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Old June 7, 2013, 02:54 PM   #1
BobNailer
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Ruger Mini-30 580 series vs. AK-47

I use to own a Bushmaster XM-15 E2S in 5.56mm but got rid of it a year ago or so. Last Fall I purchased a new Ruger Mini-30 with synthetic stock and cold hammer forged barrel direct from Ruger. And if I'm to brag, after talking to Ruger's regional sales manager, he had one made specifically for me for a new gun store "show" he was to attend. Needless to say I was tickled to get it.
I had thought long and hard about whether to get an AK or a Mini-30. I did a LOT of research online about both firearms and read a lot of horror stories about the "old" Ruger Mini-14 and 30, mostly regarding "stringing" from hot barrels, cheap sights, lack of accuracy, poor craftsmanship. Then I read about AK's and heard even worse horror stories about the complete lack of craftsmanship though everyone, almost to a person, said AKs were relentless reliable though not very accurate.
But when I read about the "new" Ruger 580 series Mini-30, I got stoked about all the improvements they made to it, the barrel, the quality, the craftsmanship, the new CNC machining they use, and of course the cold hammer forged barrel.
But as I read more from folks who had bought the 580 series, the reviews were mixed and I was disheartened. But I also realize opinions on the internet come from ALL kinds of people, some expert, some not so "expert".

So with all that said, I replaced the factory peep sight on my Mini-30 with a tech-sights M1 Garand style peep sight, installed it myself. I wanted to go Low-tech and not get a scope or red-dot even though the Mini-30 has scope mounts milled into the receiver. I have a .042 peep sight on it and using Hornady 7.62x39 123gr SST ammo, I was able to place three rounds into a quarter size (that's .25 cent coin) group at 100 yards.

I am not an expert rifleman by any means, I'm self taught.

Good ammo, good sights, breathing discipline, smooth slow trigger pull, good/proper hold on rifle, a good rifle, and I got this grouping. I can't tell you how thrilled I was to be able to do this, over and over again.

The Mini-30 comes with an adjustable rear sight I'd suggest anyone replace with a tech-sight which is adjustable for windage and elevation. The Mini-30 front sight is non-adjustable but is protected by a brush guard, just like the tech-sight I installed.

I've heard a lot of whining on the 'net about Ruger Mini's in either .223 or 7.62 adn about how robust the AK-47 is and yet the Mini-30 is in the exact same caliber at the AK, the magazine insert/release is exactly like the AK, its gas piston just like the AK, full reciprocating bold like the AK... but way more accurate and is based on the M1 Garand bolt with the same legendary reliability. I didn't post this to create a cat-fight about AKs, I posted this to let people know the Ruger Mini-30, or any quality rifle for that matter, is only as accurate and reliable as the person who owns and maintains it. I don't plan on stuffing my Mini-30 with mud, sand, water, then run over it with my 4x4 then drop it from a helo at 200 feet and EXPECT it to function flawlessly... but if that's how you treat your firearms, then you need remedial education in the proper handling of firearms.

Anything man-made WILL break if you try hard enough and anything man-made WILL, at some point, break or stop working.
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Old June 7, 2013, 06:32 PM   #2
Fishbed77
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Quote:
I've heard a lot of whining on the 'net about Ruger Mini's in either .223 or 7.62 adn about how robust the AK-47 is and yet the Mini-30 is in the exact same caliber at the AK, the magazine insert/release is exactly like the AK, its gas piston just like the AK, full reciprocating bold like the AK... but way more accurate and is based on the M1 Garand bolt with the same legendary reliability.
I'd be surprised to see a Mini-30 (even new production) that is any more accurate than a good AK. My converted 7.62x39mm Saiga can shoot 2-2.5 MOA all day long with decent ammo.

The Mini-30 is a fine rifle. However, it's hard to truly compare to an AK. One is designed as a combat rifle designed to function life-or-death situations. The other is a general-purpose consumer-oriented firearm designed to ride around in your pickup.
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Old June 8, 2013, 03:20 AM   #3
bamaranger
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mini 30

There are lots of things to like about the mini 30.

You mention installing after market sights and that's fine, but the fact that all mini-30's can be easily scoped is a real plus. You cannot say that all AK's can be so readily equipped.

