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Old January 30, 2013, 09:39 AM   #1
rantingrelentlessly
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M1A vs. Mini 30

I know the M1A is a MUCH better rifle but the Mini 30 is far cheaper. My question is, is the M1A worth all that extra money? I dont care about resale value. What matters to me is accuracy, reliability, weight, ergonomics and bang for the buck. Please give me your pros and cons of each and what your overall opinion of each is. Thanks for any feedback.
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Old January 30, 2013, 09:45 AM   #2
Willie Sutton
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Other than cosmestics, they have nothing in common.

You're asking us to compare a Toyota with an Crown Victoria. They are both cars, with 4 wheels. They both carry 4 people. After that... there is nothing in common.


One is a lightweight carbine, in an intermediate caliber. Compare to AR-15's as an analog.

One is a full sized battle rifle, in a full power cartridge. Compare to FN-FAL as an analog.


What is your choice? You want a lightweight carbine or a rifle?


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Old January 30, 2013, 09:49 AM   #3
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NOTHING in common??? Come on now... I dont claim to be a firearms expert. Far from it. If I was I wouldnt be posting questions on this site. I know there are many differences. But these rifles have much in common. I just want to know if the differences justify the cost difference.
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Old January 30, 2013, 09:52 AM   #4
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My bad...

Last edited by rantingrelentlessly; January 30, 2013 at 10:23 AM. Reason: incorrect info
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Old January 30, 2013, 09:58 AM   #5
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What is the intended purpose ? I would go with a min 30 for the cheap available ammo factor range fun and homestead rifle. I love the M1A is just not as pratical as a mini maybe even overkill The M1 will end up being a safe queen
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Old January 30, 2013, 10:02 AM   #6
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They fire the same round.
The M1A and the Ruger Mini-30 do NOT shot the same ammunition.

M1A is better made and shoots the .308 (7.62x51mm NATO round).

The Mini is well made but is built using looser tolerances. The Mini-30 shoots the Russian 7.62X39. At 600 yards the M1A will get the same MOA as the mini30 at 100 yards.

Besides the ammunition differences, the Mini-30 is not as accurate as the M1A.
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Old January 30, 2013, 10:18 AM   #7
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I missed that part about firing the same round wow
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Old January 30, 2013, 10:25 AM   #8
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Is there a cheaper semiauto alternative to the M1A?
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Old January 30, 2013, 10:26 AM   #9
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Don't forget that the Ruger 30 has had issues with firing pin breakages. Firing pin replacement on a M1A is can be done relatively easily. A bolt disassembly tool, which makes the task very easy, is available from many vendors.

If you break the firing pin in a Mini-30, you very well may have to ship the whole rifle back to Ruger to have it fixed.

Quote:
Is there a cheaper semiauto alternative to the M1A?
Not really. Maybe the FAL or an AR10 but they are getting expensive too. The M1A definitely holds it value.
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Old January 30, 2013, 11:25 AM   #10
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At 600 yards the M1A will get the same MOA as the mini30 at 100 yards.
Now let's not get carried away. The Mini 30 Tactical was reviewed right here on this website. The author was able to get sub inch groups at 100 yards with several loads. Sure, there are higher end customized M1A type rifles that can be shot accurately at much longer range than the Mini 30. But not anywhere near the level of difference as your example.

Gregg
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Old January 30, 2013, 02:12 PM   #11
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Indeed. Since when did a stock M1A become a 1/2 moa gun?
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Old January 30, 2013, 02:19 PM   #12
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Choose a caliber before you choose a platform.
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Old January 30, 2013, 02:56 PM   #13
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Is there a cheaper semiauto alternative to the M1A?
If you want a semi-auto .308, the Russian Saiga and VEPR rifles are well-regarded by their owners.

They are not as pretty as an M1A (the VEPR is prettier than the Saiga), but both have a reputation for being uber-reliable and quite accurate.
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:11 PM   #14
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M1A has more power than the Mini, it costs more, costs more to feed and will reach out farther than the smaller distant, but obviously related, cousin, which will be, in all things considered, less. Less money, less expense to feed, less range, less power.

Sometimes less is more. Sometimes more is less. Both are a hoot. At almost opposing ends of the scale. More. Or. Less.

Get one of each when you can afford to.
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Old January 30, 2013, 05:36 PM   #15
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Reviews I've read on the Mini 30 Tactical indicate that it's 3.5 - 4 MOA rifle.
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Old January 31, 2013, 12:28 AM   #16
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Well if it is about a Mini having poor accuracy it must be true. Personally I bet there are many rifles out there with iron sights and stock triggers shooting 3moa groups and it has nothing to do with the mechanical accuracy of the gun. The reviews of the rifle that involve some sort of an optic indicate this rifle is 2moa even on a bad day.
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Old January 31, 2013, 07:34 AM   #17
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i own and shoot a mini-30,mini-223,colt target-223,veper-308 and a m1a-308 and all with the factory sights the m1a eats all others alive. out to 500-600 yds the m1a shoots better groups,and if there is any wind at all the rest can go home. if a short range light weight rifle is what you need,then the mini,s and ar,s may be for you. take you stock mini,s and ar,s out with the factory sights and shoot a single target from 100yds to 600yds at 100yd intervolts while adjusting the sights as the ranges increase,it will be a eye opener. eastbank.
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Old January 31, 2013, 08:20 AM   #18
Willie Sutton
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NOTHING in common??? Come on now... I dont claim to be a firearms expert. Far from it. If I was I wouldnt be posting questions on this site. I know there are many differences. But these rifles have much in common. I just want to know if the differences justify the cost difference.


