View Full Version : Mini 14 Review

Point Blank
September 5, 2001, 06:15 AM
Since 6 out of 10 here on TFL say its not worthy, i would like to see in a future magazine a review by agencies and officers that depend their lives on the Mini 14's efficient firepower. Although maybe not used by SWAT members,countless squad cars trunks are carrying one if a call for help turns ugly.

Denny Hansen
September 5, 2001, 11:02 AM
Point Blank,
Last I heard, NYPD's Emergency Services Unit used Mini-14's and are quite happy with them. They may not get the press which some other teams do, but they are first class all the way.

Tell ya what--I'll get a Mini-14 in for a T&E and run it side-by-side an AR. Points of comparison would be accuracy, reliability and ergonomics. I'll use both factory ammo and some home-brewed swaged reloads. Just holler if there is anything else you would like to see in the report.


Point Blank
September 5, 2001, 05:46 PM
Sounds like a very good idea since both are used by LEO's and civilians alike. If you can get your hands on a synthetic stock Ranch rifle, the testing for ergonomics and accuracy will give the Mini 14 a much better chance against the AR15. Also the MSRP should be included since the Mini will be $200 cheaper. Now...for the bread and butter...at what distance are we talking about testing the two?? Would a policeman or SWAT member take a 100-300 yard shot with either??, i hope not, i think they would would wait on a scoped .308 etc. So how about testing at distances one would feel comfortable in doing so, like 25/50 and "maybe" 100 yards...although we know an experienced police marksman would not use a AR or Mini at that range.The cost of high capacity mags are a definite issue to the civilian Mini 14 owner but i will call Symrna Police Distributors tommorrow morning to find out the price a LEO with a letterhead has to pay.

Denny Hansen
September 5, 2001, 08:52 PM
Point Blank:
Spoke with the folks at Ruger today and a stainless Mini dressed in synthetic is on the way for T&E. I requested some 20-round mags be sent along with it, but they have to check with the brass to see if a "normal" dealer can receive them (sigh).

Most of the shooting will probably done at 50 yards and in, but we'll take it to 100. Agree with your earlier post about that distance, but there's chance that the cavalry with a .308 won't arrive in time and a shot might have to be taken. Anything past 100 with a "patrol rifle" that is probably not wearing optics borders on reckless endangerment IMHO.

Point Blank
September 7, 2001, 03:53 PM
Smyrna Police Dist. wants $26.99 for a Ruger 20 round mag and $25.99 for a Ruger 30 round mag with a letterhead of course:mad: . I only have 30 rounders myself,made by PMI. I read somewhere that they had the contract to make the Mini's mags. If you need any mags for the test i have 3 i will ship. That was very nice of Ruger to provide a Mini for the testing. I know this will not be possible with a loaned rifle, but i just wondered how both would fair with a cup or so of good ol' Texas dirt poured in and around their actions as one part of the test:p . Guess only thing missing is my two first class tickets to make sure the testing is on the "up and up". Me and my assistant (my wife) just wants to make sure the ol' Mini gets a fair shake. Honestly, from what i have "read", the AR will shoot slightly better in the long run but hopefully a dust strorm will arise from the East, rendering the AR useless..............

Denny Hansen
September 7, 2001, 05:42 PM
Thanks for the offer of the mag loan, but if I have to I'll buy a few for the test. CDNN out of Abilene is offering blued 20 and 30-rnd. mags for $9.99 and stainless for $12.99 (800-588-9500).

You're right in that I won't be able to use any Texas dust in the t&e. I'll have to settle for what I have here in Arizona . :)

Point Blank
September 9, 2001, 10:49 AM
Nothing against CDNN, but the mags they sell for $9.99 are junkers,and the Mini will be doomed in the reliability dept. if mags other than PMI or factory Ruger are used. The five round factory mag that comes with the rifle will be reliable. Owning a Mini 14 is kinda like being rich and having beautiful women after you (or it).....you might have to feed her the finest cut of beef,but afterwords you will have the sweetest tasting uh,milk....:p

George Hill
September 22, 2001, 12:25 PM
Yeah, the Ruger Mini-14 is a great rifle... Especially in Stainless.
I think the A-TEAM used one in every episode.


Point Blank
September 22, 2001, 01:01 PM
Yeah, kinda sad thats all some folks like me can afford :( But one of these days.............................................

