View Full Version : mini-14 or SKS?

vince weng
March 10, 1999, 03:24 PM
I plan to purchase a carbin rifle in the near future. I targeted at two rifles mini-14 and SKS. Both of them are reliable, inexpensive and of course not so accurate. Could someone give me your opinions and suggestions. Thanks.

New 2 H&K's
March 10, 1999, 06:00 PM
You can't go wrong with a $200 gun like the SKS.

March 10, 1999, 08:42 PM
Altough I don't own a Mini-14, the ones I've held are conciderably higher in quality than an SKS, which I have one of. There are also numerous aftermarket sources and gunsmiths that can get the 14 to shoot better but not as many for the SKS. Both have a ton of aftermarket accessories.

However, as mentioned above, it is hard to beat the SKS price. You can use and abuse that thing and think nothing of it since it was already dinged up when it was NIB. Sanded off the poor laquer finish on mine and never recoated. Put on a bi-pod, Leopuld pistol scope (thing cost more than the rifle) on a see-thru mount on the the gas tube, extended fixed mag, and glued on a vertical grip on the bottom of the stock's butt for the weak hand. Did all this before the scout rifle craze and when SKSs were $110-$125 and had bayonets (kept that). (I'm sure JC had blueprints on scout rifling well before my endeavor, although unbeknownst to me.)

Not very pretty but very functional.

- Ron V.


Daniel Watters
March 10, 1999, 10:28 PM
There is an article on Jim Taylor's 'Sixgunner' website about glass-bedding a SKS. It appears worth a try if you like to tinker. Combine that with a recrowning job and some tuned handloads, you might create a 'ringer' for scamming your friends at the range. (Not that I would ever take advantage of my friends.) ;)

www.sixgunner.com/guests/wosika.htm (http://www.sixgunner.com/guests/wosika.htm)

cornered rat
March 11, 1999, 08:00 AM
Had an SKS, sold it...accuracy OK...but take-down for cleaning is a pain AND a must with corrosive ammo...awkward to hold, not very good sights, poor scope mount, cheap though.

Mini14, slights better but still poor, much better for scope (ranch), slightly easier to load, magazines expensive and original Rugers rare, with muzzle brake it is LOUD.

For a cabin gun (excluding combat use), I'd get a bolt action...easier to maintain, cheaper once you figure in magazines, more recoil for the same round, though.

Cornered "but cheery" Rat

March 11, 1999, 08:20 AM
SKS is definitely way to go. Cheaper and easy to maintain. It's easier to field strip than an AK, IMHO. I hate getting the receiver cover back on AK's. There's an SKS, I believe, is called a type 89 that accepts actual AK magazines. Not sure what the paranoid level is so not sure what you'd have to pay at a gun show for it...But you can get 1000 rounds for about $100...

Daryl Waldron
March 11, 1999, 08:59 PM
Cabin gun uh? Well I would go with the SKS. I had and Mini 14 and still have the an SKS. I think I must have had a lemom mini 14, would not feed well, and all over the target. So I may not be all that objective on the subject.

Daren Thompson
March 11, 1999, 09:03 PM
Guys the obvious conclusion to this situation is to buy both. I own both and both have good qualities, however if I had to choose?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Don't know buy both

March 11, 1999, 10:03 PM
Get the SKS. At one time I had both, but I sold the Mini because of poor accuracy. I still have the SKS and will not sell it. Buy the SKS and spend the savings on ammo.

vince weng
March 12, 1999, 08:56 AM
as far as the accuracy goes, what is the average accuracy (? MOA) for SKS.

March 13, 1999, 10:33 PM
My SKS will shoot around 3 inches at 100 yds with open sights. I would like to try a compact scope mounted on the receiver. I believe that 2 inch groups would be possible.

March 14, 1999, 10:14 AM
I believe I`d take the SKS, and I did.. Unaccurate..Fairly. Reliable... Yes. Cheap.. Hell yes!! I like `em for a beat around rifle, scratches dents gouges who cares. Try for an SKS-D(16.5 inch barrel and detachable mag) A little more expensive, still under $200. Do with this rifle what you are afraid to do with your AR15. No I don`t own an import company either, just an opion.

