Target Mini or AR?


Pistola Pedro
March 15, 2008, 07:06 PM
Alright, first of all, hi everyone. This is my first post, but I've been gleaning wisdom here for a while.
My tax return was a pretty decent one this year and I will have around $1,200 to spend on a new firearm. While I am still kicking around the idea of getting a 1911, I think I want a .223 plinker. I don't care to look like I'm on a SpecOps team, so all of the collapsible stock, foregrip, etc. stuff for the AR is no selling point at all. What I really want is a dependable rifle that I can take out of the box, throw a scope on, sight in for a one or two range trips, and then be able to depend on to make pretty decent shots whenever I decide to go shooting. I am not one who is going to spend hundreds of dollars trying to upgrade my rifle.
So the question I'm posing is this: How does the new Mini-14 Target model stack up to AR's in the same price range ($850.00)? I don't want to spend more than this since I will need to use the rest on optics, and I have a dealer who has the Mini on the rack right now. It is a really nice looking gun, but I was wondering if anyone knows if it is getting the elusive 1MOA groupings with it.
Also, if you are suggesting I go with the AR, which one do you suggest that is in the price range (850)? What optics under $350?
All suggestions and advice are appreciated!

If you enjoyed reading about "Target Mini or AR?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
March 15, 2008, 07:40 PM
AR with a Eotech site.

I honestly dont like Mini-14s....

With the AR, you can pretty much make any rifle you want, from a carbine to a long barreled prairie poodle popper. Look for a good used AR if you like or several come in at under $850. Toss in an Eotech 512 fir about $350 and you are done.

Look for Bushmaster, DPMS, Rock River and some others like S&W. Some ARs come with all kinds of junk tossed on to drive up the cost. If you don't care, look for a basic carbine or M4gery and you should be headed in the right direction. Get a Flattop and a back up Iron Sight.

Also, welcome to THR, My name is Dravur, Dravur gets presents.... remember Dravur when Christmas comes around.

March 15, 2008, 07:48 PM
I don't care to look like I'm on a SpecOps team, so all of the collapsible stock, foregrip, etc. stuff for the AR is no selling point at all.

i don't look like a mall ninja either, but i have all those things on my AR because they're FUNCTIONAL. If you use them for a while, you'll appreciate their value, even on civilian plinker guns.

March 15, 2008, 08:04 PM
I like my Mini-14, great rifle, but it really sounds like you want an AR-15.

Pistola Pedro
March 15, 2008, 08:10 PM
Taliv, I am not trying to negate the fact that those accessories can be useful. I just don't know how useful they will be for my intended purposes. I don't do 3 gun comp., I don't plan on packing it for miles, and if it ever comes down to a that whole end of the world type situation....well I've got a Bible for that:p!
If there is a practical side to having the adjustable stock and foregrip for simple benchrest type shooting at ranges anywhere from 100-300yds. please let me know, because I am in the dark on that. Also, is there any certain barrel length that is better for a plinker?

Pistola Pedro
March 15, 2008, 08:13 PM
Note: the above is meant to be read as an ignorant person asking for information, not as a jerk trying to be sarcastic. I read it after posting and noticed it could sound like I was trying to be a punk and that's not my intention

March 15, 2008, 08:26 PM
I'm gonna throw down a bit here, although I'll admit I'm more than biased for AR's and their clones. I've never owned a Mini, although I have lusted after one for a while, but from the looks of it, the Mini breaks down like an M14. In other words, damn hard to take apart and put back together. That's one big reason why I've never plunked down my hard-earned money.

As far as optics are concerned, you can prolly find an aimpoint for less than 350, and I know for sure that you can hit things out to 500m with those.

I do know that AR's can be damned accurate, and fun as heck to shoot. There are all sorts of fun toys for them, and mags are plentiful. If you can though, you can see if one of yer friends has one of each, and give 'em a shot before you commit.

March 15, 2008, 08:29 PM

No contest, really...

