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This is a discussion on First Gun, First Mini 14 within the New Users forums, part of the Lobby category; Hi guys, New to the site! I've been reading a lot of these forums on all kinds of topics regarding the Mini 14. Finally bought ...

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Old March 9th, 2017, 07:41 PM   #1
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First Gun, First Mini 14

Hi guys,

New to the site!

I've been reading a lot of these forums on all kinds of topics regarding the Mini 14. Finally bought my first gun 2 weeks ago. My background in firearms is through my grandfather and uncles. Pacific Northwest hunters and craftsmen. They would take my siblings and I to outdoor ranges in Northern Minnesota when we were as young as 5. Shot my grandpas' WWII 30-06, Remington 700, his old 30-30 of some sort, various 22s, Olympic AR15, etc. I enjoy guns, respect guns, not super knowledgeable about extreme gun details but I have learned a lot over the years and have shot regularly throughout my adult life. I enjoy target shooting immensely, I very much intend this gun to be my SHTF weapon for protecting me and my family if need be, but never got around to purchasing my own gun of any kind. I'm not a hunter. I've never shot a deer or anything but have no problem doing so. Currently my situation doesn't require I need to do so. But if I needed to, its nice to know I could.

After lots of research, I decided on the Mini 14 for my first gun. Several factors brought me to that decision and I'd love to go into detail with anyone on a different thread. I don't have the finances to purchase more guns or loads of accessories and ammo at the moment, but have a little to work with to get me started.

I bought a 58X Ranch model, manufactured in Aug 2016. Blued steel. I like the idea of stainless being easier to clean, but all the accessories were black; magazines, optics, etc. And when I saw the black hardware on a natural dark oak stock, it looked amazing. 18" barrel. Came with 2 Ruger factory 5 round mags.

After shooting the gun at an indoor range and figuring out "what bugs me", I've made some adjustment and now have questions/comments.

The gun is stamped 5.56. The Gander Mountain gun counter guy said Federal American Eagle .223 55gr would be my best bet for a decent round at a reasonable price. After trying my best to sight the rifle in and being satisfied with my groups (2" at 25 yards, the indoor range is small and is all i have access to right now.) I can't say that I would notice a different if I tried to shoot other ammo. After running out of the .223, the range sold me some AE 5.56 55gr and said it would be fine. I didn't notice a difference except they said i would get better performance out of 5.56 because it has more velocity than .223. According to the boxes, the .223 had more velocity than the 5.56. Who knows what they are talking about? The gun guy or the guy selling me over priced ammo at the range. I don't expect to shoot 1-2 inch groups at 100yds. I will be happy if I can shatter a dinner plate at 100yds consistantly. What ammo do you recommend and why? When you take your gun out, how many rounds do you shoot? Is there a limit as far as over heating and possibly damaging the rifle. Obviously if its too hot to handle you should hold off. Its just so fun to shoot its hard to put down.

Barrel Strut:
I went ahead and ordered an Accu-Strut 6" barrel strut. I read in these forums that the difference it might make in a new Mini as opposed to a pencil barrel Mini is negligible and for a novice like me won't be able to tell the difference. I like the idea that it can't hurt, could obviously provide SOME additional support as opposed to NO strut at all, and it looks good. Provides heat sink, etc. I have some questions about installing. Im a little weary of drilling the gas block for the dimples for the set screws. I want this to be tight as hell with no slippage. What locktite do you recommend, how much do you apply and where specifically would you apply it?

Gas Block:
I don't like the idea of removing the gas block for any reason for fear of not being able to return it to proper position and torque. I'm a carpenter by trade and am quite familiar with tools and torque. I like the idea of replacing the gas bushing with a smaller diameter hole. Less gas powering the action seems to have several benefits. Doesn't send brass flying so violently, is easier on the action (wear and tear) and might be cleaner too (less gas being dispersed into and onto the parts). Does this also mean more gas is then directed to the bullet instead of operating the rod? More velocity then? Who do I purchase a reduced gas bushing from? How hard is it to remove and install? How often should I remove the gas block for cleaning? Most Mini 14 cleaning videos on YouTube never mention needing to remove it from the barrel. They only clean around the piston and call it good.

