December 24th, 2013 01:17 PM
How I built my Mini-14
So someone asked me to Post a Thread about how I built my Mini-14.
In essence, go here:
Rifle Accuracy Systems Inc Custom Accurate Rifles Barrel Conversions Ruger Mini Remington 700 7400 750 AR10 AR15
For those who care; I will deep dive my particular rifle.
A little history I guess. I grew up in the mountains with hunting rifles. Right when we turned 18 my best friend and I bought a pair of matching Colt Pre-Ban HBAR's. Loved that gun. When I turned 21 I made the mistake of trading it for a Glock 17, and a Ruger Super RedHawk .44 mag. Both good guns, but wish I still had the HBAR. Best AR pattern i've ever shot, except maybe the Fulton M4 clone my brother in law had. Yes, for those who read my thread on Stoner reliability, you read that right, I MISS MY HBAR!!!
So my first wife, who also grew up in a shooting family, wanted a carbine for prairie dogs and possible fighitng gun purposes. We didn't have a lot of money and after much deliberation settled on a Mini-14 with a mid-level 2-7x scope. I own a garand, have shot a few mini's and even shot a few .30 carbines. I was impressed with the little gun, light, quick, handy, 30 rnd mags were still cheap and everywhere(2004-ish) and it was just an easy, fun gun to shoot. We didn't last too long and went our ways and she took her Mini with her.
About a year later I wanted new “fighting gun”. A GOOD AR was out of my immediate price range, plus i've always been iffy on the direct gas of one. And I still wanted to see what kind of a mini I could put together. So for $650 I scooped up a gently used, wood stocked ranch rifle at a gun show. I knew it wasn't as accurate as good AR, my first wife and I missed too many 'dogs with hers. And as much as am nostalgic about traditionally shaped/stocked guns, I wanted something a tad more modern for my new “fighting gun”.
Then I started searching. I found the above guy. I was lucky in that he's in my state(Colorado) and he's only about an hour from my house.
More about me: I am a professional welder. I went to school for welding, machining, and computer drafting. I was a certified pressure vessel welder for oil and gas separators. For 8 years I worked as welder for a company that makes high-speed automated and robotic packaging equipment. For the last 2 years they have had me buying the same welded and machined parts I used to make from outside vendors. In this capacity I often visit and qualify new fabrication shops to our fairly high standards. We deal with everything from small mom & pop joints for quick turnaround, to massive industrial complexes. When I talk about machine shops, I know where of I speak.
So drive down there and visit this guys place. Most of you won't be able too. I told him about myself and we clicked as fellow machinists. I grilled him pretty hard. He is very knowledgeable and experienced. I was impressed with his shop. Clean, well lit, well organized. Quality equipment that's well maintained. Safe. Small but well thought out and executed. We have much more chaotic and sloppy shops working for my company. He has a love affair with Mini's much more so than I. He is fully qualified to 'smith any gn you like, and builds quite nice AR's as I saw them as well.
So I opted for his “Stage 1 Kit” about $500 bucks, at the time(2006-ish)
This included (at the time) a 5/8” - “semi-bull” air gauged, stainless steel barrel, cut and crowned to your choice of length. I chose 16” and paid a little extra to have him cut standard 1/2-24 machine thread on the end.
Polishing and reworking the charging handle-to-barrel for the 5/8”.
He drills 3 holes in the “flange” of the receiver and then 3 respective holes in the stock and epoxies threaded stainless “pillars” in the stock, and then literally bolts the action to the stock. Between this and the barrel, the little gun is a tack driver now, and no sloppy “glass” bedding either.
Now: for you tactical guys, yes, screwing the stock and action together significantly increases the time to break down. However, I've found I can clean the vital parts of the gun and leave the thing together. Also, you could simply leave the screws out and return it to being a little “jumpy” in the stock. It's not as accurate but just the new barrel/charging handle mods improve accuracy quite a bit. I have shot it without the screws, and it's markedly better than it was “factory”. Without the screws it falls apart like a regular mini as soon as you pop the trigger group.
He also worked the trigger group a little. Though I wasn't as thrilled about this. He drilled a little hole right in front of the trigger and put a tinty screw with some washers that pushes the trigger back just a little to take up some of the “creep” in the first stage of the dual stage trigger. Now, I grew up with hunting guns and have never been a fan of two stagers. And it is nice that it has very little “take-up” but it was a bit of “really? You just stuck a screw in there to block it?” plus it ever so slightly blocks the very top of the trigger, so far it hasn't been a problem, but i've also almost taken that screw out countless times.
