Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle


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The Sentinel
December 18, 2006, 06:56 PM
I was checking out a Ruger Mini-14 at my local gun shop the other day and the guy behind the counter said he wouldn't recommend it. He said the Mini-14 just sprays bullets and isn't accurate at all.
He really didn't have much good to say about it. I'd like to purchase a rifle and was looking toward this, but now I'm not so sure. I've never fired one. I'd like some input from others who have had some experience with this rifle; good or bad.

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Guns_and_Labs
December 18, 2006, 07:05 PM
I like mine. It's not as accurate as an AR (by and large), but the newer ones are pretty good. I have one very tricked out, and it's as accurate as can be, and I have one that's pretty much stock, and it easily keeps them all in the black.

And in CA, getting legal AR's is a bit complex. Wander over to calguns.net for much more on the subject.

What did he want to sell you instead?

mr. e
December 18, 2006, 07:07 PM
I've got a Mini 14 with a stainless barrel. I wouldn't recommend it for target shooting.

After its light barrel heats up, six shots or so, the point of impact starts to wander around the target. Trying to sight in a scope for this rifle is a real frustrating experince.

That said, I've put a folding stock and a holographic red dot sight on it. It is reliable, rugged, and will definitely hold minute of bad guy at 100 yds.

Whether it's adequate depends on what you plan on using it for.

ArmedBear
December 18, 2006, 07:09 PM
I have one, the previous version in stainless and synthetic.

I love it. It's a handy carbine, points naturally, shoots well, reliable as all get-out.

It is not, however, particularly accurate. It doesn't just spray bullets, but it's not fun if you want to shoot targets off the bench. Offhand, at faraway targets, it works fine. It just doesn't shoot 1" groups at 100 yards, so it's not so fun for paper target shooting at an organized range; save that for a bolt gun.

The latest model (most recognizable by a protected black front sight instead of a single blade) is supposedly more accurate.

Bottom line? I like mine. It's worked well. Everyone else who shoots it, likes it, too. But don't buy it for 100 yard+ paper punching.

And give it a rest now and then, when the barrel heats up (a BAR, 7400, etc. also should be allowed to cool).

RNB65
December 18, 2006, 07:17 PM
It depends on how you define accuracy. If you're looking for a rifle that's going to shoot 1" groups at 100yds, the Mini-14 ain't it. If you're looking for a reliable rifle that will shoot 6-8" groups at 100yds, the Mini-14 may be for you.

I hate to start the Mini-14 vs AR15 war, but I used to own two Mini-14's. Sold them and now I own two AR15's.

22-rimfire
December 18, 2006, 07:18 PM
I like mine. Very reliable. No, it is not a target rifle. But it is a great rifle to take out in the desert (or woods) and bang away. I figure if I can hit a gallon jug at 100 yds with it off hand, it is good enough for me. That is certainly minute of bad guy accuracy. For target work, I'll shoot something else.

Highland Ranger
December 18, 2006, 07:22 PM
Seems to be a little too inaccurate no?

I understand the concept of "working" guns that perhaps sacrifice some accuracy for reliability or cost purposes.

But 6"-8" at 100 yards in a modern rifle .. . . . . what would you use it for?

An AK is half that no?

George S.
December 18, 2006, 07:26 PM
The Mini-14 was never intended to be a MOA rifle. The "Ranch" rifle started out for civilian use to take care of varmints around your property (either 4-legged or 2 :D ). At this, it works great.

The Mini-14 GB version has seen use as a LEO weapon, used by prison guards (I think that the guards at San Quentin or Folsom in CA still have them), and they were even sent to a few countries for military use.

Ruger spent a number of months making new tooling for manufacturing the Mini and the current Ranch rifle is more accurate than the older versions. Ruger has just introduced a Target version which should provide some much improved accuracy right out of the box. Go here to read about it: http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/N-NewProductInfo.html

I did about $75 worth of work to my Mini to get consistent 2- 2.5" groups at 100 yards with the factory peep sight. At 50 yards, I can shoot 1" groups off a rest as long as I take my time and concentrate. Minis can be a little picky about ammo so brand and bullet weight plays a part in accuracy.

I guess it depends on what you want in a semi-auto rifle. The Mini doesn't look like an EBR and they are less money to buy compared to AR's. You can find hi-cap mags for them that work with no problmes although getting them in CA will be an issue unless you find the factory pre-ban Ruger hi-caps.

It sounds like the guy int he gun shop wanted to get more of your money by steering you away from the Mini. From what you described about his comments, he is uninformed and probably has never shot one.

CSA 357
December 18, 2006, 07:27 PM
mini 14 is a good gun, but dont put a scope on it, it will make you sick!

Nhsport
December 18, 2006, 07:31 PM
I have shot some that were ok but I also owned an early stainless one that would not hold 12" at 100 yards with any ammo no mater how slow and carefull it was shot. This was with a good scope over a solid rest ( with a sling,without a sling ,without a rest ,with handloads,with 15 or so different factory loads), It went bang every time I pulled the trigger but who knows where the bullets were going. This gun was bought new .

Leanwolf
December 18, 2006, 07:44 PM
THE SENTINEL - "I was checking out a Ruger Mini-14 at my local gun shop the other day and the guy behind the counter said he wouldn't recommend it.He said the Mini-14 just sprays bullets and isn't accurate at all."

The guy's an ignorant gun shop ninja.

3/4" groups at 100 yards?? Nope.

1 1/2" to 2" groups?? Yep.

I've got a Mini-14 GB, 182 series that will shoot 2" groups all day with both PMC and Win. ball, and Win. PSPs.

Let's see now. That means that at 300 yards, it's shooting 6" groups. Hmmmm. Most "practical" field targets are bigger than that. Guess I'll hang on to my Mini-14 GB.

