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View Full Version : Is the Mini 14 / Mini 30 that bad?


hickok45
November 14, 2009, 09:12 PM
I'm a long-time AR owner and have never owned a Mini-14. I've always liked the look and feel of it, being a M1-A/M14 fan. It seemed that back in the '80s nobody was pleased with magazine availability, and I keep hearing negative reports on the accuracy. The Mini 30, as I understand, doesn't fire the less expensive surplus ammo without damaging the barrel. The barrel is smaller diameter, I think.

Anyway, these rifles feel and look so attractive in so many ways. I wouldn't mind having one. I shoot mainly off hand without glass optics. Would I be disappointed in the accuracy or reliability as compared with my Colt or Bushmaster ARs?

Can anybody convince me I'd be happy with one?

Thanks,
Hickok45

Suwannee Tim
November 14, 2009, 09:36 PM
How about five to eight inches at 100. Is that bad? I think so. And the five inches was with a lot of effort and load development.

hoytinak
November 14, 2009, 09:42 PM
I love my Mini-14, it'll shoot 3-4 MOA all day long (and that's stock with factory loads). They are great for what they are, a ranch/truck rifle. My only complaint about my Mini-14 is it's only 100% reliable with factory mags that are kinda expensive.

red caddy
November 14, 2009, 09:59 PM
I'm not gonna try to convince you of anything.

It seems, around here, that AR platform guy's don't shoot/like mini's and mini guy's dont shoot/like AR's.

I too am a long time M-1/M1-A shooter. I also own, shoot and like the mini's (14 and 30). I don't know what your expectations are for the mini's, but both of mine shoot well with Wolf/milsurp ammo and very well with handloads. all in all, a short, light, fast handling weapon that does what I ask it to.

IMHO, the mini's were never designed to be a main battle rifle, and should not be judged against one. (especially one that can't (IMO) best the M-1/M1-A on any point of comparison) 'Nuff said. Paul

Swampghost
November 14, 2009, 10:18 PM
Mini-14 180, last outing for comparison; Shot as well as my sons AK @ 100 yds. We shot as fast as we figured the rangemaster would allow and switched rifles twice. Most fell within 2" of center, a few 'flyers' went 3"'s off mark.

I can still sort of use peep sights but not reliable enough to hunt. The flyers wer probably me with the AK.

qwman68
November 14, 2009, 10:30 PM
there are alot of people who bash mini's my mini-14 is a newer 580 series and it's been 100% reliable. shooting off a rest it will usually group 1.5-2''. maybe the older ones used to shoot worse,but my only experience with the mini-14 has been great.my mini-30 is older and has a scope on it and it shoots 2-2.5''. ive never had any issues with either one.so i tend to be on ruger's side. i use pro-mag 20 round mags and they have all worked well for me,so i cant bash them.i understand its not intended for match use or anything like that,but it will shoot man size targets all day.. cant wait to see my mini-14 with a scope on it..

tINY
November 14, 2009, 11:13 PM
Accuracy was typically not very good until they retooled the manufacturing about 2 years ago...

Reports of the new ones say they shoot better, but not as good as an AR15. 2" at 100 yards in 6.8 seems like a good truck gun to me.



-tINY

Sarge
November 14, 2009, 11:25 PM
Even with a hot barrel, the last three-shot group of the day was 3 7/8 inches at 210 yards....


Link (http://sargesrollcall.blogspot.com/2008/10/mini-14-580-series-ranch-rifle-last.html#links)

DnPRK
November 14, 2009, 11:43 PM
Since the mid 1980s, I've owned 3 Minis. None were precision rifles despite dozens of handloads with different powders and bullet weights (including loads that would shoot less than 1" in my ARs). The one Mini I kept was bought new and shot the best of the three with 5-6" groups at 100 yds. The 2 I sold were 9-10" guns at 100 yds.

I also own 2 Saigas. Both shoot 3-4" groups at 100 yds.

Swampghost
November 14, 2009, 11:51 PM
On the reliability issue, my Mini experience is limited to one issue that I created. They don't like being loaded up to over 4K FPS ++.

With that one exception none have ever failed me and I've put a few through the wringer. Ever flip your airboat and spent a few days walking out of the swamp? I'll die with that rifle!

troy_mclure
November 15, 2009, 12:04 AM
ive shot quite a few, both new and old. 14/30 and ranch.

the 30 ranch would not even feed roger mags reliably, it only liked 1 mag.

ive shot ak's that are more accurate than mini 30's. and they are more reliable, more accessories, and cheaper!.

if you just like to plink at <50yd it will be fine.

