I am considering a Ruger Mini-14 and I need your help.


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heavyshooter
December 2, 2008, 05:04 AM
Gents,

I am looking for a good Home Defense Rifle and I have set my sights on the Ruger Mini-14. I love the looks of the gun and I have decided that now is the time to consider buying one. I am about to take advantage of Ruger's 20 rd. mag offer (they will be collectors items soon).:mad: Before I do so, I want to hear what you guys think about the .223 caliber version of this rifle. Keep in mind, I am using it for HD so I do not need competition quality accuracy; if I can consistantly put 5 rounds in a 2-3 inch group at 100 yards, I will be happy. It's my understanding that the new heavier barrels will accomadate this.

I have a few stupid questions to help with your advice:

1) Can it meet the accuracy requirements I mentioned above?

2) Is it reliable and durable? (I know it's a Ruger, but I have to ask because I am protecting the homestead/family).

3) I have heard some discouraging things about the after market mags, but are the Ruger mags reliable.

4) I have never used a semiauto rifle for HD. Should I be concerned about the life of the magazine springs? They will be compressed for long periods of time because the weapon will be ready for action at all times. I need it to work when I grab it.

5) What is a reasonable price for a new gun?

6) What is a reasonable price for a heavy barrel used gun?

If there is anything I missed, any important information I will need, please fill it in.

Heavy

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Al Thompson
December 2, 2008, 06:47 AM
Check your magazines - I checked a few days back and they are out. If (big if) the magazines come back, I'll buy a Mini-14. :( I have yet to see consistant good aftermarket magazines for a Mini.

Oohrah
December 2, 2008, 07:11 AM
Yes it is dependable. At least the one I bought new some years ago,
a 181 series is. Extreamely dependable, even with after market mags.
Accuracy not too bad, in fact more so than two SKSs (One Norinco&
one Russian). Never had a malfunction with it, even though not the
most accurate, it is dependable. It wears a lower end priced scope
in a S&K mount. New ones I think somewhere in $800 price range.
Mine that is a regular Mini sold for $182 some time ago. HD is +1.
I use expanding bullets in mine for that reason. Until recently, only
after market high capacity mags were available to civilian markets and
they came with a five rounder unless you were a LEO. I have both an
AR and the Mini. I favor the Mini for dependibility.

NC-Mike
December 2, 2008, 09:08 AM
Had a mini and sold it.

That was a happy day. :)

And that as after I cut down the barrel to 16 inches to stop the dreaded hot barrel stringing. I had over 300 dollars in just 8 magazines :eek:

Factory mags go for 50.00 bucks a pop and whatever you hear about aftermarkets mags it is hit or miss with miss being a much more likely proposition. PMI aftermarket mags are the only ones that most people have no trouble with but they are not made anymore so they command a very high price as well.

I had a mini before I had an AR. When I realized I wanted my mini to function and behave like an AR I sold it and got the real deal. I don't miss the mini at all. The mini was designed to be a ranch rifle that would take accurate cold barrel varmint shots with maybe a couple follow up shots there-after. With a hot-barrel mini, I had shots hitting dirt twenty feet in front of 300 meter targets. :uhoh:

If you want a HD platform in .223 why fool with a mini? Get the gun that was designed for that kind of work. A M4 type AR carbine.

I mini is what it is but I wouldn't put it in the home defense category. Sure you defend yourself with it but is it the best tool for that job? My opinion is no.

AndyJ
December 2, 2008, 11:07 AM
The Mini 14 vs whatever debate will always rage on.

To answer your questions...

I have 2 Mini 14s. One sits in the corner of my study, one is behind the seat of my work truck. They have been beat on, cleaned infrequently, grabbed up at a minutes notice and never failed--- ever.

Accuracy? They shoot better than my old eyes can see so I am the determining factor in that equation.

Magazines? Factory is the only reliable option. Ruger is currently selling 20 rounders off their web site through January for $29.95. They were out of stock and back ordered last time I checked. Maybe they will be available again--maybe not. Some of my mags have been loaded for 10 years with no failures of the springs when I rotate the old ammo out.

Price vs the AR? Used to be, you could pick up an AR for about the same as a Mini. Not so anymore, anything remotely resembling an AR has skyrocketed in price.

One thing not mentioned previously is they tend to be very hard on scopes. Though comfortable to shoot, when the bolt slams forward, it evidently creates quite a jolt which tends to eat scopes. Both of mine ARE scoped. The old eyes thing again :)

IMHO, a 12ga pump shotgun is the ultimate HD tool. Just $.02 from an opinionated old man.

briansmithwins
December 2, 2008, 11:10 AM
Before you buy a Mini-14 price these items:

30 round mags (say 6 of them)
spare extractor
spare firing pin
spare FCG (hammer, trigger, springs)
spare op rod (AR closest equivalent is the gas tube)

Compare the prices to what you would pay for spares for an AR.

I'd also be surprised if you can find a Mini-14 that will maintain 2 to 3MOA, which pretty much any AR will do without any work.

BSW

Al Thompson
December 2, 2008, 11:18 AM
I've had a Mini that would cheerfully do 2 inch groups - but zero success with aftermarket magazines.

Floppy_D
December 2, 2008, 11:20 AM
1) Can it meet the accuracy requirements I mentioned above?
a) Easily.

2) Is it reliable and durable? (I know it's a Ruger, but I have to ask because I am protecting the homestead/family).
a) Oh yeah.

3) I have heard some discouraging things about the after market mags, but are the Ruger mags reliable.
a) I have had nothing but luck with aftermarket mags, but I wouldn't put faith in any mag I depended on without trying it out. Grab an extra factory and your good to go.

