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View Full Version : Ruger Mini-14, which series/year was best?


BigJB
02-12-2011, 10:08 AM
Were certain years better than others?


Thanks

gemini1
02-12-2011, 10:12 AM
I read that the current models or 580 series are better with regards to accuracy.

glockman19
02-12-2011, 10:42 AM
580/581 series...Mini- rifles became much more accurate after Ruger re-tooled the production line in 2006. They increased tollerances and added the heavier barrel to improve accuracy.

BigJB
02-12-2011, 11:11 AM
Thanks all

mcat707
02-12-2011, 11:32 AM
I only owned and shot the 580 series. One of the most solid and most reliable rifles that I have ever owned. Never had any issues with it. Just make sure you use Ruger OEM mags and you'll be happy with its reliability.

Bedpan Bandit
02-12-2011, 11:50 AM
I love my 580 series. No problems at all. Accurate in the right hands.

23 Blast
02-12-2011, 12:05 PM
I have a 581- series Mini 30, and other than the fact that it has a hard tome detonating the hard primers on Russian steel-cased ammo, it's reliable and accurate. No kidding. If can reliably hit a bowling pin at 200m with a rifle, I'm pretty satisfied. The Mini 30 (with scope) made it as easy as pie.

Spanky8601
02-12-2011, 1:32 PM
I have a 581 Mini 14 and it reaches out nicely to 400 yards (pig sized steel) very well.

rogervzv
02-12-2011, 1:59 PM
The 580 series Mini-14s are supposed to be the best.

My old 182 series Mini (circa 1981) is nonetheless a sweetheart. Simple to shoot, simple to disassemble and clean, never fails to fire or chokes on ammo.

tiger222
02-12-2011, 2:22 PM
If I ever get a mini - it would be an 80's GB
swap out the flash hider for a brake that looks
just like it and have fun, A team style !

Jack L
02-12-2011, 6:42 PM
I have a 581. Very nice. Correctional officers in CA have been using the Mini for a long time. I just plink out here on my ranch. At 100 yards (I don't shoot any further than that, but the rifle could) using 100% stock rifle and iron sights it shoots very flat and easy to hit a very small target. I bought 4, 10 round magazines and they all seem to work well. I am using Lake City ammo and have had no jams. I keep the chamber really clean after reading posts here and got also info on a AR-15 chamber cleaning brush. Mine is the ranch stainless model. It does the job and I'm leaving it stock as it came, at least until, or if, anything fails.

I read Rugers article on how they shut down and rebuilt the facility area where they manufactured the Mini. The old equipment was worn out. They built new equipment and also made a few design changes such as a little beefier barrel. Everyone seems to like their new 580 and 581 rifles. They are what they are. Nothing fancy but a solid well designed fairly inexpensive rifle.

SickofSoCal
02-12-2011, 6:45 PM
I'd say anything from the mid-80's to early 90's is good.

Everyone I have ever met who owns a Mini, loves them.

bcrich
02-12-2011, 7:28 PM
Everyone I have ever met who owns a Mini, loves them.

I loved my mini the day I bought it and the day I sold it! (580 series)

SofaGeorge
02-12-2011, 8:14 PM
I have people trash talk Mini-14s for accuracy all the time. Mine is a 181... and it is the sharpest tackdriver I own. Go figure.

vicb909
02-12-2011, 10:21 PM
in my opinion they are all great no matter what series. i have both a 180 series and a 580 both have worked flawlessly.

forgiven
02-13-2011, 2:51 AM
My mini-14 I've owned since the 80's and my mini-30 since the early 90's. I love them both.

thevic
02-13-2011, 2:57 AM
I miss my 581 series...

SickofSoCal
02-13-2011, 3:06 AM
I loved my mini the day I bought it and the day I sold it! (580 series)

I can relate to you. I have one from the first year it came out - 1976.

My brother has two Mini-14's and a Mini-30. Hands down, they are one of my top favorite semi-auto rifles to shoot. Just a blast everytime, really they are!

Jack L
02-13-2011, 7:39 AM
I have people trash talk Mini-14s for accuracy all the time. Mine is a 181... and it is the sharpest tackdriver I own. Go figure.

I hear that too. I doubt the correctional officers would use them if they were not accurate. For them it's possibly someone's life (they may save, or may take depending) if they miss, and usually don't miss when firing a lethal round.

It could be Ruger also hyped up their factory rebuilding facilities for the Mini to counter the bad rap about accuracy. As you can see from the post, more people like them than do not like them.

They do not last long in the rack when on sale at Big 5. Now a days you can buy just about any replacement part and turn the Mini into an extreme machine if you want to spend the $.

http://www.ruger-mini-14-firearms.com/mini_14_30_accessories.php

veeklog
02-13-2011, 8:08 AM
I bought a brand new Mini 14 in 1995 from B and E Firearms in Cypress for $250 USD. Can't beat that deal, and after all these years, still have it!

