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Posted: 3/12/2018 9:34:45 AM EDT
I just inherited a few rifles from my uncle, one of them a mini 14 with a 181-36xxx serial number. Looks like a 1979 gun based on my quick research. The rifle has some rust from being a truck / barn gun for many years; however the stock looks great considering. Has a 40 year old scope on it as well, hazed glass.

I don’t know much about the mini 14, this one looks like it has a M1 carbine bayonet lug on it? My guess is that is some aftermarket modification maybe? Is there any value outside of sentimental or is this just another run of the mill plinker?

I just got home with it last night so I haven’t taken it apart yet. My guess is it hasn’t been fired in over 10 years as my uncle has been sick for a while, however he was hard on everything he owned. Other than a good cleaning anything I need to look for before shooting?

Link Posted: 3/12/2018 11:36:17 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/12/2018 11:36:37 AM EDT by KitBuilder]
Originally Posted By tangodown1881:
I don't know much about the mini 14, this one looks like it has a M1 carbine bayonet lug on it? My guess is that is some aftermarket modification maybe? Is there any value outside of sentimental or is this just another run of the mill plinker?
View Quote
Yeah, it sure does have an M1 Carbine bayo lug (and corresponding muzzle device for the bayonet ring). Interesting, but I doubt it adds much monetary value.
When cleaning, remove the bayonet lug and everything to make sure you can get to any rust that may be under it.
Link Posted: 3/12/2018 2:04:12 PM EDT
I will give you a $100 bucks for it. It won't shoot well. Just kidding good looking rifle.
Link Posted: 3/12/2018 2:15:07 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/12/2018 2:16:07 PM EDT by VASCAR2]
The muzzle looks a little different or the fron end of the front sight. There is a youtube video of a guy using a copper penny and oil like CLP to clean up rust gun. I tried it and it works real good, worth checking out.

Nice to inherit a gun like that and I would never sell it.
Link Posted: 3/12/2018 2:58:18 PM EDT
4-0 steel wool and clp for the win.
Link Posted: 3/12/2018 4:21:35 PM EDT
Not looking to sell but i wasn't sure if i should leave it as is or if i could play with it. I was thinking about switching out the sights and ditching bayonet mount and scope mount / scope.

I am going to clean it up tonight thanks guys
Link Posted: 3/12/2018 6:15:39 PM EDT
Ditch bayonet mount, add aftermarket bbl brace, replace scope, enjoy.
Link Posted: 3/12/2018 7:28:17 PM EDT
So after taking the scope mounts off it looks like a custom tapp job. Did these old rifles come drilled for scope mounts? Front hole is a little shady with thin treads and looks like it goes into the barrel.

Also scope is a bushel banner 3-9 made in Japan and actually has decent glass after a good cleaning (was very dirty) are these any good?

Ran 15 rounds of cheap 223 for fictional test didn’t try for accuracy yet. Bore looks okay best I can tell.
Link Posted: 3/12/2018 8:02:56 PM EDT
The Ruger 180 or later models were not made for scopes until the Ranch models were introduced. My Brother has a Ruger 180 series where a Gunsmith removed the rear sight and installed a BSA (IIRC) base for a scope. It’s a pain because you can’t get the bolt out with out removing the scope base. Sounds like someone improvised a method to mount the scope. Those old Japanese made Bushnell scopes are pretty decent. I have a couple of Japanese made Tasco scopes which are still useful and clear today even though they were probably made in the late 60’s to early 70’s.

I’ve been around numerous Mini 14’s and most were very reliable even though they generally did not have stellar accuracy. The only real issue I’ve seen with some Mini 14’s is the trigger guard will come unlatched while shooting. Once unlatched the trigger group can fall out of the rifle. The twist on your Mini’s barrel is probably 1:10 and is designed to shoot 5.56 or 223 Remington even though the receiver is marked 223 Rem. Most of the Mini 14’s I was around were used by LE either private or department owned. The Ruger Mini 14 had adequate accuracy for most LE encounters where the distance was usually pretty close and rarely beyond 100 yards.
Link Posted: 3/12/2018 8:23:24 PM EDT
Use only Ruger mags...they are very finicky.
Link Posted: 3/30/2018 10:37:22 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/30/2018 10:59:06 AM EDT by DakotaFAL]
The bayonet lug is interesting. Is it attached to the top piece of the gas block? If you want to sell it, let me know, I'm interested.


