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Old January 9, 1999, 01:42 AM   #1
Grayfox
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I recently came across a used Mini-30 ranch rifle. It looked like new,price was reasonable, ammo is cheap, Y2K? So I said what the heck and bought it. Thing is I know next to nothing about semi-auto centerfire rifles. I just never had much intrest in them till now. So I'd be interested in hearing opinions from people who know this gun. Good, bad, problems or whatever.
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Old January 9, 1999, 05:46 PM   #2
Bailout
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Pros = Ruger quality and its American made. BIG Con = An SKS is 1/2 the price and shoots at least as good if not better.
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Old January 10, 1999, 09:13 AM   #3
4V50 Gary
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Agreed.


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Old January 10, 1999, 01:39 PM   #4
Rob Pincus
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What Bailout said is true.

I would add that I , personally, hate non-detachable mags and that is a big minus in my book for the SKS (but I have two ). I guess that how much you are going to have to pay for the Mini-30 has a lot to do with it.

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-Essayons
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Old January 10, 1999, 06:33 PM   #5
Michael Carlin
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IMHO the SKS is a better gun all around. I am unimpressed with the Ruger mini 14 in either caliber; 5.56 or 7.62.

My limited experience places the accuracy of the Ruger about on a par with an AK, and SKS will shoot better generally and costs much less.

For a Y2K contingency i would prefer SKS to the Ruger and spend the difference on other essentials.

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Old January 10, 1999, 10:52 PM   #6
Grayfox
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I appreciate your input, but I think you missed the part that said I already bought the gun. OK, so you like the SKS better, thats fine. But, I was looking for opinons and info on this rifle. I can hold my own in discussions about bolt actions or lever guns, however the last semi-auto I had was made by GM and belonged to Uncle Sam. I saw the mini at a local gunshow, just happened to have the money (that was a truely rare event) and gave in to a whim. Besides I like the gun. I was just looking for some information. Gee, cut me some slack, OK.
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Old January 10, 1999, 11:01 PM   #7
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The fact that you can't buy spare parts for this gun from anyone other than ruger limits its effectiveness as a defense weapon if the hype everyone associates with Y2K proves true. I've owned two of these things and I couldn't get either one to group as well as my 20" SKS. The mini-30 will give you some enjoyment as a plinker(thats all I used mine for after trying for a month to pull something better than 4.5" groups out of it) but thats about all its good for, IMHO.

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Old January 10, 1999, 11:10 PM   #8
Rob Pincus
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This is note a smart-alecky post, this is serious:

I have heard so much negative stuff about Mini-14's that it really makes me wonder if I have some kind of "special" one. It shoots on par with my regular CAR, which is to say, very well.
It is the "LE" or "GB" version with the factory bird cage, plastic pistol grip, folding stock and bayo lug. Was their some accurizing done to this model or something, that anyone knows of?
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Old January 11, 1999, 01:25 AM   #9
4V50 Gary
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GunParts Inc. sells parts for the Mini14. For the safety of the shooter and to ensure reliability of the firearm, certain parts should be purchased from the factory. This would include the hammer and bolt (the two must be fitted and Ruger has about a dozen different hammer sizes). So, if you're ever worred about your Mini being stolen, just separate the trigger group from the rest. Ruger won't sell you a trigger group unless you send in the entire rifle for fitting.

Accuracy varies from Mini to Mini. A lot of it has to do with how straight the barrel is when it leaves the factory. There's a special jig which they use to accomplish this - described in another thread somewhere. Mine will consistenly hit clay pigeons at 100 yards - until the barrel heats up. Then, like most sporter barrels, it becomes like a spaghetti and whips around all over the place until it is allowed to cool down.

In response to Rob's question, early GBs varied from the regular Mini14 in that the rear sight base was made of steel as opposed to aluminum. Modernly, all non-Ranch Minis have steel sight bases (at least they told me they were going over to one type). No other special modification was made other than for the folding stock version which had a side slight mount on the gas-cylinder assembly. BTW, "GB" stands for "Grenade Launcher - Bayonet Mount."

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Old January 11, 1999, 01:32 AM   #10
Rob Pincus
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A rec.guns guru has recently insisted that the Mini-14 was never intended to have a Bayonet mounted to it. He insists this, though he acknowledges that ruger did produce and ship the gun with a Bayo Lug.. that's rec.guns for you, I guess.

anyway....
I'm wondering, Gary, if you know what the GB version is all about?
Seems like I have seen some one which the "tubing" of the stock has "LE only" stamped into it, though mine does not....
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Old January 11, 1999, 12:06 PM   #11
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Rob,

My info was learned from attending Armorer's School for the Mini14. The Rec Gun guru is right in that civilian/sporting Mini14s were not meant to have a bayonet mount/grenade launcher. Only the military & police GB version does (and some, when discarded, will find their way into the civilian market). I suppose it's a matter of clarification and specificity (lawyerese - aggghh!!!). I'm speculating that the post-ban Mini14s have, "LE only" stamped on them, but this was not discussed in class. I'll email a friend who has a post-ban folder and will repost when he responds. BTW, my GB also does not have LE only stamped on it - nor does the folding stock.

