Got a 181 series Mini 14 with an unexpected 1977 production & shipping date.

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Dec 24, 2022
Denver, CO
Hello everyone, this is my first post here at the RugerForum. Recently, I acquired my first Mini 14 in what appears to be unfired condition. The serial number is 181-017xx. I requested, and received, a Ruger Letter, which said the rifle was built in September of 1977 and shipped out to a hardware store in CA in the same month. I was surprised to see the year, as all the production tables that I consulted both at Ruger and here, begin the 181 prefix in 1978.

I thought the forum will be interested in hearing about this unexpected, at least for me, production and shipping date of a "181-" Mini 14.

The question that I have for the forum is regarding the magazine that would have shipped with this rifle. Mine came with no mags, so I bought a new OEM 20-rd mag which locks in perfectly. Out of curiosity, is there a noticeable difference between a 1977 factory magazine and the 20s that are produced today? If so, I"ll keep an eye out for an older style magazine.

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