PDA

View Full Version : Brand New Mini 14 Cycling Problems


ScottNKy
July 31, 2010, 04:34 PM
Ok, so I just got a brand new Mini 14 (with ATI tactical stock), which I took out for the first time today. Much to my dismay, from the very first magazine, I had problems with it not cycling. Basically, it just won't reliably eject the spent casings. I tried it with PMC Bronze .223, and Remington UMC, both 55 gr., and 9 times out of 10, it either stove-piped, or it just barely spit the spent shell out but did not feed. It's as if the bolt is just not kicking back hard enough. A guy at the range gave me some Federal 5.56 to try (also 55 gr.), and it worked ok. No jams.

I should mention that before I took it out, I disassembled it, and cleaned and lubed it thoroughly. And, while at the range, I drenched it down pretty good with Breakfree to see if that would help (it didn't).

So, what's the deal? Is it because the gun is brand new? Will it loosen up? Should I send it to Ruger?

I was really looking forward to having some fun with this thing. I don't want a gun that's finicky about ammo.

I'm a little bummed right now :(

B. Lahey
July 31, 2010, 05:52 PM
PMC Bronze .223, and Remington UMC

Those may be the two most underpowered varieties of .223 on the market. If not, they are certainly in the running.

If it likes XM193, feed it some more XM193. After it is nice and broken in it may eventually cycle the wimpyloads.

I don't want a gun that's finicky about ammo

Other than my Colt AR, I think every rifle I own has ammo it loves, and ammo it hates. Get used to it, rifles have varying tastes and some ammo sucks.

smoakingun
July 31, 2010, 06:43 PM
don't judge the rifle untill you've put a few hundred rounds through it, sometimes a little break in is necessary to make it work right

zombieslayer
July 31, 2010, 06:46 PM
Send it to Ruger. They're good about CS. And mini's aren't supposed to be finicky about ammo.

Bamashooter
July 31, 2010, 06:49 PM
i have fired 100's of rounds of pmc bronze and remington 55gr. mc through my mini without any problems. actually the pmc is pretty accurate ammo in my opinion.dont know what might be wrong with your rifle but i doubt it is the ammo. i bought mine new and have never had any problems with it. if it didnt straighten out soon i would send it back.

hooligan1
July 31, 2010, 07:39 PM
Sounds like a weak extractor spring or it's dirty. (meaning; the bolts has some thick crud or cosmoline built up in it. Once you've determined that everythings is squeaky clean and lightly lube go back to the range and try it again. You should'nt have to drench the action, however sometimes an action requires a lot of "break in" or action cycling to get the burrs and rough edges smoothed out. I'm of the opinion that a rifle should properly function on most types of commercial ammo. Also take a good look at the spent brass!!! (could be a burr-problem). I have a friend that bought a Mini way back in 1980 or 81, we took it to the woods and commenced to break it in. My father was at the time a very knowledgable gun-man, and he told us to take break cleaner or another proper degreaser, and spray that action thoroughl;y and scrub the barrel as to remove all traces of the cosmoline it came drenched in. We did just what he said and blew it out with an air hose. We were totally confident of or thoroughness, however the rifle jammed on the very first shot, I hollered "Beginners Luck", he cleared it and fired again, it jammed Then it got kinda tense. to make a long story short bad burr in the action causing it to catch the spent cartridge instead of releasing it properly. My father fixed it and my friend (is still my friend) still has this rifle as his ground-hog and possum shooter!!!! Happy shootin dude!!!

Thanks for coming!:cool:

Sarge
July 31, 2010, 07:57 PM
I've lost count of the 55 grain FMJ UMC my 580 has digested, but the whole of it has run just like decent reloads and everything else- flawlessly.

If that's a new Ruger, call the company. Something ain't right, particularly if it isn't slinging brass into the next zip code. Let the maker sort it out.

the rifleer
July 31, 2010, 08:05 PM
I assume you cleaned it well and oiled it? i know thats the obvious answer that everyone gives, but it really does make a difference. I have a friend who i went shooting with and he brought his mini and it had trouble every couple shots and i looked at it and there wasn't any signs of oil what-so-ever. Use a little bit, not a lot.

ScottNKy
July 31, 2010, 08:57 PM
I appreciate all of the advice and suggestions. Yeah, I think I cleaned it really well, but I'm going to break it down and try again before I get too alarmed. As some have said, I think the rifle ought to be able to operate correctly on pretty much any commercial ammo. I shouldn't have to feed it really hot stuff to get it to work.
Something ain't right, particularly if it isn't slinging brass into the next zip code.