Recoil Buffers:
I purchased both the Wilson 1911 buffers and a buffer actually made for it. It didn't say buffer tech but it seemed to be of a strong rubber or polyurethane. Seemed durable. 2 for $14. I installed a Wilson around the gas piston and it fit like a glove. The op rod was able to close and lock the bolt completely with a little extra room. The buffer for the spring rod however was too thick and prevented the bolt lock from working properly. I took a sharp, ultra thin razor blade and sliced it in two perfect halves. That worked amazing. It fit and the bolt was able to be locked back with no problem. Firing it will be a different test to see how the buffers stand up and how they function in action. Just moving the action back and forth I could already feel the soft cushion and noticed a noice reduction as well. Such a great improvement its funny Ruger doesn't mention it. I turned the other overly thick buffer into 2 and have 3 back ups, as well as 5 more Wilson 1911 buffers for the gas block. Any other advice in this area? Will these, especially the gas block buffer be hard to clean around or difficult to remove when need replacing?

Tech sight:
I don't have a problem with the factory site. It is a little crude to adjust and I often wonder if I lose my position while adjusting a different position. At $65 the tech sight seems nice. Are the adjustments easy to make? Are there any good instructional videos or procedures for sighting in a rifle and what to consider? Like I said before, if I can shatter a dinner plate (8-10") at 100yds consistently I would be happy. A 6" circle at 100yds?! Awesome, I'll take it.

The gun guy at Gander sold me on a package that included a Vortex Diamond 4x12 scope. I know nothing about scopes or how to sight this thing in. At $200 it came with a lifetime warranty. I have shot the gun twice at the range (25yrds) so have not bothered with the scope. I don't like the idea of it mounted at the moment because I want to get proficient with the good old iron sight. And until weather allows an out door range, I have no use for it. Can I hit 6" circles at 100yds with the iron sights? Is a 4x12 too much magnification for a rifle that isn't known to be that accurate past 200yds? Or is that not true? Should I return it? Do I need the scope?

In the box, it came with 2 Ruger Factory 5rd mags. They work perfectly every time. Gander didn't have any Ruger mags in store. Gander sold me a ProMag 30rd. It misfeeds on the 2 or 3rd round during a quick 3 round fire, and around every 10th round fired with 10-30 seconds between rounds. The round gets stuck between the edge of the bolt and the rim of the chamber. At the indoor range, they had 2 Ruger Factory 20rd mags. I bought one. It worked perfectly every time. I went back the next day and bought the second. They are expensive and hard to find.

Buttstock Mag Pouch:
I really like the idea of this. But, Will this more or less just get in the way of me holding and aiming the rifle? Are there any good ones available? Several of the links I found on this site were no longer working. Would I be better off getting mag pouch belt, vest, bag, etc. Is this a situational accessory like the scope?

After market soft cushion replacement buttstock end? A recoil pad? Worth it? Noticeable difference?

Glass bedding? Sounds like a scary process. I would never attempt myself. Will a novice like me notice a difference? How expensive is it? Who should I trust with such a procedure if I want it done in the future? The gun itself, stock, receiver, trigger group, etc seem very tight and locked in. No movement between the wooden stock and the metal parts.

Trigger job? I've read a lot about this. But don't know that I could tell the difference between my current factory trigger that creeps clumsily and then pulls at 5-6# or a trigger that has been adjusted to creep smooth as air and pull with 2-3#. I personally like the factory action of the trigger. How expensive is the procedure and what do they actually do? I read a half hour on the gunsmiths bench is reasonable. What does a good gunsmith charge an hr?

