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View Full Version : Final word on Mini 14 Accuracy


mellow_c
June 1, 2009, 12:31 PM
Accuracy is the only thing keeping me from getting a Mini 14.

I know of other options out there. Various AR types and look alikes, and the Kel tec SU-16's. But I like the way the Mini's feel, look, and there reliability.

What I want to know is, out of the box, and off the bench, how well will a Mini REALLY shoot. what can I expect for 100 yard groups. I know 1" groups is not their specialty. But are the guns capable of consistent 2" groups with slow accurate bench fire? if the mini is really as bad as some say, and all I can expect are 4" plus groups, then I might not care to have one.

Have at it! :-)

Skyyr
June 1, 2009, 01:14 PM
The new mini-14's actually have surprising accuracy. Ruger changed/refined their manufacturing process and even went as far to replace some of the machinery in the machining process they found to be causing the mini-14's accuracy issues.

The newest "target" models with the adjustable harmonic dampener can hit MOA or less, even up to 300yds. The catch is not everyone wants a big, bulbous tuner on the end of their rifle.

Just for supplement, here's a range report posted on YouTube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z89nJ5zA4bI

A mini-14 target will run you about $850, about the same price as an entry-level AR. So, the question is, do you like the mini-14 over an AR? If so, get it. If you're just looking for something that shoots 5.56/.223, then go for an AR, as they're far more upgradeable.

And just FYI, the mini-14 CAN shoot 5.56. Some of the older barrels/manuals listed them chambered for .223, but they were in-fact chambered for 5.56.

Housezealot
June 1, 2009, 01:14 PM
I think you should not have any problem from a bench at 100 yards but....
I really liked the feel of the mini untill I shot a few and then liked it a lot less after some time with an AR, there is definetly something to be said for a rifle stock without a pistol grip. best to try both as it varies from person to person.
good luck!

Come and take it.
June 1, 2009, 02:44 PM
I think they should have redesigned the gas system more so than they did. There is still that contact between the piston/operating rod and the gas block that can cause accuracy problems. The machining is done better in that area to my understanding so that the piston/operating rod mates up to the gas block squarely.

The best improvement of all is the slower twist rate in my opinion.

I wouldn't mind getting a tactical if I knew I could get enough of the factory mags for reasonable price. It would be nice if a person can get a version with a bayonet lug but I think all those are LEO models.

Maybe I am wrong on that.

benogil
June 1, 2009, 03:33 PM
Umm, accuracy on any model can be greatly improved by using an accustrut, or it's home made versions.

Alleykat
June 1, 2009, 04:57 PM
I'd suggest trying an AR; far superior to the Mini, and you can become accustomed to the "feel". ASAMOF, the "feel" is adjustable.

handlerer
June 1, 2009, 05:03 PM
Wow! Has the price really gone up that much? I paid $600, two years ago, for a 580 series. I'm content with mine, for what it is. It is not a target grade rifle, it's more of a truck gun, with suitable accuracy, for its intended purpose. They are rugged and reliable. I can put 30 rounds in the black as fast as I can get a sight picture. I have had, with a pet handload, gotten a 1.5" three round group. I am content with that, as this is a fun gun and a beater to carry in the Durango. The only caution I have to note is when using milsurp brass, don't use the heaviest bullets available, ie. 70 grainers, I have had one primer blow out on me. I am considering an AR type, if I decide to let go of that much cash.

Come and take it.
June 1, 2009, 05:08 PM
I would trust the two large lugs of the garand action for handloading over the smaller multiple lugs of the AR.

We used to load our rounds hot back in the day when me and my buddy's had mini 14s. They never had any problem digesting whatever we shot through them so long as they had the factory mag or a ramline 30 rounder.

STEINER
June 1, 2009, 05:21 PM
The new 580 with the tapered barrel and a Nikon Prostaff 3X9X40 BDC scope will do 2" MOA @ 100 yrds. I do it with no modifications yet. So you make the upgrades and might get a more precision rifle. Because I don't compete in shooting competition, I don't care.
If you are trying to get the best precision shooting rifle, don't use the Mini.
There is a point of diminishing return and in my opinion, 1", 2' or 3" MOA means what?
I like the fact that the MINI is a Garand style proven design. It shoots anything you put into it and has the capability to get the job done.
Magazine fed auto-loading rifle is a good thing.

Candiru
June 1, 2009, 11:33 PM
I've been sharing this review I wrote (http://230grain.com/showthread.php?t=45951) about my Mini-14. It got about 2 MOA accuracy with inexpensive ammo, and can probably do better. I managed a 3" offhand group at 100 yards, too.

