Improving the Mini

Discussion in 'Mini-14 Forum' started by sandog, Sep 18, 2013.

  1. sandog

    sandog Member

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    Back in the 70's, when the Mini was introduced, I bought a blued model, and had a SS one about 10 years later. I didn't keep either of them long, because of 3 or 4 inch groups, vertical stringing as the barrel warmed ( and it didn't take much to get very warm), and iffy reliability due to the aftermarket high cap mags that were the only game in town. But a few months ago, a co-worker had picked up an Ar, and wanted to sell his SS 195 series Ranch. $400 ? I'll take it ! I had been reading on this and another forum about how others have eliminated most of the Mini's original shortcomings. First thing I did was toss the 2 no name 30 round magazines and the $30 Chinese scope he had on it. No wonder he was less than thrilled with the Mini. I ordered 5 20 rounders from Ruger, and polished up the trigger ( at 4 1/4 lbs. the pull was already fine). I gave it a good cleaning, don't think anyone had ever cleaned inside the gas block, and re-torqued the block evenly. I ordered a Tech rear sight to replace the flimsy, hard to adjust folder. I didn't like how thick the front blade was, so I tapered it down to a point. I had forgotten how the Mini tossed brass into the next county. Mine was flinging empties a good 30 feet. I put a 3/32" roll pin into the gas bushing, and shot it again, now the brass was going about 20 feet. Next was Wilson 1911 buffers at the front and back of the op rod. It now ejects about 12-14 feet, has been 100% reliable, and is "softer shooting" by not having the metal to metal contact when cycling.
    The Mini at this point was shooting about 2 1/2" groups at 100 with various 62 gr. loads and XM193. I mount a 3-9x scope for the accuracy testing as my eyes aren't as good with irons anymore.
    Next step was to install an AccuStrut. Vertical stringing has been virtually eliminated, barrel doesn't heat up as fast and my groups were now at 1 3/4".
    As soon as my finances allow, I will get an Ultimak railed hand guard and mount a small scope, a 2 3/4x or maybe the new Burris Scout 2-7x or Leatherwood Scout 2-7x in Q.D. rings. The Ultimak replaces the top half of the gas block assembly, and secures at the rear with a band around the barrel, and like the AccuStrut, the metal touching the barrel acts as a heat sink to further draw heat away from the barrel, to keep it cooler.
    The factory stock is about 2" too short for me, I like the Hogue stock but would like to keep the wood look, so will order a stock from Ruger for the new Mini, it has a rubber butt pad instead of the curved plastic one I now have. An email from Ruger confirmed the new stock would fit on my 195 series and the length of pull is 1" longer than the old stock.
    I will probably thread the barrel to 1/2" by 28 tpi, so I can use any AR flash hider, there are a lot of good choices available for the AR, not so many for the Mini slip on type.
    I tried some of the hand loads that I had worked up for my AR, ones with the 55 gr. Sierra Blitzking, 68 gr. Hornady match BTHP and 77 gr. Sierra Matchking and they group just over an inch. The local stores here have had a lot of the PMC X-Tac 62 gr. green tip in stock , and it groups a bit better than my M855 and SS109 NATO loads, at 1 1/2".The 77 gr. Sierra surprised me as I wasn't sure if the Ruger's 1x9" twist would stabilize them. At least they are stable at 100, I haven't tried them yet at longer range.
    I haven't considered doing any bedding work yet, as others have done, not sure if I need to the way it's shooting now. Stiffening the pencil barrel with the AccuStrut seems to have been the best single improvement.
    Yes, I know, I got my sling twisted when I re-assembled !
     

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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2013
  2. tri70

    tri70 New Member

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    Nice work sandog! Good looking rifle!
     

  3. ccase39

    ccase39 New Member

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    I have a model similar but with the folding stock. The gas block is not like others and I didnt think I could get a stabilizer to fit it. How did you find urs? is it standard?
     
  4. ccase39

    ccase39 New Member

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  5. sandog

    sandog Member

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    When I ordered mine, on the AccuStrut website, there were several models to fit different gas blocks. They should have one to fit yours. I ended up ordering mine from sunflowerammo, they are also a distributor of the AccuStrut. If you have a stainless Mini, the AccuStrut is a very close match to the Mini's finish. If you can't find one of the AccuStrut's to fit, check out the Mo-Rod. P.S., the gas block in the pic sure looks like mine. What series (serial number prefix) is your rifle ?
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  6. ccase39

    ccase39 New Member

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    185-44002

    Yea they are the same it looks like. Wait maybe not. Is your Accustrut connected to the gas block? Mine does not go down that far. I looks like they dont have one that fits my model.
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  7. sandog

    sandog Member

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    ccase39, Besides the two clamps around the barrel, the end near the gas block is notched to fit around the gas block and secures with 2 set screws. The company recommends taking the screws out one at a time and drilling a little dimple for the set screws to snug into. Just helps make the AccStrut more rigid. I'll have to look at the pic you had after I get done with this reply, but I didn't remember your block going down further. I'd give the company a call and send them a pic of your gas block. I haven't been back to their website since I got mine, but i kinda remember them listing what models and series it they would work on.
     
