for turning the barrel. I assume the barrel has some degree of taper before the step as well.

In regards to the Choate sight installation, Dave said he typically has to build up the sight height through a weld because it is too low. I had the opposite problem with my factory new MINI-14. I was hitting about 5 inches low at 50 yards with the rear sight adjusted all the way up. Had to file the front sight down in order to sight in. Lost a lot of confidence in the Ruger name with this experience. Found out afterwards that this problem is not atypical on new Ruger MINI-14s. Bottom line is, you don't know what you are going to end up with for proper sight height when you cut the barrel down. Dave said he will correct for whatever is necessary, whether building the sight post up or filing it down.
 

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I have worked on 2 mini's where the front sight height became an issue.

Both took an aftermarket front sight /muzzlebrake with the HK style sight.(eagle?)

In both cases the full size rifle required that the sight be lowered by about .200" to put the rear sight where it should be.

When I shortened my mini I had to lower it almost another.100"

That particular sight is pretty easy to do that with because the blade/ring itself is a block that attaches to the brake with two allen screws.
There is plenty of room to mill or file enough off the bottom to adjust the elevation.

CK:usa:
 

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valleypine---I'm not a gunsmith but I don't understand why you'd want to turn down the barrel when you can drill out the sight/brake/suppressor. I measure .573" after the step which is very close to 14.5mm. using a pilot to align the brake/supressor to the bore that should leave just over .001" to fill with silver solder. Done deal.

Just my 2¢
Bushwack
 

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I reread your post & you said "Before" the step. Ok that's even easier & a tighter fit. Use a 9/16" drill bit instead.

Later
Bushwack
 

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I have a recent vintage Mini standard I had cut to 14.5" and had welded and pinned a Vortex flashider for a total of 16.25" length.
I relocated the ft sight assy rearward just by tapping it.
I get open sight groups of 3.5"@100 YDS consistently with factory ball ammo.
 

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Aren't you going to lose alot of velocity when you cut the barrel down that much on a cartridge that depends on velocity for effectivess? Would be interesting to see some chronograph data.
 

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Hey Geno. There is no way I'm going to cut my barrel, but I do have a chrony. A rule of thumb is you loose aprox 200 ft/s per inch of barrel length. My 63 grn. Sierra sp. shoot a measured 3000 ft/sec muzzle velocity with 18 1/2" barrel. I ran this on my infinity ballistics program.
Distance........Velocity..................Energy...........Bullet Drop
100 yds........2615.9 ft/sec...........957.1 ft-lbs..........-2.12 in
200 yds........2266.5 ft/sec...........718.5 ft-lbs..........-9.35 in
300 yds........1945.9 ft/sec...........529.8 ft/lbs........-23.41 in

16 1/2" barrel at 2600 ft/sec Muzzle Velocity
100 yds........2251.8 ft/sec...........709.2 ft-lbs..........-2.83 in
200 yds........1932.7 ft/sec...........522.5 ft-lbs........-12.58 in
300 yds........1647.6 ft/sec...........379.7 ft-lbs........-31.71
 

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I dont buy into the theory that the 5.56 is not "effective" beyond 150 or whatever yards from short bbls. I carried an M4(GUU5P) with a14.5" bbl and a 10.5" GAU5A/A for many years and know others who have used one to good effect.
I have full confidence in my mini and have a lot of fun with it.
Its vastly better than a pistol.
 

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KC, yes, I was addressing the general impressions that 5.56 looses its lethality beyond 150 yds due to velocity loss, not accuracy.
I was in USAF CCT for many yrs, trained many places, public and private.
 
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