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Old September 7, 2017, 02:40 AM   #1
Pond, James Pond
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Ruger Mini 14. Why?

Not a bash. A question.

I had thought I'd written such a post once, but couldn't find it so perhaps I'd only thought about it.

So why?

The Mini 14 is pretty popular. Yet I've heard reports of it not being overly accurate within its category, has proprietary mags and the competition is hardly unreliable.

As it happens I like them: I like the look and the combination of wood and treated steel. But if I were buying a semi-auto in .223 I'd go AR for the flexibility and known strengths.

So, what's the appeal? What makes you love your Mini 14/30?
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Old September 7, 2017, 03:53 AM   #2
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Mini's

I can remember when the Mini14 hit the market, and it was widely accepted. Hardly anyone had an AR, and the Mini put .223 autoloaders in the hands of anybody that wanted one, at an affordable price. So my acceptance of the Mini goes back to when it hit the market....I'm just used to them. Lot's of folks aren't though, and those raised on the black rifle/AR diet are, for the most part, not fond of Mini's at all.

Too, for a brief few years, the Mini14 was the LE rifle of choice for a lot of agencies, my outfit included. They were very popular in the stainless variety with the NPS, resisting salt water and long stints in patrol cars and boats with their rust resistant steel. That's changed and now it's the AR, but I shot a lot of the Mini14 in those days, and was pleased with the reliability, and never really had any complaints about accuracy, it was accurate enough over carbine distances for our purposes as a patrol carbine.

I was never crazy about the .223 as a GP cartridge though. When Ruger chambered the x39mm cartridge and created the Mini30, I ran out and bought a blued one for personal use. Actually traded a fixed sighted Mini14 in for the Mini30. At that time, Mini's were still affordable. AR's were still the domain of Colt primarily, and the Mini in either chambering, was a good buy.....'course that's all changed too.

I like the look too, blued (or stainless) steel and wood, and you can pimp one to look like an M14. Also, you can drop one into a Butler Creek folding stock and have a very portable package. And I belive they are still available in stainless, which is a slight step ahead of some AR's with non chrome barrels.

Mine's not for sale, but I do not think the Mini will last much longer if the AR market keeps booming like it has in the past 10 yrs or so.
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Old September 7, 2017, 05:59 AM   #3
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The Mini-14 also is a way to get a semi-auto rifle in a place that has an active assault weapons ban... no pistol grip, no adjustable stock, etc. For an AR, you at least need to pin the muzzle brake (flash hiders are usually banned), but if not a fixed stock, pin it or replace it.

I like the manual of arms of the Garand and M14, so a Mini-14 will likely be picked up when I move. They are good rifles.
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Old September 7, 2017, 06:10 AM   #4
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I carried an M-14 in 1970-72 so I wanted a Mini-14. I traded for a new one in the early 80's when we were doing a lot of coyote hunting and found it wasn't accurate enough (with the available ammo) to consistently hit a yotie beyond 150 yards. Talk about disappointed, I was beyond that and swapped the Mini (at a significant loss) for I can't remember what. The experience put me off the Ruger brand for nearly 20 years. I would NOT own one or take one in as a trade. I've got past that now and have several Rugers BUT NO MINI'S. I've heard they were "improved" the Mini but I'm not wasting $$ to find out.
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Old September 7, 2017, 06:10 AM   #5
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While I have many AR's I do enjoy the looks of the mini 14, they are just more classic looking with the wood and steel combo and now that old Bill passed on the higher cap mags are available to the public. I think this was a big reason along with the thin barrels that they were not more popular. I would love a mini30 but have not seen one for a reasonable price in many years.
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Old September 7, 2017, 06:38 AM   #6
Pond, James Pond
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Quote:
it wasn't accurate enough (with the available ammo) to consistently hit a yotie beyond 150 yards
That does seem unreasonable.
Could it have been a lemon?
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Old September 7, 2017, 06:45 AM   #7
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Just checked and they're going for $800-900+ right now. You could buy a much nicer rifle for that kind of money be it an AR or bolt action.

It's a shame there isn't more competition in that category. I would love something like it.
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Old September 7, 2017, 07:22 AM   #8
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When the Mini-14 was introduced it cost a fraction of what an AR cost, about 1/3. No one expected it to be quite as good, but for the money it was a viable option. The original Mini's as well as AR's were hard to scope and with iron sights there just wasn't that much difference in accuracy. I think the Mini has always been reliable and rugged during normal use. There were some small countries as well as some LE units that adopted Mini-14's for military and LE use. Under those conditions with lots of hard use they didn't hold up nearly as well as the AR's though.

But today it is possible to buy a mid grade AR for less money than a Mini and have a much better rifle. A lot of people view the Mini as less threatening and more politically correct and are willing to pay the price. Some just want wood instead of plastic.

