Is the mini 14 the american equivelant of the Kalisnikov?


April 2, 2003, 11:44 PM
I was pondering this question the other day, and would like to know what you folks thought about this little rifle.

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April 2, 2003, 11:55 PM
I was thinking it would be a closer comparison to the SKS.

Good Shooting

April 3, 2003, 12:02 AM
I would say the M1 Garand would be the equivalent. The Mini 14 is a derivative, so it would be the little brother.


April 3, 2003, 12:17 AM
SKS is what I was thinking too---mainly because of mag capacity.

Since most hi-caps for the Mini are junk----you are pretty much stuck with 10-rounders.

Art Eatman
April 3, 2003, 01:05 AM
I can't quite figure out a context for the question. The "Kalashnikov", to me, is primarily the AK 47, a selective-fire military weapon. The Ruger is designed as a light-duty small-game hunting rifle. It's a scaled-down version of the M14 action, of course, but it's not really any sort of military critter--as are all of Kalashnikov's notable designs.

Now, if you put it in context of US usage, and general sporting/self-defense purposes, I'd guess the Mini would correlate to, say, an SKS-sort of animal.

Funny about the magazines. 20 years back, I had mags for my Mini up to 40-rounds. They all "ran" just fine, with never a feeding problem. I guess the mad panic to crank out immense numbers before the high-cap ban went into effect really messed up the quality control...


Andrew Wyatt
April 3, 2003, 01:10 AM
the closest military weapon in purpose and useage to the mini-14 would be the m-1 carbine, since they have similar weights, capacities and all that.

April 3, 2003, 02:56 AM
You just insulted Kalishnikov rifles everywhere...

April 3, 2003, 12:16 PM
Thanks for your opinons. I should have added this to my question, in terms of reliability do you think the mini 14 could hold up to the ak-47? Hey Mak please apoligize to all of the Kalishnikovs Rifles for me, no offense intended;)

You hear storys about how the Ak can stand up to extreme amounts of abuse, and still function Does the mini share these quality's?

April 3, 2003, 12:29 PM
How is the SKS an american equivilant when it isn't even a US gun? I would say the mini 30 is closer to the Kalashnikov due to the caliber.

April 3, 2003, 01:30 PM
You hear storys about how the Ak can stand up to extreme amounts of abuse, and still function Does the mini share these quality's?

I can't say for sure, but in my opinion the AK would win as far as which design could take the most abuse.

Andrew Wyatt
April 3, 2003, 01:31 PM
I don't baby my minis by any stretch, but i don't abuse them either. I have never had a malfunction with either (untill the 180 started having failures to go into battery, but that's an age problem) and i use questionable magazines.

If i had a choice between a mini and an AK, i'd pick the mini, since it has sights that are somewhat better than those found on the AK.

April 3, 2003, 01:38 PM
If the mini-14 sold new for $300 and functional 40-Round magazines were available eveywhere........

April 3, 2003, 01:53 PM
I should have added this to my question, in terms of reliability do you think the mini 14 could hold up to the ak-47?

No. The Mini 14 can't hold up to the same rate of fire without risking damage to the gun. I heated up my Mini 14 a few months ago and the metal actually changed color. It was a SS Ranch model and it went from SS to a singed brownish yellow.

If the Mini had about two more pounds of beef on it, I would think it would be as durable as the AK.

But it isn't.

April 3, 2003, 03:19 PM
How is the SKS an american equivilant when it isn't even a US gun?

I think you perhaps read the question backwards?

Mini 14= American
Kalishnakov/Sks =Soviet

Good Shooting

Art Eatman
April 3, 2003, 03:29 PM
SodaPop: Just out of idle curiosity, what's the point of firing a long-enough string, fast enough, to cause that sort of over-heating?

I once had a fair number of 30- and 40-round mags that were quite reliable in feeding. (They seemed rather pointless, so I happily sold them to somebody who wanted them worse than I did.) I'd shoot part of a mag, and let the gun cool, some. I've never, ever, had any failure to fire with any of the Mini-14s I've had.


April 3, 2003, 04:05 PM
The Mini 14 can't hold up to the same rate of fire without risking damage to the gun.

I've fired the AC556 (full-auto Mini-14) with sustained bursts and haven't noticed any damage or had any feed problems. Supposedly, as with the M16 or other air-cooled full auto rifles, the time it takes to change magazines provides sufficient cooling to prevent damage to the gun.

April 3, 2003, 04:07 PM
You're kidding right? There isn't a ruger made that can hold a candle to an ak.

There was a SHOT show in Vegas years ago where a guy had an AK that had fired over 1 million rounds full auto and it was still shooting.

You ain't ever gonna get performance like that from a mini14.

Very few military guns are even close to the same league as an AK let alone some civilian toy.

They are equal in respect to being small, short weapons that lack any real accuracy.

I agree with the comment about insulting kalishnikovs everywhere. :rolleyes:

I have a hunch (edited to add) 'that MOST' that have posted so far have never owned or fired an ak.


