Making the Mini 14 Ranch Rifle More Accurate
The Ruger Mini 14 and the Ranch Rifle version have been celebrated for their accuracy, especially in the early models of the weapon. Perhaps it was legend or fact, but acquiring one of these rifles today it is apparent that at least some of them do suffer from accuracy issues.
Given how the nature of shooting has changed over the past two decades, it may not be surprising that the Mini 14 may not be as accurate as once thought. Or, in defense of those who have accurate Mini 14 Ranch Rifles, that some of the models may not be as accurate as others. So, in order to improve the rifles that are having issues, there are certain procedures that can be performed in order to make the groupings tighter when firing at targets either stationary or moving.
The first and most obvious move is to thoroughly clean the weapon with the proper solvents that will rid the bore of copper and lead buildup. The cleaning should be complete and done with the intention of ensuring that all the carbon, lead, dirt and debris are fully excised from the bore itself.
One nifty trick after you have used the solvents is to re-clean the bore using an alcohol or “molly” spray. This will ensure that all of the oil residue is cleaned away and makes it tougher for a new buildup of residue to take place. Plus, the alcohol will quickly evaporate and not leave anything behind. You’ll want to let the Mini 14 sit for a while after you have performed the cleaning before shooting it to get the full effect. This is because using a “molly” spray will actually fill in some of the imperfections in the barrel itself.
Once taken out on the range, you will probably notice the difference in terms of the accuracy. The weapon itself is nice to handle and the grouping should improve. However, with many of the Mini 14 Ranch Rifles, there is a flaw that has shown why the accuracy has become a real issue.
The Thinness of the Barrel
The thin barrels came at a time before Ruger obviously discovered the issue themselves and created heavier barrels for the Mini 14. In essence, the barrel is thin enough to vibrate and move around after the first bullet travelled its length so that the next one would exit at a slightly different angle. This makes it very difficult to group the bullets one round after another into the target.
So, stabilizing the barrel is the key to increasing the accuracy in terms of firing more than one shot within a certain time frame. However, finding a solution may seem rather difficult at first because many solutions require adding new rods, ribs or other equipment that would cost a serious amount of money.
However, there are parts that can help solve the issue and do not cost nearly as much as the traditional methods. Using a new barrel mount is one way to solve the issue, especially if it has a double clamp design. Considering just how cheap a barrel mount is at roughly $13 to $15, it is seemingly a solution that is almost too good to be true.
Of course, the barrel mount will have to be measured and cut for the Mini 14, but even that is rather inexpensive if you have the equipment to do it or a gunsmith to do the work for you. Using a clamp from an old Cooey rifle and properly resizing it, the results were rather remarkable when the Mini 14 was fired again. The front clamp does have to fit tightly next to the front sight while the rear clamp must be as close to the stock as it possibly can be. But the results are certainly well worth the effort. Just remember to add the spare piece of metal to the lower stock when adding the proper barrel clamp.
The Changes in Performance
The change in the groupings from adding the new barrel mount was simply stunning. Instead of hitting accurately with the first shot and watching the rest hit different parts of the target, the groupings using 55 grain ammo from Winchester Mil was about ½” apart at 100 yards. The same was true for American Eagle 55 grain and James Calhoun tips at 52 grains.
You can even use a section of SCH 40 half-inch pipe or any piece of rigid metal that does not flex to mount to the barrel. The extra mass keeps the barrel in place when firing round after round and the total cost is under $40 which naturally cannot be beat for creating more accuracy with your Mini 14 Ranch Rifle.
If you are looking for a low cost solution to increase the accuracy of your Mini 14 Ranch Rifle, then adding more mass to the weapon by using a double clamp barrel mount that fits tight and uses a good, rigid piece of metal will work.