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

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Old 02-27-2020, 04:01   #1
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material on the Mini 14

hi everyone

I am a gunsmithing student in the "ecole d'armurerie Leon Mignion" in Liege, Belgium, I am in the final year of my course and I have to do a detailed memoir on a gun, wich i will also have to present in front of a jury in order to graduate.

The gun I picked is the mini 14, i always loved that gun and it turns out there is a lot to say about it...

I got lots of material on line, I have checked out the threads on the here and found some great stuff already, i hgot a couple of books by Duncan Long, plus countless videos on youtube, I also have dissmentled it and worked on it a lot so I know it pretty well.

what I am asking here is would you guys have any recomendations on useful materials I could get my hands on? any books, or articles i might have missed in the masses that are online? at the moment I would really love to find detailed diagrams/cutaway views of the inner system, like anyone know if i could find a set of proportionaly acurate plans of the various parts that i could use to articulate together to illustrate each of the various steps of operations, like blue prints or technical drawings? at the moment i have traced every parts after taking the gun apart, which i will try to tidy up and articulate by hand on tracing paper, the good old way like, but if i could find something a bit more profesional looking...

I am also looking for details on the casting, machining and treatment processe of the parts, and the cold hammered process and treatment of the barrel

any anecdotes as well would be welcome, like any famous mini 14 in history ( i already have the Miami Dale shootout, the Ateam reference and about 200 movies, series and video game references...)

and obviously, if any of you feels like telling me why they think the mini 14 is a great ( or bad) weapon, or anything they think might be interesting about it, if would love to hear it

also, does anyone know why the Ruger logo is a Phoenix?

anyway, thanks for reading me and any ideas you might share

(please forgive my english, its not my native language)

Julien
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Old 02-27-2020, 09:50   #2
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Helmut, first and foremost: Welcome to the forum from Central Virginia!

Some things to consider, there are several variations of the Mini-14 (not to mention the Mini-30 and .300BO calibers).
180-series: unique in terms of the bolt-hold-open engineering. It was the first foray/version and lasted into 1977, when the factory moved and a newer design (the 181) began. It is no longer supported by Ruger and parts are hard to come by, and with very rare exceptions, parts are incompatible with 181+ series shooters. This was probably the first major change in the Mini-14s.
181-186-series: the first change to how the ejection system works. This series began, at a new factory, in 1977. These are still presently supported by Ruger, and understandably, parts are getting more and more tough for them to support. Not sure how much longer Ruger will be able to support, but there are plenty of places to get repair parts. Ejector was based on a spring in the bolt, rather than the bolt-stop assembly. Like the 180, these were not designed to support a scope over the receiver and the eject pattern was more vertical than horizontal. There was no provision for a scope (although some aftermarket folks came up with a means to mount one due to market demand).
Ranch Rifle: This began Ruger's acceptance that many people wanted to mount scopes on their Minis. This version had a number of changes, but the prime differences from earlier models was the provision for mounting a scope and changing the gas (and eject) system to accommodate a scope mounted over the receiver (changing the eject direction from generally vertical to generally horizontal to "clear" a scope). At this point, the rather stout gas system was more a factor in the ejection pattern (and eject distance). There were mechanical changes to the gas system and eject system, but not many other changes.
Midway through the 580-series up to current: Ruger had been struggling with increasing complaints of "stringing" (shooting accuracy degrading as the barrel heats up). To address this, Ruger came out with a "tapered" barrel (as opposed to the previous "skinny" or "pencil" barrel) to stiffen up the barrel. It greatly improved the "stringing" problem and generally caused an expectation of about 2 MOA from the factory. These are all "Ranch" models in terms of the mechanics. There are variations as to barrel length and sights/flash hiders, but mechanically they are all the same.

I have a true-blue 181 series (built in 1977), and two 583-series. Cosmetic (non-mechanical) parts are interchangeable (stocks, hand guards) and the magazines are interchangeable throughout the entire Mini-14 series, to include the 180 series.

ALL Mini-14s - with one exception - are safe to fire the NATO 5.56 round, regardless of what it stamped on the receiver. The one exception is the Mini-14 Target model, which is limited to .223REM ammo. There are various theories of why Ruger chose to stamp the earlier receivers with ".223 REM", but the fact is they were good with NATO ammo, per their respective owners' manuals.

