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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I hope this question hasn't been hashed to death here before but if there was a discussion about this I couldn't find it. Feel free to chastise me and point me in the right direction if there is something here somewhere.

Ok, with the disclaimer out of the way, I am thinking of getting a mini 14 to help round out my gun collection and I've read where the newer rifles have a heavier barrel which makes for better accuracy. I agree completely with that but my question is, HOW much improvement was there? Did it reduce the average shot pattern at 100 yards from say, .56" to .45"? How about from 1.20" down to .50 inches? I've read several articles and, just like armpits, everybody has a couple and some of them stink to high heaven.

So, I'm here to do an armpit check. :D Has anybody changed from the lighter barrel to the heavier one? Any improvement worthy of causing me to ignore the older issue rifles for the new? If so, how much improvement? Can a newer barrel be installed on an older action?

I probably should have mentioned this earlier but I already have an excellent varmint rifle (Weatherby Vanguard) and I have an AR which is also quite accurate so I'm looking at the Mini 14 to be a true truck gun and a backup Zombie rifle so relatively small improvements in accuracy are probably going to be offset by the possible lower price of one with the thinner barrel. I've also done a brief serial number check to determine when they switched over to the heavier barrel but Ruger states that they do not manufacture in any specific order which is making it harder for me to determine just when they changed.
 

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I've had the older lower serial number guns and the newer ones as well.

I have not had any of them be accurate enough for me to be really impressed.

1.5"-2" were normal groups with me at 100 yards with factory ammo (this was before I started reloading a few years ago)

I sold both of mine over the years and took the money and bought ARs
 

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I owned a few older ones. Never had a scope on either one so with open sights at 100 it was more like 4" - 6" groups. I'm sure a scope would have helped. But at the same time I could shoot better open sight groups at 100 with every other gun I owned.

I thought something was wrong with the first one since I bought it used. Sold it and bought a new one and it was no better. Neither one had an issues other than barn door accuracy.

Never shot or even touched a newer one.

The Mini isn't all that bad, well when they weren't almost the same price as an AR. You can do so much more with a AR, more accurate, easier to modify and customize with a huge amount of aftermarkets parts out there. Personally I can't think of one good reason to buy one today.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Cooper and Hugger, what you guys have posted is what I see fairly often from other people on other sites. Even if it is as bad as 6" at 100 yards, that is still minute of bad guy and I think I can develop some reloads to improve on that. I tweaked the reloads for my 30-30 so that I'm getting about 2.5" with open sights at 100 yards and the only thing I plan on shooting with it is deer, maybe caribou and paper. For me, as long as the rifle is consistent and I can tweak it, I probably won't mind.

I still have never held one so I don't even know if I like the feel of them. All part of the process I guess.
 

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I still have an old 183-series Mini-14 that I bought back in 1982. It has the thin barrel profile that is prone to barrel whip and shot stringing. These cause the groups to open quite a bit especially when the barrel warms up under rapid fire.

Putting a barrel strut on it like Mo-Rod or Accu-strut takes care of the problem. I put a Mo-Rod on mine:

Mini-14_11.JPG

Here's one of my 100 yard targets using only iron sights and doing a 30-round mag. dump. I was firing at a rate of maybe 2-3 a second. I can live with that. When I am really trying, I can keep it at 2 MOA at 100 yards.

Mini-14_12.JPG

My Mini has always been 100% reliable without a single failure that I can recall and it is happy with any brand metal mag's I used in it. Since it's 1:9 twist , I use only 55 gr. ammo.

True, my AR will do much better, but I still enjoy my Mini too! :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nice! Thanks for the pics and the report on the Mo Rod.

Unless I run into a guy at home that has a Mini 14 I can fondle, I'll have to wait until the current madness is over to find one in a gun store somewhere.
 
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