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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
There seems to be a lot of discussion about how the Mini-thirty functions here, so I thought I’d share my experience.
I bought a factory new stainless mini-thirty this week. I took it to the range today. It functioned flawlessly out of the box (I lubed it first) with Norma brass, Wolf 123 grain FMJ and Soft points, brown bear FMJ and 154 grain soft points. All of them hit pretty much in the same place at 100 yards. I put about 200 rounds through it with no failures to fire or any other issues. Ran like a sewing machine. The sights were almost dead on from the factory. It’s got a little more thump than an AR, which I like. Great rifle. I had some trouble with the sights though. Old eyes and a biggish aperture. Any fellow old timers have luck with tech sights? Worth the money?

I love seeing and smelling the faint whif of smoke when you get a new gun hot for the first time and burn off the preservative oil. Smells like victory!
 

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Many users find Tech Sights to be a useful improvement over the OEM sights.

IIRC, there is a particular version which has a rear "peep" aperture that can accept inserts of varying internal diameters, so the user can tailor the rear sight to their taste and eyesight. Getting an eye exam and possibly new glasses is worthwhile, as I recently discovered.

Eye exam and correct glasses are what I suggest as a sound basis for all other optics/sighting choices.
 

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RIBob is right about the Tech Sight version with the changeable inserts. It comes with 4 different inserts so you can try out each to see which works best for YOUR eyes and surrounding conditions. I started out with one the same size as some of my other rifle's sights but surprisingly had to switch to a different insert once I got it outdoors on targets.

I say go for it....I don't think you'll be disappointed.
 

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the scope seems to have been size-engineered to fit onto your 30. hope it performs to expectations keep us updated please. I'm interested in report of the 154 grain loading as I know from experience the factory 123 gr soft point loads available are barely adequate for larger white tail unless ideal shot presents - which rarely do. the Winchester rounds I used to cull does came apart - dead is dead of course but beyond 100 ms and in/through brush a serious hunter needs any edge he can get.
 

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Phineas, that is a nice scope you have there, and proportioned nicely to the Mini as well.
The only thing I would not like is how high up a scope has to be when placed over the receiver. Getting your scope down where it needs to be for a cheek (not a chin) weld would require you to remove the rear sight, and then the scope would be so close to the ejection port as to hinder reliable ejection.

Mounting the optic on an Ultimak railed handguard gets the scope down where it should be for a cheek weld and quick acquisition, you don't have to remove your rear sight (which could come in handy if you were to have problems with the optic), nothing is right over the ejection port for increased reliability and easier bolt removal for cleaning, and your peripheral vision is greatly increased by getting the optic away from being right up against your face.
You would need a long eye relief scope though.


As far as the iron sights, the Tech is great. About 7years ago I found out that Tech offered a smaller aperture that fit their sight post. Typical aperture size on peeps is around .090", going to one that is more like .040" or .050" will make that front sight sharp again for us older guys. If they now offer an adjustable aperture that is great news.

Scopes ? I will throw one on when testing new loads, but I just don't see the need for keeping a scope on a 7.62 x 39 carbine. If you have to peer into dark timber to make out a buck's horns, some magnification would be nice.
But targets that you will use a Mini-30 on are big, not too many will choose it for their ground squirrel blaster.
A micro red dot with a 2 or 3 MOA dot will give you plenty of accuracy to hit a deer as far as you should be shooting with a looping trajectory cartridge like this.
300 yard groups on the order of 5 to 6 inches.

And these optics weigh less than an ounce and are the size of your thumb. Mounting one further out on an Ultimak gives you superb peripheral vision.


Great that you had no ammo issues, if your Mini will reliably fire Wolf it will fire anything.
The "Bears", Silver, Golden and Brown are the easiest to ignite of the Russian ammo. Golden Tiger and Red Army Standard (same ammo different packaging), are middle of the road as far as ease of ignition.
Wolf and Tula are the hardest for the typical Mini to set off reliably.
Silver Bear shoots like Match ammo in my Minis and a x39 AR I had. I shot a fist size 4 1/2" group at 400 yards with the x39 AR and a 3x Primary Arms prism scope.

Some ammo I would avoid is GECO, Fiocchi, and these white box bi-metal case (steel and zinc mixed ?) by Barnaul.
Barnaul makes some good ammo, the Bears for instance.
But these 3 loads, GECO, Fiocchi and white box Barnaul are loaded weak, to about 2000 fps, instead of the "normal" 2400 or so. All of them are accurate and the GECO especially is great looking brass, but they are so weak as to barely cycle the Mini. Most shots I had to hand eject and load the next round.
I suppose if you came across a bunch of it you could throw in a big .100" bushing and it would maybe function.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Great stuff Sandog. All worth considering. I’m thinking this will be my “truck gun”, so I want to keep the irons. I considered a dot on the Ultimak and I think I’ll go that route eventually. The rifle was “ambitiously priced” due to the interesting times we currently live in, so it may take a little while to collect the necessary resources. I had the scope lying around, so it was an easy option.

