Ruger mini 30 VS Saiga


November 27, 2008, 09:55 AM
I was at the local toy store yesterday where I found Ruger mini 30 stainless rifle with the black plastic stock for $465. I have kind of always wanted one of these and, I already have 2 ARs. I like them and the mini 14 mostly for their size. I have also considered buying a Saiga in the past just because of all the good things I have heard about them. With the current political climate such as it is and the cost of 223 ammo these days I was thinking I might ought to buy one of these rifles while I can. While I was looking at the mini 30 a guy comes up to me with rifle case in hand and tells me has one for sale for $300. I assumed that he meant a mini 30 or at least a mini 14 since they look alike. It turned out that what he had in the case was a scoped Saiga in 7.62x39. Initially I was pissed but I got over it and thanked him for the offer and I politely declined. I put a deposit on the Ruger and a Remington 870 HD. On the way home, I stopped at the local Cabelas and ran into the same guy. We talked a little more and I asked him what his bottom dollar was and he said $250.. I got his name and number.
Obviously, the Saiga is a great buy especially with the red dot scope on it. The Ruger mini 30 is probably a real good deal as well especially if another ban comes along. No, this is not a preban gun with the bayonet lug. I could possibly buy both guns and may do that so lets take that off the table right now. Another thing I am not really worried about is accuracy, that is to say that I am not looking for a tack driver, I have lots of those already. I suppose that I would like to know which is the more accurate of the 2 for comparrisons sake but, if they will both stay under about 3 inches at 100, I don't think I really care all that much. What I am most concerned with is reliablity and shootability. I know that the Saiga can be coverted to accept AK mags but I doubt that I will do that. The cost of factory mags for the Saiga and High caps for the Ruger are both gonna be pricey, I can accept that. While I am on the subject of mags, which aftermarket mags work the best in the Ruger? Do the high caps that are available for the Saiga work well? Just one last thing, this rifle will be carried in the car most of the time and might double as a house gun occassionally, though I already have an AR and a Mossberg 590 for that purpose. It will primarily be used as a plinker when I just want to shoot a lot of rounds without having to reload for it. Again, my biggest concern is reliability. How does the Ruger Stack up agianst the Saiga? I do have to say that I like the look of the Ruger better than the Saiga.

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November 27, 2008, 10:04 AM
My guess is that the saiga would be more reliable, just due to it's design.

November 27, 2008, 10:56 AM
I think they're both great guns and very comparable in accuracy, reliability. Buy both, you won't regret it. 2-3MOA and possibly better with the right ammo.

And if you want to use hi-caps in that Saiga, I'd suggest converting it and keeping 922r compliance. Then you can get cheap AK mags.

November 27, 2008, 02:08 PM

November 27, 2008, 02:34 PM
Saiga's good.
I got a couple 20-round mags for mine (SureFire) and they are easier to insert and remove than the 10-rounder that came with it. Kind of expensive, though. They also hold the bolt open on the last round, which the factory original does not. No conversion or mods needed.

My Saiga has a factory certificate showing a 93mm spread for four rounds fired at 100m; so that's about 3 1/2 MOA.

November 27, 2008, 02:58 PM
+1 Saiga...Kalashnikov action, chrome-lined chamber and bore, robust, reliable, goodly accurate, high capacity mags available...

Oh, and did I mention Kalashnikov?

November 27, 2008, 06:16 PM
Another vote for the Saiga.

November 27, 2008, 06:46 PM
Saiga. It's Russian-made, and very high quality. Innately reliable AK design, and parts widely available.

Rugers tie you to a single parts supplier, and this could eventually be a problem. With a Saiga, any standard AK part can be made to work, one way or another.

November 27, 2008, 07:24 PM
Saiga all the way...

Ignition Override
November 27, 2008, 08:12 PM
Check the site "". Many of those people know lots about Mini 14s and 30s. Under Mini 14 there should then be a forum near the top for magazines. I can not imagine why so many companies make crappy after-m. mags. The two which came with my 30 are useless.

Unless you find one and pay lots for a true Ruger high-cap. magazine which is for the 30, you will probably detest many aftermarket mags for the 30. I've never bought a large mag for mine because of the infamous history. A store ordered me a 10-rounder from Promag and it arrived (one of the very few types which are reliable), but somebody then lost it.

Except for a special sale that is now over at Ruger for 20 rounders for the Mini 14, the R. factory never sold high-caps to regular civilians, only LEOs. Many people still detest the late Bill Ruger because of this and his deal with Congress.
Because of the reliability issues, many formerly loyal Ruger customers 'defected', went to ARs, AKs, Saigas etc and never went back.
Most high-cap. magazines are listed as factory, or 'Mini 30 mag' etc, but few say Ruger.
Too new at this but have read lots of praises for Saigas. And you might really like an SKS. Mine is not for sale, even at a $200 profit.

