View Full Version : Does Ruger Mini 14 make the cut?

April 22, 2010, 03:04 PM
This is just for recreational purpose to assess the opinion of TFL members. I want to know whether Ruger Mini 14 makes its way into a collection if one can chonse only 10 rifles? Please discuss your answer as to why it would make the to cut, or why it wont. Thanks and lets have some fun.

April 22, 2010, 03:10 PM
Its a fun rifle but it wouldnt make the cut for me for a few reasons

*I can only have 10 rifles apparently
*Too small of a caliber
*Too inaccurate if I can only have 10 rifles

Things it has in its favor
*Relatively cheap....
*Popular caliber
*A lot of fun

April 22, 2010, 03:12 PM
It may not be a tack driver, it might not have the best trigger, and it might not look as cool as my AR or AK, but it's lightweight, reliable and it's fun to shoot. Mine digests just about anything I feed it, and relatively speaking, it's not that expensive for a .223 semiauto.

April 22, 2010, 03:15 PM
I made a list and it was really close, but no it did not make it. And if you are one of the types of guys who like having the same rifle in different calibers its going to be even harder.

I had 4 bolt actions, 2 lever actions, and 3 semi autos and the mini 14 does not make it to my top 3 semi automatic rifles.

My top 3 semi autos would be:
1) M1A
2) Robinson XCR (and many other AR style carbines are modular too, so kind of a two-fer)
3) My third pick I am not sure of yet, but because the XCR shoots 223 like the mini 14 and the mini is just based off of my #1 pick, there would be no reason for me to own this rifle.

But this is all hypothetical, I only own 3 rifles and I live in california, so REALISITICALLY, it would probably be on MY list.

April 22, 2010, 03:20 PM
Had my Mini-14 ranch rifle for over 15 years. It has done everything I asked and never failed me. Admittedly, I'm not the greatest shot, but it has always been as good as I need it to be. It's fun to shoot and has lots of upgrades out there. Going to put an ATI Strikeforce stock on it soon.

And, also, I don't have 10 rifles either. Yet.

April 22, 2010, 03:39 PM
I voted yes for the mini-14. It would be near the top of my list of rifles to have. I just can't make myself like the AR rifles. I have over 70 firearms and the mini is a definite favorite.

If I had only one centerfire rifle it would be my marlin 30-30 or the marlin 18984 in 357 mag. Unlike a lot of posters here I don't see myself getting into these great gun battles with swarms of attackers and holding them off with my trusty AR and 200 loaded 30 round mags. I guess I need to watch more Rambo movies.

Also my new 580 series gun will stay in the 2-3" range at a hundred yards with open sights. Thats good enough for what I want it for. And no, it doesn't string shots when it gets hot.

April 22, 2010, 03:46 PM
Mini-14? No. Mini-Thirty? Yes. :D

April 22, 2010, 04:20 PM
Only 10 rifles??? Lets See:

1. I need a good quality 30-06 bolt action rifle - Make it a custom Remington
2. For one of my "Black" .223's, I'd probably choose a Sig 556
3. Gotta have at least 3 .308's: FN FAL
4. M1A
5. PTR-91
6. Can't not have an AK-47
7. Have to have at least one machinegun - AC556 (does that count as a Mini-14?)
8. Yep, I would like to have an all stainless Mini-14 with an upgraded laminated stock, heavy fluted barrel and gas block. Much classier than the everyone-has-one AR-15's!

So, I guess my answer is "yes" I would like to have a Mini-14, but it's a little down the list.

April 22, 2010, 04:22 PM
Mini-14? No. Mini-Thirty? Yes.

I voted yes, but this is the reality. For me anyway.

Nowhere Man
April 22, 2010, 05:04 PM
Yes it does.

I have less than 10 rifles and the Mini-14 is one of them.


April 22, 2010, 05:40 PM
Nope, not even close if I am limited to 10 rifles. That being said I do like their most current model, but if limited to 10 rifles, a AR will beat for me.

April 22, 2010, 06:25 PM
6. Can't not have an AK-47

Have myself a mini-30. Mini 14 rifle with 47 punch I have one rifle instead of two IMO.

April 22, 2010, 06:57 PM
I really don't understand why anyone would buy a Mini-14 when you can get an AR for the same or less money. A Mini-14 would not make my list of Top 100 rifles.

April 22, 2010, 07:05 PM
I really don't understand why anyone would buy a Mini-14 when you can get an AR for the same or less money. A Mini-14 would not make my list of Top 100 rifles.

Some folks don't like the mall ninja stigma that often is accompanied with owning an AR rifle.

This isn't a judgment if that view is right or wrong, just a statement that some people do hold to it.

April 22, 2010, 07:13 PM
I really don't understand why anyone would buy a Mini-14 when you can get an AR for the same or less money. A Mini-14 would not make my list of Top 100 rifles.

While own both I much prefer shooting my Mini. It's a very reliable, good shooter that's accurate enough for what it's desinged to be....a ranch rifle. I only own 7 rifles and other than my 10/22 the Mini gets shot the most. The Mini makes my top 10 list.

April 22, 2010, 07:54 PM
No, but if I can have 20 the Mini makes it.

April 22, 2010, 08:51 PM
I sold an AR and bought the tactical mini. Shot promotional ammo into 4" but shot my handloads into 1.5". I have a CZ527 223, an old mauser, a m-1 carbine a trapdoor and a buncha .22s. I like the mini now that I know it can be made to shoot.

44 AMP
April 22, 2010, 08:52 PM
Why on earth would you be limited to only 10 rifles?

But, if for some arcane reason you are willing to only have 10, then consider the purposes of those 10.
You should have,
a .22lr. Any action style you like, but you should have one.

Centerfire varmint caliber. This can be anything from a .22 Hornet up to a .25-06, depending on your personal preference and how versatile you need. Bolt guns are the preferred action, but a good single shot is entirely acceptable.

Light caliber high capacity semi auto. What the anti's call an "assault weapon", for cover fire in a SHTF situation. Today, that means a .223. The Mini-14 does this. So does the AR, and the AK. The M1 carbine also fills this niche, but has less range. Has to be at least minute of man accurate at intended max range. If its better than that, fine.

Deer rifle. Any caliber/action style you like, provided its deer capable. Elk capable is nice, but only if you live where the elk do.

Battle rifle. semi auto .308 preferred, but anything from an M1 Garand to a .303 British (or other milsurp) will do in a pinch.

Heavy rifle. Your choice, but something bigger than a .308, either in bullet mass, or case volume. Magnums in 7mm and up, or big bores like .45-70. Your individual area plays a role in which would suit you better.

Now, we are up to 6, and the Mini 14 could be on the list.

Beyond these basics, you can consider a pistol caliber carbine, to compliment one (or more) of your handguns. And you still have 3 options to come up with before hitting your self imposed limit of 10. Maybe a brush gun? or something else?

Obivously, there is a lot of overlap possible, dpepending on your specific choices. I have way more than 20 rifles, currently, and do have a mini-14. I also don't have an AR, or an AK. Personal preference. My Mini14 does everything I need a .223 to do. I have other (and better) rifles for other things.

In my neck of the woods, used Mini14s still run cheaper than used ARs, although, there are some folks who are selling ARs cheap, cause they need the cash more than the rifle. For cost alone, I choose the Mini. I don't need match accuracy from a .223, I have other guns for that. What I want from a .223 is magazine capacity, light recoil, reliability, and reasonable accuracy, because in a SHTF situation, I'm probably going to be handing the .223 to a trusted friend/relative, while I carry something else. Like my M1A.