I bought some Hoppees or similar cleaning solvent, CPL or something like that, 3 bristle brushes (nylon, heated nylon and a brass one) and a bore snake. I cleaned the gun before and after the first outing to the range. I watched a great video of an older gentleman disassembling and cleaning the mini. He uses q-tips and other cloths to get the carbon off after you break it up with solvent and brushing. Are there special material cloths I should be using or are heavy duty paper towels or cotton rags good enough. They seem to work fine as long as I have plenty and use clean areas to wipe. The gun looks really clean. I took everything apart (except the trigger and the bolt itself and cleaned it with a little solvent, brushed it if it needed it and wiped it away, being careful not to leave towel material behind. Part of my package deal with Gander was a 3 year warranty (I think it was 3 years) and 3 free professional gunsmith cleanings. I put solvent on the head of the bore snake as instructed and fished the line through the chamber out the muzzle. I have to step on the line and pull the barrel up to get it through. It was touch but it seemed to work great. I pulled it through 3 more times, cleaning any large amounts of carbon off the thicker wiping end. Adding a little more solvent on the 3rd pass. The fourth pass, the bigger end was dry and didn't have any more carbon residue. There was no excessive solvent anywhere. The chamber was dry. The parts were cleaned. I put a little grease on the bolt button where it interacts with the op rod and a little on the slide where it notches into the side of the receiver. Action feels great. A few days later took it to the range a second time and then repeated the cleaning process when I got home. Looks great and feels great. How often should I clean the gun? How often if at all should the gas block itself be unscrewed and cleaned? Do you recommend a rod with patches over the pull through bore snake method? Other cleaning tips?

Overall, I am happy with my rifle. I love the Garand style action, the wood (non pistol grip) stock, the blue steel, the caliber size, etc. Everything about this gun is awesome. Except it's known quirks. Ultimately the pros outweighed the cons for me. I can not wait to get outside and shoot at 50 and 100 yds or maybe further. I don't foresee taking shots past 100 yards outside of the range. This gun is to first be reliable and accurate within 100 yds. I like the simple design. Only about 10 parts you disassemble. Easy to work on, modify, and adjust. The caliber is popular and medium range in power which is great for applying to different tasks. A one trick pony.

As you can tell, I'm excited and don't have anyone else to talk about my gun with. Glad to join this community and hope to learn more.


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Old March 9th, 2017, 07:57 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum!

Enjoy your new Mini
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Old March 9th, 2017, 08:13 PM   #3
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Old March 9th, 2017, 09:30 PM   #4
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Old March 9th, 2017, 09:47 PM   #5
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Old March 9th, 2017, 09:55 PM   #6
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Old March 9th, 2017, 11:02 PM   #7
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Welcome from The Bluegrass. A Mini-14 is a great start to your collection and I wholeheartedly agree with your decision to get proficient with the iron sights before you start mounting optics. BTW, the Vortex scope the salesman steered you towards is a great scope for the money. I'd hang on to it even if you decide not to put it on your Mini. As your collection grows you'll eventually find a rifle for it.
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Old March 10th, 2017, 12:32 AM   #8
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Hey There, Welcome to the Forum.

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Old March 10th, 2017, 01:51 AM   #9
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Old March 10th, 2017, 01:55 AM   #10
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Old March 10th, 2017, 02:24 AM   #11
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Old March 10th, 2017, 02:33 AM   #12
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A big welcome to the Forum from Wisconsin!

Great first gun choice, enjoy.
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Old March 10th, 2017, 02:39 AM   #13
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Old March 10th, 2017, 02:50 AM   #14
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Welcome aboard from Ontario and another Mini 14 owner.
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Old March 10th, 2017, 03:38 AM   #15
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Welcome to the forum. Lots of questions, but this is not really the place to get answers.
(I mean, the new users thread).

Post, or copy and paste, each one of those paragraphs in the appropriate sub forum and you will get lots of responses. Again, welcome to the forum.
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