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Centerfire Rifles - Semiautomatic or Gas Operated Centerfire rifles, carbines and other gas operated rifles.

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  #1  
Old 04-06-2008, 8:39 AM
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Default Difference between Ruger Mini-14 "series" variations?

Since I was a kid I've wanted a mini-14. I've heard that various versions of this rifle are more desirable than others. Can anyone clarify what these differences are? What would one be looking for?

Please no comments about getting an AR instead...
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  #2  
Old 04-06-2008, 8:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikingshelmut View Post
Since I was a kid I've wanted a mini-14. I've heard that various versions of this rifle are more desirable than others. Can anyone clarify what these differences are? What would one be looking for?

Please no comments about getting an AR instead...
Have you thought about a AR...instead.....

The new NRA model for 08....looks pretty good....haven't shot one yet....

I admit....I have a MINI-14.....one...
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  #3  
Old 04-06-2008, 8:53 AM
Oswald2001 Oswald2001 is offline
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Here's the best site on earth for info on Mini's:


http://www.perfectunion.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=86
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  #4  
Old 04-06-2008, 10:18 AM
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I checked out the perfect union site, found some good info. Sounds like (for reasons unknown to me) some people say the 180 series is not so good.
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:31 AM
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The only differences that I am aware of is that later models (Ranch Rifles) had the following changes (I can't say if they were improvements or not):

- changed the ejector from plunger type (AR style) to a fixed style which throws brass into the next county
- incorporated some type of spring buffer
- sights were changed from click adjust to blade type
- mounts for Ruger scope rings were incorporated into the receiver

IIRC, according to articles from rec.guns usenet group, the accuracy of the Mini-14 .223 was always mediocre due to hasty production of their investment cast barrels. A former Ruger employee claimed that the factory production process for the barrels was too fast and created internal stresses, which led to inconsistent barrel harmonics as the barrel heated up during firing. The same person claimed that either slowing down the machining process or stress relieving the barrel would significantly improve the mini-14s accuracy. Ruger was not interested in the extra costs to improve mini-14 barrels. This is all from my foggy memory so take it with a grain of salt
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Old 04-06-2008, 11:32 AM
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I own both a Mini-14 and a Mini-30 and I've always been confused as to what "series" they are. It's especially confusing to me because a couple of rifles that I spent less than $400 dollars a piece on now sell for $900. WTH?

Here's a post that has manufacture dates for the serial numbers:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost....1&postcount=44
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  #7  
Old 04-06-2008, 12:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikingshelmut View Post
I checked out the perfect union site, found some good info. Sounds like (for reasons unknown to me) some people say the 180 series is not so good.
i have a 180 series and never had one problem out of it. but the 180 series does have some internal differences from the later models from what i know of.
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Old 04-06-2008, 12:53 PM
Oswald2001 Oswald2001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikingshelmut View Post
I checked out the perfect union site, found some good info. Sounds like (for reasons unknown to me) some people say the 180 series is not so good.

I believe that 180 series is no longer supported by Ruger.

AFAIK, the 180 series rifle is a very good rifle, but should anything go wrong, it would be difficult/impossible to have it fixed if it required Ruger factory work.



The brand new Mini's have the heaviest barrels ever from Ruger.

I would consider one of those.



There is the NRA version which has a 16" barrel and is very nice, but, I think it is overpriced.
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  #9  
Old 04-06-2008, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oswald2001 View Post
The brand new Mini's have the heaviest barrels ever from Ruger.
Is this the 580 series?
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  #10  
Old 04-06-2008, 1:05 PM
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The newer 580 & 581 series Rugers are from the re-tooled shop and have heavier barrels and tighter tollerances. My mini-14 is as accurate as any rifle I have.
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  #11  
Old 04-06-2008, 3:34 PM
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Do the aftermarket items (stocks, etc) that fit the 19x series still fit the 580 series?
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  #12  
Old 04-06-2008, 3:45 PM
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I forget the exact series nubers but here is a rough idea:

180 series: no scipe ring mounts internal to rifle. Different bolt hold opne, bolt, stock, forearm, trigger group (and maybe some other parts I forget). Its NOT supported by ruger anymore.

