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Mini 14 - 16 or 18 inch barrel?

This is a discussion on Mini 14 - 16 or 18 inch barrel? within the Ruger Semi-Auto forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; Hey everybody, I've decided take the practical step up from a 10/22 and purchase a mini. I can't decide whether to purchase the ranch rifle ...


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Old June 11th, 2010, 06:13 PM   #1
 
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Mini 14 - 16 or 18 inch barrel?

Hey everybody,

I've decided take the practical step up from a 10/22 and purchase a mini. I can't decide whether to purchase the ranch rifle or the tactical with the rifle stock. I've noticed the ranch has a 18.5" barrel and the tactical a 16.1". I like the look of the tactical, but is there any advantage or disadvantage to the shorter barrel length. I would assume the longer barrel would be more accuate, but have read that might not be the case with mini's. Any help would be appreciated.



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Old June 11th, 2010, 06:33 PM   #2
 
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Welcome,
I can't help you on the length question but I beat up wood furniture so I went with a synthetic stock. I just love the Mini and it is very fun to shoot. Good luck on your hunt!
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Old June 11th, 2010, 06:39 PM   #3
 
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go with the shorter barrel from what I have heard the shorter barrel mini is more accurate. I actually am looking at getting mine chopped.
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Old June 11th, 2010, 06:39 PM   #4
 
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Welcome to the forum Jwood. The only thing I think you'll lose with the shorter barrel is a little velocity. I really don't think it will be that much to make any difference.There might be a little better accuracy with the longer barrel. There again I don't think it will make much of a difference either. I would handle both and see which feels better to you. Let that be your deciding point.

Mini's have never been known to be tack drivers. I hear the newer ones have improved accuracy.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 02:49 AM   #5
 
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hi! I bought a 2008 580 series Ranch Rifle, blue, wood stock and 18.5'' barrel. I installed the ATI stock, cut the barrel to 16'', and threaded it 1/2X28 TPI. These rifles are like an AR, once you start the mods there's no end in sight,LOL . If you get a 580 or 581 series which are both tapered heavier barrels , barrel length shouldn't be an issue for accuracy. Earlier ''pencil barrel'' series mini's do gain in accuracy with the shorter barrel.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 04:13 AM   #6
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 5 Boyz View Post
go with the shorter barrel from what I have heard the shorter barrel mini is more accurate. I actually am looking at getting mine chopped.
Be careful. This is the kind of thing that floats around message boards and gets repeated over and over. It becomes "conventional wisdom" and "truth" whether or not it's myth or folklore. I don't know if it's true or not and I've never heard of anyone comprehensively testing it with new Minis. Any evaluations that may have been done on older Minis are irrelevant.

The "theory" goes that a shorter barrel is stiffer and has less harmonic vibration. The loss of velocity is negligible compared to the reduction in barrel vibration. This has been shown to be true on many rifles for years but it's a trade-off. You can't be sure it's true of the Mini until someone demonstrates it by empirical observation.

One thing I can tell you for sure about the two barrel lengths: I have the longer barrel Ranch (All-Weather in SS) and the shorter barrel Tacticals I see (and hear) at the range are MUCH louder.

Last edited by BLAMMO; June 12th, 2010 at 04:17 AM.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 06:02 AM   #7
 
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welcome. have a nice and safe day.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 10:37 AM   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BLAMMO View Post
Be careful. This is the kind of thing that floats around message boards and gets repeated over and over. It becomes "conventional wisdom" and "truth" whether or not it's myth or folklore. I don't know if it's true or not and I've never heard of anyone comprehensively testing it with new Minis. Any evaluations that may have been done on older Minis are irrelevant.

The "theory" goes that a shorter barrel is stiffer and has less harmonic vibration. The loss of velocity is negligible compared to the reduction in barrel vibration. This has been shown to be true on many rifles for years but it's a trade-off. You can't be sure it's true of the Mini until someone demonstrates it by empirical observation.

One thing I can tell you for sure about the two barrel lengths: I have the longer barrel Ranch (All-Weather in SS) and the shorter barrel Tacticals I see (and hear) at the range are MUCH louder.
It is not irrelevent to me since the fact that my mini is a older mini. Also he is buying a new one not making any adjustments. AND I QUOTE FROM WHAT I HAVE HEARD ON HERE IN SEVERAL FORUMS THAT A OLDER MINI IS MORE ACCURATE WITH A SHORTER BARREL. The shorter barrels are louder as is a flash suppresor or a muzzel brake. Acurracy is more than likely the same if not better on the newer shorter minis. My sr556 with a non magnified eotech will hold 1 to 1.5 at 100yds 16 barrel.............
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Old June 12th, 2010, 10:50 AM   #9
 
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hi. i have the 182 and 83, and 2 newer ones with the 18", i like the 16 older ones better, mybe its just me. have a safe and warm day. my grandson will be the new owner in about 2 weeks.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 01:46 PM   #10
 