As far as iron sights go, unless you are of conscript age, and can trigger a burst with selective fire, the AK sights are awful. A mini with factory irons has better sights than an AK, and the new irons are better than the flimsy folding rear of past Mini 30's. The sights on my cheapo AK are canted, badly. I can fix that, and will, someday. But it won't help me see them any better.

My AK variant had an awful trigger , which was literally painful to shoot due to "slap", and required an entire after market trigger group to make it better. My Mini came with a very usable trigger.

I don't really need a hicap mag for a Mini, but functional factory20 rd mags are now available. (sort of). But to hunt and for GP use, the flush mount 5 rd number is OK. On this score the AK wins, as AK mags are plentiful (well sort of) and tough. Has anybody tried modifying AK mags to run in a Mini 30?

Accuracy.........well I don't know. I'm not getting 1MOA like the OP (?) but I get consistent 2.5 or slightly less with good ammo and a scope. My AK variant (admittedly a clunker) gets double that. No rail for a scope either.

HOw many "good" AK's are out there compared to the run of the mill AK in the millions produced, I don't know. I'd wager that most will not get 2.5 MOA.

I like the wood look of the Mini, and its traditional one piece stock points well, the AK still seems awkward. My variant has sharp edges all over, and I run it hard I use gloves, and am still stoning sharp spots off it.

OK, so bottom line. The mini-30 works for me as described, a very practical GP rifle, that indeed does ride around in my truck. As I will likely never be in a combat zone, the AK is a fun gun that I own cause I can and enjoy its heritage and reputation. If I had to choose one for me, it'd be the Mini cause I can scope it, it seems to handle better, has a useable trigger, and it has a domestic support net.

Thankfully, I do not have to choose and can enjoy both. Currently anyhow.
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Old June 8, 2013, 09:58 PM   #4
Crazy88Fingers
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Quote:
The Mini-30 is a fine rifle. However, it's hard to truly compare to an AK. One is designed as a combat rifle designed to function life-or-death situations. The other is a general-purpose consumer-oriented firearm designed to ride around in your pickup.
The Mini rifles are very closely related to the old Garands and M14s, which are combat rifles. The Mini family is also no stranger to military and police use, and have functioned in life or death situations before.
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Old June 8, 2013, 10:26 PM   #5
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Don't let the sub MOA snobs get to you. I've been told over and over my sks( 1956 type 56) wouldn't shoot better than 4 or 6 MOA. I just scoped it with a home made mount and shell deflecter. Redfield 3-9x40. With 6.99 a box wolf, tula and herders ammo it shoots 1.5 MOA at 100 yrds. Maybe I got a good one. It is the first I've owned.

Your mini should be at least as good. 95% of the mini's I've shot would shoot less than 2 MOA with average ammo, scoped. It's not a "sniper rifle". SMB( sub minute of bad guy) is all most people need anyhow.

Congratulations on the fine weapon.

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Old June 8, 2013, 11:35 PM   #6
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First, I am not 'anti-Mini' by any means. Search my posts out and you'll find a 580 Mini that produced some sub-MOA 3 shot groups with 65 grain Sierras.

I have had a couple of older Mini 30's through here, usually to zero a scope for a friend. As Jed Clampett would say... "Pity-full. Just PITY-full." One strained to get under 6 MOA with anything; the better of the two would squeak out 4. From the OP's results, it sound like the new ones are much, much better.

Put me in the camp that thinks ChiCom rifles are under-rated. With the crown cleaned up, my WASR does this regularly at 190 yards with Tula FMJ.

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Old June 9, 2013, 01:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
The Mini rifles are very closely related to the old Garands and M14s, which are combat rifles. The Mini family is also no stranger to military and police use, and have functioned in life or death situations before.
While the Mini is based on the Garand action (with some M14 and some M1 Carbine thrown in for good measure) it was designed as a civilian commercial rifle, not a piece of combat hardware. Some peculiarities (such as having to ship the rifle back to the manufacturer to replace a simple part such as the firing pin) make it a FAIL in the hard use category.

Don't get me wrong. I think the Minis are fine rifles, but the intended use of the design is quite different from the AK.


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Old June 9, 2013, 03:11 AM   #8
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Have any of you watched "brandon401401" with his AK WASR hit a gong from 200-300 yards in a free stance (iron sights)? He has a Youtube Channel, but I've never seen him use a Mini 30.

