View Full Version : AK or Mini-14

Nine the Ranger
July 16, 2012, 10:34 PM
I've decided that my next rifle will be an AK Variant or a,Mini-14.

In my area they both run anywhere between $550-$800, I can only get one seeing as I have a wedding to pay for soon(mine) so.it will be my last gun for a while, and aside from bi-weekly ammo purchases and range trips I'll be done for about a year.

So I ask of you, a Mini-14 or an AK (please list make/model and price)

Unrelated note: I feel like I've posted to many threads in my short time on TFL...

July 16, 2012, 10:42 PM
I decided on a Mini-14 Ranch Rifle four years ago. No regrets. The new models have solved that nagging accuracy problem that plagued most earlier 14s.

July 16, 2012, 11:58 PM
First, which caliber do you want? If 7.62x39 shouldn't you be comparing an AK and Mini-30?

Nine the Ranger
July 17, 2012, 12:05 AM

Caliber isn't a huge deal here. This will really be a Fun/SHTF/Possible Home Defense rifle, so I'm really basing it on the style of rifle. The Mini-30 is fine and all, but I'd prefer a 14.

July 17, 2012, 01:36 AM
Hey Nine.
I'm a Mini-30 fan, becasuse I'm a fan of the x39mm cartridge. For me it is a better choice, as I believe the heavier bullets available up in .30 cal make it a more viable medium game getter ((deer mostly, maybe hogs) . You don't mention huntng, so the heavy bullet issue doesn't apply in your choice. BAck in the day, x39mm ammo was once dirt cheap. Those days are over, so ammo cost doesn't figure in our case (anymore) either.

As a fun gun, w/ an eye towards PD/HD, the .223 makes sense for you and thus the Mini-14. A mini will scope easier than most AK's, have a better trigger outright, and factory high cap mags are readily available. The new Mini14's are alleged to be pretty accurate too. As a GP rifle, the wood stocked, flush mag mini's have a pretty domestic appearance as well, if that matters. ( not to me, but to some)

As far as AK's go, I like them too. But I don't see them in the same light as a mini. A semi AK is not as versatile as a Mini in either caliber, with trigger, optic and usually accuracy issues. Nothing much looks like an AK, or has their aura, so if you really want all that, an AK is your only answer, but I think is is not as useful a rifle.

July 17, 2012, 02:56 AM
AK is my vote. There are quite a few models that are in the $500-600 range.

Art Eatman
July 17, 2012, 03:05 PM
I know of no semi-auto which won't hold minute of torso at defense distances, so "accuracy" is irrelevant in that use.

I have found that even the skinny-barrel Minis were very reliable for the first shot going where I wanted. That was detrimental to jackrabbits and coyotes. Three-shot 1.5 MOA groups were commonplace. (Mine were .223 and I used a K4.)

The Mini is less disturbing to Nervous Nellie neighbors, if that's any consideration. It might be evil, but it doesn't look evil. :)

Nine the Ranger
July 17, 2012, 03:11 PM
That's funny Art.

My 'Nervous Nellie' neighbors probably pack more heat then I do.

Grant D
July 17, 2012, 03:17 PM
I have a AK-47 and a Ruger Mini 30, of the two, I would take the Ruger over the AK. It's lighter and easier to scope.

July 17, 2012, 03:23 PM
In my area the .223 is much more expensive to shoot as a "fun" rifle as opposed to the 7.62x39. With that being said, the Mini-14 is maybe one of the best investment firearms of the last 10-20 years, and since you mentioned you're now starting a family that could be something you could consider. All in all both very fun guns!

Come and take it.
July 17, 2012, 04:21 PM
mini thirty. mine has been a very good kit. both accurate and reliable. Using factory 20 rounders.

July 17, 2012, 04:54 PM
I vote AK. This is a coin toss for your purposes but an AK with a com-bloc trunnion, barrel, and receiver are virtually indestructible unless they're improperly assembled.

Mags are cheap as are any parts you may need (doubt you'll ever need any). Cleaning is also very easy (not that it's hard on an Mini...). Both will work but I guess I just prefer the AK platform.

July 17, 2012, 05:06 PM
I would pick the mini-14. The 580 series and newer have thicker barrels and are better made than a comparable priced AK. I have a 580 series mini-14 and a Del-Ton AR and I prefer the .223/5.56 round over the AK round. Its nice having both.