Gary
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Old January 11, 1999, 01:23 PM   #12
Michael Carlin
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Grayfox,

Sorry if I contributed to your discomfort. You asked for opinions, I gave mine. I do understand that the typical rifle will benefit markedly from a good "bedding" job with Acraglass or such.

There is nothing really "wrong" with the rifle, I just don't like them much. I don't remember who it was but 30 years ago I read one of the gun pundits (might have been Whelen) who said "If it isn't accurate it isn't interesting". I could not agree more.

The standard for interesting accuracy is very subjective, mine is based on this:

If I am shooting at rifle ranges (200+ yards) I should be able to call the shot within 2 MOA. In other words at 200 I ought to be able (shooting iron sights) call the shot within 4 inches. I can see to about a minute or a minute +, and if the rifle shots about a minute I have 2 MOA or a or little worse.

Trying to really develop marksmanship skills with a rifle of less than 2.5 MOA (bigger number than 2.5) is an exercise in frustration. It can be done, but is very much more difficult.

If your requirements are less stringent then the Ruger should serve you well, and I hope you enjoy it. They seem reliable enough in my limited experience with them.

I went back and you did ask for opinions on the rifle and I gave you mine. Apparently others feel about the same way about the rifle. (BTW the rifle's rating is not related to the CEO's rating, if you are concerned about the objectivity of my comments).

Have a good one!

------------------
Ni ellegimit carborundum esse!

Yours In Marksmanship

michael

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Old January 11, 1999, 08:24 PM   #13
spleenandideal
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Grayfox~
I love my minis. I have a 14 that shoots as well as my 20" AR, and a 30 that is on par with my best SKS. I would hope that my mini30 could keep me alive if ever the situation called for such behavior.
My only gripe is the huge cache of really crappy magazines for either the 14 or 30. It takes a lot of wasted money to find mags that work flawlessly.
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Old January 12, 1999, 12:12 AM   #14
Grayfox
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Michael-
No, you didn't offend me. I ask for honest opinions and thats what I expect. I was just trying to keep this from turning into an SKS thread and having my question lost in the shuffle.
To all-
One of the things I really like about this forum is the honesty of it's members. Always say what you think and never worry about offending me. This ol' fox has a pretty thick hide!
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Old January 12, 1999, 12:58 AM   #15
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I forgot to mention that for the .223 Ruger tends to chamber it for 5.56x45 instead of .223. The looser military chamber is favored becaused of the strong likelihood of consumers using surplus ammo. Surplus ammo in commerical guns (with SAAMI chambers) can result in high pressure. So, to keep it on the safe side, mil-spec chambers are standard. Naturally this isn't conducive to the highest standards of accuracy.

For Mini30 users, you can't trade trigger housing, receiver, bolts or even stocks with the Mini14. The Mini30 parts are larger.
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Old January 15, 1999, 10:58 AM   #16
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My friend's post-ban Mini14 BG does indeed have "Law Enforcement Only" stamped on the receiver.
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Old March 31, 1999, 04:17 PM   #17
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Grayfox,

I have a Mini-30 and it used to be my primary deer hunting weapon. Here are some of my thoughts:

- You can get some parts from Gun Parts. However, if you don't fool with the weapon, how often are you going to need to replace any of them (keep in mind, I don't subscribe to the military-type/survival senario's you read on some of these pages, so take it for what's it worth)
- There is one part I recommend getting and that is the gas piston (one thread on this site mentioned having this part rust when two police officers tried to use their Mini's). It's around $15 or so from Brownells. This is probably the only part you really need to have a spare for. Comments anyone???

- To shoot well, you really need to bed the rifle with Acraglas Gel (use the Gel, it doesn't run). Use the NRA Gusnmithing Guide and the article on the M1A. It made my shoot much better, both accurately and mechanically (my Mini used to disassemble itself on firing!! The side screws were very loose and I didn't know it since they were covered by camo tape)).

- Accuracy, as someone else has already said, is relative. If 2-3" (or more) with a scope at 100 yards is OK with you, you'll be happy. If you want more accuracy, you'll probably end up eventually with another rifle.

- I disagree with several: I would much rather have a Mini (-14 or -30) than an SKS (I have both), but don't ask me if I would rather have an AR!!!).

- You may not want to hear this part: The Mini is in the back of the gun safe:
- I use a Rem. Model 7 in 7mm-08 for hunting (probably a 45-70 Guide Gun next year). Why? Better cartridge in a smaller and lighter package.
- I found out about AR's (I now have two).
- Bottom line: I'll doubt I'll ever buy another Mini again.