Just my take on it.

L.W.

HuntAndFish
December 18, 2006, 07:50 PM
My Mini-14 is about the worst one I've seen for accuracy, but shooting targets from a bench (red dot) at 100 yds I can always cover the group with the palm of my hand if I do my part. Not a target gun, but plenty reasonable for close in varmint hunting.

Hank Hunter
December 18, 2006, 07:51 PM
I've had 4 rugers, 2 of them Mini-14"s none of them were even close to accurate but they function well.

The Sentinel
December 18, 2006, 07:58 PM
Guns_and_Labs
Senior Member



Join Date: 03-04-04
Location: Hidden Away in the East Bay, CA
Posts: 449 I like mine. It's not as accurate as an AR (by and large), but the newer ones are pretty good. I have one very tricked out, and it's as accurate as can be, and I have one that's pretty much stock, and it easily keeps them all in the black.

And in CA, getting legal AR's is a bit complex. Wander over to calguns.net for much more on the subject.

What did he want to sell you instead?__________________
He really didn't recommend anything else. I am also interested in purchasing an AR-15, but right now it's a little outta my price range. Is there a decent rifle for target shooting and possibly small game in the $200 to $300range?

ndh87
December 18, 2006, 08:12 PM
I've got a Mini 14 ranch. It is very dependable....i can always depend on it to have problems and p*ss me off. forget using anything except factory mags, dont shoot in tall grass, that way you can find the parts that fall off from the recoil, and becareful what scope you put on it, the crosshairs on mine cracked because of the recoil. Aside from that, i've had the accuracy go from perfect, to absolutely horrible with no link between barrel temp and accuracy.

:fire:

Guns_and_Labs
December 18, 2006, 08:23 PM
Is there a decent rifle for target shooting and possibly small game in the $200 to $300range?
Are you stuck on semi-auto? Not as much plinking fun, but how about a Ruger or Savage bolt action, used?

Or new, how about an NEF ultra varmint single shot? Or a Thompson/Center Contender, and then you can add other calibers later on the same frame.

The Sentinel
December 18, 2006, 08:26 PM
I've got a Mini 14 ranch. It is very dependable....i can always depend on it to have problems and p*ss me off. forget using anything except factory mags, dont shoot in tall grass, that way you can find the parts that fall off from the recoil, and becareful what scope you put on it, the crosshairs on mine cracked because of the recoil. Aside from that, i've had the accuracy go from perfect, to absolutely horrible with no link between barrel temp and accuracy.

Ha..Ha..Ha..!! I'll remember the part about not shooting in tall grass.:D You're funny!!

ECVMatt
December 18, 2006, 11:00 PM
They have always worked for me. I have never had to look for parts in the grass, but I keep mine bone stock. I do not add gem-crack dodahs to try and make it into something it is not. Ruger rings do not fall a part and do not come off the gun unless you remove them yourself.

Mine have always been minute o' beer can (opps, I mean soda can...) at 100 yards. They seem to work when AR's don't. I have both and while my AR is more accurate my Mini jams less and it more tolerent to ammo changes.

If I really need accuracy I go to my bolt guns. I love the mini for a fun, reliable, decently accurate rifle. I like to use it for a camping gun because it works so well. I just picked up a new 580 series and am going to the range on Friday. I a fired up to see what it can do; they are supposed to be more accurate.

I would say get the mini and forget the guy at the store. If you really need accuracy, then get a bolt gun. You might want to check out the prefectunion.com and look at the mini section for some more informed info.

Hope this helps,

Matt

Tady45
December 18, 2006, 11:33 PM
Do the older high cap mags fit into the new Mini 14's? I have a Ranch and like it fine, (with high cap mags) and besides, what else can we have in PRK anyway?

ECVMatt
December 19, 2006, 11:26 AM
I had a bunch of Ruger 20's from the preban days and they worked fine.

Matt

ArmedBear
December 19, 2006, 05:02 PM
But 6"-8" at 100 yards in a modern rifle .. . . . . what would you use it for?

That's BS.

I can beat that with iron sights, on a paper target. (I do need to let the barrel cool, but that's true about my .30-06 bolt-action sporter that shoots tiny little groups, too. Hell, I even clean the bore every few shots, whereas the Mini gets cleaned every few times I shoot it.)

But a 3 MOA rifle is no fun for paper punching, either. Nothing over 1 MOA is amusing on paper targets, and 1 MOA can even be a drag. Paper punching is a different game.

The Mini-14 IS, however, quite amusing for shooting at gallon jugs, coffee cans, etc., offhand at 100-150 yards with iron sights. It "shoots as well as I do" in that scenario. And I really do love the ergonomics.

Is an AR more accurate? Yup.
Is a detachable-mag AR legal for me to buy here? Nope.
Is a Mini a more convenient little gun to carry than an AR? Yes it is.
Would I pay $1000 for a California-legal Bushmaster top-loading Carbon-15? No way, no how.

If you view the Mini-14 as a grown-up 10/22, you'll love it.

If you want a National Match rifle, you won't.

RH822
December 19, 2006, 05:04 PM
I've got a Mini 14 ranch. It is very dependable....i can always depend on it to have problems and p*ss me off. forget using anything except factory mags, dont shoot in tall grass, that way you can find the parts that fall off from the recoil, and becareful what scope you put on it, the crosshairs on mine cracked because of the recoil. Aside from that, i've had the accuracy go from perfect, to absolutely horrible with no link between barrel temp and accuracy.

Recoil?? your kidding, right? I think my Crossman 760 has more recoil.
I have 4 after market mags 2 of them are over 20 yrs old and 2 are 1 yr old, never had a problem with any of them.
As for parts falling off your rifle, you mean all the after market stuff that shouldn't be there anyway?
To fix the scope issue, why bother with a scope, it really doesn't need one, after all it's not a tack driver.
And finally, Yes Virginia there is a Santa Claus, and barrel temp certainly affects the accuracy on my rifle. The first three go in under 3 inches every time and tends to open up and level off to just under 6 inches at 100 yds under sustained fire.

