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Posted: 8/24/2018 11:12:00 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2018 11:22:34 AM EDT by sandog75]
About 4 years ago, I sold my Mini-14, after buying a Mini-30. My '14 was nice, Cerakoted in FDE, and accurized from the stuff I learned over at PU forum, but I just liked the punch of the .30 Mini better.
I had owned a Colt AR in x39, but the magazines sucked, and also had a Romanian AKM, nice but ergo's weren't that great for this lefty, and the sights, safety and trigger were less than stellar.
I bought a second Mini-30, and a third, which I gave to my daughter.

I was lucky enough to buy all three for $400-$450 each, and all were in nice shape. The one that my daughter now has was pristine and unfired.
The reason many had seen little use and owners wanted to part with them was probably due to the fact that they came with crappy aftermarket mags. and were probably fed equally crappy ammo. No wonder the previous owners weren't thrilled with them. Their loss, my gain.

Both of my M-30's have a Cerakote finish, trigger jobs that I did, Ultimak rails with a Burris FF III mounted, which are enclosed in a Burris Protector mount.
All three were older 189 series, made when the tooling was fairly new, and don't have all the rough casting marks and QC issues that new ones have.

Both have Vickers BFG slings with side mounted swivels, thinned 1911 buffers fore and aft, reduced gas bushings, and were shortened, re-crowned and had a flash hider added. Any of these mods by themselves don't make an appreciable difference in accuracy, but all together do wonders. One thing I haven't done is bed the stocks, mine have a snug fit as is.

Because of the larger bore, Mini-30's were never made with the skinny .560" "pencil" barrel like the Mini-14 had. They've always had a .625" barrel just like the new tapered ranch Mini-14's. I have found struts don't seem to help much on the 30's, like they do on the older '14's.
I have one on my wood stock Mini, as it gives it more of the M1A gas system look. I believe the Ultimaks help just as much in the accuracy department, besides adding to the heat sink effect and being a great place to mount a Scout scope or red dot.

A common misconception is that all Mini-30's came with a .308 bore, instead of the proper .310".
Guys that have never owned, shot or even held a Mini-30 keep repeating this on the net like it is gospel.
One guy on Ruger forum said he's not only held off from buying a Mini-30 for that reason, but has refused to fire other guys Mini-30's at the range, because he's certain that it was going to blow up from firing a bullet that is .002" oversize.

Ruger used the .308" barrels (with a tapering leade) for a bit over a year before going to the industry standard .310".
As they've been made for 30 years, the chances of getting one of the .308" barreled ones is very slim.
I only know of one guy that has one, Beck over on PU forum.
The chances of winning the lottery are probably better than coming across a .308" bored Mini-30.

The near worthless folding sight, put on the older Ranch models for backup in case your scope took a shit, was replaced with the Tech rear sight.
The front sight blade on the Ruger winged sight and the Choate flash hider, is a bit too thick for good work, so they were thinned down.

Many guys seem to think they need to turn their Mini into a DMR, and will be constantly called upon to take out a hostage taker at extreme range.
Now their light, compact and handy Mini goes from 7 pounds to 11 pounds and isn't so handy anymore.
Good luck trying to deal with multiple opponents at close range with that 4-12x scope that's almost as big as the carbine.
Mounting a scope over the action means it has to mounted high, then they find they need a padded cheekpiece on the stock or want to go with a heavy Tacticool stock that has adjustable cheek riser.

The Mini's sight are low, and the optic should be mounted in a way that will utilize the same cheek weld.
When I shoulder my Mini's I'm looking right through the center of the FastFire screen or the Scout scope eyepiece, instead of shouldering it, then having to scootch my head up on the stock to see through the optic.
There are benefits to having the optic away from your eye, much increased peripheral vision and "downrange awareness".
Shooting with an optic right up against your head, and with one eye closed no less, is about as tunnel vision as you can get.

Much more misconception is passed around when it comes to shooting Comblock ammo in the Mini-30.
Everyone will tell you, with certainty, that Berdan primers are harder, and that is the reason some (but not all) Mini's have problems igniting them.
Well, they might be a bit harder, as most are made to military specs, but the main reason is that the Berdan primed import ammo has primers that are seated deeper, especially Tula ammo.

