Ridiculous mini-30 Accuracy Issues

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Sharp Shooter

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
110
Location
MCCammon,Idaho,USA
I’ve heard the expression “not able to keep them on the paper.” But at 100 yards the mini-30 I’ve being working with the past two mornings won’t even “keep them” on the box the paper is taped to.
I’ve never seen such a beast. This gun won’t shoot into an 18” circle at 100 yards, and that’s with 2 different, 2.5 power Weaver scopes and 2 different people shooting it (my wife as well as myself) from a solid rest. I finally pulled the 2nd scope altogether and tried the factory peep sight. It was the same thing – a 2-foot, 5 shot group at 100 yards.
I’m pretty frustrated. The gun was my mom’s and our grandson actually shot his first deer with it this year – although I see now our grandson was darn lucky to have hit the deer at all. Another weird thing is we took our grandson out before deer season and let him shoot that mini-30 at a paper plate at 50 yards. He hit the plate about 10 times out of 20 shots, and even his misses were close. And that’s while sitting and just resting his elbows on his knees.
Something happened. I can’t see any damage to the barrel or the muzzle of the gun, but there’s something wrong with it. I don’t consider myself an accuracy freak when it comes to hunting guns, but 2-foot groups at 100 yards are totally unacceptable.
I guess my question is if anyone thinks Ruger will fix the gun if I sent it back to them, or if you think I should just “unload” it? I won’t sell it to an unsuspecting buyer. If I decide to sell it, I WILL tell the buyer it needs work. Also, I haven’t counted them, but mom gave me at least 20 boxes of ammo along with the gun. I don’t have another 7.62X39, and don’t figure on getting one. So if I sell the gun, I’ll include the left over ammo.
Oh yeah, one more thing – it’s all PMC brand, 125-grain PSP ammo. Has anyone else experienced accuracy issues as bad as this with PMC 7.62X39 ammo? I’m kind of grasping at straws here. :?: :?:
 

tomiswho

Single-Sixer
Joined
Feb 2, 2008
Messages
323
Location
Georgia
Mine is certainly not a tack driver, but from the bench at 100 meters it will usually hold a 5 or 6 inch circle. It never seems to function well with the steel case Russian ammo. None of the 6 aftermarket magazines work worth a hoot (I did just order a factor 20rd mag with high hopes...)

But I still think it has a purpose, and I plan to keep it.
 

Leucoandro

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
445
Location
Dededo, Guam
What ammunition are you shooting through it? Do you shoot any of the older Russian made ammunition through it? Have you tried any accuracy accessories like a recoil buffer?


Charlie
 

X - Man

Bearcat
Joined
Mar 18, 2008
Messages
20
Location
BucksCounty, Penna.
All of the above, and try the simple. A good cleaning, check the barrel for copper fouling, then some lube, a few rounds of better ammo. Then, if you don't see an improvement, a call to Ruger c/s for advise. It sounds like the rifle has been sitting for awhile.
 

Sharp Shooter

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
110
Location
MCCammon,Idaho,USA
Leucoandro":1dpis2ay said:
What ammunition are you shooting through it? Do you shoot any of the older Russian made ammunition through it? Have you tried any accuracy accessories like a recoil buffer?


Charlie

So far, all the ammunition through it has been PMC brand 125-grain PSPs. Mom gave me about a dozen 20 round boxes of that ammo when she gave me the gun last summer.
We stopped in at our favorite gun shop this afternoon and I told my tale of whoa to my friend, who owns the gun shop. He gave me a handful of some kind of factory reloads (FMJ) to try in it, but he didn't offer much encouragement. He told me those "older" mini-30s were notoriously inaccurate.
No, I havn't tried any accuracy accessories on it. To me, it's not worth messing with. If it would shoot 5 or 6 inch groups at 100 yards like tomiswho's mini-30 does, I'd keep it around for our other 2 grandsons to shoot their first deer with. But unless those factory reloads my friend gave me go into a 6 inch group at 100 yards, my mini-30 will be for sale at our friend's gun shop come next weekend.
Sentimental value is one thing - the gun was my mom's and our oldest grandson shot his first deer with it, but 2-foot groups at 100 yards outweigh sentimental value as far as I'm concerned. We have other rifles (accurate ones) our other two grandsons can use for their first deer hunts.
Thanks for the replies folks. :D
 

felix cortinas

Bearcat
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
91
Location
Luling, Texas USA
I got a series 189xxxxxxxx mini 30, sure aint new, got a 3 x 9 x 40 Leupold sometimes, sometimes I shoot open sights and it aint no tackdriver but plenty good, you got some kind of problems, you can count out recoil. with my scope I get 1 1/2 groups, open sights aint too bad. too many hogs have fell in front of it, 2 tonight at about 75 yards. you need to trouble shoot it and see, but they are good rifles, you may have a dud.
 

