View Full Version : Follow-up on sighting in Mini-14

February 10, 1999, 04:30 PM
Well, went to the range this afternoon and practiced with my Mini-14,first got some "Master" ammo and got 3-4 inch groups at 100 yds. guess this is about as good as its gonna get, if I need to ever reach out and touch someone at least I know I won't miss.

Anyone ever use "Master" ammo?

Justice for one,Justice for all.

Daniel Watters
February 10, 1999, 05:38 PM
Is that Master Cartridge of Villa Ricca, Georgia?

If so, they make good ammunition. Master sells to dealers, while their sister company Georgia Arms sells direct to customers.

Best wishes,


Rob Pincus
February 10, 1999, 05:51 PM

The gun has got to be capable of more than that. Inspired by your post I walked out to the range and set up one of those round type targets with the orange circle in the middle, came back up to the house and fired off 5 rounds from the Mini-14. Iron sights, off hand, and, believe me, I am not any kind of rifle hero. The shots were about 90 yards. Total time from first shot to last was less than 8 seconds. This is also with a GB model, ie- no place to really plant your cheek. The group is about 7.5 inches, including one "flyer" take away the flyer (first "cold barrel" shot ??) and the group is about 5.5 inches). I used Winchester's Super-X 53 gr HPs.

If I ever get around a real shooting bench and buy one of those cheek pads for the GB, I'll see what this rifle is really capable of doing. I'm thinking sub- 3inch groups at 100 yards with Iron Sights should be consitently achievable.

Just to clense myself after that "target shooting" session I did some rapid fire stuff at silohuettes with the rest of the ammo from that box! ;)


4V50 Gary
February 10, 1999, 06:53 PM
Well done FlyerM14. Sometimes it is the ammo. My AR has shot 1" groups at 100 yards with PMC ammo. Then I tried the Mexican Aguila stuff and got 4-5". Tried the Malaysian surplus stuff and got about 2-3" with that. Like I said in another posting, 3-4" at 100 yards is within factory spec for Ruger.

February 10, 1999, 08:32 PM
The next time I go I'm gonna try some "match" ammo. Winchester or maybe some Hornady, any suggestions?

Watters: Yes it was the same, paid $6.95 for 20, good or bad price?
Rob: Do you really think this rifle can do better with practice?
4v50 Gary: Thank you for the encouragement.

Guess I'll have to keep on Practice,practice, practice.

Justice for one,Justice for all.

Daniel Watters
February 10, 1999, 09:52 PM
For Georgia Arms, the price depends:

New ammo w/ Nosler Ballistic Tips runs $7.95 per 20.

Remanufactured ammo, in 50 round quantities, runs from $8.50 to $14.50 depending upon the weight and style of bullet loaded.

Price breaks accrue as the quantities increase. With their 'Canned Heat' special, remanufactured 55gr FMJ runs as low as $145 per 1000rds.


Best wishes,


Rob Pincus
February 10, 1999, 10:49 PM
WEll, I dunno. I have hypothesized before that I may have an extremely rare example of Mini-14.
OTOH, what can it hurt to try to improve your groups.
As you've noted, your gun is well within combat accuracy, you can tap a person as far out as you would ever conceivably need to. Honestly, you know I would be happy with 3-4 inch groups. I just overreact to the bad rap that the Mini-14 seems to get in the accuracy department.

February 11, 1999, 07:17 AM
I guess the best thing to do is practice,at least it shoots better than my "hammer" (Llamma) Right? ;) This rifle has less than 200 rds thru it, not even broke in yet?

Justice for one,Justice for all.

Rosco Benson
February 11, 1999, 08:33 AM
Flyerm14; Too many shooters fall for the silly notion that, if a given rifle won't shoot sub-MOA groups, that there's something wrong with it. Your 4" groups mean that none of your shots were missing your point-of-aim by more that 2"...and that with iron sights, of which the front blade probably appears to cover 6" or more of the target at 100 yards.

Is your Mini-14 the ideal rifle to use for long range precision shooting? No, there are better choices. Is it a good choice for general "urban carbine" use? YES. If anyone thinks otherwise, they might wish to recall the situation in Miami, where the FBI had the misfortune to run up against a motivated opponent armed with a Mini-14.


4V50 Gary
February 12, 1999, 11:22 AM
Went to the range yesterday wiith a batch of unknown ammo I got for free, I shot about 9" high from the point of aim (bottom of the black at 100 yards).

Kentucky windage and I still managed to get a 4-5" group at 100. It would have been much easier if I had bothered to adjust the sight for that ammo (Nah, too much work). The Mini will shoot 4" easily, but just don't ask match accuracy from it.

February 12, 1999, 02:17 PM
Do you guys think it would be a waste of money to buy "match" ammo with the groups I'm getting now, I'm happy but if anyone thinks I can do better with "match" ammo I'll try it.

Justice for one,Justice for all.

Rob Pincus
February 12, 1999, 02:45 PM
I gotta think that you are ready to define your objectives. Are you gonna go prairie dog hunting with this gun or is it a possible defensive weapon?

If, as I suspect, it is the latter, you probably should buy some bulk ammo and start shooting offhand. Get yourself down to 5 or 6" groups at 100 yards and you'll be ready to get into snap shooting and shooting on the move or at moving targets.

OTOH, finding the ammo that works the best with your gun can never hurt.. at least the only thing it can hurt is your wallet. Think about it, do you want to spend over a dollar a round if that is the ammo that makes your gun shoot 1 inch smaller groups? I know that I don't!


