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Thread: Ruger Mini-14

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    Regular Member 2a4all's Avatar
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    I'm shopping for an auto-loading rifle, and this one caught my eye.

    Does anyone have any experience with it? Would it be considered an "assault weapon" because of its detachable 20 rd mag? (Some versions come with 2.)
    A law-abiding citizen should be able to carry his personal protection firearm anywhere that an armed criminal might go.

    Member VCDL, NRA

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    Depends of who is writing the definition, but it could be in the future. As for the Mini-14, I like the new retooled rifles, more accurate than the old ones. I saw Ruger was also selling their factory 20 round magazines for $30 as an internet 'Inaugural special'.

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    IF....there is a gun ban...."assault weapon" will be whatever the powers deem. Don't worry about it yet.

    Yes, it's a good rifle. The .223 (5.56x45 Nato) is a fine caliber. Get it and enjoy it.

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    i have one its awesome rifle

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    Lone Star Veteran Gator5713's Avatar
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    I too have been considering a 'Mini14' because of the 'ranch gun' appeal... I like that it is basically an auto loading saddle rifle! I have had people tell me that it has some 'reliability issues' however.
    Thoughts, opinions?

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    TheMrMitch wrote:
    IF....there is a gun ban...."assault weapon" will be whatever the powers deem. Don't worry about it yet.

    Yes, it's a good rifle. The .223 (5.56x45 Nato) is a fine caliber. Get it and enjoy it.

    Most Mini 14's are stamped .223 not 5.56. .223 is technically not the same cartridge as a 5.56.

    If you have a gun stamped 5.56 you can shoot either 5.56 or .223. If you have a gun stamped .223 it is not recommended that you shoot 5.56 through it. Some of the Full auto Mini's (AAC 556) are stamped 5.56 IIRC as well as some of the semi auto versions, but most of the wood stalked Mini's are stamped .223 and IMHO you should not shoot 5.56 ammo through it.



    http://www.thegunzone.com/556v223.html



    Almost a quarter of a century ago, SAAMI recognized potential problems with shooters assuming that the 5.56mm cartridge was identical to the commercially available .223 Remington round. Here is their 31 January 1979 release, with some minor errors corrected:


    With the appearance of full metal jacket military 5.56 ammunition on the commercial Market, it has come to the attention of the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers' Institute (SAAMI) that the use of military 5.56mm ammunition in sporting rifles chambered for Caliber .223 Remington cartridges can lead to higher-than-normal chamber pressures and possible hazards for the firearm, its user and bystanders.

    Tests have confirmed that chamber pressures in a sporting rifle may be significantly higher in the same gun when using military 5.56mm ammunition rather than commercially loaded Caliber .223 Remington cartridges, according to SAAMI.

    SAAMI points out that chambers for military rifles have a different throat configuration than chambers for sporting firearms which, together with the full metal jacket of the military projectile, may account for the higher pressures which result when military ammunition is fired in a sporting chamber.

    SAAMI recommends that a firearm be fired only with the cartridge for which it is specifically chambered by the manufacturer.




    In Rifle Chambered For
    Do Not Use These Cartridges

    223 Remington
    5.56mm Military
    222 Remington
    30 CarbineAdditionally, SAAMI's Unsafe Arms and Ammunition Combinations Technical Data Sheet page states:

    The .223 Remington is rated for a maximum of 50,000 CUP while the 5.56mm is rated for 60,000 CUP. That extra 10,000 CUP is likely sufficient to cause a failure in a chamber that's only rated for the "sporting" .223 Remington.

    The .223 Remington and the 5.56mm NATO, when checked with a chamber ream from a reliable manufacturer of each, also have discernable differences in the areas of freebore diameter, freebore length (leade) and angle of the throat.



    SAAMI
    Technical Office:
    P.O. Box 338
    Branford
    CT 06405-0338
    (Ironically, given the nature of the on-line confusion exhibited by .30 caliber shooters, no similar SAAMI advisory is given concerning 7.62 NATO beyond the fact that those who have rifles chambered in "308 Winchester" shouldn't attempt to shoot cartridges marked "7.62x39" or "300 Savage." Well, duh!)

