The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > The Hide > The Art of the Rifle: Semi-automatics

Closed Thread
 
Thread Tools
Old June 1, 2009, 12:31 PM   #1
mellow_c
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2008
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,205
Final word on Mini 14 Accuracy

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! :-)
mellow_c is offline  
Old June 1, 2009, 01:14 PM   #2
Skyyr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2009
Posts: 265
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.

Last edited by Skyyr; June 1, 2009 at 01:20 PM.
Skyyr is offline  
Old June 1, 2009, 01:14 PM   #3
Housezealot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 20, 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 606
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!
__________________
We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Housezealot is offline  
Old June 1, 2009, 02:44 PM   #4
Come and take it.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2009
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 999
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.
Come and take it. is offline  
Old June 1, 2009, 03:33 PM   #5
benogil
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 23, 2008
Posts: 130
Umm, accuracy on any model can be greatly improved by using an accustrut, or it's home made versions.
benogil is offline  
Old June 1, 2009, 04:57 PM   #6
Alleykat
Junior member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2007
Posts: 3,668
I'd suggest trying an AR; far superior to the Mini, and you can become accustomed to the "feel". ASAMOF, the "feel" is adjustable.
Alleykat is offline  
Old June 1, 2009, 05:03 PM   #7
handlerer
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 5, 2007
Location: Billings,MT
Posts: 277
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.
handlerer is offline  
Old June 1, 2009, 05:08 PM   #8
Come and take it.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2009
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 999
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.
Come and take it. is offline  
Old June 1, 2009, 05:21 PM   #9
STEINER
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 24, 2008
Posts: 141
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.
STEINER is offline  
Old June 1, 2009, 11:33 PM   #10
Candiru
Senior Member
 
Join Date: June 7, 2005
Posts: 117
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, too.
__________________
If you've enjoyed these pithy and irritable comments, you may also enjoy visiting my articles page.
Candiru is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 01:38 AM   #11
Ignition Override
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 18, 2008
Posts: 1,793
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.
Ignition Override is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 01:48 AM   #12
mellow_c
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2008
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,205
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?
mellow_c is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 02:50 AM   #13
qwman68
Junior member
 
Join Date: May 10, 2009
Location: Crimson Tide Country
Posts: 359
i have one of the new 580 ranch rifles and i love it.. get one you wont be disappointed
qwman68 is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 08:06 AM   #14
Skyyr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2009
Posts: 265
Quote:
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).
Skyyr is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 10:19 AM   #15
mellow_c
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 7, 2008
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,205
Alright, I'm convinced, I'm going to start saving for a Mini.


How do Mini 14's handle steel cased ammo?
mellow_c is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 10:40 AM   #16
Skyyr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2009
Posts: 265
Quote:
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.
Skyyr is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 10:42 AM   #17
Willie Lowman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2009
Location: Uh-Hi-O
Posts: 2,455
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).
__________________
Proudly using insults and ad hominems in T&T since 2009
Willie Lowman is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 10:49 AM   #18
Alleykat
Junior member
 
Join Date: July 26, 2007
Posts: 3,668
Candiru:
Quote:
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!!

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!!!
Alleykat is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 10:49 AM   #19
Skyyr
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 4, 2009
Posts: 265
@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.
Skyyr is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 10:58 AM   #20
Art Eatman
Staff Lead
 
Join Date: November 13, 1998
Location: Terlingua, TX, USA
Posts: 22,540
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.
__________________
You're from BATFE? Come right in! I use all your fine products!
Art Eatman is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 11:04 AM   #21
Housezealot
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 20, 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 606
Quote:
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.
__________________
We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.
Housezealot is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 11:29 AM   #22
Willie Lowman
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 5, 2009
Location: Uh-Hi-O
Posts: 2,455
@ 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.
__________________
Proudly using insults and ad hominems in T&T since 2009
Willie Lowman is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 12:44 PM   #23
Skans
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2008
Posts: 7,981
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.
Skans is offline  
Old June 2, 2009, 01:08 PM   #24
Come and take it.
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 16, 2009
Location: Kentucky
Posts: 999
Quote:
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.
Come and take it. is offline  
Old June 3, 2009, 09:03 AM   #25
Skans
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 20, 2008
Posts: 7,981
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.
Skans is offline  
Closed Thread

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:11 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2014 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Contact Us
Page generated in 0.14804 seconds with 7 queries