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New Review Coming

Discussion in 'Rifle Forum' started by fteter, Nov 9, 2019 at 10:20 PM.

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  1. Nov 9, 2019 at 10:20 PM #1

    fteter

    fteter

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    Just a heads up that a new review will be coming soon, as I made a new acquisition earlier today. Picked up a new-to-me Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle. Built and shipped out by Ruger in 2015. Seems as though it was very lightly used - the bore is still really bright and I spent this afternoon cleaning some of the factory grease.

    Came with a Bushnell 3x9 scope mounted on Ruger rings, 4 20-round Ruger mags and a hard rifle case. I plan to take it to the range and put it through it's paces on Monday. Will post a review shortly thereafter.

    Some of you may be scratching your heads about why I would purchase a Mini-14 when AR-15s are both less expensive and better performers. Fair enough. My reasoning:
    1. Low profile. The biggest advantage of the Mini-14 is that it's not a "scary looking" AR-15. The neighbors are less likely to see me as a potential madman ready to go nuts at the local school if I'm sporting a Mini-14... and thus less likely to registers their suspicions with local law enforcement. Fits in well with my "gray man" approach to preparedness.
    2. More likely to survive any future assault weapons ban. My basis of this thought is the Clinton Assault Weapons ban. Mini-14s (other than folders) were exempt from the ban. Also true in a few of the states with weapons bans today. While I live in a state that's currently pretty darn conservative, I see signs that things are moving to the left. Just trying to anticipate worst case.
    3. The Mini-14 has a lifetime guarantee from Ruger. No matter how old the rifle is or how many owners had it before you. Something breaks outside of normal wear, they fix it. I've seen Ruger replace gas blocks, barrels and other parts on 20 year old Mini-14s... at no cost.
    4. As an older guy, I'm a traditionalist. I like the classic feel of a wood stock. I've fired AR-15s and just didn't like the feel of them in my hands. No desire to own one. But I've been considering a Mini-14 for some time now. And this was just too good of a deal to pass up.
    So that's my thinking. I'll update this thread after Monday's range trip.
     
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  2. Nov 9, 2019 at 10:38 PM #2

    Bacpacker

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    I had a mid 90's Mini -14. It was a pretty good gun. Never had any problems with it. I traded it a few years ago for a Sig, 500 rounds of ammo, and 2 buckets of brass. Sometimes I wish I had kept it.
     
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  3. Nov 9, 2019 at 11:10 PM #3

    Terri9630

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    I bought a mini 14 for hubbys birthday from my boss. He likes it and so does the kid. I haven't shot it yet.
     
  4. Nov 9, 2019 at 11:35 PM #4

    kd4ulw

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    Still have mine, purchased slightly used in early 1990’s. Good shooting rifle and like the styling after the M14.
     
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  5. Nov 10, 2019 at 8:04 AM #5

    phideaux

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    Wood is nice.

    M14s are well made good rifles.
    Dependable, even if they lacking in the accuracy dept a little.

    Be prepared to chase your brass into the next county ;):D

    Congratulations.

    Jim
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2019 at 11:27 AM
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  6. Nov 10, 2019 at 8:41 AM #6

    Sentry18

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    I like the Mini-14 and have owned a couple in my life. I have killed a number of coyote and fox with one, even took a white-tail deer one year with my Mini. My only complaint is that I don't care for the location of the safety.
     
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  7. Nov 10, 2019 at 11:36 AM #7

    dademoss

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    That's why I like a Mini-14, same safety location as my M1 Garand :)
     
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  8. Nov 10, 2019 at 11:42 AM #8

    Sentry18

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    I don't like the safety location on the M1 Garand either. ;)

    I have the "KEEP YOUR FINGER OUT OF THE TRIGGER GUARD AND OFF THE TRIGGER" lesson seared into my brain.
     
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  9. Nov 10, 2019 at 11:53 AM #9

    dademoss

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    Very true :)
     
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  10. Nov 10, 2019 at 12:23 PM #10

    Just Cliff

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    I've had my mini 30 since the early 90's. I'm not a big fan of the AR although I did buy one for my nephew.
     