308dave

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
96
Sharp Shooter,
A few more questions:
Was it a 10" plate your Grandson used at 50 yds?

Did he use the same PMC ammo you were using for practice and hunting?

Where was the deer hit in relation to the aiming point, and at what range?

Was the rifle cleaned after the hunt?

Is it walnut/blue or s/s and was there a big difference in temp. between the hunt and your test firings?

Was the rifle dropped or otherwise damaged?

I'm no ballistics expert, and I don't have any experience with 7.62x39 but on average, I see an approximate doubling in group size as I double the distance, regardless of caliber. I'm not an accuracy fanatic, I'm okay with 3" groups at 100 yds for hunting purposes, and I've always used a scope.

These are questions I'd try to answer before calling Ruger but it's obvious that somethin' ain't right. Good luck and hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving.
 

308dave

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 12, 2005
Messages
96
Sharp Shooter,
Message received and read but I'm off to work this morning and won't be able to properly reply until tomorrow - 24 hr tour of duty, SPFD. Good info that should be shared though, I think.
Thanks,
308dave
 

TWalker

Bearcat
Joined
May 13, 2007
Messages
52
Location
Hillsville, VA
You need to have it checked out throughly. Mine will shoot 4 inch groups all day with cheap ammo like wolf brand using a 4x scope. My son borrowed it to use deer hunting; bought a box of Remington soft points and now it shoots honest 2 inch, 5 shot groups at 100 yards. Another thing to check besides the ammo is your scopes. I've had a lot of trouble with older Weavers lately. Sometimes trying a newer quality scope like a Burris can make a world of difference in how a gun groups. Good luck and keep trying. If all else fails, SKS's are still pretty good choices.
 

Sharp Shooter

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
110
Location
MCCammon,Idaho,USA
Thanks TWalker, but you obviously did not read my post very closely. I tried two different scopes, the factory peep sight, two different shooters, and about 50 rounds of PMC ammo. My Mini-30 yielded 3 shot, 18" or larger groups.
However, as I said in my second post, a friend gave me a handful of cheap, factory reloads. I got around to trying them on Monday this week. I was surprised to say the least. After remounting one of the scopes, boresighting, and firing 4 rounds at a 25 yard 1/2" bullseye just to make sure I would be on the paper, I fired the remaining 15 rounds at a 2" bullseye on a paper plate at 100 yards. I never hit the bullseye, not even once, but neither did I entirely miss the 9" paper plate. Those darn, cheap factory reloads my friend gave me did at least twice at well as that PMC ammo.
I figure with some judicious handloading I might be able to make that Mini-30 shoot even better. But I'm not going to mess with it. I was in town today and stopped in at two gunshops looking for bullets for that thing, and didn't find a one. Besides, I'd have to buy dies. I'm just not going to go to that much trouble for gun that I figure at best will shoot 4", 3 shot groups at 100 yards, when I concider it barely powerful enough for deer at that range anyway. The gun will be for sale at my friend's gunshop as soon as he gets back from his buffalo hunt next week.
 
Joined
Nov 15, 2005
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8,795
Location
Greenville, SC: USA
Sounds to me like it was the ammo... seems somebody talked about the size of the bore in the mini-30... I'm no ballistic expert but if the first factory ammo you were shooting so bad had slightly too small of a bullet then it would not get the right spin from the rifling in the barrel and then would tend to fly off all over the place. Just like you described.....

You know you don't have to reload your own... you can always have someone else make up a batch for you.

My father used to have a guy he worked with load his 38 special rounds with minimum magnum loads.... dern round would go through five 1" pine boards.
 

Sharp Shooter

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
110
Location
MCCammon,Idaho,USA
blume357":2x7v8ath said:
Sounds to me like it was the ammo... seems somebody talked about the size of the bore in the mini-30... I'm no ballistic expert but if the first factory ammo you were shooting so bad had slightly too small of a bullet then it would not get the right spin from the rifling in the barrel and then would tend to fly off all over the place. Just like you described.....

You know you don't have to reload your own... you can always have someone else make up a batch for you.

My father used to have a guy he worked with load his 38 special rounds with minimum magnum loads.... dern round would go through five 1" pine boards.

