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Is There A Problem With The 180-Series Ruger Mini-14?

nunnnunn Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 36,043 ******

I have one in excellent condition. I tried to sell it on Gunbroker, but no one wanted it, so I booked it out to me and kept it.

People seem to dislike this version of the Mini-14, but why? It has no provision for mounting a scope, and the bolt hold open is external and looks weird, but other than those things, I see no difference between this rifle and a newer version.

So, why is this model so unpopular?

Comments

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    GrasshopperGrasshopper Member Posts: 16,828 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2023

    SOME parts are different than the later series and Ruger will not do any repair on the 180 is what I say.

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    Toolman286Toolman286 Member Posts: 3,063 ✭✭✭✭

    I found that earlier ones were fussy about newer mags being too wide.

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    bullshotbullshot Member Posts: 14,514 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2023

    Their early models (180) have a "pencil" barrel that is said to distort when hot and hinders accuracy, there were also some issues with the bolt.

    Ruger no longer supports the model 180.

    "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you"
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    Ditch-RunnerDitch-Runner Member Posts: 24,835 ✭✭✭✭

    just what the other posters have said its unique to its own self and not very popular you have found out .

    unless you just about truly give it away for dirt cheap or just parting it out

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    JimmyJackJimmyJack Member Posts: 5,444 ✭✭✭✭

    Ive got a Ruger mini 14 and like it. Im not familiar with the 180 and the differences. Could you enlighten me? I dont even know which one I have.

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    Mr. PerfectMr. Perfect Member, Moderator Posts: 66,368 ******
    edited January 2023

    This is my understanding as well. Folks don't want a gun Ruger will no longer support or repair. Parts may be hard to come by for it. And even though the 180 series is more accurate than say the 181-196 series (before Ruger did their re-tool), folks probably don't want it for that reason.

    Some will die in hot pursuit
    And fiery auto crashes
    Some will die in hot pursuit
    While sifting through my ashes
    Some will fall in love with life
    And drink it from a fountain
    That is pouring like an avalanche
    Coming down the mountain
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    Mr. PerfectMr. Perfect Member, Moderator Posts: 66,368 ******

    They are the ones manufactured between 1974 and 1977. The serial number begins 180-

    Some will die in hot pursuit
    And fiery auto crashes
    Some will die in hot pursuit
    While sifting through my ashes
    Some will fall in love with life
    And drink it from a fountain
    That is pouring like an avalanche
    Coming down the mountain
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    JimmyJackJimmyJack Member Posts: 5,444 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you, mine is a later model.

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    chiefrchiefr Member Posts: 13,944 ✭✭✭✭

    Mini14s sure look cool and when they first came out they sold like wildfire but people found out they are inaccurate and unreliable. Probably the only gun Ruger ever made that turned out to be junk.

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    bullshotbullshot Member Posts: 14,514 ✭✭✭✭

    I had a stainless Mini 14, never fired it but I did trade it for a Browning BLR in .308, I'm still smiling over that trade.

    The guy I traded with fished off shore a lot and wanted something for his boat with more range than a 12 gauge.

    "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not out to get you"
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    JunkballerJunkballer Member Posts: 9,214 ✭✭✭✭

    I owned a 180 series years ago and it was the most inaccurate rifle I ever shot,....pretty much gave it away just to make room for something else and never had a desire for another mini-14. The only good thing I can say is it never jammed when I shot it.

    "Never do wrong to make a friend----or to keep one".....Robert E. Lee

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    TfloggerTflogger Member Posts: 3,323 ✭✭✭

    I bought a new ranch rifle 2 years ago. The difference between it and an older mini 14 was amazing.

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    mac10mac10 Member Posts: 2,591 ✭✭✭✭

    start at penny it will sell for something

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    kannoneerkannoneer Member Posts: 3,375 ✭✭✭✭
    edited March 2023

    My brother has a mini-14 that he bought new. It is marked 'Made in 1976', and was made in 1976. Since it was made in 1976, it is no different than any other Mini made in 1976.

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    Ditch-RunnerDitch-Runner Member Posts: 24,835 ✭✭✭✭


    I have had my share over the years at one time they were called the poor man's AR 15

    Back in 1994 or so when klinton and the gang did the ban

    I scrapped together what money I could headed to the local GS with intentions of buying a AR15 at that time a Colt but then the choices were limited anyway

    I had never had a AR 15 but had owned several mini 14 to that point

    Any way i got to the GS and i knew rhe Colts were not inexpensive i think about 700 to 800 dollars aT the time they were always to much for my meger budget

    but that day i decided i better splurge and buy one

    At the show i just could not get myself to spend that much on a colt

    So I bought two NIB SS Rugers a mini 14 and mini 30 a bunch of extra magazines and ammo for both and for less than the cost of one Colt AR15

    later on down the road I sold all the rugers and the two still new in the box ones I bought that day here on GB

    and bought my first COLT AR15

    any way I would have never guessed everybody and their brother would start selling and making AR rifles for cheap compared to what they were any way