April 3, 2003, 04:12 PM
I have a hunch that have posted so far have never owned or fired an ak.

I own and have fired a pre-ban underfolding AK-47 along with a Garand, M1 Carbine, 98K, 03A3, SKS, M16A1, Uzi, MP5, AR-15 SP1 and a Mini-14. Can I comment? :)

April 3, 2003, 04:36 PM
Hey Mak please apoligize to all of the Kalishnikovs Rifles for me, no offense intended :)

I'm trying starting with my personal AKs, but they are having none of it. :fire: was all I could get... AKs are kinda ill tempered most of the time anyway though, being evil and all. lol

April 3, 2003, 05:47 PM
SodaPop: Just out of idle curiosity, what's the point of firing a long-enough string, fast enough, to cause that sort of over-heating?

I had over 2000rds of .223 reloads that I loaded up last year. NONE of them would feed right in my Bushmaster AR15. It turns out 95% of the cases I had were not sized enough to feed in the AR. ALL of my .223 reloads feed in both of my Mini 14s. :confused:

Since I've been trying to spend more time with my AR, and get better at shooting irons, I had to burn threw some of my ammo just so I could have brass for my AR.:uhoh: :rolleyes:

Several weeks ago, I loaded up all the mags for my two Mini 14 rifles, and my AR and shot up all my reloads. I loaded up several of my 30rd mags and went to the range. I just wanted to shoot it up and go home. The M193 clone loads I had were pretty boring and I'm only going to reload the 62gr and 69gr rounds from now on.

I'm wondering if the CLP on the SS barrel added to the fact it got kinda brownish red??? It looks like its been wearing off, but I don't know........

I believe in being hard on Semi-autos every once in awhile just to make sure they are tough. I did the same thing with my FAL a year ago. Maybe I'm insecure, but I just like to know what a rifle can handle. They aren't MOA guns so I don't care. I expect to wear out my barrels eventually and replace them. I expect to wear out all of my guns eventually.

I like to shoot.


April 3, 2003, 08:35 PM
I don't think that there really is a US weapon that correlates to the AK.
The Garand and M-14 are more powerful and made for a different niche.
The M-1 carbine is a light little weapon that is a little bit outclassed by the AK, although I have read that US SF forces in Vietnam continued to use them for years after the M-16 had been issued.
The M-16 is just a different animal, although it would probably be the closest.

AK's are undeniably tough and simple.
One time I was at the range, and there was a guy there with a Mini-14. It jammed about twice per mag, but they were cheap mags, so I expected that. At one point, the action locked open for no apparent reason. It took about twenty minutes to get it unjammed, and there was nothing wrong that we could find.

I never had any jams with the M-16's that were issued to me, with the exception of a weak extractor spring. That is a bad part, not an issue with the rifle.
I have never heard of anything like that happening with the AK, nor have I ever experienced a jam with one.

April 3, 2003, 08:48 PM
If wanting to compare the US weapon vs. the equivalent USSR weapon, you can start by saying the M16 was to the US the same as the AK47 was to the USSR. They fired the standard military cartridge of their country, were select fire and included versions with folding/collapsible stocks.

Following this line of thinking, the Mini-14 could be equated as the US version of the USSR's SKS. These rifles had normal wooden stocks, were semiautomatic only and fired the same standard military cartridge of their country of manufacture.

Andrew Wyatt
April 3, 2003, 09:40 PM
I have fired more ak's (seven or eight, some full auto, some not) than mini-14s. (the only minis i've fired are mine)

the mini has a superior safety, trigger and rear sight, and at least mine are honest to god 3 inch shooters at 100 yards. that's still minute of people all the way out to 500 yards (which is farther than i'm able to see a people at)

I'm not that fond of aks, but I don't go around saying they are festering piles of cow dung, or getting upset when people compare them to the mini.

"the (insert name of gun here) suck" crowd is starting to get annoying.

April 3, 2003, 10:19 PM
I have to agree with Goon on this one. The AK is unique. That does not make it perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but it is what it is. That AK is some kind of totaly reliable semi-automatic, although the 7.62 AK round is nothing to write home about.

I would think the Mini-14 is more like the original, somewhat fragile Armalite/Colt M-16 fielded in Vietnam. And a bit like the M1 .30 carbine (although way more effective then that .30 ammo is the .223).

I like AKs, and I want to get one some day. That said, I have a Mini, and AR, and one of my faves, a .30-30 Winchester 94 Ranger lever action.

Art Eatman
April 3, 2003, 10:53 PM
Funny. Well, weird-funny. I've heard more stories about problems with guns of whatever sort in my few years at TFL and here than I've ever seen in real life. I'm talking brands/models of guns I've owned with never a problem for me!

I'm starting to wonder if there aren't indeed folks who can break an anvil with a tack hammer!

Some folks seem to get all irate when some rifle won't work when used way outside its design parameters. Wanting combat-rifle performance out of a Mini is like buying a Ford Escort and getting all knicker-knotted 'cause it won't pull a 30-foot travel trailer up Pike's Peak!

