Mini 14


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monwa
March 19, 2008, 09:56 PM
I have been to this site a few times. Just registered today.

I am getting serious after thirty five years or so, about acquiring a few firearms. I used to have some and recreated/hunted quite a bit but fell away. One of the rifles that I have wanted for a long time is the Ruger Mini14 .223. A friend of mine says that this rifle will not be AT ALL accurate. Maybe 6 inch group at 100 yards without putting a lot of $ into it. I can't do that.

Am I looking at the wrong rifle? I do mostly want it for a plinking so to speak, but I would hope that a standard unmodified product would shoot better than my friend states.

I'm guessing that there are some advocates or not of this weapon that may advise me here. All input is appreciated.

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strat81
March 19, 2008, 10:32 PM
If you just want to plink, buy a .22LR, maybe a 10/22. A case of brass-cased .223 is over $300. Bulk .22LR is still less than $20 for 500 around here.

If you're hunting varmints, I'd get an AR. More accurate, more variety and not grossly overpriced like the Mini-14. Plenty of good, inexpensive bolt-actions out there too like the Savage.

Regolith
March 19, 2008, 10:41 PM
The newer mini-14's are supposedly much more accurate. They apparently have a heavier barrel on them, and Ruger's been trying to improve accuracy on them. I've heard that it seems to have worked, but I have no experience with them myself.

gunman42782
March 19, 2008, 10:51 PM
I have owned 4 Mini 14s over the years, including a newer 580 series. Minute of pit plate groups were the norm. I even had the 580 series glass bedded and a trigger job from greatwestgunsmithing.com. The best I could ever wring out of that gun was 3 inch groups. I could have lived with that. However, my problem with the Mini was you couldn't shoot it! After about 15 rounds the barrel would get so hot that the shots would just drop and drop until they were in the dirt. I have finally swore off the Mini 14. I think 4 of them was enough chances. My ARs will run rings around any Mini I ever owned. And mags are MUCH cheaper! (And before I am accused of being anti-Ruger, I own more Ruger guns than any other company. I am a Ruger guy through and through, but no more Mini's for me!)

Spyvie
March 19, 2008, 10:56 PM
You won't find much love for the Mini on this board.

The 2008 models do have a new heavier barrel design that does improve the whipping and heat warping that the old pencil barrels suffered from. Why it took Ruger this long to make them correctly is any body's guess. The company appears to be changing it's attitude towards the civilian consumer recently, witness the LCP .380.

I believe the new models are an excellent value. You get a genuine 5.56 NATO chamber along with Ruger's unspoken lifetime warranty. Of course an AR is also an option, but a good AR will cost considerably more than a Mini 14.

FWIW, I'm having pretty good luck with ProMag 20 round mags.

Here is a good Mini 14 forum: PerfectUnion.com (http://www.perfectunion.com/vb/forumdisplay.php?f=86)

Larry Ashcraft
March 19, 2008, 10:58 PM
I keep reading on gun forums how inaccurate the Mini is. I bought mine in the early 1980s, used, for $225, with a Weaver 4 power scope. It has always been 100% reliable, and a fun gun to shoot.

After reading all this BS on the interwebs about its inaccuracy, I decided to test mine out myself.

After getting the barrel good and hot, I put ten rounds into a 10" triangular piece of steel at 200 yards, using WWB soft points. That's all I ask of it, a good, reliable truck gun that puts the rounds where I point them. Nothing more, nothing less.

If I need to shoot a coyote at 500 yards, I'll get out my 25-06, otherwise the Mini will do the job.

Get your Mini and enjoy it. :cool:

jerkface11
March 19, 2008, 11:04 PM
An AR will do anything a mini will do only better. Plus mags are cheap.

Kurt_D
March 19, 2008, 11:05 PM
Mini pro:
-They look traditional.
-Their internals are pretty simple and have potenial to be reliable.

