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This is for fellow reloaders who have a brass-crushing Mini-14, have received little help from Ruger on the problem, and are at their wit’s end on what to do about it.

In August I purchased a new Ruger Mini-14 Tactical Model #5847. During my first range session I put roughly 50 rounds of American Eagle 55 grain 5.56 NATO through the rifle. Overall, I was quite satisfied with the firearm’s accuracy and performance – with one exception:

The rifle absolutely destroyed ejected empties. Every empty had a large dent in the case mouth. Since I am an avid reloader, this was simply unacceptable. I contacted Ruger Customer Service, described the problem and received a prompt - but curt - reply that case dents are “normal and unavoidable” in this rifle.

Not accepting Ruger’s response at face value, I did some research and found that many others have had identical case damage issues with this rifle. This led me to the “GunDoc” at Great West Gunsmithing. This gunsmith offers replacement gas port bushings which are touted by many Mini owners to not only correct case damage, but to also prevent the empties from ejecting into the next county.

After installing the aftermarket bushing, I returned to the range, fed the rifle another 100 rounds of brass-cased ammo, and low and behold – no more case damage (so much for Ruger’s “normal and unavoidable” claims). Not only that, but the rifle cycled perfectly and empties were ejected just 6 feet from the bench.

The moral of this story: Despite all the good things said about Ruger Customer Service, every once in a while they do not live up to their stellar reputation for customer service. I’ve been buying Ruger firearms since 1975. Over this period, I’ve had the need to contact them on gun issues just twice. On both occasions they were not only less than helpful, but in the most recent instance they were certainly misleading. I’ll think twice before buying my next Ruger. :rolleyes:
 

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Keep your pants on

The rifle absolutely destroyed ejected empties. Every empty had a large dent in the case mouth. Since I am an avid reloader, this was simply unacceptable. I contacted Ruger Customer Service, described the problem and received a prompt - but curt - reply that case dents are “normal and unavoidable” in this rifle.
Sir, I understand your frustration, and applaud your research and the solution you discovered. I am an avid handloader, too, and I share your concern about dents in my Mini-14 brass.

Having said that, Ruger never mislead you. You were looking for a solution they cannot acknowledge, but I'll get into that in a moment.

First and foremost, the answer they provided was directly associated with the product they sell, which is the factory spec. Mini-14, as manufactured by Sturm Ruger. You procured an aftermarket product that they have nothing to do with. There are countless cottage industries of wondrous products that American entrepreneurship has brought to the market, and I applaud them, too. But to say that Ruger mislead you is 100% incorrect. As they produce the gun, it is normal and unavoidable. You are asking Ruger to acknowledge a product that someone else produces, and for which they receive no compensation, AND which they may not even find safe or useful in the large scheme of things. Aftermarket parts are decidedly not Ruger's business, and in fact, the use of them can lead to hazards down the road, for which they would have to refer you to their manual, that they are not responsible for such products. At the very least, they cannot acknowledge a product without accepting every liability that may be associated with it, while having no reward for such corporate folly.

Further, Ruger's "curt" reply is directly associated with the fact that they must by a policy adopted industry wide, and for justifiable safety and liability reasons that are beyond their control, take a very stand-offish position with regard to reloading brass. They cannot recommend any resolve to your dilemma while they specifically state in their owner's manual that they cannot recommend handloads. That would be entirely inconsistent, and intellectually dishonest. They know that a great many of their owners shoot handloads exclusively, but they cannot recommend anything other than tested and approved ammunition. Having attended their factory Armorer's training in Newport, I can assert that this policy is very consistent, as it must be. As a case in point, I could discuss anything with the folks at Ruger, but as soon as I started speaking in terms of a handloader, the conversation became one-sided, and they would add nothing. They have nothing against handloads or handloaders. But because people these days are just waiting to sue them out of business, with every TV lawyer wringing his hands and drooling at the thought, they simply cannot acknowledge them one way or the other, and must in all ways appear to offer no bait. If they modified their gun to reduce dented cases, when it serves no other functional purpose, would be evidence in any court that they are not affirmed in their position, and they'd be hooked by the lip.

