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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi

I own a old series 197 mini 14 that i that i use for sport shooting. I love the rifle as it is small and light and a very fun to shoot, the only drawback in my point of view is that its lacking in the precision department. The only thing ive tried so far to improve the precision is adding a accustrut and trigger job and with Fioccis FMJ 55gr ammo I can manage 3 moa groups at 200y. So my question is what are my options for the next step in terms of barrels/muzzle brakes and what accuracy is possible achive with the mini with a match barrel and the right handloads?

Fredrik
 

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The mini-14 is not a precision rifle by any stretch of the imagination, if you're getting 3" groups at 200 yards I would say that's about as good as it gets. Mine is a 186 Series that I did just about every thing you could think of to improve the accuracy including what you already did, plus I put the action in a Choate over-molded stock, and added a flash suppressor. Mine will shoot moa at 100 yards and fairly close to moa at 200 yards depending on the hand load. My twist is 1/9 so it actually prefers 55-62 grain boat tail bullets, using Varget powder.
 

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The mini-14 is not a precision rifle by any stretch of the imagination, if you're getting 3" groups at 200 yards I would say that's about as good as it gets. Mine is a 186 Series that I did just about every thing you could think of to improve the accuracy including what you already did, plus I put the action in a Choate over-molded stock, and added a flash suppressor. Mine will shoot moa at 100 yards and fairly close to moa at 200 yards depending on the hand load. My twist is 1/9 so it actually prefers 55-62 grain boat tail bullets, using Varget powder.
I actually have the same experience as high tuned and mine shot about the same as he described. Iv done all the same mods and ended up with nearly the same results. The newer mini's in my opinion are way more accurate than the older ones just saying out of experience. The mini's are nice, nearly indestructible little rifles but you can't expect percision out of these rifles as they are not built for long range accuracy. Hope this helps and good luck.
 

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"The Real Deal"
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I feel this is a question best for loose noose, or sandog. They are both knowledgeable on the subject. I shoot the mini's but ar platform is my fortay. I have 3 and have done some mods to mine but no rebarrel yet. The 88 model pencil barrel i have has a 1n7 twist, its probably a 2 or 3moa gun with 75 grain handloads. It also has a socom accustrut, recoil buffers, asi extra power spring and other mods. The mini 30 I have is a 1998 model, 308 bore, and with a 110 vmax handload is capable of under 1moa, but normally shoots around 1moa every day. The mini 14 target I own is a submoa gun, with a 40 grain vmax at the top of the speed scale for .223. Its a keyhole shooter, but those barrel damper set screws loosening gives me a fit even with loctite.

If I was gonna rebarrel, their are a few companies out their that can do it. ASI is first to mimd, or Accuracy Systems Incorporated, they do caliber changes, and just about anything imaginable with the mini platform, they are expensive, but do good work. The others will chime in with the other mini gu shops I am sure.

Ruger Mini 14 30 Rifles Barrel Conversions New Rifle Packages Accuracy Systems
 

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I spent over $2500 each on "accurizing work" by well respected and nationally known smiths for two Mini-14's in the late 1990's for G3 Glassed Gas Gun bench rest competition. After doing so, I spent $800 building an AR-15, and my scores skyrocketed. (Around that time, you could build a carbine for around $300ish as an FFL without breaking a sweat, so that $800 is somewhat similar to say a $1200 AR today built by a non FFL).

I also spent around the same time, I had a $3500 M-1a built for CMP. The Garand style action can be accurate, amazingly so, but the Mini misses the boat.

For the money, if you have an honest 1.5moa mini, be happy.
 

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"The Real Deal"
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I spent over $2500 each on "accurizing work" by well respected and nationally known smiths for two Mini-14's in the late 1990's for G3 Glassed Gas Gun bench rest competition. After doing so, I spent $800 building an AR-15, and my scores skyrocketed. (Around that time, you could build a carbine for around $300ish as an FFL without breaking a sweat, so that $800 is somewhat similar to say a $1200 AR today built by a non FFL).

I also spent around the same time, I had a $3500 M-1a built for CMP. The Garand style action can be accurate, amazingly so, but the Mini misses the boat.

