Opinions on Mini-14 ?


March 8, 2006, 10:50 PM
Last week I shot an AR-15, and was impressed. My shooting buddy is pointing me in the right direction to assemble one from parts - probably costing in the end around $600-$700. Probably worth every penny. But...

I don't know if I would get $600+ fun out of an AR-15. I asked my buddy about the Ruger Mini-14. He said he had a chance to shoot one - but did not think much of it. Not very accurate.

I have ordered a book by Duncan Long "Mini-14 Super Systems". I'll know a lot more after I read that, but are there any reasonably priced tweeks for accuracy right now for the Mini-14?

Are there other alternatives to the Mini-14 ?

BTW - I am mainly a pistol guy. But I do have a Hi-Point carbine, 2 SKS's, and a Mosin-Nagant 44.


- W

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March 8, 2006, 10:59 PM
I own a Mini-14, and it's okay for what it is. Accuracy out of it's thin whippy barrel isn't quite there once it heats up, however. Go to www.perfectunion.com for the web's best Mini-14 discussions. ;)

I'd go AR if possible (used, if $$$ is tight). If not, look into Kel-Tec's SU-16's. Mini's come in somewhere farther down the list (although Jack Bauer did use one in Season Four :D ).

March 9, 2006, 01:25 AM
I look at the Mini as the American version of the SKS or the 10/22's big brother. It's not the best at anything, but it makes up for it reliability. I didnt have any need for a 223 rifle at all, but I get more 223 brass at the range than 9mm, so for $300 I picked up a well-loved 80's vintage Mini. Groups about as good as a SKS or 10/22, which is what I expected. I'm sure it will do better as I work up loads for it. It's a rifle built to be beat or or used purely for fun. The Timex of 223 maybe?


March 9, 2006, 01:27 AM
I think that since Kel-Tec came out with their SU-16, the Mini-14 has been superseded as an "economy" .223 rifle. The SU-16 is very reliable in my experience, takes standard AR magazines (whilst you'll struggle, and pay much more, to find reliable hi-cap Mini-14 magazines), and is lighter as well!

March 9, 2006, 01:31 AM
The Kel-tec is cheaper, more accurate, arguably more reliable, takes cheaper more readily available magazines and you wont be supporting the evil that is ruger.

March 9, 2006, 07:45 AM
I think once you buy the mini-14 and spend the $$$ acurizing it to the level of an AR15, you'll be a bit past the cost of your AR.

You can have lots of fun with a $700. AR. :D

March 9, 2006, 10:08 AM
Mini-14 is fine, but AR-15 is much better. It's very true that good mags for the Ruger are expensive, while USGI mags for the AR-15 retail at $17 or so, and you can get them dirt cheap if you shop around. I'm the type who likes to have a large pool of mags for his weapons, for several reasons. 15 or 20 USGI AR mags will pay for five or so Ruger mags. 15 or 20 Ruger mags will pay for an AR-15. Also, accurizing the Ruger will cost ya, as has been mentioned. If you want an inexpensive toy that you will only shoot now and then, the Ruger would be fine, but if you want a viable weapon system, the AR-15 will much better, and much, much more economical.

March 9, 2006, 10:11 AM
I have owned one for quite a few years, it gives me 2-21/2" groups at 100 yds, shoots anything I feed it and never malfunctions with Ruger hi-cap mags. I would trust my life to it.

March 9, 2006, 10:17 AM
I have owned one for quite a few years, it gives me 2-21/2" groups at 100 yds, shoots anything I feed it and never malfunctions with Ruger hi-cap mags. I would trust my life to it.
This was exactly my experience with the 2 Mini-14's I have owned, yet the AR-15 excells by a good margin. You should get your hands on one and find out.

March 9, 2006, 10:33 AM
It's a well known fact that the mini 14 came into being after a Ruger M77 and commie SKS had $ex.

March 9, 2006, 04:08 PM
Seraph: I had a NIB Colt Sporter II AR-15 that noonly didn't group at 100 yards, it shot patterns of 4-5" with loads from 55-69 grns. I got rid of that POS and bought a NM M1A.:banghead:

March 9, 2006, 05:03 PM
Shouldn't we just have a permanent Mini-14 sticky thread right on top? It could have all the well versed FAQs, skinny barrel heats up quickly, requires quality mags for reliability, Bill Ruger was the devil incarnate, etc.

One for the 5.56x45 too. ;)

Jacobus Rex
March 9, 2006, 05:22 PM
I've owned both over the years. Overall, I like the AR's that I've had better than the Mini-14. I'll try to break down my opinions:

Mini-14 Pros:
1. Cheaper upfront cost.
2. It is handier and shorter.
3. Less evil looking.
4. Feels more like a "normal" rifle.
5. Reliable on the average and easier to keep reliable.
6. Not generally ammo sensitive.

