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So for my first firearm purchase in over 25 years I chose to get a Mini 14, it seemed to be a good choice for me and where I live (California).
I pick it up Monday and can't wait to take it to a range but I have a couple of questions.

1. Do I or should I purchase and mount a barrel stabilizer? I have heard that the barrel can vibrate on the older models but can't get confirmation that the newer ones tapered barrel is good enough.

2. What would be the best optics choice, a standard scope or a red dot sight?

3. What is the best make and model sight or scope that will attach with the factory provided mounts?

4. Any Mini 14 owners have any other tips or suggestions for me that I can do but still keep it CA compliant?

Thanks in advance

Rus
 

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Russ,

I've had a Leupold scope on my Ranch rifle since I got it in 1994. Mounted it using the Ruger scope rings and it's been great ever since. I don't have a barrel brace and mine shoots fine. I'm not trying to get bullet holes to touch at 100 yards though just inside the first couple rings.
 

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Welcome to the forum, fishslayer. Good choice on your first purchase in a long time.
You didn't say what series Mini you have, if it is the newer tapered barrel or the old skinny barrel.
If it is a pre 580 series, then yes, get a two clamp Accustrut for it. ( And do the "dimple option". The strut will greatly improve accuracy and pretty much eliminate stringing.

When we know what model you have we'll know what type of optic mounting that came on your Mini.
Older Ranch will only have the scope base scallops that are part of the receiver.
Newer models will have both the scallops, and also be tapped for the included Picatinny rail.

Be advised that mounting any scope or dot over the action will put the optic up a bit too high. You will have more of a chin weld on the stock rather than a cheek weld.
There are other downsides to mounting over the action, possible interference with the rear sight, brass hitting your scope or dot, more difficultly removing the bolt for cleaning, and tunnel vision by having the optic right up close to your head.

My recommendation would be to get an Ultimak railed handguard. They provide some of the same benefits as a strut, such as helping to stiffen the barrel, dampen harmonics and act as a heat sink, but the main advantage is the best place to mount an optic.
Optic will be out of the way of ejecting brass, out of the way of the rear sight and bolt removal, mounted low so you don't have to scoot your head up slightly to see through the optic, and the optic is far enough away from your head that your peripheral vision is greatly increased.

The stock on Minis are set up for iron sights. Look how the scope and dot is this pic are nice and low, almost as low as the irons. When you throw the Mini up to your shoulder, you are looking right through the center of the optic.

With a high mounted-over-the-action optic, you have to take a couple seconds to scoot your head up to see, or strap on a goofy cheek riser to your stock.

The downside to the Ultimak is the $140 cost. Many guys don't want to spend the extra money, but having the optic out on the barrel is the preferred way. If your Mini came with the rail, and you are set on a scope, I would suggest a Primary Arms prism scope.
These are known as the "Poor Man's ACOG". All of the advantages of the Trijicon Acog, but $270 compared to the ACOG's $1200-$1500 cost.

Lifetime warranty, illuminated reticle, super clear and bright, tethered scope caps, adjustable diopter, reflection diffusing filter on the front, and the excellent ACSS reticle, so good that Trijicon paid for the rights to use it on their products.
They come in 2x, 3x, and 5x models. Mine is a 3x. That is plenty magnification to place all rounds center of mass out to 400 yards, and not so much that it would be difficult to engage several targets up close.
I have mine on a x39 AR. If I was limited to a factory rail on my Minis and didn't have Ultimaks, they all would have PA Prisms as well.

Even at 62, I much prefer a dot to a scope. So many guys put a big scope on the Mini, and then only shoot off a bench rest at a paper target.
The Mini shines as a light, handy quick-to-get-into-action carbine, putting an extra pound of scope and rings on it messes with the weight, balance and good feel of the Mini.
A micro dot like the Burris or Vortex weigh in the neighborhood of 1 ounce, are quick to get into action, great in low light, much better to engage multiple targets and your situational awareness (peripherals) are way better as well.