You stated that their position is unacceptable because you are an avid handloader. If you made that known to Ruger over the phone, your conversation had to by its nature enter the Twilight Zone, for which they could offer no affirmative response. What if the next communication was from an attorney representing you, who was suing them because they acknowledged how to fix the dented brass issue you were having, and because of their tacit acceptance of your hobby, they accepted the damages you inflicted upon yourself when your Ruger blew up? I am a handloader too, but that's a hobby I cannot share with arms manufacturers, who for their own interests, must remain standoffish. Even if you made no mention that you're an avid handloader, it's obvious that nobody other than a handloader would ever even notice the dents, even if he bothered to pick up the brass.

As to the dents, they are largely attributable to NATO ammo, which has very violent ejection, and by the way, is dented by any AR rifle as well. NATO brass is so violently distorted on firing that I don't even bother with it anymore. Primer pockets are not only staked, requiring swaging, but they are also loose 25% of the time; so badly that primers fall out. Rims are ripped by extractors, and case head stamps are often flattened beyond recognition, having flowed into the crevices of the bolt face. I shoot both .223 and 5.56 ammo in my Mini-14. The former suffer mild to no denting, and the latter are dented severely. I've had that situation with my AR, too. If you look at any military surplus NATO brass, it's all dented, and they shoot no Mini-14s.

I'm not sure if I understand the logic of disdaining a manufacturer, yet you purchased an aftermarket gizmo so you can still keep using that which you disdain. You're looking to hurt them by means of a bad review, yet you are enjoying their product. There are enough folks that are trying to bring down the arms trade. We need no sympathizers from the shooting fraternity for such silly motives as a dented case. You got your aftermarket solution and Ruger made you a gun to hang it on. What's your point? :mad:
 

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Geez GunBlue. If anyone sounds frustrated and angry, it’s you. I tried to advise and help handloaders who now share the same problem as I did regarding dented cases, and who got no help from Ruger…and you go off half-cocked on a tirade about all kinds of unrelated, concocted, outrageous stuff! I think you might need another Xanax or two, my friend.

First of all, Ruger DID mislead me. I asked them for an RA number to return the gun for examination and possible repair. Instead of an RA number I got the terse statement that dented cases are “normal and unavoidable” in the Mini-14. To me, that means they consider dented cases to be acceptable. I DO NOT!!! I have friends who own older Mini-14’s – none of them get dented cases. I own a few AR14’s and none of them dent cases – whether I use commercially-made 5.56 NATO rounds or .223 Remingtons.

Secondly, I bought and installed the so-called “gizmo” BECAUSE Ruger refused to take the gun back for examination. Let me repeat: I went to an aftermarket part AFTER RUGER TOLD ME NOTHING COULD BE DONE TO PREVENT THE CASE DAMAGE. So, your whole argument about factory specs, cottage industries, aftermarket parts, compensation for Ruger, acknowledgement by Ruger, Ruger’s potential liability, and so on, has no bearing on the subject. Since contacting Ruger, more than one gunsmith has told me that Ruger has changed gas port bushing dimensions many times over the years and that the dented case problem surfaces from time to time as Ruger introduces new Mini’s. In fact, I’m told that they use varying gas port bushings for the variety of Mini’s they now sell, and that over-sized bushings (high gas pressure) are the primary cause of the case dents. So, in actuality, Ruger knew that a smaller gas port bushing would remedy this situation, but refused to do anything about it. Instead, they would rather have a dissatisfied customer.

Thirdly, when I contacted Ruger, I made no mention of the fact that I reload. And I certainly didn’t ask them to recommend a handload that would ease the denting situation. Where you came up with this, I’ll never know. Your whole argument about the nature of my contact with Ruger, telling them that I reload, Ruger’s liability, and the reasons behind their response is a fabrication and bogus. I simply asked them why the rifle dented cases so badly, if the situation was safe, and if they would examine the rifle to assure me that nothing was wrong. Their response was terse, defensive, and not helpful. And nowhere in my post did I show any distain for Ruger. Read it again if you must. I thought that I was pretty easy on Ruger – all things considered. As for the gun…if I disliked the gun I would not have looked to fix it…it would have been gone in a New York minute!

