Mini 14 or 30? I got a 6.8, 5 rd. review

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sebtool

Blackhawk
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Oct 3, 2009
Messages
678
Was going to post this in response to another post, decided to throw it out on it's own.

I looked at basically the same questions before I bought my Mini 14 6.8 SPC a little while back. I already have a 180 series Mini 14 in .223/5.56 that is pretty doggone accurate, especially considering the sights on it, and my aging eyes. So the only advantage to another Mini in .223 would be the ease of adding a scope.

When I looked at the ballistics as a possible deer round, the 6.8 won hands down. It edges out the 30-30 by a bit, which tops the 7.62x39. I've never been a 'fan' of the 7.62, but can see the attraction in a SKS for a cheap shooter. I can appreciate the cheap part, but really don't care for the guns themselves.

The only downside to the 6.8 is ammo cost, which ain't cheap. I do reload, so am starting out buying a few boxes of factory ammo and saving the brass. The best pricing I found after a good bit of research was on gunbroker at $14.94/box.

I won't shoot the chrap import ammo in my guns. When I got my Mini 14 20 yrs ago or so, I was told it wouldn't shoot, had a bad case of 'Mini-14-itis', which so many people like to talk about. The only ammo the previous owner shot out of it was Norinco junk, and wasn't fond of cleaning it. After a 3-4 day process of cleaning, soaking, swabbing, and a complete disassembly, the gun is pretty close to a MOA shooter unless you're just pulling the trigger to hear it go boom, as fast as you can. Great gun, and I like it!

Just this past week I took the 6.8 to the range for the 1st time to see where it's shooting. Got there late, so after the pistols were put up, only had time to run 1 mag thru it. Basically point of aim at 50 yards, about 1" right. The sun was setting, so I didn't get to shoot it at 100 yds. 2" group on a silhouette target right at dark, not great, not bad. A better target/aiming point would have helped. Accuracy will come later.

2 things I noticed, which tells me it needs some attention. The trigger sucked. Long, creepy, stout, and a little gritty.... :? I bought it used, was told there was only about 80 rounds thru it, and the condition bears that out.

The other thing which needs attention is the ejection of the spent cases. This gun will throw some brass! I'll have to do a bit of research on it, but I'd imagine a little attention to spring selection, maybe some selective deburring and polishing would have the potential to help in this area.

Any advice?
I'm not a gunsmith, but am an experienced machinist and do my own gun work. I did take a gunsmithing course at the local jr. college many years ago, which taught me that I could handle the job, once I thought it thru. The instructor, a practicing gunsmith was pretty much of an idiot when it came to metalworking, but showed us a few things as far as function and repair.

Bottom line, the 6.8 will work for me, but it needs a little help. Like all manufactured items, some come thru the line better than others. I'd imagine this 1 is somewhere in the middle, quality wise. But I have no doubt that I'll be able to get it to shoot well, and will do what I ask of it. It could definitely be better, but is probably representative of Ruger's quality in these guns.

I might buy a Mini 30 beater down the road as a project, got a few ideas of my own as far as it's capability, just not with the current chambering. :wink:
 

mattsbox99

Hunter
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
3,391
Check out ASI for a kit they sell that has some gas port bushings (you could probably make) and a Wolff extra power operating rod spring to calm that bolt speed down.

http://www.ruger-mini-14-firearms.com/mini_14_30_accessories.php

Scroll down about 1/2 way for the bushings and spring.
 

Buckeye Bill

Buckeye
Joined
Jun 30, 2006
Messages
1,324
All the new Mini's have the redesigned ejector system that use the bolt lock plunger assembly as the ejector. This system really throws that brass about 12 to 15 feet to the 4 o'clock position. Most of the new Mini's that I handle have poor triggers but they do seem to get better with use. I do like the new sights on the new models and you should be able to get her hitting nice with a small adjustment. I am a fan of the 6.8 SPC and the Mini in this chambering seemed like a natural fit. Let us know how it is performing as you shoot it more.
 

sebtool

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 3, 2009
Messages
678
Thanks for the link Matt- i think I'll be spending a couple of $$ with them to experiment a little bit. I could make the bushings, but really don't know what orifice sizes would work. It's hard to make a set for $15, too. Once a little data is figgered out, it won't be hard to modify or adjust them as needed. I also saw the adjustable gas block. Has anyone tried 1 of those?

Bill - I'll be sure to keep up on it, just have to get time to shoot it! I'll probably take it apart and atke a closee look at the trigger assembly, clean it real good, maybe look for areas that a light stoning would improve. I want to do somer research, might pick up a Mini 14 'how to' book, if there's 1 out there reasonable.

Then I need to get a set of dies and some components so the real fun can begin. :wink:
 

Bob G

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
192
sebtool said:
When I looked at the ballistics as a possible deer round, the 6.8 won hands down. It edges out the 30-30 by a bit, which tops the 7.62x39.

How does it edge out the 30-30 when it gives up 300 ft-lbs. of energy at 100 yards? I just want to understand your logic there. According to Hornady, their 6.8 SPC 120 GR SST @ 100 yards is 2250 fps/1349 ft-lbs. While their 30-30 Win 160 gr FTX LEVERevolution is 2150 fps/1643 ft-lbs.
 

mattsbox99

Hunter
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
3,391
Numbers don't kill deer, bullets do.

I have the adjustable gas block on mine, its pretty sweet. I keep meaning to get the barrel threaded, but then I think I want to get the thing rebarreled so its just in limbo at the moment.
 

sebtool

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 3, 2009
Messages
678
Bob G said:
sebtool said:
When I looked at the ballistics as a possible deer round, the 6.8 won hands down. It edges out the 30-30 by a bit, which tops the 7.62x39.