March 14, 1999, 02:29 PM

If you already own an AR-15, I would propose you get two SKS-- one as a beater gun, the other try scoping and 'accessorizing' it. I think half the fun of an SKS is all of the cool stuff you can do to dress it up. Plus ammo is cheap.

Otherwise, consider an AR over the Mini. :)

Rob Pincus
March 14, 1999, 02:47 PM
I have btoh. In fact, I have exactly what Spleendeal describes. One full size SKS that is in great shape and one paratrooper SKS that has been beat and shot to hell. The thing is, I'll always take the Mini-14 over the regualr SKS because of the magazines.

If you can find the SKS Sporter, that LEGALLY takes AK mags, then youhave found a cheap solutionto the problem and would be about equally as well off as with the Mini-14.

June 20, 2000, 08:57 PM
I also suggest the SKS.. I have both rifles and I like the SKS best. I have never known of a SKS that had a mech failure, no matter how dirty. People call them rattle traps but they are made that way for a reason. They are super reliable under just about any condition. They are more accurate than what most folks say. Dont get me wrong, I really enjoy my Mini but for the price ($199) you cant go wrong with the SKS.

June 21, 2000, 10:10 AM
You can get the mini-14 in stainless steel, which might be a consideration if it's to be stored for long periods of time.

Jamie Young
June 21, 2000, 10:54 AM
I own both A Very good Russian SKS and a Stainless Steel Mini-14. I took both of them to a 100-500yd range. Both of my guns have scopes on them and i consider both to be very high quality. My SKS can barely hit a 12inch piece of paper at 200yds and I couldn't even get anything on paper at 300yds with it. My Mini 14 put every bullet on paper at 300yds and it put 7 out of 15 on a 3ft target a 500yds. I did aim about 4feet high to hit the paper. I prefer the original 10rd fixed clip on my SKS to the Detachable mags. I have had problems with after market mags. Besides Those Stripper Clips are fun. Like I said I love both my SKS and Mini-14 but I have found a whale of a difference once you get out about 300yds. I Think the SKS is the Best Poor Man Assualt rifle and the Mini-14 is the next step up. If you buy a new Mini-14 it probable has a 1-9 barrel twist so don't expect it to shoot much better than an SKS with 55gr bullets. You really should go with the 62gr bullets. I shoot 60-69gr bullets out of mine and It really makes a huge difference.

June 21, 2000, 11:23 AM
If you do decide to go SKS I hope you consider a Russian, E. German, I dont know about the Romanian or Hungarian but I suspect they would be ok, but leave the Chineese alone. Two of my friends and I took our SKS's (mine Russian, theirs chineese) and at 100yds offhand I could rattle the crap out of a pie plate and they were lucky to see where they hit. In the end we sandbagged the rifles and again at 130yds I was shootin a paper plate with ease while the other rifles were all over the 4'x5' target holder. We changed shooters and the same was true every time. My friends sold thiers and bought Russian. I suspect that the Yugoslav SKS would be pretty good if they were ever imported here.

Patrick Graham
June 21, 2000, 01:44 PM
I have both.
I've you can only have one get the mini.

June 21, 2000, 02:24 PM
My Chicom SKS does 2.5-3MOA and always goes bang. Good enough for me.

June 21, 2000, 05:33 PM
I have 2 SKS's. Both are Chinese versions with one having been made in 1958 and the other in 1979. Both are scoped with K-Mount scope mounts and are very accurate as far as SKS's go. Both guns will shoot 2 inch groups at 100 yards off of a rest. I believe that the crappy surplus ammo that's on the market is to blame for the SKS's reputation as being inaccurate. I have used Winchester ammo with very good results, especially deer at 150 yards or less. The SKS is only as good as what you feed it!!!!!!!!!!!

Jamie Young
June 23, 2000, 10:11 AM
I would absolutely not pick a Mini-30 over a Mini-14. I would like to own a Mini-30 some day but getting magazines for them is 20x's harder than getting Mini 14 mags. I looked up a few websites to get Precision Magazines and Not one of them had anything more than 5rd magazines for a Mini 30. Unless you get USA Magazines for a Mini 30 WHICH I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU DON'T CHECK OUT OTHER POSTS ON THIS TOPIC TO FIND OUT HOW BAD USA IS!!!!!