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The barrel length is not an issue as far as accuracy goes. Both have the same potential (Except fot the possible harmonics). In a mechanical rest with revolvers that have far less of a harmonic problem than a longer barreled rifle, a 2.5" revolver should be as accurite as a 6" barrel or very very close.
The reason shorter barrels get better accuracy on the Mini has to do with less harmonics to hurt accuracy.
A longer length can help with open sights due to the longer sight radius, which helps because small differences in the sighting have less of an effect because you have a longer view with the sights (hope that makes sence).
I bought a tacticle with the 16" barrel because I will be using optics and in theory, it should be more acurite than a longer barreled weapon.
Less metal to bend from metal stress when the barrel heats from firing and better (less) harmonics.
If you are going to use iron sights only, it's kind of a toss up.
The Tactical has a much shorter sight radius than the ranch so it should shoot less accurite than the 18.5" barrel with the longer sight radius.
The shorter barrel in therory should be more accurite.
It depends on which offers the best return on accuracy, the longer sight radius or the better harmonics of the shorter barrel.
I also liked the fact that the tacticle was already threaded at the muzzle. It is a 24 TPI thread which limits the number of available brakes/supressors compared to the normal 1/2 X 28 threads found on most .223 rifles (Damn Ruger for having to be different again), but there are brakes/supressors available in the 24 TPI thread.
This will save you approx $120 to $150 in having threads cut if you want the option of screw on accessories.
You will loose a little velocity in the shorter barrel, but the mini is not meant to be a long range weapon anyway.
In my opinion, there are no effective barrel struts made for the 16" barrel, but people using the limb Saver Deresonator have reported cutting groups up to in half and it fits on the 16" barrel. That is better than the results you will get with a strut (even on the 18.5" barrel with a strut), they just aren't as good looking as a strut. But what do you want, accuracy or the best looks, I'll take accuracy anyday, but that's just me.
Hope this helps, John K

Last edited by dksac2; June 12th, 2010 at 01:59 PM.
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Old June 12th, 2010, 02:23 PM   #11
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksac2 View Post
The barrel length is not an issue as far as accuracy goes. Both have the same potential (Except fot the possible harmonics). In a mechanical rest with revolvers that have far less of a harmonic problem than a longer barreled rifle, a 2.5" revolver should be as accurite as a 6" barrel or very very close.
The reason shorter barrels get better accuracy on the Mini has to do with less harmonics to hurt accuracy.
A longer length can help with open sights due to the longer sight radius, which helps because small differences in the sighting have less of an effect because you have a longer view with the sights (hope that makes sence).
I bought a tacticle with the 16" barrel because I will be using optics and in theory, it should be more acurite than a longer barreled weapon.
Less metal to bend from metal stress when the barrel heats from firing and better (less) harmonics.
If you are going to use iron sights only, it's kind of a toss up.
The Tactical has a much shorter sight radius than the ranch so it should shoot less accurite than the 18.5" barrel with the longer sight radius.
The shorter barrel in therory should be more accurite.
It depends on which offers the best return on accuracy, the longer sight radius or the better harmonics of the shorter barrel.
I also liked the fact that the tacticle was already threaded at the muzzle. It is a 24 TPI thread which limits the number of available brakes/supressors compared to the normal 1/2 X 28 threads found on most .223 rifles (Damn Ruger for having to be different again), but there are brakes/supressors available in the 24 TPI thread.
This will save you approx $120 to $150 in having threads cut if you want the option of screw on accessories.
You will loose a little velocity in the shorter barrel, but the mini is not meant to be a long range weapon anyway.
In my opinion, there are no effective barrel struts made for the 16" barrel, but people using the limb Saver Deresonator have reported cutting groups up to in half and it fits on the 16" barrel. That is better than the results you will get with a strut (even on the 18.5" barrel with a strut), they just aren't as good looking as a strut. But what do you want, accuracy or the best looks, I'll take accuracy anyday, but that's just me.
Hope this helps, John K
hi. how are you doing, i hope they listen to you. have a safe and nice night. chris.
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Old June 13th, 2010, 07:35 AM   #12
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dksac2 View Post
The barrel length is not an issue as far as accuracy goes. Both have the same potential (Except fot the possible harmonics). In a mechanical rest with revolvers that have far less of a harmonic problem than a longer barreled rifle, a 2.5" revolver should be as accurite as a 6" barrel or very very close.
The reason shorter barrels get better accuracy on the Mini has to do with less harmonics to hurt accuracy.
A longer length can help with open sights due to the longer sight radius, which helps because small differences in the sighting have less of an effect because you have a longer view with the sights (hope that makes sence).
I bought a tacticle with the 16" barrel because I will be using optics and in theory, it should be more acurite than a longer barreled weapon.
Less metal to bend from metal stress when the barrel heats from firing and better (less) harmonics.
If you are going to use iron sights only, it's kind of a toss up.
The Tactical has a much shorter sight radius than the ranch so it should shoot less accurite than the 18.5" barrel with the longer sight radius.
The shorter barrel in therory should be more accurite.
It depends on which offers the best return on accuracy, the longer sight radius or the better harmonics of the shorter barrel.
I also liked the fact that the tacticle was already threaded at the muzzle. It is a 24 TPI thread which limits the number of available brakes/supressors compared to the normal 1/2 X 28 threads found on most .223 rifles (Damn Ruger for having to be different again), but there are brakes/supressors available in the 24 TPI thread.
This will save you approx $120 to $150 in having threads cut if you want the option of screw on accessories.
You will loose a little velocity in the shorter barrel, but the mini is not meant to be a long range weapon anyway.
In my opinion, there are no effective barrel struts made for the 16" barrel, but people using the limb Saver Deresonator have reported cutting groups up to in half and it fits on the 16" barrel. That is better than the results you will get with a strut (even on the 18.5" barrel with a strut), they just aren't as good looking as a strut. But what do you want, accuracy or the best looks, I'll take accuracy anyday, but that's just me.
Hope this helps, John K
all I can say is correct very well put Thank you
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Old June 14th, 2010, 09:07 AM   #13
 