    However, the estimable Clint McKee of Fulton Armory, has thoughtfully provided a brief monograph, The difference between 5.56mm and .223 Remington chambers in the AR-15®-type rifle, which explains this issue in greater (but quite readable) detail.

    Olin's Winchester Ammunition site, in 2001, addressed this matter as well, in a concise monograph by Paul Nowak, and Randall Rausch has a number of excellent technical documents, with graphics displaying the differences between the two cartridges, available at AR15barrels.com. Of particular interest are headspace and reamer dimensions.


    Further Views on "Differences"
    At the October 2001 IALEFI Conference in Reno, Nevada, Giles Stock, retired from Phoenix Police Department after 20 years service, discussed the differences between the .223 Remington/SAAMI and 5.56mm/NATO rifle chambers. The long-time range master for handgun, rifle, carbine and shotgun at Gunsite and developer of the acclaimed Giles Tactical Sling suggested that, as a general rule, recreational rifles have the former, and military rifles the latter… but there is some overlap, most notably in the popular Sturm Ruger Mini-14 which has been offered in both specifications!


    NATO chambers have a long leade1. SAAMI chambers are tighter and have a short leade. SAAMI chambers are designed for increased accuracy, but will yield dangerously high pressures in guns using military ammunition and/or which are subject to high volume shooting. Under such high pressures, a primer may back out completely, drop into the action and cause the firearm to stop working.
    It has been suggested that an autoloading rifle utilizing a SAAMI-spec chamber may increase risk of overpressure due to the tighter, shorter leade which retards the projectile somewhat as it is attempting to exit the case. Leave the SAMMI chambers to the a bolt action and single-shot rifles.

    ArmaLite, not the original, but the Eagle Arms pretenders, has its own views on the subject.
    Lake City plant2, Winchester is also a primary supplier of M193 to the U.S. military. That particular X223R1 round is commercially available in the white USA box product encoded "Q3131." What few realize is that Israeli Military Industries (IMI), the sole supplier of ammo to the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), also supplies their M193 as a subcontractor for Winchester; that round is often made available in the USA white boxes marked "Q3131A." By most reports, qualitatively, it is the same round and performs virtually the same as the home-grown variant.





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    I have a mini, I bought it second hand,NIB. All wood furniture, not the plastic hand guard over the charging rod. Stainless, not blued.

    I have been told that after the barrel gets heated the groups start to deteriorate, but I have never found that to be true with mine. And no,, thats not because they couldn't get any worse!

    If you purchase one, I'm quite sure you will be pleased. Ruger makes some quality firearms, I have 7 or 8 Rugers

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    Lone Star Veteran Gator5713's Avatar
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    So what you are saying is that I should attempt to buy guns chambered for 5.56 and 7.62 and shoot commercially available 223 and 308 (respectively) through them as opposed to buying .223 and .308 and risk only having 5.56 and 7.62 rounds available at a later time?
    [My wording may be a bit off here, but please read the 'heart' of the question... as it is, actually, a 'serious' question.]

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    Gator5713 wrote:
    So what you are saying is that I should attempt to buy guns chambered for 5.56 and 7.62 and shoot commercially available 223 and 308 (respectively) through them as opposed to buying .223 and .308 and risk only having 5.56 and 7.62 rounds available at a later time?
    [My wording may be a bit off here, but please read the 'heart' of the question... as it is, actually, a 'serious' question.]
    Basically,

    If you want to shoot 5.56 or .223 Remington. Get a gun stamped 5.56 (most ARS are stamped Both....

    There has been some discussion on .308 vs 7.62x51. Technically those are not the same cartridge either. IIRC .308 uses a thicker case wall vs. a 7.62x 51 uses a thinner case wall. Therefore IIRC compatabiblity is reversed for the .308. I.E. in .308 Win chambered guns you can shoot either one. I might have this backwards

    In 7.62's you can only shoot 7.62x51. Some one will probably say (it doesn't matter).

    However, when I was at Virginia Military Institute we did a US military historical shoot. We had about 3 M14's (yes you heard correctly M14's NOT M1A's). All of them had case separations occur inside the chambers. IIRC we where shooting .308.

    http://www.thegunzone.com/30cal.html

    No, Virginia, .308 Win. and 7.62mm NATO Are Not Identical
    At distressingly frequent intervals, someone can always be be counted on to pop up on an Internet Forum somewhere and ask Is the .308 Win round different than 7.62x51 NATO?. There follows a diluge of responses explaining with different degrees of success, this well-documented issue. So let this serve as a "mini-FAQ" on the subject.
    The .308 Winchester and the 7.62mm NATO (nee T-65) cartridges are not the same1, nor should they be considered interchangeable despite apparently identical external dimensions… the chamber drawings are in fact different.