You wasted a lot of time, effort and words on fabrications, concocted assumptions, self-righteous pontification, and an effort to try to impress us all with your professorial knowledge of gun laws, the psychology behind gun manufacturer’s actions (or inactions), manufacturer’s liabilities, ammunition characteristics, handloading, and so on and so forth. It may have impressed some, but I find your post outrageous nonsense.

The fact is, you made a mountain out of a mole hill. My post was intended to help others who might have the same situation I did. You turned it into something wacked out! I guess it’s true that no good deed goes unpunished. Dealing with you, GunBlue, is a living testament to that fact. You’re not worth any more of my time. I’m outta’ here…
 

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Ruger changed the design of the bolt and ejector so it ejects the brass side ways instead of straight out of the top of the rifle. This keeps the brass from beating up the scope. As I recall, the brass is hitting the op rod handle and that's what causes the dented cases. Changing the gas bushing would be nice but as the rifle comes out of the factory it's garenteed to eject. If there is a problem it is usually a big issue and not related to the gas bushing. kwg
 

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Very good post GunBlue!
I have a Tactical. I bought it last January. Best rifle I've ever had. It is nearly 1moa out of the box, reloads or factory loads. It very rarely damages cases in the 1500+ down the pipe. Since I reload I would know. My wife calls herself the "brass whore" since she is combing the range for brass. She doesn't complain about the trip picking up brass. I think I'll leave it the way it is. Other than a Nikon scope and a sling she(the Mini) is box stock and my all time favorite firearm.
 

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You’re absolutely right Kwg020. Ruger did change the ejector design to keep brass from beating up scopes. That’s a good thing. Now the brass beats itself up on the op rod…precisely what my post was intended to address for those who feel this is unacceptable…and for those who found that Ruger won’t - or can’t - do anything to remedy this issue.

To accommodate variations in ammo, Ruger installs a gas port bushing that is oversized. In some rifles and with some ammo, this is just fine. But every rifle is a unique individual. With some other rifles and ammo combinations the larger-sized factory bushing allows higher than necessary gas pressure which affects the timing of the bolt/op rod action and causes the brass to strike the op rod during ejection. This is an age-old ‘characteristic’ dating back to the M1 Garand, and leaves the ammo reloader with a number of options – none of which are ideal:

1. Shoot only steel-cased ammo (very inconsistent, often unavailable, and potentially damaging to the rifle).
2. Use brass ammo and kiss the empties goodbye (very expensive in today’s world).
3. Find a factory ammo that ejects cleanly in your rifle and use it exclusively (impractical, subject to availability issues and likely to be expensive).
4. Work up the ‘ideal’ handload that will reliably cycle the action without destroying the brass. (very time consuming and also expensive if brass is being destroyed during the process).
5. Modify the rifle by replacing the factory gas port block with an adjustable aftermarket block (expensive and tends to be finicky).
6. Modify the rifle by changing the gas port bushing to accommodate a handloaded ‘model’ factory 5.56 or .223 load (the easiest and least expensive option).
7. Screw it all and sell the gun (not a good option if you happen like the rifle).

Thousands of Mini14 handloaders have opted for number 6 above. It’s easy to do, it’s inexpensive…and best of all…it works!!!

Side Note: If Ruger felt there was a “bigger issue” concerning my rifle, then why did they simply state that case dents are “normal and unavoidable”? If they fear litigation so much (as GunBlue suggests), I would think that they’d be very eager to get the rifle back in their hot little hands.
 

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I'm getting more confused. Are you mad at Sturm/Ruger or Garand?
And since we resize our brass terminal damage is appearantly subjective.
You stated in your text what supports Rugers contention that dents are "normal and unavoidable".
Sounds like you need to sell the Mini.
 

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Mine dents the cases too. I'm not reloading yet (Coming this Christmas), but do the dents mean the cases are no good? I thought you could re-size them and use 'em?
 

