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Old 03-06-2010, 05:22 PM
palmetto99 palmetto99 is offline
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Default Ruger Mini-14, Mini-30

I'm looking for input from members that have owned or still own one of the Ruger Mini-14 line. I had a chance to spend a couple of hours plinking with a Mini-30 a few years ago. I could keep about 80% of shoots on a 16"x16" steal plate at 125 yards. That was with a red dot sight that covered the entire plate. I did also have a chance to run a couple of mags through a copy of the full-auto version too. That was fun!

Any input (pro or con) welcome.

Thanks.
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Old 03-06-2010, 05:57 PM
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I have a new 12/2009 Mini-14 581 Ranch rifle SS/wood. About 2 years ago Ruger started using a heavy barrel on the Mini.

Most shooters get 1.5 inch moa @ 100 yds right out of the box. Plus one on the new rear sight too.

Me, I don't care my wife loves to shoot it.
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:16 PM
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I have a mini-14. Bought it years ago, it was not accurate. So I sent it to Chief AJ...ever hear of him? He fixed it! Man does it ever shoot. Red dot sight on his designed mount for it, up front with the barrel. He called it a Scout rifle. He said it was made to shoot coyote from horseback. It does point fast, and is a pleasure to shoot. When he does one, he checks it by shooting skeet. No kidding.
I think he still holds the world's record for aerial shots with a rifle. Something over 10,000 without a miss. Used a 10-22 I think.
He fell on hard times, had some trouble, lost his license and kind dropped outta sight. He really had a rep of doing good Ruger work.
I haven't shot this thing in 15 years. I guess it is about time to trade if for something I can use.
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:33 PM
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I had one and traded it for a Winchester 94. Sometimes wish I'd kept the Mini. It would feed anything but wasn't real accurate - 4-6" patterns at 100yd. For a truck gun, though, they're hard to beat. Light, durable, and reliable. What more can you ask for?

If I find a fair price on one again I'd probably grab it.
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:42 PM
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I've got an older "89" series 30 with a .308 bore, my second. I sold my first, regretted it and found another eventually.

Had a trigger job done on it after I retorqued the barrel band. Most of the acuracy issues with these rifles are due to the barrel band being uneven.

I can keep my 150g reloads on a silver dollar size spot all day long with it.

Here's the best Mini site I know of. You can get advice and parts or service through them.

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Old 03-06-2010, 06:51 PM
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I have a Mini-14 I inherited from my Grandfather, when he passed 2 years ago. It is an older model (187) with wood stocks, and standard blued barrel, has a Bushnell Banner LiteSite 3x9x40 (Made in Japan) scope. As someone else also mentioned, it shoots about 4" groups at 100 yards (should say I shoot 4" groups). Two things that haven't been mentioned, on my non-bull barrel, when it gets heated up after shooting a lot the group size will increase. Second do not let anyone stand to the shell ejection side of the gun--my Mini-14 will throw brass about 30 feet--YES 30 FEET! It does shoot about anything, even a lot of cheap brand ammo that wouldn't feed in my brother-in-laws AR15.

Last edited by novalty; 03-06-2010 at 10:56 PM.
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Old 03-06-2010, 06:53 PM
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Ive got a Mini-30. I guess its a brother to the Mini-14. (its shoots 7.62x39 in case you dont know) Its got a Bushnell scope, its all stainless and a wood stock, I bought it used. Last owner said he put two boxes of ammo through it and could not hit a broad side of a barn. He was using some Russian made soft point stuff, it didnt shoot well. I tried all different ammo, good USA brands, Wolf and so on, poor results some better than others. I found this Norinco "China Sports" stuff, its copper washed steel case. Its all most a tack driver. I can do about an inch at 100 yards !!! Yes, I bought a bunch of it, its about $0.35 each round.

After all that its an OK gun, the bolt sometimes jumps out the lever. It only holds 5 rounds, they have bigger mags but they are expensive or dont work well.

For less money you can get a non norinco SKS or (if legal in your state) an AK.

As for the Mini 14 Id rather have a AR, you can get some nice ones today.

This is just one persons experience and opinion, your mileage may vary...
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Old 03-06-2010, 07:39 PM
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Ruger now sells 20rd. mags for the Mini-30. You can order them right from Ruger.

Last edited by Maddog 521; 03-06-2010 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:18 PM
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I have a 182 series gb mini 14 and love it, do i shoot it at paper? no its a combat rifle the way i see it, i have a bushmaster ar15 and it will shoot around one inch groups at 100 yds, the feller i got it from said, but i never put a scope on it, but i might latter it is a flat top, i think the mini 14 is more reliable, but good ar mags are cheaper and easy to find.
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:19 PM
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My Mini-14 is about a year old, have shot countless 20 round mags through the gun, both factory and my reloads, and it has not had a single failure of any kind. I shoot it with the stock iron sights and consistently get groups of less than 2" @ 100 yds. I got the "Tactical" model when it first came out and it's been a great gun.

