Mini-14...Repair & range (Part 4) on Pg 2.

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DGW1949

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Subject rifle:
NIB 582 series Mini-14.
Blued with wood stock.
Model number on box; 05801.
It came with one 5rd mag, a "safety" lock, a pair of traditional scope rings, two Allen wrenches, and a chamber flag.
Retail is $900+....actual cost was $699.
Perty-dern expensive if ya ask me. But what aint these days, eh?

Initial observations and/or problems which needed fixed:
Receiver is D&T for the new-fangled "rail" but the rail was not included.
The rubber butt-plate was well fitted and IMO, a big improvement over the old-style curved plate.
Stock-fit was too loose for my liking, particularly fore and aft.....but...thankfully, the trigger group required considerable force to latch into place and the receiver-heel sits tightly against the stock just as it should.
All of the rear sight screws were tight, as were the stock liner screws.
The opposing gaps formed between the two halves of the gas block were not equidistant, nor was either gap parallel. One of the four screws was loose enough to turn by hand. In other words, the gas block had not been installed properly.
Bore was not cleaned after test firing.
The front sight was canted to the right.
Worst trigger I've ever felt on any rifle...bar none.....even the take-up is gritty, and if I didn't know better, I'd swear that the sear-edge and hammer notch were formed with a wood rasp. Other than looking over the trigger group and applying a touch of oil here and there (it was shipped dry), I haven't touched it....so I have no idea (yet) why the take-up (aka free travel) is so gritty. I've never seen nothing like it....horrible.

At the range:
Due to the canted sight, I began testing on a 25yd target by loading only 2 rds at a time into each of my five available mags, just in case my "new but unproven" gun with it's suspect trigger group decided to go full auto.
All five of my (Ruger) mags latched into place right, fed right, and tripped the hold-open latch when empty.
No malfunctions during the first 10 rounds, but I did note that the gun was shooting left of center...so I cleaned the bore (again) and hung a new target on the 50 yd line.
At 50yds, and with the rear sight centered, my canted front sight was causing my shots to hit 3-1/2 inches to the left of my POA. What that means is that "as issued" my front sight is off far enough to cause a 7 MOA difference between the rifle's POA and it's POI, so at 200, it would be 14" off.
Next, I hung a new target at 100yds, cleaned the bore again, and proceeded to fire 2 shots, adjust rear sight, fire 2 more, readjust, rinse 'n repete. That particular process took me a full 10rd mag to complete, and used-up all but a smigit of the rear sight's windage adjustment....but it was finally done, and viola!...I was hitting within the 10-ring.
All of the above firing was done using Federal/Lake City M193 (.556 NATO) ammo.
No malfunctions at all.
Ambient temp ranged from 93-97 degrees. 5 MPH S/E breeze.
The best group of the day was 5-shots in just under 3". The worst was over 4", due to lateral stringing. Yeah it's true, even the "new 'n improved" tapered barrel strings when heated.....Still though, that is the best shooting that I've ever done with an out of the box Mini-14. Sorta impressive actually.

My conclusions:
I have not yet determined whether my barrel is out of plumb to the receiver, or if the front sight was installed out of plumb, but regardless...there aint no excuse for a canted front sight, a misaligned gas block, or for loose screws on a NIB gun. Even though some of those things were easily remedied, what it tells me is that Ruger is in dire need of a QC inspector, meaning that even if they have one, they STILL need one...if ya get my drift.
Although I can reliably hit the 10 ring @ 100yds with this particular rifle, the fact that I've all but used-up it's windage adjustment means that it is not useable to me as-is. Shooting at 200 yds with any sort of a breeze would be out of the question.
Despite all of it's problems, the gun has the makings of a fine service rifle. It is already accurate enough, and plenty reliable. It just needs to be put into spec is all. Well that, and a stronger rear sight with 1 MOA clicks would be welcome.

I reckon that I'll soon see if Ruger's CS Dept is all that it's cracked up to be. If they'll just fix what they screwed up, I'll do something about a rear sight myself.

Suggestions and comments welcome.