RH

ArmedBear
December 19, 2006, 05:09 PM
The first three go in under 3 inches every time and tends to open up and level off to just under 6 inches at 100 yds under sustained fire.

If I let the barrel of any centerfire get all dirty and heat up as hot as a Mini's gets, it wouldn't be shooting under an inch, either.

That's what I mean when I say that the accuracy is not target grade, but it's not as bad as people make it out to be, either. It's definitely good enough to be a lot of fun. I've never noticed any accuracy problem when I shoot it offhand.

aka108
December 19, 2006, 07:14 PM
The Ruger Mini's are not noted for accuracy. Had a Mini 30 that was the least accurate piece I ever owned. Several guys I shoot with have 14's. Same story. Guess I can say it was the only rifle I was really elated to get rid of. As I've stated before, I hated the thing. If I were Ruger I'd roll stamp it with someone elses name, not mine. For some reason, unknown to me, they keep selling those things so it sort of proves that like a lot of stuff today, just getting by is good enough.

308win
December 19, 2006, 07:29 PM
All I know is that I can pick mine up, load up any of the John Masen after market mags I have, lock it in, cycle it, pull the trigger, and it goes bang until the mag is empty, nothing falls off, it is light enough to shoot competently off-hand, and it cost less than $500 new including tax. Is it a benchrest gun? Nope but neither is my out of the box Armalite.

WolfMansDad
December 19, 2006, 07:30 PM
I had one for a while, and it never worked for me. I wasn't looking for a target rifle and would have been happy with 6" groups at 100 yards, but this thing wouldn't even do that. It wouldn't even keep all its rounds on the paper at 50 yards. I could do better with slugs in a shotgun.

The mini-14 is the only rifle that I've had this experience with. I have a Remington 700 that shoots 1" groups at 100 yards with ease. I recently got to shoot a "California-legal" AR, and with iron sights could easily keep all my shots in the black at 100 yards, or hit steel silhouettes at 200 or 300 yards every time.

I, like so many before me, got rid of my mini after a short time. Based on what other people say, mine was probably just a lemon, but that was my experience.

Mannlicher
December 19, 2006, 08:40 PM
SentinalI was checking out a Ruger Mini-14 at my local gun shop the other day and the guy behind the counter said he wouldn't recommend it. He said the Mini-14 just sprays bullets and isn't accurate at all.

Hmmmm. In some 50 years of hanging out in gun shops, thats the first report I have ever heard of a guy behind the counter not trying to sell a gun. Are you SURE thats what he said? :confused:

frankly, anyone that reports their mini shot 6 or 8 inch groups at 100 yards, I have a real problem beliving. I own two now, and have owned others. I have never seen, in real life, a mini that shot that bad. My BS meter pegs when I read things like that.

Brad Johnson
December 20, 2006, 04:24 PM
To echo the sentiment of others...

The Mini-14 is solid and dependable, just don't count on winning any target shoots with it.

I've seen some that hold under 2" at a hundred but most seem to wind up in the range of 4" @ 100 yrd, especially with a hot barrel. Careful ammo selection can mitigate this to some extent.

It's plenty fine for a carry-around brush gun, especially given the little 14's well-earned penchant for firing dependably under any circumstance or condition. It's accurate to minute of coyote at the usually 'yote distance of 50-80 yds (around here anyway). Plus, it's just dang fun for a plinker, not to mention that .223 is dang cheap to shoot compared to most other rifle calibers.

Brad

ProficientRifleman
December 20, 2006, 05:19 PM
Sentinal: There is a new generation of Mini's in production now which are tack-drivers compared to the older ones. The fellow you spoke with in the gun shop was probably unaware of this, or was trying to seel you something more expensive. FYI, the previous generation of Mini 14's would shoot about 4" at a hundred yards. These new ones will hold 1-2 inches all day long. Buy one and enjoy...!

:) :p :D :rolleyes:

ArmedBear
December 20, 2006, 06:24 PM
Hmmmm. In some 50 years of hanging out in gun shops, thats the first report I have ever heard of a guy behind the counter not trying to sell a gun. Are you SURE thats what he said?

Nothing says he wasn't trying to sell a gun, just THAT one.:)

Seen Bullshmaster's new CA-legal carbon M4gery for a grand? Maybe he was trying to sell one of those.

http://www.turners.com/engage/ads/12-21-06/bushmaster.gif

JCF
December 20, 2006, 08:14 PM
...dont shoot in tall grass, that way you can find the parts that fall off from the recoil, and becareful what scope you put on it, the crosshairs on mine cracked because of the recoil.

Oh yeah... my mini-14 kicks like a mule. Ten to fifteen rounds of 223 is all I can deal with during a range session before my shoulder says uncle :rolleyes:

Rugerdaddy
December 21, 2006, 01:14 AM
"Oh yeah... my mini-14 kicks like a mule. Ten to fifteen rounds of 223 is all I can deal with during a range session before my shoulder says uncle"

Ooohh yeahh! When I shoot my mini 14 with them big ol' .223 rounds, I get a sore arm just from liftin' the rounds to load the magazine! Reminds me of loadin' the 105mm main gun on the M48A5 tanks I used to crew. Then I cringe when I start to squeeze the trigger on the mini, anticipating that mind numbing KAWOOMPH!, when all them 55 grains explode, blowing the stock of that rifle almost clean through my shoulder! Actually, after shootin' about 3 rounds, my right shoulder gets pushed all the way around behind my left shoulder! :eek: I always bring my chiropractor with me to straighten me out every few rounds. That's why I never shoot more than a 3 shot group.

