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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Or as some like to call it, the Mini 300, as it is in 300 AAC Blackout. The Mini 30 is the 7.62 x 39 model.

I had a Mini 14 years ago in .223 and it was a blast to shoot. Strictly a fun gun/camping gun. Sidefolder, too. Stupid me for getting rid of it, but who knew. I always liked the action, even before I picked up the real thing, an M1 Carbine. And then later a couple M1's.
The local shop has had this one sitting in the racks the last few times I've been up there. Always tempting. And the recent thread on a small handy carbine was all I needed to push me into buying it. Plus I have too many AR's as it is. I can do to lose one or two to make room for this small rifle in 30 caliber.

I've got some rounds through it, all handloads, plus have fiddled with it enough that I have some initial impressions. I'll just rattle them off.

Ruger's gas block is not adjustable. They tell you that it will work both with subsonic rounds, as long as there is a suppressor attached, and supersonic rounds. It did not cycle the gun with my subsonic rounds, but I've got some very soft, quiet shooting loads that I use in my bolt gun, so I imagine a little heavier bullet and a little more powder might help things out. Since I don't intend to shoot this suppressed it's of no bother to try to work out a load for it.
Of course the loads I had that were 1400 fps and up have all functioned just fine. And I have not yet hit the velocity that supposedly has these guns chucking brass into the next county, but maybe that is more a problem with the .223's... or the older models. I've been very happy with it's reliability so far. No dented cases, but it does tend to throw a few forward every now and then. I imagine they are hitting the port.

The trigger is very nice. Not match quality, but better than I expected. Just a tiny amount of creep if you are squeezing it real slow. Way better than 95% of the AR triggers I've squeezed. And I was able to shoot a seven round group at 50 yds under 1-1/2" with irons off the bench (one bag). Accuracy is not as bad as I've been reading and I haven't even got a load I like yet.
But the front sight is terrible. Actually, I don't like the rear sight either because you need allen wrenches to adjust it, but the front blade...
Ruger has put a rather large radius on the back corner of the front blade. On purpose, because it's serrated, too. In certain lighting, and with eyes that have been on this earth 57 years, that makes trying to find the top of the blade extremely difficult. It's nothing but a blur to me. Even with my shooting glasses on.

Optics. I did attempt to mount a scope. The rifle comes supplied with Ruger's proprietary scope rings AND a picatinny rail. I put the rings on yesterday and mounted my Nikon 3-9x Prostaff on. The rear bell was hitting the rear sight. That wasn't going to work. Plus there was something about the rings I didn't like anyway, so I screwed the rail section on instead. I have some low mount rings due in today and if need be will remove the rear sight. I want to scope it at least until I find an accurate load it likes.

While I had the scope on I brought the gun to shoulder. Even with the rings Ruger sent I found my cheekweld just a little too low. It seems a lot of folks do. I also put a cheek riser on my list of things to get. Might as well make it comfortable.
There is also a very nice side mount picatinny optic rail that will still allow you to use the irons. Pricey, but supposedly worth it. I am not sure if I'll leave a scope on or not yet, but if I do I might check into that. Although who really needs both a scope AND irons? I've hit what I was shooting at with a scope I couldn't see the crosshairs on. Anyway, the side mount is made by GG&G if you want to Google it. Optics Planet has them under a hundred. Which is still a lot less than an M1A mount (for comparison)

One mod I had to get right away was the handguard. The old one reminds me of an aircraft carrier. You know how they seem ungainly with the decks sticking out over the ship's hull on the side? That's what it reminded me of. Ruger covers up the op rod and probably gives it more clearance than it needs, so I found a handguard for 15 bucks that does the job. Adds more barrel ventilation, too. Even though these new bull barreled models don't have the barrel problems of the older pencil barrel Mini 14's.
They make a mod for that, too, a barrel strut, but I believe with the thicker barrels it is more for looks and not stabilization. It does include an adjustable gas block though, so if I find I want to fine tune my ejection I'll probably get one. It gives the gun the look of an M1 or Carbine.

Anyway, so far so good. It's a light, handy rifle. In 300 AAC the recoil is light. It doesn't really need anything out of the box, but it's available if you want.
Here's some pics.
 

