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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here's everything I have learned about the Mini-14 Ranch rifle.

It's accurate and powerful enough to drop a 130 pound mule deer at 180 yds using hand loaded Hornady 60 grain copper jacketed softpoints (#2270) and 25.6 grains of Hodgdon H-335 powder. The bullet will completely penetrate the kill zone, destroying the lungs, and lodge under the hide on the opposite side. The bullet weighed 41 grains when it was removed. Can't ask for much more than that, can I?

I use a Tasco Pro-Point scope with no magnification. I have tried a $29 Simmons 3x9 but it would not hold zero on the mini. I think it was due to the shock of the bolt, as it has no problems on a 22 rimfire rifle. The Pro-Point is the cheapest one the make, and at $39, it's quite a bargain. I highly recommend it.

My rifle doesn't shoot .5" groups, but after breaking in the barrel carefully it does put 3 rounds in 2" at 100 yds most of the time. Sometimes it's 2 rounds in an inch and the 3rd a flier a couple of inches out. Such is the nature of the beast.

It flings brass in a 150 degree arc and at distances raging from 6 to 40 feet. There's no telling where the next ejected case will go. Lots of fun if you reload and are wild about easter egg hunts too.

I really don't understand the reason so many people are consumed with trying to get the Mini-14 to be a 1/2 MOA gun. It's a rugged, reliable, reasonably accurate field rifle. That's all it was designed for, and it does it well. It's made for shooting coyotes at 100-200 yards, not dimes at 500 yds. If I wanted a bughole shooter, I wouldn't have bought the Mini-14. By the same token I would never drag a $1000 benchrest rifle with a $1000 scope through the desert and mountains like I do the Mini-14. Not to dissuade those that want to, but why spend $400-$500 on a Mini-14, then another $1000 to get it to shoot as well as a $800 AR-15? If it makes you happy, go for it.

My mini will digest any ammo I feed it, lacquered steel cased russian cheapo stuff included, without complaining. I have fired Wolf, Federal American Eagle, Federal, GI ball, and thousands of rounds of hand loads with all types of bullets and powders. They all work in a reasonably clean and lightly lubed gun. I use Rem-Oil with Teflon on the bolt and operating rod and Singer sewing machine oil on the trigger and other moving parts.

Aftermarket magazines are another story. USA mags are absolute crap. I have gotten the 20 rounders to work reliably after tuning the lips, cleaning up the front pin hole so it's round,filing off rough corners, and squeezing the side walls of the mag in a vice near the top as close to the factory mag dimensions as possible using a dial caliper to check the progress. The 30 round mags are a waste of good sheet metal. I have never gotten the followers to return reliably to the top, and they stop feeding after 15-20 rounds. I would suspect the 40's will have the same sort of problems, but I will never buy one to find out.
I just bought three plastic 20 round mags for $55 made by MWG Company of Miami at a gun show yesterday. They worked flawlessly when I tried them out today. I plan on getting more if I can find them.

The thoughts expressed aren't necessarily those of a real smart guy. So take what you want and disregard the rest.

[This message has been edited by Mike McDonald (edited 12-10-2000).]
 

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thank god, someone with a sense!!! I have always thought the Mini got a bad rap.

It very inexpensive and quite a value for the money.

A buddy and I were trying to dicide an a patrol rifle and grabbed a Mini and a Colt LE
Carbine. At pratical (75-125)yards there was really no difference in usable accuracy. Not to mention that the 223 is not an exceptionally effective at range. Both platforms are good, except for the cost of the AR-15 is prohibitive for most people or officers on a budget.

I have an M1A NM for serious range work and I like that the Mini has the same controls which helps with transition.
 

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If your mini will hold 2" at 100 you better hang on to it, Ruger specs are 4-6" at that range. The people who work on my mini's have been working on them exclusively since 1976 and they haven't steered me wrong yet. They say ruger starts with cheap barrels and turn them on a lathe too fast which distorts them. I've heard complaints from owners of stainless mini's that wouldn't hold 8". ARS also reccomends Millett' mags. they are around 18 bucks for a ten rounder.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah Ridgerunner, I think I'll hang onto it. I have to agree with you on the skinny barrels they put on. And I am certainly not saying my Mini-14 is the most accurate thing with a firing pin. As a matter of fact, all of my kids .22 rimfires will out shoot it at 50 yards. But I have to wonder how many of the Mini-14's out there shooting 8 inch groups were taken out of the box by guys with Class 3 fantasies, had 40 rounds run through before a patch was ever down the barrel and as fast as the trigger could be pulled, allowed to cool off only long enough for the next mag to be popped in and run though the same drill? My neighbor shook his head watching me clean my 14's new bore after every shot for the first ten rounds, then after every 3 for the next 15 and then after every 10 for the next 30 rounds. He thought I was nuts. I don't know how much of the accuracy is attributable to breaking in the barrel Maybe none. Maybe I just got lucky and drew a good gun. But for all of those with a new mini-14 under the tree this year, I would suggest you make it a point to take it out the first time and treat it right. Take the cleaning kit and plenty of patches and solvent to the range and go slow. It takes a long time to shoot up 50-60 rounds this way, and it isn't nearly as much fun as blasting away, but it might pay off in the long run with smaller groups.
 