From the standpoint of practical need by a U.S. citizen in this year of Our Lord of 2003, there ain't a nickel's worth of difference in performance between the Mini and the AK clones. They're both, basically, fair-to-middlin' 200-yard guns. The Mini has the edge in aesthetics and weight, if that happens to be important to somebody.

If you like the AK series, get one or some or whatever. If you like the Mini, same-o, same-o. But fer cryin' out loud, whatever gun you own ain't gonna improve your manly prowess! It ain't gonna help ya at the local happy-hour meet-market, either!


April 4, 2003, 12:37 AM
Good points Art.

I will add that you have pointed out your take on what you feel is the edge with the Mini, and I won't argue.

I will counter that it can be argued that the edge that the AK variant holds is the inexpensive standard capacity mag.

April 4, 2003, 01:02 AM
logged in to check out the rifle section. I just brought home a ruger mini-14 .223, and after reading some of those chats I'm wondering if I screwed up. I haven't even put a round through it yet, and I bought an after market mag for it too, now I think to myself " no you didn't just buy this thing? ". I don't do a lot of shooting, but I like the looks and feel of the rifle. What is the worst thing that could be wrong with the Mini- 14 ? The one gentleman had a stainless that turned colors after fire, mine is stainless and I hope I never have to fire that fast and furious.

Andrew Wyatt
April 4, 2003, 01:41 AM
your mini is just fine. don't let the stamped reciever sturmgewehr mafia scare you off. your mini will do everything you're likely to ask of it.

April 4, 2003, 02:08 AM
I wouldn't worry too much about that barrel turning colors. I could just be oil burning off or whatever else might be on there. It's likely that stuff will come right off with acetone, MEK, or some other solvent and a little work.

April 4, 2003, 06:38 AM
ive put about ~7000 rounds through my mini maybe ~6500 through my uncles ak-47...

you cant compare the two its like comparing a yugo to a bmw... you cant, in some respects the mini is better, in others the ak is better. both will feed any ammo i throw at them all day, wolf, federal, military surplus, anything. they are quality rifles. bury em in the dirt, wait a few months and shoot em.

its all about having a good time, not who has the better gun. :)

Art Eatman
April 4, 2003, 10:37 AM
I've just never understood the emotionalism over a particular toy. If you can make a Ford run good, do it; if you're happier with a Chevy, that's great! Same for rifles and pistols. There ain't a dang thing wrong with enjoying an SKS or a Mini, so long as one realizes that there are certain limitations. It seems to me that most of the gripes stem from not understanding that there are indeed limitations--which, of course, applies to almost any toy ever made...

juicy, why would anybody ever bury a rifle in the dirt? And, how is the aftermath relevant to the world in which you live?

:), Art

April 4, 2003, 12:44 PM
I wouldn't worry too much about that barrel turning colors. I could just be oil burning off or whatever else might be on there. It's likely that stuff will come right off with acetone, MEK, or some other solvent and a little work.

You're probable right. It has changed back, but I tried to clean it up a little to see if whatever was on it would come off and it didn't.

Like Art, said... I did push my Mini 14 far beyond what it was suppose to, but I've been doing that for almost 6yrs now and the gun still held up.

Nothings broken on my Mini 14 in over 7000rds. I really wish the Mini 14 was up to combat/military standards. With just a little more beef on it I think it would pe up to par with the AK.

April 6, 2003, 12:53 AM

Mini's are great guns. I have a mini-14 Ranch that I've had since I was just out of high school, and it has NEVER had a failure to feed (except from one totally trashed junk magazine that I had already taken a file, pliers, and a Dremel to trying to fix). It has stood up to some ultra-hot reloads given to me by accident (his dad had loaded up some 55-gr SP's that he said were FIVE GRAINS OVER MAXIMUM for use in his HBAR AR-15, and the pressures were so high the cases wouldn't even extract from my mini--but I hammered the bolt handle back, ejected the cases, loaded up with different ammo, and kept shooting.

I've been among those griping about mini's from time to time, mostly because I had scoped mine with a cheap scope and mini's beat cheap scopes all to pieces (zero kept shifting). I ditched the scope, went back to my Choate pistol-grip stock, and have been happy with it ever since. I use mostly 30-rd mags, but do have a couple 20-rounders too, and all (but one) work.

No, it won't do an inch at 100 yards without putting some $$ into modifications, and the flip-up sight on the Ranch is on the chintzy side, but it is rock-solid reliable.

Andrew Wyatt
April 6, 2003, 03:53 PM
mostly because I had scoped mine with a cheap scope and mini's beat cheap scopes all to pieces

Was it in one of those no gunsmithing mounts that replace the bolt hold open cover? if so it was the mount, not the scope.

the only scope mounts worth using for the (standard) mini require the reciever to be drilled and tapped.