The easiest solution they see for the "hard" primers is to install a heavier hammer spring. This is a bad idea as it will only stress your firing pin more.
You can hit the back of the pin with a sledgehammer, and due to the stops (ledges) on it that rest on the shelves inside the firing pin channel, it will not miraculously grow in length. Hitting the short factory pin harder, or grinding some off the back of the bolt like a few have done, will only shorten the life of your factory firing pin. And Ruger will not just sell you a new pin, they want the carbine to be sent back to them for fitting

The firing pin protrusion on a Mini is much less than an AK or SKS. And it differs from Mini to Mini, which is why some Mini-30 owners say they've shot nothing but steel case ammo for years and never had a problem,. while others do.
A Mini will have anywhere from .030" to .036" pin protrusion ( what sticks out of the bolt face when the pin is all the way forward).
An AKM or SKS is more like .045" to .050".

So the proper solution is to fit a quality aftermarket pin that comes oversize as far as length. The old Glend Arms pins were brittle and didn't last very long.
firingpins.com, formerly Iron Sight precision in Florida, makes a quality heat treated stainless pin that is easy to fit to your Mini.
One more thing that needs to be checked is the bolt face of your Mini. Some have a raised "crater" around the pin hole on the bolt face. This should be removed before going with a new oversized pin.

The Ruger factory mags for the Mini-30, either 5, 10 or 20 round are good quality that you can rely on.
The only aftermarket magazine I've found that's worth a crap is the KCI 30 round one made in South Korea. They are not just good, they are freaking awesome.
Not too many are imported, best places to look are gunbroker or E-bay. They remind me of AK magazines, the feed lips are thicker than Ruger magazines, are are a sturdy piece of gear. They come with a sort of phosphate finish that looks a lot like my Sniper Grey Cerakoted ones.
KCI's on the outside, the first 20 is a Ruger one that I Cerakoted, and the other 20 is a blued Ruger one. The Ruger blued ones do rust easily if you don't keep an eye on them.

The Mini-30 has been called America's AK, and the KCI mags make that more true:

Boxer primed brass cased ammo like Federal American Eagle, WWB or PMC will cost you around a buck a round. Many prospective Mini-30 owners are turned off because they think they have to buy this stuff to have a functioning Mini.
If you must shoot brass, you can get PPU for 50 cents a round, and Red Army Elite or Golden Bear (brass coating over the steel) for even less.
I stocked up on PPU, and their brass is excellent. I reload the brass with Hornady SST's or Nosler 123 grain Varmeggedon.
You can buy loaded PPU for not much more than just new unprimed W-W or Federal brass will cost you.

One of the benefits of reloading, some tracers I loaded up:

Yugo M67 is the only surplus ammo you see anymore, great brass cased ammo but slightly corrosive primers (used to help long term storage) so cleaning with Windex or the like is in order.
Geco did well in my testing, and is a good brass cased, reloadable factory round that is $7 a box.

I held off for a long time shooting any Russian ammo, partly because I still have a good stash of PPU FMJ and handloads using that brass, and partly because I had
bad memories of the performance of Tulammo.
Last year the local Sportsman's Warehouse began stocking Red Army Standard. I tried some, and found them to be more accurate, higher velocity, cleaner burning and more reliable in my Mini's with the stock firing pin. I do have a fitted longer pin that stays in the butt stock pouch of each Mini, if needed for SHTF.

This led me to try some other brands of steel case, along with some cheaper brass cased ones like Geco and Fiocchi.

The testing can be seen over on perfectunion.com's Mini section under my (sandog) threads. I tried putting the links here, but for some reason they don't come up as links.
I miked the bullet diameters, chronographed the loads, and checked accuracy out of one or the other Mini's and my x39 AR.
With the stock firing pins, I have had zero FTF's with Silver Bear, maybe 1 in 100 with RAS , and shooting Tula about 15-18 out of 100 that will not go off, at least the first time.

Several of these loads will put 5 or 6 rounds almost through the same hole. You get a few flyers but they aren't exactly loaded with Match grade bullets.
Pretty darn good , IMO for $6-$7 a box ammo.
I checked the drop of 4 loads at 300 and 400 yards from a 200 zero. One thing I still want to do is go up to my range after dark and test muzzle flash of various rounds shot through my 3 different flash hiders, Ruger long cage, A2 and Choate.

I am so happy with my Mini-30's that I neglect the other guns in my safe. I can't imagine a better carbine for whitetail, hogs or self defense.
(Not that we have any hogs in Montana, but I grew up in central Texas, and still go back there to visit relatives. Well, mostly I go back to get some good BBQ and Catfish!)
Fast handling, AK reliability, 1 1/2 MOA accurate, and great ergos.


