Ruger Mini - 14


PDA






RWMC
May 3, 2006, 12:24 AM
I am looking at buying a new .223 auto loader rifle. I do not want an AK copy, and I can't afford a new DPMS AR - 15. I am looking very seriously at the Ruger Mini 14 of Ranch Rifle. Not for sure if I want the stainless/synthetic set-up or if I should stick with the blued and hardwood stock. I will be using it on my farm for coyotes or any other varmits that get within 200 yards of where they shouldn't be, and for punching paper and home protection if the need ( God forbid ) ever arises. Any Mini 14 or Ranch Rifle owners ( past or present ) I sure would like to hear your feed back. Thanks for your time and help!

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger Mini - 14" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Kaylee
May 3, 2006, 12:35 AM
I've owned two.. a nice older blue/wood standard version and a newer stainless/synthetic Ranch model. Of the two, I'd go with the latter.. slimmer stock made a much handier package.

That said.. I'd buy a second hand AR (or build one) before I'd do either again.

whelen35
May 3, 2006, 12:45 AM
I grew up shooting my father's mini-14, and I own one now. Both were wood stock-blued metal. I love both of them. We fired thousands of rounds through them. The only problem was aftermarket magazines. Be sure to test all your mags.

RWMC
May 3, 2006, 12:49 AM
Thanks for the input Kaylee. I am always concerned with buying a "second-hand" AR with fears that previous owners dinked around with the internals. Maybe my thoughts are unjustified. Regardless, thank you for your suggestions!

RWMC
May 3, 2006, 12:52 AM
Hey Whelen35, Roger on the after market mags. I was prepared to bite the bullet and acquire some original LEO Ruger 20 rd. mags. Thanks!

esldude
May 3, 2006, 12:54 AM
Have had one of each. If you plan on scoping or putting a red dot on it, go with the Ranch Rifle. If you plan to use the peep sights, go with the standard. The standard has better rear sights by far vs. the Ranch rifle.

A Ruger isn't tops in accuracy, but for use you describe should be fine. Might also take a look at the Keltec .223 rifle as well.

Tomac
May 3, 2006, 08:12 AM
I've owned a number of Mini-14's since they first came out and my biggest complaints (relative lack of accuracy & reliable aftermarket mags) have been solved. I like the ProMag 30rd polymer mags ($11 each at Natchez) and just cutting the bbl back a couple of inches and/or adding a muzzle brake or flash hider will improve group size significantly (I get 3" groups at 100yds w/the ghostring rear sight using Winchester Q3131). I like the new 580 series as it has a halfway decent rear sight (I replaced the factory peep w/an XS Systems .150" ghost ring) and takes the std Ruger 1" or 30mm rings as well (shown here w/the 1" UltraDot). The Butler Creek folding stock is both more rugged than the factory synthetic stock and because it requires the internal brace is also more accurate (if you want the BC folder then buy the stainless/wood 580 as the wood stock has the internals the BC folder needs, the factory synthetic does not). I use the pistol grip storage compartment to hold spare UltraDot batteries, rear sight adjustment tool, Phillips screwdriver shank for popping the trigger group, a nickel for removing the UltraDot's battery cap & Ruger rings and a .223 broken shell extractor. Reliability? I now have 600rds of the dirty/underpowered Wolf .223 through this rifle w/o cleaning or any problems. I'll clean it again when I hit 1,000rds. HTH...
Tomac
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v465/Tomac/ResizeofMini-14sandUltraDot013.jpg

Gary G23
May 3, 2006, 09:27 AM
For 200yd work I would much rather have an AR.

bgold
May 3, 2006, 10:12 AM
If I had a choice beween a second hand AR or a new Ruger, the AR would win every time. If you are seriously concerned about the condition of a used AR, have a smith or knowledgeable friend along with you.

Dave Markowitz
May 3, 2006, 12:27 PM
I have both an AR-15 and a Mini-14. For the uses you post, either rifle will do fine. IMO, new Mini-14s are overpriced, but you can pick up nice condition used Minis for under $400.

In general, AR-15s will be more accurate, but as mentioned already, you can do some simple tweaks to the Ruger to improve accuracy. USGI mags for the AR-15 are common and inexpensive. In contrast, you have to do some hunting for factory Ruger 20s, but since the demise of the AWB they can be had for $35 or less. Most users of the new ProMag Mini-14 mags report favorably on them.