Skyyr
November 15, 2009, 12:06 AM
Quote:
Even with a hot barrel, the last three-shot group of the day was 3 7/8 inches at 210 yards....

Link


That was only ONE group out of countless others (and I'll guarantee you it wasn't the worst). Factor in the average of all groups and you have even less of an argument for a Mini-14's accuracy (that in itself should be an oxymoron). 3 7/8" is roughly (slightly better) than 2 MOA at 210yds. That is pretty poor compared to the ability of a decent AR. Any intermediate shooter with an AR can do 2" @ 200yds pretty easily. Even a Marlin .22 will shoot better groups than the 2 MOA the Mini was shooting.

The irony is that the author of that article was using a 4x scope. I'm sorry, but I can shoot better than that using iron sights at 200yds with my Noveske. Seriously, if 2MOA is the best you can do WITH A SCOPE, that alone should speak of the accuracy issues the rifle has.

qwman68
November 15, 2009, 01:26 AM
i can shoot the same guy in the head with my mini that you can with your AR.2-2.5 moa at 200 yrds. is pretty damn good where i come from..

Skyyr
November 15, 2009, 01:33 AM
i can shoot the same guy in the head with my mini that you can with your AR.2-2.5 moa at 200 yrds. is pretty damn good where i come from..


Let's put this into perspective, then.

At shorter ranges, 200 yds and less, why pay the same amount for a gun that's less accurate than an AR?

At longer ranges, say 500yds, a 1MOA AR is going to hit within a 5" circle. Your Mini won't be able to even group on a paper plate.

Ignition Override
November 15, 2009, 01:33 AM
How about hunting with Minis?
Other than punching a small group of holes in a piece of feral paper,
can't they stop a feral pig if the hunter knows where to aim with either a 14 or a 30 and the correct type of round?

Despite being middle-aged, I have a Mini 30 etc but have never hunted.

olyinaz
November 15, 2009, 02:13 AM
>>>Anyway, these rifles feel and look so attractive in so many ways. I wouldn't mind having one.<<<

Well then for Pete's sake GET ONE.

I was dissatisfied with my 25 year old Ranch rifle because it shot 4" groups. I put an Accu-Strut on it (all of 10 minutes work) and it shoots half that now. Plenty good enough for my plinking needs but you make the call for you.

Oly

qwman68
November 15, 2009, 02:22 AM
1 moa at 500 yards.. id like to see that

Gav-n-Tn
November 15, 2009, 02:28 AM
The Mini 30, as I understand, doesn't fire the less expensive surplus ammo without damaging the barrel. The barrel is smaller diameter, I think.

Where did you hear that? There is a difference in the ball diameter of a 7.62X39 as opposed to .308). The ball on a 7.62X39 is .02 larger than .308 so you have to be aware when reloading but what you just said is a new one on me. All of my ammo for my Mini-30 is surplus with the exception of 1 box of WWB. 7.63X39 is a mil-spec round. As for opinions on the Mini-14, you'll get as many people, or more, that like them as you do people that do not. I have 4 of them but only one is for shooting. The others are WAY too collectible for me to feel the need to exercise them.

bamaranger
November 15, 2009, 04:45 AM
I dug out some notes and articles before responding, here's what I found:

Both Ross Seyfried and C.E. Harris describe the Mini-30 as having "long throats" and chamber specs", in articles written in 1987 and 1990 respectively. Apparently this allows the use of .311 ammo in their .308 bore. I t seems the oversize projectile gets slimmed down to size as it travels through the long throat.

Ruger owners manual cautions to use only made in uSA domestic x39 ammo. But...
My own Mini-30, purchased in the early 90's, has had 1000 or so rds of import ammo through it w/ no probs, though I shoot mostly brass cases .308 dia reloads through it these days, after getting an AK. W-W ball gives me 3MOA when my mini wears a scope. W-W or Rem Soft points do the same. This is sufficient for woods hunting and as a truck rifle for me. Mine has downed several 100 - 125 lb whitetail does, and many other pests.

The Ruger 5 rd factory mag is the most reliable, as in great. All the after market hi-caps I have are only OK, w/ the 20 rd types (USA) working best.

Seems like I have read that Ruger has gone to a .311 bore on recent Mini's but I cannot support that w/ reference or my own observation.

Gav-n-Tn
November 15, 2009, 05:07 AM
Apparently this allows the use of .311 ammo in their .308 bore.

