View Full Version : Brought home a Ruger Mini 14 Tactical today

April 26, 2011, 08:39 PM
I picked one up today in 223 Rem/5.56. I broke it down, cleaned it and put it back together. I hope to shoot it in 2 weeks. I can't get to the range until then. I've been wanting one for a while. I shot the M16 and M4's in the army and wanted something a little different. I hear these are very reliable. After taking it apart, I can see why, they have a very simple design and should be somewhat forgiving of dirt and grime.

Here's the model I bought:


Anyone have any feedback based on experience?


April 26, 2011, 08:56 PM
While not the same configuration, I love my stainless Mini 30, at least for what I bought it for. I put an Aimpoint on it and it is the perfect 50 yd river bottom rifle for me while "bird doggin'" whitetails for Pa-in-Law.

Go over to PerfectUnion and read a little. I re-torqued my gas block and the rifle became much more consistant. It's the only mod I've done and didn't cost a dime to do it.

April 26, 2011, 08:57 PM
.............and thank you for your service Major............

Marco Califo
April 26, 2011, 09:14 PM
I understand Ruger has used 3 different rates of twist in Mini-14 barrels. You will want to know which you have. Your link does not indicate the twist. Heavy bullets 69-80 gr.) prefer faster twist rate (1:7" or 1:9") for accuracy. For 55 gr., I do not think it makes much difference.

April 26, 2011, 09:14 PM
They say to get the best accuracy out of a Mini-14/30 you have to bed the action, get a trigger job, and cryo the barrel. That being said I want a Mini-30 Tactical some day.

Single Six
April 26, 2011, 09:22 PM
Yes, Major, a big "Thank You" for serving our country. It's because of guys like you that we have this great nation! Anyhow, my point: The AR snobs look down their noses at it, but the truth is, the Mini is an extremely rugged and reliable weapon. You've made a fine choice, and I know from personal experience that it will serve you well. For what it's worth, I'm in full time LE, and I would gladly trade my issued M4 for a Mini 14. Congratulations on a great purchase.:)

April 26, 2011, 09:23 PM
Marco, I checked, it's a 1:9 RH twist. I'll be shooting 55 grain for a while. I bought 250 rounds with the rifle.

uncyboo and Single Six - serving was my pleasure! I got the education of a lifetime!

NWdude - I've read about those problems with the older mini 14's. Reviews of the newer Mini's, the 581 series, are very different. The newer mini's have a fatter barrel and I hear are much more accurate. I'll find out soon.


April 26, 2011, 11:06 PM
I have a ranch rifle and like it so far but only have 200 rounds through it. I asked around a lot and read a great deal, it seems the only bad yo hear about the 580 and newer mini's comes from AR snobs, people with bad experiences and older models, and lastly people who never fired one or owned one. I would say 99.9% of mini owners are quite satisfied.

Marco Califo
April 26, 2011, 11:15 PM
My M-14 is 1:7, but I do not shoot heavy bullets in it. My Savage bolt 223 is 1:9 and that can handle all except the very heaviest bullets. Sierra 80 gr and Barnes 70 gr TSX both are recommended for 1:8 or faster. I am going to try the 70 gr all copper Barnes TSX in my 1:9 barrel, to make it legal to carry in the field in California's lead-free zones (that is about the endangered condors, and I am OK with it). If that doesn't workout I will use them up in the M-14. Those solid copper bullets are not cheap.

The Mini-14 is a good gun. It has a bad rep for accuracy, but I think that stems from people not knowing, or caring about, twist and bullet weights. I have had mine for years.

April 26, 2011, 11:48 PM
only one I have owned was an older one but it shot pretty good. 3" r so at a hundred, its not a bolt gun but good for what it is designed for. It did have the thinner barrell and that sucked, it got s hot so fast it was uncomfrtable after a magazine rapdly

April 27, 2011, 06:49 AM
My bet is you're going to love it. I also have a Ranch rifle in the 223 and have well over 1,000 rounds through it without a single jam, misfire, etc... It will shoot whatever ammo you give it and keep shooting. I put a decent scope on mine and with my handloads I shoot golf balls at 100 yards without any problems.

