Semiautomatic rifles are an indispensable part of most American gun aficionados’ arsenal. Bill Ruger, as a skilled manufacturer and marketer of firearms, realized Americans were leaning towards autoloaders. He also saw the added love for the military-style rifles used to keep Americans safe from various enemies.
Releasing handguns and rifles that mimicked the classic military guns popular at the time, Ruger had enormous commercial success. The Mini-14, styled after the M14, was no exception.
In fact, the Mini-14 could easily have become the military’s choice as a successor to the M14. But the Mini 14 first went into production in 1974, which was bad timing to sell it to the Pentagon. Regardless, the rifle gained popularity with shooters of all levels who prefer the looks and ergonomics of the traditional style of the rifle.
You can make some great alterations and innovations to this rifle. The aftermarket parts for it are on the same level as the 10/22 or AR-15. The only limit is your wallet. Let’s look at some of the upgrades you might want to make.
Adjustable Gas Block
Many shooters complaints about Mini’s lack of serious competitive accuracy, and the reason often lies in the gas block. This problem can be easily solved by purchasing a reduced-size gas bushing or an adjustable gas block.
Though replacing a gas bushing is a much less expensive process, real connoisseurs opt for an adjustable gas block. This helps reduce the violence of cycling, decreases shock to the scope and controls the distance that ejected empty cases are thrown. As an added benefit, this accessory is convenient if you load your own ammo and want to tune your rifle to the specific load.
For taming down the cycling action and regulating gas pressure for different loads, the adjustable gas block from Accuracy Systems is superb hardware for Ruger Mini 14 and Mini 30. This Gen 4 adjustable gas block will improve accuracy by reducing the harmonics of the guide/operating rod.
As an updated model Gen 4, this gas block sports a newly-designed positive click adjustment knob so it cannot turn out of adjustment. The device is made from 7075 aircraft grade alloy and comes with a sling swivel stud.
The Mini 14 is not as accurate as an AR-15, and this is mostly due to the Ruger's two-stage Garand-style trigger. We don’t recommend that you simply to switch the old one with a new replacement unit. Instead go for Accuracy Systems Inc. entire trigger enhancement.
You can send your trigger group to this vendor to turn it into a smooth operation - as good as a target rifle. The reworked trigger makes a world of difference, giving you the crisp and lightest 3.5 lb. to 4 lb. pull weight possible compared to the long and creep-prone factory trigger.
Other trigger improvements include a wider trigger pad that provides a noticeable reduction in trigger pull weight. Another is an overtravel stop screw to limit the distance the trigger travels after it has been pulled. The Accuracy Systems trigger job is not cheap, but it brings the Mini 14 closer to being a tack driver, with shooting groups in the 1"-1.5" range.
For years, Ruger only offered its proprietary 20 and 30-round magazines through law enforcement channels. The company’s policy spurred the production of a variety of aftermarket magazines. Nowadays, one factory package includes two 20-round magazines with the rifle and Ruger branded 30 round magazines are available. However, in the meantime shooters were looking for the more affordable high capacity mags and PRO MAG released their line of steel 10-, 20- and 30-rounders.
These mags are available in both .223 Remington and 5.56 NATO. They feature a heat-treated, carbon steel body with self-lubricating, polycarbonate follower. Also, the mags have a removable base plate that enables easy disassembly for cleaning. Some shooters advise using the "rock-and-lock" way of insertion. They say these magazines will only cycle if the operator hits the bottom back of the magazine hard with his hand after insertion. But otherwise they’re a great choice.
While the Mini 14 comes with M1 Carbine cotton sling, the market is flooded with large quantities that go from downright junk to high-quality steer hide. There are even some exact reproductions of the M1907 Military sling.
One high-quality sling, made of premium leather, is Brownell’s Competitor Plus rifle sling, 1907 reproduction. It’s true to the original in every respect. This superbly functional, 54" front strap increases usable length while maintaining the high level of comfort and mobility associated with leather. The Competitor Plus is a little thicker, and maybe a little "beefier" looking compared to rivals. It has a few features that possibly make it a better competition sling. The Brownell’s sling is 1 1/4'' wide and it comes with forged, extra-tough, steel hooks attached with three rivets. This makes it a fine sling for carrying and shooting.
Easy access to your ammo is definitely a quality-of-life improvement. Having a quality ammo pouch that won’t get in your way is key. You want one that’s tough and long-lasting. It doesn’t hurt either if it helps your rifle to look great, too.