June 23, 2000, 11:41 AM
Mini-14 or SKS......decisions hurt my head, so I got one of each. Problem solved. ;)

"Lead, follow or get the HELL out of the way."

June 23, 2000, 11:59 AM
Both are nice guns; however, I'd consider saving up some more cash and getting an AR-15 or M1-A. The M1-A is such a sweet rifle!


"Happiness is a warm gun" John Lennon 1966

June 23, 2000, 08:12 PM
An SKS would be fun but I wouldn't trade my Stainless Steel Mini 14 for anything.

June 23, 2000, 11:46 PM
I had a stainless Mini 14 with the standard sights. It was a rare one(it was accurate). I do miss it some. But, the SKS takes the AK mags which are superbly built and stout. It's much easier to clean and there is no doubt that it can take some abuse(should it ever need to).
Let's face it. Neither choice is for precision shooting. For reasonably close hunting, pest control or defensive uses, either will do. The SKS will just do it cheaper!

June 24, 2000, 06:08 AM
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by VictorLouis:
But, the SKS takes the AK mags which are superbly built and stout. It's much easier to clean and there is no doubt that it can take some abuse(should it ever need to). [/quote]

I've also got an SKS Sporter take takes AK mags. The only thing I've noticed is that some mags are difficult to insert into the mag well. Does your rifle have that problem?

June 24, 2000, 12:33 PM
i have a Norinco SKS mounted in a Choate tool company folding stock witha scope mount that is drilled and tapped to the reciever. it has a rubber armored Simmons 4x wide angle scope on it and has had a trigger job plus the ejection port opened up and the ejector stoned and angled. it wil shoot 1.5 inch groups at 100 yards with Chi-Com steel jacket/steel core ammo any time. the Russian steel jacket/lead core hollow points will do 2 to 3 inch groups at the same distance. fine little gun for the $200.00 i have in it total.
i have a $85.00 paratrooper model that had a cracked stock to begin with. i installed a folding stock on it and home Parkerized it dull black. i adapted a set of old pistol night sights to it and it is my pickup truck, canoe, fishing, can killing companion. if somebody breaks my window and steals it so what. i have got a couple more stashed.
can't do all that with a Mini 14 or 30
plus i have enough ammo to start a small war all surplus all cheap
an'it life grand :)

Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what is for lunch.
Liberty is a well armed lamb contesting the outcome of the vote.
Let he that hath no sword sell his garment and buy one. Luke 22-36
They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh because of fear in the night. Song of Solomon 3-8
The man that can keep his head and aims carefully when the situation has gone bad and lead is flying usually wins the fight.

[This message has been edited by riddleofsteel (edited June 24, 2000).]

June 24, 2000, 03:10 PM
Ezeckial, yes. I have found the same problem with mine. It will not take a fully loaded 5 round magazine, but the 30 rounders work fine. One thing I don't like about it is the mags wiggle a little too much. I haven't had any problems with it tho. Nice gun, kinda heavy, paid 200 for it about a year ago, it was the only one at 6 gunshows.

Beware the three D's: The dumb, drunk, and deranged. [email protected]

[This message has been edited by chadintex (edited June 24, 2000).]

June 24, 2000, 05:34 PM
Since you were asked which one then price must not be the limiting factor. My suggestion would be to buy the Ruger.

I had a Ruger years ago and it shot great. Also the he 223 Rem. is a better round than the 7.62x39mm.

The SKS is a mass produced infantry rifle that doesn't compare to the Ruger in workmanship. By the way I think the sights stink on an SKS.


Steve Smith
June 25, 2000, 04:37 PM
I know it's not an option you mentioned, but you forgot the AK-47. A company in Abilene Tx. called CDNN is selling the SA2000M (hungarian AK)for $200 plus shipping ($10) I just bought one, and I love it. They come with US Choate stocks, and are hand headspaced. They typically shoot better than 90% of AKs and SKSs. I shot mine the first time yesterday and love it. I need more experience with shooting at 100yds with open sights (I'm a handgunner) but the 25 yd target just had a .5" hole for 10 rds. (not a big accomplishment, but hey, at least it wasn't 5"!) Anyway, it's another consideration...don't forget the reliabilityfactor with AKs.