April 27, 2011, 07:27 AM
Thanks Maj for our freedom..... Off note here.. I was out last Sun at the range. One guy there had a mini 14 also,said he could not get the thing to group at all.Tried all different weights and all. I handed him 5 of my reloads and other than the fact he had to sight in his scope again all five shots were in a 1 inch circle at 100 yards. He did ask me my load recipie and was going to switch to it. So if you find yourself in same shoes,drop me a line and,see if my load works in your too..:D And again.Big Thanks for your Service from all of us...

April 27, 2011, 07:28 AM
Thought I would mention this to save you some heartburn in case it happens to you: my brother's will not cycle consistently with steel-cased ammo because it does not return to size after firing. Anything loaded in brass funcions flawlessly. This is a super fun rifle!

April 27, 2011, 08:12 AM
I absolutely love my Mini Tac. Its digested EVERY kind of ammo with no complaints, and groups every bit as well at a hundred as both my AR's did. What I like about the Mini is its simplicity. Mine sits next to my bed because I have absolute faith in it. Enjoy your rifle!

April 27, 2011, 05:09 PM
The Mini-14 is a good gun. It has a bad rep for accuracy, but I think that stems from people not knowing, or caring about, twist and bullet weights.

I've got a 188 series stainless ranch rifle that has EARNED it's reputation for inaccuracy. My AR-15, Savage model 11, and Mini-14 all have 1:9 barrels. But while the first two shot near MOA with quality handloads out of the box, the Mini-14 was lucky to shoot minute-of-torso before undergoing some serious modifications.

There are a lot of other things going on with the older Mini's besides barrel twist that contribute to it's reputation. They generally have long, rough, heavy triggers which certainly don't help accuracy. They often have poorly fitted stocks that benefit from proper bedding and free-floating. They typically need to have the gas block re-torqued, and the older models like mine had long, thin, tapered barrels that were simply awful.

I've been able to get my rifle near the MOA mark by addressing some of these issues. However, it's still nowhere near the accuracy of any other rifle I own and it has taken a significant investment of time and money to achieve this accuracy. As far as reliability goes, Mini-14 reliability is directly proportionate to magazine quality. This presented some real challenges to those of us who've been in the Mini game for a while, because up until a few years ago Ruger factory magazines over 5 rounds weren't available for public purchase. This limited the selection to aftermarket varieties, many of which were of questionable reliability, and others of which were of zero reliability. Those of us fortunate enough to acquire Precision or Ruger magazines were able to avoid reliability issues, but others who weren't independently wealthy were stuck with National or Pro Mags and experienced much frustration with this rifle's reliability.

So all that's to say, the Mini-14 HAS come by its reputation honestly. I'm no AR-Snob, just a Mini owner who has experienced it first hand. The game has changed a lot today with the availability of quality magazines and newer models of the rifle which reportedly have better barrels, stocks, triggers, etc. Hopefully you'll love this newer rifle and find it to be a real shooter. We look forward to hearing a range report after you get her out. :)

April 27, 2011, 07:00 PM
If your trigger has a lot of creep in it as my ranch rifle did, try polishing the engagement surfaces of the primary and secondary sears as well as the hammer. Just a simple polishing job took all the creep out of my trigger, pull weight is the same but it breaks so much cleaner it's like a brand new trigger. I have noticed some stringing of shots when the barrel heat up, so I may invest in a barrel strut or build my own, something you may want to consider. The Mini-14 is a blast to shoot even if it's not the most accurate rifle out of the box, mine will shoot 2" groups @100 with factory ammo which is fine with me. I'm still working up handloads for it but so far I've got it down around 1.5". Enjoy the new rifle.


April 27, 2011, 07:07 PM
I just bought a new Stainless Target mini-14 with the rubber stock and I like it a bunch. The tactical model is very cool as well, my friend bought one. He has not shot it yet, it looks good though.

April 27, 2011, 07:48 PM
I have a 188 series SS Ranch.
Had some fun customizing it. With a bunch of mods (trigger job, strut, bedding) it's a decent shooter. The newer ones are much more accurate out of the box, and their reliability is, IMO, the reason they're still a viable choice in a .223 semi-auto. They're not an AR, and were never intended to compete with them.