November 27, 2008, 08:15 PM
Saiga!!! Ruger Mini-30s don't do well with steel case ammo.

November 27, 2008, 08:20 PM
Have to agree with the Saiga. I wanted a mini 30 so bad at one time. I got turned off my the apparent inaccuracy of it. At least a saiga is tough and reliable,. Mini 30s look really cool though and that seems to be a good price for one. Saiga buttstock is ridiculous looking.

November 27, 2008, 09:06 PM
There's a Dragunov-style buttstock available for the Saiga that does a lot to help its appearance and comfort.

November 27, 2008, 10:00 PM
I know nothing about the Saiga, but I'm less than happy with my Mini 30. I have 2 factory mags and 3 aftermarket 10 rounders. None work well with the gun. Hard to get in or out. I've not had any failures with the gun and it's about 3-5 inch moa.

November 27, 2008, 10:02 PM
Saiga > Mini-30


November 27, 2008, 10:09 PM
go with the mini I love mine

November 27, 2008, 10:12 PM
The mini 30 shoots excellent if you know how to use it! It doesn't like the hard primers of steel cased ammo, so reload and perfect your load, and you will love the 30 as much as I love mine!

November 27, 2008, 11:25 PM
I guess if you reload the Mini 30 might be your cup of tea. But if your just wanting to go out and have a range toy I would have to go with the Saiga. I have shot a Mini 30 and thought it was nice gun but I didn't like the hefty price of brass ammo in 7.62x39. For budget wise I'd have to lean towards the Saiga and if your wanting more than 10 rounders then your really not going to find a Mini 30 as reliable as the Saiga. Even though you will have to pay for the conversion or do it yourself. Just my personal opinion

November 27, 2008, 11:27 PM
I'd go with the Saiga. If you don't buy it, give ME his number and I'll buy it from him.

November 27, 2008, 11:44 PM
right now, you cannot touch a Saiga for under 500 new, get that one right now.
It's accuracy will be 2wice as good as the ruger, and the hi cap mags work flawlessly.

November 28, 2008, 08:30 AM
Saiga. $250 is a great price and the conversion is simple to do.

November 28, 2008, 02:14 PM
The saiga seems a no brainer to me. If they were the exact same price I would go with the saiga

Use of steel cased ammo which is much cheaper
the price on that saiga is very good.
converting the saiga is fun simple and gives you an even more functional rifle.

My advice buy that saiga quick before someone else does, sign up at the saiga forums, read alot and figure out that you made an awesome purchase. Fair warning though if you buy that saiga you will be unable to resist spending money on other saigas like the .308, 12 guage and .223.

November 28, 2008, 05:14 PM
While I've never shot a mini, I cannot speak highly enough of the Saiga. The only problem I have with it is the price of unconverted stock saiga mags.

November 28, 2008, 05:19 PM
While I've never shot a mini, I cannot speak highly enough of the Saiga. AK reliability, relatively inexpensive ammunition, and the availability of an easy true-AK conversion. The only problem I have with it is the price of unconverted stock saiga mags.

November 30, 2008, 08:59 AM
about the Mini 30 than I have. As I said, I had already put a deposit on the Mini and this is a place that will only give you store credit. Aside from that, a friend had given me a few guns to get rid of for him, his wife hates guns, and one of them is a mini 14. I had decided to keep that as well. As it also happens, I won a couple hundred playing poker the other night so I called the guy with the Saiga and I am picking it up Tuesday. I will also get the mini 30 probably sometime next week. I guess a few trips to the range will be neccesary to decide which ones I keep. Thanks for the suggestions to the other sites. I will check out both of them. Yes, of course I reload, but I was buying this primarily because of the supply of cheap ammo. I didn't really plan on reloading for these rifles but, what the heck. I have had worse dillemas.:D

November 30, 2008, 11:32 AM
Someone gave me a mini 30 many years ago because when he bought it the store told him it shot .308. Much to his surprise it didn't of course.

I experimented with high cap mags and found a brand that worked flawless and have 10 of them.

It's strength comes from being able to develop loads for it which helps in the accuracy dept. Its been used to hunt many small and medium game using the 5 round magazine.

Its not a plinker in my opinion.

November 30, 2008, 11:41 AM
You will love the Saiga. Since it has a red-dot you may want the dragonov style stock people have mentioned. It's got a very comfortable cheeck rest for use with scope but instantly flips down when you go back to iron sites.
I have a quick release mount on mine and shoot half my rounds with red-dot and the other half with iron sights.
If you do wish to convert you would only need four parts for 922r compliance because this is not considered a "pistol grip" stock. I installed a fire control group , gas piston and handguard myself and had the conversion finished quickly and cheaply. It now rocks out with all AK mags and is quite impressive.

Saiga also has a faily heavy barrel which keeps it's accuracy up after getting heated. I have heard the mini-14 loses accuracy due to this and I'm not sure if the 30 does as well. Again just hearsay.

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