If you plan on putting optics on the rifle, the Ranch Rifle version of the Mini will make doing so a lot easier. Accessorizing the AR-15 will be easier than the Ruger.

Either rifle will serve your needs well.

Creeping Incrementalism
May 3, 2006, 02:14 PM
Take the worst characteristic of any popular auto-loader, combine them in one gun, and you have the Mini-14. Not to mention Ruger is the most anti-RKBA American gun maker. Unless you live in California, get something else.

Guns_and_Labs
May 3, 2006, 02:41 PM
Take the worst characteristic of any popular auto-loader, combine them in one gun, and you have the Mini-14. Not to mention Ruger is the most anti-RKBA American gun maker. Unless you live in California, get something else.

Someone needs a nap.

But the point is probably well-taken. For 200 yard shots on coyotes and such, just about any quality AR-style will do fine. For a Mini-14 to do the same requires a bit of tuning and care. I have one of both, and they both work fine.

Buckskinner
May 3, 2006, 02:56 PM
That's called "varminting", and the Mini probably isn't the right tool for that game.
I like the Mini because it works (sorta) like my M1. So its comfortable. And the aftermarket stuff let's you do easy mods if you like to do that kinda stuff.

The Mini is a good rifle for $450. With good mags, I 've never had an issue in 5000 fun rounds of plinking.

Beer can MOA at 75-100 yards, offhand is plenty good.

Creeping Incrementalism
May 3, 2006, 02:57 PM
Someone needs a nap.

I'm not exaggerating. The Mini has the accuracy of a commie gun, less relibility than anything, less reliable mags than anything, fewer after-market accessories than the the AK/AR, is overpriced, and specifically has no warranty. And most of the people I know (myself included) bought one only because everything else got outlawed by SB23, and the Kel-tec wasn't out yet. Not that the Mini is terrible, but if I knew then what I knew now, I certainly wouldn't buy one.

AZ Jeff
May 3, 2006, 03:10 PM
The Mini has the accuracy of a commie gun.....

In general, that's true

less relibility than anything, less reliable mags than anything....
Totally FALSE. The main problem with Mini-14 reliability (when a reliability problem is present) is due to poorly made AFTERMARKET magazines. Use good aftermarket mags, or better yet, Ruger factory magazines of any size, and reliability will rival a "commie gun". I repeat: in general, a Mini-14 is a VERY RELIABLE rifle.

...specifically has no warranty....
That's an ignorant complaint, based on your lack of understanding of Ruger's warranty policy in general. While Ruger's warranty seems to be vague or non-existant, if you do any research, you will find that they have a reputation, in practice, of fixing just about anything that goes wrong with their firearms at no cost to the consumer, and usually, for an infinite period. That's about as good a warranty as one could hope for.

ArmedBear
May 3, 2006, 03:12 PM
less relibility than anything

Unless you're talking about problems with aftermarket magazines, or a particular gun that was broken, this has no basis in fact.

specifically has no warranty

Now I think you've never owned a Ruger. Clearly, you've never called them. Ruger's no warranty beats most company warranties hands-down. At least that's been my experience.

This is my experience with Ruger's "no warranty":

"Sturm, Ruger and Company, may I help you?"
"Hi. The X on my Y broke."
"No problem. Can you give me the serial number?"
"12345-67890."
"What's your mailing address?
"Blah blah blah."
"We're sending you one right now."
"Do you want me to send the broken one to you?"
"Nah. Just throw it away."

I'll second whoever said to get the stainless/xytel Ranch Rifle. I prefer the package to the AR-15. It's more compact, mounts real fast like a little shotgun, shoots very reliably, and readily tolerates bad cleaning habits. Doesn't mean I haven't bought an AR, but honestly, it's only because of the recent opportunity to do so legally here in CA. I really didn't even want one; I just couldn't turn down a chance to thumb my nose at the primate in the Attorney General's office. I haven't even put it together yet.:)

What I don't prefer is the Mini's accuracy. It's a carbine made to fill the same niche as the lever gun has for more than a century, not to compete with bolt actions. The AR can compete with bolt actions. And often does. Actually, a customized Mini can also, but it ain't cheap. And the trigger on a Mini is a basic field trigger, not even a good service trigger. So, for paper punching, a Mini-14 just isn't much fun. But for plinking or as a truck gun, it's great.