With the exception of major design changes (Mini-14 original to Ranch, and changing from a "pencil barrel" to a tapered barrel), the series changes were more a function of running out of numbers: each "series" could handle 99,999 serial numbers before advancing to the next "series", which would then start with 00,001. The Mini-14s from 181-series through the 186-series were functionally the same, with the exception of differing barrel-twists.

This site is a handy reference, if you don't already have it:
Sunflower Ammo.com: Ruger Mini-14/30 Barrel Twist Rates

Julien, your English is better than many of my countrymens', so no apology necessary. It is certainly far better than my German of French...

For the record, I LOVE my Minis; a Mini-14 was my first owned firearm, bought it 1980 while stationed in Germany during the cold war as self-defense against the Soviet hordes and Baeder-Meinhof/Red Brigade/RAF. I lived off post... I don't care for ARs as a personal preference.

Keep asking questions: technical or otherwise. A few things/topics to consider:
1) buffers
2) bushings
3) trigger mods
4) barrel accurizers (e.g. Accustrut)
5) scout rails (e.g. UltiMak)
The above are all popular "mods" Mini-14 owners do. Extensively...
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Old 02-27-2020, 10:36   #3
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Rj- very succinct and knowledgeable. You are an excellent ambassador!
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Old 02-28-2020, 00:17   #4
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RJF thanks a million for that detailed reply, really appreciate it, especially as it answers many questions I had, and a couple I didn't know i had!

I knew I would have to address the topic of the variations of the gun in relation to serial numbers but nowhere did i find it clarly laid out like that, nowhere was the ejection direction in relation to the capacity to place a scope mentioned

also thanks for clarifying the logic behind the serial numbers, never thought about it

likewise, I found many references to the inacuracy of early models, but I didn't realise it was caused by the barrel heating up, from what I found, it looked like it was inaccurate concistantly from the first grouping regardless of barrel temperature, many explanations I found refered to "barrel harmonics", which were improved by the tapered barrel, found the "accustruts" you mentioned to be designed for that problem... i also heard of people shortening the barrel to improve accuracy

its like the 223/5.56 question, thank you for clarifying that

and thanks for the mod pointers, I already knew about a couple but the bushing change one I didn't, and it seems to be particularly interesting as it improves several aspects of the gun

I knew that there were slight differences in designs, improvements operated over the years, but overall the system seems to have stood the test of time and it's the sytem itself rather than a particular, maybe more cosmetic classification I want to do my thesis on.

my knowledge of the gun is more theoretical than practical, although i have dissassembled it several times, I have never fired it, and reading what you said about the ejection i realised i dont exactly know what part kicks the cartridge out, is it an element of the bolt stop or a part of the receiver?

I will surely have more questions has I progress in my redaction, and I will be sure to come back to you if thats ok, but you allready earned a mention in the credits section

thanks about my english, in fairness I have been living in Ireland for a while now so i know my english isnt that bad, but i still struggle with spelling and some of my turn of phrases are still direct translations from french
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Old 02-28-2020, 04:38   #5
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Julien, welcome to the forum. I lived in France for two years and the Netherlands for one year, and believe me, your English is much, much better than my French or Dutch.

Try to find a copy of "Ruger and his Guns", by R.L. Wilson. it contains tons of info about the history of the company, and quite a bit of info about the Mini that I had never heard before.
In the first few chapters, there is mention of the Ruger emblem being an Eagle, the emblem being designed by Alex Sturm just before his untimely death.
It was said to be derived from German Heraldry.
Although I agree, it does seem more like a Phoenix to me as well.

Pages 146 to 153 describe the development of the Mini as told by Jim Sullivan, the main engineer who worked on the project. Len Brownell did the Mini's stock, and Harry Sefried worked on the 3 shot burst feature on the full auto AC-556.

Here are some links as to the use of the Mini by the French National Police:
https://www.shootingillustrated.com/...ances-mini-14/
https://www.forgottenweapons.com/french-police-mini-14/
AMD
That last link is in French, so should be right up your alley.
There are other references at the top of the Mini forum page:
(Newly Merged Police/LE/Corrections/Military Use of the Mini-14).
Sadly, many of the pictures in that thread are missing because of the Photobucket fiasco.