September 24, 2001, 12:20 AM
I have a Mini-14 GBF 183XXXX with all the nice little factory options like a Folding stock, Bayonet lug and flash suppressor.
The thing is just plain reliable.
I did however put a Harris bipod and a Liepers 3-9x40 scope on it. The B-Square mount is garbage though, so I'll have to find some other mount.
Got lots of good range pics if you would like to view them

George Hill
September 24, 2001, 11:28 AM
For the price of a Stainless Mini-14 you could buy some other very nice rifles.
L1A1 in .308.
SAR-1 in .7.62X39MM

And many others. No, your not going to get a customized M-4 Clone, but you'll be better off without that anyway.

Long Path
September 25, 2001, 03:26 AM
My department has just begun to broach the subject of Patrol rifles, and of course the Mini-14 is the front-runner. I've been trying to get our Chief interested in stainless versions, with the good peep sights, headliner racks, and NO bells or whistles on them. Thank gawd he's not stuck on the concept of pistol-round carbines!

I would look forward to reading a write-up of the stock Mini-14!

Johnny Guest
September 25, 2001, 10:30 AM
- - - to AlbertaCanada and all others with personally-owned Mini 14s, I believe an objective assessment of a box-standard piece is what is needed. One crucial component of the ttest will be how well it works at the various ranges with the issue sights. I've always liked the standard sights on the Mini, though I don't have any vast experience with 'em.

When you begin adding bells and whistles and illuminated mud flaps, you get beyond what the typical agency wants to spend. My sheriff's office issues the plain-jane version to all patrol units and certain other-detail supervisors. Typically, the rifle enthusiasts do pretty well at 25, 50, and 100 yds with the issue item, and those who want to add optics, bipods, lasers and flashlights to their personally-owned Minis don't do quite as well. It's the old story--you cannot equip yourself into proficiency.

And, ordinarily, agencies are dead-set against allowing individuals to hang add-on gear to an issue weapon. (Yep, I said WEAPON.)

I'll look forward to the evaluation.


Dean Speir
October 7, 2001, 12:05 PM
Denny Hansen wrote:
Last I heard, NYPD's Emergency Services Unit used Mini-14's and are quite happy with them. Yes, they do use Mini-14s. Last I looked they were blued Series 182s folders, but as for being "quite happy" with them, I submit that they make do with what they've got, jus' like the Ithacas.I'll get a Mini-14 in for a T&E and run it side-by-side an AR. Points of comparison would be accuracy, reliability and ergonomics. Then the Ruger loses and one of you is gonna have to move out of the Prescott area….

I'm a long time Mini-14 owner, and took a Pat Rogers carbine course several years ago, one of three Mini-14s in a sea of Colt's/Stoner-pattern guns. The Mini-14s are reliable and terrific knock-around guns, but they can't as a practical matter be made to shoot with the intrinsic accuracy of an AR-15, #1, and, #2, the ergonomics, particularly in the area of magazine exchange, are ridiculous.

One of the other Mini-14 guys immediately jumped ship and bought a Bushmaster, leaving me 'n' the NY ESU guy with our Rugers. I'm stubborn and Scottish, he's stuck with what's issued… and does quite well with that, having sent two post-WTC #1 bombers back to Allah with that Ruger.

Magazines? I've got two Ruger 30s (excellent), two RamLine 30s (good), an Eagle 35 with the negator spring (very good), the stock Ruger five-rounder (pfffffui!), a miscellaneous 10-rounder (good) and, miracle Dieu!, a USA 40 that not only actually works, but works extremely well. But based on years of frustration with USA Magazines products, that 40-rounder is an anomaly.

Dave/AlbertaCanada sez: I have a Mini-14 GBF 183XXXX with all the nice little factory options like a Folding stock, Bayonet lug and flash suppressor.
The thing is just plain reliable.
I did however put a Harris bipod and a Liepers 3-9x40 scope on it. The B-Square mount is garbage though, so I'll have to find some other mount. Roger on the reliable, but honest to Peter G. Kokalis, what do you think you have there? The Mini-14 isn't really meant for CQB and a bayonet would for the most part just get in the way. And Gawd forbid you would ever have to use it... that rugged the Ruger isn't!

