180 Series Service & Parts? - Shooting Sports Forum


Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 family of rifles

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Old 02-20-2020, 08:07   #1
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180 Series Service & Parts?

I read a post or two somewhere that Ruger is no longer serving
the 180 series and parts are harder to get.
Is this true?
If so, is this also true with any others, say 181 or 182.
Should I stay away from certain models?
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Old 02-20-2020, 11:42   #2
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hylander, the report is true regarding the 180 only: Ruger no longer supports. It was their first foray into the Mini-14 and it was unique. When Ruger switched to the 181-series in 1977, there were some significant design changes.

Parts are hard to get for the 180 (but mags are still interchangeable). Even the stock isn't interchangeable.

The 181 on up is still supported, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon: the 181 through 186 are virtually identical, with all parts interchangeable. The first 181 was built in 1977, and the last 186 was built in either 1999 or 2000. About the only difference over those years were the changing of barrel twist rates. But Ruger also introduced the "Ranch Rifle" in 1982, as a "series" starting with 187. The Ranch Rifle had/has a different means of gas handling and ejection (and added more parts!).

If you want to put on a scope, go with a Ranch Rifle: they're designed for that. The non-Ranch models weren't designed for that and generally ejected brass vertically rather than horizontally - something that solved ejecting brass hitting the scope.

I would personally stay away from 180s due to lack of support and availability of parts. I have a 181 and two 583s and am happy with them, and support and parts are readily available. The stock for my 181 fits fine in my 583s, and vice versa. Same with the hand guard and mags. Haven't tried switching trigger groups, but I suspect they might also.

When Ruger switched to offering a "Ranch Rifle" in 1982, there were some engineering changes - mostly to the gas system and bolt design and eject direction.

This site is a good reference on the changes over time...
http://sunflowerammo.blogspot.com/20...ist-rates.html

Regarding staying away from certain models...
Ruger offered a "Target" model several years ago. It only handled .223 REM (not NATO 5.56). All other Mini-14s can handle both - regardless of what is stamped on the receiver (only exception would be .300 BO). The "Target" models still use most everything a standard Mini-14 Ranch uses, but it is chambered differently. If you're looking for an all-around carbine, I would personally recommend against the Target model.

Beginning with the late-model 580 series, Ruger did change the barrel to be a bit heftier (often called a "tapered barrel"), which reduced the "barrel whip" of the earlier Minis (something they were - wrongly - notorious for). With a tapered barrel, you can expect about 2 MOA out of the box. Keep in mind, the Mini is designed as a carbine - not a sniper rifle...

Some 582s had challenges with the bolt, but Ruger would fix for free: just the hassle of sending it back to them...If they couldn't fix it, you got a new one (usually for free).

While I absolutely love my 181 (my first firearm), were I to recommend a Mini-14, it would be a latter 580-series (with tapered barrel) or later one: They're newer and will be supported long after you're in the grave, and generally more accurate.

Hope this helps!

Last edited by RJF; 02-20-2020 at 12:19.
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Old 02-20-2020, 11:54   #3
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LOL...I started to reply and then saw that RJF had done so and in his usual commendable fashion.

I agree wholeheartedly with what he has detailed above. If I purchased a 180 series I would consider it a show piece...like an antique car. Not my daily driver...for that I would stick with 181 to the current 580 series.

That said there are folks on the board who own and actively use 180 series rifles with great success and no troubles.

Just know if something does break...you will have to be creative in finding the parts to bring it back into service.

Same is true of the AC556....for the fortunate few who own such a mythical legend...and indeed there are a few of those on the board as well.
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Old 02-20-2020, 21:49   #4
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Thanks for the input,
I'll stay away from a 180 then,
So 183 and up should be good to go?
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Old 02-21-2020, 03:09   #5
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Jack First in Rapid City, South Dakota is making some parts for the 180 series, so if you found a great deal on one, that is an option. Parts are limited to just the extractor, extractor plunger and spring, and recoil spring though. Many other current Mini parts will cross over to the 180.
E-Bay would be another place to check.
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Old 02-21-2020, 10:10   #6
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Originally Posted by hylander View Post
Thanks for the input,
I'll stay away from a 180 then,
So 183 and up should be good to go?
hylander, 181 and above would be good - they're all the same except for barrel twist-rates. A 181 is pretty much identical to a 183, so limit your search to 181 and above...