Good Luck on your quest for Mini knowledge and your graduation thesis !
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Old 02-28-2020, 10:33   #6
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RJF thanks a million for that detailed reply, really appreciate it, especially as it answers many questions I had, and a couple I didn't know i had!
Helmut, life is filled with "you don't know what you don't know", followed with "you know what you don't know", followed with "you know what you know", and ultimately followed by "you don't know what you know" (Nirvanna).

There are infinitely more details that I haven't even postulated with my navel... My personal experience broadens as gun-laws look to be more restrictive...

My very personal experience is the 181GB model, and two 583 models: both variations on a theme bit with different barrel lengths and configurations (Tactical and Ranch).

Have not yet cleaned and shot my 583 Ranch, but will get around to it one of these days...

I'll get a bushing set for my '583s, which should cover both of them with one set, given the differing barrel lengths...That will be my first foray into diddling with bushings, so I'm still learning...

My 181GB is still my favorite personally, followed closely by my 583 Tactical: much of it being giving my first love 181GB a break. Accuracy with my 181GB is fine enough that I have zero desire to fiddle with it - much of the reason I got a 583 Tactical and (later) a 583 Ranch (much less personal relationship so fiddling with them doesn't make me feel like I'm violating my first-love's beauty... Much like I prefer keeping my '69 Road Runner (my first car) mostly stock, even though here are "improvements" out there)...

To be sure, the 583 Ranch (my most recent acquisition) was mostly a function of potential gun laws in Virginia - which would have made my other two Minis illegal "assault weapons" due to cosmetic features I was unwilling to change (flash hiders, bayo lugs). We've had a reprieve for a year here, but I still retain the "non-assault-weapon" option in terms of capability. I personally don't care for the AR platform.

There is some great history with the Mini-14, but mostly it is over-shadowed by the rise of the AR platform. Too bad, but to each their own...

Keep up your great work, keep asking questions, and embrace our love of the Mini!
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Old 02-28-2020, 10:45   #7
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There are two exceptions, Mini 14 for export were made in .222 caliber also as some countries will not allow NATO calibers for general public use.
Good job RJF.
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Old 02-28-2020, 13:56   #8
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SANDOG thanks a million for the pointers, I downloaded the kindle version of "ruger and his guns", just read through the chapter 6, where they talk about the development of the mini14, the cutaway by James Kritz is amazing, i only found some pictures of lithography so far but i am sure i will get a decent picture eventually. I love the litle details and anecdotes from Jim Sullivan, and the exploded diagram is of better quality than any other i have found so far...

and i had heard the French had used the rifle but had no idea we actually assembled them in country!.. although from what i gather they were more an AC556 than a mini14, werent they? anyway that is a great piece of info...

RJF funny how the "conventional" look of the mini is such a selling point, weither for going under the radar of restrictive gun laws, or for the french police to not look too "military"... are there any states in the US where it is illigal? in ireland where i live we cant have anything semi auto above a rimfire cartridge. in Belgium it is heavily restricted, and the law is getting tighter, the EU doesnt care much for armed citizens it seems... how easy is it to get a mini in the states?
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Old 02-28-2020, 18:00   #9
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The Mini-14 Ranch Rifle was also made in .222 Remington for the export market to France, Belgium and Italy where civilians are not allowed to own firearms of military caliber. Overruns were sold in the U.S.

As for purchasing a Mini it depends where you live.
Where I am located you can buy with a federal background check. If in stock you walk out with the weapon in an hour or less if you pass the instant check.
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Old 02-29-2020, 08:47   #10
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Helmut, this is an excellent comparison of the 180-series and the 181-series Minis:
https://www.perfectunion.com/vb/ruge...ml#post1615344

As far as states allowing Mini-14s, I can't be sure, but it also depends on the model of Mini-14. Some commie states don't allow flash hiders or folding stocks or the very evil bayonet lugs to be present, some ban folding or telescoping stocks and/or pistol grips, and some ban a magazine capacity greater than ten rounds. I am grateful I no longer travel out-of-state...

Sparkie brought up a good point: for export purposes, Ruger did make a .222 caliber model for the very reason he stated. It was a political/marketing-reality decision. That may have also been the reason most semi-early models of Mini-14s were stamped .223REM as opposed to 5.56 NATO (non-military ammo). I didn't know the difference between .223REM and NATO 5.56 when I got my 181GB in 1980, and I pretty much fired 5.56 until just a few years ago (still do, but I got a good bulk deal on .223REM). God was watching over me...

