Mini 14

This is a discussion on Mini 14 within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Ok, so here it is. My grandfather passed away back in December, shortly after my dad informed me that I would be receiving his mini ...

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Thread: Mini 14

  1. #1
    Member Array nightshift's Avatar
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    Mini 14

    Ok, so here it is.

    My grandfather passed away back in December, shortly after my dad informed me that I would be receiving his mini 14. The thing has been sitting in a closet for lord knows how many years, as a home defense rifle.

    Obviously since it has not been shot in forever, I'm going to take it apart and clean the thing as best I can.

    Once clean I plan on using it for a home defense/bug out rifle, and was wondering if anyone had any tips on how to make it a better rifle.

    I have read that they're not very accurate (and I have NO idea what series this is or any info on it other than it's a Mini 14), but am not overly concerned about the accuracy considering for home defense well.. I hope to not have to shoot, and if I do, I hope it's no more than 10 yards and less than a magazine of ammunition. I know a big accuracy issue is the thin barrel causes the metal to flex quickly under any sustained fire, and I'm not really looking to increase accuracy by messing with the barrel at all.

    I'm looking more for, any ways to make it smoother, better shooter, maybe polishing/deburring parts and what not. I already plan on putting either a different stock or tactical rail on the fore grip.

    I know of all the tacti-cool stuff you can do to them, they're very versatile, you can put just about any damn thing on them, but I'm not necessarily looking for tacti-cool, like I said, if I can make the rifle function, cycle, and if I can shoot a little better, I'd be happy.

    Thanks

    Matt

    PS If you have a set up mini 14 could you post a picture? Still getting ideas. Would like to keep fairly stock, but I may keep the regular wood stock and replace it with something I can use to make it a little more functional.

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  3. #2
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    Only thing I can offer is to stick with the factory mags, I have a 182 series (1980 time frame) and have not had any luck with the aftermarket mags.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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    I would sit tight for now. Just run a case of ammo through the gun to get used to how it works, and keep track of any malfunctions, which you can subsequently address. For a defensive weapon, I would have at least a half dozen magazines on hand, all tested for proper functioning with the gun, of course. Once you've assured yourself of function, then work with different ammo to improve accuracy.
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    I really liked my old one. Yes, factory mags are a must for home defense purposes. It's a really quick and light rifle. Play around with lots of ammo brands and you can tighten up on some accuracy. You might not want to do too much to it. You might just like it the way it is for what you want to use it for. I'd put a decent Red Dot on it if it were mine.
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  6. #5
    VIP Member Array Crowman's Avatar
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    Mini 14 Images
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    Member Array jasgo's Avatar
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    I've had a couple of Mini-14s before. My first was a blued one. Sold that and got into ARs. Then a friend sold me his stainless Mini-14 as I thought it would be great for car trunk use. I added a folding stock and handguard to match. The Mini-14 with a folded stock is about 28" long. A CAR-15 with collapsing stock will be longer at about 32" long. The standard wood stock is kind of a nice change from the black rifle look though.

    I enjoyed shooting them as plinking rifles in the woods. They are adequate for up to midrange defense (150yds). I can't remember how mines papered. Only used iron sights. I think the older Mini-14s will group around 2-3" at best (scoped) and worse if you get a lemon. An average grade AK-47 does something similar. The Mini-14 barrels are thinner and heat up faster which will change the point of impact sooner than other rifles and probably open up groups after only a few shots. The one thing I really noticed is that there is a lot of muzzle flash since there is no flash suppressor. Actually kind of fun for plinking use. The barrel does get hot so make sure it has a handguard on it. Get factory Ruger 20rd mags. Should come with a 5rd mag as standard.

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    Had to have the rear sights changed on mine. Too loose so accuracy was a problem. Other than that, sweet gun. I too stick to factory mags and brass ammo. As the saying goes, " Mini 14, all the bang of an AR but none of the weird looks"
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    Ahhh... Well accuracy won't be an issue at 10 yards, I can assure you

    In all seriousness, I would give it a good cleaning. Take it out and test it for mechanical functioning, get a feel for how it shoots, then just secure it wherever you plan to keep it and go on with life. As others have stated, stick with factory magazines if you need any.

    I have a newer Mini-14 and I really enjoy shooting it. It's a fun rifle to shoot with the iron sights and I have a scope that I drop on it occasionally. Mine goes to the range every couple of weeks and it's never let me down.

