Mini 14: Upgrade It or Sell Off and Buy New

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Joined
Oct 27, 2007
Messages
130
Location
MN
I have an early Mini 14 with the pencil barrel and blade sight (181-47XXX) I bought in the 80's. Says it is a 223. Shot it once back in the 90's and the group was way off. Honestly don't know if it was me or the rifle. I like the look of the Mini 14 better than the AR platform, but I am shocked at the current prices for a Mini 14. That has me leaning towards having some upgrades done if they will be cheaper than buying a NIB one. So some questions. Can I upgrade this to handle 5.56 as well as 223? While I don't need 1/2", MOA, but maybe M-O-Coyote (or pig); can I get a reasonably priced barrel that will do that? I would like to upgrade the iron sights as well. Looking for feedback from people more knowledgeable than me as to which way to go.

Thanks.
 

Hylander

Single-Sixer
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
432
Location
California
Upgrades:
Tech sight for rear sight.
Cut barrel to 16.5" and add muzzle brake, not flash hider.
Trigger job.
Shim bed stock.
Add Accu-Strut.
This will net you about 2.5 moa
About $350

Buy a nice used 580 series
This will already do about 2.5 moa.
Plus it is scope ready.
$800

New rifle $1,000
 

krw

Blackhawk
Joined
May 29, 2003
Messages
975
Location
Arkansas
Or, lump all your Mini-14 stuff in a pile and sell it. Flip that money into an AR platform that will be more accurate, easier to tune, more dependable, and hav accy's out the wazoo. A mini platform will not do anything an AR plaform cant do better, cheaper and more accurately
 
Joined
Dec 11, 2002
Messages
9,090
Location
Ohio , U.S.A.
Me neither, back in the day s when I shot at the gun club against others with both ARs as well as 30 cal gov. this and that and I often won,,,hell even qualified for my M-1 Garand from the DCM back then.....my Mini's shot all I could find or put in it,never an issue,,just stay away from the first ones, the 180 prefix ( like my
"Made in the 200 th year of American Liberty" )round bolt and the lugs can shear off, they modified the newer ones......I got rid of two of the early ones years ago,,,,put Ceiner .22 lr. conversions in them ,moved them down the road...so you will someday find a "200th Year"gun in 22 lr. it was one of mine....ta daa(y)(y)
 

Cal30 1906

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 2, 2023
Messages
259
Location
Elko Nevada
Or, lump all your Mini-14 stuff in a pile and sell it. Flip that money into an AR platform that will be more accurate, easier to tune, more dependable, and hav accy's out the wazoo. A mini platform will not do anything an AR plaform cant do better, cheaper and more accurately
I have ar- s and minis both and hands down the ar-s are more accurate but dependability I will give to the mini.
 

wv.citybilly

Bearcat
Joined
May 15, 2022
Messages
66
Location
West Virginia, USA
If you want an out-of-the-box accurate rifle, I'd buy a ..

Well, the Mini-14 is not that rifle.

I have a model 5855.

A few suggestions to accurize (agrees with the above poster):
Major:
barrel stabilizer
adjustable gas block
trigger (mine is two stage) at 4lbs that removes creep and overtravel
threading and muzzle break to tune the barrel
Minor:
heavy recoil spring
recoil spring pads
cant level
shims in trigger housing (poor man's bedding)

The right ammo:
There's exceptions, but mine prefers .223, 69 to 75 grain, BTHP. This is contraire to what everybody and their kid sister will tell you on the internet, but the grouping spread with 55 grain in mine was all over the place. YMMV

I have a budget scope, but I shoot up to a 1/4 mile, and it works (it's gone up in price since I bought it):

100 yards

HXnMMje.jpg


I prop up the end of my bi-pod for the 400yd shots with ammo boxes.

O2oxthF.jpg


The effective range of a .223 is stated between 200 to 300yds. By 400yds, the bullet has dropped 2ft, and a butterfly fart will move it off-target, but it will kill your coyote.

uqTdBGk.jpg
 
Joined
Oct 27, 2007
Messages
130
Location
MN
Thanks everyone for your replies. I think I'll start with Hylander's first suggestion. If I get reasonable accuracy I'll probably add a scope of some kind. Old eyes and cross-dominance makes rifle shooting more difficult for me than it ought to be.
 

welder

Buckeye
Joined
Sep 2, 2007
Messages
1,844
Location
western ky usa
Never been able to be without a Mini since the first one. I've had several and currently have a 5920 that serves as a house gun. For me there's no need to compare it to the AR, (mine lives in the safe) as I simply enjoy shooting Mini's more and they feel better to me. AR's shine and are very capable guns no doubt but the Ruger is intuitive and reliable for me, I really can't remember a failure except with a Mini 30 that was using aftermarket junk magazines (before I knew better) and steel case ammo. Even then there only a few hiccups with that combination.
The great thing about our sport are the choices and I choose to have both but favor one, personally.
 

PriseDeFer

Single-Sixer
Joined
Apr 22, 2014
Messages
450
Lumbering Buff...

"Shot it once back in the 90's and the group was way off."
If you mean a recognizable group that was not where you aimed why not just zero the weapon and go from there?
 

buckshot

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 7, 2011
Messages
122
Location
North Idaho
Or dump all the AR Platform and get more Mini stuff.
Some people Like the Mini Platform over the AR. True story!
Question was upgrade the old Mini or buy new, not should I get an AR.

I am one of those people! Sure I have shot ARs and they just don't do a thing for me. Never owned one and don't ever plan to. I will stick with the Mini 14. No they aren't the best target rifle, but that's not what they were designed for. They do everything I need them to do and they are extremely reliable and durable. And IMHO a Mini looks better than an AR any day of the week.

My vote is keep your Mini and make some upgrades to make it fit your needs better.
 

Actnbill

Single-Sixer
Joined
Mar 16, 2023
Messages
298
Location
Seacoast NH
The old pencil barrel mini 14's just aren't that accurate.... I'd trade it in and get a newer one.... they are sooo much more accurate with the newer type barrel...
Or buy a Ruger AR-15 they are reasonably priced and the AR platform is very accurate....

I had heard that the reason A-team TV show used the pencil barrel mini 14's was because they were excellent at shooting blanks for filming TV shows and rarely jammed on them
 

eveled

Hawkeye
Joined
Apr 3, 2012
Messages
5,610
I like M1A's. So a min-14 is perfect for my needs. Never considered an AR. I just don't like them.

I'm tired of the AR guys constantly blabbering about how great that platform is. Who are they trying to convince? Themselves, or us?

OP if you can swing it definitely upgrade to a 580 series.
 

krw

Blackhawk
Joined
May 29, 2003
Messages
975
Location
Arkansas
The AR platform is truly a great platform. Versatility, accuracy, dependability and extremely modular. You go buy 100 Mini's, pay that same amount for 100 AR's. My money says 95% of the AR's will outshoot the Mini's and 98% of the AR's will be more dependabl than the Mini's. I have owned Mini's since about 1981. I aint never been impressed with any of them. Anything a Mini will do an AR will do considerably more better. Anyone that wants to shoot a stock Mini against a comparable price stock Rock River for dollars, I'm ur Huckleberry!!
 
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