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Thread: Mini 14 223 2006, anyone own one?

  1. #1
    AKA: GRMPS Conditor22's Avatar
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    Question Mini 14 223 2006, anyone own one?

    RUGER RANCH RIFLE Mini 14 .223, 2006 model 580-32###
    How does it shoot?
    What are your favorite loads?
    Is it worth bedding and/or putting a strut on?

  2. #2
    Boolit Master

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    There was a time, right around then I believe, that some folks were bitterly complaining about the Ranch Rifle's quality, especially the stainless model. I remember one guy saying that the hump at the top rear of the bolt was rubbing badly as it recoiled back into the receiver, and that it was galling in general. I'm not saying it's so, but I'd research it a little before buying. Mine are all blue steel 180, 181 series, and they work fine.

  3. #3
    Boolit Bub
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    I sold mine like new in 2011 at the gun show for what I paid 5 years earlier and a dealer snatched it up before the show even opened. I must say IMPO mine was an excellent shooter and carry to the woods or range especially since its carbine footprint was smaller than the AR15 and the action type more reliable. I do miss it as a powerful but inconspicuous tactical weapon that looks more like a standard 22 varmint gun than an "assault AR15" in the eyes of the public and LE. Sadly they are way over priced now new and hard to find used at a decent price in un ragged condition. Especially when you can still shop excellent prices for fully assembled AR uppers and lowers for 1/3 the price of a new Mini 14.
    V/R George G. CWO4 WEPS (HH) USN/CG Retired

  4. #4
    Boolit Grand Master Texas by God's Avatar
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    The two .223 ones(pre 5.56 stamp) I have owned were also pre Ranch- so no scope. I loved carrying and shooting them, but the 5" groups at 100 yards kept bothering me so I let them go. I've heard the current ones are much better accuracy wise, but they are overpriced. If I get another, I'll go with .300 Blackout because its FUN.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Boolit Master

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    I have an older 181series that like TBG shot large groups, It would always hit somewhere on the target but never in the same place. I put a barrel stabilizer on it and that made a big improvement then I changed out the gas block orifice to a much smaller one and installed a 1911 foam cushion for recoil. It's still not a tack driver but at 200 yds I can keep them all in the black.
    It's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years (Abe Lincoln)

    "A free people ought not only to be armed and disciplined, but they should have sufficient arms and ammunition to maintain a status of independence from any who might attempt to abuse them, which would include their own government. George Washington

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    My instant memory of the Mini-14 family is that the firing pins were the source of many issues. Reports of light strikes, failure to fire, and even breakage seemed to be common. Some issues of these rifles required that the rifle be sent to Ruger for correct fitting and replacement, but I don't recall the specific series involved in these rifles. It may serve you to search this issue before making any Mini-14 purchase.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thin Man View Post
    My instant memory of the Mini-14 family is that the firing pins were the source of many issues. Reports of light strikes, failure to fire, and even breakage seemed to be common. Some issues of these rifles required that the rifle be sent to Ruger for correct fitting and replacement, but I don't recall the specific series involved in these rifles. It may serve you to search this issue before making any Mini-14 purchase.
    My Mini 14 suffered from the FTF problem, It was made in 2011 and is one of the latter ones (581) with the heavier barrel. I sent it back to the factory and they fixed the problem and now it works like it should. Their factory service is the best in the business. I have had 2 other ones that were earlier models and they were woefully inaccurate but the 2011 model is an approximately 2" to 2 1/2" gun @100yds. They are my personal favorite because I liked the old heavy M14 I did basic training with. If the fun you are looking at has the lighter barrel I would not waste my time trying to make it a MOA gun. My load is 25 grs of TAC with 50 gr Midsouth Varmint Nightmare or Nosler Ballistic Tip bullets.
    Jimmy McCollough McCollough Rifle Co in Selma ,Al rebarrels them with a Douglas and he tells me that they can be a tack driver for not a lot of money. Believe me, that old Marine knows how a rifle is supposed to shoot.
    Last edited by murf205; 11-24-2019 at 03:07 PM.
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it

  8. #8
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    I have one (580-xxxxx) (2005) and it is one of my favorite guns. The only real problem with these guns in stock form is that they are "Over Gassed" big time.

    The remedy for this is to either install an Adjustable Gas Block or smaller gas bushing . I preferred the gas block route as I could adjust the gas at the range and decide how far I wanted the empties to fly.

    I basically closed the port all the way and opened it 1/2 turn which pooped the spent cases out about 3 feet to my right. I haven't adjusted it any farther.

    What this accomplishes is this,,, The Mini 14 has a large piece of steel bar stock on the operating rod. As it comes from the factory that big chunk on steel hits the front of the receiver with every single shot due to the gas system being designed to "function with every type of ammo."