Link Posted: 8/24/2018 11:30:10 AM EDT
Great write-up!
Link Posted: 8/24/2018 12:20:21 PM EDT
The Mini 30 was on my short list. I have several Mini 30 magazines, as I have a Ruger American in x39 (I have the 5 round magazines).

It was on my list. With my x39 ARs being reliable, I personally don’t see the need to get a Mini 30.

The after market trigger in AR is worlds better, and I can use the same lower for multiple uppers. So the same great trigger is used.

The ergonomics are individual, but I’m used to the AR.
Hard or soft primers are no longer an issue with certain firing pins.

With CPD magazines, reliability is almost perfect. It’s as reliable as any other gun I own. With steel cased ammo the reliability suffers, with brass? It’s very close to 100%.
I can run it in full auto with my M16 lower.

The x39 suppresses very nicely, and is SBR friendly (ballistically). That helps on the hog him for sure. The Mini 30 doesn’t suppress as well as an AR.

I shoot out to max 150 yards, so my optic reflects that. As it seems yours does as well.

The Ruger does appeal to me since it’s not a “scary” black rifle, that’s important depending on location. Here in Texas, that’s not an issue.

The Mini 30 can be lighter. May or may not depending on “add ons.”

Prior to Trump presidency, the Ruger had a distinct cost savings. Not so much now.

Sometime this month, once it cools down, I have to do some accuracy testing between my x39 upper and x39 Ruger bolt gun.

That’s my take. Great write up and I welcome discussion.
Link Posted: 8/24/2018 12:32:34 PM EDT
Too bad Ruger didn't design it to use an AK pattern magazine.
Link Posted: 8/24/2018 2:51:13 PM EDT
very cool write up

I dont own a Mini in any flavor (always looking for a deal though) but I thoroughly enjoyed your post.
Link Posted: 8/24/2018 2:51:51 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/24/2018 2:56:52 PM EDT by sandog75]
Yes, it would be nice if the Mini would have been designed for AK mags. At the time, though, many platforms used proprietary mags.
I have this, uses AK mags, and while it has a nice aftermarket trigger, it isn't any nicer than the stock Mini triggers I worked over.
The scope, while not as fast as my FF III's for close in, does O.K. with the big horseshoe around the chevron.

While "only" a 3x, it does great at distance.
I never shot more than 300 yards with the FastFire ( or the irons) but with this puppy I've been getting first round hits at 400 and 500 yards.
I''d hate to think how much holdover I'd have to use at 500 if it wasn't for the BDC on the excellent 7.62 x 39 scaled ACSS reticle.

The 3 MOA dot on my Mini's do well enough though. I can get good repeatability by centering the dot on a target ( or a silhouette ) out to 200 yards ( my zero distance).
At 300 I have to holdover a foot. I hold so half the dot is over the top of the target, or in the case of a silhouette, the top of the dot right on the chin.
Link Posted: 8/24/2018 4:13:01 PM EDT
Great topic as always Sandog. As I mentioned to you before on the PU website, my new-to-me Mini 30 is a 189 series.
As luck would have it, it for-sure does have a .308 diam. bore. I was cleaning it up after my last range trip and got
to wondering about what you and others have discussed. I used a bore wear gauge I have for M-1/ M1A rifles and measured
it's muzzle.

I expected the gauge to go in most of it's length but no, it barely went in. I marked the gauge, then measured three other
newer or recently shortened 308Win. and 30-06 barrels. All of them had a larger bore than the Mini! I then checked
for any burrs or restrictions in the last inch or so at the muzzle but found nothing. I don't think slugging the bore is
going to change things.

So I'm one more Mini 30 owner you can use as that "rare" example of those elusive .308 bbls..

On another topic in your post, the front rails are the way to go for optics on the minis. I haven't yet decided to put
one on my 30 but just installed an Ultimak on one of my Mini 14's. The older Mini 14 has an Amega Ranges rail and now I have
a side-by-side comparison of the two. They are both quality products and installed easily enough. The Amega is d&t'd
so you can mount lights, sling swivels, etc., the Ultimak does not. The big seller to me is the Ultimak rail is lower to the bore
and I don't really need a cheek riser, depending on which optic I'm using. That makes a big difference to me and I hope this helps
anyone else contemplating the purchase of a railed forend.
Link Posted: 8/25/2018 9:34:57 AM EDT
Originally Posted By sandog75:
About 4 years ago, I sold my Mini-14, after buying a Mini-30. My '14 was nice, Cerakoted in FDE, and accurized from the stuff I learned over at PU forum, but I just liked the punch of the .30 Mini better.
I had owned a Colt AR in x39, but the magazines sucked, and also had a Romanian AKM, nice but ergo's weren't that great for this lefty, and the sights, safety and trigger were less than stellar.
I bought a second Mini-30, and a third, which I gave to my daughter.