If your proclivity is for a scope, then stick with the Ranch model.
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Old 02-21-2020, 17:41   #7
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Yes, 180 series parts are hard to find and usually a bit pricy as Ruger does not support that mini model any longer.
just to expand on what RJF posted. Ruger now only produces "ranch " model mini 14's. After the introduction of the "ranch" model mini 14 the first mini14's are now called "standard" mini 14's, (181-186, 196-197 Series). The "standard mini 14's are not fully supported by Ruger. Ruger does not stock, sell or replace certain parts on the standard mini's. While Ruger will still work on the rifles, parts like the bolt & bolt stop assembly if needed to be replaced will be fitted with newer "ranch" bolts and ejector/bolt stop assemblies. Doubtful that Ruger would replace a barrel or front sight and not with standard parts. Many parts are interchangeable between the "standard" and the "ranch" model mini's. So do your due diligence and call Ruger before buying a "standard" and see what it will support as far as the standard mini is concerned.
Most if not all parts are available in the used parts market so don't let the fact that Ruger doesn't fully support the standard mini deter you, just know you might be on your own regarding parts. Also note that bolts, would be the hardest part to find for a standard mini as they come in various head-space sizes for correct fitment, but bolts very, very seldom break. If you do send in a standard that can't be fixed by Ruger they usually offer up a great deal on a new series mini.
Personally I do like the standard mini 14, it is a closer to the original inspiration of the mini the M14 also called the M1A.

Best o' Luck
W B
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Old 02-22-2020, 10:13   #8
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Walkenbear, excellent post! Thank you!
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Old 02-27-2020, 17:35   #9
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180 Series

I have a 180 series Mini 14 I purchased at auction years ago. This rifle has never been fired. It's a beauty!
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Old 02-27-2020, 17:58   #10
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Originally Posted by Bruce Gregory View Post
I have a 180 series Mini 14 I purchased at auction years ago. This rifle has never been fired. It's a beauty!
Curious as to why never fired?
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Old 02-27-2020, 18:48   #11
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I bought this Mini 14 because it was one cool looking rifle and I had nothing like it. I put it in the gun vault and just kind of admired it for years. As time passed I, too, became aware that Ruger was no longer supporting this model so I just elected to leave it in pristine condition.
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Old 02-28-2020, 10:41   #12
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Originally Posted by Bruce Gregory View Post
I bought this Mini 14 because it was one cool looking rifle and I had nothing like it. I put it in the gun vault and just kind of admired it for years. As time passed I, too, became aware that Ruger was no longer supporting this model so I just elected to leave it in pristine condition.
It belongs mounted over the mantel of your fireplace, not locked up in jail in a safe!

IMHO...of course...

The 180s are certainly a piece of America's (and Ruger's) history. Treat is well as appropriate with its place in history...
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Old 02-28-2020, 16:10   #13
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Well said! I agree.

Unfortunately, displaying firearms these days seems to be an invitation for the miscreants to break in and steal whatever they can find. Granted, they take a chance of becoming another number on the burglary wounded/deceased list, but some are more than willing to take that risk.
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Old 02-28-2020, 18:20   #14
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Originally Posted by Bruce Gregory View Post
I have a 180 series Mini 14 I purchased at auction years ago. This rifle has never been fired. It's a beauty!
Hey Bruce but I hate to correct you but I dont think that is a 180 series. I'm seeing a bolt stop plunger, and correct me if I'm wrong but didnt the GB's start in the 181's?
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Old 02-28-2020, 21:17   #15
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Originally Posted by James T. Kirk View Post
Hey Bruce but I hate to correct you but I dont think that is a 180 series. I'm seeing a bolt stop plunger, and correct me if I'm wrong but didnt the GB's start in the 181's?
Captain, you are absolutely correct. Bruce has a 181+ series blue standard model GB. Awesome peice, but not a 180. Good catch. You beat me to it.