    But as Clint McKee and Walter Kuleck of Fulton Armory note on their "award-winning" website:

    They are the same, 'cause nobody makes 7.62mm (NATO) ammo that isn't to the .308 "headspace" dimension spec. So 7.62mm ammo fits nicely into .308 chambers, as a rule.
    .308 Winchester
    MAP: 62,000 psi
    MPSM: 66,000 psi
    Minimum Proof Pressure: 83,000 psi
    Maximum Proof Pressure: 89,000 psi

    7.62 x 51mm NATO
    Maximum: 50,000 psi

    Proof pressure: 67,500 psi


    Sources: .308 Winchester data from ANSI/SAAMI document Z299.4-1992, Pressure and Velocity, Centerfire Rifle Sporting Ammunition

    7.62 x 51mm NATO headspace data from Jerry Kuhnhausen's M1/M1A shop manual.

    Pressure data from TM 43-001-27: Army Ammunition Data Sheets Small Caliber Ammunition
    According to Ken at Clymer Tools, noted maker of headspace gauges, the problem isn't the round itself, it's the headspacing.

    A 7.62 NATO Go gauge is .003-inch longer than a .308 Winchester Go gauge. The 7.62 NATO NoGo is also longer, to the tune of .004-inch. It's entirely possible to chamber and have an accident with a .308 Winchester round in a rifle that would be safe for 7.62 X 51mm. A chamber in 7.62 that could barely close on a 7.62 NoGo could swallow a .308 Field gauge. Add to this the fact that .308 Winchester brass, being of commercial manufacture, is much thinner than that of the 7.62 NATO, and expands alot more, could possibly lead to casehead separation.

    And just when we thought that we had this 7.62mm NATO stuff down pretty pat, along comes Adam Firestone at Cruffler.com with his taste for the arcane, who makes a compelling brief that much of what many thought they "knew," was all wrong! An excerpt:

    Many shooters are aware of the differences between the dimensionally similar 7.62mm NATO cartridge and the .308 Winchester. What most are not aware of is that all cartridges called "7.62mm NATO" are not created equal, and that there is significant variation, both dimensionally and ballistically, between 7.62mm NATO cartridges as manufactured by different countries, and even between such cartridges as manufactured by different arsenals within the same country. As a result, the terms "NATO spec" or "NATO standard," which imply that all "NATO" cartridges are the same or to indicate the fitness of given 7.62x51mm ammunition for a specific use, are misleading.

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    Just as an FYI I do not own that website thegunzone. I went to Yahoo typed in 223 vs. 556 and it came up.

    I then typed in .308 vs 7.62 Nato into yahoo and it came up again.



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    rob....thank you for your input. I did not say they were the same. .223 is called 5.56x45 byNATO.

    My bushy fires either round as do several others. As a .22 long is different from a .22 long rifle also. You'll never fit a .30 carbine in either 223 0r 5.56 so that is no comparison.

    As a rule, NATO ammo has less pressure than civilian ammo.

    Either way....it's a fine rifle....enjoy.

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    Lone Star Veteran Gator5713's Avatar
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    That actually cleared a lot up for me!
    I have been looking to get a couple of new rifles and which calibers to get has been a big internal debate. I really like the 25-06, but it isn't overly common and therefore I have been considering a .223 instead (and now will look into 5.56)
    Also I have been debating .308, 30-06, 7.62. Looks like I am leaning towards .308 (which has always been my leaning, but now I may have some slight more basis for it)
    I have a friend that has a .308 cal AR-15 and I have been considering getting one similar to it... I will have to ask if he has ever considered putting 7.62 through it...

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    why not get an AK?

    super reliable and easy to take care of...

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    Carolina40 wrote:
    why not get an AK?

    super reliable and easy to take care of...
    Or a Nagant...

