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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I picked up a Ruger Mini 14 Tactical yesterday and am trying to find a load it likes.

As I've said in the past, I hate developing loads. Too many variables, what with bullet weight, powder choice, powder weight, seating depth... I won't even get into the nitty-griity like primer choice, crimp, brass and probably a few other things I'm missing. Anyway, lots of variables. So I made some brass, decided on a bullet and a powder and went out to see what would happen. Gotta start somewhere.

I had along some of my low horsepower suppressor loads I use in my bolt gun. I wanted to warm up the barrel, since this was the first this gun has been shot. Plus of course I was curious if they would run. They didn't. In spite of Ruger saying the gun will cycle subsonic loads as long as there's a suppressor on the gun, it didn't even eject the brass. I guess it didn't like my 968 fps, 150 gr bullet loads, lol. Quiet though :rolleyes:

After I shot some shots with those, both suppressed and unsuppressed, I moved onto the H110 supersonic, which is one of three popular powders for supersonic 300 Blackout. It seems lots of folks like it. Powder loads in the latest Hornady book range from 12.3 gr at 1500 fps to 15.9 at 1800, in the red.
I loaded 12.5, 13.5 and 14.5

I used my target from the other night as I knew where the old holes were and stuck three targets on it. Shots were from 50 yds, as that seemed like a good test range to start out. I did not adjust the sights, as I just wanted to see what the ammo was doing. The rear sight is getting changed out anyway, so no sense wasting ammo moving it around.

The first shots with the subsonic ammo were at the low target. The light blue circles are suppressed, the shots circled in light blue are unsuppressed. Average was 968 fps, which is what I get out of my bolt gun. I probably should have shot another string suppressed after the gun was warming up to see if I could do better, but it was raining pretty good by this time and I wanted to get on with the supersonic loads. I removed the suppressor and put the flash hider back on.

Upper left target was 12.5 gr and I was getting 1444 fps. Those are circled in red and hit LOW.
Upper right target was 13.5 gr at 1587 fps and are circled in a darker blue. I was shooting all over. Not sure why.
Low target had the previous holes covered with those black stickers and I shot the 14.5 gr loads at it. I was getting 1672 and circled the group in green. Now I was getting somewhere. One of the black stickers was shot off this string. Three shots were touching.

Then I fired three more shots, 12.5, 13.5 and 14.5 at their respective targets. Again the 12.5 didn't group bad ( I had one flyer from a hotter load that actually hit the target), the 13.5 was all over again and the 14.5 was still grouping well.

Anyway, I found this pretty interesting. One could take a look at at the right grouping and say the rifle shoots like crap. Or the group shot with the can on. But this is why we reload... even though I hate this part :yup:
Amazing the difference one grain of powder, coupled with human error, makes in any given gun.
 

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Back in the day, when I was doing a lot of reloading, I got a Ranch Rifle in .223. I thought it was a great little gun and I started working up loads for it. Long story short, I never could make it shoot worth beans. In desperation, I put some Federal Gold Medal Match 52gr through it. Nope. That stuff would shoot around an inch in my Service Rifle competition AR with iron sights. IIRC the best I could get out of it was around 4-5 inches at 100 yards. I sent it back to Ruger, and they said they re-crowned it. No help. I finally sold it. I saw what you're seeing. Inconsistency. It did seem that the higher the velocity, (greater recoil - faster action movement) the worse accuracy got. I was told later that there was a gunsmith who can make them shoot, but I didn't feel like throwing more money at mine.

I hope yours will make you happy. I know I wish mine had. Neat little rifle.
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Back in the day, when I was doing a lot of reloading, I got a Ranch Rifle in .223. I thought it was a great little gun and I started working up loads for it. Long story short, I never could make it shoot worth beans. In desperation, I put some Federal Gold Medal Match 52gr through it. Nope. That stuff would shoot around an inch in my Service Rifle competition AR with iron sights. IIRC the best I could get out of it was around 4-5 inches at 100 yards. I sent it back to Ruger, and they said they re-crowned it. No help. I finally sold it. I saw what you're seeing. Inconsistency. It did seem that the higher the velocity, (greater recoil - faster action movement) the worse accuracy got. I was told later that there was a gunsmith who make them shoot, but I didn't feel like throwing more money at mine.

I hope yours will make you happy. I know I wish mine had. Neat little rifle.
Yeah, that's how they used to be. And the new pencil barreled ones aren't much better, but they also make some heavy barreled models now and that's what I have.
I never did any target shooting with my old Mini 14. I just blasted stuff. Usually at close range by point shooting.
I think I'll be happy with this one once I get a nice load for it. I was all set to order an adjustable gas block and barrel strut for it (to stabilize the barrel), but it's not chucking the brass far at all. Kind of bums me out. I really like the look of the barrel strut. Makes it look like the gun it was patterned off of, but without needing the adjustable gas block it would just be for show with the short heavy barrel. We'll see how tight I can get my groups...

I've been missing my M1 Carbine and would never have used it as a shooter anyway. And like we were discussing in Drift's thread, with Citadels having a sort of dark history and being so pricey, and Fulton Armory just pricey, the Mini 14 fills a niche. As long as I can get a repeatable 50 yd cloverleaf :wink:
 

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That's great. I'll be yours works much better than my old one did.

I still have 2 guns I want - for different reasons. I want a good M1 Carbine and an M1 Garand. I just want the Carbine, but my father in law carried a Garand all over Europe in WWII. I've never even shot one. I guess at my age, and being retired on a fixed income, they will both remain wishes only.