Beings that it has the plastic hand guard, I would guess that it is a 183 or newer prefix, since most 181s came with wood, and most 182's are stainless mini's.
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Last edited by 40nascar; 02-28-2020 at 21:22. Reason: Autocorrect error
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Old 02-29-2020, 03:27   #16
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You gentlemen are absolutely right. Upon current inspection I see the SN is 182........ I remembered that wrong for many, many years. Thanks for the correction! New life for the old girl!!
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Old 02-29-2020, 08:05   #17
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40, my (used) 181GB came with a plastic hand guard. I obtained it in very early 1980, while 181s were still being manufactured. It also came with a Choate folder (it left the factory with a standard wooden stock according to Ruger), so the original owner no doubt messed around with it some. Sure wish he would have included the original stock and (possibly) hand guard, but he didn't. Since he was returning to CONUS when I bought it, he had been in Germany for three years - dating back to its original manufacture date. He likely bought it new through the Frankfurt Rod and Gun Club, but don't know how he knew about Choate folders and plastic hand guards...a mystery I'll never solve.
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Old 02-29-2020, 18:13   #18
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I may the odd man out, but I think Bruce should shoot that rifle.
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Old 02-29-2020, 18:24   #19
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Originally Posted by hylander View Post
I may the odd man out, but I think Bruce should shoot that rifle.
I agree, parts are available. There is no reason not too.
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Old 02-29-2020, 18:38   #20
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Originally Posted by RJF View Post
40, my (used) 181GB came with a plastic hand guard. I obtained it in very early 1980, while 181s were still being manufactured. It also came with a Choate folder (it left the factory with a standard wooden stock according to Ruger), so the original owner no doubt messed around with it some. Sure wish he would have included the original stock and (possibly) hand guard, but he didn't. Since he was returning to CONUS when I bought it, he had been in Germany for three years - dating back to its original manufacture date. He likely bought it new through the Frankfurt Rod and Gun Club, but don't know how he knew about Choate folders and plastic hand guards...a mystery I'll never solve.

You are right. Ruger was continually improving and evolving the mini 14 production parts, especially in the early days.All 180, and some 181's came with wood hand guards. I don't know what the serial # cutoff on the wood was.
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:11   #21
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I do find the wood handguard to be more elegant in appearance as compared to the polymer handguard. That said, I remember reading one time that the switch was made to take advantage of the superior cooling afforded by the polymer version.

I would love to come across a wood handguard that was in good condition at an affordable price just as a showpiece, but I am quite content to stick with the more practical polymer handguard for field use.
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:22   #22
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Re: hand guards: My true preference is the Choate hand guard, second is the wood, third is the standard polymer Ruger hand guard. But then again, there is the UltiMak...
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Old 03-01-2020, 22:55   #23
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I have all four, even several polymer spares. If someone wants one send me ten bucks and I send you one. Ten bucks total, so after the cost of shipping I net about $2. First two that P.M. me can have one. No guarantees on fitment or eye appeal. These are for shooting mini's, not display guns.
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Old 03-02-2020, 09:57   #24
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As a Southpaw, the Ruger polymer hand guard fits nicely with my thumb pressed against it. That is how I learned to shoot it! Switching to the Choate hand guard required me to adjust how I handled my Mini, to pretty much how I handle my M1 Carbine: not a huge change, but a change.

In then end, it is whatever one is ultimately familiar and comfortable with. One "tickling" with a Southpaw's thumb by the op-rod serves as a gentle reminder about proper handling...
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Old 03-05-2020, 17:03   #25
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hylander, 40 and James T. Kirk~
Based on your knowledgeable comments you have convinced me to put some rounds through this 182 Series beauty when spring weather come to Michigan. I think, however, before that happens, that it would be prudent to find a good link for disassembly and reassembly to get some oil on the critical elements as she has been sitting around a long time. Many Thanks! This group is awesome!
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