Range report when you can!

Come and take it.
April 27, 2011, 10:24 PM
considering that most combat takes place at ranges where an M4 is considered the weapon of choice I see no problem with mini-14 or mini-30 accuracy.

I have a stainless gb retired from state police, and a mini-thirty tactical with flashhider. both guns are highly reliable with the factory magazines. and I have yet to clean the mini-thirty and I have put 300+ rounds down the tube.

I question the claims by the military in laughing off the mini-14 because it was "too lightly constructed" to handle battlefield abuse. I have to disagree. I never saw a mini 14 with a melted down barrel, broken parts or otherwise trashed.

poor accuracy from a benchrest is its only weak attribute.

reflex shooting accuracy is superb.

I also have to question the insults that are heaped on the mini-14 when it shows up at a tactical training school. I guarantee they can more than handle their own so long as they have factory magazines ...

Of which I must make the comment that the AR 15 benefits from extensive research on magazine design due to its service with the worlds militaries. If that much research were done on mini14 magazine design than we would see many different companies coming out with excellent mags for the mini.

April 28, 2011, 08:27 AM

Here's my Mini-30 Tactical. I guess the flash hider and 20 round mag makes it "tactical". I have a Redfield 2-7x33 scope mounted but it comes with some of the best iron sights I have ever seen on a production rifle. I ordered a 5 round mag for the range, with it in place and the scope off it also makes a nice compact truck gun. The heavy barrel makes it very front heavy, but the buttstock is hollow and I may fill it with ballast, maybe a small survival kit. Wood stocks are pretty cheap on eBay as well. Overall length is the same as my Hungarian AK, but with the flash hider removed it would be about an inch shorter. I like the Garand-type action, even the safety is in the right place.

I read lots of reports of the Mini-30 not extracting steel cased ammo which worried me, but mine has had zero malfunctions with the cheap spam-can Russian ammo I have for my AK. That's after 400 rounds. While zeroing the scope I got several groups under 1.5" and one group .95" at 100 meters. None of the 10 groups were over 2". It will probably do better with good brass ammo.

So far I am impressed with this gun, even though I'm still not sure what I bought it for.

April 28, 2011, 10:38 AM
I have the exact same setup as Rob3, except with 10 rd mags do to NJ state law. I really like this gun. With the Redfield scope and regular 55 gr FMJ I shoot 1" groups all day long at 50 yards off a sandbag. I know that should be no big deal, but I am a novice rifleman and, in any event, that type of accuracy is 100% acceptable for any conceivable defensive role this rifle might play.

April 29, 2011, 12:27 AM
Rob, I believe the 16" barrel is what makes it "tactical".

April 29, 2011, 02:20 AM
You could have spent the same amount of money and gotten an AR that does everything better than a mini.

April 29, 2011, 03:00 AM
But he didnt want an AR.

April 29, 2011, 04:08 AM
Well Major- here they come.....be prepared to listen to your interest in this excellent arm being run down by the trolls. Anyway, back to your request. I have a 580 series, shortened the barrel to 16 1/8'', added a flash suppressor. I've shot hundreds of rounds thru it with no issues. Steel cased Wolf ammo has caused no issues whatsoever.

Come and take it.
April 29, 2011, 06:52 AM
AR 15 is not better. The mini is tempermental with bullet selection. For the 1 n 7 twist try 62 grain ss109 or 69 grain match. But a lot more reliable than the AR15. AR15s can on occasion have major malfunctions like stuck cases that require a cleaning rod to knock out if you cant bump them out by slapping the butt on the ground. If a mini 14 malfunctions it is usually a very easy to rectify malfunction and is ALWAYS magazine related. Once again emphasizing this as extensive research has never been conducted on creating a cheap to build, reliable magazine which would be contracted out to other companies to make. Ruger magazines are very reliable but are more expensive to manufacture due to this lack of research.

here is my mini 30 tactical with ati stock and custom built foregrip


the mini 14 has been used by two military forces at least in its history. One is bermuda, the other britian of which it was issued to troops fighting in Norther Ireland.


