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Local pawn shop as a Mini-14 model 186 and 187 in stock.

186 is Plain Jane, looks like straight factory.

Model 187 has aftermarket front sight and flash hider.

If I remember right, both rifles are $550.

I am thinking about putting one on lay-away as a Christmas present to myself.

So, which one would be better?

What would be a reasonable price?

Thank you in advance.
 

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Spend $200 more and get a 583. Personally, the older 180 and 190 series are not worth anything close to $550. To make them accurate and consistent you need a strut and that's another $100.

kwg
 

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Long time ago the 186 & 187 series were the best shooters out of the box for the shinny barrel minis. Do you think you could test fire one of them and see which shoots best?
 
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The older Mini's like the 186 and 187 can be very accurate once a strut is added.
And they had none of the QC issues some of the newer Mini's have had.
The flash hider/front sight combo would be a plus if it was installed correctly, (not canted and roll pins drilled straight and trimmed off flush).
The extra weight of a muzzle device helps reduce barrel whip.
Shortening the barrel, doing a re-crown, and adding a flash hider will all help accuracy with the older pencil Mini's.
Even if you decided on the 186 model, you could always add the flash hider later, and then you'd know the muzzle was re-crowned as well.
$550 isn't as bad as what guys are asking at gun shows, but unless either one comes with a bunch or Ruger magazines, $450-$500 is a more reasonable price.
Like kwg said, spend $200 more and get a Tactical 583 instead.
 

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If this page is correct, the 187 is the older rifle, but it is a ranch rifle with the built in scope mounts.

http://sunflowerammo.blogspot.com/2012/11/ruger-mini-1430-barrel-twist-rates.html?m=1

Assuming equal condition of the rifles, I personally would try to get a barrel twist that is optimal for my ammo, but choose the ranch rifle if I wanted a scope.

For reference: The brand new ones all come with scope mounts and 1 in 9 twist starting at $730(walmart here in town).
 

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Kevin, same reference to SunFlower as in post #5:
The 186 is a non-ranch rifle, so no provision for a scope or red dot. Depending on the serial number, it has either a 1:7 or 1:9 twist rate: something to consider regarding ammo. Mechanically, I prefer these (I have a 181) as they were simpler (no metal buffer, ejector is in the bolt). But they also eject more vertically than horizontally.
The 187 is a ranch rifle, so it has scallops for scopes and ejects more horizontally than vertically. Depending on the serial number, it has either a 1:7 or 1:10 twist rate. Coletrain is right, the 187 is the older rifle. The 187 may eject brass into the next county due to its ejection system; the 186 will probably drop ejects within five feet. It might take out a low-flying bird in the process, though...

And as others have suggested, it might be more advantageous to get a new-production Mini, if you can get one within $200 of the used Minis' asking price. You might offer $450-$500, but $550 gets you to the point of what others have suggested: bite the bullet and get a new one. Buy once, cry once... All depends on your interests. Either old or new, they are the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

My pencil-barreled 40 year old 181 is a GB model (came with a flash hider and bayonet lug). It shoots somewhere between 2.5 and 4 MOA as it left the factory, without any tinkering and depending on my patience, using PMC Bronze .223. Sandog's point about the flash hider reducing barrel whip is, in my personal experience, a very valid point.

I have both a 181 and a 583 Tactical. I personally prefer the older one (non-ranch), but some of that may be for sentimental reasons (my first firearm). The QC, fit, and finish is superior to the newer ones IMHO. It would look good over the fireplace when not being shot. It is also easier to dis/re-assemble. The 583 is more accurate out of the box.

One last consideration is that eventually, Ruger will stop support for the older Minis (they already did for the 180-xxx series). That may be long after we're in a nursing home drooling all over ourselves, but something to consider for your heirs...
 

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450.00 - 475.00 if it ain't beat up or shows signs of neglect. 500.00 if it was super nice. But I am nostalgic about guns , particularly the mini 14. If it will go bang safely and hit beer cans at 50 yards I am happy. The old B Square scope mounts are still around...

My disclaimer below applies. There are many resident experts , I am not one of them, but I never saw a mini I didn't want.
 
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