Pros and Cons of the Ruger Mini-14?


July 28, 2009, 10:18 PM
I'm looking at getting a carbine size semi-auto rifle, and have my eye on the Mini-14. As it pertains to my particular situation, I'm leaning heavily towards buying gentley used instead of new, and with the stainless finish.

Any info to help me make an informed decision is helpful.

Thanks much!


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July 28, 2009, 10:21 PM
Over priced and inaccurate, but reliable and fun to shoot.

July 28, 2009, 10:23 PM
Well, that about covers both the Pro's and Con's...

July 28, 2009, 10:30 PM
I think they are a better deal used. I got my all black 2001 model like new at a pawn shop for $450 albeit that was 6-7 years ago. It has served me well. It even used to eat up the old lacquered Wolf like candy.

July 28, 2009, 10:31 PM
Not a target rifle, ive done some mods to mine and get 1 inch groups at 50 yards. Very reliable and only one malfunction.(wolf ammo)
ss with a Nikon Pro-staff scope , synthetic stock, heavy barrel, accu-strut and a trigger job with these mods my little mini does just fine.
You can pay too much so shop around.

July 28, 2009, 10:39 PM
what is it exactly that makes inaccurate? This is not the first time i've heard someone say thing.

July 28, 2009, 10:47 PM
I guess people wan't sub-MOA accuracy?

I think with the current market is has stayed at a higher price point than it should compared to entry level ARs.

I don't own one but I have fired one before and own an AR

The pro's:

.223 ammo is abundant
there are accessories for it out there(though nothing too tacticool)
its reliable as heck
its not very heavy like other rifle/carbines out there

The con's:

I personally don't like the magazine design(AK style engagement)
Less accessories than an AR
Proprietary scope mounting rings
New models don't have easy muzzle break/flash hider attachment because of the front sight position
I find the safety is a little odd but that might be because i'm youngish(IIRC its the garand style?)

July 29, 2009, 01:46 AM
The newer Minis are reportedly more accurate. There is truly not much wrong with the Mini, not as much as some would let on, at least. I agree it is a bit overpriced. $550 would be a more realistic selling price, especially with some AR's starting at around $7-800. Its a nice reliable little carbine, and in wood stock, not so swat-teamish.

July 29, 2009, 02:24 AM
they are reliable, fun too shoot, and they are a ruger, that is the pro's.

i agree with the above poster they are a bit pricey. and good mags can be hard to find/ expensive.

July 29, 2009, 02:35 AM
They may not be the most mechanically accurate rifles, but I find the ergonomics to be excellent and they have great practical accuracy. The biggest pro for me was that it was very pretty compared to my mostly-milsurp collection.

July 29, 2009, 08:18 AM
Since I'm not into tearing down rifles to clean them, I find the Mini reliable, fun to shoot and needs little TLC to maintain it in shooting condition. I hated the the wood stock on the old ones and they were short for me, but replacement Hogues are easily purchased it you want to spend the money. Again, my dislike of the stock was primarily trying to make something out of the rifle it really isn't. As I said in the other Mini thread, it gives me pie plate accuracy at 100 yds and I am a terrible open sight shooter overall.

The old ones had a very thin barrel which heated up very quickly shooting. It lost accuracy when the barrel was hot. Happens to most rifles, but the thin barrel was the issue here. It is just fine for my needs and it seems to just eat up the ammo regardless of brand or whether it is 5.56 or 223.

If you want more precision, I would choose a different rifle.

Thomas Garrett
July 29, 2009, 08:38 AM
My Stainless ranch rifle shoots perfectly. no malfunctions of any kind. owned it about 10 years now. Accurate to 150 yards. Still looks like the day i bought it.

July 29, 2009, 08:45 AM
I agree with most here. The mini is reliable to a fault, you do not see many breaking down. They are not the greatest in the accuracy department though if you get an older one but you are not buying a sniper rifle, you are buying a ranch rifle. The newer ones are better in the accuracy department but they probably will not out shoot an AR.

Know what you are getting and you will be happy with it. Reliable as all heck, unbreakable, just not as accurate.