Ignition Override
June 2, 2009, 01:38 AM
STEINER: 'Second your motion'.
I know nothing about the accuracy of my Mini 14, built in 1990 (I shoot objects from about 50-80' in a river), but it never suffered a single ftf, and only used newer Russian-made ammo, both Wolf (fmj) and Silver Bear (jhp). Not only that, but the 30-round polymer Promag bought in spring '08 never even misfed a single round, even though I expected it to misfeed. Zero.

The Promag, though a wobbly fit, worked better than the original 20-round magazine built in the Ruger factory with their name imprinted on the bottom. This might be hard to believe.

That Mini is more reliable than an AK that I watched in person, used by a buddy who fired no more than one round per second. My rifle surprised me.

mellow_c
June 2, 2009, 01:48 AM
Thanx guys

I want a regular ranch style mini. I dont care to get a target model. I'd like a Mini mostly for a plinker / range gun / defensive weapon / target riffle. Really I want it for everything I could use it for. Also possibly hunting. I've got plenty of other firearms. I have an AR-10 as well. And I've shot enough AR-15's to know that I like them, but I'd rather have a classic rifle design like the mini than an AR-15.

I just want to be sure that I'll be getting a rifle thats as good as I hope it can be. I would feel so bad if I got a mini, and loved it so much, only to find it literally incapable of any better than 3" groups at 100 yards.

So lets here it, tell me how good you and your Mini are at 100 yards! :-)

Any additional info is always great to hear!


Oh, by the way, whats the story on using steel cased ammo in a Mini? ever give you problems?

qwman68
June 2, 2009, 02:50 AM
i have one of the new 580 ranch rifles and i love it.. get one you wont be disappointed

Skyyr
June 2, 2009, 08:06 AM
Thanx guys

I want a regular ranch style mini. I dont care to get a target model. I'd like a Mini mostly for a plinker / range gun / defensive weapon / target riffle. Really I want it for everything I could use it for. Also possibly hunting. I've got plenty of other firearms. I have an AR-10 as well. And I've shot enough AR-15's to know that I like them, but I'd rather have a classic rifle design like the mini than an AR-15.

I just want to be sure that I'll be getting a rifle thats as good as I hope it can be. I would feel so bad if I got a mini, and loved it so much, only to find it literally incapable of any better than 3" groups at 100 yards.

So lets here it, tell me how good you and your Mini are at 100 yards! :-)

Any additional info is always great to hear!


Oh, by the way, whats the story on using steel cased ammo in a Mini? ever give you problems?


Realistically, then, you can probably expect 2" inch groups out of the box with a scope... and probably not much better, unless you go with the target model. Mini's are NOT known for their accuracy, though, as mentioned previously, the newer ones are better than earlier models.

Their problem lies in their barrel design. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but their barrels (even their "heavy" barrel) are thinner/thinnest where the round is chambered, then get thicker towards the midpoint, and then taper off again. This is unusual as far as most barrel designs go and causes it vibrate in a unique fashion. It's the vibrations that cause it's inherent inaccuracy and the reason why the target models need the harmonic dampener. There was an explicit write-up explaining this on another forum (can't find the link).

mellow_c
June 2, 2009, 10:19 AM
Alright, I'm convinced, I'm going to start saving for a Mini.


How do Mini 14's handle steel cased ammo?

Skyyr
June 2, 2009, 10:40 AM
How do Mini 14's handle steel cased ammo?


I'd say, realistically, a bit better than an AR. It Garand-style gas system, so it's more reliable and a bit "heartier."

Steel-cased ammo for any weapon isn't the best idea, but it won't hurt the mini.

Willie Lowman
June 2, 2009, 10:42 AM
I don't know about steel cased ammo but my buddy's Mini-14 beats the crap out of brass cases.

As far as accuracy goes, most commercial 55gr FMJs are about a 4 MOA round from most AR15s. I have owned 4 AR15 rifles (1 Colt, 3 RRA) all would shoot a 4" group @ 100 yards with Winchester, Federal, Privi, and S&B.

Each of those rifles had a favorite match ammo that would bring groups around 1". The Colt would put 5 rounds touching with Federal Premium 45gr. But I can't find that ammo anymore and I don't have that upper anymore.

If you are going to shoot steel cased ammo I would not expect accuracy results worth speaking of, regardless of rifle.