To help manage the recoil, I've mounted TWO Smith muzzle brakes in-line, to deflect the blast. The report is so loud, the airport next to the range asked me to shoot somewhere else, as it was interfering with their noise abatement program. As a recoil buffer, I had to use a Select Comfort Sleep Number Mattress set on 94!

No, if you can't take the recoil- DON'T buy a mini 14!!! ;)

Manedwolf
December 21, 2006, 05:14 AM
Question:

Why would someone choose the Mini-14 over the Saiga .223, which has a thick (chromelined) barrel to avoid the heating-up issue, seems by most reports to be more accurate, and at around $250 retail costs nearly half the price?

Because the Saiga is relatively "new", and the old Ruger is "familiar"...?

/Just askin'...

benEzra
December 21, 2006, 07:34 AM
3/4" groups at 100 yards?? Nope.

1 1/2" to 2" groups?? Yep.

I've got a Mini-14 GB, 182 series that will shoot 2" groups all day with both PMC and Win. ball, and Win. PSPs.

Let's see now. That means that at 300 yards, it's shooting 6" groups. Hmmmm. Most "practical" field targets are bigger than that. Guess I'll hang on to my Mini-14 GB.
Yours is not typical, I think.

Here's the best group my 188-series Mini-14 Ranch Rifle has ever shot at 100 yards, in the 16 years I've had it:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=49644&stc=1&d=1166703910

5.5 inches, or just under 6 MOA. That's from a front rest and rear bag, using the iron sights, on a windless day, from a cool barrel, slowfire, and I have shot 1" groups at that distance with other rifles so I'm pretty sure I wasn't the problem. Over the years, I have tried scopes (both a 3-9x variable and a 2.5x fixed), premium ammunition in weights from 40 to 69 grains, three different stocks, etc. and never beat this group.

Is my mini accurate enough for defensive purposes? Yes. It's also totally reliable (never had a single rifle-related failure in 16 years and 2000-3000 rounds), and fit and finish was good. But as an all-around defensive/plinking/target gun, it is terrible on the target part.

The last straw for me was a few weeks ago, when I bought a SHOTGUN SCOPE (2.5x) to put on it, spent 2-3 hours trying to sight it in, and the rifle would just not shoot consistently enough for me to be confident in the zero. I took the shotgun scope back off and gave up on optics for that rifle. It's just not accurate enough.

If I had it to do over again, I'd have bought an AR-15 type carbine instead. If I were forced at gunpoint to live somewhere that had a ban on protruding rifle handgrips, like California, I'd probably get a Kel-Tec SU-16. I don't think I'd get another mini.

bhk
December 21, 2006, 08:42 AM
My newer 580 series does 2 1/2 inch five shot groups at 100 yards with a 4x Burris scope on it. Not bad for what I use it for (farm/truck/etc.).

crazed_ss
December 21, 2006, 08:48 AM
That's terrible. Guess I wont be getting a Mini-14. :(

Keith Wheeler
December 21, 2006, 10:14 AM
I own both a stainless steel 184-series Mini-14 (with factory folder) that I've had for 20 years (G-d I'm getting old) and a CAR-15 I've had for 10 years.

Thoughts:

If "MOA" concerns you at all, the AR is the better of the two. I'll admit I'm not a bench shooter, I don't worry about rifle accuracy other than "minute of bad guy" or maybe "minute of coke can".

What I like about the Mini-14 is it's simplicity and reliability. I've never had a rifle related issue, shooting an assortment of Israeli, LC, Guat, and Brit surplus including 55gr, SS109, and a few tracers. I used to have a 40 round mag that would "skip" about halfway through. I've been lucky with mags, all of my aftermarket 30 rounders are great, but they are all way pre-ban, and I think "back in the day" after market mags in general were better quality.

I've let both rifles go too far between cleanings, and both still functioned fine. I love my -14, but then it was my first centerfire rifle, and the stainless steel folder is just a bit of too cool sillyness (and 80's nostalgia).

In my experience and for my uses, the Mini and AR are about the same thing. Only difference is that it's a lot easier to get parts and good mags for the AR. Of course I expect the AR to eventually break something and need parts, the Mini I figure will be shooting for a long, long time.

If you're in a state that makes AR ownership difficult, there's nothing wrong with a Mini-14. It's great for target shooting, if you like to shoot targets the way I do. Ballons are a favorite -- you either kill 'em or you don't, none of this mucking with whether you killed 'em in the left or right ventricle stuff.

Rugerdaddy
December 21, 2006, 10:51 AM
"Why would someone choose the Mini-14 over the Saiga .223, which has a thick (chromelined) barrel to avoid the heating-up issue, seems by most reports to be more accurate, and at around $250 retail costs nearly half the price?"

Because the Saiga is relatively "new", and the old Ruger is "familiar"...?

No,......'Cause we live in California....:(

Ed Ames
December 21, 2006, 11:11 AM
The mini-14 isn't impressive in any way I can think of, but the person I know with one takes it out more often than his "better" rifles. I take that as an endorsement.

jayhway
December 21, 2006, 11:30 AM
If you're in CA, I'd suggest that you build yourself a CA compliant AR style rifle using an off list lower.

As posted already, head over to :
http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/index.php

You can read up on off list AR's as well as CA compliant AK's

Brad Johnson
December 21, 2006, 12:17 PM
Why would someone choose the Mini-14 over the Saiga .223, which has a thick (chromelined) barrel to avoid the heating-up issue,

The chrome lining has nothing to do with heat. It's there to guard against wear and corrosion.

Brad

Rugerdaddy
December 21, 2006, 01:00 PM
If you're in CA, I'd suggest that you build yourself a CA compliant AR style rifle using an off list lower.

