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Mini 14 Accuracy Rant

This is a discussion on Mini 14 Accuracy Rant within the Ruger Semi-Auto forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; Originally Posted by jimmielee I trust my life to my mini14 should things get hairy...I would not want to be in a fire fight, ever, ...


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Old November 9th, 2014, 03:21 PM   #76
 
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Originally Posted by jimmielee View Post
I trust my life to my mini14 should things get hairy...I would not want to be in a fire fight, ever, but if it happened I feel that the mini is capable.
jimmielee, coming from a United States Marine, your endorsement of the Mini-14 is good enough for me. An early Happy Veteran's Day to you!



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Old November 17th, 2014, 08:23 PM   #77
 
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show us the beef...

I hear a lot of rants and raves about the Mini 14 and Ranch Rifle accuracy, but few back anything (good or bad) with proof. Many people are keyboard parrots and just repeat what they hear. This really irks when whenever I am searching for reviews, see dozens of pages of chit chat, and get no physical evidence. The following info is useful for helping with the accuracy discussion. This may be a long post, so please bear with me.

Here is my ranch rifle. Bought it early this year 2014 with money from selling an AR15 that had become a safe queen. I like ARs, but don't like having one with a thicker barrel and a heavy scope. The fun factor disappears quickly on most any kind of mobile hunting situation. The combo below is light and easy to carry. This ranch rifle was bought used on Gunbroker, through an out of state dealer so I had no background other than it was a trade in, and it came with a new Nikon P223 3x9 scope. The rifle looked like it wasn't shot much (for a 580 series rifle with a 99xxx serial number), had mismatched screws in the scope bases, stock had ugly gaps at the front, and the front clamp bolts were very uneven. I didn't really expect much due to the online assessments of various websites, but I thought I would take it out for some evaluation shortly after getting it.





The rifle was set up at my outdoor home range (properly measured) on a spool reel table with a lead sled solo rifle rest and no weight. Front tie down was a simple velcro strap. It was a 75 deg spring day with a tailwind. I zeroed it at 50 yards, checked the scope for reliable tracking as adjustments were made, checked scope base screws, then finished up at a 100 yds with the process. Here is my target paper, with a few different ammo types shot at it.






There were a few surprising results. Had I known what the results were ahead of time, I would have done things differently for better recording. Regardless, here is what we are looking at. I zeroed with 223 ammo, Black Hills Match 69grBTHP because I thought it was the most uniform ammo that I had on hand. Shots were loaded into magazine all at once. Fired one at a time. Each shot was marked out (with an X in it as well as a number) as it was fired for the Black Hills ammo. I fired one shot, walked 100 yds down to target, marked the shot, walked back, and repeated the process. Note first one on point of aim, the next came higher, then back down, and the last two higher up.





I allowed a 15 minute cool down time before shooting the next ammo. Next up was some bulk 223 ammo with Federal (F-C) stamped brass in 55grain FMJ. Remington was written on the target, and I apologize for posting it this way. This ammo's age was unknown. I got a few hundred rounds of this ammo 18 months ago in a grocery sack with an AR15, but some of the ammo had corroded brass that needed spots to be scraped with a knife and wire brushed. I would not run this stuff through an AR, but used it here. And luck would have it that it shot fantastic. This time I did not number the shots, just marked the holes after every shot with the same cool down time. The first shot was the lower right one, with the next two coming up above it, with the last two in center (unmarked ones). Also note the very nice group, all fitting under a quarter.






The third set of ammo was 223 in Winchester 62grain FMJ. I shot this ammo after the same 15 minute cooldown from the previous ammo, but decided to not let the barrel cool down between shots and fired the shots as fast as I could verify the crosshairs were back on the red dot. The first shot was just a little low of point of aim, the next three coming in higher and very close together, two off to the left of center. The next two to the left (circled above quarter) were the following shots. Then I shifted my point of aim to a different red dot from the original one (would be lower left of the quarter) out of fear of not tracking the shot order. I reset quick (without touching the barrel), found my mark, and these final two 9th and 10th shots (circled) came in surprisingly at nearly the same point of impact cold. I wouldn't have guessed it was a hot barrel except for the smoking from under the handguard and the obvious radiant heat from the barrel.





A couple of things to mention...I made sure and inserted the magazine with bolt locked back then released it to slam home. Some people mention different points of impact with the first round, and this might be due to people riding the bolt forward. The rifle was left dirty with no cleaning residue nor oil in the barrel except for the first shots for zeroing the scope. No cleaning in between ammo changes. I make no claim to be any kind of benchrest shooter, but simply wanted to eliminate as much of my errors possible from the rifle's shooting results. I have a flinch if not controlled by constant practice, and am also cross eye dominant (right handed with dominant left eye). This year's ammo prices had kept me from a lot of shooting practice, so I did recognize a flinch during the shooting.

Regardless of this, I feel the rifle performed exceptionally well. The change in point of impact from one ammo to the others would not worry me on my hunting situations. The fact that the follow up shots follow a particular pattern (the same for all the ammo types) is quite interesting. But the original point still is, a Ruger ranch rifle can get good groups and have accuracy for real world hunting scenerios providing the shooter does a little research on his part.