DGW
 

LAH

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Even though some of those things were easily remedied, what it tells me is that Ruger is in dire need of a QC inspector, meaning that even if they have one, they STILL need one...if ya get my drift.

I think that says it all.
 

DGW1949

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In case anyone is following this thread;

The good:
I called Ruger's CS line yesterday, 7-08-13 @ approx 10:30AM CT. I was #5 in line and it took me about 15 minutes to get through to a live person...not too bad considering the present state of the firearms industry.
I spoke with a nice young lady (didn't catch her name) who seemed to understand what I meant by "canted front sight", it's implications, and the possible causes. I didn't mention anything about the horrible trigger, but did let her know about the poor installation of the gas block and that I had already addressed that issue on my end. Within 2 mins of our conversation, she said that she wanted the rifle back on Ruger's dime and said it would be picked-up (prepaid) by UPS on 7-09-13, which it was....approx 24 hrs after our conversation.

The not so good:
Towards the end of the above conversation, I asked that a spare firing pin be fitted (on my dime) while they had it. She wasn't too keen on the idea, but did say that she would put it on the work order and that I should also request it in the body of my letter which was to be included with the rifle. Still though, she cautioned me that although I was offering to pay, and that yes, the pin would be properly-fitted to my rifle, that supplying a spare firing pin was not something that she was aware of ever being done.
I guess we'll see what we see on that, eh?....and...whether the guy that works on my rifle will turn-out to be more skilled than the guy who did that part of it's assembly to start with.

Tick-tock, tick-tock.

DGW
 
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I think the concern is that even though the firing pin is fitted to your rifle /bolt... they are technically just sending you a firing pin that you could then pass on to someone else. You can buy spare firing pins from other suppliers and then have a gun smith fit it to your rifle.
 

DGW1949

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As of this morning;
Must be a long way from Texas to New Hampshire because it took a week to get there...but, the good news is that it was delivered at 10:30AM this morning.

Hello Blume357...
I'm with you on the potential for liability concerning the spare firing-pin thing. That said though....(like I told the lady on the phone), guns are inherently dangerous and having a spare firing-pin does not make any certain gun more-so....and besides the common-sense aspect of that...OTHER Mini-14 owners have reported that Ruger has fitted spare pins for them in the past. One guy even had two spares fitted. The price for having it done has reportedly varied between $17-$38. So, after considering all of that, she did add it to the work order. I reckon that we'll see what we see.

As far as I can determine, there's only one outfit that markets a Mini-14 firing pin, so no matter which vendor you buy one from, you are getting the same actual part. Unfortunately, what is being sold via the aftermarket is a sub-standard pin, meaning that it is of a 2-piece/brazed design which tends to fail prematurely at the joint. There also seems to be issues with the material and/or it's heat treating, meaning that the tip is known to bend, break, or wear-out rather quickly. Some have been reported to fail within the first 50 rounds.
In other words, that may work out fine for an occasional plinker, but not for a rifle which was bought for long-term/heavy use.

If anyone else has a better idea on how to add a spare firing-pin to my parts stash, I'm all ears.

Thanks.

DGW
 

Rick Courtright

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Hi,

Straying from the original topic to focus on the firing pin issue: I've read numerous reports about how Ruger won't sell the pins, must fit the pin at the factory, etc. They even say so in their owners manuals.

However, a little research may reveal whether this advice from another forum is valid or not:

Numrich sells a pin, their P/N 291460, which they list for the 180s. Reputedly it's a factory pin. Ruger uses different part numbers over the years, so I don't know if this pin can be interchanged w/ the ones in later series or not: http://www.gunpartscorp.com/Manufacturers/Ruger-33474/Rifles-40406/Mini-14RanchRifle-39654.htm Some say yes, but, remember, it's the Internet: a good gunsmith may be of help there.

Midway sells an aftermarket pin if one's interested: http://www.midwayusa.com/product/988708/glend-arms-oversize-firing-pin-ruger-mini-14 They say it fits all series of Mini 14s.

And they seem to think like many of the "Internet experts" do that a good kitchen table smith can handle the fitting job w/ the right tools.