April 22, 2010, 09:58 PM
My 580 Series with a few modifications will shoot 1.5-2in. groups @ 100yrds. All my mods cost a total of 110 bucks. I paid 599+tax for the rifle brand new. Its very reliable and accurate and still cheaper than a cheap AR that might shoot 3in. groups. Yes, it is in my top 10. :)

April 22, 2010, 11:36 PM
In no particular order, but starting with the subject gun to get it out of the way:
- Mini 14 - .223 (Ammo availability/cost independent= 6.8) - HD, close-to-midrange fending off hordes
- Win 94 Pre 64 20" carbine - 30-30 (brush deer and "just because")
- Browning 92 - .44 Mag brush popper - deer, cats, bear BUG, HD BUG
- Browning 86 SRC - .45-70 - (bear country camp gun and "just because." Laminated stainless Marlin a more serious (right brain) choice here if actually going on Alaska excursion)
- Ruger 10/22 (fun pest and plinker, HD BUG2BUG2BUG)
- Winchester 69A .22 bolt - accurate, classic field .22, survival (Win is sentimental fave but could also easily be CZ, Kimber, etc., of course).
- M1 Carbine, GI - (HD close (100 yd peri) in and "just because")
- Win 70 Pre 64 .300 Win Mag (large deer thru elk). Yes, could be an '06 but with luxury, am bracketing.
- Win 70 Featherweight Classic 7mm-08 (mountain rifle/deer)
- M1A SOCOM (mid-long range HD/SD/fending off pirate boats/general survival)

Tears of apologies to 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th choices:
- Beloved Win 70 (CRF) .270 (ultimate all around deer and sheep, but in a 10 gun list, covered by two bolts above)
- Browning 92 - .357 (all 'round close in game, HD/SD BUG)
- Rem custom shop .22-250
(long range varminter/tack driver)
- Pre 64 Win 70 .375 H&H ("just because")

OP didn't ask, but:
1 gun
If Auto
- M1A (non SOCOM?)
Honorable mention:
Ruger Mini 30
If Non-auto
- Win 94 AE .30-30 circa 1983/4 (sentimental choice goes to Pre 64 however)

1 Gun: Honorable mention-to- honorable mention. (I.e., if all were right with the world of ammo):
- M4 or Mini 14 6.8, (former if SalreadyHTF, latter if not)
- Pre lock Win 94 AE 7-30 Waters 22-24"

1 gun if limited to antique (C&R) and esp Pre WWII (just trying to keep it interesting :-))
- Win 1894 .30-30 round barrel 24" ca 1900-1941

April 22, 2010, 11:49 PM
I prefer the AR platform to the mini 14. Just my personal preference.

April 23, 2010, 12:17 AM
I love my 580 series mini 14. Of course, I did grow up watching the A-Team! Its plenty accurate for its use, and its been 100% reliable out of the box. Its a $599 base model and I did have a "tactical" model, which was cool. Sold it to a friend and when I saw this one I had to have it. It even has a really nice wood stock. I have an AR15 and I love it, but my mini 14 gives me warmer, fuzzier feelings. Just my 2cents...

April 23, 2010, 12:46 AM
10 rifles?
It made my list with only three.
Meat and Potatoes man.

April 23, 2010, 04:59 AM
For me it did not make the cut into top 10. The reason for that: availability of select fire in 5.56. When I made my top ten list it had a few select fire in 5.56 that when I though about bolt or semi, .223 was definately out. I recently bought a Ruger Mini14 in SS. Its a ranch rifle. When I looked at it, I thought to myself whether I would still have it if I was limited to 10? Even though its a nice looking weapon, it could not make its way in the top ten.

April 23, 2010, 05:20 AM
Over the years I've had a couple Mini-14s and they just didn't perform accurately for me or fit my build the way other rifles have. Reliability with the smaller mags was okay but the 30 rounders made a jam-o-matic about 10 rounds in. Easily talked out of both of them in trades. Never tried a Mini-30 though. Maybe that would have magic... :D

April 23, 2010, 05:27 AM
If Mini14 has poor reliability or accuracy then it really has no specific niche since we have the AR platform that is reliable and accurate. I ask those of you who have extensively shot, especially if they have scoped their Mini's, to discuss accuracy and reliability at 300 yards. Also, what suggestion do you have in terms of scope magnification for it? Thanks.

April 23, 2010, 07:00 AM
I really don't understand why anyone would buy a Mini-14 when you can get an AR for the same or less money.

AR15 - Aluminum Receiver with black paint/coating
Mini-14 - blued steel or stainless steel

AR15 - Plastic furniture
Mini-14 - wood furniture

AR15 - Everyone has one, I'm tired of looking at them.
Mini-14 - Attractive looking, rugged rifle that has a uniqueness appeal to it.

Both are made to shoot primarily 5.56. Either rifle can handle thousands upon thousands of rounds with no maintenance problems. If we're talking full-auto, I'd rather have the M16 because of the chrome lined barrel and easy to find/replace parts. I would love to have a custom Mini-14 with a fluted heavy barrel and custom wood stock. I already have a Colt AR15 that sits in my safe with no range time in the last 15 years. I'd gladly trade it for a custom Mini-14.

April 23, 2010, 07:19 AM
If Mini14 has poor reliability then it really has no specific niche. I ask those of you who have scoped there Mini's to discuss then reliability of Mini at 300 yards. Thanks.

The Mini is dead on reliable with the right magazines. Most of their reliability problems can be traced to crappy mags. If you have Ruger factory 30 or 20 rounders, the gun will go bang every single time. It also appears that Tapco is making some decent inexpensive 30 rounders; they just came out this month, and initial reports suggest that they may be as reliable as the factory mags. I wouldn't recommend any other brand.

As for accuracy at 300 yards, the newer Minis seem to do 2 moa or better with the right ammunition; that's minute of bad guy out to 600 or so yards. The tactical Minis with the 16" barrel seem to do a little better than the regular 18" ranch rifles, as the shorter barrel is stiffer.

The older ones aren't as accurate; about the same as an AK47 or SKS. They can be made to shoot well with a few inexpensive modifications, though.

April 23, 2010, 07:47 AM
I don't own ten rifles and the Mini-14 ranch rifle is one of my favorites. :cool:

April 23, 2010, 07:52 AM
I ask those of you who have scoped there Mni's to discuss then reliability of Mini at 300 yards.

My experience at longer ranges is limited. I've shot a 12"x12" metal plate suspended from a large frame at 400 yards and hit it 10 out of 10 times. This wasn't shooting from a bench, either. Using a sling and firing from a kneeling position. Then handed my Mini to a buddy and he did the same thing. The scope is a Burris Timberline 2-7x26. Seemed like decent performance to me.

April 23, 2010, 08:01 AM
If you want accuracy to 300+ yards, you will need to put a target barrel on your Mini-14, and possibly a new stock. Not cheap. If you want cheap - stick to the Beercan-15. If you want an exceptional 5.56 semi-auto that is anti-tacticool, then check some of these out:


April 23, 2010, 09:09 AM
delete double tap

April 23, 2010, 09:11 AM
I had one before I owned ten guns. someplace in there I sold it and got a AR now I've reciently bought another but now I'm way over 10 rifles.
IMHO it's a great defense/plinker that is right at home in a 10 rifle battery.

April 23, 2010, 11:03 AM
Heck Yeah! The Ruger Mini 14 will make my top 10. Mine is accurate enough for the first 10 rounds; until the barrel starts to get hot. Realiablity cant be beat.

April 23, 2010, 11:23 AM
Ive shot one stock off of the shelf and I shot one fitted with a custom heavy barrel and it doesnt impress me.I do not even have a top ten,I have a top 2.I put my Sako safari grade deluxe .308 and my Ruger M77V in 25-06 as the top rifles ive shot .(as far as quality goes)

April 23, 2010, 11:32 AM
"If Mini14 has poor reliability then it really has no specific niche. I ask those of you who have scoped there Mni's to discuss then reliability of Mini at 300 yards. Thanks."
What are you trying to say?
Why don't you do your own research?

April 23, 2010, 12:10 PM
Damn skippy it does.
The mini came before the AR for me.

April 23, 2010, 12:27 PM
Nothing wrong with mini but if limited to 10 rifles I'd go for a m-14 and have the full sized version. The rifle I think of when I think .223 is an AR not a mini.

April 23, 2010, 12:30 PM
1..22 ruger 10/22
2..22 mag marlin 25m
3. 243 weatherby vanguard
4. 7mm mag weatherby vanguard
5. 30/30 winchester 94
6. 45/70 marlin 95 cowboy model
7. 223 colt ar-15
8. 223 ruger mini 14
9. 308 hk
10. 308 enfield jungle carbine

April 23, 2010, 02:40 PM
I had one long before I owned 10 rifles. It is very reliable and shoots good enough for me. I would not change a thing.

Nowhere Man
April 23, 2010, 02:49 PM
Firepower! wrote;

If Mini14 has poor reliability then it really has no specific niche. I ask those of you who have scoped there Mni's to discuss then reliability of Mini at 300 yards. Thanks.

I have a scoped mini 14. It is 100% reliable with or without a scope. Even at 300 yards it goes bang every time.


