mini14 tough or not?


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ulfrik
November 3, 2010, 04:25 AM
i heard stories of mini14s breaking down alot during basic training with the Bermuda Regiment, then they had to replace it with the m16.

and then i heard stories about the mini14 firing 100,000 rounds whithout failing,in some kind of test.

is the mini14 a delicate sporting rifle? or is it a rugged and reliable utility rifle?

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WardenWolf
November 3, 2010, 04:50 AM
It's a rugged and reliable utility rifle within civilian and law enforcement requirements. It's not military-grade, but it's quite durable and will hold up well. However, it is not known for being very accurate. That being said, there are many better rifles for the price nowadays, such as the 16" Saiga .223 or other high-end AK platform rifles. You'll get something more accurate and true military-grade for half the price. Saigas are typically around 2.25 MOA. Many are better. I've not heard of any worse than 2.5.

LoonWulf
November 3, 2010, 05:14 AM
I agree that the mini has had accuracy issues in the past, but the newer ones hold there own with pretty much all the short, lite barreled carbines ive seen. 2" or less is pretty standard for the 3 that ive had the chance to mess with. Again thats not a whole lot of specimens but so far they have been doing pretty good. I like the controls alot better on the mini then on the Aks also, but thats personal preferance.

ulfrik
November 3, 2010, 05:22 AM
how many rounds do you think you can fire thru it (on average) before it needs spare parts and or a gun smith? (more or less than ar15 and ak47)?

as a hunting, plinking and self defense rifle, how would it hold up over the years?

benEzra
November 3, 2010, 09:08 AM
The mini-14 is very reliable, but (like the Garand that it shares some design features with) it likes to be lubricated at key points, and it will become much less reliable if neglected. If you run it dry---especially a stainless model---or if you get sand in the slot for the bolt cam pin, you will have problems. It also has a gap in the receiver that can let sand in if you drop it in the dirt, so don't drop it in the dirt.

The mini is also not particularly heat tolerant, but should continue to run OK when hot as long as it is kept well lubricated.

As to durability, I'd say it's on par with an AR-15, and perhaps a bit less robust than a civilian AK, but that is entirely subjective. I don't *think* you can get a mini with a chrome lined barrel, and if that's the case then the mini's barrel will wear out before a chrome-lined AR or AK will.

skipbo32
November 3, 2010, 09:16 AM
minis look cool, but anyone thinking of getting one..........just go all out and get a good AR.

TX expat
November 3, 2010, 09:53 AM
I would suggest you look here for Mini-14 information, it has been the best source I have found.

http://www.perfectunion.com

HorseSoldier
November 3, 2010, 09:58 AM
Less robust than an AR (+/- low end ARs perhaps). The Bermuda Regiment aren't exactly known for running their weapons really hard and they still haven't had great results. Minis are nice and handy guns, but not serious gunfighting weapons.

desidog
November 3, 2010, 11:00 AM
Hypothetically, I'd crawl through bogs all day long with my Mini and expect it to work...just a look down the tube to make sure there is no blockage...i would not assume the same of my AR without breaking it down and re-lubing.

Accuracy wise, old mini's get a bad wrap; that's because they have thin barrels that get hot quick. Shot for shot with a cold barrel, Minis are plenty accurate.

And were you to use one as a club, a Mini's wood stock would leave a much larger bruise than an M4 tele-stock....so yeah, pretty rugged and reliable utility rifle.

briansmithwins
November 3, 2010, 11:17 AM
Hypothetically, I'd crawl through bogs all day long with my Mini and expect it to work...

Hypothetically, I think you'd have a lot better luck with that using either a AR or AK, both of which are actually a lot better sealed against outside debris than the Mini-14.

The Mini-14 isn't a military rifle and hasn't passed thru acceptance trials anywhere that I know of. BSW

Sheepdog1968
November 3, 2010, 12:36 PM
minis look cool, but anyone thinking of getting one..........just go all out and get a good AR.
There are some states (cough CA cough) in which if you want to own an AR, you need to neuter it to the point IMO (bullet button and other things) where it is no longer an effective self defense weapon (fine for social plinking). In this case, the mini's and M1A's are a better choice IMO.

HOWARD J
November 3, 2010, 01:57 PM
I like my Mini-14. It's a fun gun to shoot especially with a 30 round Mag.
With good scope --- it is good for small game.
But, I like my Mini-30 much more. I have taken half a dozen deer with that rifle using
PMC 125 gr SN. A 3-6 Leupold scope. I would rather not give it the dirt & mud test.
I will leave that to our AK/////////////////////// :):):)

Rshooter
November 3, 2010, 02:01 PM
The Mini-14 isn't a military rifle and hasn't passed thru acceptance trials anywhere that I know of. BSW

I would agree with this statement but also like to point out that the mini-14's action was accepted in both the M1-Garand and M-14. I believe that the mini-14 does well in it's role as a tough little rifle with acceptable accuracy for most shooters.