I only have experience with one Mini-14 and I have never been able to get better than 6" groups with it @ 100 yards. Bear in mind that the rifle wears a scope that I cost 49$ and was fed amateur reloads (there is room for improvement).

Alleykat
June 2, 2009, 10:49 AM
Candiru: I've been sharing this review I wrote about my Mini-14. It got about 2 MOA accuracy with inexpensive ammo, and can probably do better. I managed a 3" offhand group at 100 yards, t

Yeah, yeah, and you DEFINITELY have the most appropriate user name on this forum!! :D

Yeah, also to the input about the strength of the two "Garrand-style lugs." That's probably why you see so many Minis in the hands of the world's armed forces!!! :rolleyes::cool:

Skyyr
June 2, 2009, 10:49 AM
@Willie

Respectfully, most quality AR's shoot within 2-2.5 MOA out of the box. Many higher-end promise 1 or better. If you're getting 4 MOA as an average grouping, you've either got a lower-quality rifle or your ammo isn't matched to your barrel rifling twist rate.

Art Eatman
June 2, 2009, 10:58 AM
What I found with four "skinny Minnies": They all were extremely reliable about the first shot going to the desired point of aim. They all gave three-shot groups of about 1.5 MOA with a Weaver K4 on top.

For a hunter's truck gun, they're great. And, a good walking-around .223 for a hunter who's interested in jackrabbits and coyotes.

For defense, they're very reliable--assuming you have decent magazines. I never had any sign of a problem with cycling. And they'll hold "minute of torso" all day long--which is as good as one might ever need for actual defense, rather than attack at a distance.

Housezealot
June 2, 2009, 11:04 AM
Alright, I'm convinced, I'm going to start saving for a Mini.


You might consider layaway, it has been my best freind (or is that worst enemy) for buying firearms while avoiding putting them on plastic or having to save a fund that always gets dipped into.

Willie Lowman
June 2, 2009, 11:29 AM
@ Skyyr

My Colt Hbar II had 1/9 twist, My first RRA had a 1/7 and the last two have 1/9

As I said each of those rifles had/have a favorite match ammo that would produce 1" or better 5 round groups.

It was when they were fed cheap 55gr FMJ ammo that I got 4" groups. Mind you these were typically 20 round groups, fired in one string from the bench. Same scope used on each rifle, a Leopold 3X-9X.

Skans
June 2, 2009, 12:44 PM
Personally, I just like Mini-14's better than standard AR15's. You can make either platform super accurate. Although it will take sending your Mini-14 to Accuracy Systems to do so, as opposed to marrying an accurized barreled upper to an AR15 lower.

I own an AR15 and an AC556 (full-auto version of the mini-14). There are just some things I like better about the Mini-14 - rugged and dependable. My AR15 shows signs of wear just getting gently banged sitting in my safe. Ever see what an AR15 looks like after 10's of thousands of rounds and serious use? They can get pretty crappy looking. After all, they are just aluminum.

My AC556 is blued steel. It generally doesn't get scratched and I can use cold blue to touch up any place that the blue has worn a little. It's easy to clean and doesn't need to be cleaned 1/2 as often as my AR15 does. There are some nice stocks out there for the Mini-14 as well - both wooden and tactical. I happen to have a SCAR CQB folder on it right now which makes it more tactical.

Also, I've always liked the all stainless versions of the Mini-14. Personally, I like the shinier stainless on the older Mini/s - I'd look for one of those and have ASI put a true target barrel on it and mount it in a nice laminate stock. Something like that just does it for me over the AR15 - dime-a-dozen tacticool rigs.

Come and take it.
June 2, 2009, 01:08 PM
Yeah, also to the input about the strength of the two "Garrand-style lugs." That's probably why you see so many Minis in the hands of the world's armed forces!!!

The Worlds armed forces almost exclusively do not handload ammunition for their "Auntie Ems".

Many people have handloaded for the mini and it has a long and proven history of handling hot loaded ammunition. Its simply a very rugged tough action. It has very small contact services with the reciever during action cycling and this is also a plus when you factor in Dust and crud build up that would bring an M16 to its knees.

Its much easier to clean than the M16

However I don't own a mini anymore, however I have been tempted lately with the newer tactical versions.

Skans
June 3, 2009, 09:03 AM
Mini-14's are too expensive to produce for the Military. Recycling beercans into small arms is what they look for. The M16 and variants are "good enough" for most military applications. They are by no means some kind of high tech superior weapon.