181 to 190? or so series standard rifle.: Still no scope mounts but the trigger, bolt hold oped and bolt are all standardised at this piont and haven't changed yet. Very good quiality rifles but the lack of easily adding a scope and the unusual rear sight are negative points.

184? ish area brought us the "ranch rifle" that incorporated a "better" rear sight and incorporated spots for Ruger brand scope mounts on the top of the receiver.

580- 581? series: the first mini's made on the "retooled" machines and were made to tighter tollerances. The Ruger plant had used the same tooling for MANY years to make mini's and progressively got a little sloppy as the years went on. I have owned 3 580 to 581 series mini's and liek them a lot. They have an even better rear sight arangement and are more accurate.

This series also incorporates the unique "target" mini's.

Somewhere at in the 581 series (this year) they brought out an "imporved" mini that was/ is refered to as the MOA mini. They have a heavier barrel from the gas block towards the muzzle and the "NRA" mini is in this series.

There are also off shoot mini's made in 6.8 rem and 222 (export only) that are interesting guns also. The "GB" or Government Barrel mini's were designed for military and law enforcement and have always used the same heavier barrel that they now use for the newest series like the NRA rifles.

I have handled the NRA modle and was impressed at its design upgrades. I might have to invest in one soon to see if it shoots any different.

I own around 6 mini's right now (I forget becasue I trade them all the time and seem to find one tucked away every once in awhile) and I enjoy them all for different reasons.

I can tell you that just about ANY mini is a shooter with a little tweaking that you can read about at perfectunion.com . They are REALLY EASY tricks that can cut your group sizes in HALF easily. Even before I found that sight online I toyed with my mini for years and loved it for what it was.
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  #13  
Old 04-06-2008, 3:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikingshelmut View Post
Do the aftermarket items (stocks, etc) that fit the 19x series still fit the 580 series?
For the most part yes. Muzzle attachments will be different but take my advice and just have the muzzle threaded and but a good break on it. Your options will be opened up so much its not even funny.
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  #14  
Old 04-06-2008, 4:30 PM
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God I love my Mini-14.

Since gunrun already gave up the goods, I don't have too. I'll say that the new mini's are great shooters, and with a little work can be even better.

http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/s...ad.php?t=85199

and check out Perfect Union if you haven't already.

http://perfectunion.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=76
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  #15  
Old 04-07-2008, 8:00 PM
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Thanks for all the great info. I was looking at the new NRA 16" model and can see the thicker barrel near the gas block. I like the fact that they are making these with heavy barrels, but I'm curious. I don't see the heavy barrel on the regular length barrels. Do my eyes deceive me or is it that this newer barrel is only on the 581 16" barrel series?
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Old 04-07-2008, 8:03 PM
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Originally Posted by vikingshelmut View Post
Thanks for all the great info. I was looking at the new NRA 16" model and can see the thicker barrel near the gas block. I like the fact that they are making these with heavy barrels, but I'm curious. I don't see the heavy barrel on the regular length barrels. Do my eyes deceive me or is it that this newer barrel is only on the 581 16" barrel series?
The bbl is heavier from the gas block back to the reciever, ie: the part you cant see. Go to the local gun shop and take the handguard (i'm sure the sales guy will love that) and check it out for yourself.

BTW, the target mini is only 100 dollars or so more than the regular one locally to me.
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  #17  
Old 04-07-2008, 8:15 PM
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Ah, ok so the heavier barrel is under the handguard. Didn't realize that. So are the barrels the same thickness under the barrel block on the 16" and regular versions but the 16" tapers faster so it looks more obvious? Just curious why such a visual difference.

BTW found what appears to be a NIB '5801' series (blue, regular) mini for 579. Ruger lists them for $830. Is that a good deal?
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  #18  
Old 04-07-2008, 8:25 PM
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Okay. Let me try to get this right.

The NRA barrels (16") are thicker, they've got the "Ruger taper" as I like to call it.

The newer Ranch Rifles have the thicker part behind the gas block. I *think* the part forward of the gas block is the same diameter as it was with the regular 580s, which it seems like I read somebody compared on Perfect Union with calipers, but I can't remember the exact diameter measurment they came up with. They have no taper, they're the same "pencil" bbls that they were before.

IMHO the best thing you can do to a standard Mini-14 is to cut off 1-2" of bbl length, get it threaded, and attach something to the end.
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