Ruger mini-14: generational question


November 6, 2008, 11:39 PM
I've been thinking about a Ruger mini-14 lately. I know they have recently - within the last couple years - updated a few features, esp. a heavier, stiffer barrel.

Any other differences?

Is the better barrel worth spending the extra $100+ on a new rifle instead of a used one? Academy has NIB stainless for $650; used seem to be running in the low-mid $500 range.


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November 7, 2008, 08:08 AM
I don't know how accurate the new ones are, but my 188-series Ranch Rifle (ca. 1989) wouldn't shoot worth a darn. It was superbly reliable, but the best ever group at 100 yards (from a rest and rear bag) was 5.5", as I recall; I tried match ammo, optics, different stocks, everything, and finally got fed up and sold it when POI shift as the barrel heated made it impossible to satisfactorily sight in a 2.5x shotgun scope. My Romanian AK shoots cheap Wolf 7.62x39mm better than that.

Word is that the newer ones are more accurate, but I have no experience with them.

dagger dog
November 7, 2008, 08:23 AM
Mine is a KMINI Ranch bought in '99
4" groups from a rest are the norm with handloads, 3X9 scope.

Reading through some of the postings on Mini's the newer Target Version seems to be closer to MOA than any of the predecessors.

Accuracy International does some mild to wild hop ups for the Mini,and I was wondering if a guy bought a used one for the platform and went with one of their bull bbls and a trigger group job ,adjustable gas block, just how much money he would spend compared to the newest Target version?

Accuracy Internationals hop ups will shoot sub MOA so they say.

Phil DeGraves
November 7, 2008, 08:37 AM
but the best ever group at 100 yards (from a rest and rear bag) was 5.5",

It was never designed to be a competition tac driver. But 5" groups at 100, although not very good even by mini-14 standards (mine shoot a hair over four inches)is still good enough "combat accuracy." Aim at the head at 100 yards and you'll still hit the head, albeit 2-3" from POA.

November 7, 2008, 09:08 AM
The new barrels are thicker, except at the gas port, where they are still .0625", so I doubt you're going to see much improvement, as you're going to see all kinds of barrel flex there and the same degraded accuracy.

The Mini-14 is a good ranch rifle/truck gun. Well built and reliable. Not made for accuracy. I nearly bought one, because that fills a need for me.

In my opinion, however, they are overpriced.

November 7, 2008, 09:10 AM
Yes. In 2006 Ruger re-tooles their production line. Newer, #580+ serial numbers have tighter tollerances, heavier barrels and shoot much more accurately.

My mini-14 shoots groups of 1-2" with iron sights @ 100 yards using Remington UMC 55 grain ammo.

1 old 0311
November 7, 2008, 09:12 AM
Don't know how, or why, but the Mini I bought in 1987 would shoot 2-3 inches with PMC all day long. Heck. Even my GF could shoot 3-5 inch groups.

November 7, 2008, 09:57 AM
Well, I guess the stateent "overpriced" demands a follow-up, "Compared to what?"

I can't afford the $1000 price tag of most entry-level ARs (yes, I know there are a few under that number, but they all magically disappeared Wednesday; and, they're hard to find anyway from what I gather). I'm not looking for a minute-of-gnat gun, but a fun plinker that's reasonably priced with reasonable-priced ammo.

So, compared to a Bushmaster or Smith & Wesson, Ruger's $650 pricetag is pretty darn reasonable.

That said, $650 is a pretty good pile of money for me. I've been scraping my nickles to gather together $200 for a Texas CCL class & state fees. Now it's decision time: get the CCL or make a down-payment on a mini-14.

Choices, choices...


Art Eatman
November 7, 2008, 10:30 AM
All my Minis were early models, from before Ruger began the "Ranch Rifle".

With a K4, I reliably got 2 MOA for three shots. The first shot from a cold barrel always went to the same point of aim. My primary use was as a truck gun, mostly for coyotes and sometimes jackrabbits, so there were no drawbacks at all for my intended use. Based on that, a used Mini would probably work as well for me as a new one.

If you mostly want to punch paper, don't get a Mini. For hunting or defense, they work just fine.

November 7, 2008, 10:37 AM
I shot a friend's ranch rifle in 6.8 and admit I want one. It was much more accurate than I expected but I agree it isn't for bench shooting. In the real world it is hard to beat. I could hit pop cans reliably with just an elbow rest at 100 yds, good enough for me. The ghost ring sights tell the story. Enough power for whitetails and BGs, much fun to shoot with little recoil, expensive ammo.

If I bought one it would be my only semi-auto firearm. Maybe that says something that it managed to attract someone from the land of bolts, wheels and levers.

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