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

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Old 04-15-2020, 13:22   #1
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Shorter is Better !

SHORTER IS BETTER !
You won't hear any wives or girlfriends saying that, but in the case of Mini-30 barrels I've found it to be true.

A shorter barrel is a less whippy barrel, and I haven't seen much velocity loss at all compared to other, higher velocity chamberings.
When I chronographed a variety of x39 loads 2 summers ago (out of a 16 1/4", 17" and an 18 5" barreled Mini-30), some loads were faster out of the shortest barrel than the longer ones.

I tend to turn all my older Mini's into "Tacticals", albeit with a .625" thick barrel instead of a .750" one.
Cut an inch or two off the barrel, improve on the factory crown, and thread barrel and add a flash hider.

This 189 series Stainless Mini I've had for six years now, first it had Grey Cerakote, then FDE on the stock, and last summer it got all parts done in FDE or Desert Sand.
Today I decided to cut the 18.5" factory length barrel back a bit, I took 1 7/8" off, so now it is 16 5/8".

I cut at the back of the winged sight, faced the muzzle to 90 degrees, crowned and rethreaded. Finally, I had to file a notch for the front sight's roll pin to go into.

Doesn't look too different, but handier now for sure.
I'll take it out this weekend and put some rounds through it.
Now the hard part, seeing if I can use my phone to attach some pics!
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Shorter is Better  !-20200415_121146_1586981998508.jpg   Shorter is Better  !-20200415_121234_1586982083333.jpg  

Last edited by sandog; 04-15-2020 at 13:30. Reason: Fix pics
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Old 04-15-2020, 20:17   #2
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Looks good,
I think the 30 looks better with a shorter barrel, should handle better as well.
Did you do the work yourself, if so did you remove the barrel from the action?
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Old 04-16-2020, 04:40   #3
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No, I don't remove the barrel.
Barrel is cut off with a hacksaw.
Try to get the cut straight but don't worry if it's not a perfect cut. You then put the 90 degree cutter head on the rod, along with the bore guide, and that will true up the muzzle.

With any of these hand tools, you'll want to use a bore guide to keep things square.
I use a brass guide from Brownells meant for a .303 British. It is 312" so will be a tad too fat, but I reduced it with Emery cloth and now have a custom bore guide for the x39.

All of my hand tools are from Brownell's, except for the 5/8" x 24 die, handle and .30 guide which I got from Carolina Shooters Supply. Brownell's also sells the 5/8" die.

For crowning, I have several angled cutters, 11 degree, 30 and .45.
I also have guides for the handgun calibers I shoot, .357, .44 and .45.
For the wheel guns I can bevel the cylinder's chambers for easier loading, lengthen and cut forcing cones to a better angle (11degrees) and smooth them .
And bevel the front of the cylinder so the cylinder pin will go in easier without wiggling.

Some of the cutter heads are $40-$50 so if you aren't careful you can have a lot of money invested in a kit.
I thread the barrel down far enough that the flash hider threads on all the way.
You'll be putting a crush washer between the FH and front sight, so the FH will index properly.

On flash hiders like the Ruger long or short cage, indexing doesn't matter as those are open on the bottom and can end up any way.
Flash hiders like the A2 are closed on the bottom, so they need to end up with the closed bottom straight down.
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Old 04-16-2020, 08:51   #4
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Sandog-
Your work on chronographing 7.62x39 from different barrel lengths and platforms is superlative.
It should be a sticky, and you should think of compiling the info and maybe sending it to a gun rag for publication.
Again,
Excellent work!
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Old 04-16-2020, 10:07   #5
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True enough!

Of course it depends on powder type, charge, and projectile weight. Some powders appropriate for x39 will give you more fps with longer barrels as traditionally expected.

I wish Ruger had an 18-inch .750 diameter barrel. I've always made up for it by using Eagle type barrel shrouds, which act as coaxial barrel stabilizers. The way I use them it also helps cool the barrel rather than protect your hand from a hot barrel. My barrel shrouds are barrel Stiffener/Heatsinks, which is opposite of what barrel shrouds are intended for.

The first time I really got a picture of the shorter is better concept was in an old 1990s article on matching handguns with carbines of the same caliber. 357 Mag and 44 mag markedly increased in velocity with barrel length, but 9mm carbines were either barely better than handgun velocities by a few FPS or saw reduced velocity compared to the 4" or 5" barrel pistols they were paired with. Unexpected and surprised the people doing the tests.

Anyway, nice work as usual Sandog! If I ever decide to lose the barrel shroud on my Mini-30 I would cut my barrel back a bit.
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Old 04-16-2020, 11:42   #6
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Right now I am looking at my watch shaking my head and saying, it took you HOW LONG!
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Old 04-16-2020, 12:29   #7
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shorter is better? well, opinions differ....but what i sadly notice is you just ain't got wood? now, that...THAT is universally considered a real problem.

time to go ahead and open your gunsmithing shop, if you haven't already?

well done, looks outstanding & i bet it handles great. i also agree "shorter is better" and imo, a 16" barrel for the mini is where its at. now, get your wood and its all good.


