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Old August 14, 2023, 03:19 PM   #1
jski
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Mini-14 is incrementally getting better?

Are there enough incremental improvements by Ruger in their Minis to keep them competitive with AR platforms, whether chambered in 5.56 or 7.62x39 or 300 Blackout ? This video tries to answer that question.

I do not own one but have come close many times to pulling the trigger (pun intended).

https://youtu.be/w_ht2WkIuM0

Very positive review from Clint Smith at Thunder Ranch.
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Old August 14, 2023, 05:32 PM   #2
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Huh? What "incremental improvements" are you referring to? The only thing I have known them to do to mini 14 was thicken the barrel because accuracy was poor, and add a way to mount a scope (using a proprietary ring design).

It still uses a 1:9 twist meaning you cant go much above 62g without having problems.

It uses steel mags which are heavy and expensive in relation to ar mags. (try $40 for a 30rnd mag off midway)

You can get a budget AR that will perform equally well, that you can maintain yourself without going to a gunsmith with a handful of tools, and customize to your taste or needs, and at HALF the price of a mini 14.

So no, not even close. There have been almost not incremental improvements, and its not even close to competitive with an AR on the basis of features or price.

Nutnfancy has been on the mini 14 band wagon for a while now. He's a bit long winded and has some strong opinions, but there's still a lot to be learned from what he has to share imho. He has more content than anyone that I know of on the mini 14.

mini 14 against the world pt 1, 13yrs ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Fk84KLiaa4

Mini 14 against the world pt 2, 13yrs ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKPgJ_ec3Fs

Best mags for the mini 14, 11yrs ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znJCdgFfhbk

Special Ops mini 14?, 9rys ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqGHeirNh5U

is the mini 14 still a viable choice, 6yrs ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPAPsWYwuJ0&t=662s

Heres why the mini 14 is collectable, 4yrs ago
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5phIg6MT1Ik
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Old August 14, 2023, 05:56 PM   #3
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Mine has been great since 2009, one of the first right after they went with the thicker [front half of] barrel.

While mine is just as accurate as any plain Jane AR carbine, I no longer argue with those that say that they are inaccurate. Too much anecdotal evidence out there that some people do have problems.

With good ammunition I can shoot 1” groups at 100.
With 55gr fodder it’s 2-3”.
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Old August 14, 2023, 06:50 PM   #4
jski
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I strongly suggest you watch the video!
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Old August 14, 2023, 07:09 PM   #5
Shadow9mm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jski View Post
I strongly suggest you watch the video!
What makes you think I haven't watched it? I watched it yesterday when it came out.

Is it a good rifle, yes, is it a good VALUE when compared to an AR, no way imho.

If you have money to burn, and want it for the looks, 2nd kind of cool as Nutnfancy would say, go for it. But it is NOT competitive on the basis of price or features.

(1st kind of cool is practicality and functionality, 2nd kind of cool is that you just dig it)
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Old August 14, 2023, 08:18 PM   #6
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It’s wood and blued steel. It’s insanely reliable. What other blued steel and wood semiautomatic rifles are lower priced?
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Old August 14, 2023, 08:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickyrick View Post
It’s wood and blued steel. It’s insanely reliable. What other blued steel and wood semiautomatic rifles are lower priced?
Your question
Are there enough incremental improvements by Ruger in their Minis to keep them competitive with AR platforms



If you want one, get one. It will do most of what the AR will do. but if you want to shoot heavy bullets, or mount red dots and magnifiers, or lights, or lasers, your going to be at a significant disadvantage.
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Old August 14, 2023, 09:46 PM   #8
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They come with fewer "evil features" which might be a deal maker for some.

But have there been enough improvements to put them toe to toe with a similarly priced AR? Free float barrel, match trigger, match barrel, etc.? Quick answer is no.

$1000 gets quite a nice AR.
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Old August 14, 2023, 10:38 PM   #9
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I have many ARs, but only one Mini14, it’s plenty accurate. It has more appeal aesthetically to me than ARs. That does mean something to some people. If I could only have one semiautomatic 5.56/223, it’d be My Mini14. It would hold its own with standard ARs, and it comes with a sight and scope rings right out of the box… you can’t say that about a lot of ARs.
I cannot vouch for any other Mini14 as far as accuracy goes. It’s semiautomatic, wood and blued steel, I think that category of carbine, I think it’s fairly priced.
I don’t think comparing it to AR prices in a flooded market it’s really that fair. It’s a quality gun that shoots as well as other semiautomatic rifles are expected to.

