PDA

View Full Version : Mini 14 or Mini 30?


azmark
July 20, 2012, 10:05 PM
I will save up for one because I've always wanted one. What are pros and cons of the two calibers in this platform?

the rifleer
July 20, 2012, 10:14 PM
Well do you want it to shoot .223 or do you want it to shoot 7.62x39?

Its the same gun, both are the same. They are just chambered differently.

Nine the Ranger
July 20, 2012, 10:32 PM
I agree with Rifleer, they shouldn't be much different. The 30 might be slightly bigger then the 14 due to the larger round.

azmark
July 20, 2012, 11:47 PM
I know the difference in caliber. That's the basic quandary. I'm leaning towards the 7.62x39 because it seems ammo would be cheaper but I suspect better hunting loads would be found in .223. I wouldn't try to shoot any bigger than medium game plus 2-and 4-legged predators if need be. I don't know what bullet options there are if I choose to reload them.

Plenty of people hunt here with a .223 and yes, it's legal

the rifleer
July 20, 2012, 11:51 PM
I think 7.62x39 would actually make a better hunting round. In fact i know it would.

FoghornLeghorn
July 21, 2012, 12:05 AM
I think 7.62x39 would actually make a better hunting round.

Depends. What are you hunting?

Also, a key component has to do with ammo. Wolf 223 compared to Federal 7.62 is no contest.

I've owned both. They're both great.

jason41987
July 21, 2012, 12:48 AM
i wouldnt necessarily call x39 cheaper, much of the surplus sources are dried up so the costs of ammunition are rising for x39 because of it, so ammo costs will end up being about the same

also, ive never noticed much difference at all besides the obvious differences of the two cartridges, so your decision will ultimately be whether you want a .223 or an x39

chris in va
July 21, 2012, 12:56 AM
223 has less recoil if that matters. Also reloadable, unlike most x39.

jmr40
July 21, 2012, 05:56 AM
If I was dead set on a Ruger i'd get the Mini 30. There are not as many 7.62 platforms available and the Ruger is one of the better, with at least some options for aftermarket magazines etc. If I wanted 223, I wouldn't waste my tme with a Ruger and would go with an AR.

You might fnd 7.62X39 plinking ammo at the same price as plinking ammo for the 223, but I doubt it will be cheaper. Locally about $6/box is the same for either. But quality, accurate ammo, or ammo suitable for hunting purposes is going to be less expensive for a 223. At least around here.

With good ammo the 7.62 is a SLGHTLY better option for deer sized game. But with good bullets a 223 will kill any deer in the coutry just fine within a somewhat limited range. Certainly not over 200 yards, and for really large deer I'd limit shots to 100 or less. For varmits in an accurate rifle the 223 is a far better option.

jason41987
July 21, 2012, 09:29 AM
i would go .223, most countries around the world dont even use 7.62x39 anymore, as a military cartridge its all but dead... and who knows, .223 might be out the same door soon too, but atleast for the time being its the most popular military cartridge worldwide

however, the above post is correct, most 7.62x39 platforms outside of the AK use AR15 style magazines which just dont have the curvature for the cartridge, the ruger mini doesnt have a magwell, and therefore they dont have that feeding problem

Baba Louie
July 21, 2012, 12:30 PM
6 to 1, half a dozen to the other, really.

One is a nasty mean old short stubby fat rusty commie round, the other a sleek shiney trim fast lightweight made in 'Merica by Capitalists cartridge. :D

Both will take out Wile E Coyote or Bambi out to 200 yds or so, if shot placement is precise. The .223 might have more reach, the 7.62x39 more oomph out to a point.

I understand that Ruger has "fixed" most of the minis old errant ways in terms of accuracy, but to me it is and has always been a ranch rifle. 1st shot counts to kill the critter. I like the miniature garand concept and Rugers "we stand behind our products" position.

Does Ruger still warn Mini 30 owners not to use surplus ammo? dunno. I bought a Mini30 back in the day because I had an SKS and an AK and the round was touted to be similar to the .30-30 performance wise, but my little Ruger did not like commie ammo. durn.

What do they run NIB? $600-700? Hmmm. I could buy an old russkie SKS and a new russkie Saiga in 5.56 combined for purt near that amount of money and go broke turning money into noise with both. Or I could buy a pretty good AR platform... but I digress.

