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I just picked up a new Mini 14 today. I probably should have asked this before making the purchase, but is there any special things about the Mini 14, both positive and negative, that I need to be aware of? Any specific threads that I need to review/learn?
Any pertinent info greatly appreciated.
Tom…
 

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Congrats on joining the Mini-14 family! Shooting it is the most fun you can have with your clothes on.

A few things:
1) Stick to Ruger factory mags. 20-rounders are the best, if your state allows.
2) Check the gap between the upper and lower halves of the gas block. They should be even fore-and-aft and port and starboard. A 9/64" Allen wrench fits the gas block screws.
3) Thoroughly clean before first firing. Ruger ships with a lot of protective gunk that gets baked in otherwise. Pressurized Carb or Brake cleaner (wear goggles and do outside) cuts through a lot of that gunk. Use pressurized air to clear it all out.
4) Eject distances will be greater than an AR. That can be ultimately fixed for very little coin, just be aware of who/what is to the right out to about 25 yards. A metal detector comes in handy.
5) Avoid steel-cased ammo if you can. I use M193 NATO and PMC .223 REM. 55g to 62g bullets seem to be the sweetest range of bullet weight for a 1/9 twist rate (yours).
6) Keep in mind it is a light-weight CARBINE - not a sniper rifle. You should rightfully expect 2 MOA out of the box. Don't junk it up with a lot of do-dads.
7) There are solutions on the web for various Mini-14 "deficiencies". Not all Mini-14s are the same and the earlier ones (not yours) had a bad rep for "barrel whip" and inaccuracy. Your new one (with a tapered barrel) shouldn't suffer from that. Barrel struts are likely not necessary.
8) Depending on your stock, there might be a little looseness between the receiver and the stock. There is a "credit card" fix for that, which I have used with good success. It's free if you have an expired credit card laying around.

There are plenty of other things to tweak (like buffers), but these are/should be the first considerations.

Sandog knows his stuff far more than I.

Enjoy!
 

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I just picked up a new Mini 14 today. I probably should have asked this before making the purchase, but is there any special things about the Mini 14, both positive and negative, that I need to be aware of? Any specific threads that I need to review/learn?
Any pertinent info greatly appreciated.
Tom…
No. You just bought the finest 5.56mm made IMO. I bought one new in 1980 and it's still a tack driver. Ignore all the negative talk about them. The Garand action lasts forever and is the simplest.
 

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Ignore number 8 on post #7. I have a 181 serial number and there is no such thing as "barrel whip" unless someone is stupid enough to mag. dump and the barrel still isn't going anywhere. MIne has had 10's of thousands of rounds through it in 52 years and still drives tacks. DON'T use brake cleaner on the gun, especially brand new. They are a pretty clean running gun compared to an AR.
 

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Ignore number 8 on post #7. I have a 181 serial number and there is no such thing as "barrel whip" unless someone is stupid enough to mag. dump and the barrel still isn't going anywhere. MIne has had 10's of thousands of rounds through it in 52 years and still drives tacks. DON'T use brake cleaner on the gun, especially brand new. They are a pretty clean running gun compared to an AR.
Southern, some 181s had problems, others did not. But it was the bad rep- justified or not. My 181GB is a solid 3-4 MOA without modifications, and would probably prove better were I to have more patience and supported. It still took down ½ pop-up silhouette targets at 300 meters (Army Range) using irons pretty much 100%. Since I bought it in 1980, I have never had the need to adjust the rear sight.

I tried some mag dumps (something I never do) a few years ago to see if it suffered from the nefarious barrel whip. If anything remotely measurable, it might have lost 1 MOA. It is everything I wanted and expected of. The GB model (with flash hider and bayo lug) might have helped. Other 181 owners might differ from your (and my) experience.

Regarding the brake/carb cleaner, I disagree. Use once, before initial firing, then put back in the cabinet. There was a LOT of gunk in the two 583s I got. Laboring to get off burnt-in cosmoline in my War Baby taught me to clear out all shipping gunk before first firing. A pretty simple thing for first-use.
 

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We'll just agree to disagree. I buy and sell a lot of guns and haven't seen a new one of any kind with a lot of oil on them when new. I haven't seen cosmoline used in decades. Brake cleaner strips EVERYTHING off the surface so any owner using it needs to know that and re-oil appropriately.
 

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Welcome, Tom, and congratulations on your Mini purchase.
Good advice from our fellow members, especially the part about resisting the urge to add things in the attempt to turn the Mini into a DMR or AR look alike.
A sling, a micro red dot and maybe a short rail section bolted on the stock for a light are nice.
I don't know who first said "Less is More", but it's preferable to the "More is Better" method as far as carbines.
When it comes to ammo though, I like the "More is Better"crowd !


The strut was given to me in a trade, so I put it on. But I've found little advantage to having one on a .650" barreled Mini.
I just haven't gotten around to taking it off.

As others have said, strip the Mini down and remove the factory preservative.
When you reassemble, put a few dabs of grease where the bolt travels, and once or twice a year use a drop of CLP or other oil on things that pivot, like the magazine release, hammer and trigger pins, etc.
If you put your Mini away in the fall dirty, in the spring you might find the op-rod has fused to the gas pipe.
They usually break free when you mortar the charging handle.
Just clean before putting away long term and lube the gas pipe.

It's a good idea to get a chamber brush, I'm sure there are chamber brushes made for AR's that would work on a Mini-14.
I made my own out of a flux brush I got from the plumbing supply store. It works well on the fat and stubby 7.62 x 39 chamber.
I'd brush the chamber more frequently if shooting steel case, and with steel case, it makes sense to get a spare extractor.
I haven't heard of too many extractors breaking or chipping but since steel contracts less after firing than brass, a damaged extractor is a possibility.

A few things that make disassembly/assembly easier :

Always cock the hammer back and put the safety on before popping the trigger group out.

Remove the bolt stop and related parts before taking out the bolt. You can get the bolt out and back in without removing the bolt stop, but it is not as easy. When putting the bolt back in, turn the action upside down, locate the notch in the receiver web and start the bolt in at an angle, taking care to align the flange on the bottom of the bolt with the notch in the receiver web. You will find that pushing the tail of the firing pin back inside the bolt makes it easier to get the bolt started back into the receiver. If the tail is hanging out it's not as easy.

One other thing that trips up some new owners is putting the guide rod (that slips inside the recoil spring) upside down.
There is a pointy tip on one side of the guide rod end, that point must be facing up towards the handguard for the Mini to function properly.
Put the guide rod in facing down and the bolt will not want to retract all the way, and cycling will suffer.

Mini barrels do whip around, and not just with mag dumps.
But you aren't going to see it with the naked eye. slow down the frame 320x and the whip is noticeable, slow it down to 600x and it's really obvious. The barrel in the video ( a pre 580) whips around like it was made of pasta instead of hammer forged steel.
Barrel whip isn't a big deal though, especially now that struts are available.

I had a Youtube video that I was going to put up a link to, but my new laptop doesn't seem to want to copy the link.
Video is " Ruger Mini-14 Barrel Flex and Muzzle Blast, High Speed Camera", by wavelength 1970.
 

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Also check out perfectunion's Mini section. The site lost several of it's best members when the new administrators took over, but all the good info is still there in the back pages.
250K threads and 52 million views.
 
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