    This destroys the accuracy of the gun because you are essentially repositioning the action in the stock with every shot. By choking the gas down so the op rod doesn't move as violently, the accuracy comes right in and you can expect very usable accuracy from good quality ammo. 1 to 1.5MOA is very easily achievable.

    See Pic. 5 shots at 100 yards using a Red Dot Optic.

    Useful Fact: a .25 piece is 15/16" in diameter.

    My reloads provide the best accuracy in this gun, and they are 25 gr of BL-C2 with a 55 gr fmj bullet. This is running a little slower than commonly available Federal XM193 ammo.

    Here's a pic of the gun and the target.

    Randy
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  9. #9
    Boolit Master murf205's Avatar
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    Randy, you just jogged my memory. I have not shot my Mini in a year or so but the last time I did, I swore that I would put an adjustable gas block in it. Those stock rifles throw brass almost as far as they do projectiles!
    IT AINT what ya shoot--its how ya shoot it

  10. #10
    Boolit Grand Master RogerDat's Avatar
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    Some of the older ones have a twist rate that is not well suited to the military 55 grain bullet. Mine was a pizza box shooter with 55 grain. As in most of the shots would hit the pizza box someplace, maybe even all of them. Switched to a 70 grain cast, with PC loaded with around 24 grains of Varget. Still wouldn't call it a "tack driver" but can put 20 in a paper plate so certainly tolerable.

    Look up your models twist rate. I think by 2007 they were aligned with the military twist rate so the milsurp ammo and that weight of bullet so it should work well enough.

    Varget is a powder that was recommended to me and has worked well. BLC-(2) also works ok but seems like it shoots hotter on a hot day. Maybe a little temp sensitive. Leaving the ammo box in the sun was on me but did show that some temp sensitivity seems to exist.

    The thin tapered barrel is known for whipping around or flexing when fired. I think the brace underneath is supposed to help with that. It is a truck gun, reliable, serviceable, reasonably accurate to minute of varmint. I know of a farmer that routinely whacks local woodchucks at 100 yards with the one he keeps in the barn.
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  11. #11
    Boolit Mold
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    I have a "188" model with if I remember right has the 7" twist. I bought it used for a truck gun. I think mine was at least the 2nd truck it had been assigned to. I mounted a scope on for load testing and was sorely disappointed. There was no telling where the next shot was going to impact. The crown looked ok, and I could not see anything that would cause the shabby groups. If I remember right, it would keep all shots on an 8.5x11 target at 100 yards.
    I figured I would check the scope alignment and check to see if the scope had something loose going on. I put the bore sight on it and looked through the scope while I tapped and rapped on the scope with my knuckles, nothing moved. For some reason I unlatched the trigger assembly and the poa changed on the scale by more than 12". There was almost a 1/4" gap between the rear of the receiver and the stock, the front of the receiver was in contact with stock. As I latched the trigger assembly back up the the poa changed again but not back to where it was.
    I had an old American Rifleman reprint on how to accurize the m-14 rifle. I followed the part on bedding the stock. After bedding, the poa would change less than 1 inch on the scale when the trigger assembly was unlatched and would return back to where it should be with everything latched up.
    It will group the Sierra 63 gr. semi- points into 2-2.5" at 100 yards using Win. 748. I really need to try some heavier bullets. The Speer 70 gr. semi points did real well in a Colt HBAR 7 twist so who knows.
    With the bedding squared away I scuffed up the wood a little, wiped it all down and gave it a rattle can makeover and a M1 carbine rear sight. All is good.
    Last edited by cupajoe; 11-22-2019 at 04:48 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Buddy
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    [QUOTE=Conditor22;4766362]RUGER RANCH RIFLE Mini 14 .223, 2006 model 580-32###
    How does it shoot?
    What are your favorite loads?
    Is it worth bedding and/or putting a strut on?[/QUOT

    I have a stainless ranch that was made in 2006 (one of the last thin barrels) and it put the first shot 4 - 5" out of the +3" group @ 100 yards out of a cold barrel. No weight of bullet that I tried improved it (up to 77 grain). I put an Accu-Strut on it and it's now a 2" grouper and the first shot goes in the group. 3 of us used to hunt Jack Rabbits with Minis in Eastern Oregon. Good times!

    This is my only .223 that doesn't get handloads. I use 55 grain SP from Black Hills. My handload for the other three uses H335 and 55 grain Ballistic Tips.

  13. #13
    Boolit Buddy
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    I found that my Mini 14 shot very well after the gas block screws were torqued equally. Also if loaded one round at a time without the magazine in the rifle, the rifle would shoot very well.

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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check