Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

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AJMD429
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Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

#1 Post by AJMD429 » Sat Nov 17, 2018 2:50 pm

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piller
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Re: Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

#2 Post by piller » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:10 am

I have a Mini 30. I like it and it is accurate enough. Handloads get about 1.5 inch groups at 100 yards, and steel case Russion junk gets between 3 to 9 inch groups. My handloads would be what I would use if I ever took it out hunting.
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Re: Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

#3 Post by wecsoger » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:12 pm

Regardless of your feelings about the 'mini' (I personally like them), this is a great analysis of design, engineering, and manufacture of one of Ruger products.

It shows why Ruger, the company, is where it is.

The old man with his original .22 Mk1 started it all with sheet metal and simple construction/manufacture.

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Re: Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

#4 Post by AJMD429 » Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:03 pm

Yep - the changes vs. the M1A/M14 make a lot of sense from a manufacturing standpoint, and if the only sacrifice is going from an easy 1 MOA to an easy 4 MOA, there is no real disadvantage in terms of the 'ranch rifle' concept. Ruger has improved accuracy, although there are several aftermarket companies that will do and sell modifications that help quite a bit. I have one of the Har-Bar modifications on one of my early-model Mini-14's, and it shrunk groups by 75% or so (from 4-5" to 1" or slightly over). It was a 10-minute install, and makes the gun look (sort of) more like a miniature M1A, which is kind of cool in its own right.
Screen Shot 2018-11-18 at 5.15.53 PM.png
http://www.gunblast.com/JessHardin-Mini14.htm

I do think it's funny how so many dudes say the Mini-14 is a piece of garbage due to lack of accuracy, yet will turn right around and praise the 'AK' despite the fact that there are likely very few AK's that would hit a soccer-ball at 100 yards any more reliably than Mini-14's would, plus the Rugers use what is now more widely available, cheaper, and useable-in-other-guns type ammunition. AR's they are not, but Mini-14's definitely meed the perfect definition of 'truck gun', even moreso than leverguns, since you can't usually leave a (tubular) levergun magazine loaded in most jurisdictions, but you can slip an empty 5-rounder in your Mini-14, and have an ammo-can full of loaded 30-rounders, and be fine.
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Re: Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

#5 Post by COSteve » Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:10 am

I know the guy in the video usually only talks about older weapons, however, in this case I think that he should have mentioned that the newer 58X series Mini-14s have improvements that significantly improve upon the issues the older, pencil barrel versions have. Like many, while I liked the idea of the Mini, I avoided them for decades because of their wimpy barrel and poor groupings. However, after firing a newer 582 Series a friend at our range bought, I found myself wanting one, badly.

So, I picked up a NIB 583 Series Mini-14 Ranch Rifle; blued 18.5" with wood stock. Using my handloads I developed for my AR carbine, I gave it a run and found that it was a sub 2 MOA shooter all day. As that's better than what it heritage platforms, the M1 Garand and M14/M1A shoot stock, I was very pleased. Then I proceeded to tweak it based on the information I gained on the net, to see if I could drop the group size and reduce the brass ejection distance from close to low earth orbit to something more reasonable.

Ruger significantly over gasses their Mini-14s because they have guys who insist on shooting the stuff commie ammo, then rag on the Ruger for crappy accuracy, but still expect the carbine to cycle reliably. Even though the junk ammo produces huge groups that the fools shooting it blame on the gun, not the ammo, Ruger feels that it has to have a rifle that will cycle it. As this means that the action is slamming back and forth when using decently powered ammo, even with it, the groups are only sub 2 MOA.

However, there is an easy, cheap fix that addresses both the launching of brass into the next county and helps to reduce the group sizes. A $25 set of 3 reduced aperture gas bushings is available that allows you to pick a reduction that will reduce the brass ejection to a reasonable 12'-15' ft. The selected bushing is easily installed by removing the gas block. While the carbine is apart, adding a couple of 1911 pistol buffers (set of 6 for $7) will reduce the metal to metal crash at the end of each cycle. Other tweaks aide cooling of the barrel, shimming the action in the stock, smoothing the trigger, and replacing the rear sight with a Mini200 will allow you to add a target aperture if desired.