You can read up on off list AR's as well as CA compliant AK's

They are already rewriting the law to prohibit this practice. Anway, any AR you build with an off-list lower still meets the Assault Rifle criteria under the definintion portion of the law. :( That's why I bought a mini 14, then did improvements to make it shoot straight. It's the best you can do in CA. You can also buy a Kel-Tec SU16, or a Robinson Arms M96CA (no pistol grip).

Also, I don't know of any CA compliant AKs. Do you? Even the Saiga, which under the definition portion of the law should be legal, is on the banned list.

ArmedBear
December 21, 2006, 03:05 PM
Because the Saiga is relatively "new", and the old Ruger is "familiar"...?

No,......'Cause we live in California....

Another reason...

If you have a problem with a Mini, you call Ruger and they'll take care of it for free.

Some Saigas are technically legal, but good luck finding someone who will do the paperwork for you here in CA. Not worth the hassle to them.

Rugerdaddy
December 21, 2006, 03:13 PM
Another reason...

If you have a problem with a Mini, you call Ruger and they'll take care of it for free.

Roger that. Also, I can't stand the idea of having to break open an AR to load 10 rounds from the top (it's a CA thing) :( , when I can swap a 10 round mag in a mini in about 2 seconds :D .

K.L.O.sako
December 22, 2006, 08:47 AM
you know ruger just introduced a target version of the mini, it looks to be a 1inch gun at a 100 yrds :)

22/22mag
December 22, 2006, 08:33 PM
I have 3 Mini-14 rifles, 2 are older and 1 new They all shoot very well Im not a good shooter but I hit all rds on a 9" paper plate at 50 yds and that is fine for my HD.

HuntAndFish
December 27, 2006, 10:38 PM
With a Mini-14 Ranch Rifle and Millett Red Dot...from a bench several weeks ago.
http://thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=50021&stc=1&d=1167276429


http://thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=50022&stc=1&d=1167276502

At 100 yds I'm playing with the settings between 5 shot strings. For perspective, those are 1" squares on the target. Roughly a 2-3 MOA gun at 100 yards. Probably better if I could shoot at all. The Red Dot is 3 MOA.

GRIZ22
December 27, 2006, 10:48 PM
Quote:

frankly, anyone that reports their mini shot 6 or 8 inch groups at 100 yards, I have a real problem beliving.

I agree with you Mannlicher. It seems to me it might be a question of operator error. I've probably shot 40-50 Mini-14s and all of them would do a least 3".

On the other hand the AK which can only shoot 6-8" is considered "adequate" by its supporters.

Froggy
December 27, 2006, 11:12 PM
He really didn't recommend anything else. I am also interested in purchasing an AR-15, but right now it's a little outta my price range. Is there a decent rifle for target shooting and possibly small game in the $200 to $300range?

You bet. As Guns and Labs suggested above, there are plenty of options if you will be happy with a bolt action rifle. My first pick in your price range would be a Savage, remembering you may want to set aside a few dollars for a scope to go along with it.

If you want an autoloader for the fun it brings to plinking, you might consider getting both the Savage bolt action and an SKS -- might be able to get both for less than the cost of new Mini-14 if you shop around.

BTW, I have a Mini-14 and love it. As others have already said, your happiness with one will depend on what you were looking for when you bought it. Mine gets 2" - 4" groups using cheap military surplus or Remington 55 grain plinking ammo without a scope. (believe it or not, my SKS does slightly better). One of these days I'll put a scope on the Mini-14 and buy some decent ammo for it just to see how good it can be. It's not a target gun, but that isn't what I wanted it for. Its a lot of fun to shoot and has killed every coyote it has been pointed at. My only gripe with it is that it throws the expended brass about 20' off to the side - a real hassle for anyone shooting on my right while at the range, and makes finding the casings a real PITA.

Dave Markowitz
December 28, 2006, 09:57 AM
My only gripe with it is that it throws the expended brass about 20' off to the side - a real hassle for anyone shooting on my right while at the range, and makes finding the casings a real PITA.

You can get gas port bushings which have smaller holes through them, reducing the amount of gas tapped from the barrel. This means the action isn't worked quite as vigorously so the brass doesn't fly as far.

You can get more info on these from the Mini-14 gurus at Perfectunion.com.

Shanghai McCoy
December 28, 2006, 10:23 AM
I have had a Mini-30 for many years and manage to get 2" or better groups with my hand loads.It has a small Burris 4 power scope on it that seems to handle the "recoil" just fine...
(.223 must be different in minis' than in m-16s...:rolleyes: )

Steel Talon
December 28, 2006, 10:25 AM
Hello Froggy

A simple remedy while at the range to control the brass flinging just drape a shop towel over the rifle. Dosnt effect accuracy, forces the ejected brass to fall on the range table.

Also installing a different gas port bushing will help to prolong scope life. Takes about 15 minutes to DIY,remember to use a set of feeler guages to evenly re-torque the gas port housing.

