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-   -   Transforming a Mini-14 with the ProMag Archangel Sparta Stock (http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f95/transforming-mini-14-promag-archangel-sparta-stock-57414/)

scottybaccus 02-10-2012 05:29 AM

Transforming a Mini-14 with the ProMag Archangel Sparta Stock
 
I was really surprised that I couldn't find a thread on this thing over here. If it's being covered anywhere else, let me know.

I have been a ruger owner for many, many years, and recently picked up a Mini-14 stainless ranch model (580 series), replacing the Mini-30 I let get away long ago. It came in a synthetic stock, as usual. I had some tactical mods in mind, so a good rail system was my first priority. I had thought the Amega Ranges Mini-Scout Rail was the answer to my ambitions.
http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot...37873216_n.jpg

I soon learned that real estate was limited, even with the Amega rail and a couple of add on rails...
http://a2.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot...15319918_n.jpg

My frustrations came to a head when I went on a search for a good pistol grip solution. I wasn't very happy with the usual offerings. I love the A2 grip on an AR15, but the typical Mini- offerings use an interpretation of the "Saw" grip, or a fat palm swelled custom grip inspired by exotic target rifles. Then most still had the usual limitations on fore-end space, with few options providing more mounting area than what I already had.
Then I stumbled on some SHOT Show videos from 2011 where ProMag was detailing their Archangel Sparta stock for the Mini- family. It looked good, but then I read where it had failed to go into production last year as they refined it somewhat. I was having trouble finding any trace of this thing then it was never available for sale. After a few days of searching, another SHOT Show video from 2012 popped up with remarks that these started shipping in just the last few weeks. Another search and I started finding them for sale, but missed out, until this week. Here is what I got today....

http://a5.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot...03828158_n.jpg

It has only the top rail, but it runs the full length of the action, from behind the original rear site, all the way to the gas block.
http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-...88906679_n.jpg

There is enough open space on the top rail for side saddle mounting of tactical accessories, and there are lugs molded in to the bottom side of the fore-end that can be drilled for a rail on the belly. This will help with bi-pod and pressure switch mounting.
http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot...77770963_n.jpg

The Sparta stock has a ton of features; 4 position stock, 7 position cheek weld, aluminum picatinny rail, 4 QD sling sockets, steel thread inserts in the aluminum rail where attaching to stock, pistol grip storage, rubber butt pad, etc.
I've handled the ATI, Tapco, Choate, Ramline and Ruger stocks. They all seemed a little flimsy (maybe that's a strong word). They would twist in your hands, especially the ones with a thin fore-end. The folders were clunky, except the ATI, the grips were weird... They just didn't feel "right" to this shooter.
The best description I can use for the Sparta is SOLID. It's got some weight to it, but not too much. It's very rigid, probably due to the long aluminum rail that is very nicely integrated into the sythetic stock.

You can see more about it here:

Now if it sounds like I am a fan, I am. I need to throw a compliment to ProMag on three points. First, this is made in the USA! Second, I had a concern, so I called and was on the phone a technician within a half hour. All of my questions were answered and my input was taken seriously. Third, I learned a lot about the development of the product in that call, especially how hard they had worked to hit a reasonable price point. Mission accomplished!
My best friend is an AR toting Marine Corp Vet. He has been growing fond of my Mini lately, but tonight he declared that my rifle was finally "complete". I would recommend this piece to anyone looking for more flexibility from their Mini- platform. Good luck finding one. Demand is chewing them up as fast as they can be produced.
I just had a trigger job done and shot a 1.75" group at 100 yards last night, using a walnut stock I snagged on eBay. I'll be sure to report back my results with the Sparta stock just as soon as I can.

txcode1 02-10-2012 06:20 AM

That looks great, I look forward to hear about how well you did at the range. Just curious, what was the weight difference between the old and the new stock?

scottybaccus 02-10-2012 06:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by txcode1 (Post 704527)
That looks great, I look forward to hear about how well you did at the range. Just curious, what was the weight difference between the old and the new stock?