April 23, 2010, 06:00 PM
I recently made the first firearms purchase in my life and it's an All-Weather Mini-14 Ranch. I have every plan to increase my collection eventually but the decision was based on the question - What if I could only own one firearm (as I currently do), what would it be? I realize it's not the best choice for any one thing but there is hardly a better choice (AFAIK) that will meet almost every possible want/need: plinking, target, home defense, SHTF, hunting, and just plain fun.

I'm not the least bit sorry. I could have done a lot worse and I don't know of anything that I would have liked more.

'course, I'm always open to other opinions.

Art Eatman
April 23, 2010, 08:01 PM
Reliability? The Mini is close to defining that term, in my experience. The accuracy is as good as anything for the first shot or two when hunting. Since I don't do a lot of paper punching, the superiority of the AR for tight groups is irrelevant. For home defense or casual varminting, it's as good as any.

My only gripe is the price, but then as an Olde Phart I live in a continual state of sticker shock. :)

April 23, 2010, 08:08 PM
I like the Mini-14 but had to vote no. I've got 9 rifles already and so far the Mini doesn't look like it'll be #10, more likely will be another AR.

April 23, 2010, 08:25 PM
Had one before when I had fewer rifles, pretty sure I have more than 10 now and equally sure there's not one in my collection now. I'd come closer to buying a Mini-30 but not sure it would even make my top 20. We'll see.

April 23, 2010, 09:13 PM
In my top 10? Absolutely...X 3! The other 7 fall in a lesser category...;)

April 23, 2010, 09:21 PM
I've only got one rifle right now. Stainless 580 mini-14 with the all weather stock. Groups 1 to 1.5 inches at 100 yards with irons or scope, never jams, and it's much easier to clean than my M4 at my unit. If I could have nine more rifles... First, I would have to get my wife a a carry pistol and a 45. Then:

2. Mosin-Nagant 91/30
3. Garand
4. M1 carbine
5. Barret 98B
6. Ruger 10/22
7. HK91
8. K98
9. Sks
10. 9mm HiPoint carbine ;)

April 23, 2010, 09:26 PM
When the Anchorage Police Dept. first started their SWAT (CRT) team I was task with providing the rifle instruction.

The Cpt, who was incharge of the new CRT team (I know, redundant) choose the Minis as their rifle (simply because the AK State Trooper had ARs). I told him it was a bad ideal, but to no avail.

Anyway they sucked. I worked my tail of to get any type of qualification going. Eventually they got rid of them. And it wasnt the shooters. I obtained some M16s from my Guard unit, they had no problem with those.

I got a Mini in trade, ended up dumping it.

That was 25 years ago, (or there abouts), they may be differant now.

No sir, I have no room in my rifle stack, even if I dont limit it to ten guns.

April 23, 2010, 09:40 PM
I would say yes but it would have to be a Mini that had the following:
1. A reasonably good trigger
2. Must be the latest Ruger Mini-14 stainless version, (I like the newer iron sights).

April 23, 2010, 09:42 PM
I have owned two SP-1s, A Colt H-bar 1-7 twist, a stainless axle diameter DPMS with JP interprise trigger and the bushmaster 16". The first SP-1 was a tack driver, the second SP-1 was a tack driver, The H-bar went pretty quick so dont know how well it would have done. The DPMS jp trigger floating barrel never did shoot well. The Bushmaster never shot well. My 1975 mini would not group but was totally reliable like all my ARs. The current tactical shoots promotional ammo all over the place but will group my handloads into 1.5". The new Mini shows great promise and will not mark you as a me too. I like the new mini and the SP-1s the best...E. Pluribus Ammo

April 23, 2010, 10:31 PM
I've made the mini-14 mistake earlier. Wouldn't have another one as a gift. When they were selling for about 1/4 the price of an AR I could see the point of having one. They are now MORE expensive than many very good AR's.

April 23, 2010, 10:36 PM
This thread is useful. I'm a long-time handgunner, finally considering a rifle. I'd thought about a 10-22 but if I'm only going to own (1) fairly lightweight, maximally versatile rifle... the mini-14 is looking good right now. I live in an urban residential neighborhood; ~75 yd. is the longest shot I'd ever conceivably see - a bit beyond handgun/defensive shotgun range but nowhere near "battle rifle" range.

April 24, 2010, 12:19 AM
alot of you folks are going on very old info or one you had 25yrs. ago. mini's are quite a bit better than they used to be. if you are dismissing them becouse of what happend years ago, i think its a mistake. mine shoots very close to moa and i have a little over 700 in it. how could it not make ANY top 10?

April 24, 2010, 01:04 AM
Over the years have owned 2 Minis. One was 181- serial and the other is 195 serial number. With both of them I have had noticed that inserting magazine is an issue. It does not go in smoothly as I would want it like AK, AR, GIII or any other rifle. 2/10 times it wont sit right and I would have to reinsert it.

Is there a trick to it or Ruger has missed the boat on this? To me changing mag is important since this is where you are vulnerable during a gun fight in a SD or HD scenario.

April 24, 2010, 08:08 AM
Why is it whenever someone even mentions a Mini-14 on a message board, AR enthusiasts come out of the woodwork to rag on it? It's like they have some sort of inferiority complex - like they're threatened by it. As if to say, because there are ARs, there's no need for Mini-14s. :confused:

Yet it's one of the most successful commercially produced firearms in history.

April 24, 2010, 08:10 AM
I'm the odd man out, I could see me owning a Mini 14 as "the one" rifle I'm allowed to own, but not if I'm allowed 10. It's a reasonably accurate and reasonably effective in both hunting and SD. But as soon as I'm allowed two, I'd switch to a 7x57 hunting Mauser and an AK 47, and specialize from there.

April 24, 2010, 09:21 AM
yes, if i could have ten rifles.

No, if all i can have is 5.

April 24, 2010, 09:23 AM
Why is it whenever someone even mentions a Mini-14 on a message board, AR enthusiasts come out of the woodwork to rag on it? It's like they have some sort of inferiority complex - like they're threatened by it. As if to say, because there are ARs, there's no need for Mini-14s.

It's a cult...Don't drink their Kool Ade when they offer it...Keep your Mini close by...:cool:

April 24, 2010, 09:29 AM
Why is it whenever someone even mentions a Mini-14 on a message board, AR enthusiasts come out of the woodwork to rag on it? It's like they have some sort of inferiority complex - like they're threatened by it. As if to say, because there are ARs, there's no need for Mini-14s.

A lot of it has to do with emotional investment in the product.

April 24, 2010, 10:22 AM
I have a number of rifles but in truth I could limit my battery to 3 guns and be covered.

1. Ruger 10/22, with some dressing-up
2. A quality 308 bolt-action
3. An AR carbine

The mini just doesn't appeal to me. To me the AR is just a better more versatile platform. I'd rather save my money and get the AR.

April 24, 2010, 10:29 AM
Not having any emotional attachment to the Mini-14 and no history with the rifle at all gives me the opportunity to look at the facts of the rifle. I'm not buying one in 1980, I would be buying one today. I could choose to buy a new one or an old one. I could research the rifle online and look for unbiased reports of the good and bad of the rifle

Having done just that, I can only conclude that, for what it is, present day manufacture Mini-14s are completely reasonable for what they are and I would own one.

Any 1967 Camaro that had any balls had wheel-hop with the factory suspension. I sincerely doubt that a 2010 Camaro still experiences that wheel-hop. ;)

April 24, 2010, 11:36 AM
10 rifles? Does that include rimfires? If not 10 is more than I will ever ever need or want. In order of need/want not counting rimfires:

Bolt action varmint gun #1 (.22-250)
Bolt action big game gun (.25, 6.5mm or 7mm, definetly a short action)
Lever action pistol caliber, prefer .357.
Bolt action varmint gun #2 (.17 fireball)
That's it.

As you can see that leaves me plenty of room to fit a Mini-14 in. So yes it could make my 10 gun list. Will I buy one? No. For comparable $$$ would I buy an AR first? Yes. Will I buy an AR? Doubtful. Would I buy any other semi-auto centerfire? Heck no.


April 24, 2010, 11:51 AM

The newer Mini's are certainly more accurate than the old ones. I never had any issues with reliability using good mags. But $700 for the new ones is insane. You can get an AR for far less than that. My sub $600 AR shoots target ammo into 1/2" groups. Reliable 20 and 30 round AR magazines are easily available for $15-$20.