Art Eatman
November 3, 2010, 02:02 PM
I had two blued and two stainless early model Minis. I bought a blued model when they first came out, and then sold it when the stainless models were introduced. I let a guy trade a blue to me for it, later, and then sold the blue to another guy and "stole" another stainless. :)

Never the first sign of any reliability problem with any of them. I dunno. Maybe three thousand rounds, total, through them, mostly plinking and messing around. Since I used them primarily as a truck-gun hunting rifle, tight-group accuracy was not relevant for me. The first shot from a cold barrel always went to the same point of aim/impact, give or take an inch. Three-shot groups of less than two MOA were quite common.

I used a Weaver K4 and was quite satisfied. Coyotes and jackrabbits were displeased.

Al Thompson
November 3, 2010, 02:13 PM
Prison guards around here use them. No idea of the annual round count, but the guards I know like them.

frankiestoys
November 3, 2010, 04:09 PM
I have a SS 580 series for a few years now and its been a great performer, eats anything i feed it. With only a 1000 rds through it ive had no parts fail ! And its as accurate as i need, I own an AK and a AR and my AR has been the only one in the shop, so its as durable as any of the carbines i own. There good rifles that excell in some areas and not so in others. Ruger's are solid guns no matter wich model you have.

Oceans
November 3, 2010, 06:51 PM
When I worked in LE, I saw Minis eat up thousands of rounds without a problem, as long as they used the Ruger factory magazine. Stay away from aftermarket ones. At 200 yards they will cut center of silhouette. If you got the old Minis hot, they would start to throw fliers, that is true, but it is also true, the newer ones have a thicker profile barrel. I have seen more than a few Winchester 94s get hot and string rounds, as well as Garands, Mausers, and Enfields. The Army in combat studies years ago, proved in combat situations, that EXPERT rifleman had only a marginal chance of successfully engaging enemy personnel at 300 yards or farther, due to limited exposure time of target, physical stress, etc. At 200 yards and under, your chances really pick up. The Mini is perfect for these distances. The big drawback to the Mini today, is that it is hard to securely mount modern optics, like the Aimpoint or the EOTech. They are reliable and robust weapons that do not require babying.

TexasRifleman
November 3, 2010, 06:59 PM
Tough? I'm not sure you can destroy one. I have an old one, 181 or 182 series (early 80's) and it's never been cleaned, had countless thousands of rounds through it, and spent a good 20 years riding around behind the seat of a pickup getting bashed in daily. I used to squirt a little oil onto parts a couple of times a year, that's about it.

Never had any reliability issues at all. Accuracy is another story but with factory mags I don't know how you could make a Mini NOT run.

gunnutery
November 3, 2010, 08:00 PM
<...OT Noise removed...>

Minis are nice and handy guns, but not serious gunfighting weapons.

Tell that to the FBI agents back in the 80's. I can't remember too many details at the moment, but I think it happened in Florida. If by "gunfighting" you mean military conflict, you're probably right. But for civilian/LE combat, it'll do just fine.

jeepguy
November 3, 2010, 08:22 PM
i think my mini would run longer without anyting being done to either one longer then my ar15. the only thing is some dont like the cheep steel cased ammo, it can cause the firingpin to break. i only shoot brass and haven't had any problems with mine. when i go shooting the mini always comes along & the ar stays home. ps i only use ruger mags.

ulfrik
November 3, 2010, 08:46 PM
i think i read somewhere the m16 fires at least 15,000 rounds before it needs maintenance/gunsmithing . in some kind of army test?

how about the mini14?

you could by two mini14s ,so if one needs maintenance/gunsmithing,you can just use the other one for a while til the other one is ready.

<...thread drift removed...>

ulfrik
November 3, 2010, 09:35 PM
how much do new mini14 10 round factory mags cost$?

pro2
November 3, 2010, 10:40 PM
My old GB has NEVER had a malfunction with a quality magazine. NEVER, EVER, regardless of ammo used. It is fun plinker and critter killer, that has proved reasonably accurate. I enjoy mine, and wouldn't steer anyone away from buying one for the $$$. I would not pay retail, taking into consideration that used examples are common.