I wanted to scope it to assess its accuracy, which I couldn’t do well with the factory irons. I was able to shoot “minute of paper plate” at 100 yards, which would be adequate for hunting deer or self defense, but I’d like to see what it can do. If my results are half as good as yours I’ll be pretty happy. I think I’ll take your advice and avoid squirrel hunting with it though. :)

Thanks for the info on the ammo. I’ll avoid the weak stuff. Great caliber, but lots to learn.

The 154’s shoot well and I’ve read very good reports about it’s effectiveness on medium game. Hoping to stock up on some. I’ll report back when I get back to the range.
 

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One thing that will do the most for your groups, is to test using different gas block screw settings.
You might not only be able to cut your groups in half with a lighter gas block torque, but be able to get your Mini to shoot that ammo you have a lot of on hand better.
If your Mini does shoot better with say, 15 in lbs of torque, just clean the screw threads well and use a drop of blue Loctite to keep them there.
(97) Do Different Gas Block Screw Torques Affect Group Size ? | Perfect Union
(97) Torque Tests with "Sasha" | Perfect Union
 

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One thing that will do the most for your groups, is to test using different gas block screw settings.
You might not only be able to cut your groups in half with a lighter gas block torque, but be able to get your Mini to shoot that ammo you have a lot of on hand better.
If your Mini does shoot better with say, 15 in lbs of torque, just clean the screw threads well and use a drop of blue Loctite to keep them there.
(97) Do Different Gas Block Screw Torques Affect Group Size ? | Perfect Union
(97) Torque Tests with "Sasha" | Perfect Union
That thread is so potentially useful that it ought to be made a "pinned" thread in Important Mini-14 and Mini-30 threads
 

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I played around with scopes on my mini 14 and 30, and after a bit the scopes went back into the drawer. Back to the iron sights on both and I feel more comfortable that way. Keeping my mini's slimmer and lighter is most important to me, and I enjoy shooting them like that also. I tried red dots on them also, same deal back to the irons I went. I guess it's just me, old school is the rule.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Had a disappointing day at the range today. I sighted the rifle in with the scope at 100 yards. I was getting 3” 3 shot groups during sight in. At the end of the process I shot a 10 shot group that ran about 10”.

Just for reference, I have a Ruger American Ranch bolt action 7.62x39 that I’ve shot with the same set up, same ammo, same rests, same range, same scope magnification, and gotten 1 1/2” 5 shot groups consistently, This is a major let down.

Needless to say, it doesn’t warrant a scope at that level of accuracy. I ordered the tech sight and apertures. I hope that helps. I’ll also monkey with the gas block torque specs…but…dang.

UPDATE: I just cleaned and went through the rifle. The scope mount screws shook loose, which likely caused my accuracy issues at the end of the shoot. I ran out of loctite this week and didn’t have any when I put things together last night. Most of my experience is with AR’s and things don’t usually shake loose that quickly on those. I’ve been shooting 3 gun for 20 years and that’s about the third time I’ve learned that lesson. Loctite all the things. :)

I think I’m still going to follow Unit59’s suggestion and go back to irons once I get the rifle sorted out. I’m going to get some loctite and try again with the scope to establish the accuracy of the rifle. Hopefully I get it sorted before I run out of ammo.

The rifle functioned 100% again..it even worked with a pro mag 10 rounder I bought for $6 out of the bottom of a milk crate at my local gun store. :)
 

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Check your crown, crowns I've seen on Minis are not the greatest. I have hand tools from Brownells , rods, cutters and guides, that I use for cleaning up crowns, cleaning up forcing cones, threading barrels, chamfering revolver chambers and squaring up the breech end of revolver barrels.
All the cutters and stuff probably cost $150 but has saved me thousands in gunsmith fees over the years.
Cleaning up the crown can be done as simply as spinning a round head brass screw chucked in a drill.

See if you have any side-to-side wiggle of your barreled action in the stock. If you do, you can epoxy in some credit card shims in your stock where the sides of the receiver rest. I rough up the back of the shim and the area on the stock to help adhesion, and I bevel the top of the shim to keep the receiver from snagging the shim when putting the receiver back in the stock.


How is your trigger ? Hard to shoot well if your trigger is less than stellar. I would do some work on it if it is too heavy or rough. If you are handy watch GunDoc's Mini trigger video, if you would rather have someone else do it you could send you trigger group to a place like Brimstone.

If you want sub 2 MOA groups, you're going to have to get into reloading. The best factory ammo I have shot is Silver Bear 2 inch groups or slightly less at 100 yards. My handloads with the Hornady SST got that down to 1 1/2".