For me, that's good enough. Punching paper with a rifle -- especially a semiauto -- is the lowest thing on my list of fun shooting activities. Actually, I don't even enjoy it. Last few times I've done it was just to sight in a new hunting rifle.

And the Mini field-strips easily, too. So does the AR, of course.

Guns_and_Labs
May 3, 2006, 03:23 PM
The Mini has the accuracy of a commie gun, less relibility than anything, less reliable mags than anything, fewer after-market accessories than the the AK/AR, is overpriced, and specifically has no warranty.

My Mini-14 spent time at Accuracy Systems before I even touched it, so it's probably not a good example, but it is consistently 3" or better at 200 yards and has never had a problem with the factory mags.

That said, my CA-compliant Bushmaster was the same price (I bought both used), and is better than 1 MOA.

They're both a pain to clean, though.

What's wrong with a bolt action for a truck gun?

Art Eatman
May 3, 2006, 03:26 PM
What's important in a hunting rifle is that the first shot from a cold barrel goes to the same place as the last time there was a shot from a cold barrel. The Mini-14 is as good at this as most any other rifle. You don't shoot groups on a coyote...

The ONLY unreliability is from after-market mags.

Four Minis over some 20 years, and maybe around 3,000 rounds, but what do I know? :)

Art

Guns_and_Labs
May 3, 2006, 03:27 PM
You don't shoot groups on a coyote...


Speak for yourself. :D

ArmedBear
May 3, 2006, 03:27 PM
ANY semiauto is a pain to clean. The Mini beats most, as long as you keep your thumb out of certain places when you reassemble it.:p

For a truck gun, it's hard to beat the gun that was on horses and wagons first, then graduated to trucks and has been there ever since: the lever-action carbine. Now some of them are even stainless.

JNewell
May 3, 2006, 03:45 PM
I've owned a couple of Mini-14s and without trying to inflame anything or anyone I have to say that without a lot of work they are just not suitable 200 yard rifles. By the time you spend the money on that work and pay the premium for decent magazines, you're at or near AR costs anyway - my advice (worth everything you're paying for it!!!) would be to save a little longer and buy the AR.

ArmedBear
May 3, 2006, 04:07 PM
If I were going to leave a semiauto .223 in a ranch truck in dusty and muddy country, and ignore it until I needed it, but still expect it to fire whenever I wanted it to, it'd be a stainless Ranch Rifle with iron sights. I wouldn't expect it to hit prairie dogs at 200 yards. But hitting a coyote at iron sight range isn't a problem.

RNB65
May 3, 2006, 04:20 PM
I had a mini-14 for several years and it just sat around the back of the gun cabinet and never got fired much. A rifle that went bang everytime I pulled the trigger but otherwise boring and mostly ignored. Then, after the AWB expired, I bought one of those Butler Creek folding stocks and now I love it. Small, compact, lightweight, easier to clean than my AR, and just plain fun to shoot. Even bought 5 Ruger factory 20rd mags to go with it.

I've found my mini-14 to be more reliable than my Bushmaster AR15 (never had a single jam with the mini using WWB ammo), but slightly less accurate. Still, the mini is accurate enough for fun shooting and self defense. I have no trouble shooting baseball sized groups at 50yds without using a benchrest.

Tokugawa
May 3, 2006, 04:28 PM
Yes I can read (about not wanting an AK) but still- One saiga 223(about $300) and a $130 for a russian scope - I suspect this will shoot with a mini any day of the week

tomkatz
May 3, 2006, 04:53 PM
I bought my rock river AR for $500.00 used. It is heavier/longer than a mini 14, a twenty incher, so maybe not a fair comparison, but it will do things at 200 yards a mini can't even approach, much less equal. My brother-in-laws short bushmaster will pretty much keep pace with my RR though.
I have owned a couple minis, they were good guns so I'm not knocking them. I still own a pc-9. I just think I'd go on a mission to find an AR you can afford.
......tom

stealthmode
May 3, 2006, 05:01 PM
Beer can MOA at 75-100 yards, offhand is plenty good.