Peace
Steel Talon:cool:

parkerlarry1
October 19, 2007, 04:59 PM
Perhaps the one best way to get interestingly close to what you shoot @ 500 yards at 9X for pennies is the Ruger ranch rifle in 223 remington. The equally over looked Bushnell sportview 3X9, used and ebayed at < 25$ will hold the 'zero'. The key is reloading, for accuracy and shooting within the envelope of designed in mechanical compromise s by Bill Ruger and Company. I learned this after the 'black rifle'/AR 15 cost 2X a mini 14 in 2000/California...Beginning, I sight in the rifle with reduced reloads consistinng of 6 gr Unique @ say 35 yards with a mil surplus Winchester 55 gr FMJBT. Also good for greviously pissing off Grey squirrels and their smaller cousins, if your shot is poor. Details follow. FMJ Grey Squirrels/Weaverville Basin Bloody red pancaked once across the autumn forested slope. Seconds before the stainless Ruger held the Grey Squirrel fatally suspended 40 feet up on the digger pine branch facing my position, the Bushnell’s (Ebay, 20$, sighted in with boiled linseed oil on all mounting surfaces/absolute necessity/dries gummy) 6x sportview centered on the crouching center of mass across the steep gully between us. His sporadic barking outbursts silenced as the left hand pulled the loop of the leather military slinged 223’s rifle butt into my shoulder while the right hand perceptibly tightened on the pistol griped stock. Momentarily concious of my trigger finger nearly pulling the full weight of the 7 1/2 lb rifle, our eyes now locked in mortal ernest for what could have been eternity, I am abruptly stunned with the arrival of the semi autos recoil and muzzle blast of the 55 gr. projectile’s launch (win 680 surplus 18 gr.) at 2800 feet per second, with only one unbeleavably swift after image retaining the instantanious explosion some 45 yards distant, or is it just my imagination... Head up, I Immediately glimpse the vacant limbed perch and pine tree and then frantically capture the questionable win of the dramatically crimsoned forms' midair tumble just above ground. No finishing shot here, game over. The continuing midmorning sun warmes all and forested quiet moved only by acorns and leaves falling resumed its progression as I recovered the final seen. Absolutely lethal. I had read that the bullet breaks into 2 pieces up to 200 yards distant. Pulled the safety back into the trigger guard and rose up to recover the Lake City brass case resting brightly several feet down slope, habitually examining the CCI primer for pressure. The 12$ 10 round clip had not jammed. Good. Alert and listening around I collected the Alice pack I had removed sitting down, slung the ranch rifle over left shoulder, butt at lower right just missing the holster Redhawk 44 and the 18 shell 12ga leather bandoleer. M 14's sling diagonally across my chest and over a sweat stained and whole pocked leather jacket, gifted Sears sportsman’s vest, 10X50 binoculars and game calls, green Alice packed and savage 311 at the ready, with 4 and 6 shot, left and right barrel, I gather my footing. An educated face framed with shoulder length brown hair and salt and pepper beard while peering threw sun darkened aviator glasses topped with a Pacific Avenue thrift store’s cream colored ski mask I am a squirrels worst nightmare, or maybe anyone’s worst nightmare. I lethally advance forwards towards my game, scanning for a deer trails’ zigzag easy descent over the steeply sloped pine needles covered ravine. I found none immediately, my Cabelas Ebay go devils finding fair purchase as I side stepped my way to the bottom of the ravine and arrived at the down squirrel 20 yards higher and back up hill. Initial frantic squirrel chatter to my left across the shady Californian stand of Doug fir and oak, sagebrush and digger pine beyond had silenced itself to my searching downhill intrusion minutes before. The closer male Grey got first vote as later stew meat surrounded by lentils, lima beans, carrots potatoes and onions and seasoned with bell pepper, olive oil and vinegar and pepper. An in season participant to the ferocious terminal ballistics of the FMJ .223 cartridge. Since 1981 I have taken at 400 Grey’s, wounded 5 (add lemond slices), with all caliber’s including 37 with a 410 Stevens Hercules shotgun during one winter in the Weaverville basin. There s more but returning to how accurate is the rifle, Mini 14, properly loaded and fired for accuracy? Believe my M 14 trigger is 7 lns plus/so what. Yep, all my firearms are box stock. Any way, last Sunday, Sept 07, using my improvised 20 inch high X 36 inch long X 10 wide [carpenter/sometimes] saw horse and 8 inch rolled up carpet I go 2 shots spaced 5 inches apart/55 gr and say 9 inches lower and 2 inches right ditto for 62 gr. The cases were mixed military lake city winchester mfg 85 thru 90,s mfg. The big deal here was the rest used [I have used over the backpack prone type shooting/similar results] pull rifle into shoulder/bedding down [firmly] into the pack and fire at will... Oh, your 17 gr W680 power scoop [lee says shake level once for theirs] is 38 super case, unsized and trimmed to say .845 " . Figure 2800 fps for 55 gr, good case extraction [not if your rifle is brand new, drops em at your feet or fails to eject first round cold barrel], rounded primer edges and say 2650 fps plus for 62 gr [don t go outa your way to get these 'better ballistics' morebetter/more expensive mil surplus bullets unless your felling really mean], flattented primer/significatly high pressure loading. Reason is in a later 10 to gusting 15 mph cross wind both bullets got blown astoundingly right 15 to 22 inches of the 30 gallon metal trash can with the blaze orange 1 fot square duct tapped across the front. I confess I did hold level with the top of the can with the trusty ebayed 3X9 Bushnel sportview/23$/Mini 14 ranch rifle [stainless steel] and the bullets landed 20 inches below the bottom and 4 inches right of center/Ah thats looking back at the ridge from the center of can and cutting down with knife to bullet impacts in the slope I was on.

Ratshooter
October 19, 2007, 08:48 PM
GOOD GOD. Do you know what a paragraph is?

My shooting buddy had a mini 14 and regrets to this day selling it. He did remark more than once it was not overly accurate.

I have a Remington 7615 that shoots like a laser. Nothing i point it at is safe. It does not like S&B or Wolf ammo. The rims seem out of spec and do not eject every time. American ammo works great.

GunTech
October 19, 2007, 10:38 PM
We did a comparison test of various assult rifle some years back when I was doing work for a title II gun manufacturer. One of the tests was dipersion. Various semi and select fire rifles were put into fixtures and fired for group dispersion at 100 meters.

What we found out was pretty interesting, and popped a lot of balloons - but matches similar test and Army acceptance standards.

