View Full Version : Ruger Mini-14 stovepipe

October 13, 2010, 10:48 AM
Bought a stainless Ruger Mini-14 recently and began by shooting 5.56 cheapo ammo in it. Store sales person--and he called another guy to verify--said 5.56 FMJ would work fine in this gun. Federal XM193 ball. Shot about 15 rounds with no problem then I had a stovepipe--empty jamming action.

Now have PMC .223 Remington Bronze FMJ. Have not tried them yet.

Big Question: What ammo is most reliable in my Mini-14? Be good to know about the worst, also.

Appears I need to stick with .223 Remington and stop using 5.56.

Also: This gun has an adjustment screw below barrel and above hole sling swivel fastens into and believe it's to adjust how far the gun throws the brass. Don't think this relates to stovepipe problem--or would it?


October 13, 2010, 10:58 AM
Check your magazines first before you adjust the gas piston.

Ammo shouldn't be a problem unless you're shooting steel-cased ammo.

The mini-14 is reliable, but only if you have a reliable magazine. Factory mags work the best, and everything else is crap with my experience.

October 13, 2010, 11:58 AM
There is a difference in 5.56 NATO and Remington .223 ammunition. Check you rifle manual and see what it recommends.


October 13, 2010, 12:06 PM
How old is the gun? First three digits of the serial number will be an indicator. Later models, except the target model, will shoot both .223 and 5.56. Your manual will also tell you if it is ok to fire 5.56.

October 13, 2010, 12:34 PM
XM193 ammo is spotty at best. I've found all kinds of iffy rounds in that stuff. I have like 4000 rounds of it in my stash.

I wouldn't draw any conclusions from one malf with XM193.

Definitely don't shoot steel cased ammo in it. I had to help a guy in a carbine class clear stuck cases twice when he shot wolf in his mini.

October 13, 2010, 12:50 PM
non-target models are 5.56 target models are .223....the adjustment screw that you speak of makes me think that its not a plain ole' mini.

however, if your rifle is new, a stove pipe or something can be expected...if it is broke in, make sure wheather or not its a target modle then go from there.

A mini should chew through any ammo that you put in it. also... as was mention by another member check the magazine first.

Ignition Override
October 13, 2010, 08:28 PM
My Mini 14 was built in '90, and still had a tattered silver sticker labeled "State of Kentucky".
The factory mag with it had two misfeeds (stovebolts) with the first forty rounds of Wolf. Then the mag. was oiled.
The only ammo was Wolf or Silver Bear.

It never had any more misfeeds, and this includes loading only a dozen rds. in a 30-rd. plastic Promag magazine, many times. There was No reason to load much more, as ammo consumption would be too high.

October 13, 2010, 08:30 PM
Rickyrick is right. All mini's except the taget model are capable of shooting 5.56. At least all 580-series are.

October 13, 2010, 09:16 PM
Thanks for your replies.

The serial number of my Mini-14 is: 195-08289. Bought it used and have no manual. Any idea when this gun was made?

Looked at magazine and it's a Ruger 20 round. Lips look perfect. Actually looks new.

How can I tell if this stainless steel gun has been shot a lot? I specify stainless thinking it might not show wear as quick as blued steel.

It may be a "Mini" but it's not all that light in weight even though it's quite compact. Have 4X scope on it and using Ruger rings.


October 13, 2010, 09:26 PM
Go to the Ruger website. They have links that allow you to look up year of manufacture and you can download a manual.

I would check the extractor and ejector for brass shavings.

October 13, 2010, 09:44 PM
The serial number of my Mini-14 is: 195-08289. Bought it used and have no manual. Any idea when this gun was made?

I have the same series Mini 14 in Stainless. Mine was a Florida LE turn-in.

It runs very well on either 223 or 556.

Did you clean and lube the gun before you went to the range?

I ask as mine was filthy. Carry a lot, leaned against something a lot, and rarely fired. Apparently never cleaned.

October 13, 2010, 10:12 PM
The serial number of my Mini-14 is: 195-08289. Bought it used and have no manual. Any idea when this gun was made?

Made in 1996. Good for .223 and 5.56. You can download the manual from Rugers site.

October 14, 2010, 07:32 AM
It sounds to me like the previous owner installed an ASI adjustable gas block. A very nice addition and not cheap. you may have to play with the screw for optimum performance with the load you are using. The adjustment screw will sometimes move from recoil over time. Your mini will shoot anything you choose to feed it, just adjust gas system to match.

October 14, 2010, 08:18 AM
How can I tell if this stainless steel gun has been shot a lot? I specify stainless thinking it might not show wear as quick as blued steel.

You will notice that the worn spots will be very shiny and smooth. I put about 3,000 rounds through mine before selling it, and underneath the bolt you'll notice a lot of wear, and on the throat. It'll look like someone with shaky hands took a polisher to your gun.

October 14, 2010, 09:12 AM
99% of these kinds of malfunctions in a Mini-14 is magazine related, especially if you aren't using a factory mag.

Mini-14's can handle steel-cased poly-coated wolf ammo all day long. Not much it won't handle. The feed lips on aftermarket magazines tend to bend - this creates problems.

October 14, 2010, 10:48 PM
First a good strip, clean and lube, to include the mags.

Next, more shooting to include a different ammo type or two. I would include a new, quality factory mag in this process as a control.

Semi's of all types are much dependent on ammo and mag quality and condition.

Ignition Override
October 14, 2010, 11:13 PM
Others seem to have addressed it, but the Ruger website states that both civilian .223 and 5.56 ammunition work well in the Mini 14.

Even with four military bolt-action rifles built from 1943-48, the Mini 14 is my most reliable rifle. More so than even the SKS.

October 14, 2010, 11:45 PM
my buddy has the new stainless and it has taken everything hes fed it. He mostly uses pmc, wolf, winchester white box (5.56) and federal walmart packs.. but it has worked fine with both 5.56 and .223.

I wouldn't blame the caliber, maybe the specific ammo, or if it does it with more than one brand I'd send it in to Ruger.