Changing Mini-14 setup, need advice - Shooting Sports Forum


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

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Old 03-14-2020, 12:47   #1
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Changing Mini-14 setup, need advice

So I've decided to switch my mini-14 setup to more of a medium-long range platform rather than close-range.

My questions are:

1) Should I change the stock from the ATI to a more traditional ranch rifle?

2) What optics does everyone recommend?

3) If I do change the stock / handguard, what parts will I need?

here's a picture of the current setup.
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Old 03-14-2020, 13:07   #2
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Optic would be my 1st change.
I would move to a receiver mounted scope, 2-10 power would be what I would suggest
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Old 03-14-2020, 16:57   #3
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Just adding a scope and doing a stock change is not likely going to give you the accuracy needed for longer range.
What mods have you done as far as accurizing ?
Are you shooting handloads with Match bullets ? You're not going to get the accuracy you need shooting factory loads, even factory loads that use Match bullets.
The load had to be optimized for YOUR Mini.

What do you consider medium long range ?
You can do everything under the sun, and end up with a heavy, cumbersome pig of a Mini, that still won't qualify as a good long range rig.
300-400 yards, yes, but you first need to get down below 1 1/2 MOA.

Best use the Mini at what it's good for, close to medium range.
That is do-able while still keeping it light and handy.
Going back to a lighter traditional stock and getting that dot down lower with a different hand guard will get you a Mini that, along with some other accurizing mods and good loads, will reach out past 300 yards, but still be excellent for close in, and multiple moving targets.
And only weigh a touch over 7 pounds.

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Old 03-14-2020, 18:29   #4
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Here is mine when I first got it.



And after listening to Sandog and adding an ultimak rail and a Burris FastFire 3.




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Old 03-14-2020, 18:58   #5
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Originally Posted by sandog View Post
Just adding a scope and doing a stock change is not likely going to give you the accuracy needed for longer range.
What mods have you done as far as accurizing ?
Are you shooting handloads with Match bullets ? You're not going to get the accuracy you need shooting factory loads, even factory loads that use Match bullets.
The load had to be optimized for YOUR Mini.

What do you consider medium long range ?
You can do everything under the sun, and end up with a heavy, cumbersome pig of a Mini, that still won't qualify as a good long range rig.
300-400 yards, yes, but you first need to get down below 1 1/2 MOA.

Best use the Mini at what it's good for, close to medium range.
That is do-able while still keeping it light and handy.
Going back to a lighter traditional stock and getting that dot down lower with a different hand guard will get you a Mini that, along with some other accurizing mods and good loads, will reach out past 300 yards, but still be excellent for close in, and multiple moving targets.
And only weigh a touch over 7 pounds.
WOW! What a great contribution and thank you so much!! You absolutely read my mind. The mini-14 as you see in my picture was a gift, and not what I would have spec'ed myself. It's just too damn heavy! My AR is really my go-to home-defense rig right now. As much as I love the simplicity and the accuracy of the mini, the M4 is just lighter and more manuverable.

I'm shooting factory loads, not looking for a competition setup at all. What you said in your last paragraph is EXACTLY what I want to do here. Reaching out past 300 yards while still good for close in, multiple moving targets.

With all that said, would you be able to lead me down the right path here in getting this rifle closer to what Mamiela posted??
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Old 03-15-2020, 07:00   #6
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Twice now this morning I've typed in replies, and before I could finish them, they just disappeared. Damn frustrating.
Here are some links to read, if you have any more questions, fire way !
https://rugerforum.net/ruger-semi-au...rovements.html
https://rugerforum.net/ruger-semi-au...s-part-ii.html
https://rugerforum.net/ruger-semi-au...-part-iii.html
https://rugerforum.net/ruger-semi-au...s-part-iv.html
https://rugerforum.net/ruger-semi-au...9-ultimak.html
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Old 03-15-2020, 08:53   #7
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Originally Posted by sandog View Post
Twice now this morning I've typed in replies, and before I could finish them, they just disappeared. Damn frustrating.