Last edited by BuryTheHatchet; November 18th, 2014 at 11:35 AM. Reason: typos
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Old November 18th, 2014, 05:24 PM   #78
 
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You've got a real keeper. With handloads of premium bullets (other than mil spec FMJs) you might even improve on what you already have. That is some nice shooting and I'm surprised how well some of your mil spec ammo grouped. NEVER, EVER sell that gun!
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Old November 18th, 2014, 08:36 PM   #79
 
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Perhaps this rifle was a safe queen that never saw much action, otherwise I can't believe it would be traded off.

It could be that someone tried to mod this when it was brand new and actually made it shoot worse, then pulled off the mods and traded it. You can barely see it in the pics, but the gas block gaps all the way around are a major eyesore. I am sort of afraid to take it off, true up and retorque, as that might mess up the harmonics.

Anyway, ARs and Minis are both fun to shoot, and the rivalry makes for lively conversations around the campfire. I am happy to live in, and to have served for, a country that allows us a choice to have one or both of them.
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Old November 19th, 2014, 02:11 AM   #80
 
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BuryTheHatchet , That was a great post. The Mini14s are great guns , I had a 196 ranch and now have a 582 Tactical. I was thinking of buying another AR after I gave mine to my son, But I have decided to just bite the bullet and save for an Springfield M1A. The garand action is addicting. Good luck with your Mini, she's a keeper.
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Old November 19th, 2014, 04:32 AM   #81
 
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Originally Posted by Misfire51 View Post
BuryTheHatchet , That was a great post. The Mini14s are great guns , I had a 196 ranch and now have a 582 Tactical. I was thinking of buying another AR after I gave mine to my son, But I have decided to just bite the bullet and save for an Springfield M1A. The garand action is addicting. Good luck with your Mini, she's a keeper.
Big Mini fan here ! Proud owner of two 580 series ranch rifles one has now over 3500 rounds w/o a single malfunction, scoped and with a trigger job 1 to 2" groups are the norm @ 100 , my other one still new to me is set up as a go to ... 3" groups at 50 with a red dot is plenty accurate for its intended purpose. Gave up on the AR platform after owning just two I realized that the Mini is just more reliable ,and yes I can say that based on my experence . I Recently picked up a SA Socom 16 to bring in a heavy hitter that has the same reliable action as my Mini's . Hey it works for me.
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Old November 20th, 2014, 12:39 PM   #82
 
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BTH,
I would not touch that gun with any mods. You don't want to know how many mods are done just to get their Mini to shoot like yours (if ever). Maybe a trigger job but it doesn't need anything else. Leave it be and enjoy a sweet relationship.
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Old November 26th, 2014, 06:46 AM   #83
 
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Mine will shoot a 1" group, at 100 yards, for 3 shots. After that, the barrel starts to heat up and they begin to walk to the right. Still, 30 rounds in a six to ten inch circle isn't bad. I have never shot anything but paper, but I carried it in the trunk of my patrol car, for 10 years with complete confidence that it would go BANG when I pulled the trigger.......Robin
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Old December 11th, 2014, 07:54 PM   #84
 
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Thank you BuryTheHatchet for the range report. I love reading them and seeing the photos.

I haven't had "my wife's Mini-14" out for a long time and really need to find time to go shoot it. I do recall that we had a silhouette target at about 60 yards and put 10 rounds into the head, free standing, firing as fast as I could acquire the target.

I have two other 5.56 rifles, and each has its role. The Ruger Mini-14's role is close up, door bashing, and otherwise rugged use. Heck, the empty rifle can be used as a weapon, no cheap plastic adjustable stock that will break, just use it like a club when the ammo is gone.
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Old December 27th, 2016, 11:54 AM   #85
 
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Thank you for the post BuryTheHatchet. I just bought a Mini 14 Ranch rifle, 583-xx and want to get a Nikon p 223 3x9 as yours looks to be. Appears that scope will fit into the Ruger rings using base installation into the receiver, without any Picatinny rails. Is this correct?
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Old December 27th, 2016, 03:28 PM   #86
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Hey Waltz: welcome to the forum from Central Virginia!

This is an old thread, but relevant. Can't speak to the Nikon, but you should be good. P-rails will give your better options if the scope rings don't work.

It is important you check the gaps on your gas block. Some have gotten their new Minis with the gas block gaps way off (myself included). It will have a huge impact on accuracy if it is off. 9/64" Allen wrench if you need to, cross torque and (preferably) an inch-pound torque wrench at about 30 inch-pounds. If you don't have an inch-pound torque wrench, as even as you can with an Allen wrench.

Blue loctite on the rear sight is also a good idea. Should you ever consider just using irons, the Tech Sights option is popular and a great improvement.

But take your time and see what you might think you'd like: as all Minis are "different", so are its users.

Eject distance may seem to be a challenge; my 583 Tactical (16" barrel) lobs them about 10-12', which is okay for me. Full-length Ranch Rifles send them a lot further, which may or may not be a problem for you. Reduced-size gas bushings will fix that - just be wary of reliability: eject distance is irrelevant if a jam occurs in the middle of a gunfight!

