Have questions on the buffer system - Shooting Sports Forum

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

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Old 04-20-2020, 10:25   #1
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Have questions on the buffer system

I received a packet of 6 Wilson buffers for the 1911 pistol. One will be put on the recoil spring at the receiver end. I have removed the lip from the front of the slide handle and removed just enough material to clean up the front surface.
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Old 05-02-2020, 17:23   #2
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One on front and one on rear will be great. Some of the thicker rear buffers like Black Jack can be too thick and cause issues like the bolt not locking back on the last round. I run one front and one rear. The rear lasts forever, believe it or not, and the front also lasts a long time, but usually not as long as the rear.
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Old 05-02-2020, 17:38   #3
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I also run one front and rear and remove the OP rod lip.
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Old 05-03-2020, 02:50   #4
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Running both is a good thing. many guys run only a back buffer but the front one does more, and is especially important if you run an optic.
When the charging handle pushes the bolt back, the back of the bolt will make slight contact with the inside/top of the receiver, but at that point most of the energy has been absorbed by the recoil spring being compressed.

When the charging handle goes forward, there is nothing that keeps it from slamming into the gas block, and that forward slam is what is hard on scopes or dots.
A reverse recoil, like a springer air rifle, and we all know how hard they are on optics.

I guess some guys think that if they run a front buffer it will keep their bolt from locking fully, but if you cycle your action slowly and watch the bolt, the bolt will lock up fully into battery long before the charging handle goes all the way forward.
It will go almost another 1/4" forward after the bolt has fully locked. So you'd have to have a really thick buffer to affect bolt lock up.

The sharp front edge on the charging handle should be smoothed (if there is one) so there is no lip, a simple procedure. The thickness of the buffer will replace the "stand -off" the lip created, so you'll still have the same fit around the gas pipe.
This will assure greater longevity of the front buffer, but as imarangemaster said above, the front will have to be replaced sooner than the rear.

The front buffer gets blasted by some of the powder gasses, so will become blackened and charred, which will make it hard and less effective.
But this takes a while, I can usually get 600-700 rounds before I decide to replace the front.

For the rare Mini that balks at running buffers and will give cycling problems, don't give up on them just yet. You could try running a half thickness buffer.
Forget using a razor knife, even with a new blade it will take longer and not be very even. That Wilson polymer is tough.
I've clamped the lower half of the buffer in a vise, and used one of these Dremel tips that looks like a miniature circular saw blade. Cut the top half of the buffer, flip in the vise and do the other half.

One thing to check periodically when you have the stock off to inspect your buffers is that they are still in the correct position, and haven't become wadded up or folded over.
This is more of a possibility with a thinned buffer than a full thickness one.

When you replace the op-rod and recoil spring, make sure you get the pointy tip of the guide rod facing UP. Here you can see the pointy end is up towards the wood hand guard. If it goes in pointing down, you will have very rough, non existent cycling.
There have been many new guys, some here but mostly over on Ruger forum, that get a new Mini, clean it and then it's not working properly. Mention the tip up thing to them, and then they say yeah, that's what was wrong.
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:51   #5
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While Wilson buffers on the front are generally fine, I also toy with other material. On my 181, I use vinyl baseboard material and, properly cut, covers then entire face of the op-rod. Gas pipe hole is cut using a 9mm/.380 casing. Vinyl baseboard isn't particularly "spongy", but eliminates the original metal-metal contact, which is the whole point. Like a difference in in using thin rubber or a nerf-wrap for a ball-paean hammer: both get the job done but the rubber is a bit more handy. Many owners "roll-their-own" using vacuum-cleaner belts: scissors or X-Acto knife and a 9mm/.380 casing as a hole-punch make quick work of making several. That pesky front lip is what destroys front buffers, though. So I removed the one on my 583 Tactical (there wasn't one on my 181) with no ill-effects: as long as I had some sort of buffer up front, and preferably at least the same thickness as the lip/slider/dicer.

1911 buffers are easy and convenient, though...and I have some in the event I become lazy (or lazier). I never knew they existed before my Mini excursion, and now have one on my 1911 (nice).

As Sandog noted, the rear buffer will last forever. As a rule of thumb for me, after putting in a front buffer, hand-travel the op-rod and see how far it travels before engaging the bolt. There should be some travel, but not much is necessary. If there is no travel, that would indicate the buffer is too thick and might cause some bolt-locking problems, which is not good!

Good luck!
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Old 05-03-2020, 14:45   #6
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Sandog, you had confused for a while and had to look at my manual. I was forgetting that to assemble the spring assembly, it's normally done turning the barrel/receiver upside down. Guess I would say to put the spring assembly point towards the barrel side.
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Old 05-03-2020, 15:20   #7
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Double post

Last edited by sandog; 05-03-2020 at 15:24. Reason: dang slow internet connection
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Old 05-03-2020, 15:21   #8
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I hold mine upside down when assembling too, easier to get that stiff spring in.
I guess instead of saying the tip should point up, I should have said the pointy tip goes towards the barrel and hand guard but that should be obvious from the pic above.
Pics are worth a thousand words, or at least a few dozen words.

I assumed when you go shoot the Mini it will be pointing up, and so should the pointed tip of the guide rod.
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