***snip***
Sorry Sandog...been there. If I am thinking I type my respone in Word and then paste in to the forum editor.
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Old 03-15-2020, 09:45   #8
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Cop, good to follow Sandog's recommendations!

I have an ATI stock, and it fills the bill for some things: folder, pistol grip, adjustable LOP (my greatest interest), the equivalent of a scout rail, and a means for adding gobs of accessories to it - to the point where you might get a double-hernia just picking it up! But it is uncomfortable for a SouthPaw and heavy and cumbersome. If you're never going to move around and just lay down and shoot from a bi-pod all day, it is okay. It fits tighter than a standard Ruger stock, so it MIGHT help with accuracy. But after a month or two, it came off and now sits in a cardboard box (I'm a pack-rat!).

I now have three Mini-14s: a 181GB, a 583 Tactical, and most recently a 583 Ranch. Were any of them to find their way back into my ATI stock, it would be the Ranch. The other two are just too fine a carbine to load them up with an anchor-weighing ATI stock.

To each their own, though...
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Old 03-16-2020, 04:37   #9
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All that have tried the Ultimak /FastFire set up like it a lot.
The FF III is rugged, good battery life, and super easy to pick up targets.
I haven't tried the Vortex micro dots, but they should be good as well, haven't heard any bad about them.

If you want to spend the extra $$$, the Trijicon RMR, Leupold DeltaPoint and Aimpoint Micros are good too, but at 1 1/2 to 2x the money of the FF or Venom.
A member here, Bepe, had the RMR, but said he liked the FF better.

You'll have to try different brands and weights of ammo to see what does best in your Mini. Typically, factories don't put a lot of care into making FMJ bullets, so you'll get some flyers.
For defense loads, use whatever ammo that you use in your AR.

Shortening the barrel an inch or two, doing a recrown to improve on the factory crown, and adding a flash hider all have accuracy benefits, as does adding the Ultimak rail.
Buffers, and a reduced gas bushing also help if your Mini launches brass too vigorously.

Factory synthetic stocks aren't too expensive new, in the $90 range from Midway or Brownell's. You might be able to find a gently used one at a gun show or classifieds.
The Ruger poly stock is probably near half the weight of that ATI stock.

Let us know how it comes along, we'll be glad to help out.
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Old 03-16-2020, 11:35   #10
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Originally Posted by sandog View Post
All that have tried the Ultimak /FastFire set up like it a lot.
The FF III is rugged, good battery life, and super easy to pick up targets.
I haven't tried the Vortex micro dots, but they should be good as well, haven't heard any bad about them.

If you want to spend the extra $$$, the Trijicon RMR, Leupold DeltaPoint and Aimpoint Micros are good too, but at 1 1/2 to 2x the money of the FF or Venom.
A member here, Bepe, had the RMR, but said he liked the FF better.

You'll have to try different brands and weights of ammo to see what does best in your Mini. Typically, factories don't put a lot of care into making FMJ bullets, so you'll get some flyers.
For defense loads, use whatever ammo that you use in your AR.

Shortening the barrel an inch or two, doing a recrown to improve on the factory crown, and adding a flash hider all have accuracy benefits, as does adding the Ultimak rail.
Buffers, and a reduced gas bushing also help if your Mini launches brass too vigorously.

Factory synthetic stocks aren't too expensive new, in the $90 range from Midway or Brownell's. You might be able to find a gently used one at a gun show or classifieds.
The Ruger poly stock is probably near half the weight of that ATI stock.

Let us know how it comes along, we'll be glad to help out.
Any opinion of the GG&G mount red dot mount? I know it goes right over the ejection port so it might take a beating, but any other reasons to not go with that?
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Old 03-16-2020, 11:37   #11
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It puts the optic quite high over the bore. You would need a chin weld or really high butt stock cheek pad to get your eye up high enough to sight through.
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Old 03-16-2020, 14:48   #12
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Yes, anything over the action puts the optic up too high. Did your Mini not come with the Ruger rail ? The GG&G rail for the FF isn't too awful high, and not too bad at $52.
Maybe down the road you could sell the GG&G mount and upgrade to an Ultimak.