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Nice review PAc. Thanks!

Did you pick the .300 Blackout (over the 7.62x39) because it was on-the-rack, or because you preferred the caliber?

Me? I would have gone with a Scout Scope set-up. Fast, FAST...FAST! :yup:
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Nice review PAc. Thanks!

Did you pick the .300 Blackout (over the 7.62x39) because it was on-the-rack, or because you preferred the caliber?

Me? I would have gone with a Scout Scope set-up. Fast, FAST...FAST! :yup:
Thanks, Ghost.

They had the 7.62x39 there, too, but I don't reload that round. My choice was based strictly on wanting something to reload for, since I've read these typically have accuracy issues.
I had an M1A Scout Squad and truth be told, I don't like scout scopes. Plus, the Mini 14 is already front heavy. If I go to a reflex type sight I might go with a forward rail because they go back far enough to put the optic where I like it. Especially if I can co-witness with the irons.
 

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^ Makes sense. Thanks! :yup:
 
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Now that is sweet, PA, that hand guard makes a world of difference! :35:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Now that is sweet, PA, that hand guard makes a world of difference! :35:
Thanks, OD.
I agree. The stock hand guard is just plain goofy.

My mounts came in and I just got back in from shooting.
I appear to be getting some vertical stringing. Not sure if it's me or the gun. The barrel was only warm. Barely.
Waiting for the pics to download. I had to use my phone.
 
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OV.jpg

Just saying.
 

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Nice!

I agree on the rear sight. I got a Tech Sight for my Mini 14 - world of difference. Accuracy went up as well. I took my scope off and just use irons now.

On the hand guard - I think the idea with the factory one is to prevent you from grabbing the op rod if you grip the fore end too close to the mag well. That could cause a malf. I would seriously leave to factory one on there.

Have fun with it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
A little update on the rifle's goings on.
I did get my scope mounts in, Leupold PRW low mounts, and mounted them to the picatinny rail Ruger supplied with the gun. The scope sits lower than the mounts Ruger provided that screw straight to the receiver. A cheek riser is not needed. The scope is perfect with my hold, unlike the Ruger rings.

I also mounted the Tech Sight. It is both higher and longer than the factory rear sight. That meant setting the scope back further with the low mounts. And for as much fiddling as you need to do to adjust the elevation, I'm going to say it's not worth it. Yes it's adjustable without an allen wrench, but just barely. You still need some type of blade to move the elevation setting due to the knob's location.
I haven't used the Tech Sight yet, wanting to get right onto the scope, so we'll see.

And from the, "This has never happened to Me" dept, the picatinny rail came loose. Apparently a drop of blue loctite on each of the three mounting screws was not enough. Or there is a lot more recoil than I am experiencing and it shook the mount loose. Or Ruger uses a LOT of oil when the holes were tapped. Too much for the loctite to overcome. So I cleaned the holes and the screws off with acetone and put it back on. The way I should have done it in the first place. I also added a few drops of red to the surface where the rail meets the mounts. We shall see...

It keeps chugging right along and has been flawless with standard ammunition.
 

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Great review PA. What a great looking gun! And pretty good groups for a rifle that hasn't found it's sweet spot yet! Man, you have seriously made me question my decision :smile:. To add insult to injury, my rifle was stuck in transit. That means rather than it getting here today, it'll be Maybe Thursday. Arg! Then add the 5 day hold that I always get ...
 

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PS - does all that weight forward make the recoil non-existent? How does it swing?

You need to post a pic with it next to the Tavor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks, Drift.

It's got a push to it when you start loading it hotter. Certainly nothing serious. The poly stock is really light and probably not as well balanced as a wood stock. I'm sure it won't swing like a carbine lever gun, but anything short swings well IMO.

Accuracy appears to be right there with a Tavor, maybe a little worse. Sometimes bullets close, then a few that open up the group. At least with my reloads. I'm still trying to find that magic combination.
I just got back in from trying out another three. The one on the left shows promise. This was at 50, so the other loads show no promise at all, lol.
 

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Thanks, Drift.

It's got a push to it when you start loading it hotter. Certainly nothing serious. The poly stock is really light and probably not as well balanced as a wood stock. I'm sure it won't swing like a carbine lever gun, but anything short swings well IMO.

