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Old January 1, 2014, 10:10 AM   #1
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Stay or Go?? Ruger Mini 14

I have a 582 series that I have had for over a year, it is still new in the box. I have not had time to go to the range. I got this gun for all the reasons that you would want a semi auto carbine.

I am starting to get cold feet, because of all the negative talk about accuracy. Should I sell it and get an AR wile it's new.

So anyone out their who has a mini who can shoot 2-2.5 in at 100yds with irons talk me into keeping it please.

P.S please don't tell me that the gun will shoot better than I can, when it comes to benching a gun in, all variables are covered.
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Old January 1, 2014, 10:24 AM   #2
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You're still in the time warp, and outdated info on the legendary Mini-14.
Used to own one, sold it at the height of the gun freak-out early this year and am now in the market for another...

The "older" Mini's, including the Ranch, did suffer from a sometimes (not always) reputation for inaccuracy, from the thin "pencil barrel" (as they are sometimes still called), as well as plain old, worn-out tooling on the assembly line from so many being produced over the years.

Ruger actually shut down production for a couple of years to re-invent the Mini, including new tooling and the results were measureable when they were re-introduced back in '06 or '07 (I forget exactly when...)

Heavier barrels, faster twist for heavier bullets, and new machinery on the production line has made the "new" Mini much better than those of the past.

While I suspect the AR platform has replaced the Mini in most LE applications, it's reputation for reliability is what earned it that niche.

Even the most ardent detractors of the Mini-14 platform, will concede that point.

When you pull the trigger, it will go bang. Period. And for a SD carbine, that's at the top of the list.

They will easily shoot 2 minutes with good quality ammo if the shooter does their part.
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Old January 1, 2014, 11:23 AM   #3
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All my Minis were early versions. Sure, no very-tight five shot groups, but the first shot--and, commonly, the next two--generally were right on target, right where I wanted. For a hunter, how can that be bettered?

As far as any self-defense use, minute of cranium is plenty good--which means that minute of torso is a gimme.
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Old January 1, 2014, 11:34 AM   #4
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I find it plenty accurate with the little aperture sight. Makes a great little carbine for general use. Accuracy stays around a minute of clay pigeon even when it's hot enough to smoke. Fun range toy very much like an M1 carbine.
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Old January 1, 2014, 11:49 AM   #5
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JMHO and I don't like bashing, one's choices

Know that I am a Ruger fan and to date, they have made some great guns. Sadly, the Mini-14 family is not one of them. I had a Ranch, for a time and besides the not being accurate, It ejected shells to the parking lot behind me. Some folks did not appreciate that. ...

Took it apart to clean and could not believe how cheap it was made. I owned it for about 30-days. Much better to put this money into an AR type ...

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Old January 1, 2014, 11:58 AM   #6
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how is it possible for you to not like YOUR gun when you have never shot it??

Stop reading and start shooting it, enjoy it and then decide
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Old January 1, 2014, 12:09 PM   #7
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Newer Mini 14's are certainly better than older versions, I've owned 3-4 over the years including the Mini 30 version. But an AR selling at the same price point is far better. It is not that the Mini is a bad gun, it is just extremely overpriced for what you get.

Quality magazines for a Mini sell for $40-$50 each. Quality AR magazines are $15-$20 each. Years ago when I could buy Mini's for under $350 new, under $250 used and AR's were selling for $800-$1,000 the Mini made a lot of sense. The last 2 AR's I bought were priced less than a basic Mini 14. They came with two 30 round magazines, telescoping stocks, cleaning kits, Picatinney rails, flash hiders, cleaning kits, and hard cases. If I had bought the Mini, and all of the extras separately the Mini would have ended up costing almost 2X more than the AR. For a less accurate, less reliable rifle

But, you already own the Mini. If I had one and liked it I'd likely keep it. A lightly used rifle vs NIB is going to sell for about the same in this case. The only guns really worth a lot more NIB and unfired are collectables that folks never intend to fire anyway. I'd take it out and use it before deciding. If you can get enough money out of it I'd consider upgrading. You might decide to keep it and add an AR later. Or you might just prefer the Mini.
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Old January 1, 2014, 04:16 PM   #8
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I will let others talk about the accuracy of ARs versus Minis because I do not do bench-rest shooting.

