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Mini-14 accuracy?

Discussion in 'Rifle Discussion' started by CounterOfBeans, Nov 20, 2013.

  1. CounterOfBeans

    CounterOfBeans northwest Active Member

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    I did try to find other posts about this Mini-14 question I have but most of the hits I got were WTS/WTT ad posts. If this question has already been beat to death, please do send me to the thread that beat it to death. Otherwise, my question is that I'm interested in a Mini-14 for a .223 platform, but a guy I met at a gun table at the PDX gun show said their accuracy was moderate to poor. Can anyone else's experience confirm or rebut this? Is it that Mini-14's have been so eclipsed in popularity by the AR platform, that little has been done to fine tune these guns? Thanks for the input.
     
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  2. simon99

    simon99 Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    As I recall there was a pretty large thread on this about a month or two ago.....though I can't seem to find it. The general consensus, and one that I share, is that Mini-14's are great if you want to shoot out to 300 yards or less with not a lot of precision, want more distance and precision then look elsewhere. They're a great rifle, but as you mention, the AR platform has just overtaken the market shared by the Mini.
     
  3. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    The older Mini-14 and Mini-30 had varying degrees of accuracy but were mostly poor to moderate. Three inch groups at 100 yards were uncommon. However the new Mini-14 and 30 with it's larger barrel have much improved accuracy. The serial numbers beginning with 580-, 581-, 582-, etc are the new rifles. With these new designed rifles, groups of 1 inch at 100 yards or even smaller are common.

    This being said, most lovers of the AR-15 platform have little love for the Ruger Mini series.

    I have a newer one, I also have ARs and Sig 556 rifles and a few others. For me, the Mini is a must have.

    tb
     
  4. flashpan

    flashpan Beaverton Active Member

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    I have owned several mini-14's and admit I have a weakness for them, but I also have to admit their accuracy is marginal. With the older series rifles it's not uncommon to see 3 MOA or worse. The newer 581 series rifle have a better barrel and are much more accurate. The last 581 series stainless gun I owned would shoot 1MOA out of the box. Truth is they were never designed to be highly accurate...but super dependable. I also have a custom mini 14 built by ACI out of Colorado that easily shoots <1/2 MOA...small groups...large price. Hope this helps.
     
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  5. CounterOfBeans

    CounterOfBeans northwest Active Member

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    Thanks guys. This helps quite a bit. Sounds like if I just keep my Mini shopping in the 580+ ser. # range, I'll be good. If you don't mind, I do have some other questions like:

    Is this "580..." serial numbering format the same, whether Mini-14 or Mini-30 or stainless or standard blue?

    What cartridge is the Mini-30 exactly? The 7.62 x 39?

    Do they make them in 5.56?

    On the stainless guns, is everything stainless, including bolt group?

    Thanks
     
  6. simon99

    simon99 Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    To the best of my knowledge ALL Mini's will shoot either 223 or 5.56 with the EXCEPTION of the target models which will only shoot 223 according to Rugers website. Mini 30's shoot 7.62X 39mm....

    That's my contribution towards your questions....
     
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  7. WAYNO

    WAYNO Oregon City Gold Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Actually, I think the barrel change occurred w/ the 581 s/n prefix. The barrel change is obvious...Instead of a non-contoured barred ahead of the gas block, it will have a swell in the barrel ahead of the gas block and taper to the muzzle.

    Yep, the Mini 30 is 7.62x39.

    These guns will handle both the .223 or 5.56 in the Ranch Rifle. The chamber is cut to allow either cartridge. The Target Model has a chamber cut for only .223.

    The bolt is stainless.

    I have quite an affinity for these guns too. They are not fragile. I truly have never had a failure in the many I've owned. Nope, it's not as accurate as my varmint guns, but with the factory peep sights, any target you can see is a target you can hit.

    WAYNO.
     
  8. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I have a 580- serial number prefix that has the improved barrel. It shoots MOA with my reloads.

    Here's a photo of what Wayno is describing as the swell in the barrel. Just make sure the rifle has this.

    ruger_mini14.jpg

    ruger_mini14.jpg
     
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  9. AMT

    AMT Vancouver, WA. Gold Supporter Gold Supporter

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    I believe you guys when you state that the 580+ serial numbers are better than the "older" ones. I am no expert or have vast knowledge regarding them.

    I must say that my dad must have gotten lucky when he purchased his 183 serial number years ago. We were shooting quarters at 100 yards. Maybe we were just lucky?

    What where you looking to shoot at? Distance?
     
  10. WAYNO

    WAYNO Oregon City Gold Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Yep, you're perzactly correct. I stand corrected. In addition to the barrel changes there were other on-going changes during the 580-era, cosmetic in nature. Looks like this was the time that Ruger took more seriously the often-times-unfounded bad accuracy rap the Mini 14 had, and started making some attempts to get the rumors behind them.

    WAYNO.
     
  11. WAYNO

    WAYNO Oregon City Gold Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I'm in full agreement with you. I've shot many of the pencil-barrel Mini's, and I never experienced the horrible accuracy that many had reported.

    What distance? Didn't really matter. With the peep sights, as long as I could see the target, I could hit it. If a rock was big enough to see through the peep sights at 200 yards, it was a dead rock. I don't mean to sound elusive, but this is a battle rifle. Any coyote that was close enough to see through the sights could be a dead coyote. My experience with any Mini and peep sights was no different than any M-16 I shot in the service.