July 29, 2009, 08:45 AM
When did the OP say he was after a precision/sub-moa rifle? It's a good defensive carbine, reliable as the sun coming up, and priced better than ARs (arguments could be made it should be cheaper, though). Magazine complaints are unfounded: Ruger has had 20 rounders on the market for a while and just started cranking out 30 rounders. I have a newer model with the new thicker barrel and can plink a 1 liter gatorade bottle out to 100 yards with open sights. I don't regret it for a second, and I always hear complaints from those who DON'T own one. Consider the source, grasshopper. :D

July 29, 2009, 09:10 AM
I guess people wan't sub-MOA accuracy?
No, but 3-4 MOA would be nice. My 188-series Ranch Rifle shot a best-ever 100 yard group of 5.5", from a rest and rear bag. I tried bullet weights from 40 to 69 grains, including Winchester 69gr premium HPBT, and it wouldn't group as well as my AK shooting cheap Wolf.

If I were in the market for a mini-14, I would buy a new one, or if I was looking used I would look only at the 580-series guns. Some of the older mini's were reasonably accurate, but many weren't, and you don't know till you shoot it.

On the upside, mine was light, reliable, and easy to shoot and maintain. But I eventually sold mine and kept the AK.

July 29, 2009, 09:21 AM

Light and compact -- a light nylong sling, and I can carry the thing all day without knowing it's even there
Sleek -- stashes anywhere since it doesn't stick out all over
Shotgun-like pointing -- I've enjoyed shooting hand-thrown clays with mine
Fun -- With the right targets, it's a great plinker, as far out as irons will let you shoot
Reliable -- I've NEVER had a misfeed or FTF, even with a broken part in the thing
Tolerant -- you don't have to "run it wet" or even keep it clean for it to work
Easy to strip and clean
Stainless steel inside and out


Poor accuracy for a rifle -- They'll all be in the black at 100, but don't expect to hit the X ring predictably...
Hot barrel -- that SOB gets HOT, and FAST. You will burn your finger sooner or later, and plan on leaving the gun to cool, freqently, if you're plinking a lot.
Brass hunting -- Mini-14 Ranch Rifles especially throw the brass almost as far as they shoot the bullet. I believe there's a remedy for this, but I've never tried it.
Expensive ammo -- When I bought mine, top-notch American surplus Federal 5.56 was $2.99 per 20 rounds. Now it's not. See above -- due to the brass-chasing thing, and the accuracy, the Mini-14 isn't the handloader's choice.:)

It's a great utility carbine, but my .357 Magnum Marlin lever gun gets a lot more mileage lately.:) That said, the stainless/Xytel Mini-14 is what I'd carry around if I actually carried a carbine. The Marlin's wood and blue isn't utilitarian -- it's just easy and cheap to reload for it.

July 29, 2009, 09:54 AM
I have a 580 series rifle with the flared barrel. I can shoot 3" or less groups with open sights at a hundred yards. Thats with the cheap 223 ammo from Academy Sports called Monarch. That as well as I can shoot open sights with any gun at that range.

The older guns apparently weren't very accurate. You cannot say that about the new guns. As for the brass throwing my older mini did chunk the brass. I put a smaller gas bushing ($14) and the brass only went about 12' after that. My new gun has a much smaller hole in the barrel and throws brass around 8' or so.

If you get a mini buy the new one with the SN that starts with 580-. Look for the flared barrel also. That heavier barrel makes all the difference.

I have 9 of the Pro-Mag brand 20 rounders and they work perfectly. I have one Ruger 20 round mag and the PMs look just as well built. I have never had any kind of malfunction in a mini-14.

July 29, 2009, 05:58 PM
Are you using the Promag metal or plastic mags? Where did you get the gas bushing?

July 29, 2009, 06:27 PM
New models don't have easy muzzle break/flash hider attachment because of the front sight position

They sell one that comes with a flash suppressor.

The new Mini-14s are 2 MOA rifles, and stay that way when they heat up.

The Mini-14 has always been 100% reliable for me, with factory magazines, that are available now in 20 and 30 round flavor.

The Mini-14 handles well, with the safety in the PERFECT location.

The Mini-14 looks politically correct by simply swapping for a 5 round magazine.

A $650 Mini-14 will be better than a bottom of the barrel AR at $800.

July 29, 2009, 08:50 PM
Adam38654 the mags I use are the metal ProMags I got at Academy. I bought the gas bushings from ASI. They are a sponser at and they have a link there. That is the site for all things needed for Minis.

As a side note there is a thread there that says that per Ruger they are going to be making factory 20 round mags for the mini-30.

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