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Old December 7, 2019, 10:58 AM   #1
landsman
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Mini 14 vs Kel tec SU16 vs Kel tec RDB

I got a bad shoulder. It can't handle more than a 223 recoil. I want to get a semi auto 223. Not an AR. I'm considering a Mini 14 or Kel Tec SU16 or Kel tec RdBc. Question for guys who have shot all of the above , which one recoils least ? Thanks
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Old December 7, 2019, 11:09 AM   #2
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None of them recoil very much. I do not like any of the three, however, but if forced to pick, I suppose that I'd hold my nose and choose the Ruger..
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Old December 7, 2019, 12:32 PM   #3
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The newer, 58x Series Mini-14s have a rubber recoil pad on the stock and coupled with the low recoil of the caliber, it's a joy to shoot, even with my arthritic shoulder. In addition, one could couple it with a PAST Field Recoil Pad to further reduce the already very light recoil of the unit.

Notwithstanding Ben Over's comment above, with a bit of tweaking, and using decent ammo, your Mini can be a near 1 MOA shooter all day. Mine produces 1.25 MOA at 100 yds (with irons) using my 62grn Hornday fmj handloads.

My 583 Series is over 4 years old now and with iron sights, I use it to shoot bowling pins and clay pigeons at 200yds all day long. I added a TechSight rear sight with a target aperture and thinned down the front sight blade to give me NM like sights so precision aiming at longer ranges is possible. I've even given the pins a go at 300yds, however, my 72 year old eyes make just seeing the targets a challenge.

It's a small carbine who's basic action design hails from the M1 Garand and M14 and as such, was never designed to be a super long range shooter. I use mine for plinking rather than bullseye shooting (which I find exceedingly boring personally, but to each his own). As a fun, reasonably accurate, and super reliable shooter, it's a dream.

Stock or as I did, 'tweaked' a bit to mimic my M1a/M14, it is a favorite of mine right up there with my .357mag levergun for just plain fun.

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Old December 7, 2019, 12:47 PM   #4
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Thanks Steve. I agree with all you've said. I'm not looking for a bullseye rifle. Just a plinker and a reliable self defense gun. I've had mini's before. Liked them but they were 4 moa at best at 100 yards. New ones look better. I've shopped around for a new one. It will be very hard for me to pay over $900 for a mini when I paid 450 for a used one and about 600 for a new one 20 years ago.
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Old December 7, 2019, 02:34 PM   #5
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"...None of them recoil very much..." No gas operated .223 does. Mind you, the Mini-14 weighs more than the Keltecs.
4 moa at best at 100 yards is typical of the waaaaay over priced Mini(MSRP is over a grand). Mind you, a lot will depend on what you've done to your shoulder. Have a torn tendon in my right shoulder. Doesn't bother me except when I'm laying in bed. It shouldn't be possible to hurt yourself lying down.
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Old December 7, 2019, 09:40 PM   #6
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I have the only mini14 in existence that shoots accurately. That said, it’s heavy for what it is.
The action has an odd slam-bang effect due to the massive piston thing. But it’s solidly reliable.
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Old December 9, 2019, 02:05 AM   #7
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I don't think a Mini is worth what they typically sell for. The SU16... if they were $300, I could see them as a good buy, but over that it's tough to recommend. I occasionally look for them used on gunbroker, never know when you might be able to snag one for cheap.

I would seriously consider getting the RDB. It's as close to a Tavor as you're going to get, but cost $900 less and the benefit to a bullpup is you can get a rifle length barrel in something with an OAL near the minimum allowed by the NFA and make for great home defense guns, better than the AR.

The other thing is with the RDB is that they are as cheap as they ever will be.
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Old December 9, 2019, 06:39 AM   #8
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Well can't go wrong with either a Mini-14 or a SU16, but you have to remember these rifles/carbine are what they are, they're not meant to be "tack drivers" eventhough a Mini-14 can be made to be a lot more accurate.
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Old December 9, 2019, 07:10 AM   #9
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I agree truth teller. I kind of like the RDB too. One major flaw. How do you clear a malfunction like a double feed? Or easily check the chamber for safety?

Last edited by landsman; December 9, 2019 at 08:19 AM.
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Old December 9, 2019, 11:58 AM   #10
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Quote:
semi auto 223. Not an AR. I'm considering a Mini 14 or Kel Tec SU16 or Kel tec RdBc.
I guess the Mini 14.