I like that

Foxtrot427
May 3, 2006, 05:25 PM
like others have said Id rather get a used AR or an Kel tec SU-16

Tomac
May 3, 2006, 09:14 PM
Why not an AR? The troubleshooting forum at AR15.COM currently shows 3,013 topics w/21,098 replies :what: : http://www.ar15.com/forums/forum.html?b=3&f=66
Tomac

bbutler
May 3, 2006, 09:31 PM
Id say go with it its a very cool reliable gun (SOME PEOPLE JUST ARENT HAPPY WITH ANYTHING) :rolleyes:

colt.45
May 3, 2006, 10:12 PM
if yall recall, he said he cant afford an ar-15 and wanted your opinion on the mini-14. not how much better an ar-15 would do. i think that the mini-14 is a great little rifle, and froma cold bore, its as good a gun as any. good for plinking out to 300 yards and for the yotes its great. take the mini for what it is and you will be happy with one. and as for reliability. it is a two lug open bolt gas piston rifle. it will be as reliable as any ak if you use pro mag polymer mags.

RWMC
May 4, 2006, 12:23 AM
Many thanks to all of you on your great and much appreciated feed-back. I am still going to do some more thinking about the possible purchase ( money being at a premium ). Thanks again all.

Creeping Incrementalism
May 4, 2006, 12:34 AM
Totally FALSE. The main problem with Mini-14 reliability (when a reliability problem is present) is due to poorly made AFTERMARKET magazines. Use good aftermarket mags, or better yet, Ruger factory magazines of any size, and reliability will rival a "commie gun". I repeat: in general, a Mini-14 is a VERY RELIABLE rifle.

Four Minis over some 20 years, and maybe around 3,000 rounds, but what do I know?

Well, I've had close experience with two shooting about 2500 rounds, and I can defintiely say its the guns, not the mags. Don't even try to tell me their reliability will rival a commie gun, because I've shot a number of commie guns, and the cheapest of them is about three times as reliable as the Minis, excluding the mags. Once you count mags, the Minis get even worse. In fact, of all the auto-loaders I've shot, ARs, AKs, Benellis, M1As, Glocks, other Ruger auto-loaders, the Minis are the bottom of the barrel in terms of reliability. One of the Minis I shoot is more sensitive to dust/sand and ammo fouling than anything else, and the other came with a really rough action that just failed to extract all the time, and sometimes broke the heads off of cases. About 1500 rounds later it seems to have worn the rough edges off or whatever, and that one works better now, though. Not that the Minis are atrocious, but they are definitely in last place, from my own experience, and what I've heard from others.

If you got 10 AKs, 10 ARs, 10 M-14 types, and 10 Minis, I'm confidant the Minis will come in last in terms of reliability. Not even mentioning the mags, which alone are more than enough reason not to get a Mini.

Now I think you've never owned a Ruger. Clearly, you've never called them. Ruger's no warranty beats most company warranties hands-down. At least that's been my experience.

Correct, I've never called them. Why would I call them when the manual explicitly says they have no warranty whatsoever, and the only stories I heard about their service is how they Narc on people for illegal guns (not that the ones I handled ever were)?

The other funny fact I like about the Mini is how the gun says .223, but the people who've done the factory training say it's actually 5.56.

I don't think Minis are garbage, and I like the one I personally own. It's just... everything else is better.

If I were the guy who started this thread, I'd get a Bulgarian Arsenal AK.

Kevinch
May 4, 2006, 09:29 AM
I did own a Mini 14, the wood stocked SS Ranch Rifle. I shot it very little, buying it during those dark days when I was somewhat concerned about the future prospects of legally acquiring a semiauto "battle" type rifle.

A few years ago I traded it in on the purchase of a Bushmaster & have never looked back. The Mini was 1 of only 3 guns I've ever sold.

If I were looking now, I'd try to save enough money to buy a new AR or look for a good deal on a used one before I purchased a Mini 14. Not that the Mini is a bad rifle - I just prefer the AR.

CTI1USNRET
May 4, 2006, 12:57 PM
AR fanatics will never keep away from any discussion of the Mini-14. It's against their religion. They will never allow someone to choose a Mini without their "superior" opinion of the AR being voiced. Reading "Mini-14" in any forum pushes a button in their minds that activates the "pro AR" program.