(Note to Moderator Johnny Guest: you can stop biting your tongue now…)

http://communities.prodigy.net/sportsrec/091101/mem-ribbon.gif Dean, jus' visitin' from The Gun Zone (http://www.thegunzone.com)…

October 7, 2001, 03:27 PM
Please test the Mini-14 for this problem: I must warn, this is not a "they say," or an "I heard," or even a "somebody on the 'net said." This is a "I was there and saw it happen....more than once."
Several years ago, I was in a basic rifle marksmanship (LEO) course with 10-12 AR's, mostly Colts. Three deputies had Mini-14s, the ones with the three round burst capability but full stocks. Each night, we would clean our weapons. First rounds fired each day were sighters, practicing verifying POI, etc. The Minis, all three IIRC, would not hold the same point of aim/point of impact after being cleaned. Group locations moved 6 or more inches. To make matters worse, the POI change was so bad in one gun that the rear sight did not have sufficient adjustment range to bring them back on zero in at least one instance. All three Minis suffered, though in three different degrees. The ARs held zero or close enough to zero to make changes unnecessary. We were firing 100 yards, prone, loop sling. I always liked the ergos and feel of the little Rugers, but this put me off of them. What are the chances that those were the ONLY 3 like that?

October 7, 2001, 06:08 PM
Yeah, the Ruger Mini-14 is a great rifle... Especially in Stainless.
I think the A-TEAM used one in every episode.

Yeah, but did you ever see them actually hit anybody?
Maybe the show's producers were disgruntled mini-14 users. :D

George Hill
October 8, 2001, 02:52 PM
LOL... Thats pretty much the point I was making.
4 guys, 30 round endless feed magazines... Not one single hit.

October 8, 2001, 09:27 PM
I'd like to see you test various brands of aftermarket 20 and 30 round magazines, to see if any work and to point out the lemons.

October 9, 2001, 07:50 PM
4 guys, 30 round endless feed magazines... Not one single hit.

That is not true! I have seen more than one person suffer a fleshwound!:p

October 23, 2001, 12:17 PM
I have a mini-14 and a mini-30 and havent had a problem hitting what I was aiming at out to 150-200. They have been great guns. As far as filling the action with sand dont bother I have done it and the gun still works they are super reliable. In fact due to my experience with my minis I went out and bought an M1A because the action is so resilient. So dont bother with the sand all it will do is waste 4 hours of your time cleaning it afterwards.

November 8, 2008, 07:08 PM
I have a stainless ranch model, it is very dependable and for shoots out to 300, I love it, I wont get rid of mine. not with that new face going to the White House.

Mas Ayoob
November 8, 2008, 09:45 PM
Denny, I think you've seen in this thread an excellent predictor of your test results.

My experience has also been that the Mini beats the AR for reliability (so long as it has good magazines), while for pure shooting, the AR has superior ergonomics and many of today's ARs will exceed the Mini somewhat in accuracy.

One point I haven't seen mentioned here yet is the weapon retention factor. With conventional stock, the Mini gives its user much more leverage in a struggle for the gun than the AR configuration does (and more than a pistol-grip aftermarket stock on a Mini offers).

I'm looking forward to reading your review. The small department I serve (part time) has used Mini-14s since 1993 and has been delighted with their overall performance, reliability, and suitability (in stainless) to 24/7 patrol car storage in an intensely four-season environment..

Mal H
November 8, 2008, 11:35 PM
Mas, I'm afraid you've been pulled in by a 7 year old thread that was resurrected from the crypt.

November 9, 2008, 02:30 AM
I remember reading earlier this year that the current crop of mini-14's have a revamped method of mounting the front sight that eliminates the problem of losing zero caused by poor glued(?) front sight mount on prior crops.

How's that for a run on sentence?

November 9, 2008, 07:54 PM
...a 7 year old thread that was resurrected from the crypt

And from a first-time poster, too. I can't tell you how often I see this, or how often I wonder at why newbies tend to do this... :mad:

November 10, 2008, 09:45 AM
And from a first-time poster, too. I can't tell you how often I see this, or how often I wonder at why newbies tend to do this..

If I may opine as to why this happens, go back and look at the posts of some of our more "Experienced" posters flaming a new poster for not using the search function, and chastizing them for asking repeat questions. Then we flame them for using search and trying to follow up with questions.