I have read that the older GB models are built to higher standard.... a little more expensive, but they hold their value at around $600 (fixed stock).

niteowl
November 4, 2010, 10:27 AM
Tell that to the FBI agents back in the 80's. I can't remember too many details at the moment, but I think it happened in Florida. If by "gunfighting" you mean military conflict, you're probably right. But for civilian/LE combat, it'll do just fine.


Or tell that to the families of the US Marshall's that died at the hands of Gordon Kahl and his son both armed with the older skinny barreled Mini 14's. Minute of barn door? I don't think so...

Too many Internet armchair warriors that buy into the "mil-spec" or "they won't pass Pat Roger's course" crap... The Mini 14 was always fine for LE and civilian use until the Internet and all it's "experts" came along.

Bottom line. Mini's are man/critter killers. 1" MOA or not.

HorseSoldier
November 4, 2010, 10:43 PM
Tell that to the FBI agents back in the 80's. I can't remember too many details at the moment, but I think it happened in Florida. If by "gunfighting" you mean military conflict, you're probably right. But for civilian/LE combat, it'll do just fine.

Well, if you're definition of "gunfighting" means "clean weapon able to shoot about 40 rounds without choking and make a couple hits at point blank range" then, yeah, your example proves the Mini-14 is just a absolute cast iron executioner's piece :rolleyes:. Most experts have somewhat more rigorous standards on what makes a good fighting rifle, but to each their own.

Most Mini-14 owners don't have a clue about the limits of their weapon when really run hard because they use them for occasional plinking and maybe riding around in a gun rack in their pick up. Folks who have subjected them to harder usage (like the aforementioned Pat Rogers classes that some feel are irrelevant . . .) haven't had terrific results. As noted previously, the only .mil user of the Mini-14 hasn't had terrific results with them either.

So, the Miami shootout certainly isn't anything I'd consider proof the weapon is rugged and reliable. For a handy carbine that isn't subject to hard use -- nice weapon. But that's about the limits of it.

95cougar
November 4, 2010, 11:13 PM
In my limited experience the Mini 14 is a rugged, reliable rifle. I have a 580 series stainless ranch rifle that I bought used (unknown round count). From the get-go, it has been nothing but utterly reliable with any type of ammunition I have thrown at it (Tula FMJ, Silver Bear JHP, Wolf FMJ, WWB FMJ, Fiocchi FMJ) using Ruger magazines. Specifically, I have used it in several shooting sessions whereby I went through 350+ rounds of steel case ammo in the period of an hour. Thus far no breakages or noticeable wear to speak of.

Granted I am not a service member or LEO that really puts the rifle through its paces in harsh field conditions, but this rifle has earned my respect more than any other rifle I own. This may not mean much, but as a reference, the same steel case ammo (Tula) that I routinely run through the Mini has severely jammed two different AR15s (Double Star and EA, each with chrome-lined bores/chambers and 5.56 barrels), and a Daewoo DR200 (also with a chrome-lined bore/chamber in 5.56).

Thus far no breakages or wear to speak of with the rifle.

YMMV.

jimmyraythomason
November 4, 2010, 11:28 PM
minis look cool, but anyone thinking of getting one..........just go all out and get a good AR. I've had both and would choose another Mini before I would buy another AR.

frankiestoys
November 4, 2010, 11:35 PM
http://i942.photobucket.com/albums/ad261/frankiestoys68/canofworms1.jpg

Everytime the Mini 14 comes up someone's got to open one up!

jimmyraythomason
November 4, 2010, 11:48 PM
The Mini-14 isn't a military rifle and hasn't passed thru acceptance trials anywhere that I know of. BSW The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco has an exhibit of firearms issued to rangers and a Mini-14 is include in that display. Though not a military organization ,I think they know a thing or two about fighting weapons.

briansmithwins
November 5, 2010, 12:10 AM
The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco has an exhibit of firearms issued to rangers and a Mini-14 is include in that display. Though not a military organization ,I think they know a thing or two about fighting weapons.

Or their weapons are bought by bureaucrats that purchase the product that meets the spec for the lowest bid, which is why prison guards have them.

BSW

HorseSoldier
November 5, 2010, 12:59 AM
And/or bureaucrats who were worried about the public getting all worked up about law enforcement officers toting around "army guns" and evil black rifles such. That has changed a lot (most places) in the past decade or so, but it was a very big consideration earlier than that.

ulfrik
November 5, 2010, 01:28 AM
i think newyork swat used mini14s back in the day?

for 750$ you would hope the mini14 is a rugged and reliable rifle.
if they up the price any more , then theres no reason not to buy a ar15 insead.

how good is rugers new gas piston ar15? what makes it cost 500$ more than the average ar15?