How does it edge out the 30-30 when it gives up 300 ft-lbs. of energy at 100 yards? I just want to understand your logic there. According to Hornady, their 6.8 SPC 120 GR SST @ 100 yards is 2250 fps/1349 ft-lbs. While their 30-30 Win 160 gr FTX LEVERevolution is 2150 fps/1643 ft-lbs.

Sorry, Bob, but I don't guess that I consulted Hornady's data on the 160 gr SST. What I did was make an internet search or 3 on ballistics, and most, if not all charts I saw gave the 6.8 the edge by a little bit. A 2 minute search tonite gave me these 2 links, the 1st claims 6.8 energy matching your 160 gr. 30-30 data at 100 yds, from Hornady, no less. The 2nd give the 6.8 the edge over a 150 gr 30-30 by a considerable margin. It all depends on whose data you'd care to peruse.

http://www.rifleshootermag.com/2011/01/04/ammunition_remington_0303/

http://www.gunnersden.com/index.htm.rifle-cartridges-ballistics.html

I realize that the internet is full of info, and also realize that the majority of ammo manufacturers velocity/energy data is out of an unrealistically long, tight tolerance barrel that most shooters will never see, much less use. Most of their velocity data kinda falls flat on it's face when compared to real world user data, some more so than others.

I also looked for some comparisons from hunting experiences, and both cartridges seem to have the ability to kill deer sized game quickly, providing a capable hunter is beind the trigger. :wink:

And, as stated above, numbers don't kill deer, bullets do. More importantly, bullet placement. I've killed deer with cartridges from a 16 ga. slug, 32-40 Win. (nice old gun!), 30-30, 30-06, 38-55, and .308. All put them down, right now, with a good, reasonable distance shot.

As an all around '1' gun, in the Colonel's 'scout concept', providing I had the ammo supply required, I'd feel comfortable with the 6.8 as my '1' gun, from a ballistics standpoint. As I would with a reliable 336 Marlin. I've considered a project 30-30 before, just haven't done it yet. Mebbe someday, if I trade my 6.8 off....

Matt, those .750 dia. barrels on the ASI site are intrigueing. It would seem to be a good balance between rigidity and overall weight, compared to the 7/8" and 1" diameters. So many good ideas, so little time and $$$$$$! :lol:
 

Bob G

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
192
Sebtool, I like the 6.8 SPC. I thought about buying one myself and I wish Ruger didn't discontinue it. The problem, as I see it, with the 6.8 is that for the tacticool guys, it's too expensive to shoot, and even if they had more money than brains, like me, the lack of Ruger-made, high cap mags, made it less attractive. As a hunting rifle, I understand it's appeal to you. I think the Mini 14 is one of the handiest rifles ever made, bar none.

Mattsbox99, I am a numbers guy. I make a good living as a result of it. More deer are killed by automobiles in this country every year than the 6.8 SPC, and it's pretty unlikley that the 6.8 will ever surpass the 30-30 as a deer reaper. Do you think anyone will be talking about the 6.8 in a hundred years? In fact, I would venture to guess that the .22 magnum has harvested far more deer than the 6.8 SPC.
 

mattsbox99

Hunter
Joined
Jan 12, 2009
Messages
3,391
Seb, I'm thinking the .625 SS barrel myself, in 18.5" length with an AAC Brakeout added, bedding and trigger cleanup. I have the All weather Mini with laminated stock that I'd like to keep.

Bob G, you make a pretty weak argument. The 30-30 and .22 WMR have been around a lot longer, and more deer are killed by cars than all hunters anyway.
 

sebtool

Blackhawk
Joined
Oct 3, 2009
Messages
678
Sounds like a good project Matt. I can't figure out why Ruger never really improved their barrel contour to the degree they could. The newer ones appear to be better, but not all they could be.

Let's hope the .22 mag doesn't take that many deer, as I don't know of a state where a rimfire round is legal to use for deer. As far as catching the 30-30 - is there any caliber besides the 30-06 even close???? Apples to oranges, pretty foolish comparison, IMO.
 

Major T

Blackhawk
Joined
Aug 22, 2010
Messages
622
The trigger on my Newer Mini-14 with the somewhat heavier (dog knot) barrel and all weather SS version was really bad. I took the trigger apart and stoned the trigger and sear and clipped 1 1/2 coils from the trigger return. Wish I had not removed the coils. I ended up with a nice smooth trigger but a little light. I have to order a carrier for a shotgun, so I will add a replacement spring to the order.

I also wish that I had considered the 6.8. I have a good supply of both military LC67 and Remington commercial .223, but I agree that the 6.8 adds another dimension to the system. May have to have one. My mini-14 experience with accuracy has not been all that bad. jack
 

Bob G

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
192
sebtool said:
Sounds like a good project Matt. I can't figure out why Ruger never really improved their barrel contour to the degree they could. The newer ones appear to be better, but not all they could be.

Let's hope the .22 mag doesn't take that many deer, as I don't know of a state where a rimfire round is legal to use for deer. As far as catching the 30-30 - is there any caliber besides the 30-06 even close???? Apples to oranges, pretty foolish comparison, IMO.

You said the 6.8 edges out the 30-30 as a deer round. That is foolish IMO. Besides I said I like the 6.8, I was merely asking for you to explain your position.
 

Bob G

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 28, 2009
Messages
192
mattsbox99 said:
Seb, I'm thinking the .625 SS barrel myself, in 18.5" length with an AAC Brakeout added, bedding and trigger cleanup. I have the All weather Mini with laminated stock that I'd like to keep.

Bob G, you make a pretty weak argument. The 30-30 and .22 WMR have been around a lot longer, and more deer are killed by cars than all hunters anyway.

I meant to say yellow Volkswagens. There is no argument.
 
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