Samson A-TM and Hannibal Rail

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    Ruger Mini-14 with Samson A-TM folding stock and Hannibal Rail.

    Admit it. We all have had a Ruger Mini-14 in our past lives. The classic wood and blued steel Mini-14 helped whet our appetite for 5.56 caliber semi-automatic rifles pre-AR-15 days. When AR-15s became more accessible, it seemed ARs nearly made the Mini-14 obsolete. Some of you may still have one tucked in the back of your gun safe. I do and that started me thinking about building a GB model. The “GB” in the model name actually stands for Government Bayonet. You know with the folding metal stock and pistol grip. Samson Manufacturing makes a replacement stock that is a dead ringer for the original Mini-14 GB called the A-TM Folding Stock.

    Samson also produces a handguard that’s compatible with a variety of red dot sights called the Hannibal Rail. The Hannibal Rail can also accept a forward mount scope, scout rifle style. Time to breathe new life into my old Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.

    Ruger Ranch Rifle with a Samson A-TM Folding Stock and Hannibal Rail installed
    The after image of a stock Ruger Ranch Rifle with a Samson A-TM Folding Stock and Hannibal Rail installed.

    Mini-14 Rewind

    The original Mini-14 is best described as a scaled-down and semi-automatic version of the military M14 which was chambered in 7.62x54mm NATO. Similar to the M14, the Mini-14 uses a gas-operated short-stroke piston and a rotating bolt. When it was introduced in 1973, you could get one any way you wanted it as long as you wanted a wood stock, blued metal, and open sights. Choices were limited back then. The original spawned a slew of similar rifles.

    In 1982, a major enhancement, which seems like a no-brainer in hindsight, was the addition of an integral scope mount. Ruger called this variant the Ranch Rifle. Since then Ruger has offered and continues to offer the Mini-14 in a variety of different calibers: 300 BLK, .222 Rem., 6.8 SPC, and 7.62x39mm. The model chambered in 7.62x39mm is called the Mini-Thirty. Stainless steel models were introduced in 1999. Stocks now range from the original hardwood to laminates and synthetics.

    Ranch Rifle Roundup

    Many US law enforcement and corrections facilities geared up with the Mini-14 because it offered lightweight firepower, was dependable, and was relatively accurate out to 200 yards. The Mini-14 also saw use with police departments in other countries. Perhaps one of the most recognized tactical variants was the Mini-14 GB with a polymer pistol grip and folding metal stock. It also featured a bayonet lug and flash suppressor.

    Ruger Ranch Rifle
    A Ruger Ranch Rifle before it was Samson-ized with the A-TM Folding Stock and Hannibal Rail. C’mon you know you have a Mini-14 tucked in the back of your safe.

    The pistol grip version with the folding stock is called the Mini-14 GB for the commercial model and the Mini-14 GB TK was the select fire military version. The original Mini-14 was discontinued in 2004, but it lives on in the Ranch Rifle and other variants like a target model with a heavy barrel fitted with a harmonic tuner at the muzzle end and tactical models with muzzle devices and some with pistol grip stocks.

    The A-Team

    The Samson model name refers to the old TV show The A-Team. The characters in the series used a Ruger AC556, the full auto version of the Mini-14 GB, with a folding stock and pistol grip. I don’t ever remember A-Team hitting anything, but they sure did make a lot of noise-fighting bad guys.

    A-Team TV show cast with Ruger AC556 rifles.
    From left to right: Face (Dirk Benedict), Murdock (Dwight Schultz), Hannibal Smith (George Peppard), and B.A. (Mr. T) in The A-Team. Face and Hannibal are geared up with Ruger AC556 rifles with folding metal stock and pistol grip. (Courtesy YouTube)

    Install A Samson A-TM Folding Stock

    Samson licenses the A-TM Folding Stock design from Ruger and uses the same specs as the original folding stock. In fact, Ruger provides the raw casting to Season which machines and finishes the metal parts. A few hardware updates were made by Samson and the pistol grip was switched to polymer. Original stocks had a Bakelite pistol grip. Wood stocks are CNC machined to close tolerances and my sample was beautiful. Not your typical tactical look. Ruger parts fit perfectly into the Samson A-™ which was a bit of a surprise. I’ve installed aftermarket wood stock in the past and always had to do file work to the wood to make it fit the barreled action. Not with the Samson stock. The Ranch barreled action and the trigger dropped right in. If you can field strip a Mini-14 or Ranch Rifle you can install the Samson folding stock.