I was lucky enough to buy all three for $400-$450 each, and all were in nice shape. The one that my daughter now has was pristine and unfired.
The reason many had seen little use and owners wanted to part with them was probably due to the fact that they came with crappy aftermarket mags. and were probably fed equally crappy ammo. No wonder the previous owners weren't thrilled with them. Their loss, my gain.

Both of my M-30's have a Cerakote finish, trigger jobs that I did, Ultimak rails with a Burris FF III mounted, which are enclosed in a Burris Protector mount.
All three were older 189 series, made when the tooling was fairly new, and don't have all the rough casting marks and QC issues that new ones have.
https://i.imgur.com/mK2wfiBh.jpg
Both have Vickers BFG slings with side mounted swivels, thinned 1911 buffers fore and aft, reduced gas bushings, and were shortened, re-crowned and had a flash hider added. Any of these mods by themselves don't make an appreciable difference in accuracy, but all together do wonders. One thing I haven't done is bed the stocks, mine have a snug fit as is.
https://i.imgur.com/vu7wvRGh.jpg
Because of the larger bore, Mini-30's were never made with the skinny .560" "pencil" barrel like the Mini-14 had. They've always had a .625" barrel just like the new tapered ranch Mini-14's. I have found struts don't seem to help much on the 30's, like they do on the older '14's.
I have one on my wood stock Mini, as it gives it more of the M1A gas system look. I believe the Ultimaks help just as much in the accuracy department, besides adding to the heat sink effect and being a great place to mount a Scout scope or red dot.
https://i.imgur.com/ablNb68h.jpg
A common misconception is that all Mini-30's came with a .308 bore, instead of the proper .310".
Guys that have never owned, shot or even held a Mini-30 keep repeating this on the net like it is gospel.
One guy on Ruger forum said he's not only held off from buying a Mini-30 for that reason, but has refused to fire other guys Mini-30's at the range, because he's certain that it was going to blow up from firing a bullet that is .002" oversize.

Ruger used the .308" barrels (with a tapering leade) for a bit over a year before going to the industry standard .310".
As they've been made for 30 years, the chances of getting one of the .308" barreled ones is very slim.
I only know of one guy that has one, Beck over on PU forum.
The chances of winning the lottery are probably better than coming across a .308" bored Mini-30.

The near worthless folding sight, put on the older Ranch models for backup in case your scope took a shit, was replaced with the Tech rear sight.
The front sight blade on the Ruger winged sight and the Choate flash hider, is a bit too thick for good work, so they were thinned down.

Many guys seem to think they need to turn their Mini into a DMR, and will be constantly called upon to take out a hostage taker at extreme range.
Now their light, compact and handy Mini goes from 7 pounds to 11 pounds and isn't so handy anymore.
Good luck trying to deal with multiple opponents at close range with that 4-12x scope that's almost as big as the carbine.
Mounting a scope over the action means it has to mounted high, then they find they need a padded cheekpiece on the stock or want to go with a heavy Tacticool stock that has adjustable cheek riser.

The Mini's sight are low, and the optic should be mounted in a way that will utilize the same cheek weld.
When I shoulder my Mini's I'm looking right through the center of the FastFire screen or the Scout scope eyepiece, instead of shouldering it, then having to scootch my head up on the stock to see through the optic.
There are benefits to having the optic away from your eye, much increased peripheral vision and "downrange awareness".
Shooting with an optic right up against your head, and with one eye closed no less, is about as tunnel vision as you can get.

Much more misconception is passed around when it comes to shooting Comblock ammo in the Mini-30.
Everyone will tell you, with certainty, that Berdan primers are harder, and that is the reason some (but not all) Mini's have problems igniting them.
Well, they might be a bit harder, as most are made to military specs, but the main reason is that the Berdan primed import ammo has primers that are seated deeper, especially Tula ammo.

The easiest solution they see for the "hard" primers is to install a heavier hammer spring. This is a bad idea as it will only stress your firing pin more.
You can hit the back of the pin with a sledgehammer, and due to the stops (ledges) on it that rest on the shelves inside the firing pin channel, it will not miraculously grow in length. Hitting the short factory pin harder, or grinding some off the back of the bolt like a few have done, will only shorten the life of your factory firing pin. And Ruger will not just sell you a new pin, they want the carbine to be sent back to them for fitting

The firing pin protrusion on a Mini is much less than an AK or SKS. And it differs from Mini to Mini, which is why some Mini-30 owners say they've shot nothing but steel case ammo for years and never had a problem,. while others do.
A Mini will have anywhere from .030" to .036" pin protrusion ( what sticks out of the bolt face when the pin is all the way forward).
An AKM or SKS is more like .045" to .050".

