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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all, first post for me here. I bought a used stainless 188 series mini 14 a few months ago. I've had a few before but I always found something else I liked better and traded them off. Anyway, I decided that this is going to be my home defense/shtf rifle. It will be hung on the gun rack beside the front door. This rifle has been used and has some character but it's not been abused. I think it was a prison trade in or something like that. I took it out to shoot it after I got it and accuracy was not that good. I knew this coming into it so it wasn't a surprise or a deal breaker. My first modification was a Accustrut and it cut my groupings in half so on the heels of that success I decided I would tinker some with the gas system. I ordered and received a four bushing set from Accuracy Systems and installed the .040 bushing for starters. With factory .223 ammo it is 100% reliable. With my fairly light reloads (23 grains of Varget and 55 grain hornady soft points it's about 75% reliable. Since this isn't by any means a target rifle I just decided to use factory ammo. I have about 7 AR's in my collection but I just like the mini for my go to gun. Anybody else do any tinkering with the gas bushings? What worked or didn't for you? Mine now throws brass about ten feet. It was slinging them 50+ feet, dinging the side of the brass and caving in the case mout to the point I had to round the mouth back out before running the brass through the sizing/decaping die. I think I'm also going to load some hotter ammo using Varget and see what I get. If anyone has any comments on this post I would be happy to hear what you have to say! Thanks for listening!
 

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Put the next size up bushing (.045) and add a rear 1911 recoil bushing. You will still have the brass in the same county and more reliable function with a little more gas.
 
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You may want to consider a 1911 buffer at the gas block end, too. Easy to test out for reliability, and easy to remove if it doesn't work out. Some shave their 1911 buffers to half thickness, depending on reliability of cycling. Mine works at full thickness.

I have a 181-series and adding the front bushing did wonders - particularly in reducing the slam you get when the op rod hits the gas block (better for scopes, too). An added bennie was that, with a front buffer in there, I don't think the op rod fully seats against the gas block tube, meaning the initial shot of gas "leaks" out a bit, resulting in a less-harsh return of the op rod. My casings eject 12" to 42" at the 1:00 to 2:30 position and everything functions well. No dings on the brass, just a very slight scrape. The gas block is the original one with no mods. I shoot PMC Bronze .223 (55g FMJBT) primarily, since my 181 barrel has a 1:10 twist and 55gr and smaller seems to work better in the accuracy department. I also shoot NATO M193 with the same results.

Over 300 rounds since I put front and back buffers in with no noticeable wear on the buffers. I don't do much rapid-firing and haven't shot at paper much, so I can't attest to any accuracy improvement or degradation.

Bought this rifle in 1980 and have never had a single malfunction of any type. It has been a great shooter. The only mod I have ever made is putting those buffers in.
 

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Creed, ten foot ejection is fine, I would not want it throwing them much less for reliability. I have not used Varget in the .223/5.56 but use it in my .308 bolt gun loads. It should do as well as other suitable powders. I have mostly loaded IMR-4895 and H-335.
+1 on the Wilson 1911 buffers. I use them on both ends, but thin them down to half thickness.
Check your ASI bushings to make sure they are the proper length. Mini bushings come in two different sizes and ASI chose to go with a one size fits all approach.
 

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Welcome, Creed! Thanks for giving us such a thorough first post. It looks like you are on the right track already.

You are obviously not afraid to get into the guts and feathers. Have you considered a trigger job? You can send the trigger group out to Gundoc (Great West Gunsmithing) or try your hand at a kitchen table job. That's the route I took and I am really happy with the results. I don't have any objective accuracy comparisons but, if nothing else, it sure makes the thing more pleasant to shoot.
 

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Peeking & Tweeking

Creed Bennett,

Greetings and welcome aboard. :cool: Compleatly agree with the others. The Mini is a rifle you can really get into and work with - The only rifle I don't disassemble is my Finnwolf - shoot it, clean it and put it away.;) Period. My Mini is very straight forward. Enjoy!:cool:

C/D :usa::sniper:
 

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The next thing I'd recommend is what others have already recommended...