They typical AR-16 and M16 rifle with military 20 inch HB barrel averaged about 2 MOA with M855 ammunition. Two AC-556 (select fire Mini-14) each averaged about 5 MOA. A variety of AKs were tested: Galil, Valmet, MAADI, Norinco. The Valmet did best, about 2-3 MOA, with the Galil almost identical. The Norinco was 5-6 MOA and the MAADI was 6-8 MOA.

Out of curiousity, we tried a couple of old favorites - and M1 Garand and a TRW built M-14, along with my SA 'loaded' M1A. The Garand, with a reasonably worn barrel (Danish return) did about 4 MOA, and the M-14 did slightly worse - almost 5 MOA. Ammunition was milspec Lake City.

Finally, My M1A (with match barrel) did 3 MOA with Lake City M80, but I was able to get 1.5 MOA with FGMM 168gn.

Afterwards, and surprised at the poor performance of the Garand and the M-14, I looked up the Government specs. The dispersion specs for both rifles was not more than 5.5 inches dispersion at 100 yards - and many rifles failed to make this standard.

To bring this back to the Mini - with milsurp ammo, there's no way you are going to get 1 or 2 MOA. There is enough variation in ammo alone that any small group will be pure chance. In the case of the AR-15 and M-16, we found the ammunition was the limiting factor, and by switching to match grade ammo, we could easily get 1.5 MOA or better from the AR-15/M16 when fired from a fixture. The Mini-14 (or in this case, the AC-556) was strictly a 2-4 MOA rifle with match ammo, and much worse with milspec ammo, but still better than the Average AK variant (but not as accurate as the Valmet and Galil). I am regurgitating this from memory, which has been known to be faulty, but I will try and dig up the original report.

Finally, this is not to say that there isn't the occasional great rifle that shoots much better than average. And ammunition is very much a factor. Expecting match grade ammo from milsurp ammo is definitely wishful thinking.

I like to think of the Mini-14 as an American AK. It is very reliable, relatively inexpensive and 'good enough' for the role intended. The original version had no provision for optics, which suggests to me that Bill Ruger understoood its limitation.

If you are like me, an accuracy fantatic, you will not enjoy the Mini-14. But if you want a rugged, simple to maintain, reliable and reasonably accurate plinker, HD rifle and reduced range hunter, the Mini-14 is a very good rifle. Now that there is a 6.8 version, it should make an excellent brush gun for medium sized game at moderate range, as well as serving in the other roles mentioned.

YMMV

armoredman
October 19, 2007, 11:25 PM
I tried my Mini standing sling supported, 8 inches at 50 yards, Remington 55 gr loss leader ammo. I am waiting to try some 62gr handloads soon. I will be happy with 6 inches at 100 yards, like my dearly departed SKS. Dadgum magazines are NOT cheap, have two factory 20s, and one John Masen that works, one went back for replacement, new one coming. 580 series, good working rifle...what recoil?

308win
October 21, 2007, 08:08 AM
The older Mini14's are black holes when it comes to getting them to shoot. I have bedded my action, installed an after market flash suppressor, and squared gas block, and installed a new gas port bushing to reduce ejection distance. It still shoots no better than 2 moa with handloads.

If I wanted to spend more than the rifle cost new it might improve that by 30-50% but to what avail? If I want a BR .223 I can sell the Mini, add several $100 to what I get and buy a RR, Bushmaster, or build one.

Pete409
October 21, 2007, 10:32 PM
About 3 weeks ago, I was considering buying a Mini-14. I wasn't looking for a target rifle, because I already have several of those. I just wanted a rugged semi-auto rifle with detachable magazine.

After checking around for several days, the cheapest new Mini-14 I could find was $584 plus tax. And that was with one 5 round magazine.

Then I happened to discover a rifle called a Saiga. It is manufactured in Russia by the Izmash factory that manufactures the original AK-47's. The Saiga sporter rifle is basically an AK-47 design with a sporting (hunting) style stock. As you probably know, there are few semi-autos as dependable as the AK-47.

Anyway, to make a long story a little shorter, I purchased the Saiga sporter rifle with a 10 round magazine and synthetic stock for $280 BRAND NEW! I got the 7.62x39 caliber, but it is also available in .223 caliber and .308 caliber.

I'm quite happy with my purchase and think that the Saiga is every bit as durable and reliable as the Mini-14 which cost twice as much.

Highland Ranger
October 23, 2007, 04:33 PM
more reliable . . . . better value - do a search; lot of Saiga fans here.

Gustav
October 23, 2007, 05:00 PM
Since the OP is a PRK resident the Mini along with the SKS and M1 Garand or carbine and the M1A/M14 are pretty much the only options.

The Mini 14 is loved or hated by more people than perhaps any other rifle except the Armalite/Colt AR15/M16

It is not a long range precision varmint rifle it was not designed to be one.

Originally designed for law enforcement it was a great rifle to replace the many lever actions and M1 Carbines and a few SMG's used by officers and prison guards.

Once released for civilian sales it became the darling of ranchers farmers and those wanting a lightweight inexpensive simple carbine that offered allot of good features for the money.

It is minute of pie plate accurate and often minute of tea cup accurate especialy when the thin barrel heats up which it does when being fired allot.

A Mini 14 reminds me of an overgrown 10/22 (take both apart and compare barrels side by side) built like and M1 Carbine but firing the 5.56 round OK for light duty and plinking and medium range varmint hunting.

With factory magazines it is fairly reliable BUT most non factory mags are not up to snuff bad mags and ammo cause allot of the jams in these rifles.

Its not a bad gun but I would not spend more than $400-500 on one if I wanted to have one again.

