View Full Version : Ruger Mini 14 Ranch Rifle vs AR 15

December 3, 2008, 06:54 PM
I'm torn between an AR 15 and a Ruger Mini 14 to recieve for christmas. My main purpose will be Appleseed, ie target shooting. It needs to be relieable because the program has us shooting approx 500 rounds a day in rain or shine... mud or grass. Also, accuracy is important. So for those of you who can speak from experience: which should is better for these needs?

December 3, 2008, 07:04 PM
In MY personal experience after owning 3 different Mini 14's, I never found one that would shoot much less than a 3" group at 100 yards One shot worse. There is a "new" mini made that is "supposed" to be more accurate than the past ones. I have already had 3 that don't shoot so I am not going to be one of the test people. The Mini is certainly a dependable rifle and runs like a clock, I just never got one that would shoot as well as most of my 22 rim fire guns, so that ain't saying much for the Mini. Just in case, look at my screen name if you think I am a Ruger basher..
In your circumstance, I think you will be FAR better of with one of the AR platforms. I am looking for one too, with a mini for trade in value.

December 3, 2008, 07:14 PM
Mini-14. After about 100 rounds the AR-15 will gunk up and stuff.

Good luck-

December 3, 2008, 07:16 PM
This is a joke, right? :rolleyes:

Mini-14. After about 100 rounds the AR-15 will gunk up and stuff.

Good luck-

Probably one of the most ignorant, fallacious statements I've ever seen on a board like this. Pure horseschict. ;)

December 3, 2008, 07:20 PM
Mini-14. After about 100 rounds the AR-15 will gunk up and stuff.

Good luck-

WHAT? :rolleyes:

December 3, 2008, 07:32 PM
A Mini-14 is reliable but its only good if you are only going to fire a few rounds at a med range and med size target.

If you plan on shooting 100 plus rounds in one sitting, you will not be able to hit a barn after the 90th round.

December 3, 2008, 07:46 PM
Use your plastic and get both.

Deaf Smith
December 3, 2008, 07:51 PM
The Mini-14 is a good low to medium volume rifle. It is not made to shoot 100 rounds as fast as you can (but then why would you need that much inaccurate fire?)

The AR, as presently made, is pretty reliable as long as some basic maintenance is done every 200 rounds or so. I used to be a Mini fanatic, but I've come around to the AR platform.

That does not mean the Mini is a bad gun. It's kind of like the M1 Carbine. Good shooter but newer weapons do outclass it.

But for those folks here who like conventional style rifles, don't plan on unloading more than 20 rounds per minute (and if you aim, that will do fine), then the Mini-14 will do well.

Only one catch with the Mini. Ruger won't release any firing pins and a few oher parts to gunsmiths. If you need one, you have to ship the rifle back to them. The AR has no such problems.

December 3, 2008, 07:53 PM
After about 100 rounds the AR-15 will gunk up and stuff.
I've shot a lot more than that at a sitting, without a fail. Give it a squirt of CLP in the ejection port every 500 and it'll run dirty and reliable.

Last summer when they were $4.99/20, I burned through a ton of PMC's, the AR ate 'em and smiled. Not as good as the Black Hills stuff, but just fine for range time.

December 3, 2008, 08:15 PM
I dont know about the newer Mini 14s. My experiecne with the older models was not so hot.

Years ago when Anchorag PD desided to have a swat team (we called them CRT). I did the rifle training. The Cpt desided he wanted Mini 14s ,(solly because the Alaska State Troopers were using M16s). I took them to the range. I had problems getting any of them to qualify with the Mini's. It wasnt the shooters because when I brought out M16s from the AKNG marksmanship unit, there was no problem.

Not only was the Minis not as accurate as the M16s they werent as reliable. Plus Police Departments can get M16s pretty cheap from the Defence department.

I've played with Mini 14s before and since, and still find them lacking.

Take Note; that was about 25 years ago, I dont know what they are like now.

4V50 Gary
December 3, 2008, 08:18 PM
Mini-14. After about 100 rounds the AR-15 will gunk up and stuff.

Good luck-

Now that is news to me.

I like the Mini, but if you want a weapons system, go AR. Ruger won't sell you firing pins because they want to make sure it's fitted to the gun. Ruger won't sell you a bolt either. That also has to be fitted. By contrast, it's easy to get another firing pin or bolt for an AR. To work on a Ruger, you have to have quite a number of tools and some of them are specialized. There are specialized tools for ARs, but you can buy them anywhere unlike Ruger which restricts the sale of tools (because of liability, they'd rather a factory warranty station work on your gun).

Magazines? Well, you can now get factory 20 rounders, but factory 30 rounders are virtually impossible to get. Not so with the AR and you can pick your brand. Hundred round Beta mags (twin drums) are available for both guns (as are 90 rounders).

The AR is very easy to work on, tools are readily available, barrel changes are easy and changing the configuration is easy too (swap uppers). You can't do that with the Ruger.

If I could only have one, it would be the AR. It's more versatile. By changing the upper, you can have a 22 LR (you also have to have a 22 LR bolt), pistol caliber carbine, varmint rifle, carbine or rifle. You can't do that with an AR.

BTW, the Mini-14 is not as accurate as the AR. Gas-impingment systems like the AR have fewer moving parts and there's fewer things that affect the harmonics of the gun. Not so with the Mini-14 which has a bolt handle that slides up and down the receiver with the bolt.

December 3, 2008, 08:25 PM
I didn't say it was an awful system, the system gets gunky! The more gunk has always directly equated into less reliability.

I'd rather have a mini for target shooting.

December 3, 2008, 08:47 PM
I vote for the AR 15.
The Ruger Mini is goofy in my opinion, cheaply made, inaccurate, and over priced.
If you want a 14 get a Springfield 1A1. They are .308 and accurate.


December 3, 2008, 08:52 PM
I own two Mini-14s and an AR15. The guy saying that an AR will gunk up and stop is blowing smoke. The US Military does not issue weapons that gunk up and stop every 100rds. Both are very reliable rifles, but the Mini is not what you want for an Appleseed. It's just not accurate enough during sustained fire. It'll finish the weekend fine, but as the barrel heats up it'll start stringing shots. Honestly for an Appleseed you should be using a 10/22 with Tech-Sights.