So the proper solution is to fit a quality aftermarket pin that comes oversize as far as length. The old Glend Arms pins were brittle and didn't last very long.
firingpins.com, formerly Iron Sight precision in Florida, makes a quality heat treated stainless pin that is easy to fit to your Mini.
One more thing that needs to be checked is the bolt face of your Mini. Some have a raised "crater" around the pin hole on the bolt face. This should be removed before going with a new oversized pin.

The Ruger factory mags for the Mini-30, either 5, 10 or 20 round are good quality that you can rely on.
The only aftermarket magazine I've found that's worth a crap is the KCI 30 round one made in South Korea. They are not just good, they are freaking awesome.
Not too many are imported, best places to look are gunbroker or E-bay. They remind me of AK magazines, the feed lips are thicker than Ruger magazines, are are a sturdy piece of gear. They come with a sort of phosphate finish that looks a lot like my Sniper Grey Cerakoted ones.
KCI's on the outside, the first 20 is a Ruger one that I Cerakoted, and the other 20 is a blued Ruger one. The Ruger blued ones do rust easily if you don't keep an eye on them.
https://i.imgur.com/5i6VVb3h.jpg
The Mini-30 has been called America's AK, and the KCI mags make that more true:
https://i.imgur.com/z7VEAQSh.jpg
Boxer primed brass cased ammo like Federal American Eagle, WWB or PMC will cost you around a buck a round. Many prospective Mini-30 owners are turned off because they think they have to buy this stuff to have a functioning Mini.
If you must shoot brass, you can get PPU for 50 cents a round, and Red Army Elite or Golden Bear (brass coating over the steel) for even less.
I stocked up on PPU, and their brass is excellent. I reload the brass with Hornady SST's or Nosler 123 grain Varmeggedon.
You can buy loaded PPU for not much more than just new unprimed W-W or Federal brass will cost you.
https://i.imgur.com/DkQM3XAh.jpg
One of the benefits of reloading, some tracers I loaded up:
https://i.imgur.com/EOOvQW2h.jpg
Yugo M67 is the only surplus ammo you see anymore, great brass cased ammo but slightly corrosive primers (used to help long term storage) so cleaning with Windex or the like is in order.
Geco did well in my testing, and is a good brass cased, reloadable factory round that is $7 a box.

I held off for a long time shooting any Russian ammo, partly because I still have a good stash of PPU FMJ and handloads using that brass, and partly because I had
bad memories of the performance of Tulammo.
Last year the local Sportsman's Warehouse began stocking Red Army Standard. I tried some, and found them to be more accurate, higher velocity, cleaner burning and more reliable in my Mini's with the stock firing pin. I do have a fitted longer pin that stays in the butt stock pouch of each Mini, if needed for SHTF.

This led me to try some other brands of steel case, along with some cheaper brass cased ones like Geco and Fiocchi.
https://i.imgur.com/FZQOewlh.jpg
The testing can be seen over on perfectunion.com's Mini section under my (sandog) threads. I tried putting the links here, but for some reason they don't come up as links.
I miked the bullet diameters, chronographed the loads, and checked accuracy out of one or the other Mini's and my x39 AR.
With the stock firing pins, I have had zero FTF's with Silver Bear, maybe 1 in 100 with RAS , and shooting Tula about 15-18 out of 100 that will not go off, at least the first time.
https://i.imgur.com/BxF5I41h.jpg
Several of these loads will put 5 or 6 rounds almost through the same hole. You get a few flyers but they aren't exactly loaded with Match grade bullets.
Pretty darn good , IMO for $6-$7 a box ammo.
I checked the drop of 4 loads at 300 and 400 yards from a 200 zero. One thing I still want to do is go up to my range after dark and test muzzle flash of various rounds shot through my 3 different flash hiders, Ruger long cage, A2 and Choate.