You can get an M1a for $1500 plus, or a better AR10 for cheaper.
Different guns, that’s all.
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Old August 15, 2023, 12:01 AM   #10
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I will point out that the Mini-14 and the AR-15 have one major thing in common: Jim Sullivan. He designed both. Stoner designed the AR-10.
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Old August 15, 2023, 12:02 AM   #11
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And that raises 2 interesting question:

What level of accuracy did Jim Sullivan design the Mini-14 to meet?

What level of accuracy did Jim Sullivan design the AR-15 to meet?
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Old August 15, 2023, 12:35 PM   #12
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Ar 15, as i understand it is 4moa max, which would be hit on a 20in wide torso at 500yds.
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Old August 15, 2023, 02:28 PM   #13
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My opinion is that the AR15 is more inherently accurate than some other semiautomatic rifles.
The Mini14 is having to contend with that massive reciprocating off axis mass when it’s cycling. The AR action has most of its mass inline with the bore.
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Old August 15, 2023, 09:20 PM   #14
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I am of the same opinion of most of you. For the money and having a rifle you can accessorize for a self defense situation, on a budget, the AR is the way to go.

Cool and fun factor, I would like a mini-14. Will it work in a defense situation? Absolutely. But I can get 2 ARs for the same price (dang near 3 with the sales PSA has been running).
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Old August 16, 2023, 06:25 AM   #15
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If you look at it, there aren’t many cheap AR15 alternatives. If you want a .223/5.56 rifle or carbine that’s NOT an AR15, you are going to pay. There was a time that the Mini14 was a cheaper alternative to the AR15, but the AR market is flooded. There’s good reasons for that.
Heck, even pump and lever action are expensive. In the end, the price difference between a decent AR and the min14 is negligible to me. My opinion is the Mini14 is priced reasonably for the Non-A15 market.
If the Mini14 fired a different cartridge, we would probably never have these discussions. They are both very different rifles. Most folks do not need more accessories than a scope and irons.
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Old August 16, 2023, 03:25 PM   #16
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changes

The biggest criticism I've heard repeatedly concerning the Mini is that is is not accurate enough to suit a lot of folks. That negativity surfaced relatively early on in the carbine's history, I first heard it from a FLETC instructor about 1989.
I was a bit surprised by his comments, as the Mini was the agency rifle at the time and otherwise relatively well thought of by those in the field.

I've not researched this prior, but seems as if I recall that the Mini's twist rate has changed several times (at least in the 5.56mm chambering) and that upgraded Mini's have a considerably faster twist rate than those produced initially. The change in twist rate, along with a stiffer barrel are big contributors to the improved accuracy of current day Mini's. Seems I read as well that producition equipment was overhauled to tighten tolerances where needed, as Mini making tooling was heavily worn.

I like Mini's and hope they survive. When introduced ('73) the Mini was a good option for a 5.56 hi-cap sporter, a bit more affordabe, (as were about all Rugers guns) than the competing Colt Sporter and any foreign imports like the Galil or an HK. Component modularity was not on the radar, and proprietary mags weren't an issue either as few shooters had an AR anyhow.

All that has changed of course. AR's are affordable, despite a price jump recently, AR mags are as common as flies, and a base Mini is still several hundred dollars over the cost of an entry AR. The conventional appearance of the Mini may help it survive if the legal/political situation deteriorates sufficiently, at least for a while a flush mag and a wood stock seems to disturb some law makers a bit less. But I really believe the biggest threat to the Mini is Ruger itself. "New" Ruger has discontinued a number of the desigins from the Bill Ruger era, and I strongly suspect that the Mini is in the bean counters crosshairs.
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Old August 17, 2023, 05:18 AM   #17
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I bought my first Mini14 back in the mid 80’s, it was the factory folder model with the original style sights and no provision for an optic. When I first shot it at 100yds off the bench with irons the best I could do was an 8”-10” group, very disappointing. So I went to work on it. First thing I addressed was the trigger. I polished the sear faces and cut 1 1/2 coils off the disconnector spring to lighten the trigger. Second thing was to add an optic using a B-Square mount. The final part was working up a decent hand load. After all this I could run a ten round mag through with 9 out of 10 rounds under 2”, with the last round in the mag a consistent flyer hitting High and Right about 1 3/4 inches. I never was able to figure out the flyer reason so just learned to live with it. At this point I was more than happy with accuracy and really enjoyed the rifle, always regretted selling it. A couple years ago I picked up a new tactical version that I really like. I changed to a better rear iron sight, put in a spring kit from Mcarbo and shooting irons at 50 yds 2-3” is pretty easy, and for my old eyes and irons I’m very tickled with it. I’d bet with an optic off the bench 2” would be very doable. So once again I have a Mini14 that works and shoots great, and I picked it up slightly used for $600.00. Now I’m looking for that good a deal on another Mini30, not much luck so far. I might even consider a 300BO since I could just use the Mini14 mags, I’m just not in love with the round and prefer the 7.62x39 since I have a ton of supplies and have been loading it since the late 80’s.
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Old August 18, 2023, 07:04 AM   #18
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Once the barrel heats up, in about 10 rounds, group sizes start to widen up and shooting day is pretty much over with that rifle. Unless you're at the range in sub zero temps, then it will cool off enough to shoot another 10 rounds!