They would have to allow for something other than .308 because a 7.62X39 ball is technically not .308 anyway. Thanks for the documentation that backs that up. People get the ball from a 7.62X51 mixed up with a 7.62X39 because they see the 7.62 and think it's the same. That should only be an issue if you are purchasing bullets for reloading or if you took it upon yourself to pull some. 7.62X39 is 7.62X39. It could be argued that the brass cased, US stuff is of higher quality I guess but the OP was given some bad info if you ask me.

Anyway, I would ONLY listen to the "Mini-14s are crap" talk from people that have really owned one. Not just some purveyor of hear say. I own the Mini-30, Mini-14s and ARs.

hickok45
November 15, 2009, 06:22 AM
Thanks for the input. So, the target model is supposed to be more accurate. Since I don't have one, maybe I should consider that model if I decide I just have to have a Mini 14, although MOA accuracy is not a deal killer necessarily.

I'm primarily a handgunner, and I find myself usually laughing at the arguments about which polymer pistol is more accurate than another. For practical shooting offhand, there might be a couple of nerdy paper punchers on Planet Earth who could ever tell the difference. The rest of us don't come even close to getting the limit of accuracy out of a pistol unless we're bench resting.

To some extent, the way I use rifles is about the same. I just stand and shoot, hunting zombies, plinking steel targets, knocking bowling pins around, etc.

Thanks,
Hickok45

Gav-n-Tn
November 15, 2009, 06:55 AM
Alot of people get really hung up on sub moa which is fine if you're a range shooter. Like I said, you can build you an AR pretty cheap. I love my Mini-14s though. www.southernoutdoorlife.com

Gav-n-Tn
November 15, 2009, 06:57 AM
I was trying to figure out why my site didn't show up in my signature like some of these other's do. I guess it works in posts but not in your sig line. Good luck on your choice :) I grew up in Hendersonville just right up the road from you.

Nowhere Man
November 15, 2009, 08:18 AM
The Mini 30, as I understand, doesn't fire the less expensive surplus ammo without damaging the barrel. The barrel is smaller diameter, I think.


Or, could it be the Mini's don't have a chrome lined barrel so, shooting corrosive surplus ammo without proper cleanup would ruin the barrel?


Dave

MosinM38
November 15, 2009, 08:18 AM
People like working themselves into a tizzy over Mini-14's being awesome or being trash ;)

In MY...experiance, I think Mini's are good.

Mine groups 1.5", my dads groups 1.5", my UNCLES groups 1.5".

I will say this, and no one believes it, but loosen the gas block screws (Proper name?) some, not enough to make it wobble, but they are putting to much pressure on the barrel.

Sometimes that hasn't worked, but the clamp-on barrel acurizers (Sorry, I'm tired this morning and can't think of the name)< usually improve it somewhat as well.

I am sure there are Mini's that won't even work. But in my opinion they are not the majority.


I guess I have to gripes with AR-15 uber-fans. They cite "under 1" accuracy". Yeah with heavy barreled ones and a fair number of average barrels.

Build an AR15 that weighs under 7 pounds and see how accurate it is then. The carbines with non-bull barrels,etc. group larger than that. 1.5", some 2"......

ritepath
November 15, 2009, 08:27 AM
I like my little pos mini fwiw, I haven't found any ammo that it won't shoot yet. It does require a good factory mag, but ruger now sells the 20's and 30's to civilians so prices aren't as crazy as before. There's no doubt the older minis won't shoot groups, and the newer one are much better.


Who wastes time shooting groups with a semi-auto anyway? You're never gonna beat a bottom of the line Sako in a match...

That being said, I'd love to get rid of my mini and pickup a M&P AR...but since you don't get rid of a gun that works, I'll just have to pay full price this spring.:confused:

VTRich
November 15, 2009, 08:44 AM
"Seems like I have read that Ruger has gone to a .311 bore on recent Mini's but I cannot support that w/ reference or my own observation."

This is true. I believe they switched from .308 to .311 around 1990. Actually, if you ask Ruger, they will tell you the bores are .310 to .3115. I imagine that allows for manufacturing tolerances.

Come and take it.
November 15, 2009, 09:00 AM
I have an older mini14 law enforcement model that is more accurate than a newer 580 series I recently owned. So long as you shoot 62 grain or bigger bullets.

They traded off a good solid receiver for a more lightly constructed, skinny one to keep the weight down so they could add steel to the barrel. This makes the newer guns more muzzle heavy than the 180 plus series.

