Archive for the ‘Mini-14’ Category

I was talking to a friend the other day about whether or not I should sell my AR.  He was against the idea and told me if I wasn’t enjoying shooting it anymore that maybe I should change it up a little.  He suggested I reconfigure it with different attachments or come up with some challenges to make it more interesting.  I agreed to give that a shot before giving up on ol’ Frankenstein.

20140314_203021The next day a co-worker asked me if I knew anyone who would be interested in a rifle scope or two.  He was going through the attic at his dad’s and they came across 3 brand new Tasco scopes from 1984.  The good Tascos that were made in Japan and not the more inexpensive ones they sell now.  His dad was, and still is, addicted to auctions and estate sales, so they’re always coming across stuff they can’t remember buying.  I said I might be interested and he offered to let me try one out for a while and then we could discuss a price if I decided to keep it.

He brought it to me today and right after work I went home and immediately began the changeover.  I had assumed the rings from my red dot scope would work on the Tasco scope, but I was wrong; they were way too big.  I ran back to town real quick and bought a scope mount made by Millet Tactical.  It was way more expensive than just some basic rings but it definitely looks like its built better and is more reliable.

AR15_Mar14_2014The scope went on really easy and its all set up.  Now I just need some good weather and a place to do some distance shooting (the outdoor ranges in my area are closed until May).  I’m not 100% sure I like the way it looks but that might just be because I’m not good with change.  I’ve had that red dot sight on the rifle for a while now and I had really grown fond of it.  Now, to me at least, Frankenstein looks like the monster it was named after.

What do you think?  Does it look good?  Should I get a different mount?  Paint the mount?  Paint the scope?  Let me know in the comments below because I really need some outside input on this.

Mini14_Mar14_2014P.S. – The Mini-14 is now rocking the red dot and looking oh so sexy.  I do think it will be staying that way for now.  Besides making it looks more appealing it’ll almost certainly improve my accuracy.  I think the Mini-14 would look much better with a long scope than the AR, the trick is just finding a good way to mount it without having to modify the rifle.


I’ve been a fan of dot sights since I first began customizing my Mini-14 almost two years ago.  They’re great.  You get a single point sight that does not require lining up a front and rear sight.  This allows extremely fast target acquisition   Most also feature customizable reticles that allow you to change both color and shape.

My first red dot sight, made by Aim Sport Inc, wasn’t that impressive however.  I went more with cost than quality when I bought it.  It suffered significantly in sunlight due to glare and later in its life it became near impossible to zero.  On a few occasions  it even had some double vision.  These problems eventually became too much and when I built my AR15, I decided to invest in better optics.

My next choice (currently installed on my AR) was far above the first in terms of quality.  I knew that I needed something that would prevent glare.  I also needed something strong that would last.  But I still didn’t have a huge budget.  I ended up purchasing a red dot scope made by CP Tactical for $49.99.  I think it is the perfect match of cost and quality.

Not only does this thing look cool mounted on top of my AR, but it performs spectacularly.  There are 4 different reticle shapes and it works in both red or green.  Each color also has 5 brightness settings to better control reticle size and visibility.  Windage adjustments are extremely simple and clearly marked on the unit itself.  It even came with flip up covers for both the front and rear of the scope.

Zeroing the sight is pretty easy at 50 yards.  Beyond that however, it gets tough.  The reticle inside the scope covers about 4″ of a target at 100 yards.  Making precision shots at that distance is fairly difficult.  But at 50 yards its pretty simple and you can clearly see the changes you make to the sight from shot to shot.

This thing has also proven itself to be very sturdy.  The other day, right after I adjusted the sights, one of my bipod legs collapsed and the whole rifle fell hard onto the bench.  My attempted catch ended up causing the scope to take most of the fall.  But when I set it back up and slapped a magazine in, it shot in the exact same area as before.  I was very impressed.

And to top things off, its very easy on batteries.  My first red dot sight chewed through batteries left and right.  If I went to the range I always made sure to have at least two spare batteries with me.  With the new one, I’m still using the battery I put in it this past September.  Evidently the 5 brightness settings really help manage battery consumption.

So to summarize  if you can’t decide on optics for your rifle, definitely consider a red dot scope by CP Tactical.  I don’t think you can beat its quality for the low price tag.  I’ve been very pleased with mine and I don’t think anyone would regret buying one of these things.

Over the weekend I decided to do some shooting and try to record some of it.  Until now I had no videos of me shooting my guns at all.  I figured I would take this time to try my hand at a series of videos on Youtube.  The video is posted and you can watch it over HERE if you are interested.  It’s less than 6 minutes long and if you skip the parts where I’m talking it’s probably only about 2.

If you don’t want to watch the video you can just keep reading.

