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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mini-14 Ranch Rifle
Series 196 - Stn/Syn

8 various rounds were tested through the rifle to find a "ideal" load, and it was finally decided that all tests would be done using handloaded 50g V-Max boat tails over 26.0g of IMR 4895 for 3150fps. All groups were 3 or 4-shot @ 100m using a mechanical rest at an indoor federal government facility. Rifle was equipped with a Pentax 6-24x AO for the process.

The barrel was broken in using a standard 100 round "shoot-clean" method.

Initial groups on the unmodified rifle averaged 3.5 to 8"+ with numerous flyers and erratic groupings. Some flyers failed to print on the 12"x12 target, indicating that they were at least 6"+ from point of aim. No distinct shot pattern was evident, and cold barrel POI varied by as much as 6" from hot barrel POI.

The best group recorded from the stock rifle was 3.51".

(NOTE: Ruger, I hope you are reading this, because the stock Mini-14 IS NOT CAPABLE OF CONSISTIENT of 2" groups at 50m regardless of what you claim. And this is even from a machine rest. This firearm was tested under virtually ideal, controlled conditions, and the fact is, it is the most innacurate rifle we have ever tested in this facility. Your butt should be called to the carpet for this Bill Ruger.)

The first modification was a complete bedding of the rifle - action, slide channel, everything - if it could be filled with Accraglas Green, it was. Even under the slide channel.

After firing approximately 50 rounds to allow the bedding and rifle to settle, shots of record were fired, and an immediate and noticable improvement was observed. Groups shrank to an average of 2.3", but most importantly, the flyers were completely eliminated. Cold vs. hot barrel POI also improved dramatically, and was now within 1".

Bedding the rifle had a dramatic effect on accuracy, and is the first improvement a Mini-14 owner should make.

Next, the gas bushing was replaced. The gas bushing swap did not have a noticable effect on accuracy, but recoil was significantly reduced, and case ejection was cut from 45'+ to about 8-10'. It should be noted that the muzzle velocity increased from an average of 3150fps to about 3186fps. Group sizes remaind in the 2.3-2.5" range.

Next, the gas blocks were again removed, and this time lapped, evenly spaced and gapped, and set screws were tightened to an even 18.5 in-lbs all around. The gas block modification had a moderate effect on group size, shrinking the average down to about 2.0".

After hearing of the positive results with them, the next modification was the installation of a muzzle brk / flash hider combo (delta, I think...). The test firing tends to back up this claim...group sizes shrank into the 1.75" range, and the side benefit of reduced muzzle flip allowed the target to remain visible through the shot.

Even though these tests were done using a machine rest, the stock trigger came in at 7.1lbs. So, the trigger group was stoned to reduce second stage by about half...to about 3.75lbs. From the rest this had no effect on group size, but for normal shooting, the reduced trigger pull would be a huge improvment over the heavy, notchy stock trigger pull.

Because the Mini-14 has such a thin low-mass barrel, it was theorized that by shortening its length we would be able to stiffen it out, and thus reduce the vibrations/harmonics at the muzzle. The final modification came in the form of shortening the barrel in small increments...1/4" at a time....cutting, recrowning, and then test firing. This process took considerable time.

Little change in group size was observed until we got the barrel to about 17.25 inches, and it was at that point things started to get interesting. After removing 1.25 inches of barrel and recrowning the groups immediately shrank by about 1/2" and were now regularly approaching the MOA range.

(NOTE: The muzzle brake was removed entirely during the barrel shortening process.)

It was at this point we began doing some real shooting with the gun. We tested first at 100m and had all groups fired for record under 1.5" with the best being 1.15".


We then backed out to 200m. As you can see, the results are darned impressive for a Mini...a 1.30" 4 shot group.


There you have it...that's where I'm at with my Mini-14 project gun right now. Considering that in the beginning the thing wouldn't hit a basketball at 100m, I don't think I'll be complaining about how it shoots now. I plan to keep tinkering with the Mini to see if I can improve on the results, but all things considered, I am more than pleased.

It should be noted that in all the firing I have done so far with this rifle, I have yet to experience a single jam, malfunction, failure to feed or cycle, or any other form of problem. None.

I hope that some of you might be able to gain some useful information out of this.
 

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Wow Z-man, quite the project you have gone through there! Thanks for sharing it all with us, very interesting and helpful. Did you check your muzzle velocity after the barrel cut?? Thanks in advance.
-Grinch
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Grinch,

After checking the chrono sheets for that session, it looks like the muzzle velocity dropped to an average of 3002fps with the shortened barrel.

Not far from the 200fps / inch of barrel length "rule of thumb."
 