If you were looking for a reliable non-threatening truck gun for light duty plinking or predator control I'd say get the Mini. If you were looking for a heavy duty reasonably accurate plinker, truck gun, or self defense tool I'd say get the AR15. For Appleseed and cheap plinking get a 10/22, and then grab an AR after the panic subsides and the prices come back down.

December 3, 2008, 08:57 PM
...had a mini years ago and wasn't happy with the accuracy...AR 's will out perform any mini you can finid...Reliable as the day is long....one littlle bottle of clp and keep it "wet" you will find it will run as long as you want to shoot it ...I'd put my AR's up aginst anything short of a 308...bolt of course:cool:

December 3, 2008, 08:59 PM
Right now, everything AR from stripped lowers to ammo is sky high and hard to find. So, if you want to bang, (or plink) a lot, get a .22. But, for a good all around reliable machine, get a decent AR, or build your own. What is really great about the AR is the endless variety of do-dads you can get and the different ways you can configure it. Get a 16“ upper for home protection, and a 24” for long range target shooting.

Go AR and you'll never go back!

December 3, 2008, 09:00 PM
Get an AR 15. Owned a Mini 14 in the 70s. That thing would not shoot as well as a mediocre SKS. Every one I have shot since I got rid of that one has re-confirmed my low opinion of Mini 14s.

December 3, 2008, 09:01 PM
AR-15. It is a accurate and reliable design just keep a bottle of CLP with you.
Try "googling"- Camp Perry rifle- and see what those folks are using.
Too bad you didn't decide to buy your AR before the election. Good luck finding one now.

December 3, 2008, 09:03 PM
For serious... You're telling me that after 100 rounds the AR system is not gunked up... That is news to all of you... What am I doing at this forum... Holy Crap...

I got it, a little CLP, yadda yadda yadda...still shoots, trust me, I KNOW. Still a dirty weapon and if you got a choice for some target competition I'd take the mini-

December 3, 2008, 09:07 PM
For serious... You're telling me that after 100 rounds the AR system is not gunked up... That is news to all of you... What am I doing at this forum... Holy Crap...

like totally for serious yO!!!!11111ONEoneone


i'd pick the ar..... partially because of the incredible luck i've had with it, partially because of the bad luck i've had with the mini, and partially to spite this guy ^^^

December 3, 2008, 09:11 PM
Yea, it's like I'm getting bent over Pulp Fiction style...

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon against me and go buy an AR just to make the sting go away.

Ya'll really like attacking in packs.

December 3, 2008, 09:12 PM
i guess there's something about lies and/or misinformation that brings out the pack animals in us

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon against me and go buy an AR just to make the sting go away.

post up pics of that ar when you get it :D

December 3, 2008, 09:13 PM
Still a dirty weapon and if you got a choice for some target competition I'd take the mini-

I've been shooting highpower for 30+ years, I can count the numbers of Mini 14s I've seen on the range on one hand and have 4 fingers and a thumb left over.

Look down the line a Perry and see how many ARs you see.

I wont even address the 100 rounds to gunk up an AR bs. And I'm not talking about my 3rd cousin on my wifes side, who had an uncle who knew someone who told him about M16s in Vietnam, cause thats where I got my CIB.

December 3, 2008, 09:20 PM
I will NEVER EVER use another ballpark number... such things like hundred mile-an-hour tape and the similar be damned!


I'd rather have the M14. They didn't give us our CABs for shooting, we had to get an IED, RPG, etc. Gotta love it-

Sorry about the thread hijack!

December 3, 2008, 09:30 PM
[QUOTE] It needs to be relieable because the program has us shooting approx 500 rounds a day in rain or shine... mud or grass. Also, accuracy is important.(QUOTE]

AR 15. But good luck finding one. You may or may not know, but there has been a run on firearms due to Obamaism.

December 3, 2008, 10:42 PM
I am pretty sure any one that says the AR will gunk up and not work (personally, I have never known someone to say this) must be using very old crappy ammo and haven't cleaned their rifle in about 1000 rounds. Just use decent ammo. And I mean decent, not the most expensive, just decent ammo you can get at Walmart. I am pretty sure ammo such as Federal or Sellier and Bellot can go 1000 rounds no problem.

Personally, I shoot 100 rounds in my AR at a time and the rifle is still pretty clean and thats with the cheapest brass ammo I can find.

December 3, 2008, 11:02 PM
You know they are talking about a Mini14 and not an M14 right... Not the same gun...

December 3, 2008, 11:12 PM

December 4, 2008, 01:25 AM
I've put over 750 rounds of cheap wolf .223 ploymer coated rounds through my AR and not a problem. Today I reached over 1,000 rounds and still no problem. I'll clean it anyway...........;)

December 4, 2008, 01:52 AM
My main purpose will be Appleseed, ie target shooting.

Then you better get an AR. The words "target" and "Mini-14" should never be used in the same sentence. They are notorious for being inaccurate.

Still a dirty weapon and if you got a choice for some target competition I'd take the mini-

Target competition and Mini-14...

lol...good one.

December 4, 2008, 05:46 AM
I remember vividly being afflicted with the m-16 in '71, while in basic training at Fort Polk, LA. Our instructors appologized to us for being burdened with this"weapon". In every instance where we were training in simulated combat conditions, having to low crawl through the sand and mud and then upon reaching our objective, being required to fire live rounds, this"weapon" would discharge once and jam. This wasn't just my "weapon", but every soldier involved in this training had the same experience. If it wasn't for it not being reliable, it was a fun toy. I will say it is more accurate than my mini-14, but I can count on the Mini-14 to fire everytime I pull the trigger. I first fired the M-16 when I was about 12. My father, was career military and did 3 tours in Viet Nam, the first in '64. He, having the keys to the arms room would bring home service weapons on the weekends and we would go out to the bivoac area, near PoInt Magu and waste government ammo. I thought then that the M-16 was a hoot to shoot. My father said that was true, but as far as a combat arm this was a criminal POS! My father was KIA in '67, on his third tour in Viet Nam. This "weapon" was selected by a committee that was clueless about what was really required of a combat arm. I think they should all be placed in front of a firing squad equiped with M-16's. The odds of survival would be excellent, though. As long as this piece was clean and no foreign material had invaded the action, it was a fun rifle to play with. I leaned to shoot it quite well, qualifying expert. More important than accuracy or rate of fire though is reliability. I wonder if my father would still be alive today if he were better armed.