4) I have never used a semiauto rifle for HD. Should I be concerned about the life of the magazine springs? They will be compressed for long periods of time because the weapon will be ready for action at all times. I need it to work when I grab it.
a) Springs wear when compressed and expanded, not when left in one state or the other. That's fine.

5) What is a reasonable price for a new gun?
a) I keep seeing just over $700, hopefully you can find better than that.

6) What is a reasonable price for a heavy barrel used gun?
a) $500-$600.

exospex
December 2, 2008, 11:29 AM
.223 as a HD gun? Are you shooting through walls and car doors? My driveway is 400 feet long, and I cannot think of any situation where I'd be justified in shooting a man-sized target from there. IMHO of course.

Txhillbilly
December 2, 2008, 01:10 PM
I will never understand why the Mini 14 gets compared to an AR 15,it was not designed to compete with an AR 15. I have a 180 series from 1976 and it has always been a good weapon as long as it is used for what it was designed for. It is a lite weight fast to shoulder/aim short distance weapon. Although,it is semi-automatic,and you can get high capacity mags for it,it was not designed for rapid fire.
Why doesn't the M1 Carbine get compared to the AR 15 the way the Mini 14 does,It would have the same things said about it.
I have several AR's,a Saiga,Mini 14,Ruger #1,and a couple of bolt action rifles all in 5.56/223 caliber,and each gun is good at what it alone was designed for.
Just face it,if you want a gun for long distance shots or one that shoots sub-MOA groups get one that is designed to do the job,Not a Mini 14.
If you want a gun that is fun to shoot,can hit large paperplate size targets at 100 yrds after a few rapid shots,get a Mini 14. THB

ilbob
December 2, 2008, 01:29 PM
I think it is probably adequate for your intended use.

Another poster mentioned the real issue with them. By the time you price up extra normal capacity magazines and spare parts you might just as well buy an AR these days.

They are a lot of fun to shoot though, and I have not had much in the way of problems with the aftermarket mags I bought. But, alas, i have probably not shot it in at least ten years.

Ratshooter
December 2, 2008, 08:26 PM
Heavyshooter look at buying one of the new 580 series of guns. I have a 2007 model with the straight barrel and it shoots well enough that I can hit 5" diameter rocks at 100 yards off hand with the open sights. I retorqued the gas block and added a smaller gas bushing and buffers. I can shoot 1.5" groups at 50 yards with the barrel so hot you can't touch it.

I bought a new mini last week with the flared barrel. This barrel is much thicker than the barrel on the other gun. It should shoot even better. I paid $625 for the 2007 model and $695 for the 2008 model with the factory 20 round mag. Both are wood and SS. If you get a mini get the new ones. They are much better than the older guns. I hope I can shoot the new gun in the next few days.

I have 8 Pro-Mags and have never had a single failure with any of of them. If the factory mag didn't say ruger on it I wouldn't be able to tell it from the Pro-Mags.

Also get a shotgun. I still lean toward those for HD at house ranges.

OpFlash
December 2, 2008, 09:36 PM
I bought my first Mini-14 a few months ago, kept it for two weeks. It was a beautiful blue metal example with wood stock, wood handguard and a M14 style flash hider. Looked just like a little mini M14. From a rest I was getting 5" groups at 50yds. To be fair this was an early model, not one of the new ones. I think the older ones are a crap shoot. You might get one that shoots acceptably, you might get one like mine that doesn't.

For a defensive/combat rifle I think most of them have acceptable accuracy, but you won't be sniping heads at 200yds.

nefarmboy
December 2, 2008, 10:21 PM
Hey, I just bought mine for $672 (plus shipping and FFL) online. I took it out and was able to get a 2" group at 100yds. You can also check out the Mini14 club thread on here or over at Perfect Union for more info. I hope it works fine. IF I have to have more than 20rnds, we're in deep doo doo. I've got a mini 30, 20ga pump (for the wife, she can't see 2' without her glasses), and a .45 semi auto pistol, too. Each has a different function in my defense plan. Plus, you can take the Mini 14 rabbit or squirrel huntin' too.

cliffy
December 2, 2008, 10:45 PM
Just my opinion, but the .223 Remington Mini was designed for controlling people in third world scenarios. They are dependable and effective by design. American sales of Mini's was an afterthought. 55 to 60 grain fare will deter any human threat with ease. Backstops are the only problem concerning home defense since these hyper rounds are dificult to contain. Having fired through 3/8" mild steel panels the remnants still hit hard beyond. I'm currently experimenting with Barnes 50 grain Varmint Grenades, and so far if I had to fire a round within my home's walls this would be the safest, if at all safe. Just my opinion, cliffy

msgsummit
December 2, 2008, 11:25 PM
I have a 580 series with the thin barrel. I added an accu-strut to it which cost $120. I want to say I paid just under $600 for the rifle. I love my mini! I have no problem hitting 8" targets out to 150 meters with open sights. I only added the accu-strut to ensure better accuracy after the barrel heats up with sustained fire. The Mini is not a sub MOA rifle. For home defence. minute of felon is all you need brother and the mini will fit that bill. I use factory 20 rounders...they are expensive but 2 or 3 is really all you need for home defense. AR's are great weapons, been shooting them for all my 18 plus years that I have been in the military but for me the mini feels way more comfortable to shoot than an M-4 type weapon. Reliability and maintenance requirements are, in my opinion, superior to the AR series. Mini's are definately tough on scopes and the darn things will launch brass over into the next zip-code, but I have never once had a malfunction of any kind from either the weapon or the ruger mags.. If your looking for a tough, reliable, low maintenance weapon, that is comfortable and fun to shoot, you can find it in the mini-14.

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