For the money, if you have an honest 1.5moa mini, be happy.
Forgive me for not mentioning you being well versed on the mini as well. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the quick answers guys, seems like a expensive rebarrel/comp job just doesnt offer any bang for the buck then? Im going to try some handloads next so if I check the twist on my barrel perhaps someone would be kind enough to point me in the right direction regardig what bullets to use?
 

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No worries, Tacky, I wouldn't even call myself well-versed on smithing the Mini's, and certainly don't like to mention it in public. I've owned a bunch, worked on a bunch, but I didn't build my competition Mini's myself - I paid to have them done. They shot very well, but for $2500 each (suppose that'd be $3500 or so now?) they dang sure better have shot that well. The heartbreak was how much cheaper it was to build an AR that would shoot just as well, or better.

My wife had a Mini-14 Target, one of the space alien laminate stocks with the adjustable tuner. It was a 1.5-2MOA shooter out of the box, a bit of tuning (that I did do myself), with proper loads, it was sub-MOA.

The return on accuracy in an AR just makes way too much sense. I've "accurized" SKS's and AK's that have been more accurate for less money than Mini's.

I often analogize the Mini to a close cousin that you grew up with, but as an adult has a chronic drug problem - I really love the Mini, but it just doesn't live up to expectation or idealized potential...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The return on accuracy in an AR just makes way too much sense.
Im well aware on how correct that statment is, i have shot some realy nice AR's that will put the mini to shame. The problem with the strickt gun laws on this side of the atlantic , in Sweden I need to be a member of a IPSC shooting club to even get a licens to own a AR and that takes atleast 2 years achive. And even as we speek left wing pacifist politicians are doing their best to use the Paris terrorrist attacks as a cover to ban all semi-auto firearms in Europe. If they manage to pass that new law even in its mildest form no one in Europe will be able to own a AR for the purpose of hunting or sport shooting.
 

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High tuned, be aware the twist rate of a rifle generally dictate what weight/length bullet can be used in accordance with the rate of twist. For example a 1/12 twist would mean mostly 45-55grn projectile, where as 1/10 twist would mean 52-60grn, and the 1/9 52-up to 68grn and the faster the twist the heavier bullet can be used, however you must be aware of the over all length of the bullet in order to fit in you magazine, and thus chamber.

As far as reloading goes, I generally use the Lyman 49th Edition, as well as the Hodgdon Data Manual, and start at the starting load with a given bullet/powder/primer and work my way up until I get the accuracy I'm content with. Believe me this can be a quite tedious process, but I enjoy shooting, and have my own range. However, as far as powders go in the Mini-14 mine definitely prefers Varget, IMR4198, and H335, in that order. Personally I haven't seen much of a difference between the brand of primers used as long as they are standard small rifle primers, although using Federal Bench Rest primers in my bolt action .223 I can shoot one hole groups at 100 yards consistently, and sub moa groups out to 300 yards, but that is a horse of a different color, so I won't bore you with the details.

In closing I do believe the answer to getting the best accuracy out of a Mini-14 is definitely hand loading, as I've noticed the Mini-14 is very particular about the type of bullet, the powder and the OAL of the cartridge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
High tuned, be aware the twist rate of a rifle generally dictate what weight/length bullet can be used in accordance with the rate of twist. For example a 1/12 twist would mean mostly 45-55grn projectile, where as 1/10 twist would mean 52-60grn, and the 1/9 52-up to 68grn and the faster the twist the heavier bullet can be used, however you must be aware of the over all length of the bullet in order to fit in you magazine, and thus chamber.
Thanks that will be very usefull info! I have been loading my own handgun ammo for over 15 years but im new to rifle cartiges. I use Vithavouri powders for all my guns and the loading data they provide for .223 is tested in a 25 inch 1/12 twist barrel so it will not be accurate for the mini. Atleas it gets med the OAL and powder weight to start with.
 