April 29, 2011, 09:19 AM
I certainly appreciate the advice, but in this case I didn't want an AR/M4 type rifle. I wanted something different. I've had plenty of experience with them and wanted a change. I've always found the mini 14 to be a handsome gun and I like the Garand action. Recent reviews and research leads me to believe that many of the old accuracy problems have been resolved. I also have no illusions about this being a sniper rifle. 2 inch groups will be just fine for me at 100 yards. I haven't had the chance to get out with it yet, but I will soon. I'll report back when I do.

April 29, 2011, 02:46 PM
Major...I have a 580 series with the thin barrel. It shot 2-2.5'' groups out the box. I retorqued and polished the gas block which stopped the brass from being damaged on ejection. Had a trigger job done, installed recoil buffers which stopped the brass from ejecting into the next county. My last upgrade was an accu-strut which stopped the rifle from stringing shots when the barrel heated up. They make one for the thicker barreled rifles like yours but I have heard they werent necessary. My best group so far is 1.2'' which is good but not my main concern. Its very reliable. I have found ruger 20rd. mags for $23 on sale at midwayusa before. They are the best. Promag has been good in my rifle also. I hope you enjoy your rifle as much as I enjoy mine,they are great rifles.

April 30, 2011, 07:39 AM
You could have spent the same amount of money and gotten an AR that does everything better than a mini.

I have both, a dpms panther, and a 580 series tactical mini. The mini more than holds it own with the AR, it is in fact much more reliable. The mini has never once jammed under any condition to which the same can not be said for the AR. When the Panther is neglected and shot dirty and dry it jams regularly. The accuracy of both are almost identical 1.5 ". The only area where the AR has a clear advantage IMO is the process of changing magazines and their cost, the mini is more cumbersome.

April 30, 2011, 08:43 AM
Last group I shot from my tactical with russian ammo was 2.5". With reloads meant for a bolt action rifle with no crimp fed one at a time I have shot under 1". I like mine.

May 6, 2011, 02:49 PM
I took my new Mini-14 to the range today and zeroed and shot it. It was a blast! I zeroed at 100 yards and adjusted my groups so they were 2 inches high at 100 yard. That way, I figure I'll be right on at 200 yards. It was a real sweet shooter. Both factory mags worked well, and i didn't experience any sort of malfunction. I fired about 80 rounds trying to get a feel for the gun and the sights. The gun feels rock solid and the action is crisp. I didn't have a bipod or sand bags, but I used my range bag for muzzle support for some of my groups. My best groups were within 2 inches, my worst about 4 inches. Some of that I shot standing unsupported, as well. The rifle performed very well and from my perspective is very accurate. I have no doubt that I could easily hit man size targets at 200 yards and better. I love the rifle and feel it will meet my needs very well.

May 6, 2011, 03:36 PM
Glad to hear you like it so far. I really like mine too. I did swap out the black polymer stock for a regular walnut stock. Its a tad longer and a mite heavier, but is an improvement for me. I like the LOP on the regular stock better than the short Tac stock. It feels better in hand and it shoots a bit better, withe the weight re-distributed. Now its not as front-heavy as before and offhand shooting has improved. No other mods have been done. I even like the trigger just fine after owning two S&W MP15's. Their triggers were well over ten lbs.
Have fun with the mini. Keep us posted on its reliability and such.

May 6, 2011, 07:31 PM
Gunmkter, I hear what you're saying. I used the M16/M4 along with many other soldiers for a lot of years. I can assure you that sub MOA is not important to them. Quick shots, center of mass do the trick just fine. If the second shot hits 2 or 3 inches one way or the other, no one cares as long as the bad guy goes down.

While I appreciate accuracy and excellence as much as the next guy, what matters in a fight is "good enough". Most times you're in a god awful position, or moving or weighed down with so much gear, good luck getting comfortable. When I shoot to practice, that is how I practice. I train as I will fight...and it ain't benchrest!

May 6, 2011, 08:03 PM
Amen! Spoken like a true professional.