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Old August 14, 2011, 04:37 PM   #1
A Person
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Ruger Mini 14: Good AR alternative?

I like the looks and features of the mini 14 ranch rifle alot better than the AR15/M4, and am looking into getting one. Are they pretty reliable and do they have good (or atleast fair) accuracy? I'm probably just gonna use one for plinking and popping some varmits It doesn't have to be quite as accurate as an AR for me, If i get one i'm gonna put a good scope on it and sight it in good anyways.
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Old August 14, 2011, 04:39 PM   #2
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I say - YES.

They always have been IMO.
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Old August 14, 2011, 04:43 PM   #3
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BTW - it's not just a plinking gun, it's a deadly weapon. Read up on how much damage Michael Lee Platt did with it in the FBI - Miami Shootout.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout
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Old August 14, 2011, 04:48 PM   #4
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Mini-14 are generally less accurate than AR's, especially after the Ruger's very thin barrel heats up. And you cant "upgrade" or accessorize the Ruger quite as easily as an AR.
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Old August 14, 2011, 04:59 PM   #5
Father Time
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What kind of optic are your looking to get for it?


In all honesty the Mini 14 is a great rifle. It does what it is designed to do well enough. I love Mini 14's and enjoy shooting them a lot.

However, is it a good "alternative" to an AR? No. It is not as accurate or easy to "upgrade" "acessorise" or obtain/install replacement parts.

Its like asking if a Honda Civic is a good alternative to a Corvette. They are two different cars designed for different purposes. The mini 14 is a solid hunting/ranch gun. But the AR pretty much outclasses it.

Besides I thought you wanted an AR?

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=459768

Get what you really want deep down. Its the only way you'll truly be happy with your purchase.
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Old August 14, 2011, 05:12 PM   #6
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I 'm still not able to decide. Could someone post pictures of a target shot with a standard Mini 14 and then one of a standard AR15 at the same range. I'm short on cash, REALLY short on cash, and I either have to get a mini 14 or the cheapest AR i could find here
http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/p...s_id/411537958
Oh and yeah I do kinda want an AR kinda want a Mini 14
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Old August 14, 2011, 05:29 PM   #7
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If your "really short on cash". Then don't buy a rifle. The worst thing you can do is buy a gun then have to sell it (or something else) to make ends meet.

Can you think of a reason you "NEED" a rifle right now? I'm all about buying what you want just because you "want it". (99% of my guns are "wants" not "needs") But don't get in over your head just so you can have a rifle.

Wait a bit save some money and do some research on what you want. Then when you have to cash go buy that rifle you've been drooling over and you'll be way happier in the long run.
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Old August 14, 2011, 05:36 PM   #8
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i wouldnt spend over 450 on a mini
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Old August 14, 2011, 05:40 PM   #9
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Spend some time doing a search and reading the responses.

I am not an accomplished rifleman, but I have owned several of each. My experience seems to mirror much of what I read:

--the Mini is a quality built, reliable and competent rifle.
--the AR15 is an excellent rifle.

If you want to shoot fist sized groups at 100 yards, the Mini will do it.
If you want to shoot dime sized groups at 100 yards, the AR is the way to go.

If you want to shoot at ranges greater than 100 yards, the difference between the two grows exponentially.

In general, it's less painful to pay once, and get what you really want.
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Old August 14, 2011, 06:01 PM   #10
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Oh boy...time for the popcorn... here we go again...
I'm sure the Mini haters will turn this thread into a pizzing contest, but the answer to your question is "yes".

We just built our first AR (6.5 Grendel) and I like the gun...
I also have a Mini I've owned for twenty years.

Facts:

The Mini is far more reliable than the AR. I have never- I repeat- NEVER- had a FTF in my Mini-14. The Mini will run bone dry (not recommended) without a hiccup. An AR, will not...

The AR is much dirtier than the Mini. Direct impingement gas system dumps the dirty gases all over the bolt and into the action.

The Mini is much easier to field strip, and clean. Because it runs much cleaner, you also don't need to clean as often as an AR.

Disadvantages of the Mini:

Not as versatile, lacks the modularity (ability to swap uppers/calibers) and ability to customize.

Generally, less accurate.
A lower-end AR in the price range of the Mini will probably be a bit more accurate. The Mini will realistically shoot 2-3 MOA, and the AR, 1-2 MOA.
Don't believe all the internet mall ninjas swearing their $800 AR shoots 1/2 MOA.