Accuracy appears to be right there with a Tavor, maybe a little worse. Sometimes bullets close, then a few that open up the group. At least with my reloads. I'm still trying to find that magic combination.
I just got back in from trying out another three. The one on the left shows promise. This was at 50, so the other loads show no promise at all, lol.
Yup - that group on the left does indeed show promise. A great deal of it. Actually, I would take it out to 100 and have a look. Sometimes odd stuff happens farther out. Groups don't have to expand dramatically simply because you took it out another 50. Just saying.

I bet listening to that thing cycle is a pleasure. I'm so jealous lol! I don't know which of all the guns you have I want the most :). Knowing me, to be contrary, I'll buy a single shot next :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Any updates worth sharing PA?
I settled on a reload for it. The 150gr Sierra Spitzers (on the left).
I picked up some lighter bullets yesterday, 135gr. It seems to shoot those like anything else, a few rounds close together and a couple outside the group. I didn't realize this rifle would be so picky trying to get a reasonably tight group, but that's OK. Everything else I've tried it shoots pretty much the same, which is battle accurate. At least for me.
15.7 4227 150S, 150W, 135SMK, 17.0 135SMK.jpg

I've also been thinking I might pick up another... Unfortunately the 5.56 Minis only come with a 1:9 twist barrel. So that put a slight damper on it. Slight :wink:
If I get another I'll probably get rid of my LWRC DI. I've got the Tavor, and a Colt 6920 like the one being advertise by Wiki here right now (good price on that), so can see me replacing an AR with another Mini in 5.56. Maybe load that one with light varmint rounds. I like the platform that much.
 

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I settled on a reload for it. The 150gr Sierra Spitzers (on the left).
I picked up some lighter bullets yesterday, 135gr. It seems to shoot those like anything else, a few rounds close together and a couple outside the group. I didn't realize this rifle would be so picky trying to get a reasonably tight group, but that's OK. Everything else I've tried it shoots pretty much the same, which is battle accurate. At least for me.


I've also been thinking I might pick up another... Unfortunately the 5.56 Minis only come with a 1:9 twist barrel. So that put a slight damper on it. Slight :wink:
If I get another I'll probably get rid of my LWRC DI. I've got the Tavor, and a Colt 6920 like the one being advertise by Wiki here right now (good price on that), so can see me replacing an AR with another Mini in 5.56. Maybe load that one with light varmint rounds. I like the platform that much.
Yup, those are looking pretty darn good! That you want another, says a lot! You could buy an aftermarket barrel?

So the obvious question is, if you could only have one? And just to make things more complicated, why lol?

What sucks for me - My gun will get here tomorrow or Friday. Rain's on the forecast till next week. Wah!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Yup, those are looking pretty darn good! That you want another, says a lot! You could buy an aftermarket barrel?

So the obvious question is, if you could only have one? And just to make things more complicated, why lol?

What sucks for me - My gun will get here tomorrow or Friday. Rain's on the forecast till next week. Wah!
I think in my readings I saw someone mention an aftermarket barrel.
And there's always bedding. I might bed this one yet, just to try to squeeze a little more out of it.

Have one Mini? I'd still choose this one. .30 caliber, light round (loaded magazine weight and recoil), nice carbine size, 16" bull barrel.

Soon... soon...
Got your ammo lined up yet?
Were you going to scope it right away?
 

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I think in my readings I saw someone mention an aftermarket barrel.
And there's always bedding. I might bed this one yet, just to try to squeeze a little more out of it.

Have one Mini? I'd still choose this one. .30 caliber, light round (loaded magazine weight and recoil), nice carbine size, 16" bull barrel.

Soon... soon...
Got your ammo lined up yet?
Were you going to scope it right away?
I'm being pretty good about it all this time PA. I have everything I want lined up. I intend to scope it up right away, but I'm going to wait until I get the gun and handle it for a while.

Like you, I can't leave a stock gun well enough alone. But in this case, I don't want to throw any money at it until I know it's worth doing so. "Worth doing so," consists of 1 to 1.5" at 50. If I can do that ... game on.

I'll be lapping barrel right away (as per normal). Then we'll see how it groups, then we'll see.
 
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