March 15, 2008, 09:04 PM
well I've got a Bible for that!
i'm with you there

If there is a practical side to having the adjustable stock and foregrip for simple benchrest type shooting at ranges anywhere from 100-300yds. please let me know, because I am in the dark on that.

stock: your body should be more squared up when you shoot the AR, as opposed to canted or oblique somewhat when shooting most larger caliber rifles. In my experience (even though I'm 6'5" with very long arms) I find the most comfortable position is almost fully collapsed. It's probably been six months or more since the stock on my AR has been extended fully. Also, ease of storage is obvious.

edit: i will say that even though you can shoot sub-MOA with the cheap plastic collapsible stocks, they don't exactly exude quality and in fact, I find them fairly annoying. There are dozens of super aftermarket stocks for AR pattern guns. (e.g. magpul, vltor, etc) I also realize you said you weren't planning to spend hundreds of dollars upgrading. I just wanted to clarify that I'm not saying fixed stocks are bad; I'm just saying there is value in adjustable stocks.

foregrip: when you want to move the gun quickly, it's hard to beat a foregrip. (I know you said you're not into 3gun...yet :) ) if you shoot a lot, the forearm can get uncomfortably warm. having a foregrip solves that problem handily. (no pun intended) On the rare occasion when I shoot an AR from a bench, I find it convenient to lay the forearm on the bench or rest and then slide it forward until the foregrip stops against the bench or rest. at this point, I hold the bench or rest with my hand around the foregrip and apply some pressure with my shoulder in the stock. makes for a fairly easy to repeat position.

Also, is there any certain barrel length that is better for a plinker?

don't go longer w/o a good reason.

also, no hint of sarcasm, being a punk or otherwise bad attitude in your posts. (and none intended in mine either)

March 15, 2008, 09:18 PM
simple answer , AR
I have had the mini 14 and AR is much nicer

March 15, 2008, 10:36 PM
prairie poodle

The foul beasts are quite dangerous. Few have survived close engagement.

These underworld canines can only be injured or slain with the AR15 platform.

Be prepared!

March 15, 2008, 11:03 PM
I am biased due to the fact that I have had bad mini's. With the new mini I know this isn't the same rifle but here goes my way of thinking.

The AR is the way to go! The first thing that is allways asked in these "what gun should I get" deals is how exactly do you intend to use it? At this point you may think you know but this could change several years down the line. The flexibility and choice of the AR system will allow three things . 1) You can fit the rifle to just the way you want it now
2) If things change in the future you can re-configure it.
3) When all else fails the flexability of the AR gives it the most value to others (good resale value!)

No matter what else I would buy the AR over the mini simply because the mini mags suck big time compared to the wonderfull cheep and plentifull AR mags.

March 15, 2008, 11:58 PM
I must agree with Nhsport and his reasoning, go with the AR. However I love my mini dearly, even if it cant hit a barn.

March 16, 2008, 12:10 AM
If your AR breaks you can get spare parts and fix it yourself! Try that with a mini.

March 16, 2008, 09:56 AM
The funny thing about "TARGET" mini's. Is they've been out for a couple years now and I have yet to see any of those great groups posted.

Of course the same applies to the new whatever series minis that are "supposed" to be great shooters. Lots of ballyhoo about improved accuracy yet no pictures of any groups

March 16, 2008, 12:33 PM
Most AR's in the sub-$900 range are gonna be 1-2 MOA. The match grade stuff comes at more of a premium. It's not impossible to find an M4gery that'll shoot MOA or better, but I wouldn't count on it.

The standard mini is about 3 MOA. Reports suggest the Target mini is also about 2-3 MOA until you tune the muzzle balancer and find the ammo it likes, aftyer which it seems these critters hover in the 1-2 MOA range of a plain jane AR.

If you want a <$850 rifle that'll drive tacks all day, start looking at Remington, Savage, Howa, etc. I had a black on black Howa M1500 Varminter in .223 that I paid a whopping $370 for brand new. I can count on one hand the number of groups that were over MOA. Come to think of it, I have less than your $1,200 figure invested in my Ruger M77 varmint .220 swift, including the 6.5-20x Nikon monarch scope. That rifle averaes 1.56" for 5 shots at 200 yards.

March 16, 2008, 02:35 PM
I really like the Mini 14. If I had an accurate one I would just love it, but I don't. They are serious reliable and tough, but accurate they are not. They can not touch an AR in the accuracy dept.

dagger dog
March 16, 2008, 04:06 PM
You gota like them black rifles but, I'm with you on the spec ops look you could do a lot worse than an AR.
But the new target Mini is sharp looking, and is every bit as accurate as the average AR.