Try it. It never fails.

ArmedBear
May 4, 2006, 01:49 PM
<Unnecessary comment removed by Art>

WRT the AR vs. Mini...

A Mini-14 fits between or under the seats of a ranch truck. It slides neatly and unobtrusively into a scabbard on an ATV (or even a horse, if you have a horse). The all-stainless one will take an unparalleled amount of abuse. It shoots just as well dirty as clean.

An AR sticks out in all directions and, while many people get flawless performance from theirs, they do so by keeping it nice and clean. The Marines have few if any problems, because they clean theirs religiously. The Air Force personnel who were caught by "insurgents" in Iraq a couple years back didn't get a lot of rifle maintenance training, and guess what? Their guns didn't work when they needed them. Accurate and tacticool as an AR may be, it doesn't sound like a rancher's best friend. The consistent images that stick in my mind when I think of the few ranches I've been on are dust and mud.

Accuracy is important. But you don't need a 0.25 MOA benchrest competition rifle to hunt deer in the woods, and you don't need a sub-MOA rifle to shoot coyotes with iron sights, either.

benEzra
May 4, 2006, 02:15 PM
Beer can MOA at 75-100 yards, offhand is plenty good.
My 188-series stainless Ranch Rifle won't stay on a beer can from a benchrest and sandbags at that distance. The best 100-yard group that rifle has ever fired is 5.5" at 100 yards, from a benchrest and rear bag. I've tried premium match ammunition, optics, etc.

As far as reliability goes--I have NEVER had a single rifle-related failure to function in the 2000 to 3000 rounds I've put through mine over the last 17 years.

With good magazines, the mini is absolutely reliable. (Creeping Incrementalism, I think you just had very bad luck with two lemons; I've never encountered another mini owner who didn't rave about the reliability.) Finding good magazines is the trick, though; I've had some that wouldn't even feed a single round, and brands that work perfectly in one gun may not work with another.

Ergonomics--I swapped the straight cowboy-style wooden stock on mine for a Choate E2 pistol grip stock a while back, and when the AWB expired I bought a Butler Creek folder. Does wonders for the gun's ergonomics (I hate straight stocks), but if you add the retail price of the gun + price of reliable magazines + ergonomic stock, you have paid more than the price of an entry-level AR-15.



CTI1USNRET, I own a mini and don't own an AR (but have shot a number of them), and it is my opinion from personal experience that the AR is an all-around better rifle in many ways. The downside is that an AR is also more expensive, which is why I don't own one at the moment.

Bullet Bob
May 4, 2006, 02:19 PM
I have a RRA 20" AR; great gun, very accurate, high coolness factor (although I'm sure it could be much cooler if I hung a bunch of crap on it). I also have a stainless steel, wood-stocked Mini-14 Ranch rifle. Of the two, the Ruger gets more use, because it's more fun to me - YMMV. Light and handy, reliable, and for offhand plinking it's larger groups relative to the AR add to the fun/challenge. Plus I like seeing the brass get the heck outa Dodge!

Art Eatman
May 4, 2006, 02:22 PM
Creeping Incrementalism, it ain't my fault if you have a little black cloud following you and your Minis around. In all the discussions of Minis over my last eight years here and at The Firing Line, you're one of the few who's ever reported any problem with reliability of the rifle itself. Odds are, you're indeed better off without a Mini.

For the rest of us, though, whose primary intent is plinking and varmint shooting, the rugged little Mini is quite good for the purpose. Always has been. I guess it always will be.

I know of a big bunch of dead jackrabbits up in Nevada who sure wouldn't argue that point. :D A few coyotes down here around home, as well.

And what an AR will do is irrelevant. I've had four of those, as well. (About 30 years ago I bought an AR kit off a guy. I screwed it all together, sort of a "This goes here, that goes there" deal. I noticed the safety moved a notch farther than I thought it should. Hmmm. Do you have any idea how fast full-auto will empty a 20-round mag? Needless to say, a bunch of parts disappeared quick-quick and it got all "legalized". :D ) I have high regard for them, particularly the Bushie Match Target. But the issue here is the Mini.