When you could pick up a used Mini-14 for around $200 and count on 3"-4" groups in a very reliable rifle I could see the point. I cannot see the point in paying more for a less accurate rifle that is difficult to find any magazines for. I know Ruger is releasing reliable 20 round magazines now, but how many do you actually see. And at $40 each they are no bargain.

April 24, 2010, 12:18 PM
JSmith723 said:
This thread is useful. I'm a long-time handgunner, finally considering a rifle. I'd thought about a 10-22 but if I'm only going to own (1) fairly lightweight, maximally versatile rifle... the mini-14 is looking good right now. I live in an urban residential neighborhood; ~75 yd. is the longest shot I'd ever conceivably see - a bit beyond handgun/defensive shotgun range but nowhere near "battle rifle" range.
JSmith, you just described a M1 Carbine to a "T." Ditto a Beretta CX or Ruger PC in 9 or 40 (both Rugers no longer made)--though I always found those Rugers to be about a 3/4-1 pound more than their configuration or cartridges called for. For versatility among these, I'd take the M1 for its greater effectiveness 75-100/125 or the transition zone to the .223. Your other characterization of "maximally versatile," however, kicks it back to the .223 or 6.8 in either the Ruger or AR platform, or x39 in Ruger or AK/SK...but <100 yds are exactly what the "pistol" (length) cartridge- guns are for.

Art Eatman
April 24, 2010, 12:46 PM
ChrisB, if you add one leaf to each rear spring of a 1967 Camaro, I found that it would handle a 427 quite nicely. But I never towed my race car faster than 120 mph. :)

Mini magazines: Darned if I know why there are so many problems with modern manufacture. I had quite a few after-market mags back in the 1970s/early 1980s. They always functioned properly. I never had to do any adjustment of the feed lips with needle-nosed pliers...

April 24, 2010, 04:00 PM
I have no use for a mini no matter how many rifles are in my battery. It's reliable, but not particularly rugged. It''s mostly known for it's terrible accuracy.

Just no redeeming quality that I can think of, except a traditional stock if you live in one of the Leftist Regimes that won't allow all those BAD features.

April 24, 2010, 04:22 PM
I would say YES,
Even if I was limited to 10 rifles, I would still chose a Mini 14 as one of them.
The way I figure it is.

I like the Mini 14 better than the AR-15

The Ruger Mini 14 factory 30 round magazines are now available to hold as many rounds as an AR.

You can always get a new Barrel installed on your Mini 14, giving it the accuracy of an AR.

and once again, I like the Mini 14 better than the AR-15.

Once thats all said and done, that leaves me with the option of 9 more rifles, so I still have plenty of room for an AR, or anything similar. But If I could only have 10 rifles, the Mini 14 would be one of them.

April 24, 2010, 06:19 PM
I've made the mini-14 mistake earlier. Wouldn't have another one as a gift
Me too and fortunately, I got a good deal on it, so I could sell it and still get my money back. I took it out a total of two times and that was the end of that dance. Given that, I don't own an AR or anything like this but have shot a few of my buddy's AR's and that's a different story. So Y'all do the math; I have owned and shot a Ranch Rifle and didn't care for it and do not own an AR and like them.

Be Safe !!!

April 24, 2010, 09:07 PM
I really don't understand why anyone would buy a Mini-14 when you can get an AR for the same or less money. A Mini-14 would not make my list of Top 100 rifles.
So have you seen bigfoot too? The only ARs that come even remotely close to matching the Mini on price are Vietnam leftovers or guns with fixed carry handles that nobody wants.

I used to be an AK guy, then bought a Mini-14 factory folder at a guns show, then got a 581 series Mini-14. Love them both.

April 24, 2010, 09:17 PM
I've had both AR's and Mini's. I still have a Mini........

April 24, 2010, 09:20 PM
I have a ruger ss ranch mini 14 in my safe, and is not for sale . IMHO it is a great camp gun, and always make me feel better ever time i shoot :D

April 24, 2010, 10:15 PM
I voted yes. It takes as many squirrels and rabbits as I have asked it to without a missing a beat. It is over 30 years old.

April 24, 2010, 11:24 PM
I bought my first Mini before they were released, 1975 if I remember correctly.

That rifle has been through hell and back. Days of total immersion on and off, days of rain for years, Everglades muck so thick that I've dunked it just to clean it. So far, not a single malfunction.

I bought it as a deer/hog-killer for the swamp, short range, and it's good at that. It was never touted as highly accurate which it's not. It will still best my son's AK's @ 100 yds. as will the others that I've collected over the years.

April 24, 2010, 11:32 PM
The only ARs that come even remotely close to matching the Mini on price are Vietnam leftovers or guns with fixed carry handles that nobody wants.
No, you can probably build an AR for close to the price of a new Mini, but I doubt those are made from components that meet MIL spec. They're not Colts. I think a Colt is still about twice the price.

OTOH, Minis have crept up in price in the past few years but they have improved accordingly. The 58*s are superior to the 18*s.

So as the Minis have improved and the cheaper ARs approach dog $#!+ status, they're basically on par with one another.

What about personal preference. Maybe I just want a nice, lightweight, reliable, compact carbine without all kinds of things sticking out in all directions.

April 24, 2010, 11:38 PM
Why would anyone limit himself to 10 rifles? I don't like this game.

April 24, 2010, 11:42 PM
..... I could get it in 6.8 SPC.

April 24, 2010, 11:51 PM
The New Mini-14 Tactical (Model # M-14/20GBCPC) would absolutely make the cut!

I own one, and I've owned previous model Minis. In my honest opinion they broke the mold with the Tactical model listed above.

A lot of people have a bad 'taste' in their mouth about the Mini because of previous experiences with the 'Ranch' model. They are absolutely deserved.... but ... try the Tactical and I can almost guarantee you will love it.

If you don't .... let me know, and I'll buy it from you! ;)

I get .50" groups at 100 yds. with handloads, and using Hornady TAP 55gr. Factory Loads I get .75" groups. The Tactical is by far the best Mini that Ruger has produced to date.

I own both an AR-15 and the Mini, and I would take either into battle equally.

April 24, 2010, 11:52 PM
i paid 599 for a 580 series and added an accustrut, did some gas block work, had my trigger tuned up and added 1911 recoil buffers. my total i have in it is roughly 700. the best group so far is 1.2in and i think i can do better. i have not seen a mini around here for 200. i wish i would. as far as magazines, i have 2 factory 20rd. and 4 pro-mag 20rd. and they all work perfectly. the promags are about 20 dollars around here.the work ive done on my ruger has made it a better rifle, and its always been reliable now its reliable and accurate. for $700 its very fine with me. before i started accurizing it, i was shooting about 3in. groups, so it was a good shooter right out of the box. :)

April 25, 2010, 12:21 AM
I voted 'yes' with qualifiers. The .223 most certainly has a place in my rifle battery.

If I had a great shooting AR, I wouldn't spend money to get a Mini 14.

Conversely, if I had a great shooting Mini, I wouldn't get spendy for an AR.

And finally, if I had a really good bolt action .223, I wouldn't break a leg to get either of them.

To me a poodle shooter, first & foremost, should be just that- capable of consistently dotting a prairie dog to 300-350 yards. There's an old 'family' Savage 110 in .223 that makes the rounds between myself and two brothers. It has the ugly birch stock, buggy-whip barrel and an red recoil pad (?) that looks like it was installed by Stevie Wonder with a body grinder. It will also poke little one inch, five shot groups at 200 yards with decent reloads.

If and when it resides here permanently, I won't feel the need to replace it with anything that shoots a whole lot faster and not nearly as well.

Ignition Override
April 25, 2010, 01:13 AM
An ATF agent who boarded our plane yesterday in Baltimore told me that the Mini 14 is one of the most reliable rifles available.

To answer your question, No, but Only because I prefer the Mini 30's larger caliber, although an SKS costs much less (I have both).

There are only two reasons why I sold the old ('90) Mini 14: already had the Mini 30, and to more quickly buy my first LE #5 "Jungle Carbine"
(favorite gun) a year ago.

The .223 caliber's impact on solid targets never impressed me like the 7.62x39. But the old Mini used only newer Russian ammo and never had a single 'ftf', none whatsoever.

April 25, 2010, 10:46 PM
I’ll never own 10 rifles no matter how long I live, and the Mini-14 belongs in my collection.