    Add In The Hannibal

    The Hannibal Rail replaces the factory handguard assembly and it bolts onto the barrel, forms the top piece of the gas block, and runs lathe back to the front of the receiver. This gives the user a variety of optic-mounting options, from a scope mounted forward, scout-style to a series of tapped holes compatible with a popular assortment of red dot optics. I opted to mount a Trijicon RMR and bolted direction to the rail. Installing the Hannibal Rail is slightly more complex but easy for anyone who knows how to use a hex wrench. Plus the instructions from Samson are written in English and are easy to follow

    The images below show the step-by-step process of installing the Samson A-TM Folding Stock and since the Hannibal Rail requires the barreled action to be removed from the stock, I installed it prior to installing the stock. This is the part the lawyers told me to add: Remember to make sure the rifle is not loaded and the magazine is removed. And if you have any questions about installing either part you can contact Samson.

    Ruger Ranch Rifle Fieldstrip

    Unlock trigger guard from Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle
    With the rifle upside down, insert a screwdriver into the hole in the rear of the trigger and use it to spring open the trigger guard from the locked position.
    Removing trigger group from Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    Remove the trigger housing assembly by pulling it upward from the stock.
    Pulling the barreled action from the stock on a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    Now remove the barreled action from the stock by lifting the rear of the action and pulling it free.
    Remove the polymer handguard from the barrel on a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle
    Next, remove the polymer handguard from the barrel by lifting it off. The handguard clips onto the barrel. At this point, the factory stock on the Ruger Ranch Rifle can be swapped with the Samson A-TM Folding Stock. Follow the next steps to prep for the Samson Hannibal Rail install or jump to the install section below.

    Prepping To Install the Samson A-TM and Hannibal

    Removing gas block on Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    To install the Hannibal Rail the gas block needs to be disassembled. Samson provides the correct size hex wrench with the Hannibal Rail kit.
    Removing recoil spring and guide rod on Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    The slide handle needs to be removed prior to installing the Hannibal Rail. First, grab the compress recoil spring and guide rod and pull it toward the muzzle to disengage the guide rod from the buffer and buffer cross pin. Hang onto the recoil and guide rod or it will shoot across the room. Don’t ask me why I know that.
    Removing recoil buffer cross pin on Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    The buffer cross pin comes out easily.
    Removing recoil buffer on Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    The buffer will also come out easily.
    Slide handle notch on Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle receiver.
    Note that there is a disassembly notch on the receiver. Align the locking projection on the slide handle with the notch.
    Removing slide handle on Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    With the tab and notch aligned, rotate the slide handle upward and out of the receiver. You may need to gently wiggle it, but it comes apart with little effort. No need to remove the bolt.

    Samson Hannibal Rail Installation

    The Samson Hannibal Rail Attached to the Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle via a clamp.
    Place the barrel into the underside of the Hannibal Rail and place the barrel clamp over the barrel. It attaches with two hex screws.
    Attaching Samson Hannibal Rail barrel clamp to barrel of Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    Hold the clamp in place with your finger and tighten the barrel clamp screws from the top side of the Hannibal Rail. I just snugged up the screws initially.
    Installing gas block on Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    Before reinstalling the bottom portion of the gas block make sure that the gas port bushing is in place in the port of of the barrel. The gas port bushing is small and easily lost. Don’t ask me why I know this.
    Checking gas block from Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle and Samson Hannibal Rail.
    Before I tightened the two Hannibal Rail barrel clamp screws, I place the bottom half of the gas block on the Hannibal Rail to be sure the rail, gas block, piston, and slide handle were all aligned. The Hannibal Rail replaces the top half of the factory gas block.
    Installing Samson Hannibal Rail on a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    With the gas block, piston, and slide handle aligned, tighten the two barrel clamp screws on the Samson Hannibal Rail making sure that they are evenly installed.
    Tightening gas block screws on a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    When tightening up the four gas block screws make sure they are evenly installed. Note the same space between the top half and the bottom half of the gas block. Next, reassemble the slide handle, buffer, buffer cross pin, recoil spring, and guide rod. Samson/ Hannibal Rail installation complete.

    Mounting The Trijicon RMR

    Mini-14 Hack: Samson A-TM Folding Stock and Hannibal Rail
    The Trijicon RMR was simple to locate in the pattern of mounting holes. Samson provides the footprint for a variety of common red dots including Trijicon, Leupold, C-More, and Vortex.
    Mini-14 Hack: Samson A-TM Folding Stock and Hannibal Rail
    The Trijicon RMR is attached to the Samson Hannibal Rail with two Torx screws. You might want to consider using blue Loctite on the screw threads to ensure the screws don’t rattle loose under recoil.
    Mini-14 Hack: Samson A-TM Folding Stock and Hannibal Rail
    Optic installation is complete on the Hannibal Rail.