April 6, 2003, 04:16 PM
I'm new to this particular board, so I hope I don't step on any toes with this. I have a SOCOM background and was fortunate to train with all sorts of foreign weapons. Among these were the full line of soviet weapons to include the AK 47, 74, AKM, SKS, SVD (my personal favorite) and quite a few others. Although I don't personally prefer the AK's I do respect them for simplicity of design and reliability. They are, after all, the most produced firearm in the history of the world and used by more military forces than any other. Also, the prices at which they are available are quite low, considering the capabilities. This, due to the quantity available.

That being said, if one looks at the mini 14 being the equivalent in how common it is in the US, I would say that it is close, however quickly being displaced by the AR. But, if one looks at purely how common a particular firearm is in the US, I must say that the single most common american rifle is the Ruger 10-22.

Now, we are left with the question of the Mini-14 as far as longevity. As to variations available and popularity, the AR has it hands down. The problem here is not the lack of quality or reliability of the Ruger (which I find to be an excellent rifle) just that assault style weapons are more popular on the whole and therefor more options will be available. The fewer options (just a few different stocks and limits on magazine availability) are the limiting factors for the mini 14.

April 7, 2003, 07:11 PM
Was it in one of those no gunsmithing mounts that replace the bolt hold open cover? if so it was the mount, not the scope.
Actually, mine's a Ranch Rifle, and I was using the Ruger rings. The scope was a bottom-of-the-line Simmons 3-9x30, and would re-zero itself in less than ten rounds. It was erratic, though, which kept me from figuring it out for so long. I was getting 12" groups at 100 yd and thought it was simple shot dispersion, but I took the scope off and now get ~5.5" at 100 with Wal-Mart white box ammo and the flip-up Ranch rear sight.

It would probably have been OK with a fixed-power scope (or a more expensive variable), but a cheap variable is just not up to the rather forceful cycling of the action.

April 7, 2003, 08:28 PM
My Mini-14 has never jammed in the 10 years I have owned it. Maybe I am just lucky but this little gun has performed flawlessly. I agree, it does have a few problems with accuracy. Other than that, it has been great.
Jim Hall

December 21, 2007, 12:32 AM
first off i wouldn't put a mini up to a AK because one is a military issue and one is civilian .. maybe a mini 14 vs a mini 30 or a mini vs a sks .. remembering that a ak, sks, and a mini thirty all use the same bullet.. personally the garand bolt they use on the 14's are awsome! in my opinion i would pick the mini 14! and of course there going to over heat cause its a ranch rifle, but if u get the target version it has a harmonic dampener and the bigger barrel.. the gun is 10 pounds !! it dont kick like the AK"S and doesn't get as hot as fast.. .223 round dont pack as much punch as the sks, but is more accurate over 300 yards by a big margin! the ammo is cheap and the garand bolt is probably one of the most durable bolts out there! i mean sure the sks or ak have alot more accessories but that doesnt mean its a better gun. dont get me wrong i like the ak's but if i had to choose which of the two are better "overall" i would go with the .223.. ps who said u couldnt get a 30 rounder for the .223.. because ive seen them..

December 21, 2007, 01:30 AM
You hear storys about how the Ak can stand up to extreme amounts of abuse, and still function Does the mini share these quality's?

My mini14 181 series spent 10 years on the bottom of a lake where it became packed with silt and gravel and badly corroded (surface rust and heavy pitting, it is a stainless model)

when it was recovered, it had a round in the chamber, a barrel packed full of dirt and the bolt frozen shut. while I was dissasembling it to see if it was salvageable I pulled the trigger and it AD'd into the garage celing (blowing a bunch of crud out of the barrel in the process)

With a little oil and a lot of elbow grease it was able to be restored into a servicable rifle.

My opinion of Rugers has risen considerably because of this.

December 21, 2007, 01:41 AM
apples and oranges

December 21, 2007, 01:46 AM
Not trying to threadjack here, but I am curious. Since the Mini-14 appears to be an attempt to make an M1 Carbine style rifle chambered in .223, why didn't Ruger just copy the M1 Carbine's appearance since it's one of the most beloved rifles ever made?

I was fondling a very well used, beat-up M1 Carbine at the gunstore earlier this week and it really is an amazingly beautiful, balanced, and superb handling little rifle. It has all the wonderful ergonomics that the clunky Mini is missing (I won't even mention ergonomics and the AK -- it's a contradiction of terms). I would think the M1 Carbine chambered in 5.56mm/.223 is an American success story just waiting to happen.

December 21, 2007, 02:37 AM
Mini 14 is patterned after it's big brother the M-14. The M-l4 is a refined
M-1 Garand that is really a magazine fed with gas adjustable piston system.
Have had AKs and ARs malfunctions, but having this 181 series since 1982,
it has functioned 100% both with factory 5 rounds and after market 30
rounds that I have several of. Thought a few times over the years of
accurizing it, but hesitate and use it as is for the first 200 yards. Scope
mounted (S&K) and no issues with a inexpensive Bushnell. While no where
near 1 MOA, it is a handy, reliable, carbine. A little more accurate would be
nice, but reliable clouds that bit of a short fall. Once in was the weapon of
choice for LEOs with features not available to citizens.
Don't see a comparison to the Russian stuff, other than being a gas piston
activated where as the M-16/AR 15v is a gas impingment action that is pretty
different and must be kept clean and dry to function.:D

December 21, 2007, 02:55 AM
AJAX, I'd love to see some pictures of it. I dont have a mini-14 and thus cant comment, but a few of my friends have them and there doesnt seem to be anything wrong with them, as long as you get quality magazines.