That's exactly what I was thinking. At one time, I had a early '80's vintage Mini, and I'm pretty sure you could wound a person by turning the gun sideways and hitting him with the brass :D But, like I said, I'll break it down, clean it again, lube it up, and see what happens before I send it back to its birthplace. What I won't do is tolerate a rifle that I have to fuss with.

Jamie Young
July 31, 2010, 09:50 PM
Check to see if you see any abnormal wear near the gas block. It is possible the stock may not be fitted properly and it is hitting the gas block while it is cycling.

DKJBama
July 31, 2010, 09:56 PM
Your recoil spring guide rod is probably installed upside down. Pull the spring and rod forward out of the receiver slightly and rotate the guide rod 180 degrees. Then see if the gun cycles easier.

ScottNKy
July 31, 2010, 10:35 PM
DKJBama, nope, the guide rod was installed correctly. But, Jamie, you may have something. I took it apart, cleaned it up, and it feels like it might be cycling a little easier. Might just be my imagination though. I won't know until I go out and shoot it again.

BTW, is it just me, or is the bolt a PITA to get in and out? After about 30 minutes of trying, I finally had to resort to the Ruger instructional video:o

Regolith
August 1, 2010, 05:19 AM
PITA is an understatement. It's like a blacksmith's puzzle.

ScottNKy
August 1, 2010, 08:12 AM
PITA is an understatement. It's like a blacksmith's puzzle.

Ok, good. It's not just me then. Friggin' Rubik's cube.

ScottNKy
August 1, 2010, 09:52 AM
I wonder if someone with a Mini close at hand could verify something for me...

Should my gas pipe be a little "loose"? That is, when I have the rifle disassembled, should I be able to wiggle the gas pipe back and forth a little bit, or should it be tight?

Regolith
August 1, 2010, 05:37 PM
Mine wiggles a bit, probably around a few thousandths of an inch back and forth.

Homerboy
August 1, 2010, 06:07 PM
Yeah, getting the bolt in or out is hit or miss for me. Sometimes I hit it just right on the first try, and others I am sweating and swearing for 10 minutes. The Ruger instuctional video is a great tool, but that guy makes it look too easy. My Mini has never failed (only 300 rounds through it. ALL Wolf), and the brass flies into the next county.

ScottNKy
August 1, 2010, 06:18 PM
Regolith, thanks. Yeah, a few thousandths sounds about right. I figured it was probably normal, but I just wanted to be sure.

Yeah, getting the bolt in or out is hit or miss for me. Sometimes I hit it just right on the first try, and others I am sweating and swearing for 10 minutes. The Ruger instuctional video is a great tool, but that guy makes it look too easy.

I was definitely swearing, and I was starting to get a little hot under the collar by the time I finally got mine back in. It would be nice if the instructional video would point out that it can be kind of tricky. I was beginning to think I was a complete idiot.

I won't have a chance to get my Mini back out until next weekend. Hopefully I won't have any more issues with it.

tobnpr
August 1, 2010, 06:23 PM
LOL... we were just breaking down our Mini last weekend (wife bought it for protection on the boat over 20 yrs ago-ss- but rarely used)-watching the Ruger vid- and my son noticed that the guy was sliding the forefinger of his other hand underneath the bolt at the same time and pressing up slightly.

It worked:D

ScottNKy
August 1, 2010, 06:27 PM
and my son noticed that the guy was sliding the forefinger of his other hand underneath the bolt at the same time and pressing up slightly.

Yeah, that's what finally worked for me too.

hagar
August 1, 2010, 09:46 PM
Mini's need grease. not oil! But I did not know that 20 years ago when I shot my Mini-14 on a regular basis, and it is one of my semi-autos that never malfunctioned on me.

Regolith
August 1, 2010, 10:19 PM
Mini's need grease. not oil! But I did not know that 20 years ago when I shot my Mini-14 on a regular basis, and it is one of my semi-autos that never malfunctioned on me.

Manual says to use oil. In either case, I've shot mine dry without any extraction problems.

blume357
August 2, 2010, 07:02 AM
let us know what happens when you try it next....

I'm going to say it... even though just about everybody will disagree...the mistake you made was taking the gun apart and 'cleaning & lubing' it before shooting it.... I've never done this on a new gun... the three brand new guns I've bought over the years were all Rugers and everyone I've taken out of the box and shot... with out a problem. check to make sure the barrel is clear... load and fire... yes the barrel is going to smoke 'a little' after the first few rounds... but you will know if the direct from the factory gun works.

wingman
August 2, 2010, 07:28 AM
I'm going to say it... even though just about everybody will disagree...the mistake you made was taking the gun apart and 'cleaning & lubing' it before shooting it.... I've never done this on a new gun... the three brand new guns I've bought over the years were all Rugers and everyone I've taken out of the box and shot... with out a problem. check to make sure the barrel is clear... load and fire... yes the barrel is going to smoke 'a little' after the first few rounds... but you will know if the direct from the factory gun works.