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"The Real Deal"
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Thanks for the quick answers guys, seems like a expensive rebarrel/comp job just doesnt offer any bang for the buck then? Im going to try some handloads next so if I check the twist on my barrel perhaps someone would be kind enough to point me in the right direction regardig what bullets to use?
I use the 75 grain hornady, with usually hogdgon h4895, its has proven very accurate in several of my ar's weirdly in my 24" .936 1n9 ar, and the 1n8 10.5 pistol, match cmp rifle, and in my 1n7 twist, 1988 mini 14. That also includes the 1n7 twist 16" steyr aug. So its worked well over a variety of twist rates and barrel lengths. I have had success with the sierra match king 77grain hpbt as well. Those are 2 likely candidates. I run mine between 2.250", and 2.260" inches, case over all length, anything past 2.260" and you will have to breech load it, it will not fit in the magazine. You may find IMR 3031, Varget, or CFE223 useful powders as well. If you need exact specs let me know, I will send it to you.

No worries, Tacky, I wouldn't even call myself well-versed on smithing the Mini's, and certainly don't like to mention it in public. I've owned a bunch, worked on a bunch, but I didn't build my competition Mini's myself - I paid to have them done. They shot very well, but for $2500 each (suppose that'd be $3500 or so now?) they dang sure better have shot that well. The heartbreak was how much cheaper it was to build an AR that would shoot just as well, or better.

My wife had a Mini-14 Target, one of the space alien laminate stocks with the adjustable tuner. It was a 1.5-2MOA shooter out of the box, a bit of tuning (that I did do myself), with proper loads, it was sub-MOA.

The return on accuracy in an AR just makes way too much sense. I've "accurized" SKS's and AK's that have been more accurate for less money than Mini's.

I often analogize the Mini to a close cousin that you grew up with, but as an adult has a chronic drug problem - I really love the Mini, but it just doesn't live up to expectation or idealized potential...
By my statement, I was just implying you had some experience with non stock mini's, along with the other guys I mentioned, no disrespect implied. More so than I do in the mini department, I am more familiar with the AR platform, even though I have done some upgrades to my mini's. I will not reference you again, sorry.;)

You are totally correct about the ar, for less it can be made to shoot sub moa, by anyone thats willing to research, learn the platform, and owns and can use the armorer's tools. But a nagging question remains. The m14 rifle, which has been made into a very accurate rifle and shares the same type of action, similiar bolt (minus the bearing) and layout is similiar, with a different gas piston of course. So what is the achilles heel of the mini that keeps it from being able to attain submoa accuracy. Is it the tolerances held by ruger, the quality of the materials used to produce it, or cost factors associated with producing that level of accuracy. People say that the mini was never designed to be a sub moa gun, that may be true, but niether was the m14, but look at its ability, and transformation into the camp perry matches, and m21sniper setup used in vietnam and recalled recently to limited service by the military. So if one can do it, why not the other, what is the definitive issue that removes the mini from obtaining this level of accuracy?

I think ruger did make strides to improve the accuracy, in reference to the target model, and newer production carbines, however I wish they would have done a bit more. A full heavy barrel .875, .936, or 1" on the target model. I happen to like the laminate alien stock myself, it balances well, and is comfortable for me, more so than the muzzle heavy hogue setup on the target model. The trigger was improved, but could have been better say 3.5lbs. Just a few things i would have done.

What does worry me is that ruger as I see it jumped ship, and started putting more emphasis on the sr556, sr762, and ar556 and not the mini, a rifle they have produced for over 40 years and was known for. Dont get me wrong I have nothing against the ruger ar rifles, I just feel maybe they could have put that effort into the mini instead, and had an even greater more accurate product, and close the gap between the ar and mini once and for all. Just a thought.;)
 

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Argh... You're compelling me to reveal my dirty little secret! I don't usually spend much time on mini's online just because it's so frustrating that the super simple rule of "good barrel + good trigger = sub-Moa" doesn't apply for Mini's as it does for bolt guns and AR's. Nevertheless, I love the mini, LOVE the Mini-6.8. But it's kinda like a motorscooter for me - it's not something I like to ride in public.

Once everything is trued up, as best as possible, that narrow barrel with so much stress near the business end is what I tend to cite as the culprit. The heavy barrels are still cut under the gas "block", which I firmly believe creates an inconsistent node for the barrel harmonics. Both of my custom Mini's had new fab'd blocks installed around larger od barrels - not turned down for the port.