  8. ccase39

    ccase39 New Member

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    In the meantime ill snap a pic of mine.
     
  9. ccase39

    ccase39 New Member

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    I finally got around to taking pics of the gas block.
     

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  10. sandog

    sandog Member

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    Ccase39, the bottom front of your gas block is smooth as it doesn't have the rib coming down for the sling swivel that mine has. Th Accu Strut that I have goes around that rib for the back to secure. But don't give up on the strut yet. Check with the AccuStrut people and if they don't have a model that fits your Mini, try the Mo -Rod brand.
     

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  11. curt1985

    curt1985 New Member

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    The instructions on the accu strut website say that using the set screws on the gas block is optional. If you can't attach to the gas block I would use some red lock tight where the clamps meet the Harrell.
     
  12. sandog

    sandog Member

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    I thought the "option" was drilling a shallow dimple on either side of the gas block under the set screws for them to be able to grab better, but having an accu strut held on with just the barrel clamps and not fastened to the gas block would still help accuracy, if not group stringing.
     
  13. bamashooter68

    bamashooter68 Member

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    I bought a 580 series with the thin barrel in 2007. I was getting 2-3'' groups at 100yrds until the little barrel got hot. I put it in a Tapco stock, put an Accustrut LT on it, had a trigger job done by local smith, evenly torqued the gas block at either 30 or 32in/lbs, and put Wilson 1911 style buffers on the gas tube and op rod. My best group is 1.25'' with my 60gr varmiter reloads. It shoots more accurately over a longer period of time with the accustrut, my brass lands 8-10ft away usually at my 4 o'clock and with the buffers it just softens up the harshness of the action and makes everything more smooth. I haven't had any issues with my accustrut sliding or moving and I just ran the set screws snug against the gas block. The strut was an awesome upgrade for the mini-14 in my opinion. Love the platform and the Accustrut LT made mine a better rifle.
     
  14. Donn

    Donn Active Member

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    Have had a SS Mini since the mid 80's. Has the same gas block as ccase39's with the standard issue wooden stock. The only thing I don't like about it are the magazines. Factory mags are expensive, $125 for a 30rd at the gun show last weekend, and after market ones are hit and miss, don't always fit. Wish they took AR mags, would make life a lot easier.
     
  15. sandog

    sandog Member

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    Donn, factory mags from Ruger are $39.95 for a 20 round, and $49.95 for a 30 round magazine. When I ordered my 20's a few months ago, Ruger sent a 10% discount coupon for the next order. I have seen places that occasionally list "factory" mags for less than Ruger's price, I'd just want to make damn sure that they were really factory before shelling out money for them. I haven't looked for them at gun shows, usually way overpriced. Places like Accuracy Systems sells them for $80, I don't know why someone would order from them when they can get them from Ruger for half that. bamashooter68, sounds like you have your Mini shooting great, they are a joy when the little bugs are worked out, aren't they ?
     
  16. GunDoc

    GunDoc New Member

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    Sandog - sounds like you've done a fine job on accurizing. Be sure to bed the new stock to complete the work you've done.
     
  17. sandog

    sandog Member

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    Gundoc, wiil bed the stock when I get it. Good luck on thinning the wolf pack this fall.
     
  18. Donn

    Donn Active Member

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    I was surprised the high prices from "the panic" were still in full effect last weekend. Picked up two 20rd ProMag's from Centerfire Systems, $14.99 each. Still wish AR mags worked.
     
  19. tri70

    tri70 New Member

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    Hoffman's used to have the best deals on Ruger mags but you woul have to call and get pricing. At one time the were sell $20-25 for factory 20's. I have not called and checked in a while.

    http://hoffgun.com/ruger/
     
  20. bwraven

    bwraven New Member

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    NEVER use red Loctite on a firearm. You will not be able to break the screws loose again. You will strip the screw head before you can break the red Loctite loose.

    I use purple Loctite and have never had it work loose.