Ruger Mini-14 Tactical Rifle Autoloading Rifle
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Old 03-06-2010, 08:39 PM
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I had a 180 series Mini-14 that wouldn't group worth ****. A club member was crazy to have it even though I told him it wouldn't group. He offered me more than I paid for it so I sold it to him. Good riddance. I know that some Minis shoot well or can be made to but mine was just a stinker. I bought a matching M1 Carbine and never looked back.

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Old 03-06-2010, 09:01 PM
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I had a Mini 14 All Weather, SS with plastic stock. I really liked the rifle but traded it on a AR15 when they were the thing to have. The only thing I did not like about it then was it was the built for scope rings and you had to use that bracket thing. Now they come with rings. If I had the money I would buy another. They are just so simple and reliable. and I love the feel of the carbine style. Not so "Tactical/military". Yes the AR will out shoot it but for a all around gun, they are great.
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:05 PM
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I have a 180 series, with the nice wooden handguard,

my first rifle, not as accurate as my AR or some other rifles, but it will hold 4-5" or so at 100,

neat little plinker,
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:09 PM
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I have a stainless 197 Mini-14 Standard-folding stock,trigger job,lots of John Mason 30 round mags,etc.-throw it in mud,water,whatever,it ALWAYS goes bang!ALMOST as good as an AK-47[shoots 5.56 or.223 instead of 7.62X39].Shoots MOM[minute of man].
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Old 03-06-2010, 09:51 PM
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Wife got me one for my birthday in 08, shoots minute of coyote all day long, will take any ammo, and very easy to strip down and clean.

I love it!
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Old 03-06-2010, 11:29 PM
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Got a stainless ranch mini that I put a Williams peep sight on. I can Shoot 4" off handat 100 yards which is god enough for me. Right now, I have a Ruger factory folding stock on it and have 5 RUGER factory 30 rd mags and 4 factory 20 round mags. Is it an AR? No, but it's hell bent for stout and serves well in the flat boat in the marsh when we're out shooting pigs..
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Old 03-07-2010, 12:40 AM
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I guess we got lucky. Have an early generation Mini-14. Left handed girl friend shoots it mostly and does so regularly at machine gun shoots. She likes it much better than the AR-15 or M-16 rifles due to ejection patterns. The Mini-14 seems to be more lefty friendly than the AR guns.

We don't shoot bullseye type targets that often but she regularly pops reactive targets, 1 1/2 diameter dynamite sticks, at 300 yards with iron sights. Not with every shot but often enough to get noticed.

She doesn't have any issues with accuracy. Me, not so good. Your mileage may vary as well.

Gun has also been exceptionally reliable. Any issue has always been traced to poor quality aftermarket magazines. .
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:02 AM
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I have one of the older Mini 30's with a Weaver K4 scope that I really like. It gave poor accuracy until I added a slip on flash hider, and that addition really improved accuracy. Groups shrank from 5" at 100 yards to 1-1/2" with handloads. I believe the newer Mini's have much improved accuracy over the older models. The Mini 30 is a great little gun for plinking or short range hunting of small/medium sized game.
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Old 03-07-2010, 10:30 AM
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I have 2 from the mid 80's. A stainless folding stock mdl 184 and a stainless full stock mdl 185. Both have a slip on flash hider. I have a total of 13 20, 30 and 40 rd magazines for them. Both will shoot around 5" groups at 200 and 300 yards-darn close to as good as my DPMS AR15. It is really probably me that can't shoot any better than that. The folder has a 3x9-40mm while the full stock has a 4x16-40 scope, both mounted on the old B-Square mounts. The only FTF's I have ever had were due to my poor quality reloads early on. I also have an Arthur Ciener 22 conversion kit that I fit to either gun at times. With the kit in these will empty a 50 round box of hi-velocity ammo into a single 1 1/2" hole at 25 yards. Great for indoor practice in the winter. Takes all of about 2 minutes to change the bolt, op rod and spring. Only if you do it often enough to remember how to do it!
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Old 03-07-2010, 11:07 AM
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Fairly tough and reliable but definitely not a good choice if you want accuracy. I've owned several and the general consensus among the mini 14 owners I know is that they shoot patterns...not groups. If you find one that will do four inch groups, it's one of the better ones. A couple of friends have went the accurizing route to make them MOA guns, but it takes a chunk of money to make that happen....Ain't worth it unless you just have a fetish for mini 14s.
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Old 03-07-2010, 11:12 AM
ohiobuckeye ohiobuckeye is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buddy G View Post
I have a mini-14. Bought it years ago, it was not accurate. So I sent it to Chief AJ...ever hear of him? .....
Sure have...whatever happened to him? Swapping stories with him used to be one of the high points of going to the gun shows before he just disappeared a few years ago. Anybody know if he's still around?
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Old 03-07-2010, 01:28 PM
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I had one back in the eighties. Reliable: for sure; accuracy: could be better.