May I ask why no to the AR? AW restrictions in your area? If I were in that situation, I'd build a featureless AR with a Thordsen Customs Gen II Featureless stock. It would be a lot more gun for much less less than the mini.
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Old December 9, 2019, 04:21 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landsman
I agree truth teller. I kind of like the RDB too. One major flaw. How do you clear a malfunction like a double feed? Or easily check the chamber for safety?
You sort of don't. I've cleared a doublefeed on one without disassembly; it wasn't pretty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by truthtellers
I would seriously consider getting the RDB.
The recoil impulse is gentle.
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Old December 10, 2019, 01:20 PM   #12
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Many pistols cost more than a Mini14, so cost is subjective. To me a fully useable out of the box insanely reliable semiauto for less than 1000$ isn’t the worst deal. Ammunition has always cost more than the rifles for me.
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Old December 10, 2019, 03:01 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by rickyrick View Post
Many pistols cost more than a Mini14, so cost is subjective. To me a fully useable out of the box insanely reliable semiauto for less than 1000$ isn’t the worst deal. Ammunition has always cost more than the rifles for me.

After having owned two of them over the years, I would STRONGLY disagree with that statement.
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Old December 10, 2019, 04:27 PM   #14
onlinebiker
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The SU16 is the lightest - so the recoil is felt strongest.


But that's sort of like saying Moe was the brainiest of the Three Stooges.


.
...

I have a SU16C. I bought it here in Michigan back when the state required anything that could fire while being under 30 inches was required to be registered as a pistol.

Consequently - it is still registered - and I can carry it concealed and loaded. I don't - but it is a nice option.
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Old December 12, 2019, 02:32 AM   #15
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Back at my most active, I shot the Mini14 every day after work, every weekend for many years. It stayed in the truck and bounced around all day. Could always take coyotes no problem, and hundreds of feral pig. I’m lucky, I’ve got the best one ever.

I’ve got a small, but not too small, collection of ARs now. But if I had to grab a rifle and run, leaving all others behind I’d take my Mini14.

But not anyone else’s based on what others say haha
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Old December 12, 2019, 10:16 AM   #16
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I would presume that a wood-stocked Mini-14 would likely have the least felt recoil due to being the heaviest of these options.
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Old December 14, 2019, 11:17 AM   #17
COSteve
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Quote:
Originally Posted by landsman View Post
Thanks Steve. I agree with all you've said. I'm not looking for a bullseye rifle. Just a plinker and a reliable self defense gun. I've had mini's before. Liked them but they were 4 moa at best at 100 yards. New ones look better. I've shopped around for a new one. It will be very hard for me to pay over $900 for a mini when I paid 450 for a used one and about 600 for a new one 20 years ago.
The newer 58X series Minis have a thicker barrel and different ejector system that helps them be considerably more accurate than the older, pencil barreled Mini you had as the barrel whip issues have been addressed. Out of the box, most Minis are 2 MOA or better shooters; the same as most ARs are out of the box. Like most guns, they benefit from tweaking a bit to dial them in but once done, as you may remember, they are a whole lot of fun and as accurate as most ARs are.

I too suffer from shoulder problems having developed some arthritis issues in recent years myself. So far the Mini's soft recoil is a non issue for me even though some of my larger caliber long guns are becoming uncomfortable to shoot from the bench anymore.

As to the price of the new Minis, yes, they are more than they were, however, have you looked at the price of cars these days? My first new house cost me just ½ of what my 2016 Chevy Tahoe cost and I just got the LS model. And yes, you can get a cheap AR but it's just a slapped together AR with a crappy trigger and that cheap, plastic and aluminum feel to it.
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Old December 14, 2019, 06:48 PM   #18
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A key factor in a reliable self-defense gun is that it goes bang when you pull the trigger. Nothing made by man is perfect; but I’m thinking Keltec products will cause you to reflect on that concept more often.

Minis were originally designed as “affordable” semi-auto .223s in a time when AR15s were expensive and iron sights and walnut were the rule. Now that you can get a 2 MOA AR15 for $350 and it has a giant aftermarket of accessories that make it easier to modify, the Mini can’t compete as a budget rifle; but it isn’t a premium rifle,

Still, if you want something different then out of the choices you listed, I think the Mini is the way to go.
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Old December 15, 2019, 03:34 PM   #19
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As I've hinted at above, my preference for the Mini's design over the AR's design is the reason I'd take a Mini carbine every time over an AR carbine.