December 4, 2008, 07:03 AM
The AR15/M4/M16 of today is not the same as the M16 of '67, my friend. All those little things like the chrome lined chamber that McNamara's cronies cheaped out on have been re-added to the design. And if you really think quality ARs are unreliable, you should go through a carbine course where they fire 1000+ rounds in a day or two. An AR will get dirty but if you keep it lubed it will not stop running. If a modern AR jams and there's nothing physically wrong with the rifle, ammo, or magazines, the user is doing something wrong.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 4, 2008, 10:07 AM
In my experience, the Mini-14 hasn't been as reliable, durable or as accurate as the AR15; but it costs the same as one these days. I'm sure other people have had different experiences (at least as to reliability) but durability and accuracy still seem to be an issue.

Durability may not be all that bad either; but as someone else mentioned, when a Mini-14 breaks a part it is back to Ruger and you get to hear the owner complain about it for weeks. When an AR15 breaks, usually the owner (or someone else nearby) already has a spare on hand and can be back shooting in 5 minutes; or worst case scenario, they order it online and drop it in themselves for a week's worth of downtime. So AR parts breakage may be underreported because it is so easy to fix and Ruger may be overreported because the guy has nothing else to do but talk about his broken rifle for a month and a half while he waits for it to get fixed.

December 4, 2008, 01:34 PM
I'll put my Mini against an AR in a reliability test any day, providing you buy the ammo. I have neither the funds nor the desire to prove the point. My 580 series will shoot about 2" at 100 yards with good ammo. That's plenty for it's intended purpose and there are no small parts inside of it to break.

December 4, 2008, 01:50 PM
I'll put my Mini against an AR in a reliability test any day

Again, try out one of the more intense carbine courses. Word from the armorers at Gunsite is that they've never seen a Mini-14 make it through a class without choking. Quality ARs like Colts and LMTs do so regularly.

December 4, 2008, 05:00 PM
Well gentlemen, thank you all very much for replying. You all know your stuff... I'm 16 and still learning. Handlerer, I would think you of all people should know it's called Vietnam... not Viet Nam. To the rest... I think it's pretty clear the AR wins the forum. I went to the local gunshop last night... only to hear the same stuff from an elderly gentleman there as well. So I think the AR wins... and I will surely be packing some CLP. I hope we all make it through the next 4 years lol.

December 5, 2008, 12:09 AM
The proper term is Viet Nam and not Vietnam. I guess you could say Indo China too but in Viet Nam its Viet Nam.

December 5, 2008, 06:01 AM
Well, Jinx, I I guess I'm old and we all know that age is a mind killer, and anyone over 40 doesn't have the sense that God gave a radish, but I know how to spell Viet Nam. I also know that wanting a weapon to be reliable and it actually being reliable are separate matters. In my experience with the M-16, I never had a failure on the firing line, and never had two shots fire in row under simulated battle conditions. There is a great deal of difference between powder residue and sand and dust. Take any M-16 oil it well, and allow sand into the action, and see what happens. In combat, when there are bullets flying all around you, the safest place you can find is on your belly in the mud, try to remember is the bolt cover on this M-16 open. If you have fired it the bolt cover is open. I know that I'm not alone in my opinions about the M-16, I know many veterans of the sandbox, that have no particular love for for the M-16. It may be much improved over the '67 version, but I was trained with the M-16A2, and it was totally unreliable. Now as far as the M-16, Ar-15, as a fun gun, hey great piece! I enjoy shooting it. But as an serious combat arm, it is flawed. I sincerely believe that the American soldier deserved better. As an assault rifle it was engineered to very close tolerances, much closer than an AK, or M-14. The idea of the bolt cover was a serious brain cramp, for an assault rifle, which needs to function in the worst conditions imaginable. If all battles were fought standing up in dry weather, it would be fine. It's fine toy for civilians to take to the range and burn a 1000 rounds with. I may be a little vituperative about this, but I happen to feel very strongly that the American troops deserve the best and they didn't get it. I have considerable resentment still over the Viet Nam war, it cost me my father. If we were not going to be allowed to win this war, we should have never gone!

December 5, 2008, 06:50 AM

Welcome to my buddy list ;)

I'll have more on this topic later, provided that it don't get locked first.

Art Eatman
December 5, 2008, 09:28 AM
I've had four Minis, and am now on my fifth AR. They've all worked as I wanted, with no problems from either.

For hunting, I prefer the ergonomics of the Mini. It's certainly as reliably accurate as any AR for the first shot on a coyote. It's just not a benchrest paper puncher. So?

The AR can be set up as a tack-driving target rifle, and is a better "social gun". However, the Minis will certainly hold minute of torso all day long.

December 5, 2008, 10:49 AM
I know many veterans of the sandbox, that have no particular love for for the M-16.

True there are some who want something other then the M16/M4, I read that poll. Have it somewhere.

20% of the soldiers in Iraq want something else. HOWEVER 80% say they are satisified with the M16/M4.

You cant please everyone, so I would side with the 80% of the end user.

To me it is Vietnam, or SE Asia. But like in guns we all have opinions. Based on my experience using the M16 in combat, and LE, and compitition, I have no complaints.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 5, 2008, 11:08 AM
Take any M16, oil it well, and allow sand into the action and see what happens

The U.S. Army did exactly that in 2007. In fact they did it twice in 2007. The worst result for the M4 after 60,000 total rounds through 10 rifles in simulated sandstorm conditions with 600 rounds between any kind of cleaning was a 1.4% stoppage rate. The M16 performed even better.

For comparison, new modern designs (SCAR, XM8, HK416) were able to improve on that an additional 0.8-1.0% (going from memory so numbers may be off a few tenths)

December 5, 2008, 11:42 AM
I have a Bushmaster AR and a 197 Ranch rifle. I like them both out of the box my AR wins hands down. But after doing a few low cost DIY mods home made buffers, smaller gas port bushings, trigger job, home made barrel sturt, and muzzle break. These take care of the Minis short comings. Reducing the trigger pull to 4lb, the sturt and muzzle stiffen the barrel and work like a heat sink, the buffer sand smaller gas port bushing along with the muzzle break eliminates most of the recoil and almost all the the muzzle lift. It almost feels like a 1022 when you are shooting it. With hand loads it shoots 1 inch groups or better at a 100yds from a bench. I shoot with benchrest guys at our range and they can't believe how good my Mini shoots.