There are a number of things that make the Mini-14, or full auto version, not suitable for a miltary rifle. The magazine design is one thing. The inability to replace barrels easily is another reason. Ruger never really attempted to keep up by inventing new Mini-14 tactical platforms.

Three things that could really improve the Mini-14:

1. modify the magazine and mag well to make it quicker and easier to swap out magazines.....i.e. get rid of that hole-catch. Better yet - just make it so that it uses AR magazines.

2. Make it relatively easy for non-ruger armorers to swap out barrels - I don't know how this would be accomplished, but it can't be impossible. I can think of several designs off the top of my head using a ratcheting system, and a retractible gas port/tube that pops into place when the barrel is screwed in completely. Accuracy and ability to handle sustained FA fire is really a factor of what barrel you put on the gun.

3. Ruger would need to license the production of parts to other companies and permit them to sell parts for their rifles on the open market.

If Ruger could do these two things, It would have a real "winner". The SCAR CQB stock proves that you can drop the action into a tactical stock that provides more tactical options than does the M16 platform.

Willie Lowman
June 3, 2009, 11:13 AM
But Skans, they did all those things you said!

http://www.tactical-life.com/online/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/p5110007.jpg

OH ZING!

Skans
June 3, 2009, 01:10 PM
But Skans, they did all those things you said!

Ha ha ha, you got me!!!:D

It's still made out of recycled beercans, though - even if it has Ruger's name on it.

Ruger4570
June 3, 2009, 08:11 PM
In fairness to the Mini 14 I have had 3 of them. Before you call me a Ruger Basher, check my screen name.
I have yet to find a mini that would shoot anywhere near what I think you have a right to expect from a .223 rifle. I have a couple of cheapo 22 rim fires for the grandkids to shoot that are FAR more accurate than any Mini I have owned to date. No excuse for that in a rifle that costs as much as a Mini. Actually, my current and LAST Mini is at the gunshop with a "for sale" tag on it. I figure I can just get a bolt action for far less and have money left over for components.
Other than not shooting worth a whit, a Mini 14 is bullet proof, I never had a failure to fire, a blip, anything wrong with it,, well other than not being able to hit my target in the same place 2 times out of 20. :mad:

Rifleman 173
June 3, 2009, 10:34 PM
One other thing... The caliber of the rifle can also help determine accuracy of the mini-14 rifles.

The .223 and the 7.62 X 39 versions are not supposed to be as accurate as the new 6.8 SPC caliber rifles. I haven't shot one of the 6.8 SPC rifles but the reports are the thicker barrel versions are much more accurate than all the other thinner barrel version rifles. You might want to do some research into which caliber would be better for your intended uses of the carbine.

BuckHammer
June 4, 2009, 12:03 AM
But Skans, they did all those things you said!... OH ZING!
THERE IT IS!!! Wow! Nice! I laughed out loud at that one.

Mini-14 is inherently a step backward from the AR-15 in a military sense, IMHO, no matter what they may do to it. They are supposed to be great truck guns, though, and they may be better than the AR in a civilian capacity.

I am a Ruger fan, by the way.

Come and take it.
June 4, 2009, 12:53 PM
The Ruger mini will always outshoot the AR at point blank range.

The sight to barrel distance is much smaller so you can hit a kernal of corn at 7 feet away. Not much chance of that with an AR.

billtool
June 6, 2009, 10:43 PM
My old mini is a solidly built gun and great close in. Don't take it prairie dog hunting though. I'm happy with my 4" grps at 100.

KMO
June 7, 2009, 07:18 AM
I'm happy with my 4" grps at 100.

I really don't think the AR guys are doing any better than that anyway. The Mini-14 is a solid performer. Putting a Mo-Rod barrel stabilizer on my 187 series & 196 series made a nice improvement. Very consistent groups...
www.mo-rod.com

Magog
October 27, 2011, 02:48 PM
http://www.ar15.com/content/swat/200203-AR-15_vs_Mini-14.pdf

This is an artical written before the newer Barrels came out and the mini still did well vs the AR.

The guy says the AR has a disadvantage at close range shoots because of the sights force you to aim above the target to get a hit...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fk84KLiaa4


Also Nut N fancy has many Vid's on Mini 14 and this one... The MIni 14 won the day. He says the mini 14 is not any better then the AR or AK-74, but it is just as good.


I really think anyone who hates on the MINI 14 is someone who dumped a lot of cash into their AR, or some dealer who hates not making huge profits on AR sales...

Art Eatman
October 27, 2011, 03:00 PM
Necrothreadia is unneeded on Mini threads...