February 21, 1999, 01:36 AM
I keep hearing that the Mini -14 is inferior in reliablity and durability to the AR design. That has bothered me, because I actually prefer the looks and handling of the Mini. Any helpful comments would be appreciated.

February 21, 1999, 07:49 AM
Baldy, as you can see the mini-14 will only do so good, I like the way it handles and shoots but I know I'll never get 1to 2 in groups out of it, its good for those RBD up to 100 yds. I've never had a problem out of mine but then again only 250 rnds have been put thru it. I like it and guess that's what counts, going to get a AR-15 in the future so... :)

Justice for one,Justice for all.

4V50 Gary
February 21, 1999, 12:00 PM
The gas operating system between the Mini14 and the AR/M16 makes all the difference. It is not so much that the Mini14 isn't reliable, but rather it's not as accurate as the AR.

The Mini14 is a derivative of the M1 Garand action. There are more moving parts on the Mini14 which affects accuracy than on the AR/M16. First, the slide (as Ruger calls the operating rod handle) lockup must be consistent. We're talking about dirt affecting the lockup of the bolt, the possibility of the slide getting bent (which affects lockup, timing, reliability), pressure on the bolt from the bullets in the magazine (which also affects consistent lockup), uneven wear on the bolt lugs (resulting in canting of the bolt while in its locked position - this was also an issue with the M1 Garand, M14 and the M1 Carbine). There are other things affecting accuracy on the Mini14. One major thing is the barrel which is sporter weight and thin. Like other sporter barrels, once it heats up with sustained firing, it becomes like a spaghetti and the group will open. The other problem with the barrel is the mil-spec chambering which allows for looser tolerences than SAAMI. Ruger does this to accommodate all that surplus ammo we tend to shoot and to ensure reliability with that ammo. Of course, this doesn't make for match quality.

Turning to the issue of reliability, some of that is attributable to the shooter. I attended one class where a shooter's trigger assembly fell out. It was either due to improper reassembly or at some point, the trigger guard had been tweaked and until corrected, will not lock into the stock properly. A lot of reliability problems with the Mini may be attributed to after-market magazines. Face it, as a people, we not only enjoy precision shooting but we also love blasting for the sheer pleasure of it. Unable to get high capacity factory magazines (Ruger never made their own and they subcontracted out for its production) because of Ruger policy and the hi-cap mag ban (aren't we a safer and crime free society now?), many have resorted to after markets: some of which is fit only as scrap metal. Ammunition is another issue but Ruger generally tests its guns with all types of ammunition available on the market - including the surplus stuff all of us buy cheap. Ruger does this to test how their gun does with the assorted ammo on the market and to detect any problems (that way they can reengineer the gun - which hasn't happened all that much since its first inception). This allows Ruger to train its customer service staff when the calls come in.

Turning to the AR, it relies on the gas impingement system (which I believe was originally derived by the French). There's no op rod (slide) which affects lockup. Just the bolt carrier, bolt and the buffer with its spring. Fewer moving parts to go wrong. Further, barrels on the AR aren't difficult to change (just make sure the headspacing is good) and there's lots of heavy barrels which you can have match chambered. Oh, the barrel is easier to free float than on the Mini.

Addressing lockup, pressure from bullets in the magazine act on the bolt carrier and not directly on the bolt (more consistent bolt lockup). The multi-lug AR bolt doesn't have that offset camming problem mentioned with the Mini14/M1/M14 rotating bolt design.

The weakness of the AR design is its magazine. Those aluminum lips are easily bent and reliability may be compromised unless its corrected. Steel bodied Mini14 magazines are simply tougher.

While I find the Mini14 has greater eye appeal and is handier, especially to tuck behind your truck seat, its design doesn't compete against the AR for accuracy. Returning to reliability, I've never dunked either gun in mud to test it. Cared for and used with good ammunition and good magazines, either gun should give you years of shooting pleasure.

Sorry for windbagging.

cornered rat
February 21, 1999, 12:55 PM
I got the mini14 for two reasons: less money than FAL or AR in .223 and it is handy. I do not think it was ever meant to compete with AR, rather to supercede the M1 carine. It is slightly bigger, has faster rouns. Shame about $40 Ruger magazines! $12 suplus mags don't work all that well.

I would think that the open-ended gas system on mini14 won't foul up as fast as pistol&tube on the AR, but I may be dreaming...

Handling on it is quite nice, except for the rock&lock magazine loading...some guns are easier than that.

Michael Carlin
February 21, 1999, 07:22 PM
The way I hear it from several sources the Mini 14 is about a 2.5 minute rifle at best.

This is neither good nor bad, it just is. Your groups are fine given the weapon's capability. It is not an AR and will not likely shoot like one.

I am familiar with Master ammunition and it was good stuff when I was shooting it about 3 years ago. It is not Federal or Black Hills Match Ammo. It might change the group an 1" or so tighter to go to these much more expensive ammunitions. That is not smart use of your money in this case.

This rifle suits your purpose, a handy rifle, the Mini 14 is just fine. Buy a good supply of ammunition and practice. First learn to shoot well deliberately. Then begin to speed up, then move multiple targets. Then moving targets, then multiple moving targets.

Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship


August 6, 2000, 02:33 PM
That is very good grouping for the Mini. My grouping is more like 4"-5" at 100 yards but that is fine for what I would use it for. I bet if you try some better ammo you will bet a little better group. I found that I was a little better after I got used to the trigger.