Tacbro’s Tactical Magazine Pouch is great for giving your Mini 14 or 30 a more tactical high-speed look. It provides the shooter with a readily-accessible spare magazine that's always with the weapon. This pouch with its adaptor for rifle buttstocks was designed to hold one 20- or 30- round magazine of either .223 or 7.62x39 on the offside of the buttstock. A highly-valuable feature of this pouch is that is completely ambidextrous and features a bungee retention strap to hold the magazine in place securely.
This magazine pouch is made of heavy-duty PVC nylon material. That’s the same high Mil-Spec standard of mag pouches costing over twice as much. It attaches directly to most any conventional types of rifle stocks. One drawback, though, is that it gets in the way if you use a quick release sling swivel on your stock.
Bipod and Adapter
A bipod is great for shooting from a bench rest or prone. If you’re target shooting or hunting, a bipod is a great addition to make life easier.
In most circumstances, a bipod with a standard leg length extending from 6 to 9 inches is most suitable. You can check out our bipod reviews.
If you are looking for one with the longer legs for hunting in the woods or for using the extended 30 round magazines, the HARRIS S-L Bipod sling swivel mount is the perfect item for you. The Harris Bipods company is the benchmark brand in this type of accessories. They offer their new S-L Bipod series with spring-loaded, telescoping legs ranging from 9" to 13".
The bipod mounts to QD swivel studs. The swivel feature is precious anywhere that is not entirely flat and level. In other words, the swivel type bipod enabling you shooting from an uneven surface.
The Harris Bipod attaches securely to the stud of Mini 14 rifles with conventional stock design. It allows the shooter to carry their gun with a sling, and it won’t impede shooting off-hand. These ultra-light bipods are made from an aluminum alloy with some steel parts and hard rubber leg caps.
To install the sling swivel Harris Bipod, you will need a Harris adapter stud. For the Mini 14 it preferably would be an adapter for 5/16" rails. This is an American standard vs. the European rails that measure 3/8" across. Made of heat-treated steel, the Harris Bipod Adapter Stud is a quality part. In some cases, these adapters will require minor stock or forend inletting for proper fit.
The accuracy of the Mini 14 indeed is not stellar, although it’s improved in recent years. But most owners find it to be perfectly adequate as a sport/utility rifle. For those who expect a higher level of precision, investing in optics is worth considering.
If we use Ruger’s factory side rings, there are see-under scope mounts offering more flexible installation options with extra-long Weaver style mounting rails. This will help achieve maximum eye relief.
The B-Square Sport Rifle Mount is installed by replacing the stock bolt-stop cover plate with a threaded one. It was one of the best options for Ruger 181 series and later Mini-14's.
The B-Square scope base for the Mini 14 comes with a pair of 1" InterLock rings constructed of anodized 6061-T6 aluminum. It doesn’t require gunsmithing. It’s very sturdy and is probably the easiest way to put a scope on your rifle.
The Ruger Mini 14 has long suffered from a reputation for poor accuracy, but after a few modifications and the addition of a good scope, this proven platform becomes more appealing and versatile. Of course this is especially for those who would like to hunt with a Mini 14.
The Bushnell Trophy line is a step up from the economy Bushnell Banner line, and the scope was designed for centerfire rifle or black powder guns.
This hunting riflescope is built from the durable 1-piece aluminum main tube with integrated saddle. It has upgraded, fully multi-coated optics to enable a brighter, more transparent image in any weather condition. The scope comes in at 3-9x magnification and a 40mm objective lens, presenting an unbeatable combination of edge-to-edge clarity and best-in-class light transmission.
The Trophy features a Euro-style fast-focus eyepiece to let you quickly focus. It’s also outfitted with several reticle types such as a Mil-dot reticle, Multi-X, Circle-X and DOA 600 reticles. For safety and protection, it has with front and rear Butler Creek flip-up scope covers
Advertised with a 4" eye relief, shooting from Ruger Mini 14 is quite comfortable leaving an overall impression of a generally good riflescope in this price class. It’s not a top-end scope but for the Mini 14 it offers great quality and value.
A few minor modifications make a world of difference in the function and accuracy of his Mini 14. To convert yours into a tricked-out rifle, check out the suggestion we have here, or the more in-depth articles we’ve linked to. Happy shooting!.