I like the rifle well enough, but not so much that I'm going to put a lot of money into it. It was my late wife's rifle so I keep it for sentimental value.

--Wag--
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Old September 7, 2023, 01:18 AM   #19
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My Mini 30 (584 series) shoots 2 inches plus at 100 yards. It is reliable, and with an XL firing pin it shoots steel case ammo just fine. It is easy to scope with the included (proprietary rings) and easy to mount a red dot (with the included rail). An Ultimak or Samson hand guard will allow a scout scope or any variety of other optic options. The trigger is okay from the factory but easy to improve if you want to do that. I like the Mini in 7.62x39 but see no advantage over a decent AR15 in 5.56

Last edited by Tonopah; September 7, 2023 at 01:24 AM.
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Old September 8, 2023, 12:25 AM   #20
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reread

I've re-read this thread and noted some things I missed the first time.

Don't be misled by the phrasing in post #2 about bullet weights and twist rates. A 1:9 twist barrel should certainly stablize the next step up above 62's, the well respected 68-69 gr BTHP match slugs. Both Hornady and Sierra state as much in their literature and it aligns with my own experience. Granted, that weight projectile is indeed "not much" above the 62 grain weight mentioned in the phrasing, but it is indeed a step up in performance and BC. Read the posted sentence casually and one might be led to believe that 68-69 won't shoot well, but they usually do. Bullet length is the deciding factor in stablity and twist rate discussions, not just weight. A shorter, rounder nosed semi-spitzer weighing as much as 70-75 grains may well shoot OK from a 1:9 due to its shorter length, whereas a long slim BTHP of the same weight likely will not.

Also, there is commentary elsewhere regarding accessories not easily mounted on a Mini. That is indeed true, but there are shooters who do not care a wit whether their semi hi-cap .223 sporter can mount a light, laser, vertical foregrip, red-dot, magnifier, cell phone or TV remote. If one wants to add that to their rifle, more power to them, but each accessory adds weight and bulk and pretty soon, your carbine ain't very carbine like anymore. The Mini appeals to many users who are not concerned with being tactical or having the latest widget on their rifle. ....or ever being to add any.
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Old September 8, 2023, 04:53 PM   #21
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Apparently the latest stock Mini-14s might not be good enough to hit a clay pigeon on a 50 yard berm?

Some of us are satisfied by simple fun.
Most of the targets for my M1A, Imbel and Aussie FALs plus the PTR-91 are pigeons at 50 yards.
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Old September 9, 2023, 02:00 PM   #22
Tonopah
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New fun rifle. I ordered a wood stocked blue steel Mini 30 ranch rifle, a Samson Hannibal rail, a Leupold Delta Point Pro, and an XL firing pin. I live on a ranch and this should be a fun walk around rifle. Javelina, coyotes and small deer beware.
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Old September 25, 2023, 11:47 PM   #23
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A wood stocked Mini with a 5 round magazine might be passed over when they publish the lists of verboten weapons. Then again, maybe not.
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Old September 26, 2023, 07:35 AM   #24
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Have never even shot a Mini-14, but imo, there is a significant advantage to a lightweight, unencumbered and reliable rifle with iron sights close over the bore.
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Old September 27, 2023, 06:26 AM   #25
rickyrick
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This is mine, bought in 2009 just after the tapered barrel was released.

This is using some VMax from hornaday at 100 yards (walked off to measure so not exactly 100) I also don’t quite recall the bullet weight. I don’t often take photos of groups, but this is typical with good ammunition.

With bulk 55gr FMJ it does not shoot this well, but with good ammunition, it does.

Edit:
Looked at my original posting for this picture, it was 55gr hornaday vmax

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Last edited by rickyrick; September 27, 2023 at 03:13 PM.
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