Anything that a Mini 14 can do a Browning BAR II or Remington 7400 or 750 can do only in a better caliber (.243 308 30-06) and in the case of the Remington one can use a Triple K 10 round magazine and still be PRK legal.:D

Anteater1717
October 23, 2007, 11:09 PM
I 2nd the Remington 7615. They are way more accurate than people give them credit for. The only people who seem to complain about them are writers for gun magazines. Every owner I’ve seen on THR loves theirs.

Here’s how I see it

Mini-14

Semi-auto a little faster
Accuracy 3-5in
Reliability ok
Magazines Mini-14 limited to 5
Using Wolf Ammo Ok
Cost 600-700 new

Remington 7615

Pump the Mini-14 has got it there
Accuracy .75-1.5in
Reliability very good
Magazines AR-15
Using Wolf Ammo Pretty good
Cost 500-600 new

You choose.

Pilgrim
October 23, 2007, 11:28 PM
I was checking out a Ruger Mini-14 at my local gun shop the other day and the guy behind the counter said he wouldn't recommend it. He said the Mini-14 just sprays bullets and isn't accurate at all.
He really didn't have much good to say about it.
Gee, an independently wealthy gun shop owner/employee who doesn't need to sell guns to make a living.

Pilgrim

silverlance
October 24, 2007, 12:03 AM
CA shooters, go check out www.calguns.net .

You CAN have an AR15 type rifle with a detachable magazine.

You CAN have a SAIGA type rifle in 308, .62x39, .56x45.

It just requires a good knowledge of what the law requires, and what the law does not. That said, I own a 580 series Mini14 and I like it a lot. I shoot up to about 100 yards at most with it, and it kills plastic water bottles just great. The thing I like most about it is that it's rugged, simple, and light. It is way better than an SKS, stock Saiga, fixed magazine AR15, or SU16 in a home defense role. For most people, it is also a better grab choice than M1A, FAL, G3, etc.

Where it falls is after 100 yards. At that point, the advantages of weight, manueverability, and reliability diminish. Between 100-200 I would go either AR15 or SAIGA / AK, in California legal configurations or otherwise. After 200 I would move to the M1A / FAL platforms, with a major bias toward the FAL.

Under 50 yards, I'd go to the shotguns.

Under 15 yards, handguns.

yesit'sloaded
October 24, 2007, 12:13 AM
I like to think of the Mini-14 as an American AK. It is very reliable, relatively inexpensive and 'good enough' for the role intended. I hope you are either joking or haven't looked at one recently. They are going for about $700 new. The good news is that the new target model is built on brand new tooling and actually shoots MOA. Too bad it retails for around $1000.

GunTech
October 24, 2007, 12:19 AM
It's easy to find a Mini-14 around here in the $400-500 range that's in pretty good shape. But I haven't bought a new one in a few years.

yesit'sloaded
October 24, 2007, 12:22 AM
Ok, the new ones are made on new tooling and are supposed to be fairly accurate. Around here $600 is about the going rate on nice used ones. I like the American AK description. Heck, you can even get one in 7.62x39.

tinroad37e
October 24, 2007, 01:35 PM
I am in aggreance with a few other members here. Anybody who says the mini-14 has "ok" reliability definitely is a little biased. The mini-14/30 is extremely reliable. My mini-30 will shoot 2 inches at 100 yards using quality ammo with no problems. I believe anybody who says their mini will only shoot above 5 inches needs to practice some breathing techniques or clean their barrel. This subject could go on for an eternity.

Gunner4h1r3
October 25, 2007, 01:36 PM
Sentinel-

I've owned a Mini for a while and I haven't had any problems. I tricked mine out with a butler creek folding stock, flash suppressor, red-dot sight, and stainless 20rnd mags, along with a single point sling. But then again, it all depends what you want it for.

I like the Mini for many reasons, one of being which the price. I can buy two mini's for the cost of an AR. Accuracy is pretty good. For me I use a red dot, and I can get good shots at 100-150 yards.

If you live in a semi-urban environment, the Mini is not as "assault weapon
looking" as a AR type weapon. If low profile is you thing a mini would be a good choice.

Hope this helps.

benEzra
October 25, 2007, 03:44 PM
I believe anybody who says their mini will only shoot above 5 inches needs to practice some breathing techniques or clean their barrel. This subject could go on for an eternity.
The best group my 188-series Ranch Rifle ever shot was 5.5", cold barrel, front rest, rear bag, and I've shot sub-1" groups at 100 yards with other rifles, so it wasn't me. I tried it with and without optics, various bullet weights (40 to 69 gr), match ammo, three different stocks.

Relatively accurate mini's do exist, but they are not representative of the entire breed. Most of the accurate-mini claims pertain to older mini's or very recent ones, whereas mine was a 1989 model.

Mine was indeed supremely reliable, but mine was one of the less accurate specimens.

coyotewillie
October 25, 2007, 10:47 PM
Even tho this was originally posted almost a year ago, since its been resurrected, I'll add my $.02 worth. Owned several Mini's over time a few years back, and I've got to say that "I've never met a Mini I didn't like"! No matter what kind of abuse I gave them, they always functioned, and held up great. Thank God, back in those days, there wasn't any internet. If I would have known how bad they were, I'd have been scared to take them hunting every day, and would have gotten rid of them! LOL. Anyway, back then when I wanted a new gun, I pretty much had to sell one to buy something new. So, these ended up moving on. Now that I can afford a firearm now and then, I think its time to pick another one up to go with the AR, AK, M1A, etc. Greg

mini14beware
December 27, 2007, 07:34 PM
I have noticed that the old model Ruger Mini-14 is still being sold new in the box at gun stores as/and for the accepted price of the Mini-14 580-Series (NEW Model). Make sure your Gun Dealer is not selling you the model that has not been produced by Ruger since 2006 because of accuracy problems! I made Academy sports aware and they could care less. I am finding the OLD model new in the box in gun stores for prices ranging from $475-$500.
Just be observant...

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