His AK has a Tapco trigger, which I know nothing about.
If his fine shooting bores you, then maybe his wife Kirsti (or her shooting skills) can hold your attention for a few seconds...
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Old June 9, 2013, 09:16 AM   #9
CleanDean
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I am happy to see a favorable thread & posts about the Mini 30 . After the trigger job and restocking of my "ole Mini Ranch Rifle" NEW nterest has bloomed once more.
Maybe a new 30 is in my foreseeable future.
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Old June 9, 2013, 11:22 AM   #10
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I have owned min-14s (shot a couple of mini-30s) and owned a few AKs the mini-14/30s are a smoother shooting gun and I like the design but I had problems with most after market mags so I would never want to depend on that as a battle gun if I ever needed on. What I love about the AK it will shoot almost anything you feed it and almost any mag you shove into it.

The AK is more crude then the minis but most military guns are crude, basic mechanics are more dependable and durable.
To me it s like comparing a ford ranger to a jeep willies the AK being like a jeep willies it will run through almost anything and you can always make it go if it gets smashed you can probably fix it with a hammer and screw driver.

The minis are designed as a truck varmint gun the AK is a military gun they are both good at what they are designed for.
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Old June 9, 2013, 04:05 PM   #11
mrvco
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$1k buys a pretty solid AK, very nearly a gen2 Sig 556R.

I like the Mini's, but I liked them a lot more back when they were more reasonably priced.
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Old June 10, 2013, 04:53 PM   #12
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I'd have to agree on the price increases. Last year I was looking at mini's for $550 at bi-mart here in OR. Now they're $8-900. Still cheaper than an AR though. That's why I bought my SKS. For the price of a mini I got a beautiful 1956 type 56, a tapco stock, Redfield scope/mount, shell deflecter, 3 mags and 500 rds of ammo. I've only got about $650 in it so far.

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Old June 10, 2013, 05:13 PM   #13
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I'll take my Arsenal SGL-21 over any Ruger Mini-30 for ANY test. Period.

I am sorry there is no comparison.
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Old June 10, 2013, 06:47 PM   #14
amd6547
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Agreed.
The Mini is a good gun, and I'm glad you like it...but I will take an AK any time.
AK sights work fine, and they are very tough.
This pic shows a target fired at 100yds. It has two five shot groups separated by a sight adjustment. Rifle was a Yugoslav M70 under folder built from a parts kit, firing Golden Tiger FMJ...using the standard AK sights (and tapco trigger, BTW).
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Old June 11, 2013, 11:11 PM   #15
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I've liked the Mini-14 for decades and the Mini-30 for years as well. But I always put off getting one for one reason or another. Anyway, chance put me in the AK/SKS camp and I love mine. And now that I have ARs as well, a Mini isn't likely in my future.
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Old June 11, 2013, 11:30 PM   #16
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id go with the ak any day. in my opinion the best ak that can be bought now days is a saiga 762x39 and then convert it. real russian made ak. cant get better than that.
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Old June 12, 2013, 05:23 PM   #17
Fishbed77
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Quote:
id go with the ak any day. in my opinion the best ak that can be bought now days is a saiga 762x39 and then convert it. real russian made ak. cant get better than that.
That's what I did!



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Old June 12, 2013, 09:52 PM   #18
+1k ammo
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bought now days is a saiga 762x39 and then convert it
Convert it? What does that mean?

I have an ak-47 but I think its just stock and a s.s. mini-14. Not sure I want to keep both, so may be selling one - probably the min-14, but I will have to break them both out and go shooting to see for sure, but I don't think I need the mine-14.
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Old June 12, 2013, 10:27 PM   #19
Fishbed77
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Convert it? What does that mean?
Saigas come into the US in sporter configuration. They need to be converted back to proper AK configuration by replacing the fire control group, moving the trigger guard, and adding a pistol grip and stock. It's an easy do-it-yourself job that can be done in an afternoon with a conversion kit and few simple tools.

