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Old 09-02-2021, 01:21 PM
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The recent Mini 14 thread had me digging the Mini 30 Tactical out of the safe for a range trip yesterday. Got it a few years back and set it up for the Zombie Apocalypse rifle. Put the action in an older 189 series curved butt plate wood stock. I shot it for a bit with a scope but the added weight and bulk really ruins the quick handling and sleekness of the rifle. Ditched the scope and added the Ultimak Rail and Burris Fast Fire III. Pic rail on the side for my Streamlight if needed. At a hair over 1 ounce the Burris is a non factor.

Brought a box of my hand loads and set up on the 200 yard range. Rifle was zeroed for 100 yards so I had to play with it a bit to get it on at 200. Pasted up the target and continued.

The remnants of Hurricane Ida was forecast to roll in about 3 pm. As usual the forecast was wrong. Wind picked up and the rain started shortly after I started the string. Had to cut it short. Shot enough rounds to get an 8" group that was slightly right. Made a slight windage adjustment while cleaning it.

The Fast Fire is a 3 MOA so the 8" group was pretty much on par with the 6 MOA dot at 200 yards. The lower shots were most likely on me. Tried to set the top of the dot on the shoulders. A little tough with the red on red picture and my tired eyes.

All in all....satisfied that the 30 will hold off any zombie attack.

Klyde

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Old 09-02-2021, 01:41 PM
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You are lucky. I have an early Ranch model that one cannot hit the broad side of a square barn from the inside with.
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Old 09-02-2021, 01:47 PM
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Won’t do you any good Klyde to shoot them center mass, gotta hit them in the head. Might need to let them get a little closer. Of course I’ve always wondered if you blew out their knees??? Stay frosty.
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Old 09-02-2021, 01:49 PM
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I had a Mini 30 in the late 80's. I could actually hit the broadside of an old bus at 25 yards, but it grouped like I had a cylinder choke installed; it was dumped at the next gun show. My 2-3 Mini 14s from that era performed similarly and they met the same fate.
I can't believe the prices these things currently command -
$750 to $850 in my neck of the woods.
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Old 09-02-2021, 02:00 PM
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Just curious, is it 7.62x39 or 300 blackout. Iíve never seen a stainless mini 30 tactical.
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Old 09-02-2021, 02:24 PM
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Bought my first Mini 30 shortly after they were introduced in the 80's. They were the 189 series. Same "side of the bus" performance. Ended up selling moving it down the road also.

Having a nostalgia attack a few years ago I bid on a NIB late 189 series and won. Stainless gun and absolutely NIB and never fired. First range trip brought me back to reality. Side of the bus accuracy.

Well times have changed and I now have my Hornady Headspace Comparator. A quick exam of the fired brass revealed why the dismal accuracy.

Here is a pic of Federal Factory Ammo staged in the Hornady Comparator. For simplicity sake I'll only use the last two numbers on the dial caliper which is 25. Most of the different brands of Factory ammo I have checked reads 25 off of the shoulder. Seems like the industry standard. Some of the Russinan steel and PPU measure a couple thousand longer with 27 being the longest I have measured.

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Next up is a picture of a piece of fired brass from the 30 Tactical. As you can see the fired case length is 31 from the shoulder. Giving a "headspace" of .006. The industry standard for max headspace is listed at .006 so the 30 Tactical is "in spec". My 7.62x39mm American Ranch measures identical to the 30 Tactical.

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Next up is a picture of a piece of fired brass from the late 189 series gun. Measures a whopping 40 on the caliper. Giving the rifle a headspace of .015. The reason for the abysmal accuracy I'm sure. The Mini 14's also suffered from the thin pencil barrels and the barrel whip syndrome to add to the misery.


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Ruger has really tightened up the tolerances and the thicker tapered barrel on the Ranch models help keep the barrel stable. Accuracy is not that bad with these new models.

I've shot a 200 yard group with the 30 that could be covered with your fist using a scope. The more precise aiming point is what it is all about. The rifle is capable. Don't want a scope. The red dot is the best all around compromise for the intended use of this rifle. YMMV.

