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Discussion Starter #1
Got a chance to take my new Mini 14 Ranch Rifle to the range today for an hour. Main goal was to zero the iron sights - at the ranges I would anticipate using this carbine, I prefer the faster target acquisition of the iron sights. No scope for me!

I cleaned and lubed it prior to the range trip - this is one of the cleanest firearms I've ever received from a factory. Only my Glock 26 was as clean out of the box. That shows attention to detail.

Function was flawless except for one failure to feed that was my fault - I didn't fully seat one of the short 5-rd mags. Another reason to use the 20-rd mags - better leverage and easier to grip!:redface:

With Winchester and Remington 55-gr FMJ ammo (from Wal Mart), accuracy was very good. At 25 yards, if I did my part, I could keep my shot groups small enough to cover with my thumb nail. The groups opened up a bit at 100 yards - more due to my eyes than the carbine. Still plenty accurate for the intended purpose. The newer Mini's with the tapered barrels do indeed seem more accurate than the older ones.

My only complaint is with the iron sights - they require an allen wrench for making adjustments (which is included) and are a bit fiddly. My preference for a combat rifle is for the iron sights being adjustable with no tools (other than maybe a bullet point). I also found that the adjustment range was limited - despite moving the sight fully to the right, I found my groups were still a bit left.

Overall, I really like this carbine, and would recommend it as a home defense gun!:hand10: For the price, it is hard to beat.
 

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Nice report. I had wondered how the newer mini 14's are, in terms of reliability and acceptable accuracy. Thanks for posting.
 

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I seem to recall that Williams made an excellent retrofit for the rear sight on both the M1-A and the mini-14 that corrected the problem.
 

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I too have one of the new Mini-14s that shot too far to the left. I traced the problem to "user error." The rear peep sight is a little large and it is difficult to center the front post properly. I tried moving my head (and thus, eye) further away from the rear sight and found that it was easier to center the front post in the peep. This led to less tendency to throw the rounds to the left and I was eventually able to move the rear sight much closer to the center setting. You might want to try this to see if it is the gun or your own eye. I still have not shot it enough to really get a feel for when the fron sight is centered in the rear peep. Just a suggestion, but your situation sounds much like what I experienced.
 

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I am glad to hear you like your Mini-14. I never liked mine. It shot groups like it was a shotgun. I always liked the bolt and action of the rifle just never liked the way it shot. I sold it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I too have one of the new Mini-14s that shot too far to the left. I traced the problem to "user error." The rear peep sight is a little large and it is difficult to center the front post properly. I tried moving my head (and thus, eye) further away from the rear sight and found that it was easier to center the front post in the peep. This led to less tendency to throw the rounds to the left and I was eventually able to move the rear sight much closer to the center setting. You might want to try this to see if it is the gun or your own eye. I still have not shot it enough to really get a feel for when the fron sight is centered in the rear peep. Just a suggestion, but your situation sounds much like what I experienced.
Interesting - I normally snug up close to my rifle sights. Might indeed be a part of the issue. I'll try keeping my head a bit further away next time I'm at the range, and see what happens. It did seem a bit strange to have to move the rear sight that far...

I remember our M16's had long-range and short-range rear peep sights that could be flipped. Seems the Mini is optimized for short range, which is how I anticipate using it.

If I can find a reasonably priced red-dot that mounts to the Mini 14, and which still allows use of the factory iron sights, I may go that route.
 

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Interesting - I normally snug up close to my rifle sights. Might indeed be a part of the issue. I'll try keeping my head a bit further away next time I'm at the range, and see what happens. It did seem a bit strange to have to move the rear sight that far...

I remember our M16's had long-range and short-range rear peep sights that could be flipped. Seems the Mini is optimized for short range, which is how I anticipate using it.

If I can find a reasonably priced red-dot that mounts to the Mini 14, and which still allows use of the factory iron sights, I may go that route.
Trying to get an optic to co-witness with the iron sights is one of the problems with the Mini-14. There are some companies out there who sell rail systems that replace the top half of the gas block and also stiffen up the barrell. I think there is at least one out there that allows a red dot to be mounted low enought to use both the optic and the iron sights, but I not remember the company. One company, "Amega Ranges" makes a good rail system, but it is too high to allow co-witness with the iron sights. You might want to do a little research to see what you can find.
 

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Trying to get an optic to co-witness with the iron sights is one of the problems with the Mini-14. There are some companies out there who sell rail systems that replace the top half of the gas block and also stiffen up the barrell. I think there is at least one out there that allows a red dot to be mounted low enought to use both the optic and the iron sights, but I not remember the company. One company, "Amega Ranges" makes a good rail system, but it is too high to allow co-witness with the iron sights. You might want to do a little research to see what you can find.
The other company is Ultimak (AK-47 Accessories, AK-47 Mini-14, Mini-30, M1 .30 Carbine Scout Scope Mount from UltiMAK), I've been pondering one of these for my M1-carbine, seem slighter than the amega ranges version, which is made for M1's as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
They say you cannot co-witness the iron sights, since the irons are so low.

I may give Ruger a call, and see what they suggest. Their techs are usually very good.
 

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Well, I changed my mind and went ahead and mounted an old Bushnell variable power (3-9 x) scope I had laying around in the gun safe. At the lowest setting, target acquisition at short range is still fast enough, and it does add a potentially useful capability at longer range.

I zeroed the scope today at 25 yards, and once again I was able to keep my shots virtually touching at that range. Ammo was a mix of Winchester and Remington 55 gr FMJ ammo from Wally World.

I only fired 3 shots at 75 and 100 yards, since I do not anticipate needing to "defend myself" at such distances where I live. However, of those combined 6 shots, 5 were within an inch of each other - one was a flyer at 100 yards (my fault).

Bottom line is the newer Mini 14s are darn accurate!:yup:
 

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Nice to hear they are accurate. Makes a good alternative for those of us not wanting to drop big $ on an ar platform.
 

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Good to here the new ones are great too, I have an older model, bought it in 1995, and it is very accurate.
 

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I have the taper barrel NRA 16" model and the accuracy is great. Good guns for the money. Glad you like yours.
 

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MyMini-14 groups were at about a 2-3 inch circle today at 25 yards - and this was using a scope and bench rest. Looks like much more practice is in my future.

I am curious what kind of rest you used with that kind of accuracy without a scope. And how many days without coffee?? :)

Accuracy aside, what a fun gun to shoot. No recoil on shoulder like a shotgun and no hand/wrist ouchie. And lots of flash out of the muzzle.

The vintage of the one shot today is about late 80's.
 

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You may be getting parallax error with your scope that close. If it is stronger than 1X or 2X in magnification this "could" mess up your precision at any range less than 100 yards.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
MyMini-14 groups were at about a 2-3 inch circle today at 25 yards - and this was using a scope and bench rest. Looks like much more practice is in my future.

I am curious what kind of rest you used with that kind of accuracy without a scope. And how many days without coffee?? :)
I shot mine off my elbows on a regular bench. No bipod or anything else. And - I drink coffee every morning!:tongue: However, I can (and frequently do) drink a mug of coffee and then go right to sleep!:embarassed:

As Sarge 45 said - at close range, you are better off with a lower power scope. I have a variable power scope - keep it at 3 x (lowest setting) and only use the higher settings at longer range.
 

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Good points, thanks. Our outdoor range is not open yet, this was inside and it was the max distance available.

Still fun, even with wide groups.
 
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