Same here never take a new gun apart, I do minor cleaning if necessary without disassembling, lube and load, I want to know if gun functions prior to my work then I have a starting point after 100 rounds I disassemble check and clean, works for me.

KMO
August 2, 2010, 08:58 AM
These problems are fun to diagnose, but the fact is, it's brand new. You shouldn't be the one to troubleshoot this problem. The Mini is an extremely reliable rifle, and yours has a problem right out of the box. Let Ruger take care of this for you. They have great customer service, and I'm sure they will resolve it in short order...

(BTW...This Mini has no extractor spring...The bolt stop ejector serves two functions, and has no spring. The guide rod may, in fact, be inverted. The tongue should be nearer the barrel...a quick check...)

greyeyezz
August 2, 2010, 10:20 AM
Are you using factory mags? Mini's don't need grease, just some light oil. My gas port wiggles also.

Did you put the stock on yourself? Could be stock related.

thesheepdog
August 2, 2010, 10:57 AM
Could be the stock, or a QC problem with Ruger.

I had a Mini-30 that would extract rounds because of a new stock put on it. My mini-14 would only jam with bad mags and soft points sometimes.

ScottNKy
August 2, 2010, 11:49 AM
In retrospect, I should have just taken it out of the box, loaded it up, and shot it. I'm going to take it to an indoor range tomorrow to see what it does. I'm hoping it was just something I did. I know I didn't have the guide rod inverted, but I guess it could have been a stock problem. Maybe I put the forestock on a little crooked or something. As it stands right now, it feels like it's cycling normally. I don't see any witness marks that would be evidence of of binding anywhere. So, I'm hopeful that all is ok now. We'll see.

One thing for sure, if it gives me any problems at all tomorrow, it's going back to Ruger.

I'll let you guys know how things shake out.

I appreciate all of the suggestions.

Oh, and yes, I am using the 20-rd factory mag. One of the things I'm going to do tomorrow is to try shooting it without the mag in. If it's working like a Mini is supposed to work, it ought to fling the brass pretty vigourously. I want to make sure it's not a magazine problem.

ISC
August 2, 2010, 12:43 PM
I had three different mini 14s over the year (kept trying after repeated bad experiences). They all functioned very reliably with the 5 rd factory mag but jammed at least a few times per mag with almost every aftermarket mag I tried. I could've lived with the lousy accuracy, but the constant malfunctions made we sell them shortly after buying them.

rickyrick
August 2, 2010, 01:38 PM
Sometimes when you reassemble the mini, the cocking thingy doesn't get in the little slot thingy on the reciever and will bind.
but most of the time by the time you pull back on the handle thingy and say " what tha......" it pops back in its slot and all is good again.

like the others have said, if all else is looking good, then, the stock is looking suspicious to me. it has a metal channel that guids that big hunk of iron back and forth from the piston. when you have the stock off, take the side plate off of the bolt catch and make sure every thing is good in there too.

i hope that you didn't get a bum mini..hope its something simple so that you can start having fun.


BTW the bolt gets funner to get in and out with a scope still on it. :)

ScottNKy
August 2, 2010, 06:38 PM
No joy :mad:

I got impatient and took it to a nearby indoor range tonight. Same results. I was shooting PMC Bronze, and it failed to eject nearly every shell. Sometimes it stove-pipes, and other times the casing just gets cockeyed in the breech (see attached pic....sorry it's pretty blurry). Occasionally, the bolt opens and closes, leaving the spent casing in the chamber. To me that indicates that the bolt didn't come far enough back. I tried some 5.56 NATO ammo, and it worked ok. Still though, I don't buy the premise that some guns prefer certain ammo, and I should just always feed it what it likes. I've heard from numerous people who tell me that their Mini eats anything and everything.

I have an email in to Ruger. This one's going back.

rickyrick
August 2, 2010, 07:03 PM
I know it sounds dumb, but, I've stuck bent ammo in my mini and it works. It should run through anything that you put in it.

Regolith
August 2, 2010, 08:07 PM
I had three different mini 14s over the year (kept trying after repeated bad experiences). They all functioned very reliably with the 5 rd factory mag but jammed at least a few times per mag with almost every aftermarket mag I tried. I could've lived with the lousy accuracy, but the constant malfunctions made we sell them shortly after buying them.

Aftermarket mags for the Mini have always been hit or miss, mostly miss.