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Ok, so I have a Mini-14 SS under the tree,
so please give me the whole lecture on exactly how to break it in.
Thanks, Lance
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have seen several variations of this routine, but the only difference is the number of shots in the groups between cleanings. Some say two or three. Some say five. The object of the whole thing is to get your rough as a cob new barrel smooth as glass. And without over heating it.
Basicly shoot a couple rounds, clean, repeat until you are sick to death of poking that rod in and out of the bore.

The following information was taken from Chapter 8 of Gunsmithing: Rifles by Patrick Sweeney. "Before you put the first round down range, brush the bore and run wet and then dry patches through it. You do this to clean out any preservative oil and dust that may be in the bore. This also cleans out any copper from the factory test firing. Fire the first ten rounds, cleaning the bore to bare steel after each shot. The next fifty rounds should be fired in five round groups, cleaning between each group."

Finally, Mr. Sweeney mentions buying cheap generic ammo for this procedure. No use using Nosler ballistic tips just to get the bore smooth when surplus ammo will do the job just fine.
 

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wonder how that lapping compound bullet coating would work?
RR

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have read articles on the bullet lapping, and it seems to be like everything else. Some swear by it, some swear at it. Some guns shoot better after, some worse. I guess it depends on whether your mojo's working that day on that rifle and at that range. Personally, if I had a rifle that wasn't shooting as well as I thought it could/should, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
 

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Mike

You seem to be pretty active on this forum. Wondering if you can help me find another Mini 14 forum I found recently that was somewhat more active than this one, but I lost it. Or any other Mini 14 forums at all?

Thanks
 

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Miniguy-

How about helping out (like you just have!) by posting here....

I started the Mini-14 email list, and in the earliest days, I had to work at posting regularly in order to keep readership.

I could use the help here, and then we'll have an active forum too! I appreciate all the people who have signed up and helped get this BBS starting to roll... we just need a few more!

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http://perfectunion.com/
 

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PMI(Presision Mag Industries) Thermold and Eagle are the best mini-14 clips you can find. USA sucks Triple K sucks and I think they may be racist.
 

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ive had good luck with triple k mags,BIN,as with PMI and Thermold.also find Ramline to workk fine.(though they dont fit my AR15)
 

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This is my first email on the subject. Thanks to everyone for sharing the information. I learned a lot about the mini-14 without a single shot. I bought a new stainless ranch mini-14 a month ago, took it apart to the point allowed (recomended by Ruger), and read as much about the rifle through the internet. I had experience with other firearms, but the mini 14 is very simple, rugged and elegant. I chose stainless and synthetic stock because I have a tendency to leave the weapon unattended for a long time if I found a newer variety or mechanism of interest.

After, scrutinizing the mini, reading a lot of comments, suggestions, and modifications available to the mini-14, I formed my own set of observations and plan for the next couple weeks before heading for the range. I am listing them here to see if anyone shares similar view or approach.

The gap between the gas block upper and lower pieces is not uniform. The two actually touch at the one corner and has trace of burnt powder leaked from the factory testing (I assumed)
I may need to go beyond Ruger recommendation diassemble procedure to smooth out the facing surfaces and put them back with a relatively uniform gap. I can send it back to Ruger with a request, but I believe I will put more care to my only mini compared to the technician who works on a total stranger's one. He had his chance. I think without fixing this gap, my shots will walk because the barrel getting warmer and changing the gap with every additional shot.

Without any experience with modifications, I can deduce some relevant conclusions. Since Clark or his sleeve can reduce the group size effectively on any mini, the factory barrel must be very good to start with. The heavier barrel or additional sleeve only reduce the amplitude (degree) of vibration. The factory barrel, due to weight or shape constraints is too light but still straight. Cutting a hole right at the middle of the barrel weakens it futher (if you bend such a tube it will fold right at the hole). Gas going forward in the barrel is diverted to perpendicular direction through the hole will cause a vertical shake (Newton forces) right at that weak point and create a wavelike movement of the barrel. Stiffer one or a damper (sleeve) should reduce this tendency (amplitude).

Without any modification to damp the vertical movement, we need to rely totally on the integrity of the rifle so it vibrate the same way for every shot. Any looseness or opportunity for the rifle to change with heat or recoil will contribute to the randomness of the vertical shake to throw the shot a few inches away at 100 yards or so.