Aaron left his Mini-14 with me when he went back for the semester because it wasn’t working correctly.  The gas block had become lose and the bushing had fallen out into the stock itself.  It took me all of about 5 minutes to fix it and I took it with me to the range, along with my rifles, to test fire it.

I shot 40 rounds (2 magazines) through it and it functioned beautifully.  It did feel like it had more kick than my Mini but I think that might just be because his stock is much lighter than my Strikeforce stock.  I had less trouble keeping my rifle on target while shooting at a decent pace.  His was bouncing a lot.  His however does have better iron sights which made initial target acquisition a little faster.

The AR15 worked like a champ as always.  I put a couple magazines of .223 through it before dropping in the CMMG conversion kit and unloading 100 rounds (4 magazines) of 22lr.  You should definitely watch the video, even if only to see the conversion kit in action.  Its one thing for me to write about it a bunch, but seeing how this thing shoots is pretty neat.  The only thing better I guess would be actually shooting it yourself.

I met some nice people at the range; a few were even from my area.  The guy who was set up beside me had a virtual armory.  He had around 4 or 5 pistols, I think 2 rifles, and a shotgun or two.  He was a little bit reckless with his shooting but he was fun to watch.  We talked a bit and he even let me shoot his Remington Versa Max shotgun.  That thing was awesome.  It held 9 shells and fired as fast as you could pull the trigger.  He demonstrates this in the last segment of my video.  If I ever win the lottery, I’m getting one.

I don’t really have much to add beyond that.  I didn’t track my groups or anything like that this time.  I was mostly focused on getting decent videos and having fun.  Subscribe if you like my blog and I hope everyone has a good week.

I mentioned in a previous post, and over on the My Guns page, that my Ruger Mini-14 is wearing a stock made by ATI.  Its a Desert Tan side-folding stock that features removable rails on all sides of the handguard.  I also bought the extended 6″ aluminum rails for the top and bottom, but I don’t use the 2 on the sides at all.

You can find these stocks just about everywhere online including The Sportsman’s Guide, Natchez Shooting Supplies, and even over on ebay.  Two of my local gun shops even keep a few.  I shopped around for the best deal and found it was just as easy to go directly to ATI and order from them.  They were even offering free shipping at that time.

They are available in both Black and Desert Tan and you can buy them with all the extended rails, aluminum rails, folding stock, or fixed stock.  Offering so many different options was a great move on ATI’s part I believe; its one reason I chose them over other manufacturers like Tapco.

This stock impressed me straight out of the box.  For the price I didn’t think it would be made with this quality.  I thought I may need to do a little sanding or adjusting to get it to fit correctly but it fit perfect.  The entire stock is made from a type of heavy plastic, but the screws, nuts, and other hardware were indeed metal.  The rails that came with mine were plastic but I ordered the 6″ aluminum top and bottom rails to upgrade mine.  The instructions were simple to follow and I had it installed in under 30 minutes.

The Strikeforce stock was a good bit heavier than the Federal Ordinance stock that came on mine but without accessories attached it is still light enough to easily carry.  When it had the bipod, vertical grip, and red dot sight however, it was a behemoth to lug around and shooting it freehand quickly made you find some place to use that bipod.

Something I really like, and later implemented with my AR, is the adjustable buttstock.  Being able to slide the stock in or out is great when adjusting to different shooters.  I always preferred shooting it from about midway extended (I have short arms) whereas Aaron and Ryan seemed to prefer fully extended when they shot.  ATI steps it up and gives you an adjustable cheekrest for the buttstock as well.  I found that useful as well.


The way the stock folds sideways though is kinda strange and awkward to carry, but decent for storage.  The original Federal Ordinance stock folded under the rest of the gun (unless you had an extended mag installed) and was completely out of the way and nearly invisible when folded.  I’m not sure I would ever want to shoot it from the folded position but since I like options, I’m glad the Strikeforce stock gives you the ability to choose.

The only thing I really don’t like about the stock is that the upper part of the handguard is screwed onto the lower half.  This wouldn’t be and issue except that it requires a lot more effort as well as tools in order to disassemble the rifle.  In addition, with the upper rail being mounted only on the upper handguard, its possible (while not that likely) that the sight’s zero could change if any of the screws aren’t fully tightened or happen to loosen during a shooting session.

Its also worth mentioning that with the Strikeforce stock, its a bit more difficult to break open the trigger guard for disassembly.  The pistol grip blocks some of the access used to pry the guard open.  I don’t consider this a problem though because I’ve always had trouble breaking the trigger guard loose.  It just means it’ll take a little extra time and effort.

Overall I feel this is a fantastic product.  I’ve recommended the ATI Strikeforce stock more than a few times over the past year to a few other Mini owners.  Its a great value and allows complete customization of your Ruger Mini-14.  Definitely give ATI a look if you’re in the market for a new stock.