Regards Klyde
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Old 09-02-2021, 02:30 PM
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Quote:
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Just curious, is it 7.62x39 or 300 blackout. Iíve never seen a stainless mini 30 tactical.
The 7.62x39mm. I had a blue one also but sold it to a work buddy during the Pandemic frenzie. That and a couple thousand steel case Russian ammo. He was holding nothing for his AK. I've reloaded the x39mm since the 80's and have a ton of brass and components so no worries on the steel case ban.

Klyde

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Old 09-02-2021, 02:39 PM
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Very nice rifle and shooting! , headshots kill Zombies
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Old 09-02-2021, 02:54 PM
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This is my slightly modded mini30.
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Old 09-02-2021, 03:08 PM
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I have an old one with 4X Leupold scope on it. I have killed several deer with it, Accurate enough. Had an early mini-14 that you could barely hit the dirt with it. Long gone.
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Old 09-02-2021, 03:33 PM
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I have an old one with 4X Leupold scope on it. I have killed several deer with it, Accurate enough. Had an early mini-14 that you could barely hit the dirt with it. Long gone.
Got a couple of friends with the older 189 series 30's that shoot excellent. I think near the end of the 189 series run the tooling at Ruger was well worn. My first one was late 80's after a couple years of production so the worn tooling doesn't hold water for that one. No rhyme or reason as to getting a good one or bad one.
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Old 09-02-2021, 10:03 PM
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Iíd be happy with those results at 200 yards considering the optic! Nice shooting and a real nice setup. Looks like a handy rifle ready for any situation.


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Old 09-02-2021, 11:17 PM
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I'm sorry, but reading the OP's horror at the 0.015" headspace had me in stitches as an Enfield owner where the field gauge is 0.074".
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Old 09-03-2021, 08:30 AM
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The Mini-14/Mini-30 are interesting rifles. The earlier versions could be accurate, but many were highly inaccurate, making them un-interesting firearms. It's a shame that the Ruger requires a unique magazine, it would be real convenient if had been designed for AR15 mags.
I wonder how many Mini-14's were sold simply because of the TV series, "The A-Team"?
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Old 09-03-2021, 09:23 AM
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This is my slightly modded mini30.
Post#9

SLIGHTLY !!!!!!!!

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Old 09-08-2021, 05:36 PM
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Range day today. CMP match coming up this Sunday. I should have had the AR for a practice session but having too darn much fun playing with the Mini. I'll see if I can get back to tune up with the Colt before Sunday.

Been loading the 7.62x39mm since the late 80's. IMR 4198 was my one and only, go to, powder for 25+ years. A few years back I tried a pound of the H4198. The Hodgdon gives a couple hundred more FPS velocity, which is crucial in the low velocity x39mm. No real appreciable difference in accuracy. Seeing no negatives, I made the switch over to the Hodgdon.

Recently, when my brass starts to get a bit worn I'll do one final loading and toss it in the Armageddon can. I've been using the Hornady FMJ 123 and the remainder of my IMR for that load. Figured it was a good day to see what a few of those could do at 200.

First two shots fired I aimed center mass and was floundering. (two shots on center mass). I paused and figured if I centered the top of the dot on the top of the head it would give me a more definitive aiming point. I knew I was going to be high, but was shooting for group not chasing the bulls eye. The change of bullet and powder had the POI left. Rounds still hitting the paper, so all was good.

Accuracy at 200 from the FMJ round was surprising. The circle I scribed is 7". A couple of fliers on me I'm sure.

Picked up a pound of RL7 and AA1680 while at the LGS the other day. Those powders and 4198 are the go to 7.62x39mm powders. Plan to work up a load for each of those and see how they do.

The quest for optimum Mini 30 accuracy continues.

Klyde

bullet profile difference between the FMJ and the Z-Max Hornady's.

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Old 09-08-2021, 08:24 PM
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Bought a stainless Mini-30 in the mid 1990s....accuracy was poor but worse wih a scope on the receiver ws the barrel warmed up the POI started walking to the 10:00 o'clock position...right off a paper plate at 100 yards. And when the barrel cooled back down there was no guaranty that the zero would be the same...

