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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay boys and girls, everybody has been dancing around this subject for quite some time, or bitching about the inaccuracy of the little Ruger, so I decided to take the plunge and see just how well I can get the little Mini to shoot without sending it out to one of the big boys with a thousand dollars taped to the stock.

My objective is to make the Mini shoot as well as my buddie's .243 Savage Model 110 that he got for Christmas and shot sub-MOA out of the box with factory ammo. Stop laughing, everybody needs a goal!!!

I will post everything I do, both the brilliant flashes of genius and retarded boneheaded aw****s.

So far I have gotten a used wooden stock in excellent condition for $30 including shipping from an Ebay auction. Got a new after market plastic hand guard for $12.55 including shipping off of Ebay too. I didn't need to buy the hand guard for this project, but I'm going to camo the stock for coyote hunting, so I didn't want to spray paint my one and only. Bought a Brownell Accuglas Gel glass bedding kit at the local shop for $14.

Since the Mini-14 is first cousin of the M-1 Garand, I bought the NRA publication at a gun show titled "The M-1 Rifle" for $5. It has a section on glass bedding including diagrams and good photos. It also has a section on accurizing the action, but the action doesn't share much in common with the Mini, so it's not too applicable. A section on trigger work is pretty good.

The first thing I did was scratch a line on the stock around the top side of the action and magazine well. After removing everything from the stock I routed the stock inside the scratched lines with a Dremel tool and the smallest carbide burr I had (appx 1/16). I did this based on the information in the M-1 book. The book calls for some rather exact measurements, but I just gouged out the wood and figured the Accuglas would take care of it. The Accuglas will be placed in the voids.

I completely degreased all the metal parts with methel ethel ketone (MEK) from Ace Hardware, so the release agent should have no problems sticking to them. MEK is some nasty stuff, so make sure you have plenty of fresh air. I must admit the thought of gluing the rifle together with epoxy resin is kinda scary.

I plan on using the metal op rod shield in the fore of the stock only during the glassing procedure, then removing it so the barrel free floats. I am using it during the fit up to positively locate the barrel.

Back to work...

Glass bedding mission accomplished. Nothing too exciting, just make sure you follow the directions in the Accuglas kit to the letter or you are going to have a mess on your hands.

Also, if you are not planning on refinishing the stock, you should put masking tape on all the finished wood. The Accuglas resin is the consistancy of cold honey, but it gets on everything when you are working with it. You can remove boo boos with vinegar while it's still tacky, but it's a real pain keeping it out of places you don't want it. Like all over the stock. Rubber gloves are nice too.

The release agent in the kit is some sort of brush on stuff. I swiped a paint brush from the kids modeling equipment to apply it. Thin coats are the order of the day. If you put the agent on too thick, it won't dry. Put a couple of coats on everything metal you don't want the resin to permantly bond to. And I mean everything. If you glue the gun together, it's forever or until you chisel the stock off.

I slathered the resin goop into all the places starting with the magazine well bracket. Don't forget to put some release agent on the two screws that hold it in. Then do the action and trigger assembly. Put it all back together and wait 5-8 hours. I put a little space heater close to the gun to speed things along. I also sat the trigger guard on an upside down coffee cup to put some pressure on the internals. I supported the barrel in a vice so the thing would not flop over. When everything is set up, take a sharp razor knife and carefully trim all the goop away where it's squished out. It's still pretty easy to cut at this point.

I used some left over clear polyurathane paint I had on the shelf to seal all the bare wood on the inside, like the barrel channel and such. Nothing fancy, just put a coat on and go. It's supposed to keep humidity from swelling and shrinking the stock.

After it was all done, the pieces fit like a glove. There is absolutely no slop in anything. The action comes out with some gentle knocks on the barrel with your hand, instead of falling out when you touch it.

I put a Krylon Camo Paint job on the stock and handguard. They are making a Camo paint system with woodland and desert colors. I used kahki for the base color then cut out some stencils from poster board and held them about 1/4 to 1/2 inch off the stock and sprayed with olive drab, black amd brown. Looks really good too. Hope it fools the coyotes.

I hope to go shoot tomorrow. Hopefully it will show some improvement. I will be shooting 55 grain soft nose bullets with 25 grains of H-335 and federal #400 small rifle primers.

After a session of target shooting, the next project will be lapping the gas block on a buddies surface plate and retorquing it with an inch pound torque wrench.

I just happened to pick up a Snap-On in-lb torque wrench last year for 30 bucks! I wondered what I was going to use it for when I bought it.

[

[This message has been edited by Mike McDonald (edited 01-07-2001).]
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well, I said I'd let you know about the bonehead moves too. So here's the first one. I went out to shoot the rifle yesterday and see how the glass bedding job works. Paced off 100 yards, clamped the rifle in a cheesy Outers vise and placed it on the hood of the truck. Had the notebook, targets and dial calipers to measure shot groups.

Ready to start shooting those sub MOA groups. Not!