April 26, 2010, 03:56 AM
Yes, IF....
..... I could get it in 6.8 SPC.

Here you go. (http://ruger.com/products/mini14AllWeatherRanchRifle/specSheets/5814.html)

April 26, 2010, 03:57 AM
The Mini has become simply too close in cost to the much superior AR (superior accuracy, reliability, and parts availability) to be considered as one of only 10.


April 26, 2010, 05:41 AM
how much does an anverage AR cost compare to a Mini in a local US store?

April 26, 2010, 05:54 AM
how much does an anverage AR cost compare to a Mini in a local US store?

I bought my Mini-14 Ranch Rifle in February for about $620 or so. You could presumably find an AR-15 for that price, but it's going to be a very basic model. It'll probably have an accuracy comparable to the newer Minis, and it is unlikely to be as reliable.

(Despite the assertions of gary, the Mini-14 is known for its reliability, which is on par with other Garand-based actions).

In order to get a well-built, mil-spec AR-15, you'll probably have to pay $1000+. In fact, I'd say the average price for AR-15s in this country is somewhat north of $1000.

April 26, 2010, 06:22 AM
Thats interesting because I got the impression from the posts that Mini is as expensvie if not more than AR. In fact, the prices you have quoted, a person can get a Mini and good handgun for the price of AR.

April 26, 2010, 06:22 AM

The mini is the most reliable rifle I have ever fired.

Honestly I don't shoot mine over 100yds, but accuracy to me is about the same as an M16.

Not going to bash ARs but the Mini out-classes ARs in the reliability department.

The drawbacks are as others have stated, magazine price.......I wish it had a 'slap in' style mag well sorta like an AR, but the mini is ok if you practice with the mags.

April 26, 2010, 06:27 AM
Is it possible that an AR Mag adapter can be made for Minis to accept AR magazines? If possible then I think this is where someone could make lots of money.

April 26, 2010, 06:53 AM
Wow. Four pages.
I was more interested in making the list of ten for myself than I was about the OP's main idea.
I ran out of choices at nine rifles....and the Mini-14 was not one of them. It won't be #10. I can and do understand why people like them but the Mini doesn't do it for me. I had one....gave it to my son.

April 26, 2010, 07:55 AM
I guess I'm the only one who will come right out and say that I like the look and feel of a Mini-14 over an AR15. Both the AR and Mini-14 are capable of excelent performance. The Mini-14 might need an aftermarket barrel to get it there, but it is capable. For me, I really just like the look and feel of a customized Mini-14 over a customized AR15 - has something to do with wood and steel, vs. aluminum and plastic.

April 26, 2010, 08:02 AM
You can buy a good, but basic AR lower for around $250. By shopping around carefully you can find plenty of good complete uppers for around $400 to $600. Even cheaper if you buy used. Lots of folks swap uppers just because they want something else. Lots of guys will buy a lower receiver and have several uppers set up for different uses. In a nutshell you can get into a good basic AR for $650-$800 easily. If you buy the same rifle complete it would cost around $1000-$1200.

I have no real problem with the Mini-14, but it there is nothing the mini does that an AR does not do better. And the AR can be had for nearly the same price. Go out and buy 4-5 magazines for the Mini-14 vs 4-5 magazines for the AR and the AR suddenly becomes less expensive.

Art Eatman
April 26, 2010, 08:32 AM
"...there is nothing the mini does that an AR does not do better."

Fun is in the eye of the user, so right there is equality. Home defense? Equal. Hunting use? Equal.

A Mini is less likely to scare Nervous Neighbor--and Nervous Neighbor's gossiping can make your wife's life miserable.

And I'm on my fifth AR and have no Mini, at the moment...

April 26, 2010, 09:01 AM
I jumped on a law enforcement turn in for about $400; all-weather stainless tactical length Mini 14. Spent about $100 on it for an Accu-Strut, and a flash hider. It shoots well at 100 yards and I like it better than my "mid-priced" M4gery. More fun, quicker handling, just a hoot to shoot.

The M4 will still go to the 3 gun matches, but the Mini will be the fun/hog/SHTF rifle.

April 26, 2010, 04:35 PM
I have a SS finish ranch rifle. For that, I have ordered mounts. Now I am wondering what power scope should I get for it? Any suggestions? I am goong to be using this rifle recreational purpose only. I dont foresee its use in HD since I have literally got loads of AKs for that. I will be paper punching at 300 yards with it. Is it reasonable to do so with this rifle?

April 26, 2010, 06:13 PM
I have no real problem with the Mini-14, but it there is nothing the mini does that an AR does not do better.

Put a folding stock on your AR and get back to me.;)

Oh, and reliability.:D

And the AR can be had for nearly the same price.

Only if you're buying used AR vs new Mini or you're piecing together a gun from parts.

Go out and buy 4-5 magazines for the Mini-14 vs 4-5 magazines for the AR and the AR suddenly becomes less expensive.
Except the factory Mini-14 mags are 5 times as durable as AR magazines. My Mini-14 factory folder came with a 30 round mag made in the 80's. It has obviously seen heavy use but functions flawlessly.

April 26, 2010, 07:53 PM
Firepower wrote,
Now I am wondering what power scope should I get for it? Any suggestions? I am goong to be using this rifle recreational purpose only. I dont foresee its use in HD since I have literally got loads of AKs for that. I will be paper punching at 300 yards with it.

I know we're slightly off subject here, but to answer his question, look for a 3-9x40 variable power scope as a minimum standard for 300 yards. You can go with higher magnification, or a larger objective diameter, but make sure your rings are tall enough for the objective to clear the receiver if you go with larger than 40mm.

April 26, 2010, 08:11 PM
I don't want a folding stock when I can get a telescoping stock on the AR.

I've owned several Mini's and several AR's. Never had the first malfunction from an AR. The only malfunctions in the Mini 14's were when using non factory magazines.

Being able to piece your AR together is EXACTLY why it is the better buy. Want to put the folding stock on the Mini 14. You have to buy the factory stock, then spend extra to get the folder. Want to change anything on the Mini, you have to buy the replacement part and pay extra. Then you are stuck with a bunch of extra parts.

With the AR you order the lower receiver you want with the stock you want. Pay your FFL for the lower and the transfer fee. Pick out the upper receiver you want, order it and have it shipped directly to your door. No need to remove parts and replace them because you ordered it the way you wanted it the first time.

Order an 16" lightweight barrel for self defense and decide later you want a 24" target barrel only requires a new upper at about 1/2 the cost of a new Mini 14. By buying this way you can put together a quality AR for $600-$800 depending on what you want. Sure you can spend $2000 on an AR, but don't need to spend that much to get an accurate, dependable rifle. The Mini-14's are selling for between $700-$900.

The mini-14 magazines are selling for $40, if you can find them. Midway has the AR magazines 5/$50 right now.

I also have 80's vintage AR magazines that work perfectly.

I have no real beef with the Mini-14. They are reliable rifles that meet a need. Some people just cannot get past the looks of an AR and I can appreciate that. Others live in areas where the AR is not legal and the Mini-14 is. I understand all that, but don't buy the Mini-14 just because you thing the AR is out of your price range. For my money the AR is the much better value for the money.

April 26, 2010, 08:30 PM
there is no way that a 600 dollar AR ( if there is such a thing) is a better rifle than a mini. as far as the upper for half the price of the mini. that would mean i can get a quality upper for 300 dollars. not gonna happen. especially a 24'' target barrel. i have several pro-mag magazines that were less than 20 dollars that ive never had a problem with. screw ruger mags. these are just as good, if not better. i have about 700 dollars in my ruger, including upgrades that i would put up against any 700 dollar AR. if you say your AR hasnt or doesnt jam then either you dont shoot it or you have never been in the military or both, becouse the simple fact of the matter is they do. its the nature of a DI system. sure things have improved but in my opinion its ammo not AR's. bring your 700 dollar AR and lets see which one is more accurate, or which one jams first. :D

April 26, 2010, 09:51 PM
I don't want a folding stock when I can get a telescoping stock on the AR.
I suppose it depends on the use. Is one going to be spending most of your time shooting or carrying the gun? ARs are very bulky and unwieldy when compared to guns with decent folding stocks like Minis, AKs, SU-16s, etc. If you're doing lots of carrying and not a lot of shooting it's non contest that a folding stock is far superior. The fact that the AR cannot have a folding stock is a strong point against it. If all you're doing is shooting then perhaps not having a folding stock isn't that big of a deal.

