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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, I'm a new member here. I've been on AR15.com and a couple other forums for years but when looking for info about my mini 14 I've read this is the place.
I'm a gun smith mostly as a hobby and have built dozens of AR15's and AK47's among other things but these mini 14's have me stumped. I bought a 180 series years ago for 200.00 and it's never cycled. If you shoot a round you must always, every time cycle the slide assembly by hand. I've read every thing I can about this problem and I know it's in the gas system but I can't figure it out. This week I completely detail stripped and throughly cleaned the gun and very carefully put the gas block back together using feeler gauges to make sure both sides were equal gap. Took it out today and shot it really expecting it to cycle but no joy. Being the gun has never worked correctly since I've had it I suspect one of the parts are incorrect. Who ever had it before me half ass painted the stock and didn't even bother to disassemble it because they got paint on many of the metal parts. If they didn't disassemble to paint I really doubt they disassembled it to clean and therefore lose and have to replace any part of the gas block, gas pipe, bushing ect. One more issue with just buying all new parts is the 180 series is no longer supported by Ruger. I did manage to buy a gas pipe and bushing off of Gun Broker but they appear to be for a later series. I took some pictures so maybe someone will be able to tell if they appear to be correct. During all of my troubleshooting I've used a Ruger Factory 5 round magazine but today tried it and a unknown manufacture 20 round, but were the same. Even if I wanted to I don't think I could send this gun back to Ruger being their no longer supporting the 180's. I also have a 181 series which I tried to swap parts for troubleshooting but everything gas wise is different. Someone please point me in the right direction. Thank you in advance.





On a completely different topic, can someone tell me what this 181 series is? I'm sure it's a tactical version of some sort, but I haven't found a picture with a 16 inch barrel using this flash suppressor and bayonet lug. The barrel is just barley 16 inches so the flash suppressor must be permanently attached to be legal and it surely is. I don't know how it's attached but I tried every thing I could think of to remove it and it's not coming off. This gun is so erratic in accuracy I wanted to take the flash suppressor off to see if the barrel had been cut down by someone with a hack saw.


 

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Sounds like your 180 needs a new op rod spring, a common problem when minis get about 25 yrs old or so. Good luck finding one for this old bird! It looks like your 181 is a Short barrel GB, probably special ordered by a law enforcement agency. PM me if you would like to sell the 180. I need one as a parts gun. You are right that Ruger will not even attempt a repair on this old 180. Good luck.
 

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I disagree about the spring. A weak spring would cause it to extract and eject like there is no tomorrow.

Does the action move at all? After firing is the action still locked, partially locked? Sounds like it's under-gassed so we need to determine why and by how much. Judging by appearance of the piston, the bore of the op rod is probably pretty nasty too. Too much pitting leads to excessive clearance and gas leakage without enough gas to pump the action. Is the gas block bushing removable on the old 180 gas block? Maybe reassemble without the bushing, taking care to ensure alignment, then fire it. This will increase the gas volume and give you an idea of whether more gas will solve the problem.

If there is too much clearance I'd look for a machinist to make a new piston, having it made a bit oversize of the original. A stainless steel able to handle high temps and gas erosion would be a good idea. Maybe a stainless that can be heat-treated to harden it for erosion resistance. If the op rod is rotten inside you may need to have that bored over to clean it up, THEN fit a piston for it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks guys. I agree with Chilly about a weak spring and this gun is way too nice in my book to become a parts gun. Worse case I keep it as a hunting rifle and cycle the action after each shot. That's quicker than a bolt gun. I cleaned the hole in the op rod which was a little rusty but it's not eroded like the "gas pipe". I feel like that erosion could be the issue. The gas block itself is also eroded or pitted and the two together could be letting alot of gas blow by but I would think enough gas would flow to at least make the bolt blow back some which doesn't appear to be the case. I do have a bushing from a later version which is longer, wouldn't be hard to cut it down to size but of the three parts the bushing appears to be in good shape. I think the first thing I'll try is using the gas pipe from the later version which shows almost not erosion. It appears the only real difference in the two is the newer version has a taper on the end that goes into the operating rod. I'll update when I get a chance to fire again. Thank you for your input.
 