I have a 1X Tasco Red Dot scope that practically covers the entire 50 yard slow fire handgun targets I was using, at 100 yards, so I knew it wasn't going to be exactly surgical precision.

The ammo I used to get on paper were some 55 gr. handloads I had laying around for plinking so the overall length varied by a few thousand. Gp# 1 was 1.8". Great! I figured the meticulous loads with indivually measures powder charges in carefully measured lengths I had waiting to go would be awesome. I ran a patch through the bore after each group. Well, as it turned out, the more I shot, the worse it got. After watching the next 5 groups gradually go to six inches I quit in disgust. I thought the loads weren't to the Mini-s liking as they were all grouped by different lengths. As I was putting the rifle in the case to go home I noticed the scope was real loose. It seems I forgot to tighten the mounts with a screw driver after twisting them finger tight the night before. Oh well, a good excuse to go shooting again soon. I'll probably end up getting a scope so I can see the target better too.

That sub MOA group is out there, just gotta find it. (Quit laughing, I've got a dream!)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Sorry for the delay in updating the project, but here's the latest.
I took the gas block apart and trued up the flats on the parting lines. I took the four allen bolts out and the machine work from the factory looked like it was done with a hack saw. I used a piece of glass from a picture frame that was laying around the garage and a full sheet of 220 grit wet-dry sand paper. I used mineral spirits as a lubricant and worked the pieces in a figure eight pattern on the sand paper and glass until they were uniformly silver across the the flat side. I did this for both top and bottom pieces of the block. I was going to use my way cool inch pound torque wrench to put it back together, but the allen screws in the block were smaller than the littlest allen socket I had, so I used a feeler gauge to check the gap on both sides as I tightened the screws back down. When I was finished, I ended up with a .020" gap on both sides. The number isn't important, but they both have to be the same. Use blue lock-tite on the screws. I haven't been out to shoot groups with it yet due the extremely crappy weather we're having in AZ. Snow, rain, wind, you name it we got it. I won't tell you about sliding into the barbed wire fence trying to get home when it started snowing and turned the dirt road to goo. But I managed to plink 8-9 rounds before the white stuff sent me packin'. It certainly groups no worse, but without a proper target and rest it's hard to say how much, if any, the groups have tightened up. I was able to hit a one qt. oil bottle at about 75 yds with no problem. I was using handloads of 50gr Hornady soft points, 23gr IMR 4198, CCI #400 Primer, OAL 2.250.

[This message has been edited by Mike McDonald (edited 01-29-2001).]
 

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Interesting. I found that moderate loads say around 2900 to 3000 fps seem to help group size also. I found that AA 2200 is one of the better powders for my mini. I have also found that my GB seems to be more accurate than any other mini I have had. I wonder if the bayo lug and flash hider help by changing the harmonics??
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well, I floated my grand ideas past an engineer friend and after he finished laughing, he said "What you have is a sow's ear. There's no silk purse to be had." It ain't ever gonna shoot any better with that action and barrel. Awww, what does he know anyway? He's only got 35 years experience shooting sillouette targets with a pistol, and building ICBMs. Anyway, the weather has cleared up and I'm going coyote hunting in the morning. I plan on taking a few targets and shooting those MOA groups just to show my friend that physics, knowledge and experience are no match for grit and desire.
 

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Mike, don't let that engineer fella get you down. I have done what you are trying to do. You started in the right place, the stock. The op rod beats that stock up everytime you shoot, shifting the stock and any sights that manage to stay attached. I suppose Bill Ruger wanted the mini to be extra reliable, but the gas bushing is too big. Bed the stock like you did and get some smaller gas bushings from NW Shooters Support. For a scope system on the regular mini I found the Ranch Products Scout mount works good with a 2-7 pistol scope. I also used a Ram-Line synthetic stock. I load the mini at least one grain less than listed maxes. My best load is a starting load of BR 2015 and a 45 grain WW bullet. If you have a Ranch rifle or Mini-30, you may have to glue the scope in as I did on a 30. I wrecked a cheap scope on a B-Square mount before I caught on the 14. The gas bushing should help this too. You should be able to get 2 inch or less groups with a wood stock bedded right. In my limited experience (three guns) synthetic stocks seem to be more accurate, but I am not ready to say so absolutely. Other people have done what you are doing. If I can do it its not too hard. Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Well, it's a pig's ear alright.
I shot some paper and the best groups were 2". Some were 3.5",and a couple were 5". Some of that is because of the red dot scope. I just can't see the target well enough to accurately but it squarely on the bullseye. I think an optical scope will help close up the variance, but it ain't gonna shoot a MOA.
 

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The best barrel he has is $500 installed, he also has a drop in adjustable trigger or he will do a job on factory, I have one of each and can't tell a whole lot of difference. My mini 14 may not shoot with a custom built AR but you would need a mic. to tell it, it will shoot .4's with factory loads it likes, I think your run of the mill $800 AR will average around 1.5" if what I read about them is correct. hope this helps
RR

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