Comparing the Mini to an AR is difficult. Firstly, the Mini is a piston Garand-style action. I happen to think that this is an inherently better action than a DI AR. It is more reliable and it is fantastically easier to clean. I like piston ARs, but a piston AR is somewhat heavier than a Mini. The Mini is a light, handy, reliable carbine and the Ranch Rifles (the new design Minis) are pretty darned accurate. Essentially the Mini is a magazine-fed .223/556 version of the Garand, simplified and lighter.

Not sure what one of the posters is talking about when he says that Minis are "cheaply" made. I do not agree at all. The upper handguard is nothing to write home about, but then again, what about all that plastic on ARs? Most Mini owners that I know replace the Ruger stock upper handguard with the Choate, which only costs a buck or two and significantly improves the rifle.

I like ARs and I like Minis. There is a reason that a lot of us really like our Minis. The OP should shoot the darned thing and see if the Mini appeals to him. If not, there will be plenty of buyers for it. I'm guessing he will decide he likes his Mini but who knows?

My $.015.
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Old January 1, 2014, 05:05 PM   #9
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I just bought a new Mini--so you can guess where I'm going.

First--Factory 20 round mags can be found all day long for $30---not AR cheap but you are also getting hardened tempered steel instead of cheap, disposable aluminum or plastic.

Cheaply made??? All steel construction vs aluminum-----hhhhmmm just not sure how that fly's

Mini's are AK reliable--the same can't be said for AR's---also in the rare instance you manage to jam up a Mini, it is easily cleared---jam up an AR and you're screwed.

Heavy tapered barreled 580+ Mini's are every bit as accurate as any run of mill AR.

The only AR's worth owning are Colt or better--in the old days a Colt costed $300-$400 more than a Mini---guess what, they are still $300-$400 more than a Mini.

And yes I have an AR and its a Colt----I've had lesser AR's and they were junk---that's why they're gone.

The dealer where I bought the Mini only carries DPMS AR's----so it was between a POS DPMS for $900 or a fine Ruger Mini-14 for $750---no brainer---Mini all the way.

Would have bought another Colt but Walmart doesn't take trades and I didn't want to raped on trades by the pawn shop that carries Colt.
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Old January 1, 2014, 06:11 PM   #10
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I believe that you should at least try your rifle out before you get rid of it. As has been pointed out, the difference in lightly used and unused for a Mini will be slight in terms of resale. Minute of clay pigeon is about right but 2 MOA will be luck. I have an older pencil barrel Mini 14 which is not very accurate and a newer heavy barrel Mini 30 which is probably a 2-3 MOA shooter. Most of my AR's shoot MOA or less.

My guess is that you will regret selling it one day but there is no comparison between the accuracy and adaptability of an AR vs a Mini. Aluminum is every bit as good as steel in the places that it is used in an AR, just decreases weight. Some folks value the little horses on their AR's and I'm glad they do because I have made some good money selling Colts. In my experience, however, S&W, DPMS, JT Distributing, Bushmaster, etc. all make quality AR's.

There is a reason that Mini's are not seen in most 3-gun or other competitive carbine matches, they will not hang with an AR. Still, they are a handy rifle to have. As has been said, think of them as you would an M1 carbine but with a bit more punch. Good luck with your decision.
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Old January 1, 2014, 08:47 PM   #11
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Well, haven't seen the "Mini vs. AR" debate thread for a couple of months, must be a record, or I missed it...

OP, they're two different platforms, only similarity is they're both semi-auto's...

If I were getting a range gun, I'd build/buy an AR (and not in 5.56 either...)