A Mini-14 folder with a full 18" barrel is a full 6' shorter than an M4A1 with the stock collapsed and can still be accurately fired at short range.

Being able to piece your AR together is EXACTLY why it is the better buy.
Piecing together your own computer is a better buy as well. Do you build your own computers? Why not? I have for the last 10 years.

Not everyone wants to or is experienced enough to build their own gun or computer from scratch.

Do you know the difference between main memory that operates at 1:1 multiplier and 2.5-3-2-5 timing and main memory that operates at a 4:5 multiplier and 2.5-4-4-8 timing? What is the most cost effective; Dual core or a quad core processor? For storage should I go with no RAID, Raid 0, 1, or 5? What sort of graphics card should I get?

Do you know the difference between 4140, 4150, 11595, or 416 type steels? Do you want cut or button rifling? A regular or extra power buffer and recoil spring? Chrome lining or no chrome lining? Match or Mil-Spec trigger? Match or Mil-spec chamber? What make of bolt carrier?

You get someone with enough information to be dangerous and they can take parts and put them together in a way that simply will not work. I've seen and done it with computers, thankfully I never did it with guns. Most people realize this and will buy something already put together that they know will work. They do a few minor tweaks as they use the gun and otherwise leave it alone. My boss did that with his $1600 AR-10 and a lot of other people do the same.

Order an 16" lightweight barrel for self defense and decide later you want a 24" target barrel only requires a new upper at about 1/2 the cost of a new Mini 14. By buying this way you can put together a quality AR for $600-$800 depending on what you want.
A 24" target barrel upper receiver for half the price of a Mini? Again, where the heck are you shopping? I get dealer discount at Brownells and I still can't get a 24" Varmint barrel for less than a Mini-14. Heck, I could buy a whole savage bolt action rifle for the price I would pay for that upper and have cash left over. If I'm wrong, please show me where I can get an upper like that for half the price of a mini?

That's one reason why I don't own an AR. It's cheaper to just buy a whole nother non-AR rifle.

Precision rifle? Thompson Encore, Savage, Remginton.
Pistol caliber Carbine? PC-9, Sub-2000, Feather USA, Mech-Tech, Marlin 1894.
Tactical carbine? Mini-14, AKM, SU-16.

Not trying to rag on you unfairly, but ARs are lots of things, "Cheap" is not one of them. When I first got into black rifles people kept steering me to ARs because they were "cheaper" in the long run. I quickly found otherwise. Any way you put it they are almost always more expensive vs the alternatives. The only exception I can find are the 50 BMG uppers. They tend to be cheaper than dedicated 50 BMG rifles.

I have yet to meet someone who owns multiple uppers and only one lower that was not saving up to buy more lowers, not counting rimfire uppers. (or lowers that were NFA items) I've met a one that have something like 5 uppers and 4 lowers. One who was in constructive possession of an unregistered SBR. One had a 2-1 ratio only because he hadn't sold one of his uppers yet after buying a new one. Most however have "number of uppers" = "number of lowers" or close to it. Perhaps I just don't get out enough.

Not just with ARs, I've seen it with Thompson Contenders and Encores. Once people start buying more barrels, they start buying more frames.

April 27, 2010, 07:39 AM
Y'know - remember that I wrote earlier that I gave my mini away (to my son) -
I really wanted to like that gun. It was the first semi-auto rifle that I owned. I'm fond of Ruger firerarms. But...
The accuracy just wasn't there. I don't have guns just for blasting. I didn't have it for HD or any dream of combat. I bought it hoping to shoot targets.
I was never able to get even a two inch group.
So....I bought an AR. Paid a lot more for it - probably double at the time - A Colt Match Target HBar. But....right out of the box it shot one inch groups....way more than four times tighter than the Mini. It has since shot 1/2" groups iron sighted (16 times tighter. I'll pay extra for accuracy every time).
Reliablity - I shoot the AR a lot - it has never ftf''d.

Art Eatman
April 27, 2010, 08:50 AM
Even the best off-the-shelf Mini is about a two MOA gun; maybe a smidgen better. Between that and the performance of the .223 cartridge, I've always figured it as a 200-yard gun for jackrabbits and coyotes. With that in mind, a fixed 4X scope is plenty good. Always worked well for me on four Minis.

But a Mini never has been much for paper-punching from a benchrest without a bunch of tuning.

April 27, 2010, 11:55 AM
If I wanted a modular tactical weapons system, I might get an AR. That wasn't what I wanted.

April 27, 2010, 12:16 PM
If not much for paper punching then it has no place in my collection since I got plenty other toys for that and HD.

April 27, 2010, 01:02 PM
I have been trying not to go there but since reliability keeps getting brought up.

I haven't seen an AR without the forward assist on them....the offspring of the dirty little design flaw....right there in your face :(

April 27, 2010, 01:16 PM
Alright, lets compare apples to apples with real world prices.
To buy complete rifles you can expect to pay

Ruger Ranch rifle. List price $898 Street price $700 blue $800 SS
Ruger Target rifle List price $1098 Street price $900-$1,000
Rock River 24" Varmit AR $1170
Stag 20 flat top with rail $895
Delton, any configuration $750

To put a rifle together you can get a Rock River complete lower for $290 and a basic upper comparable to the Ranch rifle for $490. Total for a quality AR-15, $780.

A Stag Lower is $199. Uppers range between $445 and $595 so you could put together a Stag AR for as little as $644.

Either the Rock River or Stag rifles are much better quality than the Ruger Ranch rifle, for about the same or less. I simply don't know about the Delton and would buy oneof the others anyway.

When I said you could get a 24" Varmit upper for half the cost of a new Ruger I was a little off. If you already have a lower receiver a new Varmit upper would range between $550 and $635. If you compare that to the cost of a Ruger target rifle at just under $1,000 street price it is not quite half. Remember, with the AR you don't have to buy the whole rifle.

Also as I said earlier there are other costs to consider. If you want the folding stock for the Ruger it will cost you an additional $120. Want to put a red dot on a Ruger will cost you an additional $50 for the rail to mount it on. Buy 5, 20 round magazines for the Ruger and you will spend an extra $200. If you can find them. 5, 30 rounders for the AR will cost you $50 and they are everywhere.

Want to shoot another caliber in the AR and you just buy another upper. Want to do that with a Ruger and you are SOL.

Don't believe me, do your own research.


Never said the Ruger was a bad rifle, just over priced for what you get. I actually liked the older Rugers. I used to pick them up used for around $200 and at that price could live with the 3" groups. But If I'm spending $700 anyway I want something better.

April 27, 2010, 02:16 PM
Why do you AR guys spend so much time and thought into trying to bash the Mini. If I don't like chocalote ice cream I don't eat it. I'm not gonna waste my time going to the internet and researching why chocalote ice cream is bad.

The answer to the OP's question if you're an AR guy should be plain and simple, no. Maybe followed by a quick comment on why. Instead every Mini thread is turned into "Mini's suck, buy an AR" by the AR crowd. You guys are getting as bad as the S&W guys and radio sports talk guru's.

Mini's are fine and do everything they are designed to do. They are not suppose to be 300 yard paper punchers or gopher guns. Mini's look good, more traditional, handle well and are reliable. Doesn't sound like junk too me. There is no doubt that they aren't the deal they were 10 years ago, nothing is. You don't have to like em, you don't have to own one but to constantly run a perfectly fine gun into the ground is getting rediculous.

All the above is posted by a guy that will more than likely never own either again and if he did it would be an AR.


April 27, 2010, 02:18 PM
steel case wolf? Eats it like a 5 year old given a jar of jelly beans.
That dented up poorly seated "military contract over runs" aim surplus sold cheap about 2 years ago? Ate it up fantastically. I ended up buying some more of it from others who bought it on the super cheap. Just chomped right through it. Not that the stuff was in terrible shape, but everybody was afraid to put it in their AR(and I wouldn't put it in mine either).
Loading this type of ammo (crap)into an m4gery seems like a bad idea to me.

It can't shoot a 1 inch group at 100 yards. Neither can I prone supported. Off a bench maybe, but I didn't buy it to shoot off a bench.