When we moved from Tennessee to Texas in 1955, the neighbor at the end of the street was a Marine vet who fought on Guadalcanal in the 2nd MarDiv. He had brought an M1 carbine back with him (as well as a Japanese Ariska (?) in 6.5mm). My dad told me later the M1 was actually an M2. I don't know if it was legal or not, but our next door neighbor was a Navy vet who had a 20mm flak cannon in his garage. Those were the days.:danceban:
 
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I'll be very interested to see how it turns out for you PA. I don't know if you'll ever get "clover leafs" at 50, but if you can get close, that'll be good enough I figure. From everything I've read, it's a pure hoot to shoot! Makes me think I might have made a mistake :).

I guess it didn't like my 968 fps, 150 gr bullet loads, lol. Quiet though
- yeah, especially when you don't hear the brass drop LOL!

One day I'll reload. I love pouring over the numbers and fabricating. I just don't have the time right now. :frown:
 

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I picked up a Ruger Mini 14 Tactical yesterday and am trying to find a load it likes.

As I've said in the past, I hate developing loads. Too many variables, what with bullet weight, powder choice, powder weight, seating depth... I won't even get into the nitty-griity like primer choice, crimp, brass and probably a few other things I'm missing. Anyway, lots of variables. So I made some brass, decided on a bullet and a powder and went out to see what would happen. Gotta start somewhere..
You actually make brass??? How do you do that???
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I probably should have said formed some 300 Blackout brass out of 223 brass, but that was longer to type :smile:

Today is a new day with new loads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Okay, I get it. I thought you were making casings from scratch. But any reloading is good!
Yeah, one of those things that can be taken for its literal meaning, or it's... within the context meaning.
Like saying you baked a cake from scratch, but you didn't actually grow the wheat and process it into flour :wink:
I took the materials I had at hand, .223 cases, and turned them into 300 Blackout cases. I posted a pic of them sitting on the chop saw a couple nights ago.

I just loaded up 18 more rounds in three different charges to test out shortly here.
 

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Yeah, one of those things that can be taken for its literal meaning, or it's... within the context meaning.
Like saying you baked a cake from scratch, but you didn't actually grow the wheat and process it into flour :wink:
I took the materials I had at hand, .223 cases, and turned them into 300 Blackout cases. I posted a pic of them sitting on the chop saw a couple nights ago.

I just loaded up 18 more rounds in three different charges to test out shortly here.
Did you get a mini-chop saw for that? And what jig did you get?

I'm interested to see where you end up. I use H-110 as well for my SBR and I've found my sweet spot. I'm curious as to where yours is going to end up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Pardon my density...
Not dense at all. You didn't know.
Dense would be not asking :wink:

Did you get a mini-chop saw for that? And what jig did you get?

I'm interested to see where you end up. I use H-110 as well for my SBR and I've found my sweet spot. I'm curious as to where yours is going to end up.
Yes on the mini chop saw. I posted a pic over in the Show us your reloading bench thread.
I don't remember the name of the jig. Nor where I put the extra blades, lol. If you said it, I'd know it.

A little snafu halfway through the 180 or so cases. Suddenly they had gotten too short. Luckily I only lost about ten. I fooled around and reset the jig, started churning them out again, then suddenly they got too long. I'm not sure what's up with that. Everything was tight. I'm not sure if something moves as the saw heats up. Luckily I was measuring every twenty or so. I am looking to buy some due to the tedious nature of making them, but the price on them is outrageous. And the reasonably priced cases are on B/O.

I'll let you know what I settle on. I shot some loads today and decided I needed to mount a scope if I'm going to be serious. At least until the load is established.
The hardware Ruger sends with the carbine does not work all that well, so I ordered some mounts that would work. Which means I also need to raise the comb.
 

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Not dense at all. You didn't know.
Dense would be not asking :wink:



Yes on the mini chop saw. I posted a pic over in the Show us your reloading bench thread.
I don't remember the name of the jig. Nor where I put the extra blades, lol. If you said it, I'd know it.

A little snafu halfway through the 180 or so cases. Suddenly they had gotten too short. Luckily I only lost about ten. I fooled around and reset the jig, started churning them out again, then suddenly they got too long. I'm not sure what's up with that. Everything was tight. I'm not sure if something moves as the saw heats up. Luckily I was measuring every twenty or so. I am looking to buy some due to the tedious nature of making them, but the price on them is outrageous. And the reasonably priced cases are on B/O.

I'll let you know what I settle on. I shot some loads today and decided I needed to mount a scope if I'm going to be serious. At least until the load is established.
The hardware Ruger sends with the carbine does not work all that well, so I ordered some mounts that would work. Which means I also need to raise the comb.
I'm glad you are being careful friend. That can become rather "entertaining" fast.
 

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I probably should have said formed some 300 Blackout brass out of 223 brass, but that was longer to type :smile:

Today is a new day with new loads.
I ordered 500 from a guy @ 300 Blackout forums. $60 for 500 shipped. Had to debur, ream primer pockets and for grins run them thru my RCBS SB dies. I would rather do that than buy a saw and jig to cut them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I ordered 500 from a guy @ 300 Blackout forums. $60 for 500 shipped. Had to debur, ream primer pockets and for grins run them thru my RCBS SB dies. I would rather do that than buy a saw and jig to cut them.
Sixty bucks. Good price, maybe even with the added prep work.
Were they the same headstamp? What did they measure lengthwise?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well dang. I want some... lol
 
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