December 5, 2008, 09:47 PM
The proper term is Viet Nam and not Vietnam. I guess you could say Indo China too but in Viet Nam its Viet Nam.

I've always know it to be Vietnam. At least that's what it said on my orders when my Uncle Sam sent me there for a free years vacation, all expenses paid.......:o

December 5, 2008, 11:00 PM
Yeah. Ars keep on Tickin. Give them a drop or 2 of CLp every few hundred and the will go on and on. I ran over 3000 rounds through my Ar before i got tired of the 3 inch groups and cleaned it. It never Failed for me. It just shot like ,...well, a Mini by about 2000 rounds. Its a Bushmaster by the way. A MINI>>>>... FOR TaRget shooting?? WTHELL??

December 5, 2008, 11:02 PM
put a frickin 50 Bmg upper on the AR and you can target shoot up to 1000 yards! lets see your mini do that! :eek:

December 5, 2008, 11:07 PM
Some guy on U tube shoot 760 yards witha Ar15. Plinkin steel. I wonder how many times a Mini would hit a 10 inch plate steel at 760 yards? :D
this guy missed 1 time out of like 15 shots. It was getting boring watching him...ding.........ding..........ding........ding.....

December 5, 2008, 11:23 PM
Unless you're talking about very large targets, then the Mini is worthless as a "target rifle." Of course, one would have to be suspect of somebody who proclaims that an AR is "gunked up after 100 rounds." That's total b.s. and just plain ignorance.

Ignition Override
December 6, 2008, 04:09 AM
Jynx 92.
I don't have any idea how much energy is lost by the .223 from a Mini 14 at 400 yards.
But an easy to find Youtube video shows a guy with a basic Mini 30 (7.62x39) at that distance, using a scope to hit close to a target with a dusty background, fairly consistently.

You might enjoy searching for "Mini 30 440 yards" etc and watching, maybe just for a decent video.

Minis, SKS, MNs: really fun guns.
Whether "Commie-designed" or the most accurate makes no difference (to me).
I can't imagine buying the expensive guns to shoot holes in grapefruits, but especially paper (unless sighting in for hunting). Life is too short.

December 6, 2008, 07:57 AM
I love the mini-14 and think it is a fine rifle...but to answer the original poster's question.... if it really was a question...

AR15 for sure. did you actually say 500 rounds a day?

Actually, you would probably be better off with two Ak47s for what you plan to do with it.

What is Appleseed?

December 6, 2008, 09:57 AM
Senior Member

Join Date: 2008-11-10
Location: SE USA
Posts: 112 I didn't say it was an awful system, the system gets gunky! The more gunk has always directly equated into less reliability.

I'd rather have a mini for target shooting. <<<

since you'd rather shoot the mini 14 for targets...you wanna shoot some targets for cash? :D:D

I've only had one mini14, and for shooting the broad side of barns, it was a good little gun and never jammed on me. Now, if you wanted to shoot something else,...say a rabbit at 100 yards, different story.

I have never personally witnessed a mini 14 that shot well.

I have seen numerous AR15 variants that will shoot well under MOA

I suppose the other option, if you're looking for a gun in the $750-$900 range is to buy one of these GREAT DEALS :rolleyes: on a chinese AK47, mak90 or SKS with a laser light duct taped to the stock, that seem to be coming out of the woodwork for some reason....

December 6, 2008, 10:18 AM
I think this one (http://sargesrollcall.blogspot.com/2008/10/mini-14-580-series-ranch-rifle-last.html) just might reach your 'minute of wabbit' criteria, without modification, etc.


The Mini is what it is; a decent rendition of the M14 in a lightweight caliber, for those who prefer the ergos, etc. of that system. The 580+ Minis are indeed more accurate than they used to be. As an LE trainer I have spent some time at the bench zeroing various dept-owned M4gerys, etc. I don't think you'll see much difference in the accuracy of the improved Mini and your basic AR.

A HBAR or match built AR will give many bolt actions a run for their money, which means they'll outshoot the Mini. It's all a matter of 'what turns your crank' vs 'what you want to spend', vs 'what you're tying to accomplish'. If cheap mags and bolt-ons are your bag, by all means get an AR. If you like blue steel, wood and 'real rifle' handling, a 580 Mini and 20 round ProMags will do about anything you need to try with a 5.56 mm.

They're both good rifles. The above Mini goes in my unmarked car every day and out to 250 yards, I don't feel undergunned in the least. If they hand me an AR one of these days, I won't cry. I'll prove it and zero it and feel pretty well armed....or at least as well armed as you can be this side of a .308 ;)

December 6, 2008, 10:33 AM
Did someone reply that you can put a 50 BMG upper on an AR15 5.56/.223 and have the gun function? Aren't the magazines quite a bit different in size? I had thought of swappin' out the upper on my AR to handle .308 but the dealer kinda laughed (not too hard cuz he knew I was a noob to AR's) and told me that it was not possible to swap and I would need to buy an AR chambered in .308 or any other calibre that I was interested in. Any thoughts?

December 6, 2008, 10:54 AM
there are 50 BMG uppers for the Ar15. They are however only single shot models,and no, the Semi function will not work. It is basically just a platform to hold the upper and barrel. heres one http://www.ferret50.com/ferret50_conversion.html

December 6, 2008, 02:02 PM
Appleseed: http://www.appleseedinfo.org/

Teppo Sensei
December 7, 2008, 01:29 AM
Mini14 groups worst a .223 saiga(AK) just bought 2 saigas for $350 each
you can get 2 AKs for the price of 1 new Mini14 or 30

get a AR15 with a heavy barrel for target shooting
the best thing is you can have a 20in and a 16in upper for the same lower and switch back and forth in seconds

the cheapest AR15 ive seen is $699

December 7, 2008, 01:52 AM
I'm another who has had both and prefers the AR. The Mini was good for about 3" groups at 100 yards mostly, the AR under an inch all day long.

December 7, 2008, 03:32 AM
I have a mini and it prints patterns like in the paper plate pic while my AR will put them in well under a dime at 100yds...pretty much the mini shoots worse than my AK-74 clone job.