Sarge
November 15, 2009, 09:28 AM
Also FWIW, I have been running four, 20 round Mini 14 ProMags for about a year now and they have been 100% whether I was using ball or softpoints, factory ammo or reloads. They've been left loaded unless I was using them, then reloaded right back, but the springs are still healthy & they continue to feed well.

Seems like I gave about half the price of the factory mags.

2rugers
November 15, 2009, 10:40 AM
Like my Mini alot.

Factory folder, 16" barrel, Threaded flash hider.

The rifle is compact, dare I say accurate, and very reliable with it's factory mags.

The only issue I ever had was with non-oem mags unreliability, now that problem is nonexisten.

It will never be bolt action accurate but it is certainly accurate enough to carry in the pickup for yotes and such vermin.

JohnH1963
November 15, 2009, 10:49 AM
If your purpose is home defense, then the Mini cannot be beat. The mini can hit a coffee can at 50 yards and that is all the accuracy you need in a self defensive fire-arm in my opinion.

It is more acccurate, more deadly and has longer range then any pistol out there. It also has more capacity with a 30 round magazine.

Would you get much more out of an AR15 for home defense? I dont think so.

Sarge
November 15, 2009, 11:27 AM
I generally don't waste time on stuff like this but its raining today, so here goes:

Posted by Skyyr-

That was only ONE group out of countless others (and I'll guarantee you it wasn't the worst). Factor in the average of all groups and you have even less of an argument for a Mini-14's accuracy (that in itself should be an oxymoron). 3 7/8" is roughly (slightly better) than 2 MOA at 210yds. That is pretty poor compared to the ability of a decent AR. Any intermediate shooter with an AR can do 2" @ 200yds pretty easily. Even a Marlin .22 will shoot better groups than the 2 MOA the Mini was shooting.

The irony is that the author of that article was using a 4x scope. I'm sorry, but I can shoot better than that using iron sights at 200yds with my Noveske. Seriously, if 2MOA is the best you can do WITH A SCOPE, that alone should speak of the accuracy issues the rifle has.

You've certainly come a long way since you posted this (http://208.67.249.138/forums/showthread.php?p=3696153) on September 15th:

Hello! =)

First off, I'm from Tennessee, Murfreesboro to be exact. I've always considered myself a decent marksman - whether or not that's true, I'd like to find out. After getting my Noveske recently, I have a rifle that can shoot better than I can. I'd like to get involved into competition shooting to have goals to compete against and to simply have fun.

I have no idea where to start whatsoever, what rules are involved, etc. That being said, can anyone point me in the right direction?

Do you even still have that rifle? Because through 8/6/09 you were posting a classified at AR15.com (http://ee.ar15.com/ItemView.aspx?iid=17649) which reads-

For sale is a new, unmounted, unused TA01 ACOG.

I purchased the ACOG 2 weeks ago and was waiting for a LaRue mount to come in the mail before I used it. Unfortunately, I had to sell the rifle it was going to be mounted on before the mount arrived, so I'm now selling the scope.

Either way that Noveske you have, or had, looks to have the better grade barrel with a match chamber, etc. My comment regarding the 580 being comparable to M4's assumes rack grade guns in both cases. Based on zeroing a number the latter, I'm just not seeing a huge accuracy advantage for the M4. Purpose-built, match grade AR's are another matter entirely and may be expected to rival a good bolt action. I haven't had a Target Mini in my hands yet so I can't comment on whether they'll run with a Match AR.

On the matter of 4X vs irons, best groups/worst groups- folks who can shoot can also call a flier. Is it fair to attribute occasional bad shooting to the gun?

Unlike you, Bwana Skyyr, some of us pull a shot occasionally. Assuming corrective lenses & good light I generally, but not always, shoot about as well with aperture sights as with a 4X scope. You may well have held your 1MOA to 500 with the Noveske. We have an old Savage 110 in .223 which has proven capable of it to about 400, on those rare dead-calm days here.

Either way, I congratulate you on your climb from novice to expert (and marksmanship consultant) in such a short period.

Art Eatman
November 15, 2009, 12:09 PM
As long as I was just sighting in or load testing, I regularly got three-shot groups of 1.5 MOA from each of the four Minis I've owned. For my old eyes, a Weaver K4 solved the "see both the sights and the target" problem.

I did in a fair number of coyotes and jackrabbits.

Where a Mini works well is for hunting: The first shot reliably goes to the same point of aim, today, as it did last week or last month or whenever.

