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Old February 9, 2020, 05:31 PM   #1
JFritz
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Mini 14 Red Dot Advice

I have had a Mini-14 for a couple of years and it is a fun rifle to shoot. I use it for target shooting and general plinking at the range with max distances around 100 yards. I began using it with the open sights, but due to a LASIK procedure years ago I have a hard time focusing on a thin front sight as it is blurry and I sometimes see almost a faint double image.

So I had a $40 4 MOA UTG Red Dot laying around and was able to mount it to the Mini-14 where it has stayed. It is reliable, accurate, and doesn't move around after firing or transporting. It is also easy to adjust for accuracy and it has various red and green brightness settings.

I took it out to the range today and was shooting at an Allen sight in target with the 6" orange block at 100 yards. About 1/2 of the shots were within the target zone and the rest were just outside the target area. At 100 yards with a red dot (or open sights) I can see the target area, but just barely.

Well I began thinking. Does it make sense to upgrade to a "better" red dot? I see the Bushnell, Vortex and many other models for quite a bit more $$$, but will I benefit from the upgrade? I assume better glass, sharper dot (I guess), but my accuracy is only as good as I shoot now. The only thing I notice sometimes with the UTG is that the dot is not a perfect circle sometimes, but that could be my eyesight in general. Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated.

Also, I'm not interested in putting a scope on the rifle and it will either have a red dot or go back to a better open sight system.
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Old February 9, 2020, 05:51 PM   #2
TBM900
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Yes a fixed low power scope is what you seek for your issues

FXII 2.5x28mm in Ruger low rings is PERFECT for the Mini
-No crazy cheek weld
-Almost as fast as a red dot
-Can be used both eyes open
-Far faster than a variable scope
-Perfect "boost" for your eyes at 100
-Aids with AS and other eye issues big time
-Bolt can still be removed without demounting scope

Plus the FXII is super rugged, bright, and lightweight.
Bonus... The factory fixed sights do not have to be removed
One of these days I may drill the ring bases to make the peep & post usable with scope mounted.
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Last edited by TBM900; February 9, 2020 at 06:11 PM.
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Old February 9, 2020, 05:59 PM   #3
jmr40
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I've tried real hard to like dot sights, but just don't. I've owned 3 of them and just could never warm up to any of them. I've never owned any of the high end models, but have had 2 in the $200 price range. I'm more accurate at any range with iron sights than the dot sights I've used. But the problem with irons is seeing the sights in low light or less than perfect vision.

I know you said no scope, but I've found something with 1X on the low end to be way faster than dots or iron's even in poor light. All of my AR's have either 1-4X or 1-6X scopes on them now. On 4X or 6X I'm able to shoot accurately out to at least 400 yards. One of mine also has an illuminated reticle which serves the same purpose as the dot sights, you get the best of both.

If you've not researched the low powered scopes you really should. They don't cost much, if any more than a decent dot sight or good quality irons. And work better than either. Unless you have near perfect vision irons are going to be hard and you'll never get a dot to focus for you. You can focus a scope to work with your eyes.
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Old February 9, 2020, 06:03 PM   #4
seanc
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By your description of the red dot not being a perfect circle indicates to me that you might have an astigmatism. I have 3 different brands of red dots and there is a difference in how "tight" the circle is from the cheapest to the most expensive. I see what sort of looks like a comma or semicolon, depending on the dot. That's for my right eye. For my left eye, I see a nice red dot for each of those red dots. Unfortunately for me, my right eye is my dominant eye.

For my crossbow, I have a prism sight with 4 red dot aiming points (20, 30, 40 & 50 yd). Those red dots are crisp as can be! For one of my rifles (an AKM) I'm thinking of getting a Primary Arms 1x or 3x prism scope to replace the red dot on it.
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Old February 9, 2020, 06:04 PM   #5
rickyrick
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Sounds exactly like what happens when a scope ring or mount loosens up.

Can’t go wrong with vortex... so far.

I’ve used a couple of primary arms red dots, and they are good too, just wish the batteries were better.
I got a little older and for no magnification I’ve collected a few vintage Weaver K1s with the non-Illuminated dot reticle. They work great to clear up your site image.

My Mini14 has always had a 3-9x40 riding on it.
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Old February 10, 2020, 11:36 PM   #6
JFritz
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Thanks for the suggestions to all. I think I may have overlooked a small fixed scope to help out a bit. The FX-II looks good along with the Primary Arms Prism. I did find a 2.5X Primary Arms Prism for $100 less than the 3X, so I may check that out as well.
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Old February 11, 2020, 09:24 AM   #7
bamaranger
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whatever

What ever you decide, lean towards a quality optic cost wise and a supplier that has a good (as in lifetime/no questions) warranty. I've had a Mini-30 since about when they first hit the market and have shot it a fair amount. I carry it for deer a bit every season, bamaboy even shot it in 3-gun locally for a while.

Due their slam/bang action Mini's are scope killers , even the ranch models with the factory buffer!!!!

Mine killed several Bushnells and Tascos 'till I put a Leupold on it. The Leupold 1-4x has held up just fine, an older Vari-X-II(c) I think. I cannot say how durable a Primary Arms unit would be, I have a Primary Arms compact dot and it has been on an AK variant and a pistol caliber carbine, and has held up thus far, but the unit has not really seen that much use. But the Mini will test any optic you put on it.
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Old February 11, 2020, 10:32 AM   #8
T. O'Heir
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Have you talked to your eye doctor? Assuming you wear glasses.
4 MOA equates to 4" at 100 yards. Far too big for accurate shooting. A 2 or 3 MOA dot will cover the entire black on a standard sighting in target at 100 too.
Have a look at these. Factory 3 Blade Tactical Front Sight. Cost isn't stupid expensive. No mention of how wide the blade is, so ask 'em first.
https://www.ruger-mini-14-firearms.com/Sights.php
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Old February 11, 2020, 03:48 PM   #9
TBM900
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JFritz View Post
Thanks for the suggestions to all. I think I may have overlooked a small fixed scope to help out a bit. The FX-II looks good along with the Primary Arms Prism. I did find a 2.5X Primary Arms Prism for $100 less than the 3X, so I may check that out as well.
I look at the FX-II as sort of "bionic" iron sights

Something to consider is the height of whatever you consider.
The crosshairs of the FX-II are only ~0.75 over the center of the factory peep, very low. When I looked at other options including prisms, I couldn't find anything even close to being that low, and all of those options prevented the removal of the bolt. A "chin weld" and blocking the bolt were both a no-go for me.



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Old February 11, 2020, 05:46 PM   #10
JFritz
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Thanks for the pics TBM900. I'll keep the height and the bolt removal in mind as well. I have a little time to consider the options.
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Old February 11, 2020, 05:48 PM   #11
rickyrick
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On the stock ruger rings, I can get the bolt out no problem, but it is a little like a puzzle
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Old February 11, 2020, 08:00 PM   #12
TBM900
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickyrick View Post
On the stock ruger rings, I can get the bolt out no problem, but it is a little like a puzzle
The stock rings that come with the Mini are the #5's, I'm using the #4's which are 5mm lower.
The bolt can still be removed and no chin-weld
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