December 7, 2008, 05:41 AM
This thread has more doo doo in it than I've seen in a long time.

First let me address the Mini 14 vs AR for target shooting, not much of a contest here, given two shooters of fairly equal ability, the one with the AR will eat the other alive.

Mini-14. After about 100 rounds the AR-15 will gunk up and stuff.

Good luck-

I realize this post was addressed by several members, but come on where did you come up with this?

Here is a good post on Maryland AR15 Shooters Site...

AR-15 Reliability (http://groups.msn.com/TheMarylandAR15ShootersSite/ar15reliability.msnw)
By Troy (forum moderator at AR15.com)

My BM (Bushmaster) M4 is up to 7000 rounds with no cleaning, just a shot of CLP before heading out to the range. It is truly filthy, but it runs along fine. My only stoppages happened when trying out a brass catcher, where brass would occasionally bounce back into the action.

The last time I fired my AR I shot a 200 round mega pack of Remington UMC 55 gr FMJ. I cleaned it when I got home, but it wasn't really that dirty. I had no stoppages due to it being over 'gunked'. My AR is a low priced DPMS as well, not even close to the same quality of a Colt, CMMG, etc and it has never malfunctioned.

As far as some of the other posts regarding mud, sand etc turning the AR into a single shot go.:rolleyes: I'm sure that is why our military has kept it all these years, because when any adverse conditions occur it fails.

I was in the US Army and was issued an M16A1, I never had a problem with it. None of the ones I was issued malfunctioned either, I'm not saying they never will, only that mine didn't. That includes using it in adverse conditions and many hundreds of rounds of full auto fire.

I've previously owned one Mini-14 and I now own a Mini-30. They are and were OK, but they are not as good a target or combat weapon as the AR period.

December 7, 2008, 09:58 AM
Saiga makes a .223. For the price of a Mini you can get the .223 and the 7.62x39 Saigas (that's two guns for the price of one).

Compare the three guns together:

Reliability: 1) Saiga 2) AR 3) Mini
Accuracy: 1) AR 2) Saiga 3) Mini
Cool look: 1) AR 2) Saiga 3) Mini
Popularity: 1) Siaga 2) AR 3) Mini

The fact that I could get both Saigas for the price of a bottom-of-the-barrel AR tipped the scales for me. The Mini was never even in the discussion, IMO.

December 7, 2008, 10:16 AM
AR boys,

I have posted a couple of 3-shot, 200 yard groups fired with a 580 Mini.

Let's see yours.

December 7, 2008, 10:45 AM
Robc, the Siaga more popular than the AR? You must be high!:eek: I haven't seen sales numbers but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the AR is probably the most popular semi-auto sold today. Well, maybe the 10/22 would be in the same leauge but the Siaga is nowhere near the level of popularity that the AR is.
Now as far as the Mini goes, I got an older one that actually does a fairly respectable job in the accuracy department. Of course the first thing I did when I bought it was to get rid of the stock front sight (who thought the idea of a rounded front sight blade would give a good sight picture in the first place?:rolleyes: ) and installed a Choate M-14 style flash suppressor/front sight combo. Made a MAJOR improvement in the sight picture and my accuracy improved. Managed to bring it up to my AR-15A1 level of accuracy. However, it still does not compare to the accuracy I get out of my AR-15A2 and likely never will. It's just not made for precise accuracy. Minute of coyote, maybe but target, not hardly. Yes, the new target model Minis are doing better in the accuracy department but if you are going to use this as a standard of Mini accuracy, then the AR standard of accuracy can be measured by the match grade rifles, right? Again, the Mini isn't going to measure up to the AR, apples to apples, oranges to oranges.
The AR is also not as dirt unfriendly as it has been made out to be over the years. In the early days, troops were told the rifle was self-cleaning, issued no cleaning kits and the changes to the powder combined with corroded chambers in the humidity of SEA did give it what at that time was an accurate damnation of being unreliable. However, with proper and timely cleaning procedures as well as chrome chambers, those problems are pretty much a thing of the past. I used an A2 when I was in the Marines including time in Kuwait during Gulf War I without any problems and today bouncing around the deserts of Afghanistan with an M-4 carbine, I still don't have any problems with a weapon failing to fire. When the wife came back from her first deployment to Balad a couple years ago, we went to Shootrite Firearms Accademy with our M-4geries and after firing about 3k rounds between us over 3 days, the only problem we had was I had problems with manually extracting a round out of the chamber when I was using a McFarland gas ring. Too tight and getting fouled was the trouble but swapping out the rings back over to the stock 3-piece gas rings after the first day cured that problem.
That brings me to my next criticism of the Mini which has already been voiced here is the spare parts issue. I can get any spare part for an AR as simple as going to my spare parts box because I can stock up on parts from a variety of vendors. If my Mini breaks down, it's back to Ruger as they won't sell spare parts to anyone including armorers, gunsmiths or dealers.

Deaf Smith
December 7, 2008, 01:30 PM

Did you fire that benchrest? Scope? Any wind? Handloads or match or what kind of ammo?

I figure if I will do my own shooting to post, need to know what all you used exactly.

December 7, 2008, 02:53 PM
Siaga is a cheap AK. There are more AKs in the world than there are ARs by about a jillion. Sorry I wasn't specific enough for you to understand, Grunt.

Bartholomew Roberts
December 7, 2008, 02:55 PM
I have posted a couple of 3-shot, 200 yard groups fired with a 580 Mini.

Let's see yours.

Don't have any 200yd pictures; but here is a picture of a 5rd group from 100yds that I shot with my AR off the bench using a Grippod and rifle case for support. The sights were a 3.5x ACOG with donut reticle, stock AR15 trigger, stainless 1:8 match barrel and factory loaded Black Hills 75gr Moly. Those grids represent 1"


Sorry no 3 round groups either, I typically don't use those because of this phenomenon (http://www.ar15.com/forums/topic.html?b=3&f=118&t=279218).

December 7, 2008, 07:16 PM
Sarge, that is typical or my AR15 as well. I can shoot a 10 round group that looks like a 45 caliber hole. as the barrel heats up, itll string off to the right. At 100 yards this http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=39208&d=1228695346

Is a typical group from mine. Note, this is a 10 shot group. as it heats up, it wanders right and up.

