Swapping A Barrel ? - Shooting Sports Forum


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

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Old 02-29-2020, 18:21   #1
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Swapping A Barrel ?

Talked to ASI and they have new take off
tapered barrels for a $150
But to install it is about $300 labor, plus a new gas block.
That seems hi, Is it ?
This would be fitting to a skinny barrel rifle.

By the way, the guy I spoke to was very friendly and helpful.
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Old 02-29-2020, 19:24   #2
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I've seen those on the ASI site. It seems high to me, but I guess it depends on how much play money you have around for that kind of thing. By the time you add it all up it's getting really close to what an older pre-owned tapered barrel Mini-14 might cost. In the past I've considered getting a tapered barrel for my Mini-30 from ASI or other sources, and I've got someone here locally that could fit it for me for less cost.

I decided to keep my original Mini-30 as is. For one thing I want to easily be able to return it to basic factory configuration if I so desire. Another reason is in my case with a Mini-30 it's as accurate as I need it to be with the old style barrel. If I find a pre-owned tapered barrel model at a good price I'll add one of those to my collection.
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Old 02-29-2020, 21:38   #3
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I bought one and did the work myself. I had access to a lathe. If you have someone local to do it, it can be done without ASI doing it. But, lathes are expensive and the help has to be paid. I doubt you will get one you can simply just screw on so it will need to be fitted. After fitting the barrel you may have to ream the chamber to the correct dimensions. It's not as easy as just screwing it on and going to the range. I was surprised just how much work it took to fit the barrel, screw it on and then ream the chamber. Not only do you need the lathe you need a barrel vice, gauges and chamber reamer.

It was worth it in the end. The skinny barrel Mini's are sensitive to different loads, powders and bullet weights. The heavier barrel fixed some of those issues. The other option is to get an accu strut. Less money and the gun can be taken back to it's original configuration. Typically, you can buy the strut for the same price you can get for just the price of the barrel.

kwg

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Old 02-29-2020, 23:01   #4
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Does anyone make an action wrench?
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Old 03-01-2020, 06:24   #5
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Originally Posted by kwg020 View Post
***snip***

It's not as easy as just screwing it on and going to the range. I was surprised just how much work it took to fit the barrel, screw it on and then ream the chamber. Not only do you need the lathe you need a barrel vice, gauges and chamber reamer.

***snip***

kwg
Forgive my ignorance KWG, no background in machining or engineering, but I believe I have read that the bolts have to be fitted to the barrel to achieve proper headspace.

Is that encompassed in the reaming of the chamber? Is that how the matching of bolt and barrel is achieved?
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:10   #6
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Hello Jump

The simple answer is yes, you do have to machine the barrel to match the receiver and fit the bolt. Ruger can do it because they have all the tools and jigs in place to do the job in minutes. It took me several hours to complete this job. My guess is I have at least 8 hours involved in this swap if not more. But, I wanted to see if I could do it. And, in the end; with a lot of help from friends, I did it.

I started this whole process by machining a Mauser action block to fit the dimensions of the Mini 14 with the molded in scope scallops and then put it on a borrowed action wrench to spin off the skinny barrel. I used this same action block to spin off and tighten the new barrel.

After doing that, I started by screwing the new barrel into the receiver with the bolt in place. I was a long ways (.020") from getting the bolt and the barrel to meet at the receiver. This meant I had to take some metal from inside face of the chamber so I could move the shoulder of the barrel to the front of the receiver. Then I had to turn the shoulder to index the barrel to the receiver so the gas block would be straight up and down. Otherwise I was going to have to drill a new gas block hole and weld the old one shut.

The tools I used was a lathe bit to machine down the shoulder of the barrel, a (big) drill bit to take off a like amount from the face of the chamber and a boring bar to get the inside of the chamber big enough to fit the bolt. Once I got all of that done I needed get the barrel on the receiver and then ream the chamber back to .223 dimensions to fit the head space gauge.

So, I used a borrowed lathe, a borrowed mill, the boring bar was borrowed and the barrel wrench was borrowed. If I had all those items at home I would of had $20,000 in machine tools and hand tools to do this job, if not more.

Above I used the number .020. That is 20 thousands of an inch. The pitch on a Ruger Mini barrel shank is .050. That is 50 thousands of an inch. (20 threads per inch) To put this in perspective 1/10 of an inch is .100 thousands of an inch. .20 thousands of an inch does not sound like much but when you are fitting barrels it can be as large as the grand canyon. You can't fix this with a file and a feeler gauge.

This is probably why ASI charges $300 to put a barrel on a Mini.

kwg
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Last edited by kwg020; 03-01-2020 at 16:08.
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Old 03-01-2020, 09:14   #7
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Originally Posted by hylander View Post
Does anyone make an action wrench?