The GG&G rail is undercut to help brass clear, and the FastFire mounts forward of the ejection port, so it should never get hit by brass.

The GG&G rail for scopes is way. way high. Compare the pic in GG&G's product description, with the pic of my scope on the Ultimak:
https://www.gggaz.com/ruger-mini-14-scope-mount.html
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Old 03-19-2020, 18:40   #13
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Originally Posted by CopGTP View Post
So I've decided to switch my mini-14 setup to more of a medium-long range platform rather than close-range.

My questions are:

1) Should I change the stock from the ATI to a more traditional ranch rifle?

2) What optics does everyone recommend?

3) If I do change the stock / handguard, what parts will I need?

here's a picture of the current setup.
I have this scope on a Mini and an AK!

https://www.primaryarms.com/primary-...45-308-reticle
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Old 03-19-2020, 22:21   #14
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For optics I like Vortex.
Right now I run 1-4X and 1-6X
Prefer the 1-6X
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Old 03-21-2020, 19:08   #15
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Mine has changed many times, red dot, scope, no optic. I would say find what is comfortable and works. I went the UltiMak route for a while with a Vortex SPARC II but I just didn't like it. Constantly pushed off the idea of a receiver mounted optic because I thought I'd have issues. Now I have my Vortex red dot mounted over the receiver with a Choate handguard. Really liking this setup.

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Old 03-21-2020, 19:23   #16
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So why didn't you like the dot with the Ultimak ?
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Old 03-21-2020, 19:42   #17
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Originally Posted by sandog View Post
So why didn't you like the dot with the Ultimak ?
Couple of reasons. I didn't like the balance of the rifle with the optic mounted forward. Also no matter how much I adjusted the mount, I could not get it level with the receiver. The mount was always canted to one side or the other, and as stupid as it may seem, it bugged the hell out of me. The current setup is simple and just flows for me. I don't have to adjust my sight picture like I did with the optic mounted to the UltiMak. This whole setup just feels more comfortable for me.

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Old 03-22-2020, 05:40   #18
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I find having a scope mounted out on the Ultimak affects balance, but not a 1 ounce Fastfire. Maybe your choice of dot didn't help, the Sparc weighs 6 ounces, and is pretty big compared to a Micro dot like the FF.

Getting the level on the Ultimak sometimes takes some doing, but I've managed with a few minutes work. In extreme cases one could always put a shim under the dot before tightening down the base.

Your saying you don't have to adjust your sight picture with the optic over the receiver is just the opposite of my experiences with a Mini optic.
With an optic mounted low on the Ultimak, when I throw the Mini to my shoulder, I'm looking right through the middle of the FF screen.

With optics mounted high over the action, I find I have to scoot my head up to see out of the optic, not very natural.
And looking at the pic of your Sparc, it has a bit of a riser on it. Not AR optic high, but not as low as it could be. So you have even more height going on.
I guess some don't mind a chin weld, but I like mine almost as low as the irons, what the Mini stock was designed for.
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Old 03-22-2020, 05:53   #19
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Originally Posted by sandog View Post
I find having a scope mounted out on the Ultimak affects balance, but not a 1 ounce Fastfire. Maybe your choice of dot didn't help, the Sparc weighs 6 ounces, and is pretty big compared to a Micro dot like the FF.

Getting the level on the Ultimak sometimes takes some doing, but I've managed with a few minutes work. In extreme cases one could always put a shim under the dot before tightening down the base.

Your saying you don't have to adjust your sight picture with the optic over the receiver is just the opposite of my experiences with a Mini optic.
With an optic mounted low on the Ultimak, when I throw the Mini to my shoulder, I'm looking right through the middle of the FF screen.

With optics mounted high over the action, I find I have to scoot my head up to see out of the optic, not very natural.
And looking at the pic of your Sparc, it has a bit of a riser on it. Not AR optic high, but not as low as it could be. So you have even more height going on.
I guess some don't mind a chin weld, but I like mine almost as low as the irons, what the Mini stock was designed for.
The take away from what I posted is that it is comfortable for me. I'm honestly not a fan of tiny doctor style sights. To each his own. Not all shooters are the same, do what works for you.