If you have any other long guns in one of the two chamberings, I'd keep that in mind with an eye to buy like kind. If not, I'd opt for the .223 thinking that as long as Uncle Sam shoots it, ammo makers will still be making plenty and it can reach out to 500 yds in the right platform (farther actually). On the other hand, I suppose in 1000 years or so, the world will run out of M43 steel cased ammo... maybe. American ammo mfgs are producing the 7.62x39 tho, so that's yet another moot point.

6 to 1... ;)

'88Scrat
July 21, 2012, 02:18 PM
I encountered this same conundrum before eventually deciding to go to a full size .308 M1A. But I did quite a bit of research and spent quite a bit of time looking into the matter.

One advantage you may find with a Mini-14 is that that most of the aftermarket accesories were intended to be used with it. For example there is a slight difference in the mag well that can make all the difference when hunting for aftermarket stocks (See the Sage CQB for instance) if you're looking to go that direction. The same applies to optics hardware if I remember right but not to the same degree.

As far as .223 vs 7.62x39 is concerned the arguement is as old as both rounds have been around. When I was looking at Minis I was leaning more towards the Mini-30 because at the time 7.62x39 was cheaper (this was about 5 years ago) and I just wanted something I could bust pop bottles and the occasional coyote with.

All things considered the decision is ultamately up to you, but you really can't go wrong with either option.

Axelwik
July 21, 2012, 02:49 PM
I was looking at a mini thirty, but due to many reasons (several hundred reasons actually), got an SKS. Couldn't be happier.

That several hundred dollars I saved is buying a lot of ammo.

raftman
July 21, 2012, 03:24 PM
Between the Mini-14 and the Mini-30, I go with the Mini-14. The Mini-30 is widely reported to not work well with steel-cased ammunition, and by far the most inexpensive, most widely available 7.62x39 is steel-cased ammo. You will spend 2 or even 3 times as much on domestic, brass-cased 7.62x39 as would on the cheap steel-cased stuff, and it will be harder to find, too. The -14's supposedly handle steel-cased ammo better, but failing that inexpensive brass-cased .223/5.56 is pretty common.

If you really like the 7.62x39 round compared to the .223, there are quite a few more reliable options out there for that caliber, a good number of which will actually cost LESS than a Mini-30 anyways.

bamaranger
July 21, 2012, 04:22 PM
There really is no "cheap ammo" anymore, compared to prices 5 yrs or so ago.

For me, it was Mini-30. With bullet weights available up to 150 grains commercially it is a more reliable medium (deer) game rifle than .223, space bullets included. And high quality, bonded, partioned, etc .223 ammo is not as common on a wlalk in basis as you might think. You will not get Nosler Partitions, bonded bullets, or monoalloy at Wally World. There's a whole raft of .30 cal round nose slugs too, intended for .30-30, which will work in the Mini-30 as well, if one is a a reloader.

Lately, Ruger has made factoy x39 hicap mags, which was the Mini-30's weak point. No longer.

The standard SKS is entirely to long and heavy for what is alleged to be, a carbine. And quality, appearance and condition etc are a roll of the dice. and an sKS will not easliy scope.

But, back to .223 v. x39mm. If all you want is a blaster and will not hunt the rifle for deer and hogs, might as well get the mini-14/.223. If you will indeed take on deer and say hogs, the x39 miini-30 is a better choice. But ammo is not cheap either way.

4V50 Gary
July 21, 2012, 04:29 PM
If I wanted a semi in 7.62 x 39 mm, I'd get an SKS. They're reliable and inexpensive. If I wanted a 5.56 mm, I'd get the Mini-14.

gak
July 21, 2012, 06:55 PM
Bamaranger said:
" There really is no "cheap ammo" anymore, compared to prices 5 yrs or so ago. For me, it was Mini-30. With bullet weights available up to 150 grains commercially it is a more reliable medium (deer) game rifle than .223, space bullets included. And high quality, bonded, partioned, etc .223 ammo is not as common on a wlalk in basis as you might think. You will not get Nosler Partitions, bonded bullets, or monoalloy at Wally World. There's a whole raft of .30 cal round nose slugs too, intended for .30-30, which will work in the Mini-30 as well, if one is a a reloader. Lately, Ruger has made factoy x39 hicap mags, which was the Mini-30's weak point. No longer.The standard SKS is entirely to long and heavy for what is alleged to be, a carbine. And quality, appearance and condition etc are a roll of the dice. and an sKS will not easliy scope. But, back to .223 v. x39mm. If all you want is a blaster and will not hunt the rifle for deer and hogs, might as well get the mini-14/.223. If you will indeed take on deer and say hogs, the x39 miini-30 is a better choice. But ammo is not cheap either way."