  11. Nov 10, 2019 at 2:06 PM #11

    SheepDog

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    Typically I am a wood and blued steel guy but The Mini-14 has serious disadvantages when compared to the AR series. Initial cost is higher and the cost of extra magazines can bite deeply into the budget.
    The AR is less expensive and you can get excellent magazines for under $10 (30 round). Any sight or light can be easily mounted on the AR without machining. Cleaning and maintenance is easier and aftermarket bits are everywhere at low prices. You can upgrade or down grade parts as the budget demands so you can spread the cost of your ideal gun over a few years while shooting what you have. You can (I wouldn't) have extra uppers for a host of cartridges all used on the same lower.
    Under Washington state's "assault weapon" classifications even the Ruger 10-22 is an assault rifle so if they move to ban the assault weapons in Washington I will simply not comply. I am already planning on moving to Idaho so a ban would simply speed that process up.
     
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  12. Nov 10, 2019 at 8:16 PM #12

    fteter

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    Sentry18 brings up a good point. I'm still not sure how I'll manage that safety, as I'm not a big fan of putting my finger anywhere inside the trigger guard until I pull the trigger itself.

    SheepDog, you're spot on about the advantages of the AR-15. I just decided that other factors outweighed those advantages in my particular case. If it's a straight-up rifle to rifle comparison, the AR-15 definitely gets the nod for better performance and lower cost.
     
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  13. Nov 10, 2019 at 10:15 PM #13

    hiwall

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    I have shot many ARs but I prefer my mini. It just seems to fit me better.
     
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  14. Nov 11, 2019 at 2:51 PM #14

    fteter

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    So now for the review. Went to the local outdoor range as I wanted to do some bench rest shooting (I don't have a table for my shooting sessions out in the sticks). I'd bore sighted the rifle, so I took one shot to make any final scope adjustments (the rifle came with an old Bushnell 3x9 scope). Then I got on with putting the rifle through it's paces. BTW, it's a Ranch model 583 series serial number shipped from Ruger's plant in 2015. My observations and conclusions after 300 rounds:
    1. When I first started, I was holding 1.5 to 2.0 MOA at 100 yards with of different off-the-shelf brands. More 1.5 MOA with 55 grain ammo, more 2.0 with 62 grain ammo - kinda surprised me for a barrel with a 1:9 RH twist rate, so I may have to try again after today's wind dies down a bit. It may not be a fair comparison with the wind shifting around like it was today.
    2. I had two Ruger 20 round mags and two old ProMag 25 round metal mags. The two Ruger mags ran all the brass flawlessly (more on steel case below). The ProMags not so much. Consistent failures to feed after the first 20 rounds, probably due to old weak springs. I'll probably limit the two ProMags to 20 rounds and make it a point to buy only Ruger when acquiring more mags for this rifle.
    3. As expected, the thing ejects brass into the next state. If that begins to bother me, I'll do something to fix it. Not a bother to me at the moment.
    4. Once the barrel got hot, the point of impact moved to the right. A lot. Like 2 inches at 100 yards. Happened right around the 40-round mark. The groups were still tight, but the point of impact shifted right. I paused for 5 minutes and the point of impact again matched the point of aim until the barrel heated up again around 40 rounds later. Once it happened again, I relied on "Kentucky Windage" to hit my marks and that worked out well - no additional horizontal shifting no matter how hot the barrel got. I suspect there is a barrel strut in my near future. I kinda like the look with the strut, so I'm not terribly bothered by this.
    5. Steel case ammo did not run reliably out of any of the mags - FTFs around 5% of the time. I won't be shooting steel case ammo in this rifle, as brass is cheap enough to eliminate the problem without sending me to the poor house.
    6. As mentioned earlier in this thread, I love the wood stock. But I also have to admit the rifle got darn heavy after a few minutes of shooting from a standing position. I may need to rethink the wood stock - a synthetic that doesn't increase the length of pull might help with the weight issue. We'll see.
    7. The upside of the heavy rifle - felt recoil is non-existent. No kick whatsoever. Which makes recovering a target after the shoot almost a non-event. There's just not much of a felt punch, a barrel rise, or anything else.
    8. The old Bushnell scope is good enough for now. I'll likely replace it with a better 3x9 scope down the road, but it's not my top priority. This scope will do until I get around to it.
    Overall, I'm really pleased with this acquisition. Anything 2.0 MOA or under will pass the accuracy test for my intended use (varmit hunting, self-defense and short-range plinking fun). If I want shoot the whiskers off a squirrel at 300 yards, I've got my Savage Axis II XP in .223 for that (yeah, I planned for the short-range and long-range guns to be in the same caliber - I really do over-think this stuff). And other than steel case, this Mini-14 eats anything I feed it via the Ruger mags without fail (and I ran through a half-dozen different brands at 55 gr - only 4 brands at 62 gr). So reliability seems really, really good. I figure I may add a barrel strut and have my new "Go To" rifle. For a used rifle, especially considering the price I paid for the rifle and accessories, I'm pretty darn happy. It might even be love.