Somewhere in your research you should probably include the Miami shoot-out in 1986:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout
It fundamentally changed what the FBI considered an acceptable hand gun round in terms of penetration.

To be sure, there have been some bad people using the Mini-14 for evil purposes: Norway, Canada, and the U.S. predominantly. It was not the gun, but what they had available at the time.

If I recall correctly, some Mini-14s are being used by the SDF and Pershmerga volunteers, to great effect. I don't have any links, but it is worth checking.

By the way, the semi-to-full auto switch on the AC556 was often referred to as the "giggle" switch...
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Old 02-29-2020, 16:48   #11
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Originally Posted by RJF View Post
***snip***

As far as states allowing Mini-14s, I can't be sure, but it also depends on the model of Mini-14. Some commie states don't allow flash hiders or folding stocks or the very evil bayonet lugs to be present, some ban folding or telescoping stocks and/or pistol grips, and some ban a magazine capacity greater than ten rounds. I am grateful I no longer travel out-of-state...

***snip***

If I recall correctly, some Mini-14s are being used by the SDF and Pershmerga volunteers, to great effect. I don't have any links, but it is worth checking.

***snip***
As an example, here in southern Indiana where I live there are no restrictions on features or magazine size. Generally, Indiana is a "free state" a state where there are not restrictions. Up in northern Indiana...in the Gary Indiana Region which abuts the Peoples Republic of Illinois...there are magazine restrictions in some counties.

I...like many on the Forum...feel so strongly about retaining my freedom that I would refuse to live in a restricted area, and would move to a new location if necessary to retain said freedom.

In terms of the SDF and Pershmerga using Mini's...that is a story I would sure like to know more about!
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Old 03-01-2020, 08:43   #12
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https://www.perfectunion.com/vb/ruge...inst-isis.html
jump, that's about all I can find right now...
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Old 03-01-2020, 10:29   #13
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Wow...thanks RJF. I don't know if I missed that back at the time, or if my senility is simply making all things new!

My oh my...the stories that old girl could probably tell!
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Old 03-01-2020, 11:19   #14
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RJF thanks for the two links, i will use that picture with the assyrian flag and its back story too...

I knew about the Miami Dale shootout, although I don't seem to find details on the mini 14 itself, for some reason I thought it had been modified to full auto, do you know anything about that?

I know that the Ateam used mini 14 too , aparently it was to simulate the AC556, and the system of the mini14 accomodated blanks really well

JUMPLUFF I know what you mean about freedom, this is something I truelly respect and envy from the states, the sacred right to bare arms... here in europe, we are not citizens, we are taxe payers within nany states... cattle basically, without a grip on the way things are run allegedly "in our name" or the right to defend ourselves... what you have over there is precious
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Old 03-01-2020, 11:44   #15
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Talking

Originally Posted by Helmut111 View Post

I know that the Ateam used mini 14 too , aparently it was to simulate the AC556, and the system of the mini14 accomodated blanks really well
The A-Team used blanks ?
No wonder they never hit anything or killed anybody !
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Old 03-01-2020, 16:21   #16
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Originally Posted by Helmut111 View Post
RJF thanks for the two links, i will use that picture with the assyrian flag and its back story too...

I knew about the Miami Dale shootout, although I don't seem to find details on the mini 14 itself, for some reason I thought it had been modified to full auto, do you know anything about that?

I know that the Ateam used mini 14 too , aparently it was to simulate the AC556, and the system of the mini14 accomodated blanks really well

JUMPLUFF I know what you mean about freedom, this is something I truelly respect and envy from the states, the sacred right to bare arms... here in europe, we are not citizens, we are taxe payers within nany states... cattle basically, without a grip on the way things are run allegedly "in our name" or the right to defend ourselves... what you have over there is precious
IN that FBI shoot out, the bad guys killed and stole the Mini 14 from the original owner. The overwhelming psychological (intensity of firepower) effects of the Mini is speculated to have been one of the major factors in the bad guys managing to overwhelm the 4 FBI agents.