These simple tweaks that cost about the same as a decent trigger for an AR, coupled with using decent ammo, will lower your group size to a very respectable near 1 MOA while maintaining Ruger's famed reliability. That's what I did and my Mini-14 is plenty accurate enough to use shooting bowling pins at 200yds with iron sights. Try that with your AR sometime. I do and my RRA mid-lenght gas lightweight with the NM trigger doesn't do any better. Yes, you can go a bit further and make your carbine more M14 like such as I did with a walnut stock, straight 20rd OE brand mags, and a front sight/fH combo if you want a to achieve that full on 'Mini M14' look.

Truth be told, even though I've had my ARs a decade longer, I'm just not that fond of either of them. I guess I'm not the bulky, plastic and aluminum type of guy. So, since I got my Mini-14 some 3½ years ago, my ARs have mostly sat in the arms room. As I have M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, and an M1A, I wanted the full M14 look and I think it turned out very nicely.

Image
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Re: Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

#6 Post by AJMD429 » Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:34 pm

COSteve, that is a nice looking Mini.

What are the '1911' buffers you speak of...?

Your comment on the M1A 'out of box' accuracy vs after accurizing or going the 'National Match' route makes sense. If a person spent what a sub-MOA M1A costs on accurizing a Mini-14, or that much buying one that has been made into a 'Match-grade' gun by a third party, they'd not be disappointed. Glad to see Ruger themselves join the party.
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Re: Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

#7 Post by Bill in Oregon » Mon Nov 19, 2018 4:54 pm

Whoa, Steve, great post. I have avoided the Ruger Minis for all the reasons mentioned. Good to hear they are "fixable," especially with current manufacturing and design improvements.
I had heard about the Har-bar mod that Doc mentioned. Are the current Mini14s in .223 more or less accurate than the current Mini-30s?

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Re: Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

#8 Post by COSteve » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:15 pm

AJMD429 wrote:
Mon Nov 19, 2018 1:34 pm
What are the '1911' buffers you speak of...?
They are made for a 1911 pistol but work great on the Mini. Here is Wilson's ad for them.

As far as Accuracy Tweaks, here is the list of things I did to my NIB, wood stocked, 583 Series Ranch Rifle I got back in March 2015. I wanted a reliable, fun all around Irons Only carbine with decent accuracy that is reminiscent of my M14 in the Army and the M1A I currently own along with my M1s and M1 Carbines. I got it in spades as it produces 1.25" groups at 100yds with my 62grn Hornady fmj handloads!! That's as good of accuracy all but the full on Nation Match or Loaded M1As that cost thousands more $$.

It’s great for thumping those pesky bowling pins at 200yds with good quality ammo. It's actually accurate enough for a go at 300yds with them but sadly, my eyes are no longer that good to see the targets that far that well. Stay away from the junk commie steel ammo as your Mini will not be as reliable or as accurate with cheap, blasting ammo. If you want to shoot a lot, learn to reload. The list below shows what mods I made, how much they cost, and what they are for. In total the cost for increasing the accuracy is $111, about the same as a quality precision AR trigger.
  • Mini200 Rear Sight: $65 - Tech Sights' Mini200 rear sight. Add their $15 optional aperture package with 3 different aperture sizes and when you use the target .042" aperture, you have a NM like rear sight.
  • Gas Bushing Reduction: $25 - Swap of the overly large stock Gas Bushing with a smaller one. It reduces the cycling violence which improves accuracy on the Mini14. I've found that with full power .223/5.56 ammo, a .045" bushing will work just fine.
  • Choate Handguard Swap: $15 - A Choate Handguard not only looks better but it is much more open so that it cools the barrel much better than Ruger's.
  • Wilson 1911 Buffers: $6 (set of 6) - Added 2ea Wilson 1911 bushings (yep, pistol bushings); one around the gas pipe in the front to cushion the forward travel and one on the Op rod spring at the rear to cushion the rearward travel.
  • Thinned Front Sight: $0 - Thinning down the .075"-.077" thick front sight to .050", combined with a target .042" rear aperture gives you a 'National Match' equivalent irons sight set. Great for thumping those pesky bowling pins at 200yds.
  • Trigger Job: $0 - It really helps your precision shooting and if you want small groups, it's money well spent.
  • 'Lightened' Safety Lever: $0 - In keeping with the whole 'M14 Look' I was going for.
  • Gas Block Torque: $0 - We've found that torqueing the gas block bolts to 30 in/lbs when reassembling and keeping the upper and lower halve gaps consistent aides in accuracy.
  • Shimmed Receiver: $0 - I found that shimming the action with a bit of tin on both sides really tightened up things well. The plates are held in place with the stiffener screw so it's an easy fit.
As to mags, I strongly recommend that you get some Ruger brand mags over other aftermarket mags even though they are more expensive, as they are very reliable while many of the others aren’t. The 20rd are the best for balance. This is what my Mini looked like with the accuracy changes plus the SOCOM Accu-Strut Barrel Strut I wanted mostly for 'The Look'. As pictured this it produced a steady 1.25" groups at 100yds with my handloads for 2½ years until I decided to take it to the 'Mini M14' level.