Let's see what the scale says....

Stock rifle, no optics was 6.75 lbs, according to Ruger
subtract 2 lbs for the original synthetic stock
That means the barreled action weighs 4.75 lbs

My complete rifle now weighs 8 lbs, so double math checks say the new stock is 1.25 lbs heavier, at 3.25 lbs.

I'll call it 3 lbs because it has a BUIS sight and a bore snake on-board. So about 1 lb more.

jismail 02-10-2012 03:13 PM

It is a very cool looking setup but I can't help but feel that the finished look is kind of 'ARish' which, at least for me, removes the original attraction to the mini platform which was that it is a bit more of a conventional format rifle.

Regardless, it is a nice looking rifle.

scottybaccus 02-11-2012 05:35 AM

Thanks. I tend to agree with your liking the original stocked rifle. I love the M1a/M14 for the same reasons. The big advantage of this stock is that allows for versatility that you just don't have in the OE format. Let's face it, the AR type rifle is king when it comes to kit options.
The bonus on this stock, now that you get all that realestate for accessories, is that you still have the self cleaning, rotating bolt of the Mini-14. This equates to reliability beyond any AR type rifle, whether direct impingement or a piston drive design. It's the same old reliable design born in the M1 garand and refined in the M14/M1a. That's my primary attraction to the Mini- line. Now I just get to hang all my swiss army knife accessories off of it.

I did get to the range today to rezero my scope. I had it dialed in with 4 shots. I put 125 rounds through it, using two differnt ammo types. I found it like the cheaper stuff better. While I wasn't on my game, I did get an average group size of 1.6" out of it at 100 yards. I feel like the stock is contributing to a small improvement in accuracy, probably because there is now nothing contacting the barrel aside from the gas block. At 50 yards, I had a couple of groups under .7" that suggest the rifle may be capable of close to 1 m.o.a. groups. My scope is not great and I was noting some trouble with the cross-hairs being a bit wide for what I was trying to do. Maybe a more skillful shooter or a better scope would help unlock the full potential of this rifle.

JTJ 02-18-2012 04:41 PM

How does it remove for cleaning? How did you like the Amega rail? I have been looking at them but yours wont fit mine or I would be interested.

scottybaccus 02-19-2012 05:28 AM

You remove the four screws securing the rail to the stock, work it forward a few millimeters to disengage the locking lugs, and then lift it off. Optics can remain attached. From there, It's exactly like any other Mini-. You only need to remember to keep the bolt locked open when laying the action back in the stock during reassembly.

The Ameag rail is fantastic. If you want to keep the factory sights and attach a scout scope or red dot from time to time, it's the right solution. I just wanted a swiss army rifle with 17 blades, tweezers and a tooth pick. The one I have is for any pencil barrel mini-14 in .223, .222 and maybe 6.8mm.

kiwi5 03-19-2012 02:56 AM

I want one - this stock looks fantastic! I wonder if a picatinny rail could be installed on the forend?:D

scottybaccus 03-19-2012 03:04 AM

I put one on the underside....

http://a3.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphot...06655106_n.jpg

There are several lugs molded into the stock, apparently to drill for this purpose. I talked with the folks at ProMag and the said it was a consideration, but no specific parts will be offered. That is why I took matters into my own hands. I used a NC Star rail intended to the ranch rifle receiver. It has a coupe of holes in the bottom for dowel pins. I drilled and tapped these for 1/4"-20 threads. Two of the bosses molded into the fore-arm are almost a perfect match. I mounted it with a couple of 1/4"-20 bolts that I had thinned the heads by 50% on a belt sander. Button head allen screws would work fine, also. The foremost boss is molded in at a heavily reinforced place in the front of the fore-arm. It required countersinking the head of the bolt to get it below flush, out of the way of the barrel channel. When all said and done, I lopped off about 3/4" of the rail, eliminating the part with the big notch, originally meant to clear the rear sight.

kiwi5 03-19-2012 06:49 PM

Excellent photos and great review. Now I just need to get one shipped over to New Zealand....:D


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