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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Gun Rifle Trigger Firearm Shotgun


Picked this 181 series mini at my LGS. It looks like a peach. Hardly broken in and it's nearly 40 years old. Let the investigation begin.

It came with Ruger 5 & 20 rnd mags, the thirty rounder is a visibly inferior knockoff.
Gun Firearm Rifle Trigger Air gun


I like that a field strip requires no tools and is fairly simple to take apart.
Trigger Revolver Tool


This gun was cleaner than new inside.
Gun Rifle Firearm Trigger Shotgun


For some reason an M-14 flash suppressor was installed. Each time the bolt slams shut, the silly thing rings like a silver bell, giving an angel their wings.

These early carbines had a bad rap for accuracy early on... probably why this one is so nice. The rear windage is cranked way over to the right. If I can get minute of pie plate, that’d be fine with me. This ain’t no BR rifle. Could be that someone bent the barrel during bayonet practice. I’d like to inspect the crown, but the flashy thingy makes that difficult. I may have to take a pin out and have a look see.
Dagger Metal
 

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I've got a 181 too. One of the first guns I ever bought.

Someone once told me that the lifetime Ruger warranty doesn't apply but I don't know if that's true or not cause it's never stopped. Well it did once when I let it get too dirty but I fixed that.
 

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I owned two of the earlier ones over 15 years ago on the second and over 20 on the first. They were good for about 8-10" groups regardless of ammo even firing from a bench. They went down the road and I do not miss them. I have heard they are much improved but I have not gotten a strong enough urge to try a third. I love the classic design and feel of the gun, hope yours does better than mine did.
 
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Well, I like the action (very Garand like), but I'll keep my M4, thanks. Accuracy is important to me, well, within reason. 8-10" at 100 yards is simply not reasonable. :laugh:

Personally, I'd take that flash hider off and donate it to Good Will or something.
 

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Well, I like the action (very Garand like), but I'll keep my M4, thanks. Accuracy is important to me, well, within reason. 8-10" at 100 yards is simply not reasonable. :laugh:

Personally, I'd take that flash hider off and donate it to Good Will or something.

Might be able to use it as an egg beater? :D

I read a long time ago that the barrel would deflect from the heat generated from repeat firing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've got a 181 too. One of the first guns I ever bought.

Someone once told me that the lifetime Ruger warranty doesn't apply but I don't know if that's true or not cause it's never stopped. Well it did once when I let it get too dirty but I fixed that.
A doubt Ruger would want to bother with it since a previous owner the muzzle has been modified.
 

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I have a 181 series and it shoots well enough to take coyotes down at 200 yards. Another thing to keep in mind about the 181 series is mounting a scope. On a small percentage the rear mount is milled low. You will need a shim to get things to line up correctly. FYI...:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
The barrels on these rifles always struck me as being rather thin, but then they were trying to keep this wood/steel carbine under 7 lbs. An issue I heard of was the way in which front sight was swagged on during mfg., which distorted the bore, causing fliers.

The mod of adding M-14 suppressor may have cured or made worse any accuracy issue. If the crown is nicked I can fix that. If the bore is distorted from swagging the front sight, counter boring may be an alternative.

Another accuracy issue was the lack of a buffer between the slide and receiver. You can see below how the parts are hammering on one another. This hammering was adding to the harmonic distortion of its pencil stick barrel. This was addressed on later versions with a polymer shim.
Trigger


For now I need to get a better look at the muzzle's crown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, I like the action (very Garand like), but I'll keep my M4, thanks. Accuracy is important to me, well, within reason. 8-10" at 100 yards is simply not reasonable. :laugh:

Personally, I'd take that flash hider off and donate it to Good Will or something.
This Mini was made to be a cop's trunk gun and through the past few decades, Ruger made a lots of semi auto and select fire models for police agencies around the globe. They wouldn't have made these sales if all could only manage 8''-10'' groups at 100m.

I haven't yet fired this carbine and I had my doubts about its accuracy long before I even laid eyes on it. It's bad rep presented a challenge to me and I took the risk. Sometimes buying used guns is like making a choice from a box of chocolates and that's a large part of the fun for me.

As for the the flash suppressor, some will dig it, others won't. I think I'd rather have the stock front sight, but it might be nice to fix bayonets if the need ever arises.
 
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This Mini was made to be a cop's trunk gun and through the past few decades, Ruger made a lots of semi auto and select fire models for police agencies around the globe. They wouldn't have made these sales if all could only manage 8''-10'' groups at 100m.

I haven't yet fired this carbine and I had my doubts about its accuracy long before I even laid eyes on it. It's bad rep presented a challenge to me and I took the risk. Sometimes buying used guns is like making a choice from a box of chocolates and that's a large part of the fun for me.