I don't understand why Ruger prices them so high. If they were to cut the price down slightly below what an AR sells for I'd bet they would sell a lot of them. I don't dislike the Mini, I've owned several through the years and would buy another if the price were right. But I can't justify paying more for a Mini-14 than an AR.
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Old September 7, 2017, 07:32 AM   #9
rickyrick
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There's enough evidence out there that some of the Minis are inaccurate. I have one that's acceptably accurate and would have never known that they were known for being inaccurate.
I like the way they look and handle, especially with the wood stock. Mostly easy to operate. I never liked the way the magazine goes in.
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Old September 7, 2017, 07:35 AM   #10
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I had 2 ranch rifles in 223, one blued one stainless. I loved the action, weight and feel of both, what I didn't like was the accuracy. I sold both and bought an AR.

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Old September 7, 2017, 08:17 AM   #11
Screwball
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickyrick View Post
There's enough evidence out there that some of the Minis are inaccurate.

It is actually when they changed the barrel... not tack driver, but better than broadside of a barn.

There is a serial number prefix when the changes were implemented. Get one past that (or a new one), and should be better off.
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Old September 7, 2017, 08:21 AM   #12
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Some guys don't mind a 4 MOA carbine, i guess. Not me, accuracy is important to me.
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Old September 7, 2017, 08:26 AM   #13
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Honest answer is that I loved the way they looked; the folders in particular. Probably the result of watching too many episodes of the A-Team.
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Old September 7, 2017, 08:32 AM   #14
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Ruger can break you heart. They do some things so well and other so poorly.
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Old September 7, 2017, 08:35 AM   #15
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Quote:


I don't understand why Ruger prices them so high. If they were to cut the price down slightly below what an AR sells for I'd bet they would sell a lot of them.
I agree. I may be wrong but I have to guess a mini cost much more to produce. ARs are stamped parts, plastic--easy and cheap to produce. I bet ruger has them priced where they need them to be profitable.

But I do like the look. Something about stainless and wood just a gets me. But like others I just can't justify the price being what ARs are going for.
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Old September 7, 2017, 08:56 AM   #16
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I've always wanted a mini14 or 30, but the interwebs told me they suck....
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Old September 7, 2017, 09:14 AM   #17
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If they were 1.5 moa, used AR mags, and $600 I would be a buyer.
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Old September 7, 2017, 09:30 AM   #18
Pond, James Pond
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As I said, I do like the style. I guess they do look M14/Garand-ish and those are pretty nice looking rifles even though they hold no sentimental/historical value for me the way they might some.

Having said that, if I wanted a rifle of that type (wood stock etc), given the price, especially in the case of the 30, I think I'd just go SKS.

In .223, again, I was happy with my old AR's 3moa accuracy with underweight 55gr bullets (it was rifled for heavier as I later found out) but I would not spend AR money one something that only gave 4 or more....

Shame because it has more charisma than an AR or AK...

Naturally, my VZ58 has the most charisma of all!!
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Old September 7, 2017, 10:36 AM   #19
Art Eatman
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I bought a Mini early on. Then a stainless. Traded into another blued one. Then traded into another stainless. I used a Weaver K-4 on each of them.

What I found was that all were reasonably good at having the first shot from a cold barrel going within an inch at 100 yards of where I wanted. That was plenty good for jackrabbits and coyotes. And three-shot groups were consistently around 1.5 MOA.

Through the years I guess I burned maybe 3,000 or so rounds through the Minis.

I've always been more of a hunter than a range-toy type. Rarely shot a whole lot at any one session at the bench, so these worries about barrel heat-up didn't happen. Since I commonly carry a rifle at the balance point, the hang-down magazine sort of rifles aren't really attractive for my wanderings. The factory 10-round mag didn't create a problem.

Now? They cost more than I want to spend.
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Old September 7, 2017, 11:23 AM   #20
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ARs are more versatile, uppers are easily changed, easy to work on, have tremendous aftermarket support, etc. For some odd reason, I simply like my Mini-14 more than my AR. Doesn't make sense. Doesn't have to.
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Old September 7, 2017, 11:43 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by fourbore
Ruger can break you heart. They do some things so well and other so poorly.
That should be the company motto.
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Old September 7, 2017, 11:47 AM   #22
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Best thing that can be said about any flavour of Mini is they're fun and reasonably inexpensive to shoot. Just don't expect great accuracy.
"...just go SKS..." Not made for accuracy either. Worse sights and triggers than a Mini too.
A decent M1 Carbine will shoot circles around either of 'em.
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Old September 7, 2017, 11:54 AM   #23
rickyrick
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I like my mini more over all other rifles. Some people just do. If you get one that's accurate, you'll love it.
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Old September 7, 2017, 12:56 PM   #24
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How many different brands of AR15 are there?
There's only 1 Ruger Mini-14/30.

The new ones are more accurate. My Tactical is apples and oranges more accurate than the Ranch Rifle I had back in the AW ban days.
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Old September 7, 2017, 01:14 PM   #25
rickyrick
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Seems if you tone down the gas and chop an inch or two off the barrel, the accuracy improves.
Some of my best groups were with the mini... however, that wasn't with crap ammunition.
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