Was just about to send it down the road when I saw an add for the Ultimak Scout Scope mount...so I tried it and switched ammo from Wolf to Cheetah....big difference.
Groups went down to 1.5-2 moa and the POI no longer walked. Seems that the M14 has the same problem. Put a scope on the receiver and as the barrel heats up the scope/receiver is still locked on the target, while the barrel has so many pressure points that it takes a "walk". The Ultimak mount bolts to the gas block and U clamps to the barrel locking the whole thing together. As the barrel heats and moves the scope just goes along for the ride and stays zeroed session to session...

My rifle with a 3X Burris handgun scope. It now has a 2-7 Burris scout scope.

Pic #2: 100 yards sitting with a sling...No clue why the one shot went low as it broke good.

Pic#3: 200 yards from the bench while zeroing for 200.

Pic#4: 200 yards sitting with a sling.

Have been looking for one of the new stainless tactical models with the synthetic stock and 16.5" barrel...no luck so far...

Bob
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Old 09-08-2021, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
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I had a Mini 30 in the late 80's. I could actually hit the broadside of an old bus at 25 yards, but it grouped like I had a cylinder choke installed; it was dumped at the next gun show. My 2-3 Mini 14s from that era performed similarly and they met the same fate.
I can't believe the prices these things currently command -
$750 to $850 in my neck of the woods.
The skinny barrel Mini 14s never had a reputation for accuracy, but they can be made to shoot with some effort and $.

I have a 184 series Mini 14 and a 187 series Ranch Rifle and both are now solid 5 shot 1.5 MOA carbines. The 181 had previously had itís barrel shortened to 16Ē, which used to be a common effort to improve accuracy. It didnít work as it was a 5 MOA gun when I bought it, which is I suspect why the prior owner sold it.



Both received the same accuracy treatment:

1) a socom style AccuStrut to stiffen the barrel and reduce the amplitude of the barrel vibrations;

2) a Choate Browning style flash hider/front sight, to provide a better front sight and improve the barrel harmonics;

3) a .045Ē gas port bushing to replace the .080Ē stock gas port bushing, which eliminates the massive over gassing and excessive slide velocity;

4) a Tech Sights rear sight to improve the sight picture and he adjustability of the sights; and

5) a shock buffer to further reduce the effects of the slide on accuracy.


I also own a 180 series Mini 14 and it was about 3 MOA accurate in its standard configuration and adding the Choate Flash hider brought it down to 2 MOA.

These initial mini 14s have a much lighter slide as well as a gas port bushing that is around .050Ē in diameter. The smaller gas port bushing and lighter slide greater reduce the vibrations in the rifle as a whole.

My impression is that Ruger beefed up the 181 and later series to be consistent with the beefing up of the full auto versions, necessary due to the larger gas port which was probably used to ensure reliability with a wide range of ammo. None of that helped accuracy.

As noted above things got worse as the tooling got old. The 580 series were based on new tooling and shortly after received the heavier tapered barrel. These later Mini 14s shoot 2 MOA put of the box.

Ruger also used three different barrel twists in the .223 Mini 14s starting with 1-10, switching to 1-7 and then moving back to 1-9. Some of the accuracy issues with Mini 14s are due to a mismatch of bullet, weight with the barrel twist.

For example, 1-7 twist barrels will shoot 55 gr ammo just fine, but lower end 55 gr FMJ ammo often is not accurate as the center of form and center of gravity of these often cheaply made bullets is not on the same axis. As such the bullet transitions from spinning around the center of form in the barrel to the center of gravity out side the barrel, and that transition combined with excessive spin creates a lot of precession that adversely impacts accuracy. Itís much less of an issue with the 1-10 twist Mini 14s and with higher quality bullets.
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Old 09-09-2021, 09:02 AM
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I had a Mini-30 about 25 years ago. Nice rifle. I did like it. Accuracy wasn't great, but it was minute of zombie.
My problem was magazines. The factory 5 rounder was the only reliable one. I tried just about every aftermarket 20 rounder made, but no joy. All were completely unreliable. 3-4 jams in every mag.
I finally just got fed up and sold it.
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Old 09-09-2021, 10:04 AM
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The first rifle I ever bought was a Mini-14 in 1975. Loved the M-14 look & manual of arms. Hated the mag issue and lack of accuracy. First rifle I ever sold. I’ve never wanted another with so many other excellent options available.