Brownells has an action wrench system.
https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...5117-3308.aspx


You will also need a barrel vice.


https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...prod41623.aspx
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Old 03-01-2020, 10:02   #8
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Originally Posted by kwg020 View Post
Brownells has an action wrench system.
https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...5117-3308.aspx

You will also need a barrel vice.

https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...prod41623.aspx
Thanks,
I have that action wrench, I have not seen if it will work for a Mini,
But I don't think so without some machining.
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Old 03-01-2020, 10:34   #9
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Thanks KWG! I am very much in awe of your skills. As for me....I think the prudent thing for me to do is to take this off my bucket list!
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Old 03-01-2020, 15:58   #10
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Originally Posted by jumpluff View Post
Thanks KWG! I am very much in awe of your skills. As for me....I think the prudent thing for me to do is to take this off my bucket list!
Having ASI build a Mini for you (anyone) requires the buyer to get the Mini at the right price. I have been looking for a bubba'd up Mini that has a salvageable op rod, bolt, trigger group and receiver to have ASI build me the perfect MIni. To make it worthwhile I would have to buy the Mini at a fire sale price to make it pay off.

If I were going to have ASI build me a Mini it would be with the new Ruger barrel cut down to 17" and a factory sight installed. I would put it in an original curved butt stock and use a Choate hand guard. I have considered having a flash hider put on it but I like the compactness of the flash hider-less barrels.

Besides with a short barrel instead of a flash hider or a brake I would rather have a noise deflector style of muzzle device should I need to shoot it on short notice and not have ear plugs installed.

kwg
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Old 03-02-2020, 03:08   #11
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I’ve been thinking of having a barrel cut short and having a Surefire device pinned. Would I open up the options of running a blast deflector or even a can down the road

As far as replacing a barrel, ASI’s pride is spot on for the work involved. Its not a job for a novice.
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Old 03-06-2020, 09:28   #12
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Originally Posted by hylander View Post
Talked to ASI and they have new take off
tapered barrels for a $150
But to install it is about $300 labor, plus a new gas block.
That seems hi, Is it ?
This would be fitting to a skinny barrel rifle.

By the way, the guy I spoke to was very friendly and helpful.
At that price you could sell your gun, add the $450.00 and buy a new gun. Considering the newest Minis are milled to tighter tolerances you may be better off. Top it off with a home trigger job and you have a winner. Other route, sell the mini, buy an AR , put in a cheap ACT trigger and a lightened JP trigger spring and with that $450 you'd spend on gunsmithing and a barrel buy a lot of ammo, relax and go have fun at the range.

I have both. I like them both. All depends on what you want. I wanted an accurate Mini so I found a discontinued target model and took off the harmonic weight. It's no better or worse than my JT AR15 upper with a Wilson barrel. Honestly, the AR shoots just a tad tighter depending on the ammo.
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Old 03-06-2020, 12:53   #13
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Originally Posted by hylander View Post
Talked to ASI and they have new take off
tapered barrels for a $150
But to install it is about $300 labor, plus a new gas block.
That seems hi, Is it ?
This would be fitting to a skinny barrel rifle.

By the way, the guy I spoke to was very friendly and helpful.

So that sounds like $450 plus $$ for a new gas block.
What would Ruger charge to provide and install a new tapered barrel?
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Old 03-06-2020, 16:32   #14
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If I was gonna fork over a wad of cash to ASI, it wouldn't be to have them make a slightly more accurate 5.56, or even 7.62 x 39. Those are pretty common.
I'd want a Mini-30 re-chambered to 6.5 Grendel.

Yes, ammo wouldn't be as cheap or common, but you'd have a one of a kind Mini in a kick ass, long range caliber.
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Old 03-06-2020, 21:37   #15
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Originally Posted by sandog View Post
If I was gonna fork over a wad of cash to ASI, it wouldn't be to have them make a slightly more accurate 5.56, or even 7.62 x 39. Those are pretty common.
I'd want a Mini-30 re-chambered to 6.5 Grendel.

Yes, ammo wouldn't be as cheap or common, but you'd have a one of a kind Mini in a kick ass, long range caliber.

Scroll down about 1/3 of the way and you will get a list of ammo your new Mini could be shooting.


kwg


https://www.ruger-mini-14-firearms.c...ini_prices.php
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Old 03-07-2020, 08:51   #16
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I got my 182 stainless back from ASI in January. They replaced the pencil barrel with a new take off tapered one. This required a new gas black and machining the op rod for the thicker barrel. By the time everything was done I dropped about $650. If it wasn’t for pre-ban status and sentimental value I would’ve opted to get in to a new one. I didn’t have them install a new front sight or thread the barrel. Cost was already high enough. I’ll cut and thread it myself. ASI does quality work but keep in mind the cost adds up really fast.
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Old 03-07-2020, 10:25   #17
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Does ASI have an accuracy statement? If they guarantee their work to be sub moa, might be worth it. But for the cost of the rifle and the work, you gotta really love that thing.
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Old 03-08-2020, 05:09   #18
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$650 doesn't sound very cost effective for turning a skinny barreled mini into a tapered barrel one. You could just buy a slightly used 580 + Mini, or almost buy a new one for that.
Or for that $650 buy a second skinny barrel Mini, and put $80 Accustruts on both.