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Old 03-22-2020, 11:12   #20
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I bought the FF3 set up from GG &G and I am not real keen on the over the front of the receiver mount. Chin weld as said above. It works, but seems unnatural.

I need to get my wallet out and get the Ultimak.

I'm a cheap bastage
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Old 03-22-2020, 16:06   #21
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I tried just about everything at first but found them lacking.
I tried an Aimpoint Patrol Rifle Optic, nice dot but pretty huge and heavy.

I found the Fastfire did the same thing as the big tube style dots, project a dot that you could set on the target. And it was not huge and heavy at all.
At first I bought one of the Burris mounts that clamps to the front Ruger dovetail.

It sat pretty high up and exposed to knocks.
When I got my first Ultimak and placed the Fastfire on it, I knew I had found what I was looking for. Low, great peripheral vision (which isn't so good with a tube style dot, especially when you mount it right up against your head), good battery life, rugged and at $200 to $230, doesn't break the bank.

Good for casual carry at the balance point:

Quick to acquire a target, out of the way of the action, mounted low like the irons. Everyone that's tried the Ultimak/Fastfire combo has really liked it (except hoagie).


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Old 03-22-2020, 16:21   #22
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My 580 Series Mini 14 with laminated stock started out with a 1-4 Leapers Airgun Scope mounted in Ruger Rings. Shot 2000 rounds thru it and it was fine but I didn't like the way the gun handled so I dumped the Scope which I put on an Airgun which promptly killed it.

I installed a Bushnell TRS 25 on a Warne Rail over the receiver and have never looked back With my reloads the gun is MOA with the red dot. (200 yard zero). Off a rest I can hit a man sized target every time at 200 yards and about 8/10 at 300 with a 12" holdover. I consider this to be the practical maximum range for this Gun and Cartridge. I did move the sight all the way to the front of the rail since that picture.

I could probably get more out of it but I don't have any long range use for the gun so it is what it is.

You can send the gun to ASI and spend a bunch on a new barrel and a bunch of other stuff but at the end of the day the .223/5.56 is still only a 300 yard cartridge with factory 55 or 62 gr bullets.

I have a Fightlite SCR with a 1:7 24" barrel that I shoot 77 gr bullets in and I can reach out to 600 yards with that gun, however that bullet doesn't have enough destructive force left to do much damage to anything. It obviously is still lethal but there would need to be some divine intervention involved in the shot placement.

If you look at these guns as Fighting Guns as opposed to Target Rifles you will be more in line with the original intent of the design.If I were to get another Mini it would be a 584 Tactical Model which I would promptly install a Smith Enterprises Brake on and another TRS 25, and of course, one of my Slings.

Incidentally the Tapco Mag in the picture doesn't work and Remington bought the Company and then killed it, so there's no replacements. Bummed about that as I have 5 of them and they all suck!

Randy
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Old 03-22-2020, 17:13   #23
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Sandog, I really do like your posts and the knowledge that you pass on to anyone willing to ask. But I fail to see why it's such a big deal that I don't like the UltiMak.
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:23   #24
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hoagie, each of our Minis is personal, reflecting personal desires. this thread and forum give us perspectives and views we might not have considered. We also have differing expectations.

I value Sandog's experience and introspection and advice, and will likely configure my Mini-14 Tactical to his set-up: UltiMak and FF-III.

As far as the UltiMak versus other options go, the UltiMak looks to have the lowest possible option for mounting an optic. I run a TRS-25 on the Ruger factory P-rail and it is higher than I would prefer. Still a great set-up, but it isn't a true cheek-weld (or even close). My likely evolution will be to get and install an UltiMak, mount the TRS-25 on it, and if not satisfied, get a FF-III.

Fortunately, Sandog has gone through much of that and shared his experience and recommendations.

As far as a big deal, if I wanted a sighting system sitting nearly two inches over the bore, I'd have gotten an AR...
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