Image

As I said, I also made some changes just to give it that M14 vibe, not for accuracy. They include:
  • Walnut Stock: $200 - What can I say? It just looks cool. While I added it for the look rather than for accuracy (my shimmed birch stock did just fine) I like the overall vibe. However, understand that it's a bit thicker than the Ruger birch stock and weighs about 7-8 oz more.
  • Barrel Strut: $100 – SOCOM Accu-Strut. While the 2 clamp versions are used for dampening vibration in the older ‘pencil barrel’ Minis, the single clamp version is mostly for looks while it does aide in increasing barrel cooling as it adds more mass to draw heat from the barrel, however, it also adds weight at about 5-6 oz.
  • Choate Front Sight/Flash Hider: $51 - It just looks cool and gives my Mini that last bit of 'M14 esque' feel, however, it wasn't added for accuracy improvement.
  • OE Brand 20rd Straight Mags: $15 - I found these at CDNN and they proved to be better quality, better fit, and even more reliable mags than even Ruger's. I have 5ea of these as well. At the price they can't be beat and with the rest of my mods, they really add to the M14esque look and feel.
This configuration completes the 'Mini M14' look I wanted as it now looks very much like my M1A.

Image

Of note for irons shooters. Even though Ruger advertises that the Minis have a 'normal' 13.5" LOP, I found that the 'Heel to Aperture' distance (top of the buttstock to the rear sight aperture) on the current Mini Ranch Rifles with wood stocks measures 15.5". This is as opposed to a 14" Heel to Aperture distance on M1 Garands, M1 Carbines, M14/M1As, M16A1s, 1903 A3, etc., (all of which I have). This caused me to strain my neck forward trying to gain the same sight picture I use to with the other platforms. I found the stock Mini rear sight awkward to use. Adding the Tech Sight's great Mini200 rear sight moved the aperture back .5" giving me a 15" Heel to Aperture distance but it still didn't feel right to me so I removed the buttpad and cut down the birch stock 1" and re-attached the buttpad. When I got my walnut stock I did the same thing. Now the Heel to Aperture distance is 14".
Steve

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“Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.” - Confucius
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Re: Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

#9 Post by 3leggedturtle » Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:38 pm

I have mini-14 made in ‘79. Really like the all wood stock and hand guard. I learned they are over gassed after I got it, I like the fact it will shoot a 50gr bullet at 2600fps and is 100% reliable. Hopefully it will function with that or 55gr bullet down to 2300fps so I can use it like a reloadable 22 Mag +P+, for woods loafing. Todd/3leg
30/30 Winchester: Not accurate enough fer varmints, barely adequate for small deer; BUT In a 10" to 14" barrelled pistol; is good for moose/elk to 200 yards; ground squirrels to 300 metres

250 Savage: The Original short action, compact, high velocity cartridge.

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Re: Nice video on the design and manufacture of Mini-14

#10 Post by wecsoger » Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:48 am

Got a Mini, early '80's vintage, 183 series. Good, no great gun for what it is.

Can easily accept the 4 MOA accuracy, for a carbine it's useful and effective to 100 yards.

It's amazing how our expectations have changed, and Ian brought this out in another video interview with Ken Hackathorn on the M1 carbine

50's and 60's, we accepted that accuracy level (and worse) and less than 100% reliability because, well that's just the way it was.

Now, unless it eats every mismatched round available, fires and ejects, 1 MOA or better out of the box, on a windy day with snow blowing both directions, it's a junk gun.

I impressed myself building a $500 AR platform gun couple years ago. Now you can find them at sub-$400.

At that point, don't know how much longer Ruger will catalog the Mini. I can't believe their sales numbers are that good.

( edited to add link to that interview, it's fascinating: https://onlygunsandmoney.blogspot.com/2 ... rbine.html )

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