Gas bushing effect ? - Shooting Sports Forum


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

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Old 09-16-2020, 17:35   #1
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Gas bushing effect ?

I've owned my 186 series rifle about a month I bought it in the box new. So far the only changes are a good trigger job and High Tech rear sight.

Function's good and it doesn't throw the brass too far, 8ft. at one/two o'clock, no damage to the brass. The only load I've tried so far is 55 gr bullets with a 1/2 grain over a starting load of AA2230. Accuracy seems ok for a non scoped Mini 14 based on what I've read here.

Will a smaller gas bushing at this point change anything or make enough positive difference to be worth trying?
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Old 09-16-2020, 18:49   #2
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Originally Posted by 0311 View Post
I've owned my 186 series rifle about a month I bought it in the box new. So far the only changes are a good trigger job and High Tech rear sight.

Function's good and it doesn't throw the brass too far, 8ft. at one/two o'clock, no damage to the brass. The only load I've tried so far is 55 gr bullets with a 1/2 grain over a starting load of AA2230. Accuracy seems ok for a non scoped Mini 14 based on what I've read here.

Will a smaller gas bushing at this point change anything or make enough positive difference to be worth trying?
I suggest cleaning it, lubing it properly, and shooting it with lots of different ammo before making any other changes. Verify that the rifle and magazines function 100% reliably. Give it a little time/use to "wear-in".

How did you manage to find a NIB 186 series rifle a month ago? That might be a cool story.

We are all ready to help you. Changing the gas bushings is an option. Many users report some benefits from the changeover, but you may not need to do so.
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Last edited by RIBob; 09-16-2020 at 19:17.
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Old 09-16-2020, 18:50   #3
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No, Your rifle is good to go..
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Old 09-16-2020, 19:15   #4
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I'm in the "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" camp. That being said, it all depends on your purpose and expectations for your Mini. I'm more about practical accuracy for recreational plinking, self-defense and hunting. If I were into competition marksmanship for points I'd do everything I could within reason to shrink my groups shooting from the bench.

My best groups in my 189 Series Mini-30 have been around 1-5/8" @ 100 yards, but that's not consistent. That's more of a fluke. My Mini-30 is a consistent sub 2 MOA shooter, which I consider decent practical accuracy.

Would I be happy if it was consistently sub MOA? You bet... I'd be tickled pink, but I don't expect or require that from a Mini or most any other semi-auto.
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Old 09-16-2020, 19:26   #5
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RIBob, I got this off another website. No one wanted it when they found out it was a 186 prefix. I checked the owners references and they were outstanding. He dropped his price to $700 delivered and I bought it. Not a mark on it. Box and rifle appeared brand new.

I always wanted one and didn't plan on scoping it. After seeing a used 580 series go for $1650 on Gun Broker a couple of weeks before I figured I couldn't go wrong.
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Old 09-17-2020, 07:01   #6
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I wouldn't want my brass ejecting less than 8 feet for 100% reliability.
Naturally, better accuracy is achieved if all gas is shut off and you turn your Mini into a single shot, but these aren't target guns.

As you shoot more, the bushing will get flame cut, and the hole will get bigger. You'll notice your brass will be ejecting farther. But this will take quite a while, years if you don't shoot much.
I don't worry about putting in a new bushing until brass is going more than 15 feet.

0311, did you notice you had to crank your Tech sight way up high ?
I've put Tech sights on older Minis, and the old style, fat single blade front sight is too tall. My Tech was cranked up so high to zero, the top was up above the protective wings and was a bit wobbly.
I got a take off new style winged sight, and all was well again.

On the Mini I built for my daughter, I kept the fat blade sight to use with a Tech, but shortened it, and also thinned the blade. Now the front sight doesn't cover something the size of a small car at 200 yards.
Heck, I even thin the skinnier winged sight blades. In effect, makes it like a National Match blade, much easier to do good work with.
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:25   #7
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If the 186 has the older spring and plunger type ejector then it isn't likely to ever eject much farther as it wears in and changing the gas bushing won't do a whole lot to change ejection distance. The fixed ejectors are subject to the speed at which the bolt blows back from the gas port and are notorious for sending the brass to the next zip code. So, is the 186 a "Ranch Rifle" (with a fixed ejector) or not? I can't remember when the model was changed.
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Old 09-17-2020, 09:58   #8
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sandog, You're right, with the factory Birch stock I had to crank the Tech sight above the protective wings to make it work. I replaced the Birch stock with the Ruger synthetic stock which has a little more drop in the stock. That got me lower on the stock and I ended up having to lower the aperture to just below the protective wings. Not saying that'll work that way for everyone but it works ok for me at 100 yards. Might not if I try to do some long range shooting.
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Old 09-17-2020, 11:52   #9
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Mini-14 (181-186)
Thin barrel, ejector is in the bolt, no scope ring scallops cast into the receiver.
This is a good, quick reference:
Sunflower Ammo.com: Ruger Mini-14/30 Barrel Twist Rates

Depending on your S/N, the barrel twist rate is either 1:7 or 1:9. Knowing which will help guide your ammo choice (bullet weight). But 55g or 62g is always a safe bet.

As hellgate pointed out, your 186's ejection is from a spring in the bolt, and not an ejector in the bolt stop assembly. Ranch Rifles (which have the ejector in the bolt-stop assembly) are sensitive to the over-gassing and generally have long eject distances: that can be fixed with a reduced size gas bushing. They didn't start until the 187-series.

Your 186's ejection distance is good, and fiddling with the gas bushing won't affect it.

My 181-series (mechanically the same as your 186 with the exception of the barrel twist rate) is all-original and I have not fiddled with any of the mechanicals since I bought it in 1980. After un-told thousands of rounds and 40 years of ownership, it ejects at the 3-Oclock position at about 3-4 feet. The spring is probably tired, but it has been 100% reliable for the past 40 years. It ain't broke, so I won't "fix" it.

Hope this helps. If you have stringing issues, an Accustrut can help.

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-17-2020, 13:47   #10
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Thanks to all for the info. Saved me some money. I'll leave as is.
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Old 09-18-2020, 16:26   #11
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As suggested, shoot the Mini with various ammo to ascertain reliability.

Given 100% reliability of the Mini, then there are some things you might want to consider in the future.

You have mentioned a trigger job, replacement of rear sights, and a synthetic stock. These things have been demonstrated to be useful.

It is likely that an Accu-Strut, or a Mo-Rod barrel stabilizer might be of benefit to you. Both are similar devices, and are simple installs. Many Pencil-Barrel users report significantly improved accuracy results with such devices. I have added a ""Drilled', dual-clamp Accu-Strut to my Mini, and have obtained definite accuracy improvements.

I suggest the dual-clamp, drilled version because it has somewhat less weight, and the dual clamp model is far more effective than the single-clamp model. The various mfrs state so, in their text descriptions.

I might also suggest the Choate Machine and Tool Combo Front Sight and Flash-Suppressor device, if your State allows such. All Minis can benefit from a flash suppressor, and the Choate unit has a closed bottom, which tends to keep the muzzle down during rapid fire. Also provides a protected, military-type front sight. This unit generally requires inexpensive gunsmith installation. I have one on my Mini.

So, go shoot your Mini, and have fun! There are some simple, fairly inexpensive upgrades that you can make, if you see fit.

Best of Luck!
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