None of the above is meant to flame and/or dissuade you from enjoying your new rifle, I hope you do. I know I did when I was using it and firing it a lot; I've just moved onto other rifles.

Ragards,

Albin
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Old April 2, 1999, 12:12 AM   #18
Art Eatman
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I've had a couple of blued and a couple of stainless Mini-14s, although all in .223. My first one was the only one I tried with the iron sights; my eyes made scopes mandatory on through the years with the other Minis. However, they all ran around two minutes of angle.

With decent magazines, they've all been quite reliable.

If you're thinking Y2K, it seems to me that the probable ranges and the probable targets make two minutes or so of angle adequately useful. After all, that was about standard in all non-custom rifles until the 1960s. I recall many articles in the Rifleman or in Field & Stream speaking of 3" groups at 100 yards as "hunting accuracy". We are indeed spoile in today's world...

A plus in our politically correct world is that they ain't black plastic. They look like a "real" gun, as has been commented upon in other threads...

Just enjoy the dern thing! Art
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Old April 2, 1999, 02:43 AM   #19
Grayfox
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Art,
I hate to disappoint you, but thanks to Choate my Mini-30 is now black plastic. I hate to admit it but, Once I saw all the neat gizmos and goodies avalible for this gun, I sort of got carried away with it. The end result looks like a refugee from "Star Trek". Its plenty accurate enough and surplus Russian ammo is cheap. I'm having a ball with this new toy. Not to mention the laughs when people ask "What the h*** is that?
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Old April 2, 1999, 10:51 AM   #20
Keith Rogan
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Grayfox,

Everyone has their preferences on rifles but one thing that can be said about the Ruger Mini's is that they are reliable. For some reason beyond my ken, Alaskan natives have taken to the Ruger Mini 14 and use it on caribou and moose. Word is that you can strap one of these on the back of a snowmobile at minus 50 and it will work, reliably, when you grab it and shoot.
That can't be said about a lot of rifles in those conditions.
The Ruger mini 30 has one peculiarity that most people aren't aware of. American .30 mikes out to .308, Russian .30 is about .312 - Ruger couldn't decide which way to go so they split the difference and their barrels are at .310....
Because of this, the mini 30 will never be a tack driver, but its accurate enough to do any job you'd ask it to do.
I don't own a Ruger, but I own an SKS with detachable mags. I'll swap for a Ruger any day.

------------------
Keith
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Old April 4, 1999, 06:41 AM   #21
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Michael Carlin and other collectors of great firearms quotes.

"Only accurate rifles are interesting"

Jack O'Connor, guru of the 270 Win. in pre64 Winchester #70. Spoken about 50 years ago.
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Old April 4, 1999, 09:00 PM   #22
Grayfox
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I never said it was interesting, I said it was fun!
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Old April 4, 1999, 09:31 PM   #23
4V50 Gary
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Does anything else matter?
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Old April 6, 1999, 08:33 PM   #24
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Grayfox, it is my understanding that most long gun confrontations are under 100 yards (and if my memory serves me right, the longest distance in 1998 was approx. 80 yards). If you are going to use the carbine/rifle for self-defense, I think that for all practical purposes, RELIABILITY ranks at the top of the scale with ADEQUATE ACCURACY to hit center mass at 50 yards and less coming in close second.

With that in mind, I would think that the Mini-14/Mini-30 would be an adequate, if not an excellent tool, for self-defense for typical engagement distances from 7 to 50 yards (would someone care to comment on this as I am assuming these figures). Ergonomics in regards to ease of magazine reloading is not that important in my opinion. I would try to focus on practicing: (1) getting the first, accurate shot as quickly as possible from the 3 ready positions (high, low, and indoor ready); (2) utilization of cover from various positions; (3) learning to combine movement with cover.

Shutoku
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Old April 8, 1999, 02:46 PM   #25
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I like Minis in any caliber. I almost bought one of the new synthetic-stocked Ranch Rifles a couple of weeks ago, but somebody else got it first.

Anyway, my problem with Minis is not the gun itself, but the poor availability of larger capacity (i.e., greater than 5-round) magazines. Ruger factory 20- and 30-round mags are expensive and hard to find for the Mini-14, and they've never existed (as far as I know) for the Mini-30. It would help if Ruger produced a legal-limit (10-round) magazine for both of these rifles.

BTW, the most interesting Mini-14 I ever saw came with a factory stock that was left over--so I was told--from the failed .308 Mini project. This particular stock was different from the ordinary Mini-14 stock and was an improvement, I thought. Unfortunately, the dealer kept that gun for himself.



[This message has been edited by jimmy (edited April 08, 1999).]
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