Homemade Strut Rails Vs. Commercial Struts for the Mini 14

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Mar 27, 2010
There are several companies selling barrel support strut rods for the mini.
If you have a mini with the older thin barrel that does not have a taper in it, the homemade strut may work far better.
The homemade struts are made using the Tri-Rails available from Cheaper than Dirt. They are a little on the big side as they have picitinney rails on both sides and on the bottom. If you mill or file the two picitinney rails off of the sides, they look pretty good. Mill or file until you have just two aluminum stripes, on on the top of the block, one on the bottom. You are getting rid of the picitinney knobs on the sides of the blocks. Filing may take a little time, but you can use a cut off wheel on a Dremel tool to remove most of the material and finish up with your fine file.
The reasons they work better:
They are made of aluminum and are larger so they work as heat sinks and really take a lot of heat out of the barrel. They have far more surface area to get rid of the heat.
The clamps hold on to the barrel as if they are a part of it and the clamps hold the rod the same way.
You fit the rear block right up against the gas block. The gas block is hit hard by the op rod during firing. Having the block right up against the gas block adds a great deal of support to the gas block.
The gas block is only held by 4 screws and only has a limited clamping area. With the tri rail block held firmly against the front of the gas block, it adds a great deal of stiffness to the block and barrel, eliminating a pivot point between the barrel and gas block. It also helps take the shock from the op rod hitting the gas block and makes the gas block and tri rail into one solid block
You can put any type of rod that you want in the tri rail.
The tri rail needs a rod at least .560" is diameter to hold in the rod. If you mill or file the bottom area where the bottom clamp goes and remove approx. .070" of material, it will hold a 1/2" rod. The rod should be 5 1/4" long.
The commercial rods are pinned to the lower part of the gas block. The pinning does little to nothing to increase accuracy, it just keeps the clamps from sliding on the barrel.
Speaking of clamps, the tri rails clamp at least 10 time harder than the clamps on the commercial clamps, the tri rails do not move.
Lastly, you can save yourself a bunch of money. You can make the home made clamp for about $30.00 in parts.
The commercial struts are better looking, but with the tri rails milled so they are more compact, they look pretty darn nice.
Doing it yourself adds to the pride you have in your weapon and the tri rail set up will make it more accurate. They usually cut your groups in half or better.
All of this is just my opinion, give the homemade rod a try, I think you will be impressed at the accuracy gain. The commercial versions do work, but look at pictures of all the versions that are out there. Which gives the most support and gets rid of the most heat? You make the decision.

Best Regards, John K

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