I have now turned four older Mini -30s into "Tacticals" by cutting off the barrel (hacksaw), recrown (Brownell's hand tools) and thread for a flash hider (again with hand tools from Brownell's). Granted the older Mini 30's come with a .625" barrel so aren't in need of a strut as older skinny Mini-14's, but there's no reason someone couldn't go that route with a .560" barrel Mini-14.

I did with this one, a 195 series Mini-14. First thing it got was a strut, which was a big improvement just by itself. An inch off the barrel, recrown, thread for a FH, buffers and a smaller bushing made it go from a 3 MOA carbine into a 1 1/4 MOA one.


I did this Mini back in 2013 when I had just joined up here, all from things I had learned on this forum.
And as a bonus I had the satisfaction of doing all the work myself, and not having to hand over $650 to Carl and his boys.
No barrel swapping needed.
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Old 03-08-2020, 09:14   #19
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Back in the '80s, when a new mini was 1/2 the price of an AR @$300 ish.
A local well respected gunsmith was accurizing them to "MOA coyote
specials" by pressing a 1" piece of cold rolled over the barrel after taking
off the front sight. It was silver soldered in place, blasted/blued and reinstalled.
A new front site was optional. He did one for a friend along with a trigger job,
bedding the stock, lapped the barrel ect. He stretched enough coyote pelts to pay
for it in no time. Ranchers back the were kinda turned off if you came around
with a AR but the mini was OK. Taking care of predators helped get access
for elk hunting too. MM
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Old 03-08-2020, 10:50   #20
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Originally Posted by hylander View Post
Talked to ASI and they have new take off
tapered barrels for a $150
But to install it is about $300 labor, plus a new gas block.
That seems hi, Is it ?
This would be fitting to a skinny barrel rifle.

By the way, the guy I spoke to was very friendly and helpful.
Nothing is "too high" for ASI. I got one of those Shilen barrels on mine and the install from a local gunsmith for me was $90.00. But those barrel are already crowned, with threaded finished chambers. It was a simple operation of twisting off the old and twisting on the shilen barrel. Also drilling the barrel for the gas block, No new gas block needed to make it work. Surely you can get a cheaper gas block and have a competent local smith to do the work for you.
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Old 03-08-2020, 11:01   #21
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ASI prices are ludicrous, but they apparently do a good job. For many, tha price of having them do the work exceeds the price for a new Mini (or at least close to it).

I'll keep my 181GB and be happy with it as both my first firearm and a great plinker at about 2-4 MOA (better than I am). It is as it left the factory in 1977, save a new stock.

For me, it was less expensive to just buy a newer 583-series than to destroy the originality of my original 181GB. Plus, I had TWO Mini-14s! With interchangeable mags. Twice the fun!

Then I went out and got a THIRD Mini-14, a Ranch model with no evil appurtenances, just in case the VA commies got their AR-15 Ban through.

All is good!
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Old 03-08-2020, 18:16   #22
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There are other options out there if you look around enough. The Accu Strut is one of those options. One of the questions that keeps popping up is "where can I find a competent gunsmith"? It appears James T. has found one but right now I can't say the same thing and I am close to a Metro city with almost 1/2 million folks.

I don't know a "good" smith by name or address right now. I have heard too many people complain about finding a good gunsmith. Now find one with all of the right tools and equipment and see what he charges. Plus, ASI is in a high tax State, Colorado. That has to add to their bottom line. (yours too)

If I could buy skinny barrel Mini's at the right price I could afford to send them to ASI and maybe even re-sell them for a little profit. But, it seems the States that have outlawed the AR's are driving up the prices of the Mini's. Even the skinny barreled ones.

If I were a young guy wanting a customized Mini and I knew I was going to have that gun for the next 40 years, it would well be worth the $700 to spend on getting it "right". Unfortunately, I don't have 40 years left. Most of us on this forum don't either. $700 in an IRA buys a lot of stocks or mutual funds to get us through our senior years.

Thus is our plight.

kwg
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Old 03-09-2020, 09:50   #23
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kwg, I would agree, except for our youngin's and their youngin's might just appreciate a fine shootin' iron/smoke pole...

One of the reasons I keep my 181GB as it left the factory - except for the stock (which I'm working on) Some appreciate history, some just the final product. My Nephew (and his son) appreciate both, so I'd prefer they leave the 181GB alone and toy all they want with the 583s...

Much like I'd prefer they keep my '69 Road Runner as "stock" as possible and toy with my '88 T-Bird if they want. As with my 181GB, the Road Runner was my first, so there is a very special relationship.
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Old 03-09-2020, 10:04   #24
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Since I started this thread I get to high jack it.

RJF:
I need to see a pic of the Road Runner.
The 69 was my first Muscle Car at 17, and still my favorite car ever.
I so regret selling it
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Old 03-09-2020, 19:45   #25
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Originally Posted by RJF View Post
kwg, I would agree, except for our youngin's and their youngin's might just appreciate a fine shootin' iron/smoke pole...
My son will be so much more successful than I ever thought to be. He's just going to have to spend his own money. Besides, I have almost 30 other guns he says he wants me to pass down to him. He is going to get at least 2 Mini's as is. No Road Runners, though.

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