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I didn't see in the notes that the gas hole in the barrel was shown to be clear as well as the bushing and piston being patent (not blocked or narrowed by fouling or corrosion). Were you able to run a pipe cleaner through the gas port into the bore or see that it was clear? It sure does seem that not enough gas is getting through or the op rod is getting hung up long enough that the gas is venting around the gas channel or piston.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
Here's an update: The gas tube on the 180 is threaded into the gas block unlike the later versions so the extra parts I have are no help.
I took the 180 apart again and couldn't find anything that really appeared wrong so I went and shot it again. It wouldn't cycle. I tried different ammo and mags, nothing worked. At one point I thought the upper hand guard might be interfering with the op rod so I removed it but no help. A few shots the bolt did try to move rearward maybe a 1/2 inch but it was completely intermittent, maybe it would move this shot and not again for several more shots. I had my brother watching as I shot then I watched as he shot. Seems like we tried everything then out of desperation I just squirted a whole bunch of CLP into the receiver and the next shot ejected. It didn't chamber the next round but that was the first time it had ejected a case since I've owned the gun. It ejected the next 3 rounds but never chambered. I tried more CLP and I think it ejected another round or maybe two. Then nothing. I quit for the day and brought the rifle home and stripped it down again. Being the CLP helped I thought maybe it just needed proper lube and/or grease. I really suspected the chamber was dirty enough to cause the problem. I hadn't cleaned the chamber during all of this process. I had a hard time getting the bolt out of the receiver being it's a 180 and has a scope mounted. I followed a video on how to strip the bolt but being a 180 the extractor pin is different and I never did get it out. I was able to strip my 181 bolt per the video. Anyway I throughly cleaned the bolt, receiver and thought maybe the chamber might be the problem so I managed to ruin 4 AR chamber brushes but got the chamber perfectly cleaned. I followed a military manual on how to properly lube a M14 and applied grease to all the places shown. The op rod did feel like it was hanging up about 3/4's of the way aft while we were out shooting. But only after a round was fired. It didn't seem to hang up without a mag inserted or even when a mag was inserted before a round was fired. Once I fired a round then the op rod seemed to hang or bind even after the case was ejected by manually cycling. Once I put the whole thing back together after cleaning and lubing it seemed perfect and i was 99% sure the problem was fixed. I took it out again and even the first round didn't eject. I was shocked. I tried the CLP again and now I can't remember if it helped or not. I'm more confused now than before. I started out convinced the problem was in the gas block but now I don't think so but I don't really know what to try next. I would really hate to admit defeat and send this thing to an expert but that seems more and more likely. I really love the way this gun feels and shoots if it would just cycle. I'm going to get it fixed somehow. Any thoughts?
 

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The only thing that changes after firing a round is that the hammer is down, resting on the backside of the bolt.

With an empty rifle, try cycling the action by hand. Now pull the trigger and cycle the action. Does it feel like it's hanging up? By that I mean more than just extra tension caused by having to cock the hammer...

Sounds to me like you've got a problem where the hammer and bolt meet one another. Something's hanging up there, impeding the rearward movement of the bolt and op rod. Check for wear and/or damage, and post pics if you can. ;)

EDIT: Another thought is that there's something causing your hammer strut/spring to hang and/or be extremely stiff. I'd strip the trigger group and check every part for signs of wear or damage, especially the hammer, hammer strut, and spring.
 

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Check the size of the gas port bushing. The bolt will come back with more resistance after the trigger is pulled because the bolt has to push against the trigger hammer to reset it. Is the Slide moving freely in the stock liner? Are you using Brass cased 5.56 quality ammo? GunDoc has a video on his website how to clean the bolt. Ruger Mini 14 Bolt Maintenance by Great West Gunsmithing Good info on lubing mini here...How to grease your M1 Garand

Edit:I talked to Ruger yesterday and among other things they will trade a 180 series for a reduced price on a NIB Mini if your interested.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
"With an empty rifle, try cycling the action by hand. Now pull the trigger and cycle the action. Does it feel like it's hanging up? By that I mean more than just extra tension caused by having to cock the hammer.."

