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Late last year when on the road for work I took a "lunch break" and stopped by one of the stores I stop by when passing through. This store rarely has anything I'm interested in, but when it does, it's good. I grabbed a .357 Redhawk there in the past.

This time I find a beat-up 185 Mini-14 for $350. The owner says that it doesn't cycle well, but won't let me take it apart. It looks like it was left under a truck seat for a decade. I figure I'll take a chance on it and negotiate it to $325. Rust pits on the outside, a beatup stock and some rust pits in the bore, but the bolt and lockwork seem good from what I can see.

I finally get around to checking it out and sure enough it doesn't cycle. It ejects the fired cartridge, but won't feed a new round. At home I figure I'll take apart the gas block and check it out. There I find what looks like a .050" gas bushing and an extra power recoil spring. Well THERE'S your problem I thought. So I go and get the bushing I took out of my Mini-14 factory folder and slap it in. Sure enough I take it back to the range and it cycles 100%. I try it with the Silver Bear HP ammo I have for HD .223 (Yea it's not the best, but it expands rather well and it's cheap enough to shoot without having to eat Ramen for a week.) and that's 100% too. Schweet.:cool:

Now that I have it working I plan on making this my HD gun. It's not worth a lot so I have no problem leaving it out next to my bed. It's not going to be the most accurate with those pits in the bore, but I can still ring the 100 yard plate with every shot (My house is 1,600 sq/ft so that's more than enough. ;)) and I'm never gonna be feeding it match ammo anyway.

So for $325 and a part that I had laying around anyway I get a perfectly functional Mini-14.:) Try and do THAT with an AR or AK.

So what are your stories of fixing up a beater Mini?
 

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I bought an $80 Albanian SKS "shooter special" from AIM years ago. Sticky extraction so I taped some emory paper to a cleaning rod section, chucked it in my hand drill, and let fly in the chamber until the brown dust quit puffing out. It now cycles 100%. Outside was pitted so I blasted and parked it. Stock was soaked in cosmoline but after warming in front of the wood stove for a week, followed with an acetone wipe, it accepted boiled linseed nicely.

 
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