i personally have always like the mini-14 and never had much use for black rifles. I have used a mid 80s Mini 14 on quite a few cull deer and a poop load of coyotes, feral dogs and cats, general varmints and pests. It beat around behind the seat of my truck until I had to get something that I could easily mount a scope....that being a new Mini-14 Ranch rifle. The glass is nothing fancy, a Leupold vx3 2-7.
The only argument I have with the mini14 is the trigger...very sloppy, It is something you have to accept and learn to shoot. Mine newer model is an early 2000s stainless. It won't shoot MOA but it will roll a coyote if needed.