Odd about this magazine problem: I never had any operational problems with magazines I bought in the 1970s and early 1980s. Must be something in the manufacturing, nowadays. However, odds are it's something with the feed-lips, and that's usually curable with needle-nose pliers and a bit of patience. (Works for 1911 mags, anyway.)

4sixteen
November 15, 2009, 12:14 PM
Check out these beauties. Distributor exclusives, available in circassian and laminate. :cool:

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r236/storm_rider02/m30circassian.jpg

http://i145.photobucket.com/albums/r236/storm_rider02/m30laminate.jpg

Candiru
November 15, 2009, 03:31 PM
When it comes to comparing Minis and ARs, I see the following two statements a lot:


For the price of a Mini-14, you can get an AR-15.
AR-15s are more accurate than Mini-14s and/or will shoot MOA.


Both of these statements are true, but I haven't seen any published data suggesting they both hold true simultaneously for the same guns. High-end ARs, even ones designed as carbines, generally produce sub-MOA groups in the tests I've read. But most reviews of AR carbines selling for less than $1,000 show groups from 1.5 to over 2 MOA. The rejection threshold for FN-made M16s is 4 MOA, which seems a little high for a rifle that, to hear people talk about it, shoots MOA as a matter of course.

olyinaz
November 15, 2009, 05:03 PM
Both of these statements are true, but I haven't seen any published data suggesting they both hold true simultaneously for the same guns. High-end ARs, even ones designed as carbines, generally produce sub-MOA groups in the tests I've read. But most reviews of AR carbines selling for less than $1,000 show groups from 1.5 to over 2 MOA. The rejection threshold for FN-made M16s is 4 MOA, which seems a little high for a rifle that, to hear people talk about it, shoots MOA as a matter of course.

Bingo. People like to compare the old pencil-barrel Mini to a new free floated AR. It's apples to oranges.

Oly

2rugers
November 15, 2009, 05:14 PM
Sarge.:D

olyinaz
November 15, 2009, 05:18 PM
And by the way, I love that distributor exclusive wood stocked Mini with the short barrel!

Regarding the Mini 30: I get pretty enthused thinking about one of those in that new Remington .30-AR round! Imagine that. :)

Best,
Oly

Skyyr
November 15, 2009, 05:29 PM
@ Sarge

Please point out ANYWHERE in ANY of my posts where I've stated I was an "expert" Marksman. However, like most things that I do, when I get started into them, I go into them full throttle. Some would call me obsessive or extremely driven. I'm simply an enthusiast and I put my all into whatever interests me. Since my first post in March, I've purchased 3 AR-15's (and a Sig 226 - and I also sold one of the AR's) and put THOUSANDS of rounds downrange.

Doing a bit of a search, you'll find that about 2-3 weeks ago, I was shooting just over MOA at 150 and 200yd ranges. In fact, I posted that here. And that was with irons. Moreover, I'm the type of person that doesn't judge the ability of a firearm by my abilities. I knew from the day I got it that my Colt would do roughly 1.5" @ 100yds and the Noveske would do about 3/4". In fact, my posts reflect that. I think my quote was, "My rifle can shoot better than me." Then again, 2 1/2 years ago, I was a simple college student with almost no official background in aviation. According to you, I should still be a novice, yet the FAA thinks I'm now competent enough to fly, train, and endorse people to become pilots and to carry passengers for hire. Between the two, shooting pales in comparison. My pistol shooting skills on the other hand, those could use severe improvement.

Now, to turn the tables on you, you should have done better research, because the AR I sold was a Sabre Defence - not the Noveske. I also purchased a Colt LE6920, which is my "bang-around" gun and the gun I put the majority of my rounds down. Once I feel like I've improved an aspect of shooting, I then switch to the Noveske and see just how much I have improved, usually throwing a 5-shot group down-range, measuring any improvement, and then switch back to the Colt. I still have the Noveske and have been shooting irons rigorously for the last several weeks, where I've gotten my best 5-group sizes down to about 1.55" @ 200yds, roughly. A bit more research on arfcom would show that I'm now looking for an optic and I'm awaiting my Meopta KDot to come in sometime next week.

Now, I could go on and explain that, unlike AR's, I've been shooting traditional rifles since the ripe age of 15. As anyone who's familiar with rifles knows that there's little training time involved transferring from a bolt-gun to an AR. I CAN (and I will, should you request me to) take a Remington .270 bolt action out and do 1/3 MOA groups @200 yds all day long with a 3-9x scope. In fact, I've made mention of this on the boards as well.