December 7, 2008, 07:26 PM

I was shooting over a range bag on a folding table. The load was the first one I tried, which was 25.7 grains of H4895 under Sierra's 52 grain HP, in Lake City brass. I originally thought they were 55's, until I weighed a couple...egg on my face. It was a little breezy but I tried to shoot when the wind would lay for a moment. The scope was an old, battered Bushnell 4X that has kinda been out 'extra' hunting scope for the past 5 years or so. It's not great but it does hold zero.

Bart- that's a good shooting AR you have there. I'll give you the flier and say your gun in running about .75 MOA with that load. Don't believe my 580 will do that, but I haven't tried any heavy bullets yet either.

If I came across as being a wiseass with my 'post your groups' comment, that was not my intent. I see a lot of "X is more accurate than Y" in on the various gun forums, with little in the way of actual shooting to decide. So I am looking forward to more of this, secure in the knowledge that there are better shooting rifles than my Mini- and better shooters than me.

Armed- just caught your post. Fine shooting there.

December 7, 2008, 07:52 PM
Thanks.. Those are 55 Grain H Vmaxs, using 25.7 Gr H335. Not bad for a non floated upper if i do say so myself. Your pattern with a Mini is way bettern most ive seen esp at that range. Our range has a 200 yard hump and clump of trees , so im limited to 100 and 400 yards

December 7, 2008, 09:04 PM
I went out to the range and practiced a little one handed threat focused shooting with my .45, then I moved my target stand out to 100 Meters and fired this 6.5 inch, 28 round group, with Remington UMC ammo and a DPMS AR. I did it standing up, leaning against the range shelter 4x4" post. I don't have a scope or an optics device on my AR though, only peep sights.


I forgot to mention that the shots were all fired at a fairly rapid pace, 1 to 1.5 seconds between shots.

December 7, 2008, 10:25 PM
Don't know that I could beat that from 'barricade-right', Nate. From a good solid rest, I can usually herd 3-5 shots into 4" @ 200 using the stock irons on my 580. I do know I've had a ton of fun 'splodin water-filled gallon jugs and detergent bottles, at a shade past 200 yards.

I can't do either w/o my glasses, though.

December 7, 2008, 11:48 PM
Tough call, have a Mini, not that I don't love the ARs (several shooting buddies have them). Got the Mini years ago, love it, not super accurate. You can't find factory 30 rounders easy, but I have several after market 30 rounders and 40 rounders that i have picked up at shows that work just as good. ARs and Minis are nice but it you have the money go with the M1A.

December 9, 2008, 01:44 PM
If reloading is in your future, or anyone elses for that matter depending on how things go in the HOUSE, from what I have seen, Minis are the ANTICHRIST for brass., IF you can find it after shooting.
ARs dont usually tear up brass.
ARs are WAY more accurate
ARs are way more upgradable
Ars are way more easier to find replacement parts for
ARs are way way more scarier to "the Bad people in the Government" :D
AR mags are Way easier to find, and way way cheaper.
Ars are way easier to change to a new caliber.

December 9, 2008, 01:55 PM
I am a big fan of the M1/M14. I love my M1A, even acknowledging its faults and the fact that it is not technically an M14. Cast receiver and all, it shoots as good as I need it to, is reliable, and overall, just a sweet shooter. That said, I refuse to acknowledge the Mini-14 is in any way related to the M14. The gas system is different, the sights aren't as good, and for whatever reason, Ruger never took the time to get the reliability nor the accuracy of the larger M14 in his commercial abomination of a rifle. It is apparent the late Bill Ruger cared little for the semi-auto and its application to the civilian world, because besides the difficulty obtaining factory 20 round magazines, the Mini-14 isn't designed or built with even the care and quality Springfield is capable of putting into their commercial M14 clones. So I say if you want to dive into the platform, more power to you, but I suggest you cough up the dough for an actual M1A. It would be a sweet Appleseed rifle--some might even say--the Appleseed rifle.

Otherwise, and I can't believe I am saying this, but I'd get an AR-15 of the two suggested. My experience with the AR-15 suggests it will be every bit as reliable as Ruger's bastard rifle and many times more accurate, as well as being easier to find magazines, parts, accessories, and quality service for.

December 9, 2008, 04:10 PM

Have both, and without hesitation, an AR-15 is your best bet.

I've purchased used too, an would suggest an well regarded civilian manufacture to keep costs reasonable, these should have a chrome lined barrel, and would think a flat top or one with a removable carry handle would better since it sounds like a scope will be necessary for accurate long range shots advocated by the appleseed website.

ARs initially higher price is offset by the cost and availability of magazines, numerous standardized accessories, and most importantly, the out of the box accuracy.

Most mini-14s are very effected by barrel heat (rapid fire), and are probably fine for much shorter ranges than your website is proposing.

River Rat 1969
December 9, 2008, 07:53 PM
Go for the AR platform. The Ruger Mini is not usually accurate. The AR is more easily cleaned (from the chamber end), and is more tolerant of different powder speeds.

Having wrote this, I admit that I hated the M-16 in Vietnam. My unit used M-14's right up until February,1970, when we switched to the varmint caliber M-16. (1099th Medium Boat Company).

With the numerous manufacturers making AR clones, you can buy just about any variant you want. Personnally, I would get one with a heavy barrel, with a fast enough rifling twist to shoot 69 grain Sierra Match King bullets....maybe 1:7 twist.

Deaf Smith
December 9, 2008, 10:14 PM

How is the scope holding out on the Ruger. Do they have a buffer or anything to take the pounding out (I once broke a scope on a Mini-14. Shattered the lenses from the bolt pounding the back of the receiver.)

Hey, I don't expect any Mini to match a HBAR AR. But I might try and see if my Bushie M4, with it's scope, can do at 200 using the same shooting technique you used. The M4 style is much lighter than the HBAR.

And Sarge, how is the trigger pull? There was a guy, I forgot who, and he could put a real nice 3 lb trigger on a Mini. You might like that alot. Mike Kfong I think his name was.

December 9, 2008, 10:36 PM
Hey Deaf,

I took the scope off right after the article, 'cause the rifle goes along on bank alarms and such. Mini's do slam-bang quite a bit as is evident from shooting one alongside an AR- you can feel the difference. Mini's do lose brass but I've not had to cull any casings I did find. Some had a dent but it ironed out in processing, or was inconsequential. This Mini feeds anything including my reloads.