I don't think I ever saw anything throw empty cases as far; someone standing up close would get hammered.
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Old 03-07-2010, 02:58 PM
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FWIW, you can get adjustable gas blocks or as in my case, an inexpensive packet of gas tubes (3) of various internal diameter.

I found the right one for my loads and now it cycles smoothly and tosses the brass @ 6'.

The old joke about a mini is that with every pull of the trigger you get two projectiles, one out the front and the other out the side.

Shortly before my FIL passed, I showed him my mini 30. He carried a 30 carbine in the Pacific Theater - hated it! Not enough knock down power. He should know, he used it enough.

He said that the mini 30 was the gun they should have had. Same basic idea with enough power to do the job.
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Old 03-07-2010, 03:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjw3 View Post
I had one back in the eighties. Reliable: for sure; accuracy: could be better.

I don't think I ever saw anything throw empty cases as far; someone standing up close would get hammered.


A ranch gun throws empties to the right[3:00 position] to miss hitting the scope.My standard[197] throws the empties up and slightly to the rignt[1:00 position and in front].Lots better at the range.
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Old 03-08-2010, 01:12 PM
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I knew if I threw that out, I would get good feedback.
Thank you all.
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Old 03-08-2010, 02:01 PM
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I have a Ranch Rifle in .223 with a Weaver K-3. Shoots 1/2 inch (5 shot) groups at 100yrds (from a rest) and opens up to about +/- 2 inch group at 300. It will only do so with Winchester 55gr. factory rds. Everything else will open up to 1 1/2 to 2 inch group at 100yrds. and about 4-5 inches at 300. I bought it as a trunk rifle in 1985 and traded it for a like NIB 14-3 and some cash in 1992 to my partner. Bought it back in 2001 when he retired. I cleaned it up and mounted the K-3 back on it and it shot as good as when it was new.

I wonder if the Mini 14 were available in the early 60's to compete with the AR 15 for military use would it have come out ahead?
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Old 03-08-2010, 08:46 PM
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I have the SS ranch. Love it. It's a fun gun to shoot.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:13 PM
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I dumped my SS Ranch Rifle Folder after wasting too much time and money trying to make it reasonably accurate. As an alternative, take a look at an MSAR E4.
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Old 03-08-2010, 09:29 PM
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I use mine for coyote/hog control. They have never complained that they were hit off target. I love it. The bad side, is that when I took it to the range, the range officer would let me shoot only from the end station , the brass is not bystander friendly, as previously mentioned.
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Old 03-09-2010, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohiobuckeye View Post
Sure have...whatever happened to him? Swapping stories with him used to be one of the high points of going to the gun shows before he just disappeared a few years ago. Anybody know if he's still around?
Google him. Last I heard he is selling modified Red Ryder B-B guns with a lesson in point and shoot accuracy.
Don't laugh too hard...it works.
The story I got was got in trouble with the Feds...got some free rent. Was working for another gunsmith in Alaska when I lost track of him. He was a genius with a Ruger. 14s and 30s, and 10-22s. I had him do one of each for me. I kept the mini 14.
He was a real story teller wasn't he? I also have a Chief AJ hat. ha ha ha ha from the last shot show he worked in Vegas.
Colorful guy, part of gun history. A real character.
I treasure the Indian Head etched on the barrel of my mini 14
Lord help us old folks.
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Old 03-09-2010, 02:07 PM
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I have owned four Mini 14s and briefly had a Mini 30. I actually bought my first one (a Ranch model) from my college ethics professor. Anyway, I still have one Mini 14, a 580 series, purchased in 2007.

Long story short. Prior to the recent changes (heavier barrel, sometimes a shorter barrel ala the NRA special edition, different sights, etc) Mini 14s had a reputation for poor accuracy. Cold barrel accuracy was often acceptable, the real problems started when you heated one up. Many, though not all, guns would then begin to deliver shotgun like patterns and go from being a 3 or 4 MOA rifle to being an 8 MOA rifle. The GBs and full auto ones which had flash hiders (and the current tactical ones) often suffered less from this problem, causing many to believe that it was barrel harmonics that played a role. Thus there developed a cottage industry of voodoo fixes for Mini 14 accuracy. These involved muzzle attachments, shortening the barrel, changing the gas block, etc (I had an Amega rail that was another claimed fix). Some people had good results with a certain voodoo cure, others would swear the same one was bunk.

Until recently good mags were a problem, but Ruger now sells 20 and 30 (back in production at last) round mags to the general public. Though they are still easily double what a quality AR mag runs.

Parts are harder to come by for Mini 14s. Whereas AR and AK parts are all over the place, it's problematic to even get things like spare firing pins for a Mini 14. Most people are happier getting an AR, though a Mini will be somewhat lighter and handier in stock form than even a relatively basic M4 clone.

Sights are better on the ARs when it comes to irons, and the ARs are easier to scope - more options.
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223, 581, bull barrel, bullseye, bushmaster, carbine, gunsmith, handguard, military, model 16, norinco, nra, projectiles, ruger, russian, scope, skeet, sks, tactical, weaver, winchester

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