As for the the flash suppressor, some will dig it, others won't. I think I'd rather have the stock front sight, but it might be nice to fix bayonets if the need ever arises.
Well, when you bench it at 100, I'd be interested to know what it does. :D If it's in the realm of my SKS, 2.5" groups, it'd be useful. :D I do very much like the action and look of the guns. :D
 
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I have a late model 14 that I bought new a few years ago. I think it's accurate enough for 70-80 yard centerfire plinking...but I haven't tried to punch paper with it. 100% reliable with original Ranch Rifle 4 round mag and one of the aftermarket 30 rounders I have, but kind of hiccups on a few of the other aftermarket mags, including some Ruger brand (but I hear Ruger outsources that stuff now, so that may be the issue.)

I really like shooting mine, and it came with some of the prettiest wood on a mini 14 ever. I've only ever shot it at the Taurus gathering in RC,SD.

One thing is for sure...whatever reduced demand there is for the mini 14 in that greatly expanded tactical semi-auto market (and whatever superior traits the AR has over it) hasn't made it any less expensive. Can't figure out why the price hasn't come down like on AR's.
 

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^^ Ruger is probably praying for another law banning those evil black rifles...I understand that they did quite well selling Mini-14's during the last fiasco.
 
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This Mini was made to be a cop's trunk gun and through the past few decades, Ruger made a lots of semi auto and select fire models for police agencies around the globe. They wouldn't have made these sales if all could only manage 8''-10'' groups at 100m.

I haven't yet fired this carbine and I had my doubts about its accuracy long before I even laid eyes on it. It's bad rep presented a challenge to me and I took the risk. Sometimes buying used guns is like making a choice from a box of chocolates and that's a large part of the fun for me.

As for the the flash suppressor, some will dig it, others won't. I think I'd rather have the stock front sight, but it might be nice to fix bayonets if the need ever arises.
The original ramp front sight actually sucks. Check out:

Ruger Mini Rifle Sights | Tech Sights

They make a rear sight that Ruger should have. It will work very well with your current front sight. I have them on my SKS and love them.

Maloy
 

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View attachment 411738

Picked this 181 series mini at my LGS. It looks like a peach. Hardly broken in and it's nearly 40 years old. Let the investigation begin.

It came with Ruger 5 & 20 rnd mags, the thirty rounder is a visibly inferior knockoff.
View attachment 411746

I like that a field strip requires no tools and is fairly simple to take apart.
View attachment 411754

This gun was cleaner than new inside.
View attachment 411762

For some reason an M-14 flash suppressor was installed. Each time the bolt slams shut, the silly thing rings like a silver bell, giving an angel their wings.

These early carbines had a bad rap for accuracy early on... probably why this one is so nice. The rear windage is cranked way over to the right. If I can get minute of pie plate, that’d be fine with me. This ain’t no BR rifle. Could be that someone bent the barrel during bayonet practice. I’d like to inspect the crown, but the flashy thingy makes that difficult. I may have to take a pin out and have a look see.
View attachment 411770
That flash hider looks like a modified M14 flash hider. I'll bet an M14 bayonet would fit on that.
I put a Ram-line flash hider on my 183 series (stainless steel) that looked a lot like that but it eventually blew apart from the muzzle blasts.
My 183 series was a 3.5 inch grouper until I turned the barrel gold colored (possibly from the oil on it) then it tightened up the group considerably to a half inch wide 2.5 inch tall 10 round group.
I traded it for the parts to build my 2nd AR 15 back in 86.
 

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This Mini was made to be a cop's trunk gun and through the past few decades, Ruger made a lots of semi auto and select fire models for police agencies around the globe. They wouldn't have made these sales if all could only manage 8''-10'' groups at 100m.

I haven't yet fired this carbine and I had my doubts about its accuracy long before I even laid eyes on it. It's bad rep presented a challenge to me and I took the risk. Sometimes buying used guns is like making a choice from a box of chocolates and that's a large part of the fun for me.

As for the the flash suppressor, some will dig it, others won't. I think I'd rather have the stock front sight, but it might be nice to fix bayonets if the need ever arises.
I bought a 181 Mini-Thirty brand new years ago. I still have it only because I finally got it to where it was worth keeping. Lots of work to get it under 2" groups. Now with the scar stock (the real thing), buffer, barrel stabilizer and numerous other tweets it's a keeper. Also, aftermarket mags suck. I bought all factory 20rd mags.
 

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I dig these rifles, but they're hard for me to buy in a world of $400-500 AR15s - I like accessorizing too much, lol. Yours looks like it's in outstanding condition!
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I ran some patches down the bore to get a better look at the rifling... then the muzzle started eating plastic from the cleaning rod.
Well, this just plain sucks. GunBlue490 would not approve. This thing probably shoots in minute of bread truck.


Plastic shavings at 12 & 4. Shiny burr/nick at 10.
Auto part Automotive wheel system Wheel


Uncovering gun powder residue is revealing. Pulling a bore snake shows sharp, strong rifling, but the crown looks beaucoup botched up.
Auto part Machine Machine tool Engine Metal


Someone glued the flash suppressor to the barrel with epoxy, then roll pinned it in place.
Dagger Metal


Oh well.
 

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So the flash suppressor has to come off to clean up the crown? Maybe some judiciously applied heat could break the epoxy? Heating the suppressor should expand it slightly.

Was the suppressor added to make a legal barrel length for the carbine?
 
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