Mini-14 Cons:
1. Expensive magazines.
2. Inaccurate by most rifle standards. It is in the same accuracy class as the AK and SKS. It has basic "combat" accuracy. Although a flash suppressor added to it will help accuracy. (Strange, but true.)
3. Less evil looking. :D
4. Very small range of after market products compared to AR's.
5. Only one source of parts and only one maker.

I'm one of those odd people that like both Mini-14's and AR-15's. I must admit that if I had to choice only one, it would be the AR-15. (Actually, I currently only have an AR. I don't have a Mini-14 at the moment.)

Regarding the SU-16 by Kel-Tec, I have not ever fired one. Therefore, I cannot really comment. I do find it very interesting. SKSs and AKs are always an option.

March 9, 2006, 05:28 PM
I've never touched an SU-16, but it has one downside to me. It's ug-leeeee! A little too "modern tactical" for my tastes. I think the AR-15 is beatuiful by comparison.

March 9, 2006, 05:33 PM
loadedround, sounds like your Colt was a real lemon. Sorry to hear about that, but I'm not high on the Colt Kool Aide anyway. I bet they would have replaced the barrel, though, on warranty. My M16/AR-15 experience has been firmly in the Relentless Tackdriver column, but I'm aware that all models from all makes can turn up a lemon. From what I can gather, it seems my positive experience with my two Mini-14's, and your positive experience with yours, was better than average. Of course, I too would choose an M1A over an AR-15, eventhough I have heard some odd few complaints about M1A's now and then. In the absence of proper quality control, a good warranty is your friend.

March 9, 2006, 07:34 PM
Thanks guys for all the feed-back. One thing I have to say is Natchez has hi cap mags for the mini at $14 - so lets nip that arguement in the bud.

As a couple people pointed out - cosmetics (looks) is a part of the decision process. I'm not crazy about the looks of an AR-15. I does not have SOUL. In the same way a 1911 has SOUL. Or a Winchester 30-30 lever action has SOUL. I know this is not a rational arguement - but there it is.

I'm a little intrigued about the "strut" that is being developed. But here is a good article about tuning a mini. They went from 3" groups at 100 yards - down to 1" groups at 100 yards.


- w

March 9, 2006, 07:56 PM
the mini isn't verry acurate. but its a hellofalotta fun:D

i like the mini for what it is, it is a short range battle rifle.

i would suggest the keltek but the thing is about as durable as a twig and looks like a pos. if you just want a fun gun get the mini if not, get an ar

March 9, 2006, 08:05 PM
There are better rifles for the price of a new, stainless mini-14 rancher.

In my experience it is a very simple, tough, and reliable firearm. My only complaint is the rear sight, which is flimsy and easy to destroy in some way shape or form. It is a better choice to use some other form of optics or replace the sight. I do however like the cope mounting system, and if you so wish you can get a picatinny/weaver rail adapter.
I believe an AK-47 variant is a better choice than the mini in general.

I also believe a mini-14 is a good choice if you want a .223 rifle that you arent afraid to beat up, and dont want an SKS for some reason. But still, AK-47 is better.

March 9, 2006, 09:19 PM
Form follows function. I'd love to know what the Mini-14 can do that my SU-16 cant.

Name one thing the Mini-14 does better, or does the Su-16 cant.

March 9, 2006, 09:27 PM
Can you have wood stocks for the SU-16?

March 9, 2006, 09:41 PM
My 188-series mini-14 Ranch Rifle has shot a best-ever group of 5.5 inches at 100 yards. Not good. On the upside, it is 100% reliable. Magazines are hard to find and of inconsistent quality.

If it were me, I'd spend the extra $100 or two and get a basic AR.

Can you have wood stocks for the SU-16?
Probably not, but that's an aesthetic call, and for me, the mini-14's primary drawback is the 1800's style straight wooden stock. I still have the walnut stock for my mini, but it hasn't been used in years. For nearly a decade the rifle wore a Choate E2 style Zytel stock, and now wears a Butler Creek synthetic stock that folds for storage.

March 9, 2006, 09:44 PM
cheaperthandirt.com has several mini-14 mags averaging 11$ for 30rnds. They are OK quality, 5 out of 6 that i got work well for me. (the metal ones)

I also got some (3) grpahite 30 rndser from sportsmansguide for 20$ a piece, 2 of 3 work very well.

Next i plan on purchasing 2 of the clear 30 rnd mags, http://www.cheaperthandirt.com/MAG385-20846-1882.html

lots of mini-14 stuff at that site, including a weaver rail adapter.

March 9, 2006, 09:56 PM
For nearly a decade the rifle wore a Choate E2 style Zytel stock...
I had that stock for one of my Mini's, and found that it solved the too-short-for-me LOP.

March 9, 2006, 10:18 PM
Theres no reason You couldnt have a wooden stock manufactured.

March 9, 2006, 11:05 PM
Theres no reason You couldnt have a wooden stock manufactured.
You're right, but I was only 14 or 15 at the time, and the proposition of a custom stock was beyond my scope and budget. :o

March 9, 2006, 11:07 PM
I'd pay extra for the polymer myself..

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