I don't want to seem trite, and having bought my first M1A and my first Mini-14 some four decades ago, I'm pretty well conversant in their qualities.


Here's why they have nothing in common, and why your question cannot be answered without additional context: They don't do the same JOB.

It's like asking if a 8 ounce hammer or a 16 ounce hammer is better. It all depends on if you want to make furniture, or frame houses. One is worthless in one place and the other is worthless in the other.

MISSION is always first.

CALIBER is picked to suit the mission.

PLATFORM is picked to shoot the ammunition.

If your mission is to go to the range and go BANG BANG BANG and then grin, then you will be happy with either.

If your mission is to carry it stuck behind the seat of a pickup truck on the ranch to deal with Coyotes, then the 5.56 is fine, and the Mini-14 would be a good choice in the 5.56.

If your mission is to defend your ranch against "xxx" and they are likely to be hiding behind the 20 inch trees that are 200 yards away and that you don't want to cut down, then the 7.62 is the ticket, and the M1A is a good platform for that.


So choose your mission.

The M1A is a higher quality weapon when it comes to mechanical construction and overall quality. It is, essentially, MILSPEC. They can be tuned into very fine match quality/sniper quality rifles.

The Mini-14 is a die-cast receiver rifle, of adequate quality, and a very good value for the money. Those are not "glowing" endorsements, but for a civil user the quality is fine. It is not likely that it would be tunable to become a precision match quality/sniper quality rifle.



Really, other than cosmetics, they have nothing in common.

You need both...


Best,

Willie

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Old January 31, 2013, 08:40 AM   #19
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If you get both, get the M1A/M14 first and get familiar with it's iron sights.
Once you have mastered shooting the M1A/M14 with irons try the mini 30.
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Old January 31, 2013, 09:38 AM   #20
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I have to agree, the two guns are completely different, even though one looks like a "mini" version of the other.

When you talk about M1A's, you need to know whether the receivers are forged or cast (and there's variation in the forged receivers too), foreign made or domestically produced, USGI parts or not, and barrel specifications -- for starters. You really need to start by comparing different M1A's within this grouping of rifles.

Saying the M1A is "way better" than the Mini-14/30 doesn't really make much sense because you have to pin down which M1A you are talking about, and the purpose for which you intend to use it.

I will say this, if someone said they were going to give me either a Polytech M1A or a Mini-30, I'd take the Polytech M1A.
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Old January 31, 2013, 11:23 AM   #21
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If it comes down to talking about method of construction and being "essentially" milspec, that itself being an oxymoron, then you are missing the point of his question. You are thinking of the technical aspect of the rifle, he is asking about the functional aspect of the rifle. (with the exception of the token sniper reference, which every thread about a M14 needs ) They both operate off a Garand action, they both come with iron sights, they both shoot a 30 caliber bullet from a detachable magazine and neither of them is an AR.

To address your question...

Accuracy: How much difference is maybe an inch going to mean to you at 100 yards? Do you plan on shooting this mainly off a rest? If you are shooting it free hand you aren't going to notice any accuracy difference at all.

Reliability: Minis are very reliable.

Weight: 6.75lbs vs 9.3lbs. How much of the time do you plan on carrying this around?

Ergonomics: Both are good and both are different in dimensions. If you can get used to one you can get used to the other.

Bang for the buck: Obviously the Ruger has the edge here. Cheaper to buy, cheaper to shoot.

In my mind there are two things you should look at when deciding which rifle to buy. First, how often to do plan on shooting past 300 yards? The 7.62x39mm does just fine within 300 yards for paper and 100 yards for deer. Secondly, how much money do you have set aside for ammo? 7.62x39mm is always going to be cheaper than 308.
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Old January 31, 2013, 12:23 PM   #22
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Dude, if you can afford the m1 then forget about the mini.
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Old January 31, 2013, 03:25 PM   #23
Willie Sutton
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I respectfully withdraw about 15% of the post I made above, as I was missing the "30" in "Mini 30" and read "14" in my head.


I'd still take the M1A, a Springfield built one, which is the paradigm that I speak of when I say M1A. AFAIK that's a trademark of Sprinfield, although it's been co-opted by others as a generic term. Polytech? Uhh... No.

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Old January 31, 2013, 03:43 PM   #24
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I've heard mixed reviews about the Mini 30. But from what it seems is that the older, thinner barreled 30's had poor accuracy 3-5MOA but the newer ones with heavier barrels are much more accurate. Reports of 1, 1.5 and 2MOA are pretty common. This seems to be the case with most 7.62x39 semi's, the cheap, light, pencil barrels tend to flex and become inaccurate.

I think ALL 7.62x39 rifles get a bad rep for accuracy due to a large majority of weapons being built cheaply on inaccurate platforms, the cheap, poor quality ammo and inexperienced shooters who go to the caliber to plink, and can't aim. Yes, .308 has a clear ballistic advantage, due to it's velocity, but that doesn't mean that the Russian 7.62 can't shoot well.
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Old January 31, 2013, 03:47 PM   #25
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Polytech? Uhh... No.
You would rather have a Springfield over a Polytech? Why? A Polytech with USGI parts is going to be the closest you can get to the real deal; much better than Springfield (quality forged receiver, quality chrome lined barrel vs. cast receiver). Unless you want to spend $3K on something built by Smith Enterprises.
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