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Mini30 and steel

This is a discussion on Mini30 and steel within the Ruger Semi-Auto forums, part of the Rifle & Shotgun Forum category; Are the mini 30s now being made to be more accepting of steel case ammo? I read that many mini14/30 rifles have issues with steel ...


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Unread March 9th, 2020, 06:03 AM   #1
 
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Mini30 and steel

Are the mini 30s now being made to be more accepting of steel case ammo? I read that many mini14/30 rifles have issues with steel case Russian ammo



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Unread March 9th, 2020, 06:17 AM   #2
 
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from what I understand, it is the firing pin spring or hammer spring that needs to be changed out to a stronger one to shoot cheap ammo. The primers are harder in the cheap ammo from what I have read. I am not sure if the new models have accomodated for that or not.
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Unread March 9th, 2020, 01:56 PM   #3
 
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I have an older Mini 30. Shoots steel case just fine.
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Unread March 9th, 2020, 04:56 PM   #4
 
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Yes, a longer firing pin if your Mini doesn't have enough protrusion from the factory (some Mini's do, like Corndogs).
No, don't switch to a heavier hammer spring. If your firing pin doesn't have enough protrusion to begin with, smacking the hammer hard will not help, only increase the chances of breaking your too short pin.

Berdan primers are not so hard that a Mini can not set them off, some brands are set deeper. If you see a shallow dent in the primer after the pin strikes it, it doesn't mean it has a harder primer, but the pin isn't going forward far enough.

Guys don't know how much FP protrusion they have, just whether it "works" with steel case or not. Some Mini's come with a FP protrusion of .038"-.039", those will work with nothing else needed. Other Minis leave the factory with only a .032" or .034" protrusion, and those will need a longer pin from firingpins.com fitted.

Ruger doesn't care how long the pins end up, because even the .032" will reliably set off brass case Boxer primed ammo, and that's all they want you to shoot in it.
If you call them and complain that your new Mini-30 won't set off, Tula, Monarch, Wolf, etc, they'll tell you that you shouldn't be shooting that, only domestic (brass, boxer) ammo.

I used to think that all steel case ammo sucked, but then I tried other brands than Tula.
Turns out it's just Tula that sucks. Anything else you choose will be better.
Better ignition, better accuracy, higher velocity and cleaner burning.

With my stock .035" firing pin, about 18 or 20 out of 100 rounds of Tula would fail to go off.
With Red Army Standard, it's 2 rounds out of 100.

With Silver Bear, I've never had one fail to go off, and that is with the factory firing pin.
I do have longer fitted pins on hand in case I ever have to use crap like Tula.
As bonus, Silver Bear shoots like match ammo out of my 3 Mini-30s and my x39 AR.
I buy Silver bear by the case.


One area where a steady diet of steel might be harder on your Mini is the extractor.
Steel doesn't contract as well as brass that millisecond after firing, so your extractor has to work harder. Keep a spare extractor on hand, and know how to change one out.
The plunger and spring that keep the extractor in are small parts, easy to launch them when changing, so get a few spares of those as well.
https://rugerforum.net/ruger-semi-au...ctor-mini.html
Some more threads. In this thread I talk about the iron Sight precision aftermarket pin, the company has since changed their name to firingpins.com:
https://rugerforum.net/ruger-semi-au...port-ammo.html
Do a search here and on perfectunion's Mini forum for more threads about the Mini-30 and ammo choices/mods.
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Unread March 9th, 2020, 06:13 PM   #5
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I agree with Sanddog that the problem is firing pin protrusion that is the culprit. My Mini-30 had only 32 thousands protrusion and would fail to ignite some of the Tula ammo. I chucked that firing pin into the lathe and removed a few thousands off of the angled shoulder and now have 45 thousands protrusion and it will ignite all the Russian ammo. No problems with pierced primers at that length. Most bolt action action rifles have 50-55 thousands protrusion on their firing pins.
I no longer use Tula and confine my Russian ammo to Red army or silver bear as they are more accurate. I also shoot a lot of PPU ammo in my mini and that ammo is brass case and boxer primers. I save the brass for my reloads.

Last edited by HBK; March 9th, 2020 at 06:17 PM.
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Unread March 10th, 2020, 03:50 AM   #6
 
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Thank you for the great information!!
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Unread March 10th, 2020, 05:21 AM   #7
 
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Red Army an Silver Bear are definitely better steel cased ammo. I have shot both out of my SKS and they have a bigger punch than Tula, and seem to burn cleaner-ish.

My mosin will shoot anything, and I actually like the Tula in my mosin, as it is a little softer shooting. I have about 1000+ rounds of milsurp corrosive primer stuff too, and I sparingly shoot it just because I don't like breaking my gun down and washing it out with soapy water- I know some say you can use windex to neutralize the corrosion, but I haven't tried.