My Saiga originally looked like this:

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Old June 12, 2013, 10:42 PM   #20
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I have an older Mini-14 and a new Mini-30. The 14 is MO paper plate. The 30 is much more accurate and you can easily mount a scope. Mine shoots 2" at 100. The triggers in both Rugers are much better than any AK I've shot. I don't think I would want an AK. I think they are ugly, the triggers suck and scope mounts are poor. The sights are very close to each other. I'd take the Ruger any day although my Ruger won't always fire the Chinese crap ammo. AK's and SKS's always do. I may be in the minority on my preference.
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Old June 13, 2013, 12:21 AM   #21
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My 580 series mini-14 shoots 1.25''-2'' groups with my handloads. I don't see why the 30 couldn't shoot as well. I hate the 7.62x39 caliber so Im not the one to ask on the subject but I like the mini platform and the newer ones are better guns than previous models. Don't care for the AK-47.
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Old June 13, 2013, 08:11 AM   #22
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The Mini-14 (Mini-30) and AK are completely different designs - not really comparable, except that they are both rugged, durable, neither is prone to breakage, and both will last more than a lifetime. There have been some statements alluding that Mini's are commercial "truck" guns not up to the rigors of the AK. That's just not true.

First, any AK made today is made from a US receiver and old parts from who-knows-where - that's not even close to military spec.

Second, the Saiga and many of the other cheaper US builds use the flimsy 1mm receiver. To be fair, some of the builds use 1.5mm receiver, but very few use the 1.6mm that Polytech used. The 1mm receiver guns might work - but they are certainly not the rugged tough AK that the Polytech stamped or milled receiver guns are.

Third, the fire control parts tend to be cast parts made by Tapco, or some other US maker. These parts are not as well made as the fire control parts of the Mini-14.

The biggest drawback of the Mini-14 is the lack of availability of a chrome lined barrel.
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Old June 13, 2013, 08:16 AM   #23
Skans
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The Mini-14 (Mini-30) and AK are completely different designs - not really comparable, except that they are both rugged, durable, neither is prone to breakage, and both will last more than a lifetime. There have been some statements alluding that Mini's are commercial "truck" guns not up to the rigors of the AK. That's just not true.

First, any AK made today is made from a US receiver and old parts from who-knows-where.

Second, the Saiga and many of the other cheaper US builds use the flimsy 1mm receiver. To be fair, some of the builds use 1.5mm receiver, but very few use the 1.6mm that Polytech used.

Third, the fire control parts tend to be made by Tapco, or some other US maker. These parts are not as well made as the fire control parts of the Mini-14.

The biggest drawback of the Mini-14 is the lack of availability of a chrome lined barrel.
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Old June 13, 2013, 08:59 AM   #24
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For me at least the biggest disadvantage of the Mini is the lack of armorer-level maintenance parts, such as extractors, firing pins, etc. Magazine availability and cost is another, smaller matter.

I much prefer the handling qualities of the Mini 14 series of rifles.
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Old June 13, 2013, 09:42 AM   #25
Fishbed77
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I don't think I would want an AK. I think they are ugly, the triggers suck and scope mounts are poor.
I'm not a huge fan of anything Tapco, but their G2 trigger is an exception - a reliable and easy upgrade to most any AK that will give it a trigger equal to or better than any stock Mini. If you have an AK with a side rail, they are very easy to scope. There are a wide range of scope mounts available for the AK, and like any other popular gun, they range from crappy to very high quality (such as the Kvar KV-04 or MI mount).

Quote:
First, any AK made today is made from a US receiver and old parts from who-knows-where - that's not even close to military spec.
Completely untrue.

Saigas are made in the Izhmash factory in Russia alongside their AK-74M and AK-100 series brethren. They are brand-new guns on brand-new receivers with brand-new Russian parts. Their bolts, gas pistons, and chome-lined, hammer-forged barrels are identical to the military rifles.

Quote:
Second, the Saiga and many of the other cheaper US builds use the flimsy 1mm receiver. To be fair, some of the builds use 1.5mm receiver, but very few use the 1.6mm that Polytech used. The 1mm receiver guns might work - but they are certainly not the rugged tough AK that the Polytech stamped or milled receiver guns are.
Again untrue. In Russian service, the stamped receiver rifles were specified with a longer service life than the milled receiver rifles. Also, I have never heard of a 1mm receiver failing. If a Saiga is "flimsy" no one ever told mine. One would assume than the lighter receiver would negatively affect accuracy, but it does not. My Saiga is easily capable of 2-2.5 MOA with decent ammo.

Last edited by Fishbed77; June 13, 2013 at 09:47 AM.
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