As a project gun with all kinds of add-ons to correct factory incompetence, and with special hand loads to shoot 3+ MoA, it still seems to me like putting lipstick on a pig.
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Old 09-09-2021, 10:34 AM
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What bore is the mini-30 running? I have heard both .308 and .310/311 mentioned.

My 1980's mini-14 Ranch Rifle was about a 2 - 2.5 inch gun at 100 yards, scoped. I must have been one of the lucky ones, because I had (still have) two 20 round pro-mags that were actually reliable in that gun. I later put it in a Choate folding stock. Sold it to pay for a H&K 93 that replaced it. Had an FFL buddy order that H&K 93, with collapsible stock, for me. $499.00. Also ordered a H&K 91 at the same time, same price. Man, those were the days.....

Wanted to add, several years ago, I seen a guy with one of the new mini-14 factory target rifles at my local range, and he was shooting sub one inch groups at 100 meters. I was impressed.

Larry

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Old 09-09-2021, 11:06 AM
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I had a Mini-30 about 25 years ago. Nice rifle. I did like it. Accuracy wasn't great, but it was minute of zombie.
My problem was magazines. The factory 5 rounder was the only reliable one. I tried just about every aftermarket 20 rounder made, but no joy. All were completely unreliable. 3-4 jams in every mag.
I finally just got fed up and sold it.
My rifle didn't care what brand of mag I used, they all worked quite well.
I have seen a number of reports that said SOME rifles were picky as hell, but some were very forgiving. Guess I got lucky.
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Old 09-09-2021, 11:46 AM
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The first rifle I ever bought was a Mini-14 in 1975. Loved the M-14 look & manual of arms. Hated the mag issue and lack of accuracy. First rifle I ever sold. Iíve never wanted another with so many other excellent options available.

As a project gun with all kinds of add-ons to correct factory incompetence, and with special hand loads to shoot 3+ MoA, it still seems to me like putting lipstick on a pig.
Both my 184 and 187, as modified in my prior post, shoot 1.5 MOA with 55 gr Hornady FMJs.

But I hear you. Itís annoying to have to spend a few hundred dollars to get one to shoot the way it should have from the factory.

On the other hand, my 180 series shot 2.5 MOA out of the box and 2 MOA with a $50 flash hider. Jeff Cooper gave it positive reviews and based on my experience with my 180 series it was justified. Itís too bad Ruger didnít just leave the 180 series alone. I also didnít have to spend $50 to find out, as if a slip on flash hider like this one improves the accuracy, the more expensive and more attractive Choate will as well:



That said, back in the day, when the only AR-15s available were made by Colt, the Mini-14 was significantly less expensive, and unless accuracy was a primary criteria it was a valid choice.

It was also intended more or less as a modern alternative to the M1 carbine, and it fills that role very well. In fact the short stroke gas tapped gas system and slide have a lot in common with the M1 Carbine, more so than the M1 Garand or M14.



The good news is that up until the current firearm shortage, the poor reputation for accuracy mean you could find a very good Mini-14 for under $400. And, after investing another $200, it would shoot the same 1.5 MOA groups with the same M193 ammo as a Colt era AR-15.



Its only major downsides are the lack of Lego like aftermarket product modularity common to the AR-15 and the lack of a gazzilion companies making clones at various quality and price point levels.

However it still has a great deal of appeal, particularly for wood and blued steel fans, or for folks who still like the Garand, M14/M1A and M1 carbine.

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Old 09-09-2021, 12:35 PM
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I have one of the NRA 580 series from 2008.... with the 16.5" tapered barrel.......

With a Weaver 1-3x20 scope, Hogue Gillie-green stock and sling ..... paired with a factory 10 round magazine it's very low profile. Extra mags are Factory 20 rounders..... a great SHTF set up!!!!!
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