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Very impressive Z-man, and very well documented. Thanks for your efforts.
I have done almost the same mods except for the barrel cut. Because my mini was new as yours was, I firelaped the barrel, with abrasive bullets, which cut 1/4" off my average groups. My first group after firelaping was .92" my over all avg. of 5 shots for 10 groups is 1.51" , down from 4 1/2" with factory ammo 46 gr. winchester varmit. My hand loads will improve it more.
That was a very nice job you did.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Satan and Cajungeo,

Thanks for the props.

Cajungeo, you actually read my mind...my next step, now that about 800 rounds have been sent down it, is to scope the barrel with a mic and see what kind of runout is present. If I need to, I will run some abrasive down the pipe (by hand - not a huge firelapping fan - sorry), followed, of course, by another test shoot. As you know, the barrel should already be well-lapped at this point, but it won't hurt to take some measurements anyhow.

After scoping the bore, I plan to test the muzzle brake again on the shortened barrel just to see what happens with that change.

So far, things have gone in the right direction....I think everything can be done by a knowledgable person for under $40, and that includes the Accraglass, a brake, and a bushing. Heck even the barrel and trigger job can be accomplished by most owners with some thought, care, research and the right tools.

More coming next weekend...
 

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I'd like to do the same things to my new mini, but don't have experience with gunsmithing, and don't know any good mini14 smith in my area which is Murrieta/Temecula, CA
 

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Z-man,
I have looked everywhere for a muzzle brake, in stainless steel finish, that will fit a new mini14. Apparently there is a difference in barrel diameter when compared to older mini14's barrels. Where did you get yours?....Where can I get mine? I have a 197 series.
 

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Trdslinger,
Go to the thread on the Bushmaster muzzlebreak.
 

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ts, I don't know if this is the one z-man has, but it works great on my 196 series SS. http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/ctd/product...K5K0ELX7C42B2U0
The question of changing the barrel dia, has been asked several times. Several people with the 195/196 have stated the muzzle brake fit theirs just fine. You can do a search for more detail. I believe CD has some bad info. My barrel measures .580" just behind the sight/brake if you want to check it with yours.
 

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Greetings all,

I've been looking for a muzzlebreak and am interested in the black warrior. I have been concerned about the barrel diameter though. I measured my 196 ranch (blued) barrel with a mic and measured 0.560 in. right behind the sight. The max diameter was 0.572 in about 2" behind the sight (great quality control and may be a problem if I cut the barrel down.). I don't know what the standard should be but, if the muzzlebreak fits 0.580 diameter barrels like Cajungeo's, I guess I'm ok.

By the way, I just got my trigger group back from Mike. I haven't tried it yet (due to injury), but he has a great turnaround time.

Great site guys - good info.

Chris
:usa:
 

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Welcome Chris. The BW brake actually fits over the front sight, I couldn't measure the front sight without removing the brake. If the brake fits a little loose, you can do what a few others have, slip in some metal shim, or just leave it loose, it won't hurt anything. Most fit perfect.
 

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I ordered 2 of those muzzle brakes from Midway. They are on backorder, but are only $12.49 each. Supposed to have them sometime in the middle of December. I measured my barrel at various points, and think it ought to work.
 

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Thank God i found this site! Thank you Z-Man for your work and well written report. Finally some one that can tell me something about mini's besides that i bought junk. Would it be possible for you to break down your steps more? I love the fact that you list each stage and give that results of each modification, but i would like to get more how to advice about what you did. I own a mini-30 and my brother has a mini-14(older model) his is missing a gas block screw (he got it this way)so this step has us a little scared. I was going to try the gas port bushings but have not gotten up the B's to try getting those staked screws out( if it aint broke dont fix it thing). Hope you can help. Thanks Mark.
 

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Welcome to the forum Mark. You can also get loads of detailed info by using the search button (your upper right), and enter key words. All related posts will come up with your key words, in RED!
 

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Mark, you can get a screw to replace the lost one by going to the local hardware store(I got mine at OSH). It is metric, 4mm with a pitch of .7 it would probably be a good idea to take one of the existing ones with you so you can get the length right.
 

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Great job Z-Man, thanks. I plan to have a few things like that done to my Mini 30 when it warms up a little around here.
 

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I purchased a QD scope mount a little while ago and am very upset that my groups are just as bad with a scope as they were with iron sights. I'm very excited about this thread, I thought my only way to get some accuraccy was to get it rebarreled from accuracy systems or someone else for about what I paid for the gun originally. My question is, where can I find detailed information on how to preform the same modifications you did? I've already fixed up my trigger to about a 3 1/2lb pull, and fabricated a new butt with a rubber pad that doesn't slip around on my shoulder. My next do at home thing would be bedding it. How is that done properly? I am hands on capable but just don't know where to begin.. Thanks in advance..
 
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