The Mini-14 was designed after the M-14 and is every bit deserving of it's reputation for reliability. It will go "bang" every time you pull the trigger.

You will find plenty of guys that hate the Mini because the one they owned five, ten, or fifteen years ago wouldn't hit the broad side of a barn. That was often the case back then, but no longer.

If .223 is the caliber you want, and don't mind sacrificing a bit of accuracy, and a lack of the type of aftermarket support the AR enjoys- in return for better reliability and a cleaner running weapon, get a Mini tactical.
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Old August 14, 2011, 06:15 PM   #11
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"Don't believe all the internet mall ninjas swearing their $800 AR shoots 1/2 MOA."

LMFAOOOOOOOOOOOOO
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Old August 14, 2011, 06:17 PM   #12
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I bought a new Mini 14 about 3 months ago. I've taken it to the range 3 times since then. It's the new 580 series with the heavier barrel. I love it! It's solid, reliable and is very accurate for my needs. I'm not a bench shooter so much. I will shoot from the bench, but use my range bag as the support. I'm more into plinking from a prone, standing or sitting position, like I will do when I hunt.

I used an m16 and M4 in the service and wanted something different. The AR platform is great.

But I love my new Mini!

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Old August 14, 2011, 06:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Mini-14 are generally less accurate than AR's, especially after the Ruger's very thin barrel heats up.
That's old news. New Mini's are much more accurate and old Mini's can be improved significantly with an accu-strut. Also one needs to compare apples to apples. Rack grade AR vs rack grade mini with rack grade ammo and the AR will only have a small advantage from the bench. If you're shooting offhand, you can't tell the difference between the Mini and AR.

If you want an auto-loading .5 MOA varmint gun and are prepared to spend $1500 on it then perhaps the AR is the better option, just don't then compare it to a rack grade Mini.

Quote:
And you cant "upgrade" or accessorize the Ruger quite as easily as an AR.
Put a folding stock on an AR.

That again is old news. Plenty of rail options for the Mini and accessory options. Yea some if it is DIY, but so is a lot of AR stuff.

To add to your list tobnpr:

Hi-cap mags for the Ruger are readily available. Yes they may be 2-3x the price of AR mags, but you only have to buy Mini-mags once. I have a 25 year old 30 rounder that the previous owner used all the time and is still is 100%.

Even with all the aluminum in the AR, the steel/synthetic stock Mini is about the same weight as a comparable AR.
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Old August 14, 2011, 07:09 PM   #14
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id go with the mini my out shoot my buddys AR like no othere and his AR had the 18" barrel on it
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Old August 14, 2011, 07:20 PM   #15
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The mini is as good as any rifle, and you can stick a big ole magazine in the bottom of it.....that's the only similarity to an AR
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Old August 14, 2011, 07:21 PM   #16
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The biggest POS that I've ever had the misfortune to own was a Mini 14 SS Ranch Rifle. A 6" pattern at 100 yards with a scope was cause for celebration. All of the "tricks" were tried to improve the groups, i.e. muzzle brake, torque the gas block, etc. Nothing helped this excuse for a rifle. It was gone in a heartbeat.

I now have AR 15s with 16" bbls and 20" bbls. As far as accuracy, I've not yet seen a Mini that will outshoot any one of them, even the 16" rifles are more accurate.

Fast forward a bit. Two of my friends bought Minis, one a 14 and the other a 30. Neither one of those rifles shot worth a darn. Both wore scopes during accuracy testing. They too dumped the Minis and went to AR-15s. They are both happy with their new rifles.
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Old August 14, 2011, 07:24 PM   #17
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I know from personal experience that my newer heavier barreled mini shoots just as well as my M&P 15 and my YHM home build. I like aspects of both rifles so if the mini appeals more to you then buy it. Just because a rifle is an AR-15 doesn't make it more accurate than a mini. Having a huge stock of mags isn't that important to me and i kinda like the wood stock. I had a mini 14 when I was younger (before the internet determined that they were so inaccurate). It shot very well, so minis have some sentimental value to me also. Maybe I got the only 2 good ones?
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Old August 14, 2011, 08:42 PM   #18
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Both Are Fine

I have both and like tbnpar said that each serve a purpose. My Bushmaster shoots very well with my handloads, I can hit golf balls at 100 yards with no problem. I had the mini first and got softball size groupings with factory loads for years. It is an older Ranch Rifle in stainless. I ran out of factory ammo and tried my handloads out of it and lo and behold it now can hit golf balls at 100 yards as well! I got lucky and that they both like the same hand load so they are interchangeable in that regards.