For a truck gun, or SD carbine, Mini hands down.

AR will be more accurate. Mini will be more reliable. You can run a Mini bone dry forever, and it'll never have a failure to feed, or fire. Can't do that with an AR. The Mini's M-14 style action (that's where Bill Ruger got the name "Mini-14") utilizes a heavy bolt and op-rod that slams with authority. This accounts for it's legendary reliability- but is also the reason it's accuracy will not compare to a good AR.

Many Mini's back in the day lived neglected lives in the trunks of police cruisers never seeing the light of day- but there was never a doubt they would work as intended if/when needed.

Banging a clip out of one is sure to put a smile on anyones face, it's pure fun to shoot.

Get a couple of hundred rounds of varying weight ammo, break it in a bit and see how it shoots. I think you'll join the ranks of satisfied owners. The island of Bermuda only recently retired the Mini as their standard issue weapon.

Then, you'll end up buying an AR. Everyone should have at least one of each.
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Old January 1, 2014, 09:01 PM   #12
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Read these.

I think you should give that rifle a chance to shine before you ditch it.
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Old January 1, 2014, 10:46 PM   #13
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Ask the coyotes I have popped with my circa 1980 mini-14 . Oh , I forgot they are not talking. Take it out and shoot it and stop second guessing yourself.

Last edited by Daggitt; January 1, 2014 at 10:55 PM.
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Old January 1, 2014, 11:08 PM   #14
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I'd keep it and shoot it.

When I worked in law enforcement my patrol rifle was a Mini-14. I went through the Patrol Rifle and Patrol Rifle Instructor Courses with a 186 series that I was not the first one it was ever issued to. It never stumbled, coughed, or hiccuped in either course or any other time I trained or qualified with it.

I have a 581 series Model 5858 Mini-14.

I carried black rifles, M16A1, M16A2, M4, and M4A1, professionally for 21 years. My favorite one of those was the M16A2.

I also have an AR. Mine is an original Bushmaster XM-15E2S HBAR A2 Target with a 20" barrel. I have had it a while.

I think there is a place for both. I can hit whatever I shoot at with either of them.

When I want to shoot a a 5.56 rifle, I shoot my A2.

When I want a 5.56 carbine, I prefer my Mini-14.

If I want or need a battle rifle, I am getting out one of my M1 Garands.

Your mileage may vary.
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Old January 1, 2014, 11:11 PM   #15
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My recent tactical Mini was every bit as accurate as my 1976 200th year model. Buy something else.
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Old January 2, 2014, 01:58 AM   #16
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I like Mini's. I like the pseudo Garand action, wood and blue steel look, and the ones I've had experience with were as reliable as their legendary parents. They were sufficiently accurate.

I do not like the new price.
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Old January 2, 2014, 03:47 AM   #17
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keep the Ranch Rifle and save up for a Mini-30 or AK, and remember reliability is is the best function of a Mini/Ranch Rifle.
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Old January 2, 2014, 06:49 AM   #18
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I had a mini. Sold it to buy something else, but it was a great gun. I never understood the whole "inaccurate" comments. Are you going to put them in the same hole all day with a mini? probably not, but show me someone who does that with an AR. Is the AR a bit more accurate? maybe, but for all practical purposes, does it really matter? All I know is I stapled an empty 9MM ammo box to my target and fired 20 rounds from my Mini, using iron sights and standing unsupported. 50 yards away. Shredded the box. That's a grouping the size of my palm, aiming at a 4 inch target at 50 yards.

By the way, I just sold my last AR. Got more into Garands. Don't miss the Ar. Do miss the mini.

Your Mini is now used, so subtract about 20% of your purchase price (if you're lucky) if you sell it. Doesn't matter if you never fired it. It's pre-owned so it's used. Is losing that 200 bucks worth getting an AR? I don't think so.
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Old January 2, 2014, 02:44 PM   #19
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For me, the Mini has priced itself right out of being relevant. When they were inexpensive they were a good beat around working class rifle. But at almost $800 for a base model I will buy/build an AR any day of the week. I had a Mini way back and sold it because it would barely hit a paper plate at 50yds. I thought about building one recently with the wonderful looking Archangel stock- until I looked at the new prices. I bought a Diamondback AR instead.

