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Finally took my Mini-14 regular to a 30 yard indoor range - with magazines. So far the mods include the John Masen Mini-14 Stainless Steel muzzle brake ($13.33 at Midway) and XS Ghost Ring steel rear sight insert ($20 at brownells).

XS Ghost Ring rear sight insert
I have to tell you - it rocks! First, the apperture is much larger than the standard one, so you can actually see what you are shooting at - that means you get more light into your eye and see more of a target area.
Second, the insert is not a plate with a hole but actually a ring. You see around it as well as through it - so you see stuff around the immediate point you will hit, which is very important in tactical situations, unlike benchrest target shooting. In fact, under certain light conditions the ring completely disappears - fades from view, you see only the front sight blade - though the eye still centers it subconciously (hence the name "Ghost Ring, I guess"). It was obvious it worked even the first time I tried it - my army issue AK had a notch sight. Imagine how much better it would be with practice.
In fact, the aiming process is identical to using the red dot sight - you only see the front sight blade, put it on target and shoot. Forget about rear apperture completely.

There are other rear sight inserts much cheaper - $3 or so made of nylon. They do provide bigger apperture, but not all-around visibility. You just can't make a thin ring out of nylon and expect it to stand the handling of a (para)military rifle.

$20 seemed overly large price to pay for such a small simple piece of metal, but now I think it was worth it.

I shot 100 rds of Wolf HP ammo (the range does not allow FMJ) after a 70 or so 22lr through the Ciener kit, which I also used for initial zeroing in.

Ciener 22lr conversion kit
Before installing it I had to spend 20 minutes carefully filling off a sharp edge from the left top receiver slide of my Mini about 1 inch from the chamber - per instructions that came with the kit, otherwise the edge would catch the replacement bolt and stop it.

The kit seems to work. It installs easily. There is a small screw that must be removed before installation and then inserted and tightened (with a tiny hex wrench) to hold the chamber insert from rotation - and checked for tightness during shooting. No problem unless you happen to drop it. The kit comes with a 10-rd magazine.

The operation seems simple blowback design. I did not use one of the three ammo types specified in the manual but the Federal Classic High Velocity. I can tell you what are the "undesirable results" are - full auto fire most of the time. It would not shoot the 10-rd mag at once but in 2-3 bursts. Rarely the round would chamber with hammer not cocked.
Apparentlly there is not enough pressure to move the bolt all the way back to cock the hammer.

I will try the next time with the recommended ammo and/or more powerfull ammo. Most likely inserting a smaller gas block bushing - which I intend to do anyway - will help too. The 22lr bullet is moving so much slower than .223 that larger fraction of the gasses has time to escape once the bullet has passed the gas block.

Anyway, even if it never shoots semi-auto reliably, I would still keep it since it is no problem loading one round at a time. I need a lot of practice for what I want from this gun, so shooting 3 cent bullets instead of 12-25 cent ones will go a long way.

I was quite satisfied with the accuracy of both 22lr kit and rear sight insert, considering it was my first real shooting after almost two decades.
I was shooting offhand or with my forward elbow resting on the support once my arm got tired. Apparently, I can still reliably shoot a crow offhand at 20-30 yards as I once did with my AK. Now I have to fine-tune it and cut the whole aiming/shooting time to a fraction of a second and make it automatic, as it once was. I forsee a lot of fun at the range.

I did order the side-mounted integral 4x scope and received it. The sight picture looks fine but fitting the mount to a receiver takes time - some filing of the mount, so I did not get a chance to try it yet. Once I do, I will post my impressions.
If I do manage to attach it well, I will try to measure the group size of the Ciener kit off the bench rest.


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voruzon, thanks for the detailed range report, on all your new hi-tech equipment. Your description of the gost ring, sounded like the article I read about 5 years ago, the brain automaticly centers the gost ring/front sight blade and you don't conciously see the ring. Should be just the thing for instinctive shooting.

Also once you get the bugs worked out on the ciener, were looking forward to see how it shoots. ;)
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