The wood handguards went away during the 181 series, although I've seen them on a few 182s as well. I'm not sure if owners bought them after market or if Ruger just found remaining stock and put them on 182 series Mini 14s. I like the looks of the wood handguard, but it does retain heat from the barrel.

4 MOA or so was about average for accuracy, but you can improve that a lot with an Accu Strut, and a Choate flash hider/front sight. The Accu Strut adds stiffness and the additional weight helps the barrel harmonics. You can also add a gas port bushing to reduce the amount of gas and thus reduce the slide velocity. Most early Mini 14s can shoot 1.5-2 MOA after those changes. Accuracy Systems makes a better front sight for it and that makes the iron sights more useable and more accurate.

One advantage of the early Mini 14s is that they used a plunger type ejector that did not throw brass into the next county. On a later Mini 14 you need to use a gas port bushing to reduce the slide velocity to make the ejection less violent.


Rifling twist varied on the Mini 14 and Ranch Rifles.

The 180 and 181 series made before 1986 had 1 in 10 twist

Ruger switched to 1 in 7 during 1986 so 181s over SN 95448 could have either twist as should the 182, 183 and most of the 184 series, before 184-95448. You'll find 184 series minis over that number with both barrel twists.

In 1987 Ruger changed to the 185 series and they should all have 1 in 7 twist, but that is a "should" as Ruger had a habit of using what ever was on hand, and if they found an older 1 in 10 barrel on the shelf it would have been put on a 185 series Mini. You may also encounter older Mini-14s that were re-barreled at the factory later with what ever barrel was being produced at the time. Ruger was really good about rebuilding Mini 14s sent in by customers, particularly law enforcement customers.

1 in 7 twist was the norm until late in series 186 production during 1997 when they changed to 1 in 9 twist. Anything 186 series rifle prior to 186-66855 should be 1 in 7 twist, and any 186 series after 186-81445 should be 1 in 9, but again that's a "should" for the same reasons mentioned above.


The Ranch Rifles were introduced in 1982 with the 187 series. They also had 1-10 twist barrels until 1986 when they switch to 1 in 7 starting some where after 187-50919. The 187 series after about 187-59308 should all be 1 in 7 twist, and again this is a "should".

The 1 in 7 continued through the 188 series and into the 195 series, with Ruger switching to 1 in 9 in 1997 after 195-27761--1997 and more or less being complete by
195-44221 in 1998.


The 580 and later series all use 1 in 9 twist barrels and all of the mini-30s use 1 in 10 twist barrels.
Link Posted: 3/30/2018 1:32:12 PM EDT
Tried out a pre-ban Ram-Line mag today in my AR with 20 rounds. It hung up at round 19, but might be b/c my BCG was bone dry.

If someone with a Mini-14 or AR-180 would like to try it out, PM me.
Link Posted: 4/1/2018 5:24:55 PM EDT
Originally Posted By DakotaFAL:
The bayonet lug is interesting. Is it attached to the top piece of the gas block?

I took the gas block off and the lug was fitted to the barrel, gas block looks to have been trimmed to fit. Upper part is milled down for clearance. It’s on there good will not move. I am going to hang on to this being a family gun and all, decided to leave it as is. Cleaned it up good and took it out ran 60 rounds through it, was definitely stringing as it heated up but it ran great. Fun little gun. I just ordered a bayonet for it because? Why not.
Link Posted: 4/1/2018 5:43:49 PM EDT
Very cool.
I like to have bayonets for all the lugs.
Link Posted: 4/2/2018 12:29:52 AM EDT
If it were a pristine 181 with the wooden hand guard it would be worth anywhere from $300 to $600 depending on where you are living. In California or any other state behind enemy lines it would bring you the $600 pretty easy. In it's current configuration you will need to find the right guy to buy it, somewhere in the $300 to $400 range. The value of the skinny barrel Mini's have taken a dive since the 581 series with the heavier .625 barrel has been offered by Ruger. Only in the AR banned states have the skinny barrel Mini's held any value. At www.perfectunion.com you can find a larger discussion on the Mini's.
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