That PMC ammo is my guess too blume357. I actually DID pull a couple of the leftover rounds apart to see if I could determine anything. I couldn't - the bullets each measured exactly .310" diameter, just like it says they're suppose to measure in a couple of my reloading manuals. And they weighed right at 125 grains each, just like it says on the box. The bore of my Mini-30 might be too large, but I have no way of accurately measuring that.
The way I have it figured, and this is just a wild, hopeful guess, is that my grandson did alright in practice with the PMC ammo because first off, he's a better shot than I thought he was, and second, because he was only shooting 50 yards. Even at that, as I said in my first post, my grandson didn't hit a 9" paper plate with every shot. He missed about half.
No, if I was going to keep the Mini-30, I'd load for it myself. Building my own centerfire ammo is one of my favorite pass times - it's almost a religion to me. Many of my wife's and my guns have never seen a factory round. I'm going to sell the Mini-30 and use the money for dies and brass for the .308 Norma Magnum I'm having built. :D
 

Leucoandro

Single-Sixer
Joined
Jun 29, 2006
Messages
445
Location
Dededo, Guam
Couple of things I found with my Mini-30

1. It shoots Winchester Ammunition Horribly, but shoots Federal Pretty well. I have never tried PMC.

2. If someone has loosened or taken off the Gas block, and did not tighten things correctly, that can cause binding, and accuracy issues.

3. If someone ever placed a recoil buffer on the guide rod, it can cause the action to bind up, screwing up accuracy until you send it back to Ruger.

4. If you ever shoot the older Russian Ammunition through it, it has some sort of tar-like substance that is used to waterproof the case/bullet. This leaves a very thin tar that slowly builds in the barrel, and takes forever to get out. (The way to figure this out is to run a dry patch down a clean barrel. If it feels like you are sliding the patch down glass, then this is not an issue. If it feels very slightly sticky, then it has the tar in it from Russian ammo)

5. Some Mini's seem to cycle if you put the piston guide rod in upside down, but accuracy is horrible.

6. The Accu-Strut can help a great deal with accuracy if none of the above are an issue.


Charlie
 

Sharp Shooter

Single-Sixer
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
110
Location
MCCammon,Idaho,USA
Wow! Thanks Leucoandro. :) You've given me some ideas of things to check out. With all of the posts about other people's Mini-30 shooting 2" or 4" groups at 100 yards, I was begining to think either I was nuts or as someone else posted, I just have a "dud."
I don't know when my dad bought that rifle for my mom, but it was a while back, 15 years ago or so. I doubt that dad ever placed a recoil buffer on the guide rod, but he WAS a tinkerer, so he might have messed up one of the other things you mentioned. I'll check those things out.
Although, after having 15 bullets in a row from cheap, factory reloaded ammo go through a 9" paper plate at 100 yards, I really believe the largest part of my accuracy problem stems from the PMC ammo my mom gave me with the gun. Besides, you wrote Winchester ammo shoots horribly in your Mini-30, but Federal ammo does pretty well. That statement, along with my experience of going from an 18" group to a 9" group leads me to believe my Mini-30 hates PMC ammo. Oh well. My friend, the gunshop owner told me he'd like to have all the PMC 7.62X39 ammo I have left over. It being lead core SPs he can allow people to shoot it in his indoor range. He can't allow people to shoot steel core ammo in there. So I'll give all that PMC ammo to him. He's done me a lot of favors over the years. He seldom charges me commission when he sells a gun for me, and he never charges me for a transfer.
Anyway, thanks again. You've given me some ideas.:D
 

Sugar River

Buckeye
Joined
Aug 25, 2008
Messages
1,052
Location
S Florida
I doubt your bore is oversize since the Mini 30 has used 308 barrels from the beginning. Newport did extensive testing in the early days of production to make sure there'd be no issues with 310 bullets.

I'm thinking stay away from PMC, some of it's good, some of it sucks.

Pete
 

kwg020

Bearcat
Joined
Jul 14, 2006
Messages
59
Location
Ankeny, Ia
Go to perfectunion.com and share your experiences with those guys on the Mini 14 forum. Yuo'll get some ideas and information on how to fix some of your problems. The only thing I would suggest right now is to retorque the screws on the gas block. Take them all loose and check to see if the barrel is centered and then tighten them back up to around 35 inch lbs of torque. If the problem continues think about an Accu strut or Har Bar. kwg
 

markasaurus

Bearcat
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Messages
6
Before dumping the rifle, here is something that might be worth a try, look at the front of the stock where the barel comes out ( this part is called the gas block i think), do you see those 4 hex bolts? If they are not torqued just right they can really mess up your accuracy.

The gap on each side of the two-piece gas block needs to be the same, you can use automotive feeler gauge to check it. I removed the screws, cleaned them and their holes. Then i put one drop of oil (any kind) on each thread. Carefully torque them in increments, not all at once - use an X- pattern and tighten them first rather lightly, then gradually increase the torque as you repeat on each screw. Use the feeler gauges (you may have to double up a couple) and get them good and tight to the gap is the same on each side. Some people say that makes a difference in accuracy.

Also some people shim inside the stock (where the metal meets the wood, there is a c-shaped metal piece on each side). This makes the gun harder to disassemble but some people claim the tighter metal-to-stock fit will also improve accuracy.

Personally i love my mini but it's no tack driver, you may want to try these tips and if they don't work for you, there's always an AR to trade it in for i guess.
 

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