I don’t often talk about my Mini-14 but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it.  In fact its one of my favorite guns.  I was in love with it the moment my coworker brought it in to sell it in August of 2011.  I had never bought or owned a gun before but I knew I wanted that one.  I bought it that evening.

The reason I don’t talk about it often is because I haven’t been shooting it lately.  Its been much more economical to focus on my 22’s rather than blowing through boxes of .223 ammunition.  But I will be shooting it more.  Watching Aaron shoot it Wednesday made me remember why I loved shooting it so much.  I shot it a few times Wednesday but I definitely intend to devote an entire shoot to it on a future trip to the range.

My Mini-14 came with a Federal Ordinance “under-folding” stock when I bought it.  It was pretty cool looking and the wood made it feel like I was holding an AK or something.  Especially when I bought my 30 round magazine made by Tapco.

Unfortunately the Mini-14 wasn’t really designed to have tactical accessories and attaching a scope of any kind was going to be a pain.  So I decided to invest in an entirely new stock for it.  People laughed when they saw it but it looks even more amazing to me now.

The stock I purchased for my Mini was the ATI Strikeforce side-folding stock in desert tan.  With the new stock and add on rails I purchased, I was able to start adding some accessories.  Within months I had a red dot sight, a bipod, and a verticle grip.  Since then I’ve removed all of those and all but the sight currently call my AR15 home.

I learned a lot from my Mini-14 and I am truly happy that it was my first firearm.  Not only did I learn about the mechanics involved in the firing of a gun, but I also learned a great deal about barrels and ammunition.

Mini-14’s are not known to be that accurate.  They’re typically good at medium distances but groups tend to spread the more you shoot. The barrel on my early production Mini is a “pencil barrel”.  This thing is basically as thin as it could be in order to reduce its weight and make it easier to carry.  Unfortunately a thin barrel heats up and begins to warp very fast.  My barrel in particular likes to string bullets diagonally (up and to the left) when it gets hot.  The hotter it gets the farther the shots climb.  Newer Mini’s come with a thicker barrel to reduce this effect.  From what I’ve heard they are now significantly more accurate.

I don’t mind the reduced accuracy.  I can hit a man-sized target at 50 yards no problem.  While I wouldn’t want to take this thing hunting and try to kill a deer at 200 yards, it’s more than effective enough for me to shoot paper.  Besides, if I wanted a precision “tack driving” rifle, I would’ve bought someting that’s bolt action.  There’s just something really exciting and fun about shooting through a 30 round mag in under 15 seconds.

And when the zombies come, ill probably be using my AR anyway.  22lr rounds will work plenty good for head-shots.  🙂

In keeping with my decision to post every day I thought I would put up a little bit about what went on this afternoon.  My friend Aaron came back home for Thanksgiving and we decided to do some shooting.  He was given a few guns when his dad passed away earlier this year and he brought those along to shoot.

I brought all my guns.  My Mini-14, AR15, SR22, and Sig Sauer 1911-22.  He came with an M1 Carbine, and SKS, a Mini-14, a 357 revolver, and a 380 compact pistol.  We looked over all the guns he brought to make sure they were safe before shooting them but the SKS didn’t pass my inspection.  There was a considerable amount of rust on both the inside and outside of the barrel.  In addition there seemed to be a large chunk broken from the inside of the barrel.  I was disappointed because I was really wanting to shoot that thing.  It was a very cool looking rifle.  All the other guns checked out fine.

The pistols were all fun aside from his 380 compact.  The trigger pull was horrible and after firing the 5 round magazine it made our fingers extremely sore.  The revolver was fun but kicked way too hard for me.  It was a “hand cannon” according to Aaron.  It was still fun to shoot and I would gladly have spent some more time with it.

Very shortly into shooting his Mini-14 we noticed a problem.  One that I was very familiar with.  In the gas block on these rifles there is a “gas bushing” that is pretty much required if you want to rifle to function as a semi-auto.  If it isn’t secured in place the gas from each shot is not properly channeled back to the bolt.  Mine was missing from the day I bought my rifle until I fixed it.  Aaron’s at least was rattling around inside the gas chamber.  We were forced to shoot it as a single shot.  I’m going to fix it for him in the next few days.

The M1 carbine was pretty neat.  I watched him shoot it a bunch and even posted a few videos of it over on YouTube at the bottom of this post.  The only problem it seemed to have was feeding the rounds into the chamber.  After the first 4 shots or so it would start working fine however.  Toward the end Aaron decided to run a few magazines through my Mini-14 since he had plenty of ammo and his wasn’t working well enough.  A video of him rapid firing it is also posted on Youtube at the bottom of this page.


All in all we had a great time.  We both got to shoot some guns that we’d never shot before.  And as always it was just good to hang out again since we don’t get many chances anymore.  I might post a few more detailed reviews related to the individual guns we shot but for now this is all.  Check back later!