Series 188 Mini 14 - Shooting Sports Forum

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

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Old 05-31-2020, 06:07   #1
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Series 188 Mini 14

Back in the mid nineties I bought a NIB Mini 14 #188-856xx. I had shot less than 150 rounds thru it before life took a sharp turn and it became a safe queen. There it has sat for the last 20 plus years. Now I want to get it back out & back into service. Other than a good cleaning what mods or upgrades does anyone suggest or recommend? I've heard about recoil buffers, aucu-struts and such. If it was yours what would you do to it?

If I remember correctly is wasn't that accurate & flung the brass into the next county. Any help with that would be welcome! Thanks!
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:22   #2
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The three top things i can think of:

1) reduced gas port bushing. ASI sells them as a kit so you can try out several, and see what works best for you, using your standard load/ brand of ammo.

2) Heat sink - Can be a rail, or strut. Choose one, but not both. An 8lb. or heavier mini 14 seems to me to take away from it's most desirable characteristic. A lightweight, manuveral handy carbine. If you choose the strut, also replace the factory handguard with the Choate lightweight handguard. That will help mitigate some of your weight gain, and promote more efficient barrel cooling.

3) Get a trigger smoothing, lightning job done. If you doubt your own abilities to do this, it is easily worth the money to pay a competent gunsmith to do it. My gunsmith can get the pull down to about 4.5 lbs without replacing parts. If you want lighter than that, parts will be required. ( Spring(s)).

You may or may not want/need 1911 style buffers at the reciever end and/or the gas block end of the recoil ( Op-rod) spring. I choose to only have a buffer on the reciever side. With a reduced gas port bushing, it is my opinion that the need for a buffer on both ends is not necessary.
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Old 05-31-2020, 09:59   #3
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backshot: Welcome to the forum from Central Virginia!

There's some good info here: Sunflower Ruger Mini-14/30 Barrel Twist Rates

Barrel-twist rate helps with the choice of bullet weight. Plenty of threads here on PU about that but suffice it to say the heavier, the better for your 1:7 barrel.

Your 188 has a thin barrel (not "tapered") but that isn't the end of the world. Every Mini is different, and my 181 skinny is good for 3-4 MOA unsupported and with an impatient shooter (me) and factory ammo. Perfectly acceptable for a carbine, and it could likely do 50% better with a decent bench-rest and a patient shooter.

Being a Ranch model, a reduced gas bushing is likely a good idea: they're inexpensive, semi-easy to replace. I'd recommend getting a set of three different sizes: S/H is the same and "every mini is different"... S/H is likely the largest part of the price.

Buffers: without doubt, a rear buffer should work wonders. A front buffer is likely the more important one in terms of shielding any optics from the harsh "forward recoil" Minis are known for. The lip on the front of the op-rod does tend to chop up front buffers, though. I just ground mine off on a newer model (my 181 didn't have one and worked just fine with a front buffer).

Your eject pattern/distance is largely a function of the violent cycling of the Mini. If you can tame that down a bit with a smaller bushing and still keep it reliable, that is the sweet spot.

An Accu-Strut will keep barrel-whip down to a minimum, and also help with some barrel cooling. My 181 didn't need it, but it is a GB model with a flash hider and bayo lug, which seemed to counteract any barrel whip.

Keep listening up, reviewing, and note future posts. Were you, I'd go with the smaller bushing and see how thing work first. Just remember, your Mini is a light-weight carbine, not a sniper rifle...
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Old 05-31-2020, 10:37   #4
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For my 188 I bedded the stock, did a trigger job, went to shooting
moly kote hand loads and added a barrel tuner. I put a canvas
flap over the ejection port to tame the brass. I put the brass flap
on after a friend blew out a window while shooting from the cab
of his truck.