Matching barrel twist to bullet weight and velocity is probably the best bang for the buck that I acheive out of the mini's. The accu-strut seems to help also. Shooting free recoil on a bench tightens up a lot - since you can't negatively effect pressure inconsistently on the barrel, but that's not very analogous to field shooting for most people.

I also am a big fan of the "space alien" stock on the stainless target, although I don't love the lamo camo color. Cut in black/grey (or purple/grey) and I'd really love it. It's a unique look, but I have several rifles with similar style stocks.

What I REALLY want to see is a non-Mini from Ruger. They need to bring out an M-1a!!!!
 

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I am with you on the gas port, and barrel, culprit. They should have addressed that differently. Love the 6.8spc in my ar, never had the chance to shoot the mini 6.8. Have a friend that hunts deer with his mini 6.8 and the hornady gmx bullet, 3 down this year.

I dunno about the m1a by ruger, I have 2 of the springfields, a national match, and a scout, both great accurate rifles. The ruger xgi was interesting concept, but they could not make it work. If and special emphasis on "IF" they could produce the same accuracy, and quality of the m1a rifles, at a cheaper price point it would be interesting, or if they added different caliber options, that would bring something interesting to the table. However to produce a cheap reproduction of the m1a, with no other benefits or improvements, it would seem counterproductive. I would stay with the springfield, its proven itself worthy.
 

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Hi

I own a old series 197 mini 14 that i that i use for sport shooting. I love the rifle as it is small and light and a very fun to shoot, the only drawback in my point of view is that its lacking in the precision department. The only thing ive tried so far to improve the precision is adding a accustrut and trigger job and with Fioccis FMJ 55gr ammo I can manage 3 moa groups at 200y. So my question is what are my options for the next step in terms of barrels/muzzle brakes and what accuracy is possible achive with the mini with a match barrel and the right handloads?

Fredrik
Perhaps bedding the stock might help. Not sure of your "3 moa at 200 yards" description. That would roughly equal 6" inch groups, since moa normally (and roughly) equates to 1" every 100 yards. If your groups are 3" at 200 yards, that is not bad for a mini; if they're 6", still acceptable for the original intent of the Mini (Ruger calls it "good" at 2 moa) but could be improved upon.

Dealing with the gas bushing to tame down the cycling might help, depending on how far your brass ejects. Similarly, 1911 buffers fore and aft of the op rod may help by eliminating metal-to-metal contact and subsequent wiggling/vibration of the barrel. They're inexpensive (you can make them yourself, too), easy to install, and easy to remove. Particularly important or useful to help optics survive.

Lastly, short of a barrel replacement with something more substantial (like a Shilen barrel), make sure the four screws for your gas block are evenly torqued (between 28-30 inch pounds, usually) and the gaps on each side between the upper and lower part of the gas block are equal.

I'm not sure how effective it is, but getting the barrel cryogenically treated might help. If nothing else, it will certainly make cleaning easier.

Not sure how much of this is possible from Stockholm. Buffers you can make yourself, checking the torque/re-torquing the gas block screws are straight forward if you have am inch-pound (or metric equivalent) torque wrench.

The Mini is far from being a sniper rifle, but it can be made to be pretty darn close to an AR for not terribly much usually. And it's funnitudiny and reliability are hard to match. Lastly, not sure what length of AccuStrut you installed. A 6" model will certainly give you better results than a shorter one like the SOCOM.

Good luck guy. I'm guessing things are getting a bit dicey over there.

And...Welcome to the forum from Central Virginia!
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Perhaps bedding the stock might help. Not sure of your "3 moa at 200 yards" description. That would roughly equal 6" inch groups, since moa normally (and roughly) equates to 1" every 100 yards. If your groups are 3" at 200 yards, that is not bad for a mini; if they're 6", still acceptable for the original intent of the Mini (Ruger calls it "good" at 2 moa) but could be improved upon.