Mini con:
-They are not reliable over all. Yes there are some that will say mine's worked 100%.... but most will say they are a jam-o-matic with anything other than factory mags or few aftermarket ones (very hit or miss).
-They are too expensive for what they are. An AR is with in $100-200.
-Factory mags are expensive $40+.
-Sights have improved but still there not as good as stock AR A2 sights.
-Limited on optics options.
-Accessories are as developed at the AR platform.
-Not typically accurate (hit or miss here too)

AR pro:
-extremely wide spread
-very well developed platform
-reliable
-accurate
-quality mags are $10-$15 brand new
-more accessories that you could list
-typically higher quality - forged parts, chrome lining, etc.
-HIGHLY modular, working on one is like working with an erector(sp?) set.
-excellent optics platform (flat top style)
-you can mod it to do anything you want
-easy to change between calibers

AR cons
-will be a little more $$$ than a mini
-there is junk out there and with many manufactures it can be confusing (for a bit anyway)
-THEY ARE ADDICTIVE, BRD is uncurable
-they seem to multiply

Over all you'd probably be happier with the AR platform from one of the quality manufactures. Oh 22LR? yes there are kits or complete uppers for that. What to blast away? your covered. Want to pick off nats at 100 yds? can do that too (modded of course).

glockman19
March 19, 2008, 11:12 PM
In a ranch rifle all I'm looking for is something tha twill take a banging and still shoot straight. My mini is as accurate and more reliable than my AR's. While the edge does go to the AR in Accuracy, I can shoot the mini all day long and It will never jam. The AR always does somewhere between round 400-500.

They are both great rifles IMHO.

I get 1-3" groups @ 100 yards and 4-6" groups @ 200 yards. I figure any grouping I can get with any firearm gun or rifle that groups in the plam of my hand or outstreached fingers 4"-9" is a kill shot on animal or man.

Spyvie
March 19, 2008, 11:14 PM
EDITED...

I notice a lot of similarity between the AR v Mini arguments and the Mac v PC arguments. With a lot of similar FUD from the snobbier sides.

MachIVshooter
March 20, 2008, 12:32 AM
I enjoy my mini and it has been very reliable with factory and aftermarket mags. That said, between my Armalite AR's and the mini, the AR's will win hands down for any requirement.

Fun toy:
http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/100_0380.jpg

When it counts:
http://i110.photobucket.com/albums/n117/Hunter2506/ARs.jpg

Warner
March 20, 2008, 01:23 AM
Side note ...

Heft one of the new '08 heavier barrel Mini's before you buy. That new barrel makes an already somewhat front-heavy rifle even more so.

As some have already pointed out, there's not too much wrong with the original. Just depends on your wants and needs.

22/22mag
March 20, 2008, 01:39 AM
I have AR-15s and Minis ,the Minis with factory mags will shoot ammo that jams my AR-15s.

hitbackfirst
March 20, 2008, 01:43 AM
Mini pro:
-They look traditional.
-Their internals are pretty simple and have potential to be reliable.

Mini con:
-They are not reliable over all. Yes there are some that will say mine's worked 100%.... but most will say they are a jam-o-matic with anything other than factory mags or few aftermarket ones (very hit or miss).

This is not a problem with the Mini, it is an issue with poor-quality after-market magazines.

-They are too expensive for what they are. An AR is with in $100-200.

"For what they are" - matter of opinion, not a con.

-Factory mags are expensive $40+.
-Sights have improved but still there not as good as stock AR A2 sights.

The new Mini has ghost ring style sights, while the A2 sights require you to aim high.

-Limited on optics options.
-Accessories are as developed at the AR platform.
-Not typically accurate (hit or miss here too)

Out of box accuracy has improved, and for less than $100 accuracy can be improved even more.

AR pro:
-extremely wide spread

So?

-very well developed platform
-reliable

Calling the AR reliable is pushing it...

-accurate
-quality mags are $10-$15 brand new
-more accessories that you could list
-typically higher quality - forged parts, chrome lining, etc.

Voodoo! ;)

-HIGHLY modular, working on one is like working with an erector(sp?) set.
-excellent optics platform (flat top style)
-you can mod it to do anything you want

Anything I want...? ;)

-easy to change between calibers

Easy? :scrutiny:

AR cons
-will be a little more $$$ than a mini
-there is junk out there and with many manufactures it can be confusing (for a bit anyway)
-THEY ARE ADDICTIVE, BRD is incurable
-they seem to multiply

Sorry to be a pain, but I just think sometimes the Mini gets a bad rap around here!

jerkface11
March 20, 2008, 07:54 AM
You have to aim high with A2 sights? You realize you can adjust the front sight right?
Switching an AR to a different caliber isn't easy? Pushing 2 pins is complicated now?

