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I belong to the local Native American veterans group. We have been using the mini 14 for years for our gun salutes, shooting blanks.
All seven of them just stopped ejecting the rounds at the same time. The spent brass is stuck in the chamber and we need a very sharp and hard slam on the bolt to get them to eject. Someone said they may have sprayed them down with WD-40 just before the funeral.
I gave them all a good cleaning but it does not improve the ejection of spent brass. New brass has no problem being ejected, only brass that has been fired. I am currently only putting a either a fired or a new empty cartridge in the chamber and pulling back on the bolt to see if it will pull the brass from the chamber. On the previously fired brass it comes back 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch and sticks. New brass and new ammunition ejects just fine.
Then I cleaned them again, only this time I used brake cleaner. There maybe a slight improvement for some of rounds but for the most part I have to slam the bolt to get it passed the spot it sticks at.
I then took one out to my back yard and put a few live rounds through it and it worked fine. I cleaned and lubed this again and tried a blank round and it would not reject normally.
Any help with this will be appreciated.
 

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How about a brass brush and scrub the chamber with some cleaner. My mini use to get cases stuck after heavy use, a chamber scrub always fixed it right up. Mine ate any ammo well until the chamber became dirty, then those stuck cases needed to be physically removed to get them out.
 

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If I understand your problem, it sounds as if the reloaded brass is not sized correctly. Measure a factory round against the reload. you should have to force a round into the chamber. Especially if it is not necessary with factory rounds.
 

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Mini's Hate Steel Cased Russian ammo. If I remember right, Ruger tells you not to use it in the Mini's manual. Not directed at you, but to whom it may concern.
 

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I didn't think blanks created enough pressure to cycle the action of semi-auto rifle ?
They do ?
The thing that sticks out is ... all 7 rifles started malfunctioning at the same time ...
Could it be ammo related ... change blank ammo lately ... why would all 7 start acting the same way ... That is really odd .
I don't know enough about blank ammo and semi-auto rifles to be of much help ... but all 7 start doing it at the same time ... what changed ?
Gary
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yes, the fact that they all started acting up at the same time is my idea that it is either ammo related or something about a cleaning agent used that no one is owning up to. Though if it were a different cleaning compound that left a residue, then the cleanings I put them through should have corrected that.
We have used these rifles for over ten years with no problems. The blanks do not cycle, we just added the command to 'load' and crack the bolt back to cycle the next round.
We did run out of blanks that were labeled .223 and began using blanks that are labeled 5.56. These 5.56 rounds did work for about a year of funerals. We get our ammo in conjunction with our local VFW, who also use a Ruger Mini-14 (theirs are only about 3 years old. They were using the Garand, but since we are not getting any younger, they liked our lighter Mini-14's so they switched to Mini's with stainless steal barrels). The VFW post is not having problems and they do let use their rifles because of this.
I am stumped. Our local ammo shop says they have not been able to find blank 223's. 556 ammo, I know, has the same exterior dimensions as the 223. Before I take the rifles to a gunsmith, I was hoping some one out there has heard about this problem and had a solution.
I appreciate any ideas. Thanks.
 

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I'm thinking it's ammo related ... but have no idea as to what's going on .
Blanks are above my experience level . But I would love to know what's going on so keep us updated ... I am always glad to learn something new ...and this is an interesting mystery.
Gary
 

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Was there a change in manufacturer/brand? I’m with Gary on this one. I don’t know much about blanks. It will be interesting to know if you get this resolved.
 

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If the new ammo has slightly different crimping it could be that this changed pattern of residue, and after your year or so the buildup is causing sticking. Surely someone has a borescope to check the chamber and leade for deposits. The newer VFW rifles being SS may be why they don't stick, or it could just be a matter of time . . . and as others have said the 'new' ammo may just have a different formula - I've found that several brands are much dirtier than others.
Also, instead of using brake cleaner I'd get some Boretech C4 Carbon cleaner to clean the chamber and bore (since the fouling can get blown thru the barrel). It works great for all my rifles, even my SKSs with 'dirty' milsurp ammo. They come out shiny like new. Are the rifles used for 'real' bullets too?
 

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Having dealt with blank ammo on a few occasions, I know that quite a few loadings use blackpowder, or a mix of black and smokeless. It maybe a simple case of blackpowder fouling, that is best removed by hot water, soap, and scrubbing. Hopefully, the chambers have not corroded from blackpowder fouling. Also, as others stated, case dimensions of the current blank ammo may be different from previous ammo.
 