December 21, 2007, 08:08 AM
The folks who say the Mini-14 is an SKS or M1 Carbine wannabee are really kind of missing the point. In US civilian hands, the AK isn't much of an AK is it? The Mini in civilian hands, sans the NFA crowd, my be like an SKS, but so is an AK.

The Mini-14 was designed originally as a military arm available also to civilians. The AC-556 was an alternative to the M-16, which at the time was still struggling to get over its bad reputation. In reality, it was indeed the US equivalent to the AK - a rugged reliable assault rifle. Everything the AR was not just a few years earlier (the Mini came out in 1973).

Whether or not the AC-556 accomplished this is perhaps debatable, but the truth remains that it was designed as a military weapon.

I have a Mini-14GB that was surplussed by the Mississippi State Troopers. It isn't real pretty because the stock has a fair number of scratches from service though the metal and bore are excellent. However, it has never failed on me and is fairly accurate - certainly better than my milled SA-95 AK. Now, it is the equal to currently produced AR's? Nah, AR's will be more accurate and probably just as reliable. However, it fills a very desirable niche for me, home defense without scaring the neighbors too much by its evil look.

It isn't my favorite rifle. I probably like my AK better all things considered. However, it is perfectly reasonable to compare the Mini-14 as the US equivalent. Is it as reliable or rugged? Probably not though mine currently is. But the purpose of design places it solidly in the category of AK counterpart. It most certainly is NOT the equivalent of the SKS, even though effectively today it is because of magazines with higher capacity than 20 rounds. Had Peru (or any other nation) purchased the AC-556 to arm its military, I assure you they would have gotten quality 30 round magazines.


December 21, 2007, 08:23 AM
How does the accuracy of the the AK compare to the Ruger?

December 21, 2007, 08:31 AM
AJAX22--c'mon man, WE NEED PICTURES!!!!!!!

December 21, 2007, 08:53 AM
My milled Bulgarian isn't as accurate as my GB. Of course, the Bulgy shoots 7.62x39 and the GB shoots 5.56 so it isn't quite the comparison. The Mini does have better sights (and better placement of those sights).


December 21, 2007, 09:29 AM
Dang, talk about thread necromancy - dragged out of the grave after four years.... :) But since we're apparently in some MontePython-esque sketch ("this thread's not dead yet"), I'll ask the question in an updated fashion:

Would you rather have a Saiga 223 conversion or a Mini14? Both will cost roughly the same, and both will have mags that are approximate in cost to each other.

So which is the better tool for 0-300 yard pest control?

December 21, 2007, 09:47 AM
Well, this is what my Mini did yesterday morning. Getting there slowly.

December 21, 2007, 10:28 AM
The Mini-14 is a fine military rifle, in my opinion. It has served all over the world in military and mercenary hands. It is a very reliable, accurate rifle in a common military round. The only change I would make is a straight-in magazine well that accepts AR15 mags.

December 21, 2007, 10:42 AM
Danny, I have to ask - what military adopted the Mini-14? My Dept traded all our Minis for ARs a few years ago, ( I missed the big mag giveaway, 20 round factory mags for the taking!!! ), but I disremember who else uses them, other than Cal DOC.

December 21, 2007, 10:48 AM
To me it depends on what you want the firearm for. I bought a Mini to get a dependable quality enough 223 to hunt or HD with. Over the twenty 25 or so years I owned it that was what I got. It handled well, was short, light enough, functioned perfect, shot very accurate and I always liked the looks of em.

I bought a Norinco SKS for $80 cause I wanted a gun to throw behind the P/U seat or in a tool box and not worry about it being banged around, thats what I got. They would always work no matter what but they always felt heavy, awkward and ugly as sin to me. I kept selling and buying more looking for one that would shoot good enough to keep. Never did find one accurate enough to keep but any were Ok to treat rough and toss behind the seat uncased.
So in summery I guess I would say both can or will serve a intended purpose better than the other.

I have sold all of em except one AK and that one is on the trading block. Never have missed any of the SKS's I owned, but wish I would have kept the Mini. I didn't know what a gem I had cause it would shoot sub MOA. Oh well I got tired of chasing brass and we all live and learn I reckon.

Grizzly Adams
December 21, 2007, 10:56 AM
Danny, I have to ask - what military adopted the Mini-14? My Dept traded all our Minis for ARs a few years ago, ( I missed the big mag giveaway, 20 round factory mags for the taking!!! ), but I disremember who else uses them, other than Cal DOC.

If my memory serves me correctly, we shipped all the Minis to the Angloains or the Congo, or maybe it was to Hugo Chavez in Argentina. I also remember something about the AR15 clip fitting in backwards!