I went with a steel-wire folding stock. Mostly because it was about it at the time. I swear the SAGE and other true “tactical” mini stocks came out right AFTER I did this. Always my luck....
but I kind of like the folder, i've been shooting so long that cheek weld isn't a big deal to me on a low recoil gun like this. And if it's a real long shot I can still snuggle up to her enough to get a good angle through my optic. It was never meant to be a sniper rifle. On a single point sling cinched wo ntight with stock folded it's almost a PDW too. It's nice and tight, short and controllable, and easy to point shoot at the extreme close ranges.
He sells and installs a little rubber pad that goes on the return spring between receiver and charging handle. It mitigates the impact there. You can buy this piece at Brownells/Midway for like 5 bucks. Another advantage AR's enjoy is that they “run-out” on springs.
I'd like to talk chrome lined barrels here for sec. It's my belief all guns should have them, and the only reason they don't is cost restrictive. I don't know of a single disadvantage any gun would have by running a chrome barrel. So if I was a millionaire i'd buy a gun drill and contract a platter to make me a custom chrome lined barrel for every gun I own. That's the only major drawback this weapon has over a regular AR is the chrome lined barrel, IMHO. I'll only get 1/3-1/2 the barrel life. I am not aware of anyone who makes chromed barrels for Mini's if someone knows of one PLEASE TELL ME!!!!
He will cut the chamber however you like too. If you're a serious varmint guy and what the extra accuracy from running a tighter .223 rem chamber and reloading your own brass etc. etc. he will cut your chamber to .223 rem spec. I had him cut mine to the slightly larger 5.56 spec. so I could shoot any ammo.
Another thing I was disappointed about this rifle. Dude did an awesome job building the gun, but it has no front sight. None. No provision for one either. In the 7 years since I bought mine I noticed his website has grown quite a bit, even if it's still not the greatest, so hopefully his business has grown and he has come up with a front sight for bull barrel conversions. I would make this a priority if contacting him for a build. Also note; he makes way more radical stuff than I bought. He will make you custom gas blocks, custom flashhiders/compensators, he actually makes some pretty radical stuff.
I am fortunate to be a machinist and welder, and have access to industrial machinery, as I just made my own front sight and light mount. I used 5/8” clamp collars. I bought a Hi-Viz fiber optic front sight for...some gun, and cut it off, and TIG welded it to a flat I machined on one of the clamp collars. I was able to achieve proper sight height and indexing it just took a level and then verification with s shooting session. The fiber optic sight works great. The light mount I made you may accuse me of being redneck for: I just put a tab on the clamp collar so I could use an old fashioned auto-hose clmap to grab any round-bodied flashlight. I know, I know. But I can upgrade, interchange flashlights whenever I want. It was cheaper than a surefire, and I could put a surefire in it anyway. I cut grooves into mount to grip the light, and it's more rigid than even I was expecting. I liked it so much I made one for my Mossberg 590. different configuration to mount to the gun of course, but same universal light mount.
FYI- I built this gun to mount I Class 3 suppressor I purchased as well. The guy has a long wait list, so I actually took delivery of the gun and the can in the same month. It works great with the suppressor. My sight clears it(barely). The extra fouling coming back down the bartrel doesn't bother it a bit. It's accuracte, quiet, and fun.
GG&G makes a 1913 rail adapter for the stupid proprietary Ruger rings. So you can mount all your quick detach goodies. I have a RedField 2-7x again. And a Leupold Prismatic. I keep ping-ponging between which one will permanently live on the gun. I suppose an AimPoint with a magnifyer would do both, but I guess i'm old fashioned cuz I have a hard time stomaching having to put batteries in my gun. I know how long Aimpopints lasts, and tritium lasts longer, but the prismatic can be all au natural baby. I digress.
I have thought many times about buying a SAGE stock for mine. I am, again, fortunate that I have access to such things as knee mills, so if I do, I can recreat the holes in the stock and epoxy my own pillars in it to recreate his bedding job. Most of you will have to pay him to re do it if you switch stocks. Of course, you can always loose the screws and it back to being regular mini that'll fit any stock. Of course if you do build it around a SAGE, it has all the rails and collapsibles and pistol grips and everything else you could want, so I don't see swapping to another stock after that.