Brownells sells a couple of gauges to measure protrusion. Here's one: http://www.brownells.com/gunsmith-tools-supplies/measuring-tools/firing-pin-protrusion-gauges/centerfire-rimfire-firing-pin-protrusion-gauge-prod867.aspx

Dunno if any of this is good info or not, but it's a place to start looking.

Rick C
 

DGW1949

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Hello Rick....
Thanks for your input on the pin thing.
Me thinks that the pin which Midway sells is the same, sub standard, 2-pc pin that I mentioned. Leastways, that is one of the places that other owners say that they bought there's. Some have reportedly been sent the same-identical pin from Brownells and Numrich. That said though, it could be that the "180 Series" pin which Numrich offers is indeed a Ruger part.....dunno.
As far as an older pin working in a newer gun, I'd have to say maybe. Reason being, the 180's used an ejector which is internal to the bolt which means that it has different relief-cuts along it's length. Also, I've read (but can not verify) that somewhere along the line, Ruger altered the retracting-cut in the reciever which required a different angle to be used on the leading edge of the pin's foot. I can't say how all of that would pan out when trying to use an older pin in a newer gun, but me thinks that it does explain some of the disparity in part numbers.
And just in passing, bear in mind that I'm no expert on this stuff. For all I know, they all might interchange just like Numrich says they will.

Thanks again.

DGW
 

DGW1949

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Well guys, my rifle came home today (7-24-13). UPS brought it to my door at Aprox 10:30 AM.
Total turn-around for repairs, 15 days...almost to the minute.
Considering that it took UPS 7 days just to get ithe gun there, I'm saying that Ruger was perty-dern quick about fixing it.

The good news/bad news, in no particular order:
The rifle was returned in it's origonal box but in a different shipping container than I'd sent it in.
My copy of the work order states that a new sight was installed, a spare firing pin was fitted, and that the gun was test fired.
On the bottom of the work order was a note that they had included a "complementary Ruger cleaning cloth as our way of saying thank you for your support of Ruger Firearms".......which I thought was a nice touch.
The front sight now looks to be staight-up, but I'll know more about that once I get back to the range.
The adjustment on the rear sight was not where I'd left it, but had been returned to it's middle position.
Somewhere in the shuffle, they managed to loose the chamber flag that I had installed.
The bore was left dirty after it was fired (again), but interestingly enough, was not as dirty as it was when new.
Although I had offered to pay (twice, once in writting), there was no charge for fitting the spare firing pin. My best guess as to why they didn't charge me is that they felt bad about me having to send the gun back for warranty work. Whatever the reason though, it was way-more than I expected.

That's it for now but I'm hoping to get to the range this weekend....that will tell the real tale, eh?

DGW
 

LAH

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Thanks for the update & look forward to the range report.
 

DGW1949

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Did some 50-Yd-testing yesterday (7-28-13), using the same lot of LC M193 ammo that I'd used before.
Starting with a clean bore and the sights set right where Ruger's service guy left them;
Firing from the bench and using a center-hold (not a 6 o'clock hold), my first shot went 1/2" left, 1" low.
The next four were within a 2" circle, much-more centered, but still low and a "hair" left.
It only took a "bit" of adjustment tocorrect the windage. Sorry that I can't be more specific than that, but beings how the factory sight has no provision for making distinct changes, saying a "bit" is the only way I know to put it. At any rate, the rear is still mostly in the middle of it's adjustment range, and you'd have to look real-close to notice that it aint,.....which was not the case at all before the warranty-repair was made.
Subsequent cean/fire sessions resulted in the same results....meaning that first shot (or two) out of a clean bore would land outside the group, and that the rest could be counted on to go right where I expected them yo go....centered 'n a bit low.
Aparently, everwho repaired my gun knew their stuff.
All in all, 100 rounds were fired.
Group sizes ranged between 3-4 MOA, which mirrored my first experience with this particular rifle.
As expected, there were no malfunctions at all.
Due to it's somewhat sloppy bedding and horrible trigger, I elected to save testing at longer ranges untill after those issues have been addressed. I didn't bother with elevation adjustments either, simply because there was no need to at this point.