    WAYNO.
     
  12. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    I have a 181 series. Bought it new in the mid-70's.
    The picture in post 8 is the "Ranch model.

    My experience is that the Mini-14 is a durable, jam-free, easy to clean rifle.
    Accuracy at 100 yards is unfocused (crappy).

    Accurizing requires receiver bedding as the Garand and M1A.
    I carefully flat-stoned the trigger mechanism. Too much will grind away the hardened surfaces.

    Here's a couple links to some modern offerings
    The Original Barrel Strut for Mini-14s
    Rifle Accuracy Systems Inc Custom Accurate Rifles Barrel Conversions Ruger Mini Remington 700 7400 750 AR10 AR15
    Accurizing the Mini14 - Great West Gunsmithing
    index
     
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  13. WAYNO

    WAYNO Oregon City Gold Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Is 581 a typo?
    The mid-seventies s/n series was 180-xxxx thru 181-xxxx.

    581-xxx was not made til 2009.

    WAYNO.


    New Mini-14 Ranch Rifle
    Caliber: 223 Rem
    Beginning Serial Number: Years of Production:
    580-00001 2005
    580-15286 2006
    580-32382 2007
    580-50951 2008
    * 580-76276 and 581-00000 2009
    * 581-48753 2010
    * 581-71056 2011
    * 581-95645 2012
    * 582-29041 2013
     
  14. rick benjamin

    rick benjamin USA, Or, Damascus Secure the drama Silver Supporter 2016 Volunteer

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    Wayno
    My bad, brain fart! corrected post, sorry
     
  15. Nomad1911

    Nomad1911 Beaverton New Member

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    I don't know about the old models but my new model with a leupold scope is one the most accurate rifles I have ever owned,you can really tell when firing from a bench rest,though nothing seems to be as accurate as my enfield mark 3 in .303 british.
     
  16. CounterOfBeans

    CounterOfBeans northwest Active Member

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    Wow, thanks again for all the skinny on the Mini. One question I have about the barrel fattening though is that from what I'm seeing and hearing, the fattening of the barrel begins at the half way point 'ish of the barrel. WAYNO says:

    "...it will have a swell in the barrel ahead of the gas block and taper to the muzzle."

    Maybe I'm misconstruing this. Maybe the barrel is just as fat between the gas block and chamber and can't tell in the pic that Trailboss posted. But if the barrel begins its fattening in front of the gas block, isn't that a bit odd?

    In the event one were to fire a whole crap load of ammo through the gun, if the bulk of the barrel weight is at the end of the barrel, wouldn't the skinny first half get hotter and therefore "softer" faster than the front end and be liable to a sag effect from the extra weight pulling down in front of it? Is it that the gas tube apparatus acts as support that counters any sag potential? Are there other guns that have front-half-fattened barrels?
     
  17. jbett98

    jbett98 NW Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I believe the thicker portion is to help with the harmonic vibrations that the earlier mini's had such a problem with.
    There is a company that specializes in tuning the earlier Mini's. They shorten the barrel a little, custom target crown, tune the gas block, bed the stock and a whole bunch of other items that turn your gun into a target rifle.
    Problem is, they charge over $1,200.00 to start.
     
  18. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    The barrel thickening just forward of the gas block does three things.

    1. Dampens harmonic vibration when firing.
    2. Heavier barrel resists movement when heating up.
    3. Barrel swell/gas block acts as a tensioner to stiffen the barrel back to the receiver.

    The result is greatly improved accuracy, on par with similar priced AR rifles. An advantage goes to the AR for accuracy if you add dollars (a $1500+ AR can be more accurate than an $800 Mini-14).
     
  19. WAYNO

    WAYNO Oregon City Gold Supporter Gold Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    There's both a lot of art and a lot of science involved in designing barrel contours that will positively affect harmonics. I suspect Ruger spent a lot of time figuring out where they needed to change the barrel contour. Yes, on the chamber side of the gas block, the barrel is smaller diameter than the swelled portion.

    Also, for discussions sake, the Target Model...Ruger designed the adjustable harmonic dampener on the barrel on the muzzle side of the gas block, also leading me to believe this is the portion of the barrel that is a culprit.

    Here's a little different view of the new and improved barrel...
    P1010378_zps419755c9.jpg

    P1010380_zpsd362f69b.jpg

    WAYNO.
     
  20. Blitzkrieg

    Blitzkrieg WA Well-Known Member

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    Trailboss is pretty spot on except one of the 3 minis I bought back in the mid 1980s is literally a 1 MOA gun with mil surp M855. It has low rounds and a drilled/tapped scope and is a safe queen. One of the three was a minute of pie plate gun I traded away and the other is 3 MOA and up till now has been my daily truck/trunk gun. A SIG 556R and a new HK 93 clone build are about to replace it but it's still a great loaner rifle. Go to youtube and watch this 2 part review on the latest version

    Mini-14 Against The World Pt 1 by Nutnfancy - YouTube

    Mini-14 Against The World Pt 2 by Nutnfancy - YouTube

    BTW a good flash suppressor will dampen harmonics and increase accuracy.. mine all had/have them

    Here's the safe queen

    2013_11_24_348_21804afcc1741ce78659.jpg