Custom Tactical Mini-14 Ranch Rifle (197 series)

This is a custom tactical Ruger Mini-14. It was purchased new in California.
Tactical Mini 14
This is the Ruger Mini-14 (197 series) Ranch Rifle, chambered in .223 Remington. Since this model is no longer being produced, and used examples have dropped in price, it is an affordable alternative to the AR-15. The current production Ruger Mini-14s (580 series) offer the upgraded 5/8” hammer-forged barrel, new tooling, “ghost ring” adjustable rear aperture sight, and a protected post front sight. Unfortunately, the new price point makes it unattractive to those that simply prefer a similarly priced AR-15. Fortunately, a nice used Ranch Rifle, with integrated scope bases and the older straight-profile 9/16″ barrel (like the one reviewed here) can be significantly cheaper, and the small (though beneficial) improvements in the new rifles may not justify the cost for some. This particular rifle was purchased new in California by the owner for use as a suitable multi-purpose carbine that conforms to California’s needlessly complex and arbitrary gun laws (while allowing detachable magazines). It uses a reliable and proven Garand-based action. The owner of this gun modified it to fit his own requirements. This necessitated some simple, over-the-counter modifications that anyone can do in their own home to their own gun. Modifications to this custom Ruger include:
Specter Gear CQB 3-Point Sling w/ERB release
Tactical Mini 14
Specter Gear Buttstock Magazine Pouch
Tactical Mini 14
Hogue OverMolded Stock
Tactical Mini 14
Accu-strut Barrel Strut
Tactical Mini 14
Accuracy Systems Inc. M1 Carbine-Style Rear Sight
Tactical Mini 14
Ultimak Scout Mount Accessory Rail
Tactical Mini 14
Vltor Off-Set Scout Mount
Tactical Mini 14
Surefire G2 LED
Tactical Mini 14
Primary Arms Micro Dot (Gen 7) With Fixed Base
Tactical Miini 14
The modifications work together to create an extremely versatile carbine. The Primary Arms Micro Dot mounts low enough to co-witness with the iron sights. The Vltor Off-Set Scout Mount is very low profile. The small amount of obstruction it creates in the operator’s vision is largely unnoticeable. The Ultimak Scout Mount Accessory Rail extends all the way to the end of the gas block, creating enough rail estate to fit the optic and weapon light.

UPDATE: I have made some changes- I am now using the Tech-SIGHT rear sight, and I am no longer using this light and mount setup.

This entry was posted in CA Guns, Firearms, Mini-14, Reviews, Ruger, Tactical. Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to Custom Tactical Mini-14 Ranch Rifle (197 series)

  1. Ryan says:

    That’s a m1 carbine style rear sight, not m1a

    • savethegun says:

      Good catch. I’m aware. I called it the M1A-style as that is what Accuracy Systems calls it on their website. Actually, after reviewing again, they call it M1A Carbine, which is clearly not correct. I’ll edit this post to reflect the correction.

  2. silenthunder85 says:

    I know it’s an older post, but it’s an awesome setup– I have a 580-series that is almost identical. I was wondering… what’s the make/model of the bag that Mini is sitting on? I like it because it’s not covered in MOLLE/PALS webbing lol.. would you recommend it? Thanks!

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  4. Brian says:

    Hey how well can you view the iron sights through the red dot? Does the red dot sit right on top of the iron sight on the barrel or does the red dot sit way above? I’m looking to order this exact micro red dot sight but no one seems to know the answer lol. Instead of getting the Ultimak Scout Mount Rail, I might be using the GG&G rail which seems to sit higher than the Ultimak, do you still think I would be able to see my iron sights through the red dot sight or will the red dot be sitting too high? Thanks!

    • Brian says:

      Okay well I just found out the GG&G rail blocks the rear sight completely so I guess i’m forced to buy the Ultimak rail or an Archangel Sparta stock

      • savethegun says:

        Brian- yes, the GG&G rail renders your irons useless. The Archangel Sparta stock will do the exact same thing (you’ll have to buy new BUIS), plus you’ll have to remove the factory front sight (not absolutely necessary, but very weird looking if you don’t). If you want to use factory irons with a red dot optic, just purchase the Ultimak rail. Seriously. With the updated rear Tech-SIGHT, this gun co-witnesses perfectly and retains all the soul of the original Ranch rifle. I tried almost everything else available (Amega Ranges, Aimtech, GG&G), and it is all a compromise. The only downside to the Ultimak is increased disassembly time. The Amega Ranges rail is too tall to co-witness. The Aimtech rail mounts your optic too high and screws up the balance of the gun. The GG&G rail is useless since it makes your sights worthless. Run an Ultimak rail and a lightweight optic and thank me later!

