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I've got an AR and it's very nice but I miss the feel of a wood stock. I had a Mini-14 for a very short time and never got into the maintenance of it. So, my question is: how much trouble is it to keep the gas system operating? It looks a little similar to the set-up on an M1 Carbine which requires almost nothing to keep running.
 

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I don't own one myself (yet), but I was just reading about that earlier somewhere. If I can find it again, I'll post the link. The point is, though, that it's a self cleaning system, so yes, it requires little or no attention.
 

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I would not say it requires no attention - it does get dirty and fouled and does need cleaning, but it takes a LOT of shooting to really get it gunked up (depends on the ammo too I'd say as we all know some just fouls things more then others).

Cleaning the gas system is very simple and easy though, and only takes a few minutes at most.

I've only bothering with a full field strip and cleaning after about 500 rounds or more, and the gas system is really fine even then (what residue is there is cleaned up easily in a few minutes). But it's still nice to do so I can give everything a wipe down with oil and make sure all is looking good and ready to go.
 

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The Mini 14 is actually much simpler than the M1 Carbine with it's short stroke piston. The piston is a fixed part of the gas block and the cylinder is part of the Op rod and is the only moving part. When you field strip you just wipe down any sooty stuff with some Breakfree and then wipe it down with a dry cloth or paper towel just like gwnorth said. I usually never touch the cylinder or piston. Most quality 223 is pretty clean burning, so I really don't know how many rounds you can put through it before it needs attention.Mine is a 183 series and I still don't know how many rounds you have to put through one before you have problems. If you keep it clean and properly lubed it should last a lifetime and then some.
 
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