I've heard that Tapco's producing some pretty good inexpensive mini mags, though, but I haven't tried them yet.

zombieslayer
August 2, 2010, 08:34 PM
That really sucks its still having failures. As much of a pita as it is, send it in. You're certain to get better service than I just got from S&W... Good luck sir

ScottNKy
August 2, 2010, 08:50 PM
Yeah, I'm pretty bummed about it. But I hear good things about Ruger customer service. I wish I didn't have to find out first hand though.

rickyrick
August 2, 2010, 09:12 PM
Bummed for you :(

KMO
August 2, 2010, 09:48 PM
A smart move...Send it back & let Ruger figure this out. It's probably nothing major. Be sure to let us know...;)

blume357
August 3, 2010, 06:17 AM
and let them sort it out... the rifle should function with any ammo....

I still think you might have put something back slightly wrong.... but impossible to diagnose at this point.... unless you are willing to have someone local who is very familiar with the mini's look at it...

ship it back to the factory.... you know they might just buff it up and do a little extra tuning while it's there and you'll get a factory custom one back.

ScottNKy
August 3, 2010, 01:11 PM
Blume357, I wouldn't put it past me to put something back together wrong. But, in this case, I'm fairly certain that's not the case. The mini, with it's M1 garand style action is pretty simple. As near as I can figure, the only thing a person could easily screw up is if they put the recoil spring guide rod in upside down. And that's been checked, re-checked, and re-re-checked :)

Other than that, there's really only one way it CAN go back together.

I'm beginning to think it has something to with the hammer/trigger. When the rifle has been fired (hammer down), it seems like maybe it takes a little more effort than it should to pull the slide back the first couple of inches. Once the hammer is cocked, subsequent racking feels pretty smooth. Obviously, that's a very subjective thing, and I don't have a gun store nearby that has a mini on the rack to compare it to.

At any rate, I've already called Ruger, and I'm going to send it back.

slowr1der
August 3, 2010, 01:54 PM
I say call Ruger too. This is one company that has outstanding customer support and I have no doubt in my mind that they will take care of you.

blume357
August 3, 2010, 05:02 PM
ScottNKY,

what you discribed is not a problem... that's normal... think about it when hammer has come up and hit the firing pin... the bolt coming back is
re-cocking the hammer... what you feel for those first few inches is the bolt pushing the hammer back and re-cocking it. Once the hammer is cocked down the bolt will pull back smooth and easier.

ScottNKy
August 3, 2010, 06:50 PM
Blume357, I didn't explain myself very well. I realize that it will be harder to rack when it has to re-cock the hammer. I just meant that it seems like maybe it's a bit harder than it should be.

Ruger just said to send it in. I would have been happier if they had been very apologetic and offered to pay shipping.

KMO
August 3, 2010, 07:19 PM
I would have been happier if they had been very apologetic and offered to pay shipping.

If this problem turns out to be their fault, they will probably reimburse you...Ask for a ballcap or something too...:cool:

zombieslayer
August 3, 2010, 07:46 PM
Ruger should have sent you a fedex tag. I'd call and tell them you don't appreciate footing the bill to ship them a defective weapon. I would be pretty upset if I just bought a new gun and had to pay to ship it back because it wasn't functional. I wrote off S&W for poor CS, but Ruger has been good to me so far. My mini is as reliable, for me, as a bolt-action (well, almost). I hope you get it straightened out. Maybe they wanted to look it over first.

ScottNKy
August 3, 2010, 08:49 PM
I appreciate the sympathies, but I don't know about the "Edsel of rifles" thing. I bought a mini knowing exactly what it was, and what it wasn't. It's not an AR, and it's not a super accurate target rifle. And I don't hunt. For me it's a have fun gun. Was it a lot to pay for a plinker? Yep. But it was my money, and I bought it because it's what I wanted.

Ok, I got a clunker. No, I'm not happy about it. But I'm willing to give Ruger the benefit of doubt. Once. I believe that part of what a company is, is how they treat people like me. We'll see.

Regolith
August 3, 2010, 10:23 PM
Cycling problems like this are extremely rare on Minis, to the point where this is the first I've heard of that didn't involve either an ill-advised restriction of the gas port or miss-assembly of the rifle by the user. Usually, despite their other faults, they'll shoot all day long without a single hick up (and I've done it plenty with mine -- I've yet to have a single jam).

The biggest problem with them is inaccuracy. They've gotten better in this area in recent years, but they still have problems (as my currently 6moa 581 series rifle will attest to :rolleyes:). However, this can be fixed with some simple, mostly cheap modifications.

Art Eatman
August 4, 2010, 08:11 AM
Give us an update after Ruger does the fix...