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.
I soon learned that real estate was limited, even with the Amega rail and a couple of add on rails...
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....
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.
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.
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.