Very well put.

tobnpr
July 22, 2012, 10:50 AM
Another option is to look for a used "14" in 6.8 SPC....
Better ballistics than the 7.62, more energy than the 5.56...
Discontinued because of lack of demand (the round never has caught on due to cost and other factors), but for a hunting application from the Mini platform, it would be my choice.

mrbatchelor
July 22, 2012, 01:27 PM
Another option is to look for a used "14" in 6.8 SPC....
Better ballistics than the 7.62, more energy than the 5.56...
Discontinued because of lack of demand (the round never has caught on due to cost and other factors), but for a hunting application from the Mini platform, it would be my choice.

Ok, for a guy who is really looking for a good ranch rifle, make a recommendation.

I have a couple of semi-auto .22LR. And some bolt action larger calibers, plus my dad's lever .30-30.

I want something to throw in the truck or take on the 4 wheeler around the fields and woodland on the family farm. Occasional hunting, but I'm not a trophy kind of guy. I want to get rid of a hog or coyote as necessary.

The .22 is just too small. The 30-06 is just too big. And since Dad died I kind of want to preserve his Winchester. Maybe that's silly but I'd hate to drop it in a ditch and have to fish it back out.

The mini-30 seems like a lot more rifle than I likely care about. The mini-14 is probably more my style. But chambered how? Isn't the 6.8SPC hard to find?

tobnpr
July 22, 2012, 04:36 PM
Not sure what you mean by the 30 being "more rifle" than you care about.
Size wise, identical to the 14.
The 14 was designed and marketed for exactly the use you're describing.

Too many here and elsewhere waste their breath comparing the Mini to the AR platform. It was never intended to "compete" with the AR. It was designed as a "Mini" M-14... rotating bolt, op rod...simple, foolproof action that goes BANG every time you pull the trigger. Utterly reliable.

That's why they call it the "Ranch Rifle"....

The Mini in 5.56 is perfect for most uses, but might be a bit on the light side for big hogs. Certainly fine for dogs.

The Mini-30 in 7.62 x 39 offers more energy at shorter ranges- ballistics are inferior to the 5.56, and has more punch at shorter ranges- but, it drops like a rock inside of 200 yards.

The 6.8 SPC is basically the 7.62 x 39 on steroids- better ballistics, longer range.

Ammo for the 6.8 SPC is more expensive than the common AK plinking ammo you can get in 7.62 x 39- but for your use as a truck gun, and getting rid of the occasional hog or yote, it would be hard to beat. If your shooting is going to be inside of 150 yards or so, the 30 would be fine.

The 14 in 6.8 SPC is not particularly common, but I do see a few currently for sale.

There's another thread running with some info on these- see post #10 by Mehavey here:
http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=495697

WVfishguy
July 22, 2012, 04:41 PM
Mil-surp and steel cased 7.62 often won't work in Mini 30s because of hard primers. It's also hard on extractors.
I've got a Mini 14, but I'd never buy another. They cost too much for what you get.
I stick to commie weapons now - I'd much rather have a good AK-47 than all the Rugers in the world. For what you have to pay for a Mini, you can buy a good AK-47.
I would also rather have an SKS than a Mini. The SKS runs all day on steel mil-surp ammo, just like an AK. Both are honest-to-God combat weapons. Shooting Mil-surp / steel rounds is the only way I can afford to shoot.
I got this Norinco MAK 90 Sporter for under $550 a few weeks ago. You'll never find a good Mini for that price.
http://i850.photobucket.com/albums/ab64/WVfishguy/000_0003-2.jpg
It's real ugly, until you shoot it. :D

mrbatchelor
July 22, 2012, 05:04 PM
I thought of it as "too much" as I was under the impression that the larger magazine capacity made it a rather larger rifle. I haven't researched them extensively, but I did note that the accessories don't interchange. So they must be different somehow. But if they're the same size, ostensibly, maybe the 30 is the ticket. Can you stick a smaller magazine on the 30?