RH822
March 20, 2008, 08:20 AM
My Mini is a 184 series and has been nothing but reliable for the past 22 years. Even with my older eyes it still puts every round right where I want it to. Like Larry said, go get your Mini and enjoy.
RH

monwa
March 20, 2008, 10:59 AM
Thank You all.

I will probably end up with the Mini but will have a closer look at the ARs.

I appreciate your input.

benEzra
March 20, 2008, 11:09 AM
Another gun that would be quite comparable with a mini-14 would be a .223 Russian Saiga. The Saiga would be in the low $200's.

I used to own a 188-series Mini-14 Ranch Rifle. Best group ever was around 6" at 100 yards, from sandbags, although it was rock-solid reliable. I tried different optics, different stocks, and match ammunition. I thought about bedding the action, new gas port bushings, and having the barrel cut and crowned, but I decided I didn't want to put the time and effort into it and recently sold it.

kimbernut
March 20, 2008, 11:13 AM
The last mini I shot was the newer design with the heavier sights and upgraded gas system. You could count on it shootin1" groups at 100 yds.with a scope mounted to help these old eyes. The one I owned previously would shoot a decent group(3") then would shoot a 6" group high right. It got fairly frustrating quickly. If you go with the Mini I'd go for the newer or newest versions.

Ctyankee
March 20, 2008, 11:20 AM
I have had great luck with the ones I've got. My first I passed on to a friend of mine when I got a Ranch model. I like the scope mount on the Ranch, but the iron sights on the original are significantly better. That said, there is an aftermarket heat shield with mounts for a scout type set up. Ruger has a new heavy barrel target model available.

armoredman
March 20, 2008, 12:04 PM
I like my Mini-14. I am constantly told it is an inaccurate unreliable peice of junk, made by a dead old man who hates gun owners, and that the rifle will simply make the bad guys mad at any distance. if I don't sell it and immediately buy an AR-15, I will die horribly.

No.

I don't like the AR platform. It doesn't fit me well, and yes, I have fired several, including M-16A2s in the service. I can't stand that dadgum spring vibrating in my ear, either.
My Mini eats all kinds of odd handloads, easy clean up, and most importantly, it hits what I aim at. I am not the worlds greatest shot, nor I don't shoot for the high power trophy. It's a simple efficient rifle that was significantly less in cost than the nearest priced competitor, (which I couldn't afford anyway, some of us are of limited means!), and it works for me. I have sufficient good mags now, but do wish the factory would finally allow serfs to buy the good 20 round mags, as they do tend to work the best.

That's my opinion, worth exactly what you paid for it.

Art Eatman
March 20, 2008, 12:19 PM
I've had four Minis and four Ars. Several thousand rounds through each type.

A Mini will reliably put the first couple or three shots in the same place today as it did yesterday. For a hunter, that's all that counts. Sure, group size degrades as the skinny barrel heats up, but that's not important when hunting rabbits or coyotes.

Within rational self-defense distances, a Mini will shoot minute-of-torso all day long.

In the FWIW anecdotal department: Back around 1980 or 1981, there was a fantastic population explosion of jackrabbits in northern Nevada/SW Idaho. A buddy of mine and I went out from Winnemucca and set up above a marshy area. Multitudes of jackrabbits! With our Minis, we killed maybe 100 or 120 in less than an hour. Ranges of 50 to 200 yards. Hot barrels or not, we didn't miss many rabbits. We came back about a week later and but for coyotes sitting around with toothpicks, the jackrabbit population was still incredible...

Bartkowski
March 20, 2008, 12:25 PM
Quote:
-easy to change between calibers

Easy?

Yes, it is actually very easy.

And AR's are very reliable too so it is not at all pushing it to call them reliable.

