Mini 14 Magazine Fit & Function Problems - Shooting Sports Forum


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

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Old 10-01-2010, 20:45   #1
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Exclamation Mini 14 Magazine Fit & Function Problems

What's up folks!

I just joined up yesterday, and I wanted to share a few problems I've had with my 1989 Ranch rifle(series 187), which I purchased in 2004.

First off, it came with 3 magazines: 5 round, 20 round and 30 round. The 5 rounder is made by Ruger, but the others dont have any name on them. Before I ever shot the rifle, I tried out every magazine by filling them almost full with cartridges, installing the mags into the rifle, and cycling the cartridges through the action to see how well everything worked. I noticed that the 30 round mag had problems, as the cartridges wouldnt properly strip off the mag into the chamber. They were jamming. So I fixed the problem by bending the little tabs which hold the cartridges in the magazine(what are they called?) That seemed to temporarily solve it, but I am worried that those tabs can easily just get bent back out of position. As I remember, I also had the same problem with the 20 round mag once or twice at first, but it didnt happen again. Then when I actually started shooting the rifle, I always carried only the 20 round mag with me to the range, as I didnt trust the 30 rounder, and the 5 round mag had been misplaced by my girlfriend at some point, and I have not been able to find it since.
Another big problem I have with these magazines(or maybe its the rifle?),
is with installing the magazines into the magazine well, and getting them to click in all the way. They dont just slide in and click into place like so many other rifles. I have to slide it in on an angle, then rock it into place until it clicks in, but some times I have to keep rocking it back and forth- back and forth til it clicks. But some times, I rock it back and forth several times and it doesnt click, so I have to remove it completely, the slide it back in again and try again! It is usually more difficult to get the magazines in when they have rounds in them, but keep in mind, I never fill my magazines completely. I usually put 15-16 rounds into the 20 rounder, so that I dont wear out the springs. I used to have an absolutely beautiful 1918 model British
SMLE(short magazine Lee- Enfield infantry rifle), which had been in my family since before I was born, and as a kid I used to check it out all the time, although my dad never kept ammo in the house for any of our guns until we got older, so that we wouldnt get hurt. But whenever I removed and replaced it's 10 round magazine, it slid right out, and easily slid right back in and clicked into place, no problem. I also have read several times that the M-14(and so probably also the M1-A) had the best magazine of probably any rifle. The Mini 14 is obviously modeled on the M-14, but apparently its magazines and magazine well system must be among the worst of all rifles! Unfortunately, I no longer have the 5 round Ruger mag as I stated earlier, so I cant compare it.
So..... is it the magazines, or the gun, or both that has problems? I just couldnt imagine being in a SHTF situation, and have to deal with these problems when it really mattered! Not that I see the [email protected]#t hitting the fan anytime soon......
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Old 10-02-2010, 11:34   #2
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The magazines have to rock into place to catch the front support stud and the mag catch. 99% of aftermarket mag problems is the locking lug on the mag. It's usually too high, so the magazine rides low and jams. Weld up the bottom of the lug and then file it down until it locks nice and tight. If you can't weld it, take some to the local exhaust pipe shop and have them run a bead on the bottom of the lug. these guys are used to welding thin materials. Since the weld will make the lug longer, you'll need to fit it with some files and almost always the mag will work fine. I do not recommend bending the feed lips. Even with the right tool (pliers ain't it) the chance for misalignment, breakage or weaken them is too great unless you have lots of experience with doing it.
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Old 10-02-2010, 12:48   #3
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Not that it'll help your problem out any...

While removable, Enfield magazines were intended to be left in place and reloaded with stripper clips.
Cliff Claven behavior on my part.
Good luck
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Old 10-02-2010, 21:21   #4
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Exclamation So helpful!

Originally Posted by Greg Graham View Post
While removable, Enfield magazines were intended to be left in place and reloaded with stripper clips.
Cliff Claven behavior on my part.
Good luck

Thanks Cliff....!
Now its all so clear to me, and all my magazine problems are solved for eternity!
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Old 10-09-2010, 08:14   #5
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If you don't have a shooting buddy that has one you can borrow, go buy a 5, 10, 20 or 30 round mag that says Ruger on it and compare. If you still have problems maybe the mag catch on the gun has a weak spring or something, possible but I doubt it.

Since it is a used gun someone might have done some bubba gunsmithing on it, such as filing or adjusting the gun to make an after market mag work, instead of just buying a decent mag in the first place. A Ruger mag will probably solve your problem though. Seating a mag on a Mini should just be a simple rock and lock (listen for the click) to insert your mag.

I have had problems with aftermarket mags locking in kinda wierd (too low) or sometimes the follower doesn't seem to sit as high as it does in the Ruger mags, causing feeding problems.
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Old 10-09-2010, 11:18   #6
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Hopefully it isn't Bubba gunsmithing.......

Originally Posted by TJohn View Post
If you don't have a shooting buddy that has one you can borrow, go buy a 5, 10, 20 or 30 round mag that says Ruger on it and compare. If you still have problems maybe the mag catch on the gun has a weak spring or something, possible but I doubt it.

Since it is a used gun someone might have done some bubba gunsmithing on it, such as filing or adjusting the gun to make an after market mag work, instead of just buying a decent mag in the first place. A Ruger mag will probably solve your problem though. Seating a mag on a Mini should just be a simple rock and lock (listen for the click) to insert your mag.

I have had problems with aftermarket mags locking in kinda wierd (too low) or sometimes the follower doesn't seem to sit as high as it does in the Ruger mags, causing feeding problems.

Thanks, I will have to buy a Ruger mag soon and try it out.
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Old 10-09-2010, 12:01   #7
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First off, a caveat, this is no means scientific as I have just one example to compare because I disposed of all my other non-Ruger Mini 14 mags due to disatisfaction. I just got one of my Mini 14's out and compared the fit of a factory 20 rounder to that of a 30 rounder steel ProMag and observed the following: looking down into the action with the bolt open and mags inserted, there is much more light or space around all surfaces of the ProMag than there is the Ruger mag. The Ruger mag is just a much more tighter fit. While the Ruger mag will rock back and forth slightly in the mag well, the spaces around it's four walls don't really open up. However with the ProMag I see noticeable movement both forward and backward and from side to side, a big indicator of feed quality or lack thereof. I happened to just have the ProMag as I had intended to take it back and get my money back, but of course I forgot where I put it up at, so I could find it easily later!
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Old 10-11-2010, 02:39   #8
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I'd stick with the factory mags if at all possible for any future purchases.

As to loading the mag into the gun, try this:

Grab loaded mag in left hand, knuckles and rounds facing forward (assuming a right handed shooter)

Touch the knuckles of your left hand against the bottom of the forestock and rock the mag into place.

Ta Da!

Many times folks will not angle the mag far enough forward when loading and it will fail to seat properly.

Good luck!
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Old 10-11-2010, 03:49   #9
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I've had horrible luck with Triple K mags, but made them work, and much better luck with Promags and kinda in the middle with the USA brand. Think only the Promag is still in production. The new Promags work in my 3 minis with no modding. Like everybody else here, will now only be buying Ruger mags, may cost more but they just work better, and if they don't you can send them back to Ruger and get some that do.
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Old 10-20-2010, 19:07   #10
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My three ProMag 30 round magazines work just fine in my series 581 Mini-14. I just fired 90 rounds out of them Saturday evening.
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