From the original write-up (http://sargesrollcall.blogspot.com/2008/10/mini-14-580-series-ranch-rifle-last.html):

The trigger is typical Mini meaning it is two-stage, like bolt-action military rifles of the 19th and 20th centuries. My RCBS Premium Trigger Pull Scale indicates that three pounds of force is required to overcome the first stage; five and one half pounds gets you through the second stage and fires the rifle.

As is common with these rifles, that second stage has some creep. This is due to hammer/sear engagement angles which actually cam the hammer backward a few thousandths, during the final press. If you pull the slack out of a stock Mini's trigger and then release it, the hammer will snap right back into full sear engagement. Leave it to Bill Ruger to design a lawyer-proof trigger. Of course there's a trade-off for everything and until you master it, the Mini's trigger can make precision shooting a real challenge.

I'm not gonna tweak this Mini much, as it's a duty gun. Might clean up the second stage a tad. I'm also not gonna sink a lot of money into it. It'll serve pretty much as is or I'll sell it and put the money towards something else.

Like a 94 Winchester... fact is, I've logged more patrol miles with 94 on board than with all the others combined.

December 10, 2008, 12:47 PM
I didn't read the whole thread.
Apparently I'm Three Steps Behind.
AR-15 without hesitation.

vox rationis
December 10, 2008, 09:03 PM
I'm not sure about the new and improved Mini's but I sold my original standard Mini. The brass ejected right into a very poorly constructed fixed rear sight fixed unit (I know that the new ones supposedly have an improved rear sight), I couldn't zero it properly as it shot way low, I actually had to have a smith take some off the top of the front sight, and also blade it to make it a bit thinner as it was way thick, and the thin barrel made for bad accuracy when the barrel got hot.

A properly put together AR (Colt, Noveske, LMT, etc) should be superior to a Mini 14 in essentially every way, especially when it comes to ergonomics, shootability, and accuracy.

November 26, 2009, 07:55 PM
i recently bought a ruger mini 14 target ranch rifle and it is incredible. if you are looking for a top of the line machine that loves throwing lead around this should be your choice. besides ARs are a dime a dozen and they are cheesey everyone just wants one so they can pretend to play army. i say just give it a try and if you don't love the ruger target ranch mini 14 you can easily trade it in for an AR because the AR's are so cheap. the only reason the government issues them is because they are so cheap not because they worked. well i hated mine the whole time i had to carry that thing. the mini 14's have come a long way since the ww2 era that these guys are talking about

November 26, 2009, 09:52 PM
Wow. Old thread resurrected, but since Deaf asked about my 580's trigger...I have since cleaned it up using this video (http://www.greatwestgunsmithing.com/Videos/mini%20trigger%20low%20quality.html) from Great West Gunsmithing (http://www.greatwestgunsmithing.com/) as a guide. Before going any further, I'll re-state their warning:

This video is for informational purposes only, and I can not responsible for any damage that you may cause to yourself, your firearm or unintended targets. Trigger work should only be attempted by people who thoroughly understand the design and function of the parts involved, and have the tools and skills to perform the modifications. Improperly assembled or modified triggers can be dangerous and/or illegal.

The video is lengthy but excellent and the finished product is a big improvement. PAY close attention to the caveats regarding the secondary sear. '580' now wears a trigger reminiscent of a real decent Garand or M1A trigger- far ahead of the factory 'three and a half stage' trigger and just a trigger stop away from perfect. That is 'in the works' and this Mini isn't going anywhere.

November 26, 2009, 11:48 PM

You might want to rethink the rant on the AR style rifle. The rifles produced today from DPMS, Bushmaster as well as many others will put a Mini14 to shame.

I have both and there is NO comparison.

December 10, 2009, 12:36 AM
I'm a life long liberal turned hunter after facing the reality of being a steward of some western ranching land. While I was previously a proponent of leaving all wildlife to take care of itself, I've come to see that in this day and age people are part of the necessary mechanism for habitat and animal population control. Last year, wanting to reduce the local elk population and put meat on my table without relying on the slaughterhouse economy, I took my first (bull 5 x 5) elk. It was an incredible experience.

Given the damage to the environment and habitat for other animals--including fish and riparian birdlife--caused by an exploding beaver population on the ranch I help manage, I've decided to become personally involved in controlling the beaver population.

Colorado only allows live trapping and relocation of beavers by way of permit, and not after September. I've decided, therefore, to hunt them this winter/spring. A local expert has convinced me that the use of a 12 gauge is more likely to injure, but not kill the animal, and he has recommended that I use a semi-automatic .223. (His personal favorite being a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch model).

I've read this thread with interest in trying to choose between the Mini-14 and an AR 15. Seems to me that around the ranch the Mini-14 makes the most sense. Anyway, I'm probably going to be doing my shooting from within 100 yards, so the new 580 series will probably meet my needs.

If anyone has any better ideas I'd appreciate hearing them since I'm about to shell out around $700 for the rifle and several hundred more for some quality optics.

Thanks for your assistance.

December 10, 2009, 08:46 AM
Back in my military days, I had extensive experience with the M-16a1, so I know the AR is a good platform. That said, I purchased a Ranch Rifle two months ago and it's my only 223/5.56. Call me old fashioned; I like wood and blued steel. The new 580 series seems to have addressed the concerns with accuracy, but I doubt it matches the AR in that regard. But I have no regrets. With a Burris 2-7x26 scope mounted, I've been able to consistently hit out to 400 yards, and that's good enough for my purposes.

December 28, 2009, 05:53 PM
AR's are more accurate

December 28, 2009, 06:42 PM
Blanket generalizations are always true.

December 28, 2009, 07:56 PM
That's the funniest thing I've heard in a month.

December 28, 2009, 09:54 PM
i dont like AR's so guess which one i like waaaaaaayy better? yep the ruger.. it may not be as accurate but when you are breaking down the AR to clean so it will shoot the ruger will still be blazing away.. it's true:)

December 29, 2009, 03:20 AM
AR15's rock. ;)

December 29, 2009, 09:30 AM
I have and shoot two different ARs and two mini-14s and two mini-30s....

