I took the plunge today and bought a Mini-14 (my first rifle that might be considered an "assault weapon". McBride's had it at a reasonable price (well below $600). Now what do I need to know about them? Any special tricks to cleaning, etc...
Congratulations on your new mini 14. Yesterday afternoon I received a long awaited call from Sportsmans Warehouse, and went over and picked up a new mini 14, stainless. So grandson and I will have a Merry 223 Christmas. Like you, I would appreciate any pointers/tips on the care and use of the mini 14. While waiting for the mini 14 to arrive, I've procured through EBay a Weigand Weaver rail scope mount, and a Bushnell 1x32 RedDot scope. Lots of toys to play with. The next part is stocking up on 223 ammo.
Under $600 for an "assault rifle" isn't a deep plunge at all :-).
A few things to do for your Mini-14 in the short-term: buy a folding stock for it (I liked the Butler Creek one), and buy a few high capacity magazines for it. The factory ones are best, because the quality on the cheaper non-factory mags is hit or miss (you can usually make them work with some sanding or light reshaping).
There's nothing special to cleaning them, just clean the barrel and put some oil on the metal-to-metal parts of the action. It's as hard to make one of these guns unreliable as it is to make it shoot good groups at 200 yards :-) so get used to the idea of aiming in the general direction and pulling the trigger often. Most of the problems I ever had with mine were due to cheap magazines.
It's a great little gun if you like shooting a lot and don't expect too much accuracy out of it.
Just remember it is a minute of man gun at 100 yards and don't expexct much more from it. It will go bang on ammo that will choke an AR and with good mags ( a key here) will always go bang. I've seen reports on this Accu-strut for Mini-14 making a huge improvement in accuracy.
It is a good weapon that has limitations. Shoot it and learn it well and it will serve your needs. Just be ready for the abuse you are about to recieve from your AR and AK owning buddies.
I was not expecting 800+ yards out of it in the first place. I only wanted 100-200 yards as, at my age, that is all that I can see clearly enough to identify a target without help (i.e., scope). Besides, I am unwilling to pay Hysteria Prices on an AR right now. You know, take the MSRP and add 300-500+ just for fun. Not for me! My kids and wife like to eat. I looked at an AK type that shoots .223 (don't remember the name but it was made in Israel). It was several hundred more used. I might go for it later but have to have the wife warm up to it. I've been spending too much on guns lately.
Finally, I just got mine on Friday, but have yet to take it out. From what I've read, the older Minis have thin barrels and suffer from barrel whip when they get hot. The newer ones, 580 series, have heavier barrels so this is less likely to happen. The first thing I'll be buying for it is an Accu-Strut to help stiffen the barrel.
Magazines, magazines, MAGAZINES! Right now, there is a huge run on Mini-14 20, 30 and 40 round mags so buy them if you get the chance when they become available. Ruger factory 20-round magazines are the best mags to buy for the mini and Ruger has them for a limited time priced at $29.95 each.
I just ordered two and it'll take several weeks to get them since there is such a backlog on mags. If the website says they're out, check back later since the site changes from minute to minute. The Pro Mag magazines are an ideal replacement. Cheaper Than Dirt has them for $17.97 each and they work quite well. From what I've been reading, Jim Masen Black Warrior mags are also good mags, but everything else is hit or miss with miss usually being the case. Stay away from bargain magazines since the Mini is very picky in what it likes. AR mags will not fit in the Mini.
No problem, Brian. I'm taking mine out to the country today to try her out. It won't be anything very scientific per se. I'm just looking to see how she handles and how accurate she is on soda cans out to 50 yards.
I sent a letter to Ruger's records department to find out the specifics about my Mini so I can start 'accurizing' it a bit. I'm interested in doing some performance upgrades but nothing serious. I can't imagine dropping $500-$700 on a gun then spending another $500-$700 to get it to shoot like a match gun!