So for $1,200 or so, I got, what I consider, to be a rifle as good or better than any other $1,200 dollar 5.56. and I got to pay it out in $600 dollar increments over time, which made it a lot less painful.
FYI- after buying my wife a rifle(probably a PS90), and a pair or .22 bearcats for my twin boys, my next gun will probably be a nice AR pattern. But this Mini definitely has a place.
I'd will post pictures, though it will have to wait until after the holiday.
QUESTION ADMINISTRATORS...SHOULD I POST PICTURES IN THIS THREAD IN TEN DAYS, OR JUST START A NEW THREAD?
Update: i did find one picture of my wife from the very first time she shot it. Her posture was still off and it's before i had an optic for it or made the light mount. you can see the front sight i made. you can see the stainless barrel. you can't see the annoying little screw in front of the trigger.
oh no, the pictures tiny? what do i do?
Last edited by DingBat; December 24th, 2013 at 03:34 PM.
December 24th, 2013 01:44 PM
Your choice... it's easy enough to edit your posts and add pics later, if you'd like.
NRA Endowment Member
December 24th, 2013 01:55 PM
I'm not an admin- but I can't see why posting here would be a problem. If it were me I'd just edit it in to the post.
Sounds like a sweet gun. I've always loved the way traditional rifles look, and that's been the biggest draw to the mini platform. The fact that I've never handled one that was anywhere close to as accurate as the gun you've put together has always pushed me away from them. The decision of whether the expense of making one work well is worth it or not is a personal one I suppose- and I have always figured it wasn't worth it. That said, it is still something I would consider. (Though I'm sure people would expect me to throw all the "tacti-cool" stuff on it, I'd want it to remain a classic looking rifle.)
"The only people I like besides my wife and children are Marines."
- Lt. Col. Oliver North
December 24th, 2013 03:52 PM
Originally Posted by Echo_Four
when my wife shoots it she prefers i put it back in the wood stock, and i will put in back in the wood stock if i am prone-shooting prairie dogs or something with it. i can get 9 out of ten prairie dogs out to 200+ yards WITHOUT the receiver screwed down. i haven't bothered to try to set the wood stock up for the pillar bedding. though i need to. in the folding stock, on a rest, with the screws in, i can reliably pop a prairie dog to around 450 yards. i'm no wind doper, and .223 rounds drift to much for me to usually take shots past 500yds with a .223. heck even with my magnums the longest shot i've ever confirmed was on an antelope at maybe 750? maybe closer to 700? it was with a 7mm mag and it was a deathly still day, but i hit him perfect behind the shoulder! dropped like a sack of rocks. course him being silhouetted against an orange rising sun sky at the top of a ridge helped. he just stood there patiently waiting. i've always been pretty good a guesstimating distance so i raised where i figured and let fly. first shot. dead meat. sold that 7mm. i think my days of trying to see how far i can shoot are over, heck my favorite hunting gun right now is my Marlin .30-.30. with open sights. man, i got distracted there, sorry.
anway, the only two things i miss now on the Mini is a chrome lined barrel, and a bolt release on the left side. still have to reach over or around or under or let go with trigger hand to release the bolt over a fresh mag. though i prefer the trigger guard safety. reaching for a "standard" AR safety makes my hand feel crampy. minor complaint i guess....
December 24th, 2013 04:04 PM
oh, i guess one other story i'd like to share about this gun. first off; i've put many cases of ammo through it, probably up to 10k through it? i'm starting to look for wear on the throat and it to start loosing accuracy. will be interesting to see how the action hold up long term as well. i plan on rebarelling it so how many barrels will the action survive?? so anyway, it's gobbled up all the russian wolf crap i can throw at it. it's taken my borderline redneck handloads just fine. it loves the suppressor. (a Thunder Beast Arms suppressor BTW, i know i said the same thing, the name is what? but he's in wyoming and a good guy). but one time me and my buddy we're burning up a case of the same wolf garbage, and the primers started dropping right out of the backs of the case. right into the actions of the guns. i know we probably should've stopped shooting, thrown that lot of ammo away and deep cleaned our guns. had one come loose during a high pressure event one of us could've eaten a bolt assembly for lunch. that is my safety suggestion to whom may read this, if the primers fall out of your spent casings. stop shooting that lot of ammo. but what can i say? we're rednecks, ammo's expensive, we were enjoying ourselves, and we like to live dangerously. nothing happened BTW. so anyway, his AR DID NOT like little primers falling into the action. it happened to his gun probably a half dozen times? and we had to split the girl apart every time. it was easy to pick out with your fingernail, but i don't think it let one fall through one time. contrary, the mini didn't care a whole lot, it was happy to let them rattle around in there and eventually fall out the bottom. only one time did one get really lodged into the trigger group and shut it down. it was a booger to pry out of there too. that was a leatherman job. though i am NOT questioning relaibility of AR's with this. having primers fall into your action is defeinately outside the ordinary.