All that turned
my mini into a decent shooter. It went from a 6moa to a sub moa.
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Series 188 Mini 14-mini2.jpg   Series 188 Mini 14-mini-1.jpg   Series 188 Mini 14-mini3.jpg  
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Old 05-31-2020, 13:08   #5
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^^^ What these guys said as far as reducing gas and increasing accuracy,
One thing that could happen with a Mini that has sat for 20 years is the front of the op-rod might be stuck to the gas pipe. If it is, give it a good smack to get it loose, then give those parts a good cleaning.
In severe cases you might need to soak the area first with some PB Blast or the like.
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Last edited by sandog; 05-31-2020 at 16:12.
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Old 06-01-2020, 03:09   #6
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Thanks Gentlemen for all the replies. Today I'm ordering a bushing set & Choate handguard. Has anyone tried the adjustable gasblock assembly? Pricey but interesting. I'm looking at a Trueshot Technologies strut, any advice on them? Next is sending off the trigger group for a going over. At my age & eyesight I'm sure the gun can outshoot my abilities!
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Old 06-01-2020, 05:55   #7
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There's a lot of stuff on ASI's website that looks interesting, but none of it is necessary.
Pricey, yes.
You are getting the bushing set, so also having an adjustable gas block would be redundant and a big waste of money.

Most that get an adjustable block find where they want it and leave it there.
Just like you will be doing when you try a couple different bushings and then settle on the one you like.

The ONLY advantage for an adjustable block would be not having to open up the gas block several times to try different bushings. Or when you find your Mini is starting to throw brass further ( due to gas opening up your bushing ) you can just tighten down the adjustment screw and be back to your "spot", instead of having to open up the gas block and slip in a new bushing.
Really taking your gas block apart and putting it back together is not a big deal. less than 5 minutes, and after you've done it a few times you could do it blindfolded.

Now about Trueshot. While all struts are pretty much the same, there are a few reasons I'd pay a bit more and buy a strut from someone else.
The maker/owner is a member here, fmj50. He has a habit of hawking his products here on the forum, asking our opinion, and when we tell him what we think, he tells us we are idiots and he knows what's best.
He has quite the attitude and has ruined most of the threads he's jumped on.
His stuff, in my opinion ( and others here ) is blocky, angular and butt ugly.
He keeps dropping his prices in order to sell some of his product.

Do yourself a favor, and get the original and best looking strut, the Accustrut.
The owner/maker, Kevin, is a member here as well (goes by the user name of kkina), and is modest and a great guy.
His forum here in the vendor section is Nest Engineering.
I have bought a couple of his struts. I also have a Mo-Rod strut I got in a trade.
It's a good strut too, but the clamps aren't as streamlined as the Accustrut.

You're on the right track with the bushings and Choate handguard, keeping your Mini simple and reliable.
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Old 06-01-2020, 08:14   #8
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My 186 Series Mini LOVED the 77 grain OTMBT MK161 MOD1 ammo! Serious thump! A strut is a good idea on the pencil barrels if you want consistent long range accuracy. For a 100 yard or less defensive carbine, it is unnecessary. I regularly qualified at 100 yards with a pencil barrel Mini-14 for use as a LEO trunk weapon.
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Old 06-01-2020, 08:34   #9
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My 188 was stringing bullets after the barrel heated up. Had a good Smith shorten
the barrel to 16 inches, re-crown and add a compensator,best $100 I ever spent.
I re-used the original front sight and installed a rear Tech Sight, I found it necessary to shave a little off the front sight in order to keep the Tech Sight below the side guards.
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Old 06-01-2020, 18:01   #10
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Can't speak for your series 188 but I will from my 583 Mini-14 ranch.
I did originally order a set of interchangeable gas bushings, took apart the gas block, inserted one of a lesser orifice, worked sort of O.K. but needed another one of the set to do further less gas adjustment.
I'll stop here with that take down of the gas block, retighten to torque specs of the gas block, etc. because I am not a fan of loosening-tightening over and over machine screws into a threaded base without a hex or some other type of through bolt nut.
Put the set of bushings up for sale and soon passed them on to another happy Mini-14 enthusiast then I purchased an ASI adjustable gas block. A simple click twist of that gas block makes a huge difference in where the spent casing lands-non ejected as in single shot or into outer space. I have no expertise evidence pertaining to the accuracy of the unit with the ASI adjustable gas block but I do know as in owing one it certainly tames or horrifies the ejection system, your choice. Just my opinion.
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