Damned if ya do, damned if ya don't :confused:

Mal H
November 10, 2008, 11:52 AM
[Continuing the off-topic trend]

OuTcAsT - I know what you're saying, but I disagree to an extent. When newbies (or downright lazy folks) are scolded for not using the search function, they are being told, in essence, that their question has been answered many times in the past. They are not being told that it is necessary to post in the old thread. IOW, resurrecting an old thread and adding 2 cents is not the solution for not searching and asking an old question.

In the case here, the added info could just as easily have been a new thread in the rifle forum instead of added to an ancient thread in this forum. Besides it appears to have been instigated by politics anyway.

December 3, 2008, 02:21 AM
Got a stock Ranch Rifle many years ago for $295.00....went, before Y2K up in the hills for lots of practice.

I hate the iron sights...in fact lost my front peep sight as it slide into the grass. Shucks a Texas born guy like me can't let a little problem stop me from blowing another hundred rounds of 55 grain ammo.

So I just 'imagined' the front site...and the blade is too big and obscures long distance targets...but surprisingly enough...I found I could continue to make 100 yard and further targets with no peep site at all. Just tune into what your doing and do it as if your life depended upon it...and I believe I could fire any rifle, after a dozen or so tries, with no sites at all.

I later added a cheap scope..a 3x9 Bushnell scoped into 100 yards and have no regrets.

The rolling block as in the venerable M-One of WW II fame...is totally reliable...nothing to break, no little springs to bob out and be unfindable...the mags are either workable or not...I have no name mags that do just fine...others need fixing or tossing...not as reliable as the AR mags, on the whole.

But considering the AR downsides and the price...I feel my little Ranch Rifle in its wood stock...as good as I am going to get or likely to get from the 5.56mm, for the bucks. And it fires every ammo I have tried in it...and rejects none.

Get a new set of sites for the rifle, get them on zero and you shouldn't have a problem...as I say...the stock sights...just suck.

Look around, stop complaining and get a good set of workable mags and your in business. The AR has a billion dollars behind it...Stoner's vision works because of the research and money to bring it up to par. Ruger's rifle is a great little carbine...without all that research and money behind it.

But a little creativity and work on your part and you could have a great carbine for half the price of an AR and without the downsides of an AR in it's finickiness...

December 3, 2008, 02:38 AM
Not to mention the mini is CA legal the stock AR isn't. I've had the stainless model for years and love it
CA Dept of Corrections has them in their towers.

December 3, 2008, 07:27 AM
since someone brought it up. i personally have not tried the "search" on this board but after a few years with this puter i have yet to have a "search" bring up anything but article not found. this on ANY board i have tried it on.:confused:

December 3, 2008, 08:39 AM
the A team used them. i have 1. therfore i must be the A team. seriously i have 1 and like it. it works all the time and i like the "m-14" look. it is not as accurate as my colt ar-15 which is sub moa at 100 yds but it is respectable and certainly has no problem hitting man sized targets at 200 yds. someone mentioned magazine replacement. it is no harder to replace than an ak mag but i do like the ease of slapping a new mag into the ar. i have 1 and i'd buy another at the right price.

December 3, 2008, 12:22 PM
what ever happened to the guys reviews and comparasin?

Denny Hansen
December 4, 2008, 12:15 PM
Keep in mind this thread was started seven years ago. A side by side comparison was made in S.W.A.T. Magazine in the March 2002 issue.

December 4, 2008, 09:25 PM
so i am looking to get a reliable rifle in february, i was thinking of a bushmaster, but i dont know if i will have the money. Are the mini 14's usually a resonably cheap price? also, which model should i look for? 223? sorry if thats a newb question, but i am relitivly new to buying myself. Shot alot when i was younger, but just now getting back into it.

Denny Hansen
December 5, 2008, 03:52 PM

Do some research in the "Art of The Rifle" forum.

December 5, 2008, 09:29 PM
had question answered

Ignition Override
January 18, 2009, 01:30 AM
Denny Hansen:
When LEOs are in need of a self-defense rifle, do they need top accuracy beyond about 200 feet?
If not, then wouldn't the Mini 14's reliability (often only with Ruger-built mags) be the top priority?

Did departments ever consider the Mini 30?

January 22, 2009, 10:08 PM
my mini 30 is sweet.

my mini 14 shoots 3 feet low

I must have gotten one of the defective ones.