Jack L
02-13-2011, 10:46 AM
I bought a brand new Mini 14 in 1995 from B and E Firearms in Cypress for $250 USD. Can't beat that deal, and after all these years, still have it!

Good report. Barrel wear is often the single most reason regarding accuracy issues after years of use. When it comes time, it's not hard to install another barrel and can even upgrade at that time if one wants. Long live the Mini.

camsoup
02-13-2011, 11:02 AM
Were certain years better than others?


Thanks

I own a 186 series... no integrated scope mounts and non "heavy" barrel, its a great gun, feeds any .223 I throw at it and I can shoot 4" groups at 100 yards all day long. Certainly "combat accurate"

A good friend owns a 581 series, integrated scope mounts, heavy barrel.... much better front sight for distance shooting, but it is not anymore accurate than my older series (with open sights). 4" groups at 100 yards are the norm. It is also much harder to get on target at close ranges because your looking at a center post plus 2 wing posts through a ghost ring. The older mini with the single front post is much easier to use for quick target acquisition.

We worked through some drills the other day, 3 man sized target at 10-15 yards, spread apart by about 5 yards. the single front post was much easier to get on target and double tap center of mass on all three, the newer mini front sight is just harder to get on center at short distances with quick shots.

For any series mini I highly recommend a recoil buffer, Wilson combat 1911 buffers work great on the receiver end, they are only like $7 for a 6 pack. Felt recoil is reduced slightly, but the real benefit is the brass isn't beat up and doesn't fly nearly as far.

Jack L
02-13-2011, 12:01 PM
Good information. Thanks. 4 inches at 100 yards, that's all I need. I like the iron sights. Makes me feel like an organic shooter.

hawk81
02-13-2011, 1:06 PM
I have a 183 series and 3 581 series minis. The new ones are much better than the old ones, and more accurate.

Tiberius
02-13-2011, 1:56 PM
This is probably a dumb question - but how can you tell what series a Mini is? I assume it's the first 3 digits of the serial number - is that right?

Jaxpire
02-13-2011, 2:27 PM
It sure wasn't in the 80's because every shot these guys took it missed.

http://blogs.centrictv.com/shows/oncentric/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/ateam.jpg

glockman19
02-13-2011, 2:51 PM
Older 180 series mini's at best shoot 4" @ 100 yards...newer 580 series mini's shoot 1-2" @ 100 yards.

xenophobe
02-13-2011, 3:13 PM
I have people trash talk Mini-14s for accuracy all the time. Mine is a 181... and it is the sharpest tackdriver I own. Go figure.

Tackdriver. lol

Professor Frink
02-13-2011, 3:21 PM
I'm glad eveyone else is happy but my brand new 581 Series Mini is a piece of junk. Using PMC ammo, benched iron sights at 100 yards it will not even get on paper. I also tried PMP and Federal, same story. I have taken all the adjustment out of the sights and still no joy.

For what these cost new, they should be able to hit paper. I'm pretty disappointed. I never bought a mini due to the reputation for poor accuracy, and then I finally bought one based on the reported improvements. I've called Ruger and they are willing to take it back for an inspection.

I will update when it is recieved if the accuracy is any better.

Jack L
02-13-2011, 3:28 PM
I'm glad eveyone else is happy but my brand new 581 Series Mini is a piece of junk. Using PMC ammo, benched iron sights at 100 yards it will not even get on paper. I also tried PMP and Federal, same story. I have taken all the adjustment out of the sights and still no joy.

For what these cost new, they should be able to hit paper. I'm pretty disappointed. I never bought a mini due to the reputation for poor accuracy, and then I finally bought one based on the reported improvements. I've called Ruger and they willing to take it back for an inspection.

I will update when it is recieved if the accuracy is any better.

Something is not right. They are supposed to leave the factory dead on at 50 yards, demand that is does. I emailed Ruger regarding their factory set up and this is what I was told and mine does just that. Out of the box, dead on at 50 yards and easy to hit the 6" - 9" target at 100 yards with iron sights.

I hope they fix the issue. I bet they will if you detail the problems. Keep us posted.

TKM
02-13-2011, 3:52 PM
I like my heavily modded 181 and traded an unfired 581(I think, have to ask tmuller) for a nice Smith 41 Magnum.

Good guns but the challenge of finding reliable mags adds a wee bit of suck to the experience.

camsoup
02-13-2011, 4:31 PM
I like my heavily modded 181 and traded an unfired 581(I think, have to ask tmuller) for a nice Smith 41 Magnum.

Good guns but the challenge of finding reliable mags adds a wee bit of suck to the experience.

I have had excellent luck with the John Mason 10 rounders, a local shop had them for $18 each, big 5 wants 39.99 for a Ruger 10 rounder, 34.99 for the factory 5 rounder.

I bought 3 of the John Mason mags, easily have 500-600 through them combined, not a single issue yet. Although last range session I did notice some of the powder coat finish is started to chip at the corners.