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Perhas i was a bit unclear buy you got it right, it shoots 6 inch groupings. Im using a Houge overmolded stock so i dont see any options to bed the stock, and would it do any good i was conviced it the problem was due to the barrel being the thickness of a straw? As was pointed out earlier in the thread Shilen has a sensible heavy barrel option that Brownells Sweden has in stock and it will cost me $430 and about another $150 to have it installed, the question is if its worth the money? I have a 6,5x55 swedish mauser for long range shooting so realy dont need the mini to perform beyond 200y.



 

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Perhas i was a bit unclear buy you got it right, it shoots 6 inch groupings. Im using a Houge overmolded stock so i dont see any options to bed the stock, and would it do any good i was conviced it the problem was due to the barrel being the thickness of a straw? As was pointed out earlier in the thread Shilen has a sensible heavy barrel option that Brownells Sweden has in stock and it will cost me $430 and about another $150 to have it installed, the question is if its worth the money? I have a 6,5x55 swedish mauser for long range shooting so realy dont need the mini to perform beyond 200y.
OMG! REALLY?!? How big a difference is it between U.S. currency and Sweetish currency. I only suggested the Shilen barrel because it is 230 dollars U.S. and it only took my Gunsmith 45 minutes to install. This is another reason why I suggest a Shilen Barrel, they come ready to install, they are crowned with a threaded finished chamber. It is a simple screw off and screw on procedure, the only major thing required is the gas block hole has to be drilled, and check the head spacing. But dont let a gunsmith take advantage of you, I did use a the most expensive gunsmith in my state to install my barrel and he only charged me 90 dollars U.S. Here is a link to my Gunsmith's web site. He also has a huge machine shop and custom makes rifle from scratch.
Dixie Precision Rifles, LLC

As far as 200 yard performance I have a few videos displaying the accuracy of the barrel shooting 100yards and 200 yards. Shooting a inch group at 100 yards and I shot another 1inch group at 200 yards. It could be better since I have never tuned a load with my rifle. It shot 1inch groups with Tulammo right out the door at 100 yards and I couldn't be happier. But this video I use basic 55 grain American Eagle in the Red box.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70XLQBzB6ow
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
You get 8,53 Swedish crowns on a dollar but what realy makes US products expensive here is the import and sales tax, just looked upp a Volquartsen kit for my 22/45 its $110 on Bronwnells US, and hold on to your hat $203 on Brownells Sweden. There are alot worse examples, lets say you want a buy a new American pick up truck here, then you better be ready to pay $70-90k for it!. Thanks for the video thats alot better then what my mini does with out of the box ammo! Nice looking rifle you got there, getting rid of that spaggetti barrel does alot for the over all look. I cant find any material info on the barrel, is it stainless steel? It sais "unfinnished" in the webshop so i was counting on have to having to pay for bluing as well as installment.
 

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You get 8,53 Swedish crowns on a dollar but what realy makes US products expensive here is the import and sales tax, just looked upp a Volquartsen kit for my 22/45 its $110 on Bronwnells US, and hold on to your hat $203 on Brownells Sweden. There are alot worse examples, lets say you want a buy a new American pick up truck here, then you better be ready to pay $70-90k for it!. Thanks for the video thats alot better then what my mini does with out of the box ammo! Nice looking rifle you got there, getting rid of that spaggetti barrel does alot for the over all look. I cant find any material info on the barrel, is it stainless steel? It sais "unfinnished" in the webshop so i was counting on have to having to pay for bluing as well as installment.
Well I just had a stroke.

As far as barrel material Shilen make a stainless steel and a Chrome moly barrel, I got the Chrome Moly. It is unfinished, and that is the way i kept it. I took some Van's instant bluing and blued the gas block area of my barrel and left the rest of the barrel raw. Yes, it will rust, but I love on my guns enough they will never know what rust is. As long you wipe it down after every time you shoot it will last forever. And if it does rust all your need is some 800 grit sand paper, some oil, and wet sand it. I myself take 0000 grit steel wool to clean it up up and apply Eagle one chrome polish to give it a mirror finish. She is an eye catcher at the range when i set it up on the shooting bench:cool: You could blue it yourself if you feel confident enough, here is a little video i found on the subject.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0Npeh2kcDU
 
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