IN the end the FBI agents won but the "superior firepower" of the Mini almost turned the tide in favor of the bad guys. Which is why you find more P.D's, S.O's and Federal Officers carrying AR's and are carrying semi auto pistols. To the best of my information the Mini was not modified to fire full auto. It was just a standard Mini with a 30 round magazine while the agents were carrying 6 shot revolvers.
kwg
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Old 03-05-2020, 10:03   #17
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RJF, for the record, I'm glad God was watching over you, but the only mini that was/is not chambered for 5.56 NATO, is the K models, which is of course the target model
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Old 03-05-2020, 11:09   #18
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Old 03-05-2020, 20:12   #19
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Originally Posted by Sun Tzu Warrior View Post
RJF, for the record, I'm glad God was watching over you, but the only mini that was/is not chambered for 5.56 NATO, is the K models, which is of course the target model
I disagree and so do many gun dealers.

https://www.gunsamerica.com/93516042...anch-Rifle.htm

Description:
Ruger 222 Mini 14 ranch rifle,used,rear sling swivel has been moved.

Condition: Used, Minor Wear
Caliber: .222 (all)
Location: SD

Item #: 935160426
Stock No.: gn61127

https://www.americanrifleman.org/art...ruger-mini-14/

Itís possible, albeit difficult, to find a Ruger Mini-14 chambered in the .222 Remington cartridge. In an attempt to broaden its marketplace, Ruger once produced a number of rifles in .222 Rem. for sale in countries that prohibit civilian ownership of firearms that chamber military cartridges. The practice is a thing of the past, making Mini-14ís chambered in .222 Rem. one of the modelís rarest variants.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HGO_7rTKnQ
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Old 03-14-2020, 19:35   #20
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180 series had roller bearing for the bolt cam pin.
Some 181 series also had this but it was phased out.
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Old 03-14-2020, 21:30   #21
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True, but if we're going to go there we have to include the 6.8 SPC and 300 AAC BLK.

People know what we're talking about when we discuss .223/5.56 NATO compatibility. That's the original cambering for standard Mini-14 except the Target Model.

A Mini in .222 is as rare as hen's teeth in the USA, but very common in France, Belgium, etc.

Originally Posted by Sparkie View Post
I disagree and so do many gun dealers.

https://www.gunsamerica.com/93516042...anch-Rifle.htm

Description:
Ruger 222 Mini 14 ranch rifle,used,rear sling swivel has been moved.

Condition: Used, Minor Wear
Caliber: .222 (all)
Location: SD

Item #: 935160426
Stock No.: gn61127

https://www.americanrifleman.org/art...ruger-mini-14/

Itís possible, albeit difficult, to find a Ruger Mini-14 chambered in the .222 Remington cartridge. In an attempt to broaden its marketplace, Ruger once produced a number of rifles in .222 Rem. for sale in countries that prohibit civilian ownership of firearms that chamber military cartridges. The practice is a thing of the past, making Mini-14ís chambered in .222 Rem. one of the modelís rarest variants.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HGO_7rTKnQ
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Old 03-15-2020, 08:43   #22
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Originally Posted by Beck View Post

***snip***

A Mini in .222 is as rare as hen's teeth in the USA, but very common in France, Belgium, etc.
I agree with Beck...they are rare. That said I have had the opportunity on a number of occasions over the years to pick up a Mini-14 in .222 Rem...new and used. Unless you are a collector and want a complete collection or have an affinity for the .222 Rem I see no advantage to this version here in the US of A.

I am no expert but as I understand the situation the .223 Rem/5.56x45 is in every way a superior cartridge. If I lived where the .222 Rem was my only choice in having a Mini- type rifle...then .222 it would be. But I would take any other chambering of the Mini- over the .222 if I had the option. YMMV
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Old 03-15-2020, 11:23   #23
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Might have already been mentioned but it was the primary weapon for the Bermudan military until recently.
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Old 03-17-2020, 07:25   #24
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The French Mini-14 was called the Mousqueton AMD. Here's a little info on it with some Pics...https://www.forgottenweapons.com/french-police-mini-14/
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Old 03-17-2020, 17:00   #25
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Originally Posted by blfuller View Post
The French Mini-14 was called the Mousqueton AMD. Here's a little info on it with some Pics...https://www.forgottenweapons.com/french-police-mini-14/
Yeah, I provided those links in reply #5 above.
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