1st. The AR's huge receiver/lower is bulky and awkward, especially for smaller framed people like women and teens.

2nd. The AR's controls are not as ergonomically designed for most shooters as the M1 Garand/M1 Carbine/M14/Mini's are, especially the charging handle and the trigger pull distance.

(Because of it's pistol grip design, the grip to trigger distance must be short so people with small hands can operate it. Those of us with normal to large hands find it difficult to maintain a proper trigger finger position. Fore example, I have average hands with long fingers and I can easily insert my trigger finger all the way past the second knuckle with a stock pistol grip. I've had to make custom grips with a huge beavertail to get even close to a proper trigger finger position.)

3rd. The AR's basic design is plastic and aluminum which makes it light but also makes it feel like a toy.

4th. The modularity of the AR carbine is somewhat of a disadvantage because it's very tempting to add components to it which increases it's basic awkwardness.

I understand that many will disagree with my observations but for me the primary advantage of a carbine is it's compactness, natural operation, and ruggedness and all 3 of those traits favor a design like the M1 Carbine and Mini.
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Old December 15, 2019, 06:46 PM   #20
landsman
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Thanks for the input guys. I'm leaning towards the mini 14 too. I like the innovation of keltec but I cannot deal with unreliable guns. It will frustrate me and I'll end up selling it. The model of mini I want is 5820, it's stainless steel with a 16 inch barrel. It's not easy to find, I'll have to order one. Any disadvantage to the 16inch barrel. I don't really care about the loss of velocity. Accuracy? Reliability?
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Old December 15, 2019, 07:55 PM   #21
rickyrick
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Might be a bit loud.

Some claim better accuracy out of a 16” barrel... to the point many have the standard barrel cut down.
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Old December 16, 2019, 12:45 AM   #22
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just quit it

COSteve, I wish you'd quit posting those pics of your tweaked Mini. That is indeed an eye catcher and makes me want one every time I look. I was fortunate enough to stumble up on a wood top hand guard for my Mini30, and believe it helps the looks alot. One of these days I may put a strut on it.

I'm an admitted Mini fan, in either .223, x39mm. My first association with the Mini14, was as the agency rifle for a period of about a decade roughly 1985-95. Not every site had them, but I was fortunate to work in a park that did for about 3 years. Those rifles were stainless steel, and had folding stocks, muzzle brakes and a bayonet lug. For some odd reason, we had LTD-II's as patrol cars, and the folding stocks made it much easier to stow the carbine, or shotgun up front in the pass/driver compartment. Those Mini's were uber reliable, and accurate enough for our 30 rd qual course shot at 50 yds. Of the six carbines on hand, I cannot ever remember a failure with one during a qual or training session. They were the envy of local LE and everybody was glad to see a Ranger show up with a Mini at an incident.

Today, Minis are overpriced and I do not see them long for this world. They remain popular, despite the rise of the AR. Note, at least in my area, you seldom if ever see a used one for sale for long.
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Old December 16, 2019, 05:57 AM   #23
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COsteve and bamaranger pretty much hit the nail on the head. Every time you post your mini pics COsteve I just want to mimic you, I sure miss mine. Never should have sold either my Mini14 or Mini30 years ago.
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Old December 16, 2019, 06:32 PM   #24
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
My first association with the Mini14, was as the agency rifle for a period of about a decade roughly 1985-95. Not every site had them, but I was fortunate to work in a park that did for about 3 years. Those rifles were stainless steel, and had folding stocks, muzzle brakes and a bayonet lug.
Is there something you want to tell us bamaranger?

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Old December 19, 2019, 08:25 PM   #25
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jetinteriorguy:
Many people don't realize it, but when the late Bill Ruger --Voluntarily-- appeased the anti-gun mobs by allowing Mini-14 mags to have only five rounds, Bill Ruger made a huge number of permanent enemies.

It was about 2008 or '09 when they decided to produce larger Ruger mags for the Mini 30, was it not?
I don't remember when larger mags became avail. for the Mini 14, or the later 6.8 mm versions.

Much of that is why so many people sold their Minis, having at that time no access to larger magazines, unless possibly a Promag version.
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