I tried my first mini today and for the most part I was really impressed. Itís a plain ranch with a Nikon 3x9 and it has the tapered barrel. I bought it used but only a few rounds had been fired through it. I did not go through my normal break in process for a new barrel because it had already been fired but I did break it in. I cleaned the barrel and fired three shots. Max shot distance was 2.8Ē (100yds with one flier). Then I cleaned the barrel with J-B bore cleaner and followed that with a normal cleaning. Max distance on next group was 1.78Ē Ė Point of impact also changed by about 2Ē. I cleaned after each three shot group and followed up with JB again after 9 shots. My final two groups were 1.4Ē and 1.6Ē.
The barrel is the roughest Iíve ever seen on a new gun as far as copper fouling goes. I went through a lot of patches getting all the copper out but itís settling in. Iím also not surprised by the fouling since it was designed to be a carbine and not a tack driver, and itíll be fine after a little more cleaning and shooting. Itís almost there now.
The balance of the gun is poor, which is not helping accuracy any, but again itís a carbine. The muzzle really wants to rise but itís not so much from the recoil as the balance. I donít see this being an issue because there are a number of ways to fix this. Anything forward like a muzzle break or bipod will add weight forward and help balance it. Iím also guessing a new synthetic stock should take weight away from the rear and help balance it. It could be left as is and still make a great carbine but for my personal taste I want it balanced better.
Accuracy was OUTSTANDING! I was a little worried after hearing so many different things about their accuracy, but groups are around 1.5Ē after only trying one box of cheap factory ammo in a stock rifle. Fouling was a problem to start with and was hurting accuracy but that was an easy fix. I have no doubt that this will be a sub MOA gun, and itís a semi auto carbine! I couldnít be happier with where itís at on accuracy.
Loading the 10 round magazine takes some getting used to as does the safety. A 20 round magazine will be much easier just because Iíll have something to hold onto, and the safety will be fine after I get used to it. The trigger also needs just a little work, but it was much better than I expected and I could live with where itís at now.
Most important of all, it performed flawlessly just like I expected it would. The stock factory mini needs some minor work for my taste, but Iíve got a great action to work around. This gun is definitely a keeper.
Left is the first group, Middle is the group after cleaning with JB, Right are the last two groups after more JB and moving the scope left. I never adjusted for height (shows how much fowling and cleaning can change point of impact.)