Early Gen. SS Ranch Rifle - Accurizable?

Discussion in 'Mini-14 Forum' started by Centerliner, Jun 30, 2020.

  1. Centerliner

    Centerliner Member Supporter

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    Or were they more accurate due to being made of stainless? More resistant to the flexing issues of the carbon steel barrels, and not need anything more?
    Its a 195-877.. ser. # model.
     
  2. oO_Rogue_Oo

    oO_Rogue_Oo Well-Known Member

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    Didn't see accuracy improve in these until Ruger thickened the barrel. There are several places where you can order heavy barrels for these along with the needed gas blocks. Even the newer thicker Ruger barrels didn't help a lot but they are better than the older models.
     
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  3. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

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    Simple fix is an AccuStrut: bolt-on and keeps the barrel whip (if there is some) to a minimum: generally to 2 MOA (which is what Ruger considers acceptable with the tapered newer barrels).

    My 181GB blued (built in 1977) shoots close to three MOA as it left the factory: more accurate than I am unless I have all afternoon to crank out five rounds (I don't have the patience for that as I got it and use it as a carbine - not a sniper rifle). Things like the flash hider and front sight/bayo lug placement may help attenuate some whip. But it still takes down man-sized half silhouettes at 300 yards reliably from a supported position, using NATO ammo.

    All Minis are different. Mine is a low-S/N 181 series, so the machining was still un-worn.

    Not sure if the metallurgy has much to do about it, but it may.
     
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  4. JTJ

    JTJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The Accustrut or similar cheaper versions work. Plug in Mini 14 barrel strut. An Ultamak forward rail also helps and gives you a good place to mount a red dot or scout scope.
     
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  5. Centerliner

    Centerliner Member Supporter

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    Thanks guys, I appreciate your help.
     
  6. RJF22553

    RJF22553 Well-Known Member

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    Centerliner, first check to ensure the gap between the upper and lower end of your gas block are even: left-to-right, front-to rear. Zero expense, and if the gap is off, that could be a major cause of inaccuracy. 9/94" Allen wrench. If you have an inch-pound torque driver, about 28-30 inch-pounds. Otherwise, use your Mk-II wrist to try and keep things even. Cross-pattern tightening (just like a lug wrench on a car wheel): a little bit at a time.

    Shoot it a bunch before adding anything and probably re-torque the gas block while hot just to be sure, and keep track as to the original. One mod at a time! Should you ever need to send your Mini back to Ruger, they will return it factory-stock - meaning any aftermarket mods won't come back with it; so keep any replaced parts around to restore it to factory condition before sending off.

    I'm happy with the trigger-pull, with perhaps low expectations as it is a carbine and not a sniper rifle.

    I feed it only quality factory ammo, mostly PPU M193 and PMC Bronze .223 REM. For my Minis, the accuracy is close enough with either to be a on-issue for my interests. Then again, my concerns are for a man-sized target out to 300 yards, standing unsupported for defensive purposes. To humanely dispatch a rabid fox or yote at 300, given the choice I'll use a 3-9X40 scope-mounted bolt gun, or allow it to get closer. Want a one-shot, one-quick-kill for innocent critters that need to be put out of their misery. Thankfully, I've never had the occasion to do either.

    In short, accuracy requirements depend on your intended uses, accuracy adjustments to accommodate your requirements. Mine (and most respondents) are likely different from yours. So applying a "filter" might be prudent.
     
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  7. Centerliner

    Centerliner Member Supporter

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    Thanks for the additional information.
    I like the rifle, I've had it for quite a while. I bought it used at a gun show parking lot. It was basically new, but the owner's tranny had gone out in his truck and needed money to fix it. He wanted $500, I wanted to see him get his truck fixed so I gave him $500.
    No idea what its worth now. Its spent its existence in a gun case.

    It has a decent 1.5X5 power shotgun scope on it.
    So I'll play around with it at the range and see what I can do with it short-midrange.
    No particular plans for it other than making it decently accurate for a reasonable cost.
     
  8. jigs-n-fixture

    jigs-n-fixture Well-Known Member Lifetime Supporter

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    When the Ruger’s engineers were trying to figure out how to pull the best accuracy, out of teh Mini 14, (they decided to try competing in service rifle matches with it). They added these. Next year they made some design changes, and came out turn better accuracy. https://www.ebay.com/itm/124232121811
     
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  9. Centerliner

    Centerliner Member Supporter

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    Wow!
    I wonder if anyone lost their job over the horrendous design failure of the original Mini-14?
    I worked forty years at Republic Steel in one of our cold finish plants; and finished in a Metallurgy dept. We know all the characteristics of our grades of steel that we produce.
    That propriatary information would have been available to Ruger if they bought our steel for the Mini-14.
    I'm not sure if we sold them steel bar stock for this rifle or not, but I remember Ruger accounts for bar stock going through the plants.
    It sounds like it could have been another case of a cost saving decision by ordering a smaller diameter bar stock, softer grade of steel, or annealing process that should have been ordered that wasn't to save costs.
    It appears ludicrous to have had to resort to an aftermarket gadget just to make a great looking rifle (carbine or not) with that caliber function well.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
  10. Shopfox

    Shopfox Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I don't think there was an original problem - consumer accuracy expectations have shifted.
     
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  11. oO_Rogue_Oo

    oO_Rogue_Oo Well-Known Member

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    The Mini-14s biggest problem is not it's design but that it doesn't compare well to an AR-15. The mini-14 was designed to be a scaled down M-14 and capitalize on the history and lineage of the Garand / M-14 / M1A. Ruger didn't exactly "design" it as much as they adapted an existing design. And so it has the inherent pluses and minuses of the original design. Couple that with the target price point they were after and you get what you got. Less than stellar accuracy and better than average reliability.

    On a budget there are still a few things you can do to improve accuracy. Though I am NOT a fan of accu-struts; they do help. That said barrel harmonics are not the only issue. You can also bed the action to the stock; this also helps though maybe not as dramatically. There are also gains to be had by working on the trigger group. The Mini-14s biggest problem is that you can build a AR-15 that is much more accurate for less; especially when sustained fire comes into the picture. As a Mini-14 heats up it's problems become more pronounced; which pretty much relegates it to a pinking rifle role.

    EDIT: The Mini-14 is just one of "those" guns. It reminds me a lot of the Desert Eagle; people buy them for the look only to discover once they own them that they really aren't very good at anything other than their look. And that there are many other guns out there that are better for the intended purpose for less money.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2020
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