Originally Posted by sandog View Post
SHORTER IS BETTER !
You won't hear any wives or girlfriends saying that, but in the case of Mini-30 barrels I've found it to be true.

A shorter barrel is a less whippy barrel, and I haven't seen much velocity loss at all compared to other, higher velocity chamberings.
When I chronographed a variety of x39 loads 2 summers ago (out of a 16 1/4", 17" and an 18 5" barreled Mini-30), some loads were faster out of the shortest barrel than the longer ones.

I tend to turn all my older Mini's into "Tacticals", albeit with a .625" thick barrel instead of a .750" one.
Cut an inch or two off the barrel, improve on the factory crown, and thread barrel and add a flash hider.

This 189 series Stainless Mini I've had for six years now, first it had Grey Cerakote, then FDE on the stock, and last summer it got all parts done in FDE or Desert Sand.
Today I decided to cut the 18.5" factory length barrel back a bit, I took 1 7/8" off, so now it is 16 5/8".

I cut at the back of the winged sight, faced the muzzle to 90 degrees, crowned and rethreaded. Finally, I had to file a notch for the front sight's roll pin to go into.

Doesn't look too different, but handier now for sure.
I'll take it out this weekend and put some rounds through it.
Now the hard part, seeing if I can use my phone to attach some pics!
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Old 04-16-2020, 18:30   #8
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Hawk, my other Mini-30 has wood, looks nice but feels pounds heavjer.
Chill, don't know why it took me so long to cut this one down, all the others that I've worked on ended up shorter than factory length.
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Old 04-20-2020, 13:29   #9
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I took the shortened Mini to the range this morning to re zero it. I had expected the Fastfire to have not changed much, but figured the iron sights would be off, as I had to reinstall the front sight and probably didn't get it the same, 12 o'clock wise.

To my surprise the irons, which I checked first, were right on, 3 inches high at 100 yards. Right where they need to be for a 200 yard zero.
Impacts at 100 with the red dot was 3 inches right and 3 1/2 low, so I adjusted that so group was 3 inches high above the bullseye.
Next time out I will check zero at 200, and impact at 300 (should be 1 foot low).

Here is the Mini, along with my .45 Shield that got FDE Cerakote yesterday morning.

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Old 04-20-2020, 14:30   #10
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Yeah, the Shield looked out of place next to my other two FDE M&Ps. So it needed "the treatment".
The range I went to is a 100 yard berm with a couple picnic tables to shoot off, put in by the Forest Service to try to get guys from trashing a new area every time they go shooting.
Of course, this one is well trashed with old shot up T.V.s, broken bottles, etc.
When I go there I take away a few large trashbags of stuff, but the rest we just mound up off to the side. People are slobs.

Most of the Natl' forest is still open, last week we went up to the Utah border to hike some narrow "slot" canyons. Really cool, but you do not want to be inside one when it flash floods upstream:

Some go for miles and are barely wide enough for your shoulders:

My bird dog pup is 8 months old now, here he is at the Colorado River near Marble Canyon:

And up until the year 1300 or so, this area, and most of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, was real popular with Anasazi Bighorn sheep hunters:
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Old 04-20-2020, 15:23   #11
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Originally Posted by sandog View Post
I thread the barrel down far enough that the flash hider threads on all the way.
You'll be putting a crush washer between the FH and front sight, so the FH will index properly.
How do you thread the barrel without a lathe?
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Old 04-20-2020, 15:34   #12
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5/8" x 24 TPI die ( 1/2" x 28 for 5.56mm), die handle and .30 bore guide. Some cutting oil, and 20 minutes of your time.

Starting to cut the threads:


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Old 04-20-2020, 15:43   #13
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Originally Posted by sandog View Post
5/8" x 24 TPI die ( 1/2" x 28 for 5.56mm), die handle and .30 bore guide. Some cutting oil, and 20 minutes of your time.

Starting to cut the threads:


So no modification of diameter needed. It just works that way. Interesting.
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Old 04-20-2020, 16:33   #14
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Yes, the .625" Mini-30 barrel is 5/8ths, just the right diameter.
Threading a Mini-14 requires turning either the .560" pencil barrel, .625" tapered barrel or .750" Tactical barrel down to 1/2" at the muzzle before threading.

When I do the M-30 threads, I don't end up with a "step" at the end of the threads like you would with a 1/2 x 28 thread for a 5.56mm, so I back the flash hider up against the pinned on front sight.

This was a .560 pencil barrel on a Mini-14, it had a step or shoulder, at the end of the threads, so it didn't have to back against the front sight.
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Old 04-22-2020, 14:07   #15
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Very impressive setup, good job man. In terms of maximizing a mini for what it was intended to be but sadly the factory could never get the message (a light, fast handling, ultra dependable carbine with acceptable accuracy out to 200-300 yards) I definitely have to say your version is about the best I've seen.
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Old 04-23-2020, 17:03   #16
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Well my tests today of Geco and a couple other rounds wasn't very conclusive, so rather than do a separate thread, I just added to this one.

