Perfect Union banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone. I am new here and I am looking for advive in regarts to purchasing a used Mini 14. I have read about all the accuracy "problems", but here is my reasoning for wanting a Mini:

1) I like the action. It's reliable
2) Caliber- my wife can easily handle it
3) They can be just plain sexy!
4) It looks to be a good handy gun which would be good for popping pests(2 or 4 legged, and just fun to shoot.
5) good price

Are there any serial numbers to seek or avoid? Most of the people I know who have had one (4 total) say is is a good gun but not accurate. I am not overly concerned with accuracy, but would of course like it to be as accurate as I can get it. I am a longtime hunter (especially bowhunter, and I'm in the military) and I realize how far 100 yards is. I would never really attempt to engage anyting but a coyote at that distance with ths gun. I would be pretty happy with 3-4" at 100 yards. I would even be willing to send the gun to a Mini 14 guru and have it accurized if necessary. Any helpful advice regarding purchasing a used Mini will be appreciated. Thanks, Chris.
PS I searched for a while and could not find much of what I was looking for, so if there are helpful threads already covering this topic, feel free to refer me to them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,269 Posts
Stay away from the 180 series, Ruger won't service them. Anything 181 and up is good to go. Mini's are plenty accurate for what they are.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Used ones arent that cheap, and you dont know if you're buying someone else's problem. Just buy a new one, it's worth the extra money. The new ones are much more accurate.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
First, a big +1 for Jeff F’s info posted above. Here are a few quick things that I’ve learned to look for when examining used minis for possible purchase. I hope they help! With the action closed on an empty chamber, and the hammer cocked, check the bolt for any extensive looseness forward and backwards. Mind you that all mini bolts have a specific amount of play in them, but if the bolt shows very sloppy movement there’s a good chance that the cam way (where the round lug of the bolt rides) in the operating slide is worn (or enlarged) indicating heavy use. If the bolt has any significant play from ‘side to side’ this is a VERY good sign of a worn receiver and of bolt wear in general. Another sign of extensive use is if there are noticeable ‘flat’ spots on the round lug on the bolt itself. Also, check the face of the bolt for what I call, ‘firing rings’. These are permanent circles which form (embed) in the face’s steel around the firing pin. All regularly used guns form this over time, but if it looks rough, chances are the round count is high. If you have the luxury of stripping the gun for inspection (which you should if the seller is on the ‘up and up’), check the operating rod face (the flat end that contacts the gas block) for stress cracks around the opening where the gas pipe enters it. I have personally seen little hairline cracks form in this area on mini-14s that were rapid fired heavily and repeatedly (Yes, guilty as charged). If there is a massive choking amount of carbon build up in the gas pipe/gas block area, this is an obvious sign of high round count, and also (IMHO) owner neglect. If the rifle is a wood stocked version, check the fore end area, and the inner trigger guard area for cracks/splits in the wood. A heavily used/abused rifle will almost always develop cracks in one, or both, of these spots (again, from my own experience). There are other things that could be checked for too, but for the sake of space I listed what I thought would be of immediate help to you. Good luck with any future purchase! Best!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,269 Posts
Reblyell, good write up on used Mini check out. When I bought my 185 used the guy I bought it from told me it jammed all the time. I asked to see the magazine and he handed me an aftermarket 40 round mag he said he paid 15 bucks for at a gun show. I got that rifle for 400 dollars and it has been 100% reliable with factory mags.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
157 Posts
Thanks, Jeff! Just trying to help out if I can. I've beat the snot out of more than my share of minis back in the days of 'Reagan and Rambo', and I still remember my observations :) Nice score on your own mini! Best!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,326 Posts
Stay away from the 180 series, Ruger won't service them. Anything 181 and up is good to go. Mini's are plenty accurate for what they are.
Pretty good Advise here. Of course, you are also going to have to develop a list of the features you want in your mini before you go shopping. 1) what bullet weight are you most likely to shoot the most? The mini (5.56/.223) has come out in four different barrel twist rates in its history. We can rule out the 1 in 12" as that was only made in some of the 180 series carbines, and because of the reasons posted above. The mini has also been made with twist rates of 1 in 10", 1 in 9" and 1 in 7". The 1 in 7" twist barrel would be the choice if you will only be shooting 62 gr. or heavier bullits. This twist rate was in serial # range 185-56500 to 186-31000 (standard mini) or 187-84000 to 188-68000 (ranch rifle). Any serial number range below these listed would be 1 in 10" twist. This twist rate (1 in 10") I have heard is best for 52 gr. and lighter bullets. Any serial number range above those listed above is a 1 in 9" barrel twist rate. The current production mini's (580,581) are made with a 1 in 9" twist barrel. This twist rate is probably the most versital and works well with the common bullet weights of 55 to 62 grains.