    You want my opinion of the Mini-14? Go get one.
     
  15. Nov 11, 2019 at 2:58 PM #15

    Support Gunner

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    Promags are cheap junk mags. I cant believe they are still in business.

    The only thing they are good for is practicing malfunction drills.

    Mini-14 is on my list to get one of this days.
     
  16. Nov 11, 2019 at 3:49 PM #16

    SheepDog

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    I bought my first AR to use only in 3 gun competition. I really wanted a Ruger mini-14 but with extra mags and rough treatment of those mags I could see an ongoing cost that was prohibitive.
    I bought an 18" 1:8 twist barrel to get accuracy using mid range bullet weights. I started off using factory rounds and went through 10 boxes. 5 of the 69 grain and 5 of the 62 grain bullets. None of these produced "acceptable" accuracy meaning groups close to 1 MOA. I tried loading the 63 grain bullets with three different powders and got similar results with a wide range of loads from too light to function to close to maximum loads. I tried the old standard 55 grain FMJBT bullets and immediately saw improvement. I worked up my best load using H335 and a magnum primer that gave consistently sub MOA groups (less than 1" at 100 yards).
    My LabRadar chronograph measured an average (out of 20 rounds) velocity of 3145 fps and a standard deviation of 27 fps which is .8% of muzzle velocity (that is 8/10ths of 1%) which should be good enough over a wide rangg of conditions. As temps cooled the performance remains consistent so far. I bought two more ARs and the load performs as accurately in them with an expected drop in velocity due to the 16" barrels.
    I have been able to custom fit the rifles to my shooting without much expense, the most was spent on the rail risers needed for a good cheek weld and scope alignment.

    I have fired a Ruger rifle and the AR is a better fit for my needs. If I was to buy one I would need to add at least 1/2" to the butt to accommodate my longer arms and raise the scope to align with my cheek weld. The biggest expense would be the several extra magazines that seems a requirement for semi-auto firearms. The mini-14 that I fired had a custom barrel and action fitted to the tune of just over $1200 over the price of the gun but it was as accurate as my ARs and functioned as well as mine. Still, in stock form the mini-14 is a good reliable ranch rifle that can easily fill the role of a defensive rifle in a crunch and a good choice for those who don't want the AR platform. My son chose the AK platform and all I can say is that it seems to fire most of the time with good ammo. It is neither a precision rifle nor something I would want to rely on for defensive reasons.
     
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  17. Nov 11, 2019 at 4:33 PM #17

    Spikedriver

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    I love the Mini.

    I've never owned one. I couldn't justify the cost of mags and initial purchase when I got a very good AR and a crap ton of mags for $1000.

    One thing I've noticed is that dedicated AR guys seem to have a need to dump on the Mini. I've no idea what for. Apparently Minis are a threat to their manhood or something. Pretty much everybody I've hunted 'yotes with currently owns, or has owned, a Mini. None - not a single one of them - has ever reported a malfunction. Poor accuracy yes, but stoppages no. The damn things are like the Energizer Bunny. (As an aside, none of them use cheap steel ammo or cheap mags)

    I want a Mini. But I'm not going to have one. I'm a shooter not a collector, so I'll pass. That said, I think OP got a great gun. Enjoy!
     
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  18. Nov 11, 2019 at 4:53 PM #18

    Sentry18

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    If I am not mistaken Tapco makes a polymer magazine for the Mini-14 that is pretty well made for about $16 each.

    Promag makes some good products, but their double stack magazines are rarely among them. The issue being more of quality control than design issues. I have however had some very reliable single stack Promags and a few other accessories that were actually not bad at all. I presume that's how they are still in business while many other cheap knock off mag companies have gone belly up.
     
  19. Nov 11, 2019 at 7:20 PM #19

    fteter

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    In all fairness, these were really old ProMags. I hear that they've upgrade their mags for the Mini-14 in the past few years. But I'll be sticking with Rugers.
     
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