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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gang,
Just wanted to share a little tid bit with you.
I work on a lot of Mini's and recently I hade a fella bring me a 195 series Mini for glass bedding and trigger work. He also mentioned it didn't lock the bolt on the last shot. I naturally pointe to the cheap mag he was using. I grabed one of my Ruger factory mags, confident that it would work. It DIDN'T! Nor did any of my many mags. Then I tried his mag in a couple of my 185 series rifles. It lock back, barely! I happened to have another fella's older 182 series rifle in the shop as well, so I tried his mag in that, worked very well. Infact it was real nice and snug. I started measuring latches on all the rifles.

Conclusion:
The older series numbered rifles (one with the brighter finish) have slightly longer latches and the newer series seem to have a shorter latch. As I get trigger groups into the shop I've been watching the latch lengths. All the older bright finished rifles have long latches.

Even my 3 personal Mini's (all series 185) have marginal latch lengths. Result: Some mags feed fine and lock the bolt barely. Other mag don't work so well. So after taking latch demensions off the older rifle w/ long latches. I removed the latch in this fella's 195 series rifle along with the latch out of my favorite personal Mini. I have the end of the latch welded to build it up and then re-gound them down to match the length of the longest latch I've seen. (I measure from the leading edge of the latch pin hole to the end of the latch that engages the mag.) I reinstalled the latch in his rifle and tried it again. MAN WHAT A DIFFERANCE!!!! Mag latched much more securely w/o the up/down wiggle and the bolt stop worked perfectly with follower pushing up on the bolt stop latch fully. And no feeding issues w/ my cruddier mags.

I've come to the conclusion that the Mini-14 mag issue is due entirely to the short mag latches. I've since had all the latches on my personal rifle welded and re-ground. I STRONGLY recommend you guys check your rifles. I'm going to give Ruger a call and discuss this with them and see if I can get my hands on some un-ground mag latches. Otherwise I'm going to have some milled up. This improvement makes even the crappy mags work well.
I'll keep you posted,
Mike in Oregon
 

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I did the same thing to my mini's mag latch. Although my Ruger mags locked up fine, I was frustrated after trying John Masen, Eagle, and some no name brand mags and none of them locked up. My shop teacher welded it and ground it for me and now all but one of my mags lock up just like they should.
 

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Thanks for the tip Mike! I do not see a hole in my latch. Are you talking about the hole the pivot pin, and spring fit thru? What is a good dimension?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Gang,
A follow up w/ latch demensions...see attached gif file of my log book entry.

The 182 series rifles seem to have latches that are ~1.300" - 1.310" overall length, or ~ .490" - .500" from end of latch that engages the mag to the near side of the pivot pin hole.

The later series rifles seem to have latches that are around ~1.280" overall length, or around ~ .460" from end of latch that engages the mag to the near side of the pivot pin hole. (THIS IS TOO SHORT. Even the factory Ruger mags don't work.)

Summary:
Weld end of latch and file to .500". Check fit & function with your mags. File a little more off (.002") if needed. Make sure you maintain proper grind angle, otherwise latch sticks and is hard to release. (hint: Trace around latch on paper to record proper angle.)

If Ruger won't supply me any raw castings, I'm going to order a supply of latches and have them welded up. It would be nice if I could provide a solution to those that don't have access to welding equipment.

Hope this helps,
Mike in Oregon
 

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Wow Mike, another great discovery by you. Ruger should hire you to redo the mini. I don't think they even employ engineers anymore. My SS 196- has y=1.28", x=.470". I guess the stainless models will take a different welding rod? Thanks again for helping us out.
 

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Mike-

If you are going to have some custom cast / milled consider making some with an extended release lever also. I think Flak2 has mentioned them as a good aftermarket improvement. I'll definitely sign up for one & ym Mini locks up fine!!


Thanks for sharing the info with us.
 

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Thanks goodorbit, I didn't think of that. Mike make me an extended latch too!, only out of stainless. As long as they are affordable, you could sell a lot of em.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for the support guys, but don't get your hopes up too much. I talked with Ruger, and of course they don't have a clue. Nor were they willing to sell me any unground latches. So I have two choices, weld up & regrind factory parts or have some new parts EDM'd. I like the idea of EDM'ng out some new parts, but I'm still checking on costs and I'm unsure of demand. I can't really justify the cost/time for welded parts. It just takes too much time to regrind them back down to proper length. I'm afraid they'd be too expensive. Somewhere around ~$25-35ea. But then again the EDM'd ones in low volume would be something close as well. I just don't know yet.

I'm not sure I see the need for an extended release lever, but e-mail your ideas/pictures in jpg, bitmap format to me at: [email protected]

Will keep you posted,
Mike in Oregon
 

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You might want to contact Red Star Arms and see if they would consider making the latches. I have 2 old Federal Ordnance extended latches in a couple of my Mini's. Besides having a long tang on the bottom there also a little longer on the top. This helps prevent misfeeds and bolt hold open problems. On my other Mini's I've built the top of the factory latch up with the Tig welder at work (stainless) and reground them. I suppose you could build up a blued latch with gas weld or braze it the same way. It does'nt take much. Gun Parts corp. has Ruger latches for about $5.00ea. and they have the slave pin in them. (the slave pin makes changing the little devil easier). I think we talked about the latch problem awhile back. By the way Red Star makes some top notch AK stuff. And Ruger parts are'nt held to close specs so if latches were made after market you might want to leave them on the long side and hand fit them to the rifle.
 

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Hey Flak 2 -

Any chance you could post a picture or drawing of the extended tang on your mag release? That might help Mike. Also it would definitely help the rest of us home brew one if Mike's EDM'ng thing dosen't work out.
 

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The Federal Ordance mag release is very nice,I need more!!! It is a little longer on the mag end too.goodorbit,I would post you a picture if I could figure out how to use this digital camera.The mag release is about 2 inches longer than the factory.It tends to get in the way when no mag is in the gun.But then again,there should always be a mag in the gun.Right? :sniper:
 

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Can't post any pictures. But if someone wants to seriously pursue the project I'll pop one off a rifle and ship it to them. John Masen Co. might be another company that could be interested in making them, seeing how they manufacture Mini 14 stuff now and have their own Investment Casting Foundry. The Federal Ordnance latches look to me as if there a cast part like the Ruger latch is. A Investment cast latch would be cheaper than a latch machined from cold roll. Anything is an improvement over whats available now.
 

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Flak2 -
You have contributed a heck of alot to this forum, I'd like to do my part. I'll volunteer the time to create a CADD drawing of the part, and post it. If Mike can get the releases made, we'll all be set! :) :) :) If no one can manufacture them we may be able to get local machinists to fabricate them for us. :)
 

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Goodorbit email me or leave a message in the Private Message forum on the board with your shipping address and I'll send you a Federal Ordnance latch to do your drawings. I no longer live close to a post office or UPS so it might take a few days before I ship.;)
 

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With any luck, from Mike in Oregon.

I got th catch from Flak2 earlier this week and have started the drawing & I'll try to finish it up this weekend. Mike will review it before I release it to make sure it's accurate. We're all hoping he can find a place to produce them.


In other words.....

Stay tuned;)
 

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Cheers!

I love this place. :D Everyone here is ready to help.

I have had these guys do work for me. The fellow who started up the shop started as a gunsmith and has expanded from there.
http://www.lewistonairplane.com
They do good work, but I have never given them any volume orders.
 
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