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Whenever something starts happening, especially across 7 weapons, look to what’s changed and in this case it’s the ammo. Perhaps the replacement rounds casing specs are close but not close enough and the cartridge expands just enough after being fired to get stuck.

If you’ve cleaned and cleaned with good quality solvent and brass cleaning brush, live rounds work as expected, then I’d try to find some better blanks which I realize is a challenge.
 

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I'm going to assume that you fire the rifles them manually eject the empty case and chamber another blank because I cannot see how a blank could produce enough pressure at the gas port to activate the operating rod to go rearward and kick out the empty brass. I've seen "blank firing attachments" for AR-15s that I assume trap enough powder gasses to activate the gun mechanism for mock battle scenarios. A bullet going down the barrel seals enough pressure to blow the op rod & bolt rearward to eject the empty and chamber a new round. I did not realize that anyone reloaded blank cartridges. It is my understanding that blanks are loaded from rejected brass and should never be reloaded. It sounds like you need to stick to virgin brass and forget about blank reloads.
 

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P.S. (I can't find an "edit" button so I am double sending) It could be that you need a small base reloading die if you must use reloads. The brass may not be getting sized small enough and it is stickeing.
 

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You said you're firing blanks at the ceremony, and regular cartridges when testing. I suspect chamber pressure (ejection power), blanks vs cartridge.
Same is seen sometimes when using silencers. Just my thoughts.
 

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I belong to the local Native American veterans group. We have been using the mini 14 for years for our gun salutes, shooting blanks.
All seven of them just stopped ejecting the rounds at the same time. The spent brass is stuck in the chamber and we need a very sharp and hard slam on the bolt to get them to eject. Someone said they may have sprayed them down with WD-40 just before the funeral.
I gave them all a good cleaning but it does not improve the ejection of spent brass. New brass has no problem being ejected, only brass that has been fired. I am currently only putting a either a fired or a new empty cartridge in the chamber and pulling back on the bolt to see if it will pull the brass from the chamber. On the previously fired brass it comes back 1/8 or 1/4 of an inch and sticks. New brass and new ammunition ejects just fine.
Then I cleaned them again, only this time I used brake cleaner. There maybe a slight improvement for some of rounds but for the most part I have to slam the bolt to get it passed the spot it sticks at.
I then took one out to my back yard and put a few live rounds through it and it worked fine. I cleaned and lubed this again and tried a blank round and it would not reject normally.
Any help with this will be appreciated.
You should be able to find a Blank firing adapter for .223. These are designed to let you shoot blanks in a semi auto, and have it properly function. The other thing is stop using the brake cleaner. You either have a a rough chamber, a worn out extractor or a weak extractor spring.
 

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I agree with most of the above posts that this is most likely ammo related. You confirmed that you recently changed from .223 blanks to 5.56 blanks.

I have a mini 14 and have stripped and cleaned it pretty thoroughly. Did you take it down and clean the gas block? I suspect that the gas bushing is clogged. Dump the bushing and cover in some gun solvent to remove any residue. Reassemble the rifle and test fire. I bet they will fire fine afterwards.
 

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Yes this has to be an ammo problem if all have failed at once. Though you have used this blank ammo before with success it may have been a different lot #. I have had issues with both thicker cartridge rims and smaller diameter than spec rims on cheaper ammo with .223/5/56 and with other caliber cartridges. I was able to resolve most of these problems by buying aftermarket exactors that were more aggressive in grabbing the rim. But I don't know of any aftermarket exactors for the Mini. New ones might help. I do agree that blank adaptors would help a lot. In these days of every kind of ammo shortage I wish you good luck.
 

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If the previous blanks completely ejected the brass, then that was what is unusual. As Wakpa said in #6, just add the command, "Ready." to the drill. That is what the local VFWs, and the Marine Corps league do. At "ready" the pull the bolt back to chamber the next blank. This is the fastest, easiest way to fix the problem. NEVER use WD-40 on any gun! It leaves a residue, that can build up over several uses. Scrub the chamber with a good gun cleaner and bronze brush, and don't use any oil in the chamber.
Good luck, and please let us know how it comes out.
 

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I would try a real cleaning of all the rifles. Not just spraying WD40 and brake cleaner on them

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