    And the Ruger mini series would be more expensive

    I still have one ss ranch version Ruger in the safe and added a aftermarket thumb hole stock

    Side note during the ban I searched out the factory ruger mini 14 magazines to resell for some time I could get 125 to 150.00 for a 20 or 30 rnd factory mag a 10 round factory were even harder to find but the states like kal people paid dearly as that's the limit the state had set

    I kept just a few for me

    But then I went nuts on the AR rifles and magazines











    -

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    jthoresenjthoresen Member Posts: 445 ✭✭✭

    Similar experience to yours. I bought a mini-14 ranch rifle in 1994, layaway. The Colt AR-15s were out of the question. I bought my first AR ten years later after the ban expired, a Colt LE6920. Since then, I have purchased many ARs, but had this revealing moment this summer when I was zeroing in my Ruger MPR. The mini-14 is now considerably more expensive than many ARs including the MPR. And wow is the MPR considerably more accurate.

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    He DogHe Dog Member Posts: 51,203 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2023
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    montanajoemontanajoe Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 58,361 ******

    I learned something today. I did not know this about the 180's.

    Good thread, Nunn.

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    montanajoemontanajoe Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 58,361 ******
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    William81William81 Member Posts: 24,861 ✭✭✭✭

    A buddy had a series 180 mini....It had the all wood stock, no plastic cover like the newer ones.. It was a little lacking in accuracy. He has some issues with it and had a hard time finding parts for it. He ended up buying another one just for parts. He finally got rid of all of it.

    I had a couple different Mini's over the years. The first yote I ever shot was a 110 yard shot with a scoped Mini Ranch Rifle. That one would shoot under 2.5" at 100 yards. MOY....Minute of Yote !!!! The others were pretty much the same accuracy wise. Never had any issues with any of them with the exception of being a little magazine sensitive...

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    chiefrchiefr Member Posts: 13,944 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2023

    I bought one when they were on sale right after they were first available around $150, Have put a case thru mine and have had no issues yet. I bought one with the silver frame with black barrel & cylinder. I admit they do look cheep and Ruger advertised them as a budget pistol.


    However, a Mini 14s when they were introduced were selling for the equivalent of over a grand in todays money and just about every example grouped around 6" at 50 yards and most all I have seen at the range provided similar accuracy. Many would only accept only pricey Ruger mags and the sights sucked. No wonder George Peppard of the "A team" never scored any hits.


    IMHO Ruger over the years has proven to be the best firearm manufacturer in the USA, but every gun manufacture will poop out a lemon, even Ruger and the Mini 14 is Ruger's Edsel


    WIll admit the newer ones in 7.62 x 39 were an improvement

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    William81William81 Member Posts: 24,861 ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 2023

    I have one of those pieces of junk....it is actually not that bad for a plinker.

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    He DogHe Dog Member Posts: 51,203 ✭✭✭✭

    I have several Rugers myself, all single action and I have had some rifles. I agree they are mostly good. I like the SR1911, but I think most of the semi autos are ergonomically bricks with triggers. And I just can't do zinc.

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    discusdaddiscusdad Member Posts: 11,419 ✭✭✭✭

    i had a 180 series mini14 for a while. ya as the barrel heated up it would start stringing the shots up, up, and farther up. and toss the emptyies into the next 40 acre field. Factory magazines were hideously expensive, and the aftermarket mags were unreliable. i was able to engineer a barrel strut gizmo that held down the stringing to 3 inches at 100 yards. changing the gas bushings helped control the empties better. accuracy was never going to be any better than what it had with all the fixes. there was a tapered base scope mount that attached on the left side of the receiver that was useless as T***[bumps] on a boar. i sold the gun ammo and gizmos at a healthy profit to some forgettable co worker that i haven't seen in 9 years.

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    neatgunsneatguns Member Posts: 130 ✭✭

    The Mini-14 was the original model that Bill Ruger refused to sell over 10 rd mags to civilians. Ruger would not sell 20 or 30 rd mags on the retail market until after the 2004 ban expired. If you see a 20 or 30 rd mag in a white box that was made for "Law Enforcement Only". Post 2004 mags are in plastic packing.

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    nunnnunn Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 36,043 ******

    Way to stay on topic, guys!

    Or, I should state: Way to stray off topic, guys!

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    GrasshopperGrasshopper Member Posts: 16,828 ✭✭✭✭

    Put it up for a dollar start and you will get better than expected, maybe 🤔

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    nunnnunn Forums Admins, Member, Moderator Posts: 36,043 ******

    I'll probably just keep it. It hangs on the wall in my office and doesn't eat.

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    tsavo303tsavo303 Member Posts: 8,905 ✭✭✭

    The best tip I’ve heard;


    When shooting the Mini 14 begin by tossing a 6 foot hula hoop to the right of your shooting position.


    Fire your target.


    Inevitably the spent brass grouped in the hula hoop will be tighter than the rounds on target.


    Brag about your spent brass group.

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