Art

Guns_and_Labs
May 4, 2006, 02:28 PM
and you don't need a sub-MOA rifle to shoot coyotes with iron sights, either.

At least, not with a 20 round magazine. :D

drsteve
May 4, 2006, 03:31 PM
I have a Mini-14 because I live in California. The day I move out, is the day I sell it for an AR.

It is not a bad rifle; it's just that the AR is better.

JNewell
May 4, 2006, 03:31 PM
Reading "Mini-14" in any forum pushes a button

Whatever else gets said here, that's certainly the truth (on both sides). It is never a hardware discussion, always a religious thing. Folks believe or they don't and we know what happens to unbelievers. Having Ruger and Colt names mixed into the debate hasn't kept things any cooler, either...

blackedoutharley
May 5, 2006, 04:00 AM
I have both a Mini-14 & a Mini-30. Additionally, I own an AR.

The Mini-14 is a Stainless Ranch Rifle and is as reliable as a Timex, Period.
I know of the problem with mags but have found that the Masen's work just fine in either 20 or 30 round version. Mine has a Hogue stock, and Nikon 3X9X40 Prostaff scope mounted in the stock rings. It was accurate enough to satisfy my needs to 100 yrds and got better when I added a Harris bi-pod mount to the barrel with a Rockport bi-pod.
The AR is a great rifle but in a flash I would not give a second thought to grabbing the Mini in a jam to dispatch a 'yote or other adversary of any kind.
The Mini-30...............?
Well lets just say that it shoots okay and looks cool in my safe next to the '14.

If you decide on the Mini, get the ranch model and add a good scope and you will be happy.
P.S. I shoot SS109 milsurp ammo through everything with no problems. Your results may vary but I dont spend alot on ammo.
Good Luck

Kevinch
May 5, 2006, 10:03 AM
AR fanatics will never keep away from any discussion of the Mini-14. It's against their religion. They will never allow someone to choose a Mini without their "superior" opinion of the AR being voiced. Reading "Mini-14" in any forum pushes a button in their minds that activates the "pro AR" program.

:rolleyes:


I would simply point out the statement by the thread originator:
Any Mini 14 or Ranch Rifle owners ( past or present ) I sure would like to hear your feed back. Thanks for your time and help!

All I personally was doing was answering with my honest opinion......

Joe7cri
May 5, 2006, 10:13 AM
I originally was looking at the Mini 14, but then decided to go with a used Bushmaster A2 XM15, and couldn't be happier. The Mini 14 felt like a toy when I picked it up. Try and shoot both, if you are anything like me you'll never put the AR down.

You can buy a great condition used AR15 for the same price as a new Mini 14.

JNewell
May 5, 2006, 02:43 PM
Out of genuine curiosity and in the spirit of light rather than heat, let me ask...

The Mini-14 is a Stainless Ranch Rifle and is as reliable as a Timex, Period

...is the Ranch version more reliable than the earlier "regular" version?

ArmedBear
May 5, 2006, 03:14 PM
<Unnecessary stuff removed by Art>

Personally, I have had enough of the stupid Ruger-bashing. Ruger, frankly, does not deserve it, at least as far as their customer service is concerned.

They've surely earned my loyalty, and since that post I talked to another guy with a Ruger shotgun. Something broke on it and he called Ruger; they said "no problem," paid for shipping both ways, and he had the gun back in perfect condition within two weeks, and it didn't cost him a dime. That is par for the course. Ruger makes solid products in the USA, Ruger employs a lot of Americans; and they get enough crap, not to mention expensive, frivolous lawsuits designed to bankrupt them, from the antis.

GTKrockeTT
May 5, 2006, 08:30 PM
have you considered the kel tec SU-16CA model?

i have a mini14 ranch, love the reliability, and enjoy it for what it is, a fun plinking rifle.

i also have a kel tec SU-16A, shoots with a bit more accuracy than the mini, but i still like the mini more.

recently been hit with the BRD (black rifle disease), afflicting many CA residents as of late, so the off-list "AR-15s" have been demanding a bit more attention and affection.

i wouldn't sell any of them.:D

bbutler
May 5, 2006, 08:34 PM
I love my mini and its well made ,but if you ever have to send it off for repair you are out of luck.They have had mine forever.

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger Mini - 14" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!