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You are welcome. If the person buying the rifle is a very good shot with irons, the Tacticle might be the best option. Longer sighting radius does make a big difference, especially to someone who has not shot a lot of open sighted weapons.
I really like the sights on my Tactical, but may buy one of the aftermarket sights with a smaller hole in the rear. The one on the rifle now gives a wider field of view, which can have advantages if there are multiple targets and it helps you get on target a little faster. One with a smaller hole will allow a little better precision shooting for me. I'm shoot open sights fairly well, but am not a long range expert.
I'm pretty sure that I would not look to good at a 1000 yd open sight shoot.
Old eyes and shake a little more than I did as a young man.
Youth is wasted on the young.

Best Regards, John K
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Old June 14th, 2010, 10:12 AM   #14
 
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I have an older mini that i got used. I have only put about 150 rounds through it and it is not particularly accurate. Also it jammed twice. Anyway i understand the newer mini 14's have heavier barrel and some other factory changes to make them more accurate. I doubt that two inches of barrel length is going to change mini accuracy very much so you might as well get the shorty. I dont think Ruger can ever make it as accurate as an AR style weapon no matter what they change.

I have a couple tips on the mini that you might be interested in, one tip is how to get the bolt out for cleaning. Getting the bolt out involves a whole lot of wiggling, angling and in my case swearing like a demon, because that little slot in the receiver is simply too small to make removing the bolt easy. (Damned if the thought didnt cross my mind more then once that the engineers did that on purpose as a practical joke.)

To make it easy(er) to remove the bolt, you have to remove the little square plate on the left side of the receiver, that holds the bolt stop mechanism. Use a piece of wood or plastic and tap down that little plate. BEWARE as soon as the plate is off, those parts are free to fly across the room and be lost forever, so carefully take all the parts and springs out and lay them aside now! With the bolt hold open parts out of the way the bolt is a LITTLE easier to wiggle out now and after you have done it 10 times or so i think it will be easy for you. Alls i know is, if you don't take out the bolt hold open parts it seems damn near impossible to get the bolt out.

Last tip, if the gun is going to be put away and stored for a long time: put a dab of grease, any kind, on the gas port nozzle part (that roundish part with the ridges, where the gas comes out to blow your slide back when you shoot). Anyway it is a good plan to put some grease in the hole and on the gas port for long term storage. The reason is that i have heard stories that these parts can sieze together after a long time of disuse. In the story i read about, the owner had to stamp on the operating handle with his foot to free the slide, since these parts had seized so tightly!

Last edited by markasaurus; June 14th, 2010 at 10:23 AM.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 07:11 PM   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markasaurus View Post
...
I have a couple tips on the mini that you might be interested in, one tip is how to get the bolt out for cleaning. Getting the bolt out involves a whole lot of wiggling, angling and in my case swearing like a demon,
...
I have a couple tips too: Follow the procedure in the manual ...

T O - T H E - L E T T E R

... and watch the video on line.

http://www.ruger.com/products/_manuals/mini.pdf
Ruger Videos

I've tried taking shortcuts with field stripping by not removing the plate and ejector and it just doesn't work. Maybe it's possible but getting the bolt and op rod back together is just maddening. I wouldn't go so far as to suggest to learn to do it blindfolded, but it should be learned exactly as it is written. I've never figured out a better way and I'm convinced there isn't one. Once you've done it a few times, and you understand it, it's a very simple rifle to disassemble and reassemble.
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