The mini has also never had a FTF or failure to feed. It shoots everything, some stuff better than others, but it doesn't matter what is in the oven; it will cook it.
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Old August 14, 2011, 08:51 PM   #19
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Understand I'm saying this as an AR guy (I also have a Mini 14).

The Mini 14, depending on your purposes, will serve you every bit as well as an AR-15. The Mini feels handier, will take more abuse, and is less expensive to buy (unless you want to stockpile mags; those get expensive fast). It doesn't have the accuracy potential of the AR-15, but unless you're doing benchrest type shooting, I don't know that you'd notice a big difference. The newer ones are more accurate than the older ones from what I understand, but still won't quite stand up to a decent AR.

The one place where the Mini really lacks in comparison, IMO, is the ease of operation; the AR feels better to me and is superior when it comes to mag changes, charging the weapon, and employing it. If you're shooting it at the range, doing varmint control, and basic self defense, the Mini will do everything you need and even more. I wouldn't try to turn it into a budget AR (hanging rails, accessories, optics on the thing), but for what it is, it is a good rifle. Would I take the AR over the Mini? Every single time. But then, the Mini costs a significant amount less, too.
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Old August 14, 2011, 09:00 PM   #20
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I've seen these and have been interested in the mini-14 ranch rifle for many years. Just never bought one. I qualified on the rifle range in the Marine Corps with the M-14. So I have a fondness for that action. I also have a good abundance and really like the .223 round. At a time when I considered buying a mini-14, I read gun magazine reviews about problems or complaints. I recall a general or overall cheapening of the rifle. One idea sticks in my mind about a loose front sight or newer cheap design using a rolled pin to secure it.
I do have a Colt M-4 so my primary 5.56mm / .223 application is well covered. But as far as a "fun gun" or "novelty" or "ranch rifle" or serious defense rifle, the Mini-14 has always been on the back shelf of my mind. I think I'll follow this thread to see where it leads. Hell, I could end up buying one of the little buggers and I might even kick myself for not doing it sooner.
Let's see what plays out.
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Old August 14, 2011, 09:10 PM   #21
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Both are good guns. The mini 14 is much cheaper than most ARs, so it's hard to compare them. That said, I'll take a quality AR every single time.

ARs not reliable? When, in the late 1960's? My ARs have been perfect. They shoot everything I feed them, even cheap Ruskie ammo. As long as you clean them (I waited 1000 rounds at most), they are very reliable.
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Old August 14, 2011, 09:33 PM   #22
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Quote:
Put a folding stock on an AR.
How easy is it to swap parts on the mini 14? AR has it beat.

How about a cowitnessing red dot? Again AR.


See anyone can make up a situation or feature to make one rifle look better than the other.

Quote:
The Mini is far more reliable than the AR. I have never- I repeat- NEVER- had a FTF in my Mini-14
I've never had a malfuction in my AR15. Then again I didn't buy a "bargain" rifle and I know how to maintain it.

Both the AR and Mini are great rifles but they are like apples and oranges. Its more about what finding out what you want to do with the rifle then picking the rifle that best suits your needs.
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Old August 14, 2011, 10:07 PM   #23
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Mini-14 is a capable rifle. With a couple upgrades it will shoot good enough to kill at 3-400yrds. They are very reliable and mine will shoot near moa which is good enough for me. It may not be for you. They break down easy and dont take very long to clean. Parts arent always readily available but they arent hard to find either. I like them because of the wood and steel garand action guns they are.
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Old August 14, 2011, 11:40 PM   #24
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Quote:
I like the looks and features of the mini 14 ranch rifle alot better than the AR15/M4
Then why ask knuckleheads* on the internet? Get the one YOU want.

*No offense intended to any knuckleheads.
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Old August 15, 2011, 12:10 AM   #25
johnwilliamson062
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I prefer the mini, although I really wish Ruger would man up and make a new version that takes AR mags, but...

I think it is more fair to compare it to Saigas, Galils, etc. I think compared to those rifles, for accessories, pricing, etc, it wins out.

If you want the accuracy or modularity of an AR then it is a bad choice.

10 mags and your price will close a lot between the two.
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