One mod at a time, settle in with it, then go onto the next one if you desire.

The Mini is not a sniper rifle, but yours should be good for about a 2 MOA accuracy - depending on ammo. If it is really off, send it back to Ruger and they will make it well (but note that any mods you have done will be replaced with standard Ruger stuff - to include trigger jobs).

It is best to stick with genuine Ruger factory mags, as they are the most reliable (and reliability is what the Mini is all about). They aren't cheap, but are often on sale. Buy once, cry once. Once you're comfortable and don't mind doing some minor mods, aftermarket mags might be considered.

There are plenty of YouTube videos on polishing the trigger mech; I never bothered as it is (to me) a quick-response carbine with a military trigger. Many will recommend and it is a good upgrade should the trigger bother you. As always, you can send off the trigger mech to places like Brimstone. Your choice.

The only mod I have made to my 583 Tactical was replacing the rear sight with the Tech Sights. Using irons, my first look through the factory rear sight convinced me to spend the extra buck for the Tech Sights rear sight. If "Irons" isn't your thing, you can forego that expense.

If you have a synthetic stock, there are some threads about doing some shims using expired credit cards/gift cards that may be helpful. They tend to tighten things up without the expense of a full-blown bedding project.

Look around the forum: there are plenty of mods you can do should you feel the need.

Welcome to your Mini, and Happy New Year!
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Old December 27th, 2016, 06:09 PM   #87
 
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Took my Mini-14 out to the range last week. Only my 3rd or 4th time handling a rifle in my life (although I've had handgun experience). Cheap new red dot sight, no mods. Took me a while to get it zeroed in, but I did. Leaned on a table with my elbows (no vice or whatever) and was able to hit a 9 inch steel plate ten out of ten times at 100 yards. If a noob can do that, there must be something right with the rifle.
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Old December 27th, 2016, 06:20 PM   #88
 
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Took my Mini-14 out to the range last week. Only my 3rd or 4th time handling a rifle in my life (although I've had handgun experience). Cheap new red dot sight, no mods. Took me a while to get it zeroed in, but I did. Leaned on a table with my elbows (no vice or whatever) and was able to hit a 9 inch steel plate ten out of ten times at 100 yards. If a noob can do that, there must be something right with the rifle.
Rifles are surprisingly capable at surprising distances. The Mini-14 is no exception. With a bit of practice, and maybe shooting from some sandbags, you would find that you would not just be hitting the target every time, but you would also be hitting targets much smaller than 9 inches, AND you will be hitting them in the same spot every time.

The traditional frustration with the Ruger Mini's come from people trying to make them into target rifles. If you are trying to shoot <1 inch 3-5 shot groups at 100 yards, a Mini-14 is probably not your first choice for a rifle.
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Old December 27th, 2016, 09:00 PM   #89
 
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I guess for me, I didn't fully understand the situation. I read that the newer models had addressed problems with accuracy and bought mine expecting something that could put down groups as tight as what I can do with a 10/22 or the accurate but undependable M-16A2 I carried in the service and do so straight out of the box.
I don't have the time, patience or desire to fuss with a whole lot of upgrades.

I would rather spend that time and money on ammo and working on basic fundamentals of marksmanship.


Its just not been my experience and while I still really like the rifle overall, its not what I had hoped and I am quietly disappointed.

It was intended to be my SHTF gun that I could also have some fun with on the range with my friends. But I think what I consider an acceptable SHTF gun is different than most.

The main thing being that it must be a rifle I can confidentiality and consistently hit targets out to 200-250 meters with IRON SIGHTS. I can hit targets at that range with my Mini-14 but its all over the place and with I bench rest at 25 meters I can't get groups tight enough to adjust the sights.

I'm definitely on the bubble as far as considering the Mini's accuracy to be adequate. I can live with it until I've time and money to invest in something else.

For the longest time, I felt it was me being rusty but I've since been able to put down some really tight groups with friends's rifles so I'm confident its not my skills to blame.

Again, I don't think i fully understood that the newer versions are simply more accurate than the older ones and I blindly trusted the Ruger Brand after my experiences with a 10/22.

I'm bummed you might say. I wasn't wanting a competition grade rifle either.

Oh well, time to get back to studying.

Last edited by BuckeyeMini14Guy; December 27th, 2016 at 09:13 PM.
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Old December 27th, 2016, 10:55 PM   #90
 
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I have always been a fan of the mini. I have had a few 10/22's over the years and given my boys one. I was always under the impression that the mini was deadly accurate like the 10/22. I am the owner of 8 hand guns and 3 being Rugers. For Xmas the wife told me to go get a fun gun and off I went to look at a mini. At the LGS they gad a 14 and a 30. the salesman then showed me a AR 556 and started going over all the customization then my mind began to spin. 20 mins later I walked out with the AR 556 10 mags and a Magpul furniture kit. The mini will always be on the radar but damn this AR is sure east to field strip. I am sure it wont be as accurate as the mini. I will keep an eye in the Mini 14 porn pics. Enjoy your guns.
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