All ya see at the range is those AR's and if you really watch, most of them are no more accurate than your BASIC Mini 14.
The owner of the AR platform goes out to the latest show ,picks up a upper from PTO and slaps it on a lower from Bushcutter , gets a collapsable stock from Harbor Freight, adds a Velcro forearm to accept a can opener from Sears. then gets 40-50 used 150 page mags from Outdoor Life and loads them up with Grey Fox .223 95gr hollow points. Then finds out his batterys are dead for the platinum laser ACOG with foot pedal volume control, and has to go to Wallgreens to pick up a set .

It ain't that I got any problem with the AR system or shooter, just please guys paint the things some other color every once in a while how 'bout it!

March 16, 2008, 07:27 PM

This has been posted before here. If this doesn't impress you i don't know what will. This is the target Mini-14 at 300 yards. A bolt gun that shoots this well out of the box would be outstanding. For this to be the gun that everyone likes to bash makes it world class.

March 16, 2008, 07:39 PM
I'd go with the mini-14 target. Its the more interesting gun and it seems like its more what your looking for if you don't wanna play the mall ninja.

Pistola Pedro
March 16, 2008, 07:55 PM
Ahhh... there the mini supporters are. Do any of you happen to have experience with the target model? I have a nasty filter on my internet and basically this is the only firearms forum that I can get to and I also can't watch that wonderful youtube clip that was posted. So if someone can describe it to me, that would be great. I really just want to know if any REAL people out there are putting out some MOA type groups. I'm not an anti when it comes to the black rifles, but the ones that I would want seem to be a little too expensive.

March 16, 2008, 08:04 PM
Excellent Mini 14/30 resource here:

Incidentally, the barrels have been made a little thicker on all the 2008 Mini 14s, the jury is still out on how much that has improved accuracy and consistancy.

Glock Holiday
March 16, 2008, 08:07 PM
If only these guys had them new fangled Mini-14's they would have been able to hit something.
I'd spend my money on an AR-15 if I was you.
Just my 0.02 worth.:cool:

March 16, 2008, 09:04 PM
but from the looks of it, the Mini breaks down like an M14. In other words, damn hard to take apart and put back together


March 16, 2008, 09:09 PM
I have both (mini 30) I like them both but i say get the AR while you can it is the better gun.
Ok i dont have the new target model, but the AR is still better.

March 16, 2008, 09:12 PM
The only reasons I can see wanting a Mini over an AR are the following:

1. You live in an area where you cannot own an AR but can own a Mini.

2. You seriously prefer the traditional stock style to the "modern" pistol grip/straight stock style.

3. You want to maintain a similar manual of arms with an M14/M1A.

4. You're just looking for a plinker or trunk gun.

5. You just really want one.

If you look at it in a rational, logical fashion, unless you fall into one of those categories, the AR wins in any reasonable analysis. It is much better at what it does right out of the box, and can be tweaked and turned into almost anything.


March 16, 2008, 09:29 PM
All ya see at the range is those AR's and if you really watch, most of them are no more accurate than your BASIC Mini 14.

if that's the case, the shooters you have been watching, know nothing about marksmanship or shooting an AR.

pretty much all of the AR's and M16's I have ever shot - maybe in the twenties - shoot better at 100 yards than the two Mini's I've dumped, did at 50 yards.

I'm no particular AR fan, but for all of it's vices it's a very accurate rifle, and certainly more inherently accurate than a standard Mini, especially on rounds three, four and five after that thin little Mini-14 barrel gets hot.

hot barrels will droop. I don't care what anyone says, I've watched it happen on M-240G's, as the barrel glows red, and the rounds walk toward you.

March 16, 2008, 09:43 PM
I will jump on the bandwagon. If you were offered a Mini for less than $400 bucks with a few mags and some ammo, I would say go for it. But if you are gonna spend the money just get the AR. Cheap magazines, more accurate and you can alter it the way you want it.

I liked my Mini but sold it due to lack of use once I purchased an AR. Never looked back. I like my quote "Mini 14 is a great gun for $300 dollars". That about says it all.

March 16, 2008, 10:24 PM
Get the AR. It's more accurate and easier to modify or customize in case your tastes change. Furthermore, there is a far broader market for parts and aftermarket support for the AR.