With those in mind, I will not try to break-in even it is a good practice. The return is probably too subtle for the mini and the discipline is too great for me. The sleeve works on all minis regardless of the break-in procedure confirms my logic.

The fit of the receiver in the synthetic stock is quite good, but because there will be nothing to hold it in place beside the friction force of the trigger lock. I moved the receiver from side to side without the lock engaged and find it moved a couple hundredths of an inch. I plan to coat a thin layer of epoxy (glass bedding polymer) in the internal part, wait for it to dry over night, try to see how it fits and repeat the process until it take some force to push the receiver in the opening of the stock. Polymer is relatively soft to be treated this way.

Those are the only two things I feel need to be addressed before I test it for accuracy. If I get 2' group after that without walking shots, I would feel the task accomplished and the mini delivered what it is designed for. So far, I have almost enough fun to justify the cost of the rifle. The amount of discussion here indicates similar outcomes with other mini owners. Take care! Have fun with your minis while you still can.

I have finished the tasks after two weeks, and here is the summary of my observation:

I found a hex key in screw driver style with good handle to loosen the four screws of the gas block. The factory fit was horrible. There were two rather loose diagonal screws (no pun intended) that required no effort to remove, the other two were tight that the first one of those required two hand effort. There was black build-up at the corner the two pieces contact, and there was lot gun oil under the two pieces. I believe that the technician or the one that put the gun together at the factory went over each screw once with the torque wrench without retorquing all of them afterward. The pressure from each subsequent screw alter those previously torqued. The situation was exaggerated because of the touching corner. I polished surfaces of both pieces slowly and evenly on fine sandpaper until the tool marks almost disappeared to avoid removing two much material and weaken the block (it sustains high pressure pulse from every shot). I reassembled the block with even space between the two pieces and even torque using all the power of my one hand and the same tool.

The gas hole from the barrel is too large in my opinion (relative to the diameter of the bore and the bullet); that would explain the powerful shake and good reliability of the rifle. Bushing with smaller hole should tame the ejecting force of the emty cartridge but requires frequent service to keep clean.

For the stock, I coated four thin layers of polymer (one each day) before the receiver fits snuggly and requires a good push to go down completely.

I am ready to test fire the rifle now and will let you know the results.:cool:
 

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I tested the new mini-14 yesterday using only two cheap brands of ammo, UMC and Wolf (Russian), and five shot groups.

With the UMC, groups ranged from 1.5 to 2.2 inches.

Russian Ammo groups went from 2.0 t0 2.75 inches.

There was no walking shot or flyer. The mini performed flawlessly.

I ended the session with a 20 shot group (one box of Russian ammo). It filled the target with an almost round pattern of 3.5 inch diameter.

Comparred to my bolt 308 Ruger, the mini was smooth and gentle. Accuracy was very close for cheap ammo also (3 to 5 dollars a box at gun show).

I think this handy rifle will be my favorite for a long time.
 

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ovpham thats darn good for a mini, glad you got a shooter. I,ve always been suprised of all the AK owners who complain about the minis accuracy. I own both and have to give the edge to the mini, not by much. You have to take both rifles for what they are a good bang for the $$. My minis have been very dependable, no broken parts. I picked up on some SAR 2s and 3,s both needed a little tweek(2 needed sight fixed 3 hammer geometry) fit and finnish can,t come close to a new mini. Though SAR,s are about $100.00 cheaper and good mags are cheaper and easy to come by. But being older and lazy I really like stainless steels low maintenance. Both are nice little rifles.
 

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:) Thank you Flak 2. As additional information, I used a Leupold Vari II 3-9X40. It barely fits. After the shooting session, all the screws needed to be retightened (1/8 turn). There is trace of black residue evenly around the gas block and all four screws there needed to be tightened also. Hope these screws stay in place from now on so I do not need to put locktite on. I just want to keep thing simple and functional, and you are absolutely correct that it is the way the mini 14 intended for.

I am not old yet, but I am a material scientist who also likes stainless steel more than its temperamental sibling.
 

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ovpham ruger used to stake those allen heads(prick punch) so they wquld,nt back out maybe they don,t do this anymore. If you do any handloading you might want to try Hornady 52gr. HPBT. the mini,s seem to likem.
 

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:) Thanks for the information. It is good to know the mini's preferences. I do not handload at the moment but not sure about the future when I am less busy. At this stage, I tend to pick up different factory brands to try at those rare chances I could visit the range. There, I would do some pistol shooting and try to become more proficient with the relatively new mini. I will do most shooting with low cost ammos mixed occasionally with a different factory box to see if the mini likes that lot and brand. If it does I will try to acquire as many boxes of the same lot as my budget allows and try a few each session for the moral boost. By the way, the hex screws for my gas block are unstaked with and I am glad that they are so.
 
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