Raffica: January 1998

By Dan Shea

“So it is said that if you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle
Master Sun Tzu-“The Art of War”

I frequently wonder at the losses in our freedoms that we seem to be taking on a national level. It would seem that if we firearms enthusiasts knew ourselves and our enemies (Yes, they are enemies in the truest sense- they will do anything possible to stop our firearms ownership!) we might have more “Wins”. Compromise is an essential part of any negotiator’s arsenal, but we Second Amendment defenders seem to be weaponless at times. I suggest to all of you who are concerned about the erosion of our Constitutional rights take off the bumper stickers for a couple of days, and listen to the people who are backing the Sarah Brady’s of the world. I recently spent several hours on a flight from Atlanta to Boston with a woman who was an ardent leftist, and had been working for civilian disarmament for thirty years.

In the course of conversation, I found that she had no real knowledge of firearms, other than what she had seen of the effects in El Salvador, Nicaragua, assorted African countries, and Palestine. This woman was no coward, she had gone right to the belly of the beast to “Work for peace”. Not a communist either, just a person who felt called to try to stop conflicts wherever they were. It was a very interesting conversation. She soon found that there was much in common between the desires of the gun owners, and herself, with only one glaring exception; we (Represented by your faithful correspondent) believe that the firearm is a tool that can be used for good or evil, and that men make the choice of how they use it. She had difficulty in understanding “Why” we keep our military firearms; I explained “Hobby”, “Research”, “Investment” and these she understood. It was when I explained the root of the Second Amendment to her that she balked and said it was “Wishful thinking” on my part.

I explained the thoughts of men who come home from war, and remember the faces and ruined lives of the people whose country they were trying to free from tyrants. People who had submitted to disarmament.

Still, she believed the weapons to be at fault. We went back to Biblical times, and discussed the sword, and the club, and finally the fist. It has never changed; our humanity that is. The difference boiled down to a subtlety- she believed that it all could be changed if only everyone would behave as she wanted; I believed that people can behave however they want as long as it doesn’t impact on the rest of us. Every man being armed is our answer.

If you get the opportunity, I heartily suggest that you take a liberal to the conversation table, without trying to put them down. It’s amazing how much they don’t understand about our reality…. Or we about theirs. They are not all cowards like some of their leaders. The knowledge you gain may help you the next time you have to talk to a politician about his voting, or when you give your opinion to the gun lobby.

Q1- I would like to purchase a Ruger Mini-14 machine gun, with the side folding stock. What is the correct model number for this?

A1- The military version of the Mini-14 by Sturm Ruger is called the AC-556. (Automatic Carbine, 5.56 caliber). Ruger has never knowingly sold these to civilians, only to class 3 dealers and law enforcement agencies. The transferable ones were all produced before May 19 1986. There was one load of 500 transferable folding stock guns that were released in the late 1980’s from a botched international sale. Just before takeoff in the airplane, the pilot noticed that he was “Transhipping” cargo, an illegal act. The AC-556’s were supposed to go to one country, and were being diverted to private parties in Columbia. BZZZZZ! Wrong answer on THAT one! Customs seized them in 1984, and they were released as fully transferable in the late 1980’s. (Ruger registered every machine gun on a form 2, even export guns). Sile Inc, sold them out to the dealers when they managed to get control of the US sales of the shipment.

It’s taken me 25 years to figure THIS much of Ruger’s nomenclature system out... you can’t trust his catalogs or military manuals to correctly cover it either- no offense, but I think it’s the “F” and “K” things that mess it all up...

This system of Ruger’s makes me nuts. I have spent a lot of time looking over the models, and here is what I think is correct. It might not be, but it’s what we have always used at LMO.

All AC-556 rifles are select fire- safe is on the front of the trigger guard, and the 3 position selector at the top right rear of the receiver (Behind the sights) is semi- 3 shot- full auto. ALL OF THEM! We have NEVER seen an AC-556 without this feature. Except- the registered conversions that are out there- many of which utilize a selector similar to an M14 rifle’s.

AC-556 : Blued, fixed wooden stock, standard barrel

AC-556 F :Blued, side folding stock, standard barrel

KAC-556 Stainless Steel, fixed stock, standard barrel

KAC-556 F : Stainless Steel, Stainless folding Stock, standard barrel

The “K” at the beginning stands for “Stainless Steel”

Add an extra “K” at the end for “Kurz” (Short) with 13.5 inch bbl
“Kurz” is a generic term used in much of the gun world for “Short” - Bill Ruger apparently followed a lot of other designers who had “K” models. This was on his military contract designation- he supplied two basic models to the military- the AC-556 blued rifle with wood stock and full barrel length of 18.5”. The military AC-556K had a side folding stock, AND a short barrel of 13”- I believe this was later changed to 13.5”, it was a blued model.

In some instances a “GB” was added for “Government Bayonet” model, which had the bayonet lug on the barrel. This designation is normally used on the semi-automatic Mini-14 police models, but I have seen several true AC-556’s that had the GB designation.

Questions to: Dan Shea C/O SAR, 223 Sugar Hill rd Harmony, ME, 04942

Fax to: 207-683-2172 or email to: sareview@aol.com

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V1N4 (January 1998)
and was posted online on October 13, 2017


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