Jack L
02-13-2011, 4:47 PM
I bought two John Mason mags. No issues. Have two Ruger 10's too, no issues.

bohoki
02-13-2011, 5:11 PM
i prefered the front catch of my 186 series mini 14 i think pretty much all the origional non ranch mini 14s had the front catch nub springloaded via the recoil spring

so shoving in a magazine can be done in a very careless fashion

you can rock and lock it or you can just shove it in

if you tried that with a ranch it will deform the front of the magazine above the hole

moleculo
02-13-2011, 8:21 PM
I love my 581. I've done a few mods - shortened the barrel by a couple of inches, put a muzzle brake on, trigger job (didn't like the factory trigger) and put a buffertech recoil buffer in. I've also got a Primary Arms Red Dot on it. The thing is a great little rifle. It eats everything I feed it and have never had a jam. I have Ruger factor magazines as well as John Masen 10 rounders. The Masen's have worked well for me - all four have given me zero grief.

Go Navy
02-13-2011, 9:08 PM
I have a 580-series stainless Ranch Rifle (.223/5.56). It is accurate and a fine rifle for the money.

Yes, the 580 (or 581) is the first three digits of the serial number, which is stamped right on the upper back part of the receiver. However you can spot the newer models instantly because they have a distinct barrel profile which is fat where it emerges from the forearm and tapers from there out. The older designs have a so-called "pencil" barrel.....no fat part. Different harmonics in the barrel, which is one reason why the newer series are more accurate.

I recommend you buy a 580, new or used, or later model.

Jack L
02-14-2011, 7:57 AM
I have a 580-series stainless Ranch Rifle (.223/5.56). It is accurate and a fine rifle for the money.

Yes, the 580 (or 581) is the first three digits of the serial number, which is stamped right on the upper back part of the receiver. However you can spot the newer models instantly because they have a distinct barrel profile which is fat where it emerges from the forearm and tapers from there out. The older designs have a so-called "pencil" barrel.....no fat part. Different harmonics in the barrel, which is one reason why the newer series are more accurate.

I recommend you buy a 580, new or used, or later model.

Or buy an older (or newer one) one for a good price and buy one of these kick butt barrels

http://www.ruger-mini-14-firearms.com/mini_14_30_accessories.php

CZ9
02-14-2011, 11:35 AM
I loved my 580 mini, but no so much after i noticed the crack in the bolt after only 900 rounds :(

captbilly
02-14-2011, 1:30 PM
My experience was that the Mini-14 was very reliable but not very accurate. Before some of you potential Mini-14 buyers say to yourself, "if it's not accurate I don't want it", let me define my terms. With decent ammo I could shoot about 2-3 MOA most of the time (with a 3-9 scope, made my own mount). I never tried any match ammo, never modded the gun an any way, but I was shooting competitively at the time. I was very disappointed because I was somehow expecting the Mini-14 to be as good as my target rifles, and that was silly. If you can't shoot better than 3MOA anyway then you won't be disappointed with the Mini-14, but if you have been shooting a very accurate AR-15 (sub MOA) you will notice the difference.

By the way, I was at Big 5 yesterday and noticed that the stainless mini-14 was $799. At that price I cannot see the attraction, since you could get a sub MOA AR-15 for a similar cost. At $400-$500 the Mini-14 would be a good choice for a basic rifle to compete with AKs.

Jack L
02-14-2011, 3:14 PM
My experience was that the Mini-14 was very reliable but not very accurate. Before some of you potential Mini-14 buyers say to yourself, "if it's not accurate I don't want it", let me define my terms. With decent ammo I could shoot about 2-3 MOA most of the time (with a 3-9 scope, made my own mount). I never tried any match ammo, never modded the gun an any way, but I was shooting competitively at the time. I was very disappointed because I was somehow expecting the Mini-14 to be as good as my target rifles, and that was silly. If you can't shoot better than 3MOA anyway then you won't be disappointed with the Mini-14, but if you have been shooting a very accurate AR-15 (sub MOA) you will notice the difference.

By the way, I was at Big 5 yesterday and noticed that the stainless mini-14 was $799. At that price I cannot see the attraction, since you could get a sub MOA AR-15 for a similar cost. At $400-$500 the Mini-14 would be a good choice for a basic rifle to compete with AKs.


On sale Ranch model is $749, Target model is $850. I think you said it pretty well. The stainless is a ranch rifle, not a match shooting rifle. The make a target rifle that's all hopped up for more accuracy, harmonic tuning, etc.. No one has checked in about those. The Mini is a good old USA made rifle that gives some work to folks here in this country and parts should be available if imports go south.

YouTube video

Says it shoots 1" groups at 100 yards, the Ruger Team won using it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=baqxtvx8Kls



Target model

http://dynamicarmament.com/items/long-guns~shotguns/ruger-long-guns/mini-14-ruger-mini-14-target-rifle-223-rem-rukmini-14-5t-detail.htm