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    because mini14s are awesome

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    FogRider wrote:
    Carolina40 wrote:
    why not get an AK?

    super reliable and easy to take care of...
    Or a Nagant...
    1st off... Cost and availability are both factors...
    2nd... If I am thinking correctly, the nagant is bigger than the mini14 and the ak is heavier (both of these statements VERY open to correction)
    3rd... I've never shot an AK or a Nagant...

    I am very open to suggestion, however, so an AK and a Nagant are now on the list of 'to look at'.

  17. #17
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    All that said....
    Anybody in the area with a selection of firearms similar to what I am looking for that is willing to meet me at a range? I am capable of paying my own range fees and ammo!!!

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    Gator5713 wrote:
    1st off... Cost and availability are both factors...
    2nd... If I am thinking correctly, the nagant is bigger than the mini14 and the ak is heavier (both of these statements VERY open to correction)
    3rd... I've never shot an AK or a Nagant...

    I am very open to suggestion, however, so an AK and a Nagant are now on the list of 'to look at'.
    I was mostly joking about the Nagant, it doesn't sound like that's really what you are looking for as it's a really old, heaver non-auto loader (unless you're like me and automatically cycle the bolt after a shot). Fun guns, though.

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    I thought that was the one that you were talking about....
    for the larger caliber gun I don't mind (and likely will prefer) a bolt action as that gun will be for longer and more accurate shooting/hunting...
    The 'saddle gun' is precisely that, for rapid ready situations (like a rabid 'varmint' in my yard!) and thus I think that I would like an auto loader for that (I can cycle a lever action pretty quickly, but...)
    Of course, more guns will be added with time... this is just my current list, along with a new handgun (leaning towards the H&K P2000 .40 or the Kimber ultra/pro Carry .45) Again, price is a big factor, so I am watching for used in good condition, but I have shot enough different guns to have a good idea of what I want and why...

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator longwatch's Avatar
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    It is perfectly safe to shoot .223 Remington or 5.56x45mm in Mini-14s. The owners manual states so.

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    Just a thought, you might also want to investigate Keltec's SU16.

  22. #22
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    I own a new Mini-14 (580 series). Ruger has solved most of the accruacy issues. The gun shoots well, is accurarte, and is a blast to shoot.

    Mini's are chambered for both .5.56 or .223. They shoot 5.56 or .223 just as easily. The manual says as much.

    Buy factory 20 round magazines. While some after markets work (depending on which generation of mini you have), it is usually a hit-or-miss game, with lots of returns to the store.

    The only drawback with mini's are that there are not a load of after-market parts, so you are relying on Ruger only (not a big issue for me,since Ruger is here in Prescott!).

    Older mini's are hit-and-miss with initial accuracy, however by spending a few bucks on an accu-strut and a muzzel brake/flash supressor, things tighten up pretty well.

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    longwatch wrote:
    It is perfectly safe to shoot .223 Remington or 5.56x45mm in Mini-14s. The owners manual states so.
    COOL!!!!!:celebrate:celebrate:celebrate

    Now, do they sell clips for the Mini-14 that hold more than 5 rds? Not that I would ever need more than that of course... just a simple curiosity question

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    AZkopper wrote:
    I own a new Mini-14 (580 series). Ruger has solved most of the accruacy issues. The gun shoots well, is accurarte, and is a blast to shoot.

    Mini's are chambered for both .5.56 or .223. They shoot 5.56 or .223 just as easily. The manual says as much.

    Buy factory 20 round magazines. While some after markets work (depending on which generation of mini you have), it is usually a hit-or-miss game, with lots of returns to the store.

    The only drawback with mini's are that there are not a load of after-market parts, so you are relying on Ruger only (not a big issue for me,since Ruger is here in Prescott!).

    Older mini's are hit-and-miss with initial accuracy, however by spending a few bucks on an accu-strut and a muzzel brake/flash supressor, things tighten up pretty well.
    Thanks! You answered my question as/before I posted it!

  25. #25
    Regular Member zoom6zoom's Avatar
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    Gator5713 wrote:

    Now, do they sell clips for the Mini-14 that hold more than 5 rds? Not that I would ever need more than that of course... just a simple curiosity question
    There's almost as much after market bolt-on crap for the 14 as there is for AR's. Plenty of different mags. There was even one outfit that had a drum available, don't know if it's still available.

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