If you want a tack-driving AR, you'll probly want to look at the heavy-barreled national-match configuration guns like the Colt Match Target HBAR or one of the varmint/sniper setups like the Bushmaster Varminter.

March 16, 2008, 11:03 PM
You wanted to know what the video had on it. It shows a guy shooting another guys new mini 14 target and it does really well. It is a very nice looking rifle and he shows the 100 yard targets tighten up groups down to about a quarter (25 centpiece) size from 1&1/2". Then he takes it out to 200 yards hitting a rock (fist sized) then 300 yards hitting a 12" metal gong. He goes out after and shows the 3 gong hits are centered about 3-4" on the gong. The gun is very impressive and not anything like the older barely can hit a pie plate at 100 yards. Id get the mini. I have a keltec su16, weighs 4 & 1/2 lbs, folds up to 22", has a built in bipod (fore grip folds down), uses m16 mags and can store a 30 rounder in the butt stock (about $550 new-shoots 2moa). I also think the (cheap bsa holo sight-I have) is the way to go for quickly aquiring targets and seeing shot placement but if you want high accuracy a 3X9 scope will do much better. The ruger would be heavier than a ar and a high end $1200 target ar is a better all around rifle but for the price the ruger looks good. You cant compare the old rugers to the target just look at the bull barrel and stock on the video. It all depends on what you will end up doing with it. Hike around? Hunt varmints? shoot paper?

Pistola Pedro
March 17, 2008, 12:36 PM
The AR people have spoken and persuaded me that it just makes more sense. I will let ya'all know what the end decision is and hopefully post some pics.
Thanks to all,

dagger dog
March 17, 2008, 04:29 PM
All it takes to strip a Mini is 1 round unfired ammo, and about 2 minutes. Trigger group pops out,after you pop the trigger gaurd loose with the loaded round, remove stock and hanguard with your fingers, lift out the op rod, hold onto the spring pop off the ejector cover and ejector ,remove bolt.

Pedro try Accuracy International web site for some custom Mini's and their adjustable gas block, plus they have all different Mini stuff. The new target is based on some of their custom gun

Rifleman 173
March 19, 2008, 10:53 PM
Get an M-4 type AR rifle and mount a Millett DMS-1 tactical scope on it. The DMS-1 scope is a variable one with a red donut in its center. The EOTech is a one power scope, not a variable and it costs twice as much as the Millett. Both scopes have red dots and donuts in the center of them but only the Millett lets you zoom in or out from 1 to 4 power. The Millett beats the EOTech hands down. The mini-14 is just an expensive piece of junk in .223 or 7.62 X 39 or in 6.8 SPC calibers. I've owned 3 mini-14s and will NEVER own another one. The mini-14s are why I now have several AR-15s and M-4 carbines.

March 20, 2008, 12:30 AM
IMO, the AR is the answer!

Zach S
March 20, 2008, 07:46 AM
I'd get the AR.

Here is what I would do with $850:
CMMG Bargin Bin M4" $570, maybe between $600 and $615 including shipping and transfer fee. (if I had the money, I'd already own one).

Folding BUIS - $90.

Five 30 round mags - $50 ($10 each)

Total: $755, maybe add a few bucks for shipping the additional stuff on top of the BB M4.

March 20, 2008, 10:54 AM
I'd sure believe a youtube video as fact. It's not like they couldn't pick and choose what they put up. Get a CMMG bargain bin special, and a 1911.

Art Eatman
March 20, 2008, 12:37 PM
No experience with the target Mini. A lot with the old standard Minis. For hunting, the standard Mini is as good as anything. The first shot from a cold barrel very reliably goes the same place today as yesterday.

It's not the deal for tight groups on paper from the bench.

I had a match target Bushmaster for a while. I sighted it in after I bought it (good used). Three shot groups. I guess I adjusted the 6x24 Tasco scope four or five times to get just where I wanted. When I got done, all the groups were within one-half MOA. Probably could have used one aiming point and had a dozen or more within that half-inch. Seriously half-MOA all day long. Weighed 9.5 pounds, though. The stock trigger was yucky.

IMO, then, the decision has to do with the intended use. For me, were it paper-punching, I'd get a target-type AR. For field use in hunting, the Mini is as good as anything.


If you enjoyed reading about "Target Mini or AR?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!