Yes there is extra tension after pulling the trigger but I'd think that's normal and it doesn't feel excessive.
I am going to pull the trigger assembly and check it very closely. Thanks for your ideas
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
"Check the size of the gas port bushing. The bolt will come back with more resistance after the trigger is pulled because the bolt has to push against the trigger hammer to reset it. Is the Slide moving freely in the stock liner? Are you using Brass cased 5.56 quality ammo? GunDoc has a video on his website how to clean the bolt. Ruger Mini 14 Bolt Maintenance by Great West Gunsmithing Good info on lubing mini here...How to grease your M1 Garand"

I've checked the gas port bushing and it seems to be good. The slide moves freely in the liner. I applied grease under the barrel where the op rod slides. I'm using brass 5.56. I used GunDoc's video on how to clean the bolt and I used a manual on how to grease an M14. I'm pretty certain the gun is properly cleaned and lubed.

I don't want to trade this 180 in on a new Ruger. If I did God only knows how long it would take to get the new one with all this panic buying going on. Thank you for your suggestions.
 

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Ill go to the simplest first? Do you allow the action to slam itself closed? Riding the action forward by hand can cause this.
Have you tried different magazines?
 

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So if it is cycled by gas pushed through a system. And I shoot a bunch of lube into the bolt chamber space and I achieve a slight movement hmmm. You increased the pressure by sealing the chamber enough to raise the pressure. Your gas supply is being reduced by blockage or damaged plumbing. Keep working!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Ill go to the simplest first? Do you allow the action to slam itself closed? Riding the action forward by hand can cause this.
Have you tried different magazines?
No I'm not riding the action I let it slam closed and I only have 2 mini mags, a factory 5 rd and an aftermarket 20 rd have tried both but tend to trust the factory 5 rd and use it mostly
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So if it is cycled by gas pushed through a system. And I shoot a bunch of lube into the bolt chamber space and I achieve a slight movement hmmm. You increased the pressure by sealing the chamber enough to raise the pressure. Your gas supply is being reduced by blockage or damaged plumbing. Keep working!
The first time I squirted CLP in the receiver I didn't just get a little movement, I got 3 consecutive ejections but no rounds chambered. I started out thinking it was a gas loss but being a 180 series it's next to impossible to get replacement parts. I've checked every part for blockage and I'm sure the gas system is clear. Look at the pictures of the gas block and gas tube, they are eroded but I have nothing to replace them with. That could very well be the whole problem. I've been keeping a close watch on Gun Broker and E-bay for 180 gas parts but nothing yet. You can bet if a clean 180 gas tube shows up I'll be the high bidder. Thanks for the input
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Probably nothing, but someone posted, in England, a Mini is ok but it must be a single shot like yours. Maybe one came back?
Well I doubt it's one of those, I've owned it for 25 years maybe more and it did eject a few times so I'm pretty sure it's not single shot although that's about all it'll do right now. Thanks
 

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I would have to start with the gas bushing and verify it is the correct size and work back from there. Got to measure the size of the hole. Got to be someway to build up with some sort of weld to increase the seal between the gas pipe and slide. I would try an email to the GunDoc and see what he thinks. Good luck and keep after it!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I have the advantage of having another Mini 14 to compare to and the gas port bushing inside diameter is the same. Over all length is the same also but my other Mini is a 181 series. The gas port bushing is longer in later models but I'm not sure which model that started with. I have contacted the GunDoc thru his website e-mail so I'm hoping he knows exactly what the problem is. Maybe I can have a one off gas tube made which is what my gut feeling says is the problem. I'll wait to see what the expert has to say and go from there. Thanks
 

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Sounds like the gas pressure is not reaching the op-rod.

Check the gas passage way (the gas hole in the barrel, the vertical hole in the gas block, hole in gas pipe) for blockage, and the cavity in the op-rod is not over-sized.
 
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