But price is really irrelevant here since you already own the rifle. Take it to the range and shoot it, see how it does and whether you like it. Putting 200 rds through it will not hurt your resale value in anything more than a negligible way. Either way, you wouldn't be able to sell it for enough to fund a Colt AR. And everybody knows that any AR that isn't a Colt is just garbage.
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Old January 2, 2014, 05:49 PM   #20
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For their current price they are hard to justify.. but.. AK reliability in an American platform is a win/win. My 90's model 195 series shoots about 2.5 to 3 MOA.. I can consistently hit water bottles and pop cans at 100 yards, and coyotes out to 150, maybe 175 on a good day. Good enough for me.. I like the fact that it is very reliable, and for some reason (probably noise and recoil) it is more fun to plink than my AR. That, and with a folding stock it fits easily into anything.

They were great, cheap beater rifles in their day, and you had to take the bad with the good. It isn't a rifle to win a bullseye competition with. I paid $480 for mine brand new in 1998.
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Old January 2, 2014, 08:43 PM   #21
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I'd take it out and shoot the heck out of it. If you like how it performs, keep it, if you don't, then sell. It might well surprise you.
This old Series 188 Ranch Rifle has digested literally thousands of rounds. Steel case Commie stuff, brass case mil surp, handloads and factory hunting rounds.
In all honesty, I cannot think of a single failure to chamber, to eject, or to fire. Accuracy is two inches at 100 yards. First shot, or the last in the magazine. For me, it's a keeper.

And yes, I have AR rifles as well, and equally enjoy them.
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Old January 3, 2014, 01:09 AM   #22
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My Mini 14 was manufactured in '90, and was so reliable that it could have been a product of the Yugo or Russian SKS factories.

No idea about the old rifle's accuracy, because targets were bottles at about 30 yards.
I only sold it in order to have quick cash for an Enfield "Jungle Carbine". Also had a Mini 30 at the time.

Last edited by Ignition Override; January 5, 2014 at 03:46 AM.
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Old January 3, 2014, 01:42 AM   #23
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My Mini has been through severql hundred rounds without cleaning, works flawlessly.

The only malfunction I've seen was in the beginning when I was not sure how to load it.

Accuracy is pretty good, Ive kept 30 quick shots in a group about the size of my fist at around 50 yards.

I'd say keep it, run a few rounds through it and then decide. I read the pros and cons of ARs, AKs, SKSs, and Minis and decided on the Mini. I don't regret it.
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Old January 3, 2014, 08:25 AM   #24
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That's like asking should I ditch the AK for an AR. If you want bench-rest, long distance accuracy - then build a long barrel premium AR....or buy a bolt action that is designed for long distance accuracy. If you want a small carbine, similar to the M1 Carbine, but in .223 that delivers adequate accuracy then stick with the Mini-14.

FWIW, you can have a super accurate Mini-14, but it will cost you - Accuracy Systems builds some of the nicest custom Mini-14's out there. So, there is nothing inherently inaccurate about Mini-14's. I don't see anyone trying to build super accurate AK-47's.
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Old January 3, 2014, 12:31 PM   #25
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Stay or Go?? Ruger Mini 14

Should I sell it and get an AR wile it's new.
I got my 581 Series Mini-14 about 5 years ago and have shot a couple thousand rounds through it. Good stuff, cheap stuff, commie-bloc junk, old old ammo, and brand new off the shelf. Never a hiccup. Accuracy is plenty good for what I do, which isn't target or competitive, but I haven't noticed it being a problem like it was on earlier Series.

If I were you, I'd keep it and shoot it. Often. They're a hoot.
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