Mike 56
March 20, 2008, 03:40 PM
http:// mini14 002.jpg (51.7 KB)http:// mini14 003.jpg (58.2 KB)http:// mini14 004.jpg (72.8 KB)http:// mini14 006.jpg (42.9 KB)My 197 Ranch rifle shot 5 inch groups out of the box with Wolf ammo. With a few mods it is a solid 1 inch rifle at 100yd with my reloads. I made a barrel strut out of a 3.00 Autozone flashlight, rubber plugs, and two flash light mounts. I took a small torch and heated the trigger spring til i saw a dot of red and let it cool this reduced my trigger pull to about 4lb. I installed a smaller gas port bushing and retorqued the gas block. It took me 20 minutes to fit a milled M1 Carbine rear sight. I made front and rear buffers made out of vacuum cleaner belt. I can't tell you how much the buffers smoothed out the Minis action. Muzzle breaks improve a Minis accurate i put a AK 74 brake on mine but i have read that it does mot mater what kind you use. The muzzle break alone reduced my groups two inches.

Mikehttp:// mini14 001.jpg (56.6 KB)

SwampWolf
March 20, 2008, 04:36 PM
IMO, the Mini vs AR question is sort of like an orange vs tangerine question. For my purposes, I have both: I like the Mini (mine gets 3", 100 yard groups from a rest, using the factory open sights ,all day long and is reliable as a Timex- "it keeps on ticking") for a knock-about, "conventional" looking, close- quarters, self-defense carbine; as at home in the back of my pickup as it is leaning in the corner of my clothes closet and my National Match Rock River as a super accurate, match/varmint/"sniper" rifle.

I'd hate to have to choose between the two if I could only have one but, in that sorry event, I guess I'd opt for the AR...

Ratshooter
March 20, 2008, 04:55 PM
Mike 56 you are a man after my own heart. Your version of the Accu-Strut is what i had in mind of doing. I was going to use pipe and a cap with the flashlight clamps. I like your idea better.

What brand of flashlight clamps are those and where did you get them?

I just bought my Mini-14 yesterday and haven't had a chance to shoot it yet. My shooting buddy had a mini years ago. It was his go-to gun for a long time. He kept it by his back door with a loaded mag handy. He killed several coyotes and quite a few raccoons with that rifle. He has voiced his regrets several times about selling that gun.

Everone has something negetive to say about the Mini. They do the same thing with the 10-22. I have owned 4 of them and everyone has worked every time i pulled the trigger and killed everything i shot it at. Until i had the internet i didn't know had poorly they worked and how inaccurate they were. I just thought i was happy.

By the way my gun is not the new flaired barrel. I couldn't find one of those. I bought a stailess and wood stock new for $575.00 + tax. That was the best price i had seen on one.

kBob
March 20, 2008, 07:52 PM
Mike 56,

SO does that M-1 Carbine sight allow you to shoot point of aim or is everything high?

It looks like the apperature is higher than the issue folder so I was wondering if it was just for looks.

I hope it works and might give it a try.

How did you go about fitting it?

Has reducing the trigger pull reduced reliability when shooting military surplus or handloads with harder primers?

BTW I shot a Ranch with a side folder on it for a bit in a carbine class and for that two hour block it kept up with ARs and M4s just fine for shooting from the shoulder. Lady next to me shot an original model Mini with the exposed bolt stop guts and had zero malfunctions over the course and shot more than well enough. Minute of bad guy target from 5 meters to 100 and range a gong regularly during a modified "carbine bounce" excercise with the 12x12 steel at 100 yards.

Depends on what level of accuracy you are happy with.

I think they are "good enough" for anything I I remotely likely to need a social rifle for these days.

-Bob Hollingsworth

Mike 56
March 20, 2008, 10:13 PM
Kbob I shoot my hand loads in my Mini my Mini zeroed at a 100yd on the 250 sight setting. So i guess it depends your rifle and ammo. Here is more info and install info http://www.perfectunion.com/vb/showthread.php?t=43581

I have shot over 2,000 rounds since the trigger job mostly reloads with standard primers no problems. You can send your trigger group to Gun Doc he does Mini trigger jobs for about 50.00.

Installing buffers, muzzle break, and a smaller gas port bushing makes a Mini handle almost like a 1022.

Mike

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