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Mine dents the cases too. I'm not reloading yet (Coming this Christmas), but do the dents mean the cases are no good? I thought you could re-size them and use 'em?
Small dents and dings no problems. Dents that cause sharp folds, I wouldn't reuse. I'm sure some one will come along and say I'm an idiot but over the tens of thousands I've reloaded my standard works for me.
Your results may vary.
 

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You know, Sr40ken, if I didn't know any better, I'd think you were an Army grunt, not a fellow Naval Aviation guy with some common sense.

How can you read my last post and conclude that I am mad at anyone? I just stated the facts as they are and used the M1 Garand as an example of a similar action design that dents empties. I made the point (several times) that Ruger knows there is an inherent dented case problem with this action design and cannot (or will not) fix it. The dented case problem goes back to the original M1 rotating bolt design, which Ruger incorporated into the Mini. I know, because I own an M1 Garand and it has the same action, and it dents 30-06 cases just as my Mini did before I changed the gas port bushing.

If I would have known that my original post - which was intended to help those who have identical dented case problems - would elicit all of this venom, controversy and personal criticism, then I would not have posted it.

And if this is the kind of reaction new members of this thread get when they are critical of Ruger's performance, then I belong on another site where members are considerably more objective, and open-minded enough to freely exchange ideas and help others with their problems and concerns.
 

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Lead Slanger - Depends on where and how badly they are dented. In my circumstance, the dents were at the case mouth and essentially crushed the opening by one-half of its diameter. Cases like this are trash and cannot be re-sized without risking serious safety issues.

I wish I knew how to upload pictures of what I'm talking about so that you can see what I mean.
 

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I could get nothing positive from your first post other than you being critical of the Mini 14 and Ruger customer service. Nothing to help any Mini 14 owner other than vent your displeasure. And as in about all firearm I've been around they get better after a couple hundred rounds.
Like I said, you probably should sell your Mini. I doubt it is up to your standards.
Considering the record of the Garand style action and it brought my Pop back from Okinawa in WWII, I'll stay with my opinion of 'em despite a few blips.
Sir, I make no remarks on the quality of any other veteran or thier branch they chose to serve in.I find it in poor taste especially on veterans day
 

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I think its you that may need a xanax. LoL

I shoot tons of steel case ammo through multiple rifles and handguns, if a gun cannot handle it, sell it its junk.
 

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All this maybe true but I don't ever recall any of my guns coming with a warning about the condition of the brass when it was finished with it, any responsibility for its condition or that this was a better gun than others because it was more gentle with it's brass.

Why do you feel that the guns' manufacturer has the obligation to provide good brass?
 

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Lead Slanger - Depends on where and how badly they are dented. In my circumstance, the dents were at the case mouth and essentially crushed the opening by one-half of its diameter. Cases like this are trash and cannot be re-sized without risking serious safety issues.

I wish I knew how to upload pictures of what I'm talking about so that you can see what I mean.
Dang, that's pretty bad. I'll post some pictures of my emptys and show you how bad mine is denting them.
 

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Lead Slanger - Depends on where and how badly they are dented. In my circumstance, the dents were at the case mouth and essentially crushed the opening by one-half of its diameter. Cases like this are trash and cannot be re-sized without risking serious safety issues.

I wish I knew how to upload pictures of what I'm talking about so that you can see what I mean.
Unless its making sharp crease in dent what's the saftey issue?
 

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Case dents and safety precautions...

Unless its making sharp crease in dent what's the saftey issue?
Read your reloading manual and it should tell you all about the special precautions that need to be taken with annealed cases. I'm not doing your research for you.
 

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Read your reloading manual and it should tell you all about the special precautions that need to be taken with annealed cases. I'm not doing your research for you.
LOL ok. I guess I'm one of the guys that reload them if dent isn't to bad been doing it for a long time. I was just wondering what your thoughts were. Thanks
 

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Read your reloading manual and it should tell you all about the special precautions that need to be taken with annealed cases. I'm not doing your research for you.
You really don't understand do you.
Don't know what you did around aircraft but, you might wiki the terms work hardening and annealing. You might look up the term lawyer talk to.
Not a real difficult metallurgical terms to get a grasp of.
 
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