    To have it set up for 'home defense' you really don't need to do anything with it; nor would I bother if your stated purpose is all you have planned for it. As long as it fires and is sighted in, it'll fulfill the role of 'home defense'. I suppose a rail with a light might be a good addition. I don't know much about stock options, but I'm sure there are a number of choices that will give you the ability to mount a light.

    Now if you take it out and decide that you enjoy shooting it enough that you want to make some improvements to it, then there are any number of things you can do. A barrel stabilizer under the barrel will help with barrel flex (especially on the older thin barrel models). Mo-Rod and Accu-Strut are two popular ones, but there are other choices as well as those. Also, there's a guy called Gun Doc who does a trigger job on the Mini that most of the serious Mini owners get done, or do themselves if they have the time/skill. Beyond that, there's probably a ton of other little things that folks will do to eek out a little more accuracy, but I don't know how much any of it is actually worth. You might want to check out Perfect Union, they used to be the most thorough Mini-14 forum, and may still be for all I know. So assuming it hasn't changed too much, there should be some good information over there.

  10. #9
    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    I've got two of them - One about 35 years old, and the other about 20 years. Both stainless.

    For HD and plinking, I wouldn't do anything to it, except for the thorough cleaning, inspection, and test firing that the other guys have suggested. It's a really fun gun, so you'll probably end up putting quite a few rounds through it during your test session!

    I also second the comments regarding magazines - My experience is that the Mini-14's function perfectly with Ruger factory mags. With aftermarket mags, not so much.

    Regards,
    Jim

  11. #10
    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    I will add my voice to the chorus recommending that one stick to factory magazines for defensive purposes. I would not worry about the lesser accuracy potential compared to some other systems, because defense of home and self happens at close range, unless one is 'way out there somewhere, and folks equipped to survive 'way out there will probably not need my advice on rifles. I live in a world where 40 yards is a quite long OFFENSIVE shot for an LEO. (I was a designated patrol carbine officer for a few years; I have aged-out of being able to perform the rather athletic qual, thanks to a bad knee.)

    The Mini is my personal choice for a general utility carbine. My personally-owned Colt AR15A2 Govt Carbine was 100% reliable, and is now in the hands of a fellow LEO. The Mini is more my cup of tea, especially at household distances, and I have two of them.
    Last edited by Rexster; April 27th, 2012 at 08:08 PM. Reason: Left out a word

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    Ex Member Array barstoolguru's Avatar
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    Accuracy is the pits in the early models and if you didn’t spend the money and get a HD barrel they are all over the paper at 100 yards. Spreads of 8-10 inches are common. The barrel whip is common with them so you might want to get one of these for 80.00 it makes a difference by keeping the barrel from whipping

    The Original Barrel Strut for Mini-14s

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by barstoolguru View Post
    Accuracy is the pits in the early models and if you didn’t spend the money and get a HD barrel they are all over the paper at 100 yards. Spreads of 8-10 inches are common. The barrel whip is common with them so you might want to get one of these for 80.00 it makes a difference by keeping the barrel from whipping

    The Original Barrel Strut for Mini-14s
    Great info, I have an early Mini (182) serial and will place one on order.
    When you have to shoot, shoot. Don't talk.
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  14. #13
    Ex Member Array barstoolguru's Avatar
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    I bough mine in 1999 for the dreaded Y2k; the big crash of the decade. I always though 223 was a round that had inherited accuracy. I had a Remington that was a tack driver at 200 yards and though the mini 14 would be the same then the shock came at the range.

    Someone said that Ruger guaranteed 2-3 inch groups and you could have sent it back in for a new barrel but I was so disappointed I just threw it in the safe and forgot about it until someone mention the strut. I got one and installed it but never took it to the range. Ruger since has corrected the problem by making barrels a little heaver but for a SHFT rifle it will spit out the ammo

  15. #14
    Member Array Geezer's Avatar
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    I keep a Ranch Rifle, stainless, in the cab of my tractor. It's not a target gun, but of the many Coyotes and hogs it has killed, not a single one complained about accuracy. They're hellforstrong, and with factory mags will serve you well. Enjoy it.

  16. #15
    VIP Member Array Secret Spuk's Avatar
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    Another vote for using factory magazines. I have two... A blue one and a stainless. Never had an issue with either. Never. Both hold to about two inches at 100yds. Thats fine for me. My current project is mounting a scout style scope forward on the stainless one. IMO It's a great rifle and works fine for my needs. A H/D quick into action go to rifle.

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