July 17, 2012, 06:20 PM
The Ruger Mini-14/30 are pretty good rifles in their own right. If you decide to go with a .223/5.56 I would go with the Ruger. If, on the other hand, you go with the 7.62x39, it is pretty hard to beat a decent AK (Yugo or Saiga comes to mind).
I looked into buying a Mini-30 but several people who know, said that the Ruger will sometimes FTF with cheap Russian ammo so I went with an AR style in 5.56 instead (go figure).

July 17, 2012, 10:45 PM
Mini 14 beats an AK IMO. An American classic. I get so many nice comments about my "Garand" rifle when I take my Mini 14 to the range. Accurate (new style barrel), reliable, and fun to shoot.


July 17, 2012, 11:53 PM

What kind of mag is that in your Mini-30?

Ignition Override
July 18, 2012, 01:40 AM
My Mini 14 was bought in '08 and built in '90.
Using only Russian ammo (Wolf/Silver Bear), each of about 1,800 rds. fired the first time. It might be a benefit to be able to share ammo with any friends who own an AR.
The Ruger manual in 2008 stated that a Mini 14 functions safely with Both .223 and 5.56. Check it with Google.

But in contast my Mini 30, which was about four years old (in '08) needed a second firing pin strike about once every forty or so rds. It also used only new Russian-made ammo.

July 18, 2012, 05:13 AM

What kind of mag is that in your Mini-30?

That is a Ruger factory 10 round Mini 14 magazine. I live in the People's Republic of California which limits us to 10 round magazines. Ruger makes 20 round magazines available to those of you in FA (Free America). :eek:

Come and take it.
July 18, 2012, 07:01 AM
the problem with ftf had more to do with shabby quality control in wolf ammo. they are supposed to make the primers agreeable with all firearms that will shoot the ammo, not just the long firing pin of the AK. the ammo is advertised for use in civilian sporting rifles.

whether wolf rectified this issue or not I do not know.

Bear ammo is of a higher quality than wolf now surprisingly. and I have had no ftf at all with that ammo in my mini-thirty.

July 18, 2012, 10:13 PM
I was in the market for a mini-30, but the price and mixed reviews kept me at arms distance. My brother turned me onto an SKS. It shoots the same 7.62x39 as the AK and Mini-30, is super-reliable, and is about a third of the price of the Ruger. One drawback is that the magazine is fixed (typically 10 rounds), but it can be reloaded very fast with stripper clips - the bolt carrier has a notch at the forward end and it reloads in a similar fashion to the M1 Garand (push the rounds in from the top).

It's a very fun gun to shoot. For hunting you can get 5-round mags (trigger group has to be popped out to change mags).

July 19, 2012, 09:50 AM
Really depends on caliber.

I've looked at Saiga and various AK platforms in .223. Saiga has a good reputation and is cheap, but by the time you sink the money into getting it able to do what a Mini-14 or low end AR's are capable of, it's about the same price.

The AK's in .223 are not guaranteed to have the same level of reliability as your standard AK. There is a lot of changes that go into those guns and without dropping some serious cash, again AR-level money, I'm not sure I entirely trust them.

So Ruger wins for .223. Reliable and I am told very accurate in current versions. Hollywood calls it the "jamless wonder" because it can handle blank rounds with no problems. My experience with blank rounds, and these aren't even the all flash type Hollywood uses, is that they cram all kinds of crap into your gun. If a Mini-14 can operate under those conditions, that's pretty impressive.

For 7.62mm, it's a toss-up. I think the quality might be dodgy on the AK platforms imported to the US but with some research you might be able to find something a little cheaper then the Ruger-14 and I think the aftermarket support is likely better. Also, most AK's seem less picky about ammo but that doesn't mean it won't have other problems.

In short, all of the research I've done so far keeps pointing to the Ruger as a rock solid platform. Maybe not as accurate as an AR, but probably as accurate as an AK with every bit the same legendary reliability, if not better then the imports we get.

July 19, 2012, 11:04 AM
For 7.62mm, it's a toss-up. I think the quality might be dodgy on the AK platform

First time this has been said ever.

The AK platform was designed for 7.62 x 39.

July 19, 2012, 11:09 AM
Apologies, I meant specifically on the US imports. Edited post for clarity.

Due to the changes that have to be made for import, many posters here have reported various oddities with the AK platform. Arsenal seems to be most consistently reported for quality, but those are the priciest available that I've seen.

Nine the Ranger
July 20, 2012, 01:38 PM
Thank you for all the input everyone.

I've decided to go with the Mini-14 :)