1. Trigger job
2. Bedding

After that, set it up anyway you like. For better iron sights, go with Tech Sights. If you want a better front sight and a good muzzle brake, look into the MoReaper.

Optics are a whole other animal -- for every member here, you will find a different optic they prefer. Personally, the scout setup has worked well for me. Others have gone with receiver-mounted scopes ranging from a 1-4x to 3-12x (or more...), while still others prefer red dots.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank guys for the warm welcome. I forgot to add that I have also installed the Tech rear sight. That was a great improvement over that lousy excuse for a sight Ruger decided to use. As far as the reloads go I'm going to warm them up some and see how it does. As long as factory ammo is 100% reliable I'll be happy. I did measure the gas bushing against the factory installed one. The replacement was .003 longer than the factory one. I put it in the barrel and set the gas block with piston installed and it sat flat down on the barrel with no rocking back and forth like it was too long so I think I'm good there. On the recoil buffers, I have some of them around somewhere and will certainly give them a try. A trigger job will probably be in my near future.
Thanks again guys! I'll let you all know what happens next!
 

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Hi Creed & welcome to the forum!
Looks like you are on your way to refining your mini.
Interesting measurement on the ASI gas bushing. They had been making a 1 size fits all gas bushing after the newer barrels were introduced, a in-between length, but either a bit too short or too long. So I just checked ASI's website and I guess they finally got the drift and are now specifying 2 different ordering options:

When ordering for the Mini 14. Refer to this chart by specifying the first three digits of the serial number. 1-181 is for 181 thru 189 serial number prefixes. 1-580 is for 580 thru 584 serial number prefixes.

For 223 Rem., 5.56, 6.8 REM.SPC calibers.
When ordering for the Mini 14. Refer to this chart by specifying the first three digits of the serial number.
1-181F is for 181 thru 189 serial number prefixes.
1-580F is for 580 thru 584 serial number prefixes.

:)

Still a little mis-information on their site though, when first introduced the 580 series had the old thinner barrel which took the older longer gas bushings. Around serial number 580-50xxx Ruger introduced the new barrel that took the shorter gas bushing.

Your .003" over the factory size is the exact same size of some ASI bushings I purchased some years ago for an older series mini before the newer 580 series mini's were introduced. I am glad to hear that they have "seen the light" and are now making them the correct size for the older and newer series mini's.
.003" over is nothing to be concerned about.
If your mini has a 1/7 twist barrel (most likely for a 188 series) I have found that a .043" gas bushing is just about perfect for reliability under all conditions & magazines sizes. Since you are probably not going to use the .035" bushing I will make you the offer of sending it to me and I will enlarge it to .043", I think you will have a bit greater reliability with that size. Or like Hellgate says go with the .045" and a 1911 buffer in the back, but I really like the .043" in a 1/7 twist barrel with a 1911 buffer in the back.
The 1/7 twist barrel seems to prefer bullet weights 55 grains and over, likes XM193 55 grain FMJ. It also can stabilize heavier bullets like the 75 grain Hornady's and 77grain Sierras quite nicely, also the tried and true 69 grain HP varieties. A good hunting bullet is the 65 grain Game King SP BT. The heavier bullets can take the .233/5.56 to a different level than the plinking ammo, but plinking is fun too!

see if this thread rings any bells on the case dings.
reduced size gas bushings field report

Other threads you might find interesting also:
My mini 14 is done
Check out the group on post #18 of this thread

1911 buffer install w/pics
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the offer to open up my .035 bushing. I can send it to you in the mail with what ever you charge and enough to send it back to me if you will PM me your address. Also, when I ordered the bushing set he asked me what my serial prefix was so I got the right ones, so yes it seems he has more than one size now. I had planned to order from the other guy but I think he was out of them when I checked. Carl I think it was, was very helpful when I ordered my bushings.
I think I'll load some heavier bullets and keep them in my 5 round magazine just in case a deer happens to walk out in front of me during deer season.
Thanks for all the great info Walkenbear! I'll keep reading and learning.
 
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