Oleg Volk
June 25, 2000, 06:55 PM
S2000 are great. Very good, robust 10-rd magazine (make sure you get a few, they can become scarce someday), good balance and stock. Very accurate. Muzzle break makes them a bit loud. For off-hand shooting, 10rd is perfect.

June 26, 2000, 12:28 PM
I don't know about you, but I would choose the Ruger because I like it when it says MADE IN THE USA. :D That plus the fact that if there's something wrong with your new gun, you can send it back to Ruger and they will take good care of you. :) Ruger is a very reputable, AMERICAN company that aims to please. Quality as well as service is definitely better with Ruger. Buy American and get the better gun.

June 26, 2000, 07:03 PM
I agree that both are good rifles but something has to be said for a rifle that was made in the 50's and still functions flawlessly after thousands of rounds. Its not as much quality as it is design. My 1953 Soviet SKS rattles and has more tool marks than you can count but it has never failed in the 10+ years I have owned it.

Steve Smith
June 26, 2000, 08:55 PM
I'm not about to get into a P!$$ing contest with you, Clean Cut, and I know where you're coming from, but... The AK that doesn't function flawlessly is rare...VERY rare. There's really no concern with these like we have of our own US made stuff. the darned rifles just plain work!

And on the 8th day, GOD shot an AK-47. He Saw that it was good, said that it was good, and it was good. He then went directly to work retrofitting his Son's white horse with one!

June 27, 2000, 01:00 PM
The SKS is just a mass produced military tomato stake that doesn't compete with the Ruger in workmanship. With that bayonet, it fits right into the ground perfectly. Great price at $199 for a throw away rifle.

Steve Smith
June 27, 2000, 01:53 PM
Actually, I'm not an SKS fan either, and I used to own one.Saying that it's a "tomato stake" is a little rude. You certainly can't say that about AK's. No one has bashed Ruger, because they are good beat-around, will-work-in-poor-conditions rifles, but so are AK's and I've heard that the SKS is good on that too.

BTW, I'd be quite surprised to find that Ruger Mini 14s and 30s are custom one at a time built rifles. They're mass produced, too.

[This message has been edited by Frontsight! (edited June 27, 2000).]

June 27, 2000, 06:38 PM
A Tomato Steak?? Golly! You could use it for a tomato steak and 60 years later you could pull it out of the ground and it would still function.. I like Ruger Mini 14's and they are crafted well but that doesnt make them any more reliable.

Frontsite, what are the top 3 best AK models to buy and what Distributor? I would like to keep it under 600.00 thanks..

Steve Smith
June 27, 2000, 07:05 PM
Beats me! I am not an AK expert in any way! The real Russian ones are supposed to be very good, as well as the Hungarian ones. All are very reliable, except POSSIBLY a few Chinese ones. The design lends itself to reliability, but not accuracy. The average 100yd group from most AKs is 4-6" however, there are several types that shoot better. I just bought an SA2000M from CDNN for $200. Its a "new" Hungarian model, and their reported to shoot 3" groups at 100yds. It's been a loooong time since I've shot that far with open sights, and I didn't do so great. Although the "cone of fire" theroy is faulty, it's true within 100 yds....I said that to say this: I DID shoot a 1/2" group at 25 yds, so I think that with practice, I should get 3" groups at 100yds easily unless the gun is whacked, which is rare. Pre-ban/post-ban really only covers furniture and such, not mag capacity, but be aware of the legalities before you buy. There are no special legalities that you should be concerned about unless you want to change the wood or add a bayonet. For most purchase, they're no different than buying a Remington or Winchester bolt action. Veprs are a "new breed" of AK that is getting popular. You can get them in .308 which is sweet, but not as cheap by any means. They are the best built of all the AKs, but I can't see an actual need for the extra work when a $200 AK shoots as well, and is just as reliable. Veprs are made from RPK receivers (light machine gun) so they're heavier and stronger. Again, I can't see the need. Check out www.ak-47.com (http://www.ak-47.com) and look around. Also join the forum there for LOTS of info (it's buil;t just like TFL, but it's "all AK all the time").

And on the 8th day, GOD shot an AK-47. He Saw that it was good, said that it was good, and it was good. He then went directly to work retrofitting his Son's white horse with one!

Steve Smith
June 28, 2000, 04:11 PM
Vince, so, what did you decide to get?