And I do like the fact that it isn't trying to be an AR-15. I have nothing against the AR-15 platform, but it doesn't fit my needs very well.

Thanks for the link. I'll start there.

Michael

Kal52
July 22, 2012, 05:35 PM
for the 30 you can get smaller magazines, I have the tactical model 30 and love it, it is both compact and plenty accurate for the purpse I chose for it, short range deer rifle pest eliminator.

Im saving for a 14 later on, as I sold my old one and miss it.

Ive not shot a hog but have shot some deer with mine, and works just fine.

as for the pros and cons, of the two chamberings...depends on what you need.

both will take deer and varmint.
both are cheaper to shoot, though the .223 has more options'
my 30 will shoot the silver/golden bear ammo just fine, dont remember too many ftf, im sure there have been a few. Privi makes some good ammo as well.

Hunting ammo is gonna cost you no matter what, its a small cost in the grand scheme of things.

anyway, good luck both are great fun

Ignition Override
July 22, 2012, 11:28 PM
azmark:
My Mini 14 was built in '90 and used only ('08-'09) Wolf and Silver Bear ammo. Each of my 1,500 or so rounds fired the first time. There was no other ammo.

The Mini 30 was built in '04, bought in '08.
Having used only Wolf and Monarch, both recent Russian-made ammo, the firing pin needed a second strike, maybe every forty-sixty rounds.

The 30's aftermarket mag was a metal Promag, and misfed one out of every eighty rds. or so, which to me isn't bad. By the way, this happens with my all-original, all-matching Norinco SKS. Yes, the SKS has the original matching magazine and the gun is cleaned after every two (small) boxes of ammo.

Contrary to what other people have preferred, the only thing I did not like about both Minis was that those old post sights were really thick, and they were sold for that reason. Bought my first authentic Enfield Jungle Carbine:) with the Mini 14's cash, and an FR8:) with cash from the Mini 30.

Axelwik: You might enjoy the improved accuracy with the fully-adjust. Tech Sight:) on your SKS.

shaunpain
July 23, 2012, 04:24 AM
If your heart is set on a Mini, you probably can't go wrong with either. As far as ammo availability, it sounds shocking to even think of a future where 7.62x39 is scarce. There are probably at least a million guns shooting that caliber in this country (probably much more) and it's the cartridge of choice in most of the rest of the world. My brother has a 14 and I own an SKS. We both love our guns, but they are both very different. Mini's are incredibly light and much easier to upgrade, but they will not be any where near as reliable or rugged as an SKS. Many have told you before that their Minis can be finicky with the steel stuff but an SKS never turns down a free meal. As an aside, I personally HATE the way the mag seats in the Mini. Maybe it's just the specimen here, but it is a grievance I have to air.

You have so many options in those calibers that it almost makes your head spin. I would really nail down your purpose. That will dictate your caliber and platform. There's nothing wrong with a Mini, but there are plenty of other options out there.

I have found it interesting to read in several places that many soldiers have felt the 5.56 to be inadequate against human targets in Afghanistan. I have read that many of the Taliban there are constantly doped up (and they're in no short supply there) and can absorb multiple hits with their M4s. I have heard of many mercenary groups using AK type weapons. Whether this is because of availability and ammo, I'm not sure. If that plays into your decision at all, maybe that will help.

stu925
July 23, 2012, 09:33 AM
Personally I'd take the Mini-14 over the 30 any day, Ruger still only recomends:
"RUGER® MINI THIRTY® rifles are chambered for the 7.62 x 39mm
cartridge, and can use either standard U.S. military or factory loaded sporting
7.62 x 39mm cartridges manufactured in accordance with U.S. industry practice."

I would shy away the steel cased berdan primed ammo just because of the rumors of broken firing pins with it. I'm sure there's plenty of Mini 30 owners that have used the cheaper ammo with no issues, but I wouldn't want to risk putting my rifle out of comission.

Stu

Skans
July 24, 2012, 07:34 AM
Here's the way I see it. If you want to shoot 7.62x39, get an AK built to your specifications. If you want to shoot .223, get the Mini-14. I never quite understood what the Mini-30 does better than a well built AK.

Kal52
July 25, 2012, 11:41 AM
looks nicer is about all, and good for those who dont really like a pistol grip and want a more traditional looking rifle.

Other than that, dunno