    Samson A-TM Folding Stock Installation

    Installing the Samson A-TM Folding Stock on a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    Insert the forward end of the Samson A-TM Folding Stock into the bottom half of the gas block and then lower the receiver into the stock. The barreled receiver fit like a glove with no fitting. The factory handguard is compatible with the Samson A-TM Folding Stock.
    Installing the trigger group on Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle into a Samson A-TM Folding Stock.
    With the safety on and the hammer cocked, insert the trigger group into the bottom of the Samson A-TM stock. The trigger group is easily installed.
    Installing Samson A-TM stock on a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
    Rotate the trigger guard back and press down on it. You will hear it click when it is locked in place.
    Mini-14 Hack: Samson A-TM Folding Stock and Hannibal Rail
    Samson A-TM stock installation is complete.

    How The Samson A-TM Folding Stock Works

    Samson A-TM Folding Stock buttplate.
    A button on the buttplate slides down to open and close the buttplate.
    Samson A-TM Folding Stock buttplate in closed position.
    The buttplate on the Samson A-TM Folding Stock locks in the extended and closed positions.
    A button at the base of the Samson A-TM stock needs to be pressed to fold the stock.
    A button at the base of the Samson A-TM stock needs to be pressed to fold the stock.

    Samson A-TM Folding Stock and Hannibal Rail Review

    First off, installation of the stock and rail was easy with no hand fitting involved. It took about one hour to install the Hannibal Rail and the A-TM stock. There is no wiggle between the barreled action and Samson stock. The fit is tight and precise with no gaps. It is as if the rifle came from the factory with the Samson A-TM stock installed.

    The metal folding stock itself is also tight and clicks in place when extended or collapsed. A post protrudes from the right side of the stock and the buttplate slides over the post. The buttons are not difficult to press when manipulating folding and unfolding the stock. In the folded portion the overall length of the Ruger Ranch Rifle is 19.5 inches. Extended, the overall length is 29 inches. The LOP is the same for the Samson A-TM stock and the factory wood stock: 13.5 inches, which in my opinion is a good length – not too long so a heavy coat makes using the rifle cumbersome and not too short that the rifle is difficult to shoot comfortably. The overall length of a Ranch Rifle with the wood factory stock and Samson A-TM stock is 38 inches.

    Shooting Mini-14 with Samson A-TM stock folded.
    Shooting the Mini-14 with the Samson stock folded should be on everyone’s bucket list.

    Extended Stock Shooting

    Shooting with the stock extended, I found that the balance was good. The pistol grip felt a little retro and that is a good thing. Flicking the safety on and off did not require me to reposition my shooting hand. I needed a screwdriver to remove the silly grin from my face after shooting the Mini-14 from the hip with the Samson stock folded. That itself was worth the time to install the stock and rail. Reducing the storage space needed by folding the stock is a big plus, especially if you plan to keep the Samson-ized Mini-14 for home defense or carry it in your vehicle. Since the rifle can be fired with the stock folded your rifle just became an oversized pistol that can be more easily manipulated in tight environs like the hallway from your bedroom or even inside a vehicle.

    FAQ’s

    Samson A-TM

    Q: What are the benefits of a folding stock?

    A: A folding stock offers several advantages, such as reduced storage space, easier transport, and the ability to fire the rifle with the stock folded, which can be valuable in confined spaces.

    Q: Is the installation of the Samson A-TM Folding Stock complicated?

    A: No, the installation process is straightforward and typically doesn’t require any hand fitting. It can be completed with basic tools and some familiarity with your Mini-14’s disassembly.

    Q: What is the length of pull (LOP) with this stock?

    A: The Samson A-TM Folding Stock maintains a standard LOP of 13.5 inches, which is generally comfortable for most shooters and practical for various shooting scenarios.

    Samson Hannibal Rail

    Q: What makes the Hannibal Rail different from the factory handguard?

    A: The Hannibal Rail offers multiple mounting options for optics, red dot sights, and accessories, allowing you to customize your rifle’s setup. It replaces the standard handguard and adds versatility to your firearm.

    Q: Is the installation of the Hannibal Rail complicated?

    A: While it may require some disassembly of your rifle, the installation process is relatively straightforward and can be completed with basic tools. Samson Manufacturing provides clear instructions to guide you through the process.

    Shooting a Mini-14 with the Samson A-TM folding stock.
    The Samson A-TM folding stock is comfortable to shoot and offers a solid rest. There is no wiggle in this stock.

    I Love It When A Plan Comes Together

    The Hannibal Rail completely changes the dynamic of the Mini-14 Ranch Rifle. At best you can mount a low-power scope on the Mini-14 and that is a step up, but the red makes the Mini-14 more nimble and faster to get on target.

    The Ruger Mini-14, Samson ATM Folding Stock, and Hannibal Rail make a great team. I love it when a plan comes together.

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