I bought a blemish CMMG M4gery, Magpull mags, and a decent carry handle. Getting decent AR mags will close the price gap there a bit on the cost of mini mags. After the carry handle I was above the price of a stock mini. I have doubts as to the quality of an AR in the $700 realm that does not have something like a "blemish" to drop the price. Chrome lined barrel? The mini comes with nice rings and that would be an additional cost for the AR. I have yet to handle a collapsing stock that did not rattle when open or closed. My BC stock is not perfect, but at least it does not rattle and the original walnut stock found on my mini was of pretty nice quality.

The ergonomics of the AR are better, especially the drop mag. I do not like the rear sight all that much on my mini as it can not be adjusted very easily. Still my SHTF gun over my M4gery.

April 27, 2010, 02:26 PM
I know i'm gonna hear it on this one.....

I have put badly dented ammo into my mini and fired it no problem..

wouldn't do it with any other gun though

April 27, 2010, 03:22 PM
Maybe if I had a 100, one would be a Mini 14! Maybe?


April 27, 2010, 03:46 PM
I am not an AR guy by any means. I have tons of assualt rifles and AR platform is a small number in there. This thread was never intended for AR v. Mini debate. It was simply asking whether Mini is worth the money and collection, as per the set criteria in poll qestion. My answer as I stated before was NO.
That said, I am not sure why to even bother having a mini at all regardless of fact if we are limited to 10 or 1000 rifles. If it can do decent group at 300, if it cant be a go to gun, cant be this, cant be that. Then what in the world is it good for? Can some one please enlighten me as to why a Mini is a good option to be in top 10 rifles in one's collection? In my top ten list following rifles were included and I am proud to own most of them: Aks74u, Ak47 russian, HK GIII, AUG, Galil, Colt M4A1, Sig 551-2, 7x57 Mauser by Zastava, 7mm Mag by H&H, and L85a2. I own all except the sig which is making its way to me- so it seems.

In the said list I for one cannot see a Mini making a cut.

This was the reason why I started the thread to see what other people think. And to assess what niche does the Mini fullfill. I understand that not many of you have access to full auto that I listed, but still I am sure you have decent availability of their semi auto versions.

April 27, 2010, 05:37 PM
Not go to guns? Don't know where anyone said that (except for an AR guy :rolleyes:).

The Mini-14 makes an excellent SHTF gun. As I said before, they're extremely reliable and are battlefield accurate. They're also good for hunting small to medium game. About the only thing it doesn't do well is make tiny groups.

April 27, 2010, 07:38 PM

all of the guns you mentioned that I know about are pretty cool.
the mini is pretty cool too.

It has a history as an LE rifle...kinda made for the military type weopon guys and to keep the lawyers happy at the same time.

I honestly think the mini gets a bad rap because many people were angry over Mr. Ruger's actions during the assault rifle ban hearings...If you don't know about that you can look it up, not going into that here.

by definition, niether the mini nor the ar platforms are assault rifles, they are sporters...just a big misunderstanding by the gun ban crowd.

April 27, 2010, 07:53 PM
I also don't know where you got the idea that is was not suitable for a goto rifle. I think that is what most mini users have it for.
It just is not a target rifle. If you are ok with 2 MOA groups, maybe 1MOA with a good bit of work and the extra weight of an accustrut, then it is excellent. If you want .50 MOA groups then the rifle is not for you.

April 27, 2010, 09:56 PM
Mine will shoot 3-4 inch groups at 300yrds shooting off a rest. It will hit a torso sized target at 300yrds offhand. Thats exactly what ive got it for. Accustrut and good handloads made a huge dirrence for me. What else could you ask of a mini? It doesnt jam and will shoot anything. Maybe its not good enough for your collection but it gets the job done pretty damn good in mine.So if you dont want one dont buy one. Several people have allready attested to the reliability and quality of a mini. You have the information you were looking for.

April 28, 2010, 04:43 AM
Ok. So let us bring a notch down. We have been talking about reliability and accuracy out to 300 yards.

How about if we leave the reliability factor aside (since most of us agree that its pretty reliable), and discuss accuracy at 200 and 100 yards. Whats the tightest group you can or have made with Mini at 100 and 200 yards, scoped?

April 28, 2010, 05:20 AM
Actually, I have had mine scoped for several months and the groups seemed to have opened up a bit, however I have been dealing with howling winds every time I go shoot. On the day I zeroed it, I had 40mph gusts so its really a rough zero.

Not expected to ever shoot it past 150yds, I got something else for that.

when my evening varmint projects are over I plan to take the scope off.
I prefer slaying beer cans and such with irons.

April 28, 2010, 10:10 AM
Ok. So let us bring a notch down. We have been talking about reliability and accuracy out to 300 yards.

How about if we leave the reliability factor aside (since most of us agree that its pretty reliable), and discuss accuracy at 200 and 100 yards. Whats the tightest group you can or have made with Mini at 100 and 200 yards, scoped?

The group highlighted in red has two shots in just under 2 inches, with a third straggler opening it up to 3 ¾ inches. The dropped shot below the bull was simply operator error.

The best 3-shot group of the day was 1 3/4" using the 55 grain UMC load. I think the rifle is actually shooting this well, as long as the barrel stays relatively cool. Even with a hot barrel, the last three-shot group that day was 3 7/8 inches at 210 yards.


The rifle has had the trigger cleaned up since that target. An old Bushnell 4X was used and it would likely do a little better, with a good piece glass on it.

I could sell it I guess, and pay a lot more for an AR with a good barrel and decent trigger, that would outshoot my 580 Mini by a thin margin.

Or I could be happy with what I've got and spend that money on something else. Which seems like, by far, the most likely event ;)

Art Eatman
April 28, 2010, 10:37 AM
Since this thread isn't really going anywhere, I'll mess around a bit:

I'm happy with my Ruger bolt action .223; great for prairie dogs. Got an AR 15; not sure why, but probably "just because". A little Sako carbine in .243. A 700 Ti in 7mm08. That's four. My Wby Mk V in '06 is on loan. I have an old Schutzen .22 rimfire and a Walther Model 2 .22 rimfire; both are tack-drivers. That's seven. A Garand, and my father's bring-back D-Day M1 Carbine; nostalgia. That's nine.

I don't have a Mini, for no particular reason. Just haven't run across one at a decent price. I had fun with the four I've owned and traded off at a profit. But I certainly wouldn't object to one coming to me as #10 in my stash of critters. :)

April 28, 2010, 10:56 AM
Mr. Art sir,

My crystal ball says this will not be the last mini debate. :D

April 28, 2010, 01:56 PM
Same thing happens to me. Every time I get rid of mini 14, it comes back in to the arsenal in a deal I cant refuse. The last time I got rid of it was due to its lacking appeal in collection. Thought to myself that I will never buy it again, but in a great deal for half the price they go for here, I got a SS finish ranch rifle. Now again thinking of trading it for something better.

April 28, 2010, 08:10 PM
I should probably just let this die, but feel I need to emphasize that I'm not a Mini-14 hater. I just feel there are better options for the money. And yes, you can get a quality AR-15 for under $700. For around $800 you can get a really good one, but without all the fancy bells and whistles. I did a little more research today. At www.budsgunshop.com you can get a Colt for slightly under $1,000. A Bushmaster for $830 and an Armalite or Rockriver for $780. As I noted in an earlier post it is possible to put together a Stag for as little as $645.

Bushmaster, Armalite and Colt are considered the best in the business and Rockriver is not far behind. A Stag may not be what someone would want to take into combat, but I have one that I paid well under $700 for and it has been perfect for me. My $700 Rockriver is a 1/2 MOA shooter and has also never failed to perform.

While the Mini's work fine, I don't see the point in paying close to $700 when a quality AR is so close to the same price. Possibly less expensive with careful shopping.

April 28, 2010, 09:10 PM
I'll agree that if you're shelling out the same cash for either, you should seriously consider an AR. The price advantage in favor of AR magazines is also significant.

I didn't pay near retail for my 580 Mini. I picked it up in a trade for 'substantially less'; essentially 'pawn shop Mini 14' price, way before Obama-Fright drove prices insane.

April 28, 2010, 09:40 PM
Well, there are better options for almost everything out there. However, the thread was not intended for ar v. mini comparison. Mini should be looked at for what it is, not compared to what other are. I say this because if we talk about AR v. Mini comparison then we can also talk about ar v m14, or ar v aug, or ar v galil, etc.