December 21, 2007, 10:58 AM
Brains, Brains, BRRRAINNNSSSsss!

Another undead thread comes to the surface once again.

2003 and then suddenly at the end of 2007? This thing has got to be hungery.

(Long post warning)

I am getting tired of reading about how the Mini-14 was ineneded to give "civilians" a military like .223 rifle. Maybe you guys knew a different Bill Ruger than the rest of us were aware of.

The Min-14 was origionally marketed as a Law Enforcement gun as a step up from the two most common patrol rifles of the day, the WInchester Model 94 in .30-30 ( about $90 from police supply houses) or the M-1 Carbine (About the same for police departments for new commercial guns or $35 for a used GI gun direct from the Army)

RUger figureds that if they could under cut the cost of a Colt SP-1 (AR-15) by 20 percent or so they could catch the market for getting police patrol carbines out of the 1890's or 1940's. Look at the gulf between those two most common choices, the '94 had power to spare for things inside normal police ranges and penitration of car bodies and frame housing and trailors as well, instant crazed live stock dropper as well. The carbine had a bunch of rounds available very fast and as at the time many law enforcement folks were XGI and familure with the little carbine.

The Mini was to combine the atributes of both for the LEO.

Prior to the release of the Mini the Gun Writers got to play with proto types that featured a shrunken version of the rear sights from an M-1 or M-14. As the sights of the AR-15 were considered garbage by many those fully adjustable with out tools rear sights looked like a fantastic idea and many of us lusted for the Mini before it went into full production. Unfortunately Ruger was in business to make money. WHen it was noted that the complex, whole lotta machining rear sight was a high cost item Ruger didtched it for the sort of Frankenstein AR rear with elevation via drum and detent as well.

Ruger had their $200 retail gun to go against Colts $240 retail gun (and Armalite's AR-180 that was about to be rereleased at about $260)and were happy....until the LEO sales just weren't happening with the speed they had hoped for. At last the guns were released for sale to the public, still cheaper than the SP1 folks snapped them up.....even though they came with a five round magazine and Ruger did not authorize sale of the 20 rounders to the public.

For whatever reason Ruger 20 rounders were available in the Armed Forces in Europe Rod and Gun Club System and that is were I got mine......and no I never had a magazine problem while I was opperating the rifle. FOlks not familure with the M-14/AK magazine tilt to engage the front edge (folks intially trained on the M-16A1) invariably tried to just push the magazine straight up and so over ride the firat round or jam its nose against the reciever below the feed ramps.

The ranch rifle was simply in response to customers complaining about the dificulty of securely mounting a scope and the ability to mount it low enought to be able to keep a good stock weld. The new machining to do the Ruger propriotory mounts initially drove up costs again until the new folding Williams type rear peep was adopted. The rear of the reciever then required less machining and the rear sight group it self was cheaper as well.

I think the Mini has it all over the AK as far as ergonomics goes. Any of us old farts teethed on the M-1 or M-14 rifles will find it very familiar. The ability to click the safety on or off with the trigger finger without changing the grip and not having the safety movement sound like an acceident in a body shop is a real plus. Magazine changes are the same as the AKs. The sights on the Mini are where they should be. ANd finally while I know it makes no difference to our rights or our manliness, the Mini-14 in issue garb does not look like evil incarnate and the guns carried by "Bad Guys"

BTW when the Mini came out the only available "AK" in the US (other than a very small number of pre'68 NFA guns) were the Valmet M62 guns, retail was around $300 and parts and magazines were not to be had. Ammo was a real problem in the US for AKs as well. It has been suggested that the Valmet .223 guns were created mainly to break into the US market with common ammo. About seven years after the Mini was on the market the first of the AKM semi auto rifles came in via Styer from Maadi. They looked as nice as any AK I had seen (even the East German ones of the time) and retail was a mere $1200 (yep 12 and two zeros) though it dropped to a much more affordable $850 in a couple of years. SO you could have bought one for about the same price as three Minis with a few spare mags at the time.

Only when China got most favored nation status and started pouring basically slave built AKs type rifles on the US market at priced less than a Mini and stinky old surplus ammo did having a cool "bad" gun begin to seem not stupid beyound belief or just plain "look at how rich I am" snootie.

So far the worst stock Minis I have experience with have been more accurate with over the counter ammo than AKs.

They can be both fitted with "High Capacity" magazines.

Both can today use over the counter ammo, though I not that places that Do offer 7.62x39 are out numbered by places offering .223 and that were I find one ot two choices of 7.62x39 I typically find two to four times as many choices of .223 ammo.