That said, I feel flattered someone is that impressed with me to feel the need to go through my post history (seeing as anyone and everyone can). You could have saved yourself some time and simply asked me to link the posts directly to you. Either way, thanks for complimenting me on my shooting abilities. I guess after being able to shoot sub-MOA with an AR15 with irons after only... ~4-5 months is pretty good, considering your self-professed best group with a Mini is 2'ish inches. I'd go as far to assert that those "wide" groupings are the result of the rifle and not you, the shooter, which was the entire point of my original post, which you took out of context.

Thanks.

GaryM&P
November 15, 2009, 05:41 PM
I wasn't pleased with the accuracy of any of the Mini's that I owned. Besides that, the cost of reliable magazines is outrageous compared to the cost of reliable AR mags.

Skyyr
November 15, 2009, 05:45 PM
I wasn't pleased with the accuracy of any of the Mini's that I owned. Besides that, the cost of reliable magazines is outrageous compared to the cost of reliable AR mags.


I forgot about how expensive they were - good point.

Come and take it.
November 15, 2009, 06:18 PM
Bingo. People like to compare the old pencil-barrel Mini to a new free floated AR. It's apples to oranges.

Oly

Funny how some good name AR manufacturers are coming out with skinnier barrel, lightweight versions of the AR these days.

Bad for a mini14 to have a pencil barrel
Good for an AR15 to have one

confusing isnt it?

CUBAN REDNECK
November 15, 2009, 06:30 PM
The Mini is not an AR, so just remember that. But it is good enough. When they heat up it loses a little accuracy. But it will do for raccoons, opossums, etc., IMHO. If you can get a decent price for it, then it's not bad at all.:)

TriumphGuy
November 15, 2009, 06:56 PM
I dropped my 580 series in the mud with no mag and the action open about two weeks ago on accident. Goop worked it's way clear into the action. Just for kicks, I tossed a mag in and ran all 20 rounds through without problems.

Can your AR do the same?

qwman68
November 15, 2009, 08:34 PM
ive had great luck with pro-mag magazines in my mini..give them a try. i like my mini ,it serves a purpose well.if i wanted a target rifle i wouldnt use a mini or ar.so many people get all worked up over nothing. ar's are good rifles,mini's are good rifles.both barrels heat up and string shot's,unless you have a heavy barrel. unless you are in a competition there is no need to shoot 1moa at 500 yards.my rugers can hit a man size target out to 300 yards all day long and that is just fine with me.thats what i got em for. ive got several bolt action rifles for precision work.. as far as my ruger's not being reliable,they have never let me down in all the years ive owned them,not once.. when i was in the army i couldnt say the same for my ar.if i was gonna buy an ar it would be a gas piston type.not direct gas. whether it's accurate or not i at least want it to work all the time,just like my mini's..

Ignition Override
November 16, 2009, 01:17 AM
Were the Mini 14s or 30s designed and marketed for hitting animals, people or other targets much beyond 50 yards?

On a cold winter day, less than 30* F. are the groups noticeably smaller, with better barrel cooling (despite lower 'density altitude') ?

qwman68
November 16, 2009, 04:42 AM
ignition you can easily hit with the ruger out to 300 yards,farther with a scope.accuratly,that is...

Gav-n-Tn
November 16, 2009, 05:09 AM
When they heat up it loses a little accuracy

BINGO!!! You get the prize!! You are dead on! THAT was the biggest problem with the older Mini-14s and why they got the bum rap! People would shove aftermarket Hi-Cap mags in them and try to run them wide-you know what -open. IF YOU WILL NOTICE, that was not what they came with from the factory. If the regular factory mags were used, the barrel had time to cool off somewhat between mag changes. Do you think that is a flaw? No! I can show you a real life instance where a rifle literally catches on fire from rapid, non-stop fire and there are documented instances of M16s overheating to the point of non-useability. You REALLY have to quantify what you are talking about when you start to compare these two firearms. :)
www.southernoutdoorlife.com

troy_mclure
November 16, 2009, 07:18 AM
all my mini shooting experience has been "here try a few mags thru this" or "see if you cant get this thing sighted in for me", or even, "ooh, whatcha got there, wanna trade for a bit?"

i have never taken one apart.

how much do they differ from the m14? i know m14's can be ridiculously accurate(1200m at a 5gal water can), so somethings got to be less well built, or poorly designed right?

Candiru
November 16, 2009, 09:31 AM
how much do they differ from the m14? i know m14's can be ridiculously accurate(1200m at a 5gal water can), so somethings got to be less well built, or poorly designed right?