2) What configuration mini do you want? certain types, such as the GB (3 blade front sight, flash hider and bayonet lug) were only available to the public in the standard configuration, with or without a folding stock. If optics are a primary consideration, then you will probably want a ranch rifle mini.

3) Condition is paramount. Do not buy a used cop rifle unless you know its history (such as it was your duty rifle and you maintained it well.) Cop guns have a reputation of abuse, even if the round count through it is low. The best way to buy a used rifle is to buy it from someone you know, and who knows its history. The best possible used gun buy is from someone you know that baught it new. Also best if the original box and especially the paperwork (Ruger manual) is available.

4) If you can't buy it for $475 or less, save yourself some potential trouble and go buy a new mini. You should be able to get one somewhere for about $600. I would only buy a used one if you for some reason don't like the current version of the mini. Some people dont like the ranch version, and prefer the older standard mini. That would be a reason to look for a bargain used mini.

Good luck with your shopping.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Some awesome advice. I am going to call my shop tomorrow and see how much they can get me a new one for. I am looking on gunbroker, and the main thing I am looking for is a wood/stainless, tapered barrel gun. It would probably be better for me to just order one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,269 Posts
If you want to buy a new blue Ranch model, Wal Mart has about the best price around here. 617.00 + tax. LGS are 650.00+ and the pawn shops and theres a lot of pawn shops want at least 650 for a used one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Try Gallery of Gun's. I got mine through them and the process was quick and painless. Pick out your gun and they give you instant offers from dealers in your area. You put down a deposite and they ship the gun to the dealer you pick in 3 days. They take care of all the arrangements, you just pick up the gun when your dealer calls you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
Don't rule out a used Mini. I picked up a wood/stainless 183 series model for $250 that needed a minor repair. Deals are out there if you're patient. My first Mini was/is a 581 series tactical. The 183 is better-built, has better build quality and is pretty accurate. I bet it will shoot as good as the 581 if I add a strut.

If you do decide to go new, then follow Str8shooters advice and try G of G.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,326 Posts
Don't rule out a used Mini. I picked up a wood/stainless 183 series model for $250 that needed a minor repair. Deals are out there if you're patient. My first Mini was/is a 581 series tactical. The 183 is better-built, has better build quality and is pretty accurate. I bet it will shoot as good as the 581 if I add a strut.

If you do decide to go new, then follow Str8shooters advice and try G of G.
Curious how you came to this conclusion. Not doubting you but could you please explain? (about the 183 series). I would probably rather buy a new mini or send the old one to gundoc for accurizing, than add more weight to that handy and well balanced mini.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
273 Posts
Curious how you came to this conclusion. Not doubting you but could you please explain? (about the 183 series). I would probably rather buy a new mini or send the old one to gundoc for accurizing, than add more weight to that handy and well balanced mini.
Fair question. The side-by-side comparison of the old vs new rifle in terms of build quality is a pretty easy nod to the old model. I prefer the older sights as well. My 581 will definitely group better with factory ammo, but the 183 (with hand loads) is not that far removed. My point is that the pre-581 series Mini's have an unfair reputation as inaccurate piles of junk, but I happen to like the way they're built and getting them accurized is not that hard. I agree with your point #4, though. I wouldn't pay more than $400 for an older model.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,469 Posts
if you buy a pre-580 series, you WILL need to do some work to accurize it. Either a barrel tuner (9/16" shaft collar), a muzzle brake, or a strut, or bedding the stock. 2~3moa warm barrel accuracy can be achieved rather reliably.

Whether you will encounter the "first round flyer from a cool barrel" is totally up to luck. Cryo treatment is said to be able to solve this flyer problem.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,277 Posts
I bought my last 183 for $340. I thought it was a fair price. I would rather have a new one for $620 than pay too much for a pre 580 series. Just my opinion. kwg
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top