I am so happy with my Mini-30's that I neglect the other guns in my safe. I can't imagine a better carbine for whitetail, hogs or self defense.
(Not that we have any hogs in Montana, but I grew up in central Texas, and still go back there to visit relatives. Well, mostly I go back to get some good BBQ and Catfish!)
Fast handling, AK reliability, 1 1/2 MOA accurate, and great ergos.
https://i.imgur.com/zuv8sH8h.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/8qiknZph.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/4hCYIMoh.jpg
View Quote
Great read
Link Posted: 8/25/2018 9:43:32 AM EDT
Well done!
Link Posted: 8/25/2018 9:52:05 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2018 9:54:41 AM EDT by astrafire]
Given the prevalence now of a whole lot of new Mini-14 owners due to the great Wal*mart sell off, do you have any thoughts on torquing/retorquing/lock-tighting of the gas block screws?
Link Posted: 8/25/2018 10:37:43 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By IHC53:
Too bad Ruger didn't design it to use an AK pattern magazine.
View Quote
That's all I hear about Minis.

"Too bad Ruger didn't design it to run off AR pattern magazines."

When the Mini-14 was deigned, that was in the late 1960s. AR pattern mags weren't common. When the Mini-30 was designed, AK pattern mags weren't common either since the whole Cold War going on. The Mini-30 was designed in the 1980s and came out in 1987. Good luck find cheap AK mags back then. Norinco was just starting to popular.
Link Posted: 8/25/2018 12:11:32 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2018 12:12:48 PM EDT by sandog75]
Yes, people come up with all kinds of reasons not to buy a Mini.
Some of my favorites:

The A-Team used Mini's and never hit a thing with them !

My cousin Bubba had one, and we couldn't hit a 55 gallon barrel at 50 yards !

Paying $24 apiece for magazines is insane ! (But they are o.K. with paying $20 apiece for AR magazines ).

My friend's Mini was a POS Jam-o-Matic ! (There are/were a lot of crappy aftermarket magazines for the Mini. Easier to blame the platform than their decision to buy no-name mags)

The Mini was never used in combat (not true) so it couldn't possibly be good enough for self defense !

Most people that repeat these misconceptions are clearly ones that have little to no experience with the Mini.
Ruger did not help things by not selling good hi-caps to the general public for decades, marking Mini-14's as .223 (until recently) when they have always had a Wilde type chamber and are fine with 5.56mm, not clearing up the fact that they haven't made Mini-30's with a .308 bore for a long time, taking forever to come out with a heavier barrel to overcome heating and vertical stringing issues, etc.

The reputation of the Mini has suffered greatly because of the oft repeated experiences of a few inexperienced jackasses.
"A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get it's pants on". Winston Churchill.

There is a thread on marlinowners forum now under the general rifles section titled 'Cerakote, Is it worth it' ?
99% of the guys that replied, including me, said it was awesome, but right off the bat one guy said " A buddy of mine got his Sig 226 done, and it has chipped and peeled and looks like crap. It's just a fancy paint job".

My personal experience, and that of thousands of others is very different. Pretty obvious that the guy that did his Sig did a poor job with prep, application, or both.
Using his way of thinking is like the anti gun crowd that blames the tool (or product in this case) instead of the person that misuses it.
A few bad reviews, when there are thousands of good ones, are to be taken with a grain of salt, and the shooting public's perception of the Mini is no different.
Link Posted: 8/25/2018 9:29:53 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Miami_JBT:
That's all I hear about Minis.

"Too bad Ruger didn't design it to run off AR pattern magazines."

When the Mini-14 was deigned, that was in the late 1960s. AR pattern mags weren't common. When the Mini-30 was designed, AK pattern mags weren't common either since the whole Cold War going on. The Mini-30 was designed in the 1980s and came out in 1987. Good luck find cheap AK mags back then. Norinco was just starting to popular.
View Quote
For me, I'd rather unique mags to enable the BHO than AK mags to buy them cheaper and then have to go through ones to figure out which worked...

That said, for myself, the Mini30 itself is just too expensive at $800ish, so I haven't bothered. I got my 14-300blk for a good deal at $650ish I think, and it's been a lot of fun, but I think that's enough for me.
Link Posted: 8/25/2018 10:39:37 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/25/2018 10:42:29 PM EDT by sandog75]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By astrafire:
Given the prevalence now of a whole lot of new Mini-14 owners due to the great Wal*mart sell off, do you have any thoughts on torquing/retorquing/lock-tighting of the gas block screws?
View Quote
Gas block screw torque does make a difference.
Screws should be torqued in a diagonal pattern to 30 -35 inch pounds (not foot pounds).
You want an even gap side to side and front to back. Some use auto gauge feelers to get the gap between the upper and lower gas block as close to exactly even as possible.
I have to admit I don't do either of those things. I just eyeball the gap, and have developed a "feel" for how tight to turn the screws. I have the short end of the Allen up so as not to over tighten them, and with that "weak" end of the Allen, tighten them as much as I can. It seems to work well enough for me.
Locktite is not necessary but doesn't hurt anything. If you find your screws tend to loosen up often, or if you run them on the loose side, then Loctite is a good idea.
Screws are staked from the factory (Ruger doesn't want you do anything but shoot it, they look down on mods) so if you need to go in there and you are going where no man has gone before, they will be harder to loosen, and will make a slight chirp noise when the screw lets loose.