December 24th, 2013 05:41 PM
The photos gets bigger if you click on it .
Say listen not to be a moanner but could split up your wall of txt? I want to read it but ...
Also I am crazy or this look like a normal mini 14 fitted in a bulter creek stock or a tactial 14 that mini now makes.. what made it cost 1,200? was it the barrel ?
I mean you can get a off the shelf mini 14 with a tac stoc for under 700 bucks or a ranch gun and sock for like 500 .. it looks neat but I am trying to see why it cost so much
December 24th, 2013 05:48 PM
yep butler creek. and i did it right before the SAGE stock came out or before 6.8 mini's or any of the newer ones, it was like 2005. the smith did the barrel, the pillar bedding, and the "trigger job" for $500. paid $650 for the gun to start.
that's not including the suppressor or optics.
sorry for the wall-o-text. guilty as charged. newbie. always been rambler. tryin to figure how to make it short n sweet.
December 24th, 2013 05:51 PM
no worries I ramble and have bad spelling ( heck my tag line on other places is sorry for the bad spelling ) ..
Originally Posted by Kavalander
Have you tried the oringal factory mini 14 stock ? I like thous. If ruger made a new mini-14 with the old stocks and flasher hider bayo lug I my just buy my first mini
December 24th, 2013 06:07 PM
well, i still have the wood stock it came in, and put it in for my wife, and for shooting 'dogs all day.
but if your talking like the AC556 flash hider is the only one coming to my mind, then my wood stoxk os of a newer generation than that one. mine has the funny kind of squared off thing ruger started doing with the 10/22's in the 90's. i wish mine wood stock was a rounder, like 80's style comb.
December 24th, 2013 06:10 PM
Naw I mean this guns is the one I want to bring back but with the better barrel Ruger-Mini-14-folding-stock.jpg
Originally Posted by Kavalander
What does get me is the cost of mags I dont like spending 40 bucks a pop or so for mags esp as these are the only ones that work
December 24th, 2013 06:47 PM
yeah, mags are killer, at least i stocked up before the ban.
Originally Posted by WrongRecroom
December 24th, 2013 06:49 PM
You mean Co ban or pre 94?
Originally Posted by Kavalander
But yeah what tapco and factory are about the only ones that work right? You found any others that work?
December 24th, 2013 06:55 PM
The ban that just happened, this whole state is going nuts right now... you heard about the part of colo that wanted to cecede from the rest?
Pro-Mags run, but they're still $40, but easier to find than factory. they even have a steel follower!
December 24th, 2013 07:03 PM
To be frank that is about the only reason I do not own a mini is the lack of cheep mags . I am used to paying 3-15 bucks at most for my rifle mags ( sure I have some 40 -50 dollar AK mags but they are rarer early ones). Least ruger is now making them again..
Originally Posted by Kavalander
And yeah I cant make heads or tails of your new laws. There definition of what pre ban mags are is very lacking ..
December 24th, 2013 07:11 PM
i am so pissed. i am *this* close to packing up and moving to wyo. my commute would become 45 minutes if moved to laramie. that's not bad.
they say the burden of proof is on the officer/da to prove you got the mag post-ban, but since mag aren't serialized, how can they? so if a cop stops you and wants to be a meanie head, and accuses you of having it post ban? how can you prove it's not? so the burden of proof comes back on you, which i unconstitutional, as my simple brain gets it. or it's a sleight of hand to try to serialize mags, which..... ?
yeah, i do like this littel ruger a lot, but i won't be getting second one, especially all the mods.
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