Check out this review (http://230grain.com/showthread.php?t=45951) I wrote about mine. It mostly compares it to an M1 Carbine, but there is enough technical details so that you can notice the difference from an M14.

The big difference is the gas system. The front gas block clamps directly to the barrel and is kept aligned via the gas bushing that passes between the block and barrel. Gas is siphoned off and impinges directly on the op-rod, more like an M1 Garand than an M14. The bolt doesn't have a roller where it engages the op-rod, also like an M1 Garand or Carbine and the bolt has a cutout for the fixed ejector, and the trigger group has some minor variations, but is close enough to the M14 design to count.

Art Eatman
November 16, 2009, 09:45 AM
troy, how many "box stock" plain vanilla ARs can hit that water can regularly at 1,200 yards? How many "box stock" plain vanilla ARs shoot inside of two MOA on a regular basis?

Nothing wrong with the Mini's design. It works quite well for its intended purpose. So does the AR. Different intended purposes...

If there were as much R&D put into the Mini as into the AR and if there were as many aftermarket doo-dads available, the Mini would do just as well as the AR in most any use.

olyinaz
November 16, 2009, 12:33 PM
Regarding the old "pencil barrel", the other thing folks are forgetting is that despite the Mini's name the rifle had always had far more spiritual commonality with the M1 Carbine than it did with the M14. The Mini moved and held almost as tidy as the Carbine and it was a joy as a result! Frankly, they should never have named it the Mini-14 (marketing buffoonery at it's worst - name your product after something that will immediately make it look poor by comparison) but rather simply called it the Ruger Carbine and been done with it.

Now they've added a heavy barrel to it and guess what - it doesn't point and swing like the old Mini any longer! The dang thing is HEAVY by comparison with an old Mini so it swings and handles much more slowly now but the groups have improved such that it can hold its' own with a box stock M4-type carbine. So I guess it needed to happen, but I'm not happy about it. Do bear in mind, however, that the Mini is doing it with an 18.5" barrel and the M4 with a 16" tube so you get perhaps a bit more zing out of the Mini and for sure a much longer sight radius if you're sticking with iron sights (what a concept...).

The only solution for my likes/dislikes would be to get one of the new Minis that come with the 16" barrel. The Davidson's exclusive with the short barrel and the wood stock is simply lovely! Get rid of the stupid flash hider and ridiculous 30 round magazine (I'm not a ninja or involved in shooting at smart critters who shoot back at me) and have a local smith make you a fitted thread cap for the muzzle and you'd be looking GOOD and most likely shooting 1.5-2" groups with good ammo, which is just fine with me. Do bear in mind, however, that these 16" barrel rifles are STILL heavier than the old pencil barrel Minis with their 18.5" tubes!

http://gungenie.com/prod_images/5849-rug.jpg

Hooah. That's a fine looking carbine. :)

Oly

Nickanto
November 16, 2009, 01:15 PM
My Mini 14 has been flat out reliable, not a single FTF after thousands of rounds of the dirtiest crappiest ammo you can get.

Sarge
November 16, 2009, 02:01 PM
The Mini moved and held almost as tidy as the Carbine and it was a joy as a result! Frankly, they should never have named it the Mini-14 (marketing buffoonery at it's worst - name your product after something that will immediately make it look poor by comparison) but rather simply called it the Ruger Carbine and been done with it.

The Ruger Firearm Naming Committee membership list has been long-held and carefully-guarded secret, but by process of elimination, I think I finally have it.

Larry, Moe and Curly.

When you get something as right as 'Vaquero', then change its characteristics to the extent that it will no longer handle Ruger Only loads, and in the end name it the "New" one...

You're in Stooge country.

Good post Oly. It'd been so long since I owned a Mini that attributed the 580's different handling qualities to the new stock. They are a tad heavier, now that you mention it, but it is a change I will accept for the overall improvement. I am exceptionally thankful that they didn't try to give it a catchy new name ;)

TriumphGuy
November 16, 2009, 03:25 PM
I am exceptionally thankful that they didn't try to give it a catchy new name

Sorry to ruin it for you, but it's a "Ruger Ranch Rifle" now :)

hickok45
November 16, 2009, 04:00 PM
That's very interesting that Ruger opened the bore up a bit on the Ranch Rifle, I would guess so that the surplus ammo in that caliber would operate more accurately and with less wear on the barrel?

I might actually prefer the Ranch Rifle over the Mini 14. I have two nice ARs already, and the Ruger Ranch Rifle is definitely a handier little piece of wood and steel than my SKS.