If you take your gas block off for a yearly deep clean or to put in a smaller gas port bushing, after putting it back together, you will have to re-zero.
It won't be off much, but it will be off some.

Some new Mini's come from the factory with uneven gaps and uneven screw torque. Ruger's QC is sometimes lacking, but if you ever have a problem you can't sort out yourself, Ruger's CS department is one of the best.

A guy on PU forum, who was ex-navy and was a wealth of info on military ordnance, came up with a novel idea concerning the gas block. He reloaded for all his bolt precision rifles and M1A, but didn't reload for his Mini-30. He was determined to shoot Golden Bear JSP ammo, and only Golden Bear JSP.
Where most guys, myself included, would tailor the ammo to the gun with different powder charges in their reloads, this guy claimed he got the Russian ammo to shoot better in his carbine by trying different gas block screw torques. So he tailored the gun to the ammo he chose to use.
Link Posted: 8/27/2018 9:43:55 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/27/2018 9:44:50 AM EDT by Steamedliver]
I hear ya about people parroting reasons of why they don’t buy a 223 Mini. However in 2018, are there any compelling reasons to buy one? What does a Mini do better than an AR?

Just because and why not are not good reasons for this discussion. I have bought guns in the past for those exact reasons.
Link Posted: 8/27/2018 10:03:36 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Steamedliver:
I hear ya about people parroting reasons of why they don't buy a 223 Mini. However in 2018, are there any compelling reasons to buy one? What does a Mini do better than an AR?

Just because and why not are not good reasons for this discussion. I have bought guns in the past for those exact reasons.
View Quote
My Mini-14 Ranch is fifty state legal. It is fun to shoot. Not everything has to be an AR. And I like having guns.
Link Posted: 8/27/2018 11:11:41 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/27/2018 11:18:13 AM EDT by sandog75]
I can think of a few reasons.

As JBT said, 50 state legal, for now anyways. While a Mini will kill someone just as well as an AR, you don't see it on the news every night being proclaimed by the media and the left as the root of all evil.

It feels like a real rifle. While I still shoot and enjoy AR's, and have mine set up comfortably, my AR's feel like weed eaters in comparison.
Old school cool, wood and steel instead of plastic and aluminum. With each succeeding generation, American males seem to get weaker, and want lighter and lighter weapons.

A Mini keeps all the fouling up at the gas block and gas pipe. It is as self cleaning as anything out there. I personally have gone, several times, a good 600 rounds with out any cleaning or adding lube, some guys have gone much, much, more. There are some guys on perfectunion that say they've had their Mini's for 35 years and have never cleaned them. I don't doubt that at all. There might be some brass shavings around the extractor, but I've never seen any fouling in the action.
My AR's will go a long time if I keep pouring CLP on the BCG, but nowhere near as long as a Mini.

When I get a new AR, I have to put out $$$ for an ambi charging handle, safety and mag release, as I'm one of those 20% that are left handed.
A Mini's mag release and safety are right in front of the trigger, equally good for right or left handers.

A Mini has sights low to the bore, not jacked up to the sky. No risers needed.

You don't need to spend $$$ for a set of BUIS, Mini's come standard with good sturdy ones with wings.

If you live in a humid area of the world, you can get a stainless steel Mini. Every part of it is stainless, except for the front sight and rear aperture. Everything, springs, trigger, firing pin, etc.

No need for a forward assist. The Mini has a much better one, that charging handle. Although I question the wisdom of forcing in an already tight round, you just might get it stuck worse. I would prefer to eject that bad round and try the next one in the mag. And yes, I realize the forward assist is much better employed to quietly seat a round after chambering, when an enemy might be nearby and hear normal racking. I enlisted at 17 as the Vietnam conflict was winding down, and my father, brother and cousin did tours there, so I has some insight before I handled my first M16.