        • Brian says:

          Awesome! I’ll probably do just that. Do you think the red dot mounts a little too far on the rail or is it good? I wish it extended a little further back but if its no problem for a red dot than its no problem lol. Also, I have a newer tampered barrel #5805 ranch Mini-14.. it should still fit perfect right. Thanks for your input

          • savethegun says:

            The Ultimak rail comes in two versions: one for the early profile barrels (like mine), and one for the 2008-later 580 series barrels (like yours). My version (the one shown above) will absolutely NOT work on the later rifles. You will need to purchase the M4-S ( The only downside to the M4-S version (in my opinion) is reduced rail space. For example, you could not run the Vltor Offset Scout Mount/Surefire G2 LED combo in the location I am running it in the above pictures. Please check the page I linked thoroughly before ordering, as their pictures are very helpful in understanding the differences ( As to your other question, I assume you are asking about red dot location on the rail? All “scout”-type mounts will position the optic forward of the receiver. The concept was pushed by Colonel Jeff Cooper ( Most people I shoot with really like the location of the optic, and I find it helps with fast target acquisition. Your results may vary. I encourage you to shoot something similar prior to purchase. If you live in the Northern California area, I’m happy to meet you at a range so you can get a feel for the setup.

            • Brian says:

              You’re the best man, thanks for all the help. I actually live in NY and the Mini-14 is like the only semi-auto rifle thats aloud to be sold in this state because of that NY unSAFE ACT (which is bullcrap). After doing plenty of research I found out that it’s a great weapon and I can’t wait to get everything set up on it. I found a really good deal on Primary Arms website where if you order the MD-07 micro dot, the Ultimak rail is $20 cheaper! I just have to wait for that red dot to come back in stock and i’ll be all set. Thanks for talking me into getting the Ultimak because now I don’t even have to register it as an assault rifle, which those stocks would have made it according to NY law.

              • savethegun says:

                Congratulations! You will not be disappointed. Send me a picture when you finish the gun and I’ll put it up on the site. Cheers!

                • Brian says:

                  Sounds good, it might be a few weeks since the red dot is out of stock but I’ll send you the pics when it’s all set up! If by chance you have extra 10rd mags you would like to sell email me, they’re sold out everywhere by me, thanks !

  5. Pingback: Custom Tactical Mini-14 Ranch Rifle (197 series) | savethegun

  6. Showpow says:

    Very nice Mini!!! How much does this weigh now with all the upgrades? Looks pretty heavy.

    • savethegun says:

      I’m so sorry but I never got around to weighing the gun in this exact configuration. The gun currently weighs 7.4 pounds (without sling and magazine) and is very similar to this minus the light (and mount). This post has been updated to include a link to the newest setup.

  7. Danny Rohe says:

    I am looking all over for a mini14 chambered in 6.8 but the only ones i have found are stainless steel finish…any thoughts on where i can find all black?

  8. John Rambo says:

    Great work on this. Looks fantastic.

  9. Gulf Alpha Zulu says:

    That is one gorgeus looking rifle. I have an older mini 14, stainless steel, I have been looking into doing some affordable upgrades also, I like the Hogue over mold stock. I’ve been contemplating going with the gillie green and a bar-har and replacing the gas block, just to offset the S.S. reciever. The Ultimak rail is awsome, i haven’t seen one of those, I was leaning towards another after market rail. I’d like a flash suppresor, to lengthen the barrel profile so it looks more like the M-14, but I don’t think its cool to do in California. You can only say that these are pre-ban mods for so many times before getting unwanted attention. That’s a beauty, for sure, thats what my rifle wants to be when she finally grows up. With X-mass around the corner, well lets just say it’s been along time since I’ve been notty and not nice.

  10. Pingback: Question Stock Choice - Shooting Sports Forum

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