If you buy a $30 Walmart special red dot, battery life might be an issue.
Spend $200 on a decent dot, like the FastFire or Venom, and battery life is a non issue.
The first FastFire I bought in 2012 finally needed a new battery last fall, seven years is a good long time for a $4 battery.
I have FastFires on all my Mini-30s, I only put a scope on when testing new loads, then the 8x magnification is helpful. The rest of the time, that extra pound of weight is a downer.

A lot of info to absorb, but we aim to please, and help new guys have a sweet shooting Mini.
From past experience I would advise against putting a big 3-9x scope on your Mini, keep the magnification low, like the 3x mentioned.
Or better yet, lose the extra pound that a scope will add, and try a small red dot, you'll love it !



 

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Strap302 +1. Guy knows.

Ranch is fun, simple, like a Garand is simple.

You need to have high accuracy or hit target?

Accuracy might mean getting new barrel from Accuracy Systems;

Hitting target may mean steady shooter...nada, rifle-wise, just using it as designed, IMO.
 

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I just picked up another Mini after doing without one for a couple of years....shame on me!
I picked the Stainless Ranch. Wanted to keep it simple so after Orange Testors applied
to the front sight got in on the center of a paper plate at 100 yards which is about as good as my old peepers will allow. Ordered a Choate Handguard and a cheap quick adjust sling from Midway. Also got a VTAC buttstock adapter to allow the rear attachment at to top of the toe. Will put one of my Wilson Shop Buffers on the rear and found a Burris 2X7 BDC Scope on sale for 149.99 on Amazon.
That should about do it, enjoy your new Mini!
 

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Sweet Stainless!

Stainless Mini's are very popular this year. I picked up a #5802 SS/Wood over Christmas as a gift to myself. I've left it stock so far. With the iron sights, I can shoot a fist size target at 100 yards with cheap Remington 62 grain FMJ. :D
 

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You didn't state whether the rifle is new, or used. The earlier models had a laundry list
of minor shortcomings which are just critical enough to effect accuracy. As previously mentioned, any serial prior to the 581 prefixes can be a difficult road, and in the case
of the early pencil barrels, the stabilizers do help tighten groups.

If the rifle is a new purchase, the quality, and the profile of the barrels has improved considerably.

Perfect Union is a good forum for Mini-14 specific information.
 

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If rifle does what it's designed to do, that is it; to me.

If I wanted MOA stuff, which, to me, is impractical in field, then I might have a barrel from Accu-whatever installed for big bucks or go to a #1 rifle etc.

But, the fun is that whatever minor accuracy exists with a 14 is replaced by the next shot, generally and their basic simplicity, like a Garand and M14. (Which are still military-used.)

Pragmatically speaking these rifles are popular because they shoot simply, IMO.

I am merchandising my SS Ranchero rifle only 'cuz I do not shoot it and I am seriously trying to reduce my firearm inventory...

BTW, FWIW this dodger is over 70 and still prefers open sights/peeps in particular. Scope has a place but prefer quick and simple, which the Mini cetainly is.

Sadly, as some will learn, the more I try, the harder it becomes.

I find it is hard to replace my "wants" with "need," when it comes to these things. I am such a pusssy.
 

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So for my first firearm purchase in over 25 years I chose to get a Mini 14, it seemed to be a good choice for me and where I live (California).
I pick it up Monday and can't wait to take it to a range but I have a couple of questions.

1. Do I or should I purchase and mount a barrel stabilizer? I have heard that the barrel can vibrate on the older models but can't get confirmation that the newer ones tapered barrel is good enough.

2. What would be the best optics choice, a standard scope or a red dot sight?

3. What is the best make and model sight or scope that will attach with the factory provided mounts?

4. Any Mini 14 owners have any other tips or suggestions for me that I can do but still keep it CA compliant?

Thanks in advance

Rus
I also purchased the mini 14 recently after a 20 yr dry spell. I have all the firearms that needed. But I always wanted a mini and with everything changing so fast I figured get it while the getting is good. Mine is a 580 series, and I have a promag archangel stock. I use the UTG 4x30 bug buster CQB scope. It's great for $100 scope. Sturdy, light, compact and very versatile. I zeroed it 1 time and have never had to make any major adjustments since. Pull out of the case and start plinking.
 
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