With good magazines (I'm talking Ruger, KCI or O.E. brand ones, not no name ones with soft feed lips) I've never, ever had a malfunction with any of the 5 Mini's I've owned. I can't say that about AR's that I've owned or been issued in the Army, well over a dozen.
A semi auto anything is only as reliable as the magazines you put in it, and as far as I know, the Mini has never had aluminum "disposable" magazines made for it.
(But there were a lot of shoddy aftermarket mags made. Guys shouldn't badmouth a whole platform because of their decision to go cheap and buy no name mags.)

While some guys show restraint and keep their AR's simple, handy and light, there is a downside to having so many parts and uppers in different calibers available.
An AR can drain your wallet if you aren't careful. With a Mini, you can just shoot them and spend all that extra cash on more ammo instead of that new Nickle Boron BCG or carbon fiber buffer tube you've been eyeing for your AR.

While there are are shit ton of spare parts for an AR available, a Mini is built like a tank, typical Ruger engineering. A spare firing pin, extractor, and maybe a spare mag release spring is all you'd ever need to keep that Mini running for decades, and you'd probably never even need those.

I liked AR's better before everybody and their brother got one. I tire of hearing how all of them are sub MOA, when most guys are 4 MOA shooters.
And guys that don't have Mini's or ever even shot one will tell you that they are barely minute of 55 gal drum accurate, gleefully repeating what they heard on the internet.

While hundreds of companies make AR's and parts for them, Mini's have been made under the same roof for 45 years. When you get a Mini, you don't have to worry if it was made by a brand new company who might or might not know what they are doing. Ruger does seem to have gotten a bit lax in the last couple years with QC, which is why I prefer older Mini-30's., but their customer service is among the best in the industry. If you do have a problem with a newer Mini, Ruger will take care of you, and promptly.
Link Posted: 8/27/2018 1:01:50 PM EDT
I've got plenty of AR15's, and one Mini14 (and one ARX100). The AR15's are nice thin guns, but tall. (The ARX is even taller, but still nice and thin.)
The Mini is not modular in any real fashion, and magazines are pricier.

The mini's main advantage to me is the height, especially with a flush fitting 5 round magazine. Fits in a regular bag, takes up less room, very very little to get snagged on when you're taking it out of the rifle bag. I think the "Ranch Rifle" name is the perfect description for them. Maybe you won't be clearing a house or leaping from a helicopter, but for tucking behind a seat in a tube shaped opening, they're great.

I guess they're probably better to buttstroke someone with than an AR15 also, but meh, stick to Garands for that.
Link Posted: 8/27/2018 4:56:39 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/27/2018 4:57:50 PM EDT by WRBuchanan]
A good reason to buy one is that AR's are essentially Illegal in CA. Mini's are "featureless." Anyone who has shot a late model Mini for any length of time knows they are "Accurate Enough" for virtually any purpose. That's 99% of possible uses, and better than 99% of shooters can shoot. A Sub MOA rifle doesn't make YOU a Sub MOA shooter.

Shooting a sub MOA group with a Mini 14 with a Red Dot sight does.

Randy

Link Posted: 8/27/2018 5:34:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 8/27/2018 5:35:46 PM EDT by sandog75]
Nice shooting Randy.
Although mine is not quite sub MOA, a red dot equipped carbine is not just a close range rig:
Link Posted: 8/27/2018 8:05:25 PM EDT
Link Posted: 8/28/2018 9:15:22 PM EDT
Excellent write up OP.

Enjoyed reading it.
Link Posted: 9/8/2018 10:17:28 AM EDT
Probably the best analysis of the Minis I've ever seen. Gracias!
Link Posted: 9/16/2018 6:02:35 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/16/2018 6:03:22 PM EDT by Sgt911]
I just received s stainless mini-30 tactical. I didnt notice at first but the sights are canted. :(
Link Posted: 9/17/2018 8:55:57 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Sgt911:
I just received s stainless mini-30 tactical. I didnt notice at first but the sights are canted. :(
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Sarge, send it back to Ruger now, and they'll fix your sights or replace the gun.
Coltcrazy, thanks for the complients.
Link Posted: 9/19/2018 6:12:55 PM EDT
I have a 189 series with the .308 bore. Haven’t shot it for awhile.
Link Posted: 9/20/2018 4:09:31 PM EDT
Had both 14s and 30s back in the day, great little guns to shoot, have to admit my favorite was my stainless ranch rifle.
Link Posted: 9/20/2018 7:20:33 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By sandog75:

Sarge, send it back to Ruger now, and they'll fix your sights or replace the gun.
Coltcrazy, thanks for the complients.
View Quote
I shot some plates at 50 yards the other day offhand and it was gtg. I had a failure to fire once with steel cased monarch.
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