Thanks,
Hickok45

Gav-n-Tn
November 16, 2009, 04:38 PM
One thing to remember as well; the old Minis were chambered for 5.56 . Just as an AR chambered in 5.56 and shooting .223, the Minis would not be as accurate as a rifle chambered for .223 specifically. The newer Ranch Rifles are .223 specific just like a target AR would be. I hope that made sense. At least I knew what I was TRYING to say. There's also a cool factor. Minis are just plain cool if you ask me :D
www.southernoutdoorlife.com

troy_mclure
November 16, 2009, 04:45 PM
from art; troy, how many "box stock" plain vanilla ARs can hit that water can regularly at 1,200 yards? How many "box stock" plain vanilla ARs shoot inside of two MOA on a regular basis?

Nothing wrong with the Mini's design. It works quite well for its intended purpose. So does the AR. Different intended purposes...

If there were as much R&D put into the Mini as into the AR and if there were as many aftermarket doo-dads available, the Mini would do just as well as the AR in most any use.

i realize there is a different purpose than the ar 15 variants, i was saying if you are going to name a gun a mini 14, it should be that. not something else entirely.

kinda like calling a hi-point carbine a mini Barret. makes no sence.

skoro
November 16, 2009, 06:57 PM
I got one of the new 580 series Mini-14s last month. I mounted a Burris 2-7x26 scope on it. Last week using Remington UMC ammo, I was able to hit a silhouette target consistently from 400 yds. At shorter ranges, cheap Russian milsurp ammo works pretty well.

I'm very pleased.

Gav-n-Tn
November 16, 2009, 06:59 PM
I was able to hit a silhouette target consistently from 400 yds.

Not too shabby I would say.

jestor
November 16, 2009, 09:04 PM
Gav-N-Ten I think only the new target minis are .223 specific the rest are still .223/ 5.56

Gav-n-Tn
November 16, 2009, 09:51 PM
Gav-N-Ten I think only the new target minis are .223 specific the rest are still .223/ 5.56

Well you see what I mean then. That's the difference in accuracy same as you would find in an AR chambered for .223 ammo. Thanks for that info. It definitely explains why the target model would be more accurate. www.southernoutdoorlife.com

Sarge
November 17, 2009, 04:47 AM
Sorry to ruin it for you, but it's a "Ruger Ranch Rifle" now

Naah, TriumphGuy...it's still a Mini 14. I've been renaming Ruger's firearms for them, free of charge, ever since the 'Great Vaquero Embarrassment'.

darkgael
November 17, 2009, 06:21 AM
Another thread about this, eh?
Ok.
I like'em both. I've owned and shot them both. I gave the Ruger to my son. I kept the AR.
The Ruger was/is an older model. Try as I did, it would not shoot better than 4 MOA using the same loads that produced way better accuracy in the AR. The iron sight adjustment was too coarse for my tastes. But it was a handy gun, pointed well, was reliable. For SD/HD/plinking/hunting a bit, it'd do fine.
It was when I decided that I'd like to try the HP game that I went full time to the AR and gave the Mini away.
How many "box stock" plain vanilla ARs shoot inside of two MOA on a regular basis?
What is "box stock" plain vanilla anyway? The AR that I own is "bought-over-the-counter-and-unmodified" (not exactly true - I installed a hooded Nat'l match rear sight). It is the HBar Match target version; is that plain vanilla? When I bought it, years ago now, it was about the same $ as other ARs, IIRC - but that was before the current semi-auto craze and Internet forum discussions.
In any case, that "as bought" rifle has always been sub-moa capable. I have shot my own smallest iron sighted group with it (0.5 inch), though that was from the bench.
Pete

bamaranger
November 18, 2009, 01:19 AM
Mini's are NOT chrome lined. I nearly ruined mine, here;s how....

I did some casual shooting one morning, rocks, cow pies, just out for a stroll on property and a ROW near my home.
Using import ammo, non corrosive, but........mixed in was a couple of rds of corrosive ammo that I was not aware of.

I came in, put the rifle in the safe, did not clean it.....went to work.
When I handled the rifle next, in a day or two, .............disaster, visible rust in the bore, and I could not get the action open, the op rod was rusted to the port/gas tube.

I hosed the whole works down w/ WD-40, and after a bit, w/ the action out of the stock, smacked the bolt handle w/ a soft mallet, which popped the action open. I then brushed, scrubbed and JB'd the bore and gas assembly like a madman. The rifle shoots as well as ever, and their are no visible pits (to the eye anyhow), but I nearly ruined one of my favorite guns.