If I use a rifle for home defense, or in defense of others as a truck gun, I believe a Standard wood stocked Mini "Hunting Rifle" with a five round magazine in place will frighten a jury less than even a Saiga never mind an actual "Bad Guy Gun"

I beleive that if I have to leave the house in a Katrina situation bad enough that I feel tote'n a rifle is in order that I will attract less attention from over worked LEOs and National Guardsfolk and, more importantly trigger unhappy armed frightened home owners, carrying the wood stocked flush magazined Mini than a Bulgarian AK 74 or Polish Tanwhatever. (I will of course havethe pockets of my Jeans Jackety stuffed with reliable 20 rounders of course)

If I were a young (or old) new shooter, or advising one, and could afford either I would buy the Mini so that when I go to the range (not wearing cammies or skulls or smart ass t-shirts) I might not be viewed by the old farts that tend to hang out on shooting ranges and have some idea what they are doing as "one of those Jerks with one of those damned Commie guns that make us all look bad" Not fostering that opinion right off the bat might lead to one of the old farts actually taking an interst in you and actually teaching you what you need to know to be a safe, and accurate shooter. Once they have helped you for a few months and you have gained their trust then you can be obnoxious at less personal cost. I learned this by showing up at ranges wearing Cammie trousers, a skull pin on my boonie hat and smart ass t-shirts carrying a black rifle with a "bannana" magazine before some posters on THR were born BTW. Learn from the mistakes of others.

I have enjoyed shooting AKs and still do and if the Zombies ever rise up or Cuban Paratroopers start landing in the back yard I might snatch up an AK before a Mini. Until then, between the two its a Mini.

As to the Mini being the American AK......Nope. The AK was designed and originally built for Centrally Planned Economies and Centrally Controlled Governments. The Mini was designed and originally built for for a Free Market Socioty and a freely elected government acting under the constraints of a Constitution that restricted the powers of the government.

WHen they governmets that originally made AKs for their use were and in some cases are still Centrally planned and controlled socioties at no time could Joe or Jane the average good citizen go into a store and purchase an AK and ammo and keep them at home or drive around with them in their non exixtant privately owned Pick up trucks. Very shortly after the entroduction of the Mini US citizens in good standing could walk in to a gun shop or if memory serves Woolco and such and walk out with a Mini and ammo and drop them in their Ford F-150 and drive off.

So the Mini can not be considered the American AK or SKS.

I suppose the closest thing in terms of origianal intent and use in the US to the AK is the AR-15. Before you get all bent out of shape over the cost, terms of the value of an hour's work in the US verses most other places making an AK how much more than an AK does an AR-15 cost? If it were possible for say a Chinese worker when they were dumping the AK super cheap how many hours would it take him to earn enough to pay for the cheapest of the no frills AKs compaded to say Someone working at Colt's?

What would it cost in terms of work hours for a Bulgarian making 5.56 NATO AK 74 rifles verses someone at Bushmaster or Armalite or such to purchase a stock AR?

It looks like the AR is the closest thing to an American AK as it gets.

The Mini is....a Mini.

-Bob Hollingsworth

December 21, 2007, 11:01 AM
"I was thinking it would be a closer comparison to the SKS."

Bingo!!! Shoots like a run of the mill SKS.

Dollar An Hour
December 21, 2007, 11:31 AM
How about the Mini 30 in 7.62? I like the idea of cheaper ammo versus .223 anyway.

Are these also reliable, etc?

Or would I be stuck with 5-round mags? :mad:

Have been looking at AK's, but the Saiga, with option to convert later, seems like it may be a great option for the price.

Ed Ames
December 21, 2007, 11:44 AM
WOW and WOW. Wow (and hat's off) to Bob for that treatise on the mini-14 and WOW that a 2003 thread has been resurrected.

I have mixed emotions about the mini-14. My experience seems to show they are better than people say... but I'm not sure they are good enough to justify the price. I wouldn't buy one but wouldn't be embarrassed to own one either. Not sure I buy the "it'll attract less LEO attention in an emergency" argument. If you are trying to look innocuous in a disaster but want to hand-carry a long gun get yourself a nice (wood or in some areas maybe hunter-camo stock) 12ga semi-auto or over/under that can fire slugs. My preference would be a folding stock (or disassembled) long-gun in the backpack until/unless there is urgent need and a pistol IWB.

I don't see the mini-14 as much like the AK or SKS... closer to an SKS though.

December 21, 2007, 11:55 AM
Except the SKS does not have a detachable magazine.


December 21, 2007, 11:58 AM
Yeah, I just read a post on RFC where a guy said his brother tapped of three rounds fast and the reciever came apart.

December 21, 2007, 05:05 PM
It was a poor man's substitute for an m1a when I got mine ('90). I'm glad I kept it but it's just so darn $%&#* expensive to shoot right now that it sits un loved and practiced with. I finally put it in that choate stock I bought for it when I was a kid so it looks a bit more 'evil' I guess but our nephews like shooting it with the 'cool' stock on it.

KBob--that was a terrific essay. I would disagree with you on one point; I'd advise a younger guy or gal who wanted a 5.56 to just get an AR and skip the mini. The price is just rock-botton right now and the accesories and 'goodies' are cheap too. Moreover, it's the military arm now in use. The old guys at the range can accept the fact that younger guys aren't (always) cutting their teeth on an M-1 anymore. Of course, the advice about dress and comportment should be well heeded; that's just respect for one's elders.

cracked butt
December 21, 2007, 05:14 PM
Ak-47 > SKS > mini-whatever

December 21, 2007, 05:25 PM
The Mini-14 is obsolete.