Last edited by crankymotorsports; March 10th, 2020 at 09:17 AM.
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Unread March 10th, 2020, 05:31 AM   #8
 
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If you want a Mini-30, and want to shoot cheaper steel case ammo, just go ahead and get the gun, and then get one of these gauges from Brownell's, then you will know, and not just be guessing, what your FP protrusion is.
https://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-t...e-prod867.aspx
One other thing to check as soon as the new Mini is in your hands, is the face of the bolt.
When Ruger punches the hole in the bolt for the firing pin, sometimes a small raised ridge will be around that hole.
If your Mini has this (some won't) that raised crater needs to be removed, as it will effectively reduce what little firing pin protrusion you already have.

If and when you need to slip a new firingpins.com pin in there ( you might get lucky and not have to) the first thing to check is the back of the bolt. Your factory pin will be slightly inside the bolt when the pin is pushed all the way forward.
If it is sticking outside the bolt, the new pin will have to have the shoulder milled off some until the pin is flush or inside the same amount as the factory pin.

The Mini was designed with an inertia firing pin, it works just fine as designed.
Some guys have ground off the back of their bolt so that the pin sticks out, thinking that the hammer will smack the pin harder. That is a recipe for breaking the firing pin.
Fitting a longer pin and checking the protrusion is the right way to do things, not grinding on your expensive bolt, or replacing your hammer spring with a stronger one.

Once the pin goes in the bolt with nothing sticking out the back, check protrusion with your handy Brownell's gauge. You want to take off a little at a time until your protrusion out the bolt face is around .042".
That is enough to reliably set off even stubborn ammo like Tula, but not so much that you'll risk piercing a primer on Boxer primed ammo like PPU or Federal American Eagle.

As you start getting close to that .042", rounded the tip of the FP nicely each time so it's just like the factory pin. You don't want a jagged tip or needle point.
If you round it after you've already reached .042" you might end up reducing it to only .040" (which is still O.K.) I use Emery cloth for the final bit.

I also use PPU brass case ammo. I bought 1500 rounds back when I got my first Mini-30, and still have a few hundred rounds left. The brass is excellent, and I load it back up with Hornady .310 bullets in both FMJ and the SST.
But lately I've got lazy, the Silver Bear shoots almost as good as my carefully crafted handloads, so I just shoot it instead.


I tried some Golden Bear ( brass plating over the steel) and some Brown Bear, but they just didn't shoot as well for me. Maybe in someone else's Mini, they would be good.

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Unread March 10th, 2020, 03:13 PM   #9
 
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Thank you Sandog great information to take away.
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Unread March 10th, 2020, 08:26 PM   #10
 
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I have fired thousands of rounds of steel cased ammo in my mini 30 with no problems.
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Unread March 11th, 2020, 04:34 AM   #11
 
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bwinters. you are one of the lucky ones that got a Mini that came with a longer firing pin.
Minis leave the factory not all having the same FP protrusion.
Others are not so lucky, and have to fit a longer pin ( or just avoid Tula and Wolf).

Almost every thread that involves someone having ignition issues with a Mini-30, also mentions that they were shooting Tula.
Friends don't let friends shoot Tula, when there's a dozen better choices in steel case ammo, and most of those are within $1 a box price difference.
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Unread Yesterday, 11:14 PM   #12
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Sandog is the man. Thank you. First thing I will do when my newly acquired Mini 30 arrives is

1. Check the bolt face for the punching rim (and remove it if it's present)
2. Measure my firing pin protrusion for the necessary .042 - .045 clearance (and gently polish the rear shoulder if it isn't)

Also considering a secondary travel spring swap (the little hidden internal sear spring) to take 1.5 pounds off the trigger pull and smooth out the grit.

My Mini 30 is a model 01829 (2003 manufacture) serial number prefix 197 ... no one ever seems to talk about the 197 much. Wooden stock 18.5" barrel. I don't yet know if the barrel is the tapered style "heavy" barrel or not.
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Unread Today, 03:57 PM   #13
 
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My 2019 shoots steel fine, first 80 rounds of tula had a few hard primer issues, shot a fair amount of bear (100% bang) then last 40 of tula all went bang.
Accuracy is not great, little disappointed.
Guns been 100% reliable with no failures to feed with reloads, steel ammo (tula, wolf, bear). Only issue was some short round nose ammo that crawled forward in the clip, this was ammo not gun related, these were really short round nose rounds.

Old mini-14 only shot little bit of tula and it so far goes bang 100% of time. only shot 20 or 40 rounds.
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Unread Today, 06:02 PM   #14
 
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I have a mini 30 made in 1991 and it sucks with foreign steel ammo. Called Ruger and of course they told me only to shoot American made. So, I put the heavy after market spring in but still is not 100%. Some ammo has a 3% fail to fire rate and some even more. They all shoot fine in my AR, SKS, and AK. So, I will be adding the longer firing pin. I did check for the little ring on the bolt as mentioned. Guess I just got one of the short firing pins.

Many people claim they are not accurate. Mine will do 1.5 inches with Remington factory. I hunted with it only one time, and killed a huge deer, 48 inches around the chest with full penetration and a 2 inch exit hole. Much like my 308 or 30-06.I have had 2 mini 14s, one a stainless had problems an early model blue one shoots everything steel or not.

I have a large collection of guns but the mini 30 is about as practical as any made.
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