If you want to use a certain load, say a Brown Bear 154 gr. SP, try to shoot them on target starting out with 20 in. lbs. of torque on the gas block screws. Then tighten another 5 in lbs. and shoot again.
You'll likely find one of the lower torque settings will shoot much better than higher or even "normal" torque like 30 in. lbs.

Make sure you clean all the oils off of screw threads and the hole they will go into before Loctiting them. That will make it easier for the Loctite to hold.

You didn't say how far your Mini is ejecting. If it is more than 12 or 15 feet then the gas could stand to be reduced somewhat.
A reduced orifice gas bushing and Wilson buffers do help accuracy. Not as much as other mods but every little bit helps (AS LONG AS RELIABILITY IS NOT COMPROMISED).
If any of the mods I do on Minis were causing a problem, I'd undo them.
Make sure any mods you do are reversible, and do just one mod at a time so you'll know if one does cause problems.

 

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Had a disappointing day at the range today. I sighted the rifle in with the scope at 100 yards. I was getting 3” 3 shot groups during sight in. At the end of the process I shot a 10 shot group that ran about 10”.

Just for reference, I have a Ruger American Ranch bolt action 7.62x39 that I’ve shot with the same set up, same ammo, same rests, same range, same scope magnification, and gotten 1 1/2” 5 shot groups consistently, This is a major let down.

Needless to say, it doesn’t warrant a scope at that level of accuracy. I ordered the tech sight and apertures. I hope that helps. I’ll also monkey with the gas block torque specs…but…dang.

UPDATE: I just cleaned and went through the rifle. The scope mount screws shook loose, which likely caused my accuracy issues at the end of the shoot. I ran out of loctite this week and didn’t have any when I put things together last night. Most of my experience is with AR’s and things don’t usually shake loose that quickly on those. I’ve been shooting 3 gun for 20 years and that’s about the third time I’ve learned that lesson. Loctite all the things. :)

I think I’m still going to follow Unit59’s suggestion and go back to irons once I get the rifle sorted out. I’m going to get some loctite and try again with the scope to establish the accuracy of the rifle. Hopefully I get it sorted before I run out of ammo.

The rifle functioned 100% again..it even worked with a pro mag 10 rounder I bought for $6 out of the bottom of a milk crate at my local gun store. :)
Sandog has discussed most of this, but the Mini's known tendency to slam the op-rod against the receiver, and then slam it home against the gas block tends to loosen screws that are not Loc-Tited, or staked. For instance, the gas block screws are staked at the factory.

I reckon your re-tightening the non-Loc-tited optics screws will resolve your accuracy issues.

The installation of a buffer at the receiver tends to reduce the shock of impact, and the substitution of a reduced gas bushing allows the op-rod to be driven back with reduced force, with the benefit of increased bullet velocity. It's normal to need to slightly re-adjust bullet Vertical POI after reducing the I.D. of the gas bushing.

The installation of an identical buffer at the gas block likewise reduces the shock of impact at that point. Both buffers will eventually be compressed, and so require replacement. Fortunately, such buffers are often sold in 10-packs (or greater number) and are inexpensive.

Ruger designed the rifle to be simple, and as inexpensive to make as possible. We (and You) are entering into modifications that many experienced users have found to be useful, possibly required due to how the rifles were designed, constructed, and assembled. Every Mini is a unique critter,

Not to worry. Many folks here, like sandog, who will give you experienced advice that has been effective and time-tested.

We all look forward to your further range testing.

We are all more than willing to help you
 

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Did anyone try putting lock washers on the gas block screws? The gas block gets rather hot. I wonder how well loctite holds up, so does the buffer on the gas block.

Getting an old 187 soon. Can't wait to start tinkering.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
 

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Did anyone try putting lock washers on the gas block screws? The gas block gets rather hot. I wonder how well loctite holds up, so does the buffer on the gas block.

Getting an old 187 soon. Can't wait to start tinkering.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
Gas block screws are torqued, so any sort of locking washers are contraindicated in that specific application, since such locking washers "confuse" the torque specs.

Flat, incompressible washers are fine--if they fit into that application.

The Ruger Mini gas block screws are "assembled" and staked at the factory. I have zero idea about their origiinal torque values. sandog's experiments seem to suggest better results with lesser than maximum torque values on these screws.

OEM screws are staked, so a reasonable idea to run an appropriate tap through the internal threadings in the gas block, after removing the OEM staked screws.

Personally, I'd buy a number of sets of these screws, if I expected to install/replace different gas bushings. That's just me, being very cautious about torqued screws. sandog's suggested torque values don't come close to the screw's ultimate torque limits, so such low-torqued screws can probably be re-used given such low torque values.

YMMV, and, again, I'm being very cautious.
 
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