The AK-47 (or Kalshnikov-design, or whatever you wanna call it) is FLOURISHING.

The only reason the Mini-14 isn't discontinued altogether is there are some places where it can be sold (as it does not fall within the idiotically-contrived definition of "assault rifle").

The Mini-14 delivers Kalashnikov accuracy at more than double the price.
What a deal!

Its the thing that goes up?

December 22, 2007, 01:19 AM
The Mini-14 is obsolete.

Nonsense, Sir!

It continues to fill a certain niche for many folks. Does it cost too much for what it is? Sure.

But if you're an M-1/M-1a/M-14 guy---the Mini is a familiar little friend not to be dismissed lightly.

Or maybe you regard ALL of the above mentioned rifles as obsolete as well?


December 22, 2007, 02:08 AM
Being an M1 and M14 guy myself, the shortcomings of the Mini-14 are doubly disappointing.

Being used to the excellent sights on the Garand and the M14, you can't suggest that the factory sights on a Mini-14 are even in the same league. Mini-14 sights aren't even as good as the sights on an AK-47, and AK-47 sights are pretty crude. "adjustable for elevation" :barf:

The Mini-14 gas system has more in common with an AK-47 than an M14.

Seriously - what does a NEW Mini-14 cost now?
$600 at least... probably closer to $700 at most stores.
Bud's has them "on the internet" for about $600.

I'll assume you already own yours (I long ago sold mine).
Would you REALLY lay down $600 - let alone $700 - for a Mini-14 today?

So now its a "niche" gun. OK.

I'll be polite and leave it at that.

December 22, 2007, 10:31 AM
Sorry, W.E.G.---I get rude when I can't sleep.

Also, didn't intend to imply that the mini is in the same ballpark at the m1/mia/m14 in quality or construction in any way--just that the controls are similar. It also is a pretty reliable little rifle.

I paid 340.00 for mine in '90. As I stated earlier, I'd tell a guy in the boat I was in (19 years old back then) to not waste their money on the ruger unless a wonderful 2nd hand 'deal' came their way.

In fact when they intrduced the tuned-up Mini earlier this year Ruger had the audacity to openly mock the owners of the 'old' mini in their print ads by stating that the new one actually worked whereas the old one was junk in contrast.

Yes, the sights are awful.

December 22, 2007, 10:37 AM
I'd pay $340 (2008 dollars) for one now!

As for "tuning up" a Mini, I have more promising projects to dump money into nowadays.

I think I have about today's price of a Mini-14 in this monstrosity.

WHAT was I thinking...

December 22, 2007, 01:04 PM
Actually the sights on the new 580 series mini are pretty nice - copied after the AO (Ashley) sights. Rugged, reliable, and easy to adjust.

December 22, 2007, 01:54 PM
The "580 series" is the current incarnation of the "Ranch Rifle."

The "improvement" still requires a screwdriver to make any sight adjustment.

The scope bases are still that oddball Ruger design requiring a scope ring that is compatible with no other rifle but Ruger. After all, that Picatinny rail thing is just a passing fad.

December 22, 2007, 02:00 PM
I think I have about today's price of a Mini-14 in this monstrosity.

WHAT was I thinking...
As a (former) mini-14 owner, I'd have gladly traded you my 188-series stainless Ranch Rifle, a Butler Creek folding stock, and $100 for that WASR-3...

December 22, 2007, 08:28 PM
I'd pay $340 (2008 dollars) for one now!

As for "tuning up" a Mini, I have more promising projects to dump money into nowadays.

I think I have about today's price of a Mini-14 in this monstrosity.

Rifle-$450 in 2000



Modified & inverted Calico M-900 scope mount-$20

Streamlight M3-$160

Cheap red dot-$35

Scope rings-free with all Rugers

Barrel cut and flashider purchased/welded-$125 (not having to SBR a 14.6" tube, priceless!)-it is 16.2" with hider.

Total: $910 (cut the light and optic, your down to under $700)

January 21, 2009, 12:31 AM
I think the sks is horrible.

January 21, 2009, 02:42 AM
Holy Thread Resurrect Batman! SKS horrible, how is it horrible? its reliable and tough mine may have the worst trigger ever but it always goes bang when I want it to regardless.

January 21, 2009, 08:16 AM
Congratulations boxcarbilly on raising the dead

January 27, 2009, 09:41 PM
whoa...sorry guys...i just had a bad experience with one so i just dont trust them...

January 27, 2009, 09:43 PM
WOW! people were commenting about this undead thread after it resurrection 2 years ago (post 54)

This one needs a moderator to drive a stake through it's cold dead heart, then possibly burn it and scatter the ashes to the dawn for good measure

January 27, 2009, 10:37 PM
lol this is too much. Die all ready die die die die die...... You get the point. let this thread rest in peace.

January 27, 2009, 11:47 PM
Stake driven.

Really, it's not so much the age of the thread, it's the fact that there's nothing new to say after six years.


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