April 28, 2010, 10:05 PM
not knocking an AR. they are good rifles. the mini is a solid rifle, that in my opinion is reliable and accurate. so is the AR. does a mini deserve to be in a top 10? yes it does. maybe not yours but there are alot of folks who have one that is argueably in their top 2 or 3. honestly, if i didnt have a ruger i would have an AR. i prefer the ruger. the AR might be more accurate. i think the mini is more reliable. it doesnt bother me what people say about mini's becouse i know its capabilities. mine is actually no.1 on my top 10 list. :)

April 29, 2010, 07:07 AM
That is pretty decent shooting at 215 yards.

April 29, 2010, 10:37 AM
However, the thread was not intended for ar v. mini comparison.

Now Firepower, you knew doggone well when you mentioned "Mini-14" it was gonna go this way. The AR guys just wait for opportunities like this.

FWIW, predjudice is typically born from either ignorance, or fear. :D:D:D

April 29, 2010, 10:45 AM
when I bought my first mini Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet, so I was oblivious to any controversy about it. Now X# of years later I purchase An improved mini and still see no issue with the rifle except the price has gone way up.

April 29, 2010, 11:15 AM
And AR's prices have come way down ;)

April 29, 2010, 12:15 PM
If we take a look at the poll numbers, simple majority would still take a Mini into their collection if limited to ten rifles. Now that means something.

April 29, 2010, 01:42 PM
And here we go again with this crazy pricing difference.

The Mini-14 Target (which will punch paper with the best AR bench guns) runs $750.00 new all day on Gunbroker not $900.00 to $1,000 as jmr40 posted in an earlier thread.

If your gonna post something false at least try and be close to the truth for petes sake.

April 29, 2010, 03:33 PM
And AR's prices have come way down

You can get AR15's today for about what you had to pay for them in the early '90's. The main difference is that today, you have way more options to choose from than just Colt and Bushmaster.

There is only one company that makes the Mini-14. My opinion is that the Mini-14's will get more desireable as time goes on, and the AR15's will get dated and stale relatively quickly. Just look at some of the older versions of the AR15 - they have really fallen out of favor because they no longer look like what the military uses. On the other hand, there are some older Mini-14's that I'd rather own over the newer ones being produced....and some newer ones that look pretty fine.

50 years from now, if I were someone's grandchild, I'd rather have my grandpa's nicely preserved stainless steel w/ nice laminate wood stock Mini-14 over his Iraq-War era looking AR15.

April 29, 2010, 05:05 PM
The Mini-14 Target (which will punch paper with the best AR bench guns)

Odd, you dont see many competing with ARs at High Power Matches.

April 29, 2010, 07:56 PM

Not trying to deceive anyone. When I quoted that price the only Ruger target rifle I had actually seen was priced in the high $900's But you are correct they are selling now for less than when they were 1st introduced. In another posting I underestimated the price of a target upper for an AR. I corrected myself later.

You will find that the prices I quoted for everything else are right on the money. The fact still remains that if you compare apples to apples. Meaning a basic AR vs a Ruger Ranch rifle you can get a Stag for less than the Ruger. You can get a Rockriver or Armalite for less than $100 more. A Bushmaster around $150 more.

Spend your money however you want. My intentions were only to make people aware that quality AR's are available for nearly the same price, or less, than a Ruger. Most people incorrectly assume the Ruger will be much cheaper. It's not.

Added: Looks like we've both been caught stretching the truth a bit. Did you even read the link you posted. The $755 price is the starting bid, not the selling price. I wonder why there has not been a single bid even at that price.

April 29, 2010, 09:05 PM
I really don't understand why anyone would buy a Mini-14 when you can get an AR for the same or less money. A Mini-14 would not make my list of Top 100 rifles.

I have owned an AR. It was fun at first. A good gun, fun to shoot, and lightweight to boot. Accessories and mags are so ridiculously abundant that it's ridiculous.

So why did I get rid of mine?
1. I'm a clean freak when it comes to guns. I was always told a clean gun/machine is a well functioning machine, and an AR take 1.5 hours for me to have clean to MY standards.
2. Bigger money pit than a 10-22.
3. Even though it is a great platform for long range shooting, I don't do enough of it to justify it.
4. Complexity. Anything you need CLP, pipe cleaners, a barrel brush, a separate chamber brush, and probably three or more other things to clean ain't worth it. And you darn near need an engineering degree to completely disassemble one.
5. Stigma. I have all the respect in the world for AR owners, and will probably own another on in the future. However, the AR is one of those rifles that always get funny looks.

April 29, 2010, 09:43 PM
NooYawkuh said (3 pages ago): "Maybe I just want a nice, lightweight, reliable, compact carbine without all kinds of things sticking out in all directions."

That would be me. I'm sure all the military/leo paraphernalia is great if you're military/leo, but I'm not. Sure.. you can get your AR with the Pickatinny Rail System and hang an amazing amount of stuff off it... like this one:


but what on earth am I gonna do with it?

Nah... I think I'm going with the Mini14 in the Ranch Rifle configuration. I still like guns with wood stocks and blued steel, and that's all the rifle I have any conceivable need for.

April 30, 2010, 10:15 AM
Yeah jmr40, you made a mistake with your Mini-14 target pricing of between $900 to $1000, that fact has been established.

The link I posted shows them going for $750 (oops $755, my $5 mistake), that would be $145 cheaper than what you stated. Ending price is what is important and that Target rifle is still for sale today at $755 new.

Did you even read the link you gave? Budsgunshop has the Mini-14 listed for $632 and the cheapest stag arms ar-15 I could find was $789. There you go again stretching the truth.

Any other links for these (cheaper than a Mini) ar-15's?

There may be reasons to buy an AR over a Mini but being cheaper to purchase is certainly not one of them.

April 30, 2010, 12:40 PM
You can build an AR15 for under $700, buy just buing a complete lower assembly and put a barrelled upper on it...probably for under $600, if you really look around for the parts and build the lower and upper receivers.

April 30, 2010, 05:18 PM
That may well be the case. But you have to know what to buy and where to buy to find these "good" prices on various components. For me, I would prefer to just buy a gun that is already built and ready to shoot.

I seldom add anything to a rifle except a scope and perhaps a trigger job.

April 30, 2010, 05:49 PM
someday I might buy an AR, but to get a reliable one you have to get a teflon coated this, and piston driven that, and a barrel this, and a trigger that......like the others say, with the mini, open box load magazine and shoot...then adust sights if needed that's it, ready to go.

Art Eatman
April 30, 2010, 09:52 PM
Aw, rickyrick, all I've ever done with any of my ARs is just do a little lube and go shoot. I can't recall any problems from the five I've had. The only price I really recall was from 1984 when I gave $300 for a like-new Colt A2.

Same basic story for the four Mini-14s I've had, and they were all early models. I didn't gripe at paying around $260 for a stainless...

Nowadays? Lordy, the sticker shock!!!


May 1, 2010, 12:21 PM
you're right I wasn't being fair, there's an overwhelming amount of stuff in the catalogs......I was in the army for a long time and never had an issue.....a lot of people did, I attributed that to excessive clp....because I allways wiped it all off left a thin coating on the bolt and no problems.

May 1, 2010, 03:22 PM
Well here it happens again. I just sold my ranch rifle. I wonder how long will it take before I find a good deal on another one. Atleast every time I own one I end up selling it for more than I bought it for.

May 7, 2010, 01:54 AM
Even majority favors Mini in the poll, it seems like people are closely split on Mini. I think the reason is that on one hand its an American rifle that has been there and based on M1 design so there is some sentimental value. However, on the other hand, these days there are so many options availabl in .223 caliber that you can put myrid of accessories on that they make Mini somewhat outdated.

May 7, 2010, 12:05 PM
How many accessories are needed at one time?
starting to get like earings and stuff on rifles...thinking about a nice scarf for my guns:D:D

May 7, 2010, 12:14 PM
No. If I wanted to shoot .223, I'd make and AR-15 for less money and more accurate. Ugliness of the two is a draw.

May 7, 2010, 09:03 PM
Yes, but there is only one that really interested me and I bought it.

NRA Edition, Hogue Stock.



Part of my grab n go package.

May 7, 2010, 09:24 PM
i dont really care how fancy it is. i care about what happens when you pull the trigger. it is very reliable, and fairly cheap to turn into a good shooter. mine has a collapsable stock and a couple rails if i need them. i personally just really like mini's and Ruger as far as that goes. pinpoint accuracy comes in second behind reliability for me. i dont have anything against an AR. they are good rifles.