One of my ARs is slightly better than any of the other minis, then again one of the mini14s is the most inaccurate rifle I own (and I've got close to 1200 invested in it)... From what I've heard, a new from the factory Ruger mini-14 ranch will probably out shoot the standard from the factory AR15 inside of 200 yards. The mini will probably require good domestic ammo to shoot well.

I think I'll take all 6 out in the next week or so and see... All with Iron sights and I'll do 50 yards since I don't like to have to walk down range that far. Key will be ... the same ammo in all three... maybe something like 62 grain fmj.

Art Eatman
December 29, 2009, 11:00 AM
For reliability in hitting a target with the first shot, the Mini is as good as anything else you can buy. That's from my own experience on coyotes and jackrabbits and with four different Minis I've owned through the years.

A three-shot group of around 1.5 MOA is very easily made. Sure, after that the groups open up, but for a hunting rifle that's meaningless.

If your deal is for tight groups at the benchrest, don't get a Mini.

December 29, 2009, 11:07 AM
Get the mini-14. Different than all the AR crowd and more reliable on the average. I have owned my mini since early 90's and in that time it has been the most reliable 5.56 gun I own. Way better than all my colt M4's, and bushmasters I have had. Not as accurate but more so than an AK and no one seems to complain about the AK's accuracy.

December 29, 2009, 01:11 PM
I am definately NOT an expert on the ar-15, I own a colt HBAR. The mini however I have a bunch of. I have stock mini's with cosmetic mods such as rails, optics, stocks, duracoat-nothing to increase the guns capability except the optic. I purchased the HBAR and a mini target model (better trigger, nice stock, heavy barrel, and an adjustable harmonic balancer similar to the browning BOSS system) the target mini for about $800 holds its own with the HBAR, ruger is much more durable, action is exposed and jams are much easier to clear (the gun has never jammed on me) the garand action just flings dirt snow mud or whatever away from the bolt as it cycles. The HBAR has much more products available for it mainly because I have a quad rail for it. I have another mini with a m4 buttstock that folds and a socom16 type rail system- this gun has every feature the AR has (lights,optics,lasers,forward grip,etc) we all know the pros and cons or piston (mini) or direct(ar). The aforementioned mini has an adjustable gas block, bedding, stock barrel, recoil buffer, harmonic stabilizer, muzzle brake that allows me to watch the target while punching holes in it, barrel is cut to 14.5"+1.5" brake (in my experience with factory mini barrels the shorter the less barrel vibration and tighter groups) this cost about $400+$mini (2008 model with the slightly heavier barrel) and it will outshoot my colt all day. I forgot to mention you can switch uppers on ar's but for the same price you can do what I do and buy another mini. I also have full custom 20", 1" diameter barrel mini with all the bells and whistles. This cost me $799 plus the cost of the rifle (I sent my gunsmith a used $300 mini cause every part gets replaced with aftermarket). This rifle shoulders better, shoots better, has NEVER jammed, comes with .75MOA garuntee out of the box, amazing trigger pull, same recoil as a .22lr (none) so if u get the target model or sink a couple bucks in you can definately have a mini that will shoot just as accurate if not more and be much more reliable. I'm not knocking AR's im just getting into them and love everything about them. If you want info on some cheap ways to make a mini shoot tight groups shoot me a message

June 21, 2012, 09:55 AM
This is not which is better between an ar15 and a mini14. These guns are literally identical in combat situations. The arguments should be gas piston vs direct impingement. An AR15 with direct impingement is not a good choice for anything. The mini14 is run like a gas piston and is more reliable than a direct impingement AR15. An AR15 like a LWRC or an HK416 is a gas piston setup and will be just as reliable as a mini14 with a slight advantage in accuracy. The amount of bullcrap on this thread is hard to stomach.

June 21, 2012, 10:51 AM
This is not which is better between an ar15 and a mini14. These guns are literally identical in combat situations. The arguments should be gas piston vs direct impingement. An AR15 with direct impingement is not a good choice for anything. The mini14 is run like a gas piston and is more reliable than a direct impingement AR15. An AR15 like a LWRC or an HK416 is a gas piston setup and will be just as reliable as a mini14 with a slight advantage in accuracy. The amount of bullcrap on this thread is hard to stomach.

Including your post.

As an owner of both a DI and good piston AR (Barrett REC7) there is virtually no difference in performance or reliability between the different types of operating designs.

Unless you plan on swimming underwater with the rifle where the gas tube on a DI can fill with water - there's NO difference in reliability. The bolt / receiver on a piston needs less cleaning, but unless you can cite real data sources or personal experiences your "information" is merely another opinion.

I owned an AR15 in 1982 - and that was an unreliable rifle that would jam at least once or twice on every 30 round magazine. The M4 modifications to the AR have cured those problems which were, for the most part, feed ramp related. That's why ARs today have "M4 style" feed ramps.

June 21, 2012, 10:57 AM
AR vs Mini,

These rifles are different from each other.


1. You can hang a big ol magazine under them.
2. They shoot bullets.
3. You can put a sling on them.

That's about it.

June 21, 2012, 11:06 AM
AR vs Mini,

These rifles are different from each other.

Yes. My AR .223 is < 1 MOA accurate. I use it to shoot to 400 meters. My .308 AR is <1/2 MOA accurate. I use it to shoot to 780 meters - the longest target at the steel target rifle range that I use.

The Mini-14 (at least mine) is sort of accurate up to 100 meters - past that, ....no.


1. You can hang a big ol magazine under them.
2. They shoot bullets.
3. You can put a sling on them.

That's about it.


June 21, 2012, 12:31 PM
This may be bordering on minutiae.

I have been doing much of a similar "vs" scenario in my head on and the ultranet.

So here's my latest concern. Think "firing pin" for this example.

I like the gas piston mini...but if it breaks, I'm out of luck unless I can get it back to Ruger.

If an AR breaks, I can most likely fix it myself with some on hand parts.

So then I say, AK47, but I don't know about the quality of a lot of parts guns.

So I am still up in the air on this. Yes I know folks, just buy one of each or get one and don't worry about it. Oh, if I had that money or a mind that worked like that.

Art Eatman
June 21, 2012, 09:52 PM
Very little profit in picking fly-poop out of pepper. Minis are Minis and ARs are ARs. Worrying about the differences is a waste of time--particularly after all these years--and threads and threads and threads.