DGW
 

DGW1949

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Added on 10-22-13:

Sorry for the slow update...but...I've had two wisdom teeth cut out since my last post, and about the last thing I felt like doing was shoot a rifle.

Since my last post, I've added a Tech Sight rear site ass'y to my (now) not so new rifle. The new sight is not only much easier to adjust (no tools needed), but also features a somewhat improved mounting system. I also quickly found that it's smaller aperature improved my shooting quite a bit. Using the same lot of M193 ball that I've used since day one, I am now keeping all of my (100 yd) shots inside a 2-1/2" circle, perty-much all the time.
As of my most-recent range testing, there's been 500+ rds put though through the gun using 5 different (factory) magazines.
Some of the grittiness has worked itself out of the trigger but the pull weight is still horrible. I suspect that it's going to need some professional help, or at least a detail-strip/polish/cleaning on my part.
At present, I'm reluctant to pull the trigger group out because the action has settled into the stock quite nicely, so I'm saving whatever trigger work I do untill I'm ready to glass-bed the rifle.
The only cleaning I've done is to wipe-down the outside metal with an oily rag, and scrub the bore between shooting sessions.
So far, there's been no failuress of any sort.

All in all, I'm beginning to have hope in this thing....meaning that my goal was/is to end up with less than $1K in an accurate/sturdy/absolutely-reliable rifle, including the cost of it's support system. So far, I've got about $700 in the gun, about $70 for the improved rear sight, and another $140 in mags and spare parts. I'm getting close to my limit but the good news is that I can bed it myself, already have the materials, and can (maybe) do something to address the trigger issues myself....so about all the money that'll be left to spend will be to fabicate a reduced-ID gas bushing and either buy (or fabricate) a reciever-mounted stripper-clip guide.

I guess we'll see what we see from here on out.
In the mean time though, did I mention that I am having a real good time?... :) .

DGW
 

modrifle3

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If you are planning on shooting factory ammo don't change the gas bushing or go with a fully adjustable version. Also those guns are made to be removed, don't worry about that. What pat of the action do you want to bed?
 

DGW1949

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My thinking is that this thing has a very violent action, much moreso than I'd deem nessesary for reliable functioning. That, and it slings brass about 20' from the gun....so....Why would you not reduce the size of the gas bushing hole?
Me personaly, I see some benifits relative to longivety, and no downside that I can think of.....but, if you think different, I'm always up for learning something.
FWIW, all of my shooting involves US-military ammo, either M193 or M855 NATO....mostly Federal or Lake City, which these days is about one and the same as far as "brands" go. I don't do steel cases, ball powders, or Russian ammo. Not saying that those don't have a place, just saying that they don't with me and this rifle.

The stock fit on my particular rifle is a lot looser than I'd like it....meaning that there is quite a bit of slop side to side where the reciever sit's down into it. In other words, the recessed area is too wide. Wide enough in fact, that the sides of the stock liner does not fully contact/support the reciever legs when the reciever is centered. If you could see what I'm seeing, it would be obvious that both sides of the liner will need shimed and the wood bedded in that area.
There's a bit of fore and aft play also, but that's a bit trickier to address. I haven't decided how I want to go about that yet, or even if I'll need to once I get rid of the other monkey-motion....but...I'm liking the way Accuracy Systems does theirs.

If you have any input or advice, don't be shy....just jump right in there.

DGW
 

modrifle3

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I stopped playing with mini14 way before the redesigned rifles came out. So my knowledge is dated. My rifles were wicked tight, but not great in the accuracy department. Mostly because Ruger was know for bending barrels during assembly. Mine did not throw brass 20 feet so I am curious if there is a change in the gas system. I still recommend using an adjustable unit because reliability is the key attribute of the mini. If not buy several size bushings and test them with various ammo. In stock form I never had a mini not like ammo. In the old days steel wolf ammo was cheap as dirt. I paid as little as $45 for 500 rds at gun shows. The action is fast and violent, but it was intended for military use, full of dirt and sand. So for what you are doing a little gas tuning may be nice. As far as the stock, I would replace it. Buy a nice laminate. Good luck with it.
 
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