One thing I've noticed is a change in barrel harmonics. Last summer I added a strut I got in a trade, and changed the flash hider from a long cage Ruger to an A2 type.
And just recently shortened the barrel.
Ammo that this carbine used to do well with (Silver Bear) doesn't do well any more.
Hopefully it will do better now with ammo it didn't like before, like Red Army.

And when I tested it last week after cutting the barrel, I didn't notice the ejection, as it was tossing the brass clear of the bench.
Today the Geco wasn't even cycling the action, several stovepipes and misfeeds.
It dawned on me that after turning this into a "tactical" length Mini, I had forgotten to put a bigger bushing in. Still had the .062" one in there.
The Mini cycled 100% today with PPU, Silver Bear and my Nosler handloads just didn't eject them very far.
The fact that it wouldn't cycle with Geco makes me think they are underpowered. I didn't have my chronograph handy to check velocity.

I've got a .100" bushing I can put in for now. Maybe the .080" bushing that Ruger now ships in the Mini-14 and Mini-30 would be fine, I'll get some to try.
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Old 04-23-2020, 18:48   #17
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I've got a .100" bushing I can put in for now. Maybe the .080" bushing that Ruger now ships in the Mini-14 and Mini-30 would be fine, I'll get some to try.
They ship the Mini-14 with an .080
The Mini-30 Tactical ships with a .100
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Old 04-23-2020, 19:37   #18
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Originally Posted by hylander View Post
They ship the Mini-14 with an .080
The Mini-30 Tactical ships with a .100
I wasn't talking about a Tactical, but a regular 18.5 inch barreled Mini-14 AND Mini-30, which Ruger now uses an .080" bushing for both the Mini-14 AND the Mini-30. Once again, I wasn't talking about a Tactical when I mentioned the .080" bushing.
I'm well aware the Tactical comes with a .100". I already have one of those sizes.
I'm sure a .100" would work, but I'd still like to try an .080", as it's obvious a .062" is too small.
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Old 04-23-2020, 21:23   #19
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Originally Posted by sandog View Post
I wasn't talking about a Tactical, but a regular 18.5 inch barreled Mini-14 AND Mini-30, which Ruger now uses an .080" bushing for both the Mini-14 AND the Mini-30. Once again, I wasn't talking about a Tactical when I mentioned the .080" bushing.
I'm well aware the Tactical comes with a .100". I already have one of those sizes.
I'm sure a .100" would work, but I'd still like to try an .080", as it's obvious a .062" is too small.
Sorry, was just mentioning the Tactical, didn't know what size the 18.5 took.
And was mentioning Tactical because that is basically what you now have, so was hoping that might help.
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Old 04-24-2020, 02:02   #20
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Last time I looked, new 18.5" barrel Mini-30s had .085 bushings from the factory. Have they reduced them again by .005? My 189 Series 18.5" originally came with a .100 bushing. I've got an ASI .070 in there now and it cycles fine with everything, including the anemic, under-powered Winchester white box FMJ. I shot my last box of that and won't be buying any more.

Matching barrel length to bushing size is a tricky business. I'm about to cut my barrel down to 18" exactly and recrown to 11į. I doubt it will make a difference as far as cycling goes, but I have a .085 bushing in my spare parts box just in case.

Geco is listed as delivering 2430 FPS from a 16" barrel (CIP Standard test barrel). Either it's not up to snuff or the Mini-30 gas design changes things up a bit.

I suspect a .062 bushing isn't doing it for your shorter barrel.
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Old 04-24-2020, 07:42   #21
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You can thread a .560 barrel using the 9/16x24 a whole bunch easier that trying to thread 1/2x28 on a Mini barrel that is not turned down. The only real problem is finding a 9/16x28 flash hider that you like.

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Old 05-01-2020, 09:11   #22
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Did the same. Only Ranch versions (18.5) ship to California. A classic for sure and I enjoyed it for a bit but needed to give it the tactical treatment.

Measured once and cut twice to 16.25 inches using a hacksaw as per SANDOG's suggestion. No need to laugh at the idea of using a hacksaw, it works out pretty well as long as it is close to a 90 degree cut. I used a metal file to clean it up and get it to near a 90 degree face. There is an ongoing debate if you even need a 90 degree face or if close enough achieves the same results. I belong to the latter group. Especially if you are adding a muzzle device which supersedes the face.

I had a 581+ so a linear cutter was necessary to take it down to slightly over .5 inches. Threaded with a 1/2x28 die set. Advantage of linear cutter on a 580+ is you can achieve the common 1/2x28 thread.

Cut the crown by chucking a brass machine screw into a drill and using grinding compound generously. Crown came out beautifully.

Used a replacement front sight from Cogburn Arsenal.

Could I have just found a tacital somehow and get it shipped here? Sure but I am single handedly trying to change the bias the millenials are lazy left wing nuts with no skills
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Old 05-01-2020, 09:34   #23
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Good job Aguy. Just remember now that your pseudo tactical will now need more gas fed into it than before.
It took a few minutes to sink in when I first shot my Mini after shortening, as it was cycling PPU and Silver Bear (barely), but then the Geco ammo was not working the bolt or ejecting.
Took it home and put a larger gas bushing in it, and now it ejects everything a good 10 feet.
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