Questions about the Ruger Mini-14

40Arpent

TGT Addict
TGT Supporter
Jul 16, 2008
7,071
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Houston
I own a Ruger Mini-14 (.223) that I bought new about 10-12 years ago, just because I liked the way it looked. I have probably fired less than 100 rounds through it, just plinking, but it sorta serves as a SHTF rifle for me. I had always heard a lot of Mini-14 bashing, mainly because of a lack of inherent accuracy. This never bothered me much, because I had no intention of trying to drive tacks with it.

Question #1: Can anyone tell me what other problems a Mini-14 of this vintage might exist?
Question #2: What distinguishes a Mini-14 "Ranch" from a standard Mini-14?
Question #3: From what I understand, Ruger at some point improved things with the Mini-14. When did this occur, and what changes did they make to make it a better rifle? From what I have been told, you can tell the new ones visually by the M-1 Carbine type front sight, as opposed to the large blade on the older ones.

Thanks,

Pete
 

Hoji

Bowling-Pin Commando
May 28, 2008
10,811
113
Mustang Ridge
The accurace in the standard mini14/ranch rifle has not been improved at all.

They have a model with a 16.5 inch barrel that is a consistant 2 inch gun,and the new heavy barreled model with that ridiculous harmonic dampener on it that is a consistant 1.5 inch gun.

I own a mini and for what it is, it is just fine. I will probably have the barrel cut to 16 and recrowned to get better accuracy out of it. Much cheaper than doing this:Custom Ruger Mini 14 30 Rifles Accuracy Systems Gunsmith

But I would like to get these guys to do one for me if I ever get the extra cash
 

oldguy

Well-Known
Mar 6, 2008
1,861
63
What distinguishes a Mini-14 "Ranch" from a standard Mini-14?
The Ranch model has the built in scope mounts,I've owned both the new and older model 3-4 inch accuracy at 100 yards,but in truth they were never designed as target guns many options to improve accuracy, heavy barrels, etc, but not sure its worth the cost.?
 

Texas Patriot

Member
Jul 17, 2008
115
16
Spring
Question #1: Can anyone tell me what other problems a Mini-14 of this vintage might exist?
I would not say any problems, but the trigger pull can sure be improved which will result in better accuracy. There are several good folks around to do this work. I got mine done and its a nice 3# pull now.
Also, the barrel on the stock older mini models was just too thin. I had mine cut down and this stiffened it up and holds much tighter groups now.
Next, its advisable to take the screws out of the gas block, and as you re-tighten them, make the gap from the top part to the bottom part equal all the way around and try to keep the same torque on all 4 screws as you retighten it. This seems to help accuracy on lots of the older minis that are out there.
You can add a muzzle brake and bed the stock for not much $$ and this will improve accuracy lots.
Lastly, try different types of ammo. It is fact that minis are ammo sensitive, but only through trial and error will you know which brand your mini likes best.

Question #2: What distinguishes a Mini-14 "Ranch" from a standard Mini-14?
On the older Minis, the ranch model had a flip down rear sight while the "standard" model had a more sturdy rear sight. Also, as mentioned above, the "ranch" model had rings that mounted onto the receiver, but the "standard" model did not facilitate that. Other than that, no differences.
All the new models are called the "Ranch Model".


Question #3: From what I understand, Ruger at some point improved things with the Mini-14. When did this occur, and what changes did they make to make it a better rifle? From what I have been told, you can tell the new ones visually by the M-1 Carbine type front sight, as opposed to the large blade on the older ones.
Ruger made the change a couple of years ago, or so. The visible changes are the front sight is different than the old big blade on the older models and the barrel is a little thicker than the older models. Lots of people report that the new model is more accurate than the older ones, too. YMMV, but generally, most people are happy with the new model.


Thanks,

Pete
I have 2 mini 14's. I did a few mods on the first one, the Ranch model and groups went from oh, about 12" or so to 1.5" @100 yds. Here's what I did:
1. bedded the stock ($13)
2. trigger job to reduce pull from ~8# to 3# ($45)
3. installed pin on muzzle brake ($15)
4. tried all kinds of different ammo

The other Mini, the regular model, I sent to Gundoc to cut the barrel to 15" and permanently install a flashider/muzzle brake (to bring it to legal length) and to recrown. I've got it in a Butler Creek Folding Stock with an EoTech on an Ultimak Scout rail and it is my favorite plinking, fun and shtf rifle now.
 

40Arpent

TGT Addict
TGT Supporter
Jul 16, 2008
7,071
48
Houston
Thanks very much to all who responded, especially Texas Patriot. I just bought a new one (standard model in stainless with composite stock), so it'll be interesting to do a little side-by-side comparison at the range.
 

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