WardenWolf
November 5, 2010, 02:45 AM
In my honest opinion, I'd say go for a 16" Saiga .223 or 7.62x39 over a Mini-14. It's AK-based, and there's far more accessories available for it than the Mini-14. You'll get comparable accuracy, and better reliability at a lower cost. It just gives you so many better options. For the cost of a basic Mini-14, you can have a Saiga configured exactly how you want it. You can even have a fully loaded Arsenal SGL-21, which is a Saiga-based AK-47 configuration and a VERY fine rifle. They're extremely lightweight, handle great, and can accept all standard AK accessories to allow you to cheaply and easily accessorize it however you want.

As for Ruger's AR-15, well, the reason it costs so much is it's fully loaded as sold. Lots of people have said it's a fairly good deal for all you get with it. It comes with many accessories and features that you'd normally pay hundreds of dollars extra for. So rather than buying the base gun and spending tons of money to customize it, the Ruger is a complete unit.

Ratshooter
November 5, 2010, 03:38 AM
Or their weapons are bought by bureaucrats that purchase the product that meets the spec for the lowest bid, which is why prison guards have them.

From what I remember the AR was bought for the very same reasons. It wasn't wanted by the generals of the day because of its small caliber. The best thing about the AR was all the money thrown at it to make it work. The mini never had that kind of benefit from the government. It didn't need it either.

Anyway no matter how you spin it I still prefer my mini over the AR. It does everything I want a fast firing 223 rifle to do. Plus it puts every slow fired round into a 3" circle with open sights at a hundred yards. And it doesn't matter if its the first 3 rounds or the 33rd round from a hot barrel.

philobeddoe
November 5, 2010, 04:33 AM
I enjoy my Mini 14, but I shoot my SKS much much more.

1858
November 5, 2010, 05:55 AM
I bought a used Mini-14 about 15 years ago, a stainless non-ranch version, and put a few thousand rounds through it without a single issue. A few years later I bought a ranch version that has also been 100% reliable over several thousand factory rounds and reloads. My experience with them is that they just work ... all the time. They're light, compact, weather resistant (stainless models), easy to scope (ranch models), and accurate enough. I like 'em and they're tough little bastards too.

:)

ThunderDownUnder
November 5, 2010, 07:06 AM
Well I've had one for 13 years now, I clean it when I get the time (1 every 3 months). Accuracy is not exatley match grade, but it certainly isn't smoothbore. An excellent pigging rifle from 25 - 125 metres.

SpaceFrank
November 5, 2010, 08:39 AM
I am not a marksman, nor do I subject my Mini-14 to military-level usage. That being said, it has always performed flawlessly in the 100-200 round sessions I've spent with it, usually between periods of negligible cleaning or maintenance before I wised up and started taking care of it, because proper maintenance is a good idea regardless of durability. It will shoot all day with the same steel-cased Russian ammo that I have seen repeatedly fail to cycle a friend's Bushmaster. Nothing against ARs, of course. I will undoubtedly buy one some day.

Mine is an early 181-series, with the "spaghetti barrel" often derided by AR fanboys. I would not mount a high-powered scope to this weapon, but with a little love you can easily get 2MOA even out of these models. There are plenty of people on the PerfectUnion boards who have done so. As previously stated, the newer, heavier-barrel 58X-series Minis are supposed to be much more accurate out of the box.

It is louder and heavier than almost any AR, and it is harder, although far from impossible, to mount many accessories. However, you can also beat a horse to death with it and then keep firing, something that I wouldn't say about most ARs. IMHO, the Mini vs. AR argument is very similar to the AK vs. AR argument. The Mini is the rifle you throw behind the seat of your truck and forget about, and the AR is the rifle you accessorize to your exact needs and then take care of it.

I almost forgot the magazine issue. Minis are finicky with aftermarket magazines. There are some that work and some that suck. Some work only with older models but not with newer ones, or vice-versa. The only ones that will always work without fail are the Ruger factory magazines, the 30-rd types of which usually run 2-3 times the cost of a decent 30-rd AR mag. So that's definitely a mark against the Mini.

jimmyraythomason
November 5, 2010, 08:41 AM
Or their weapons are bought by bureaucrats that purchase the product that meets the spec for the lowest bid, which is why prison guards have them.
So...the Army gets to choose their weapons but the Texas Rangers do not? I doubt that.

SharpsDressedMan
November 5, 2010, 09:07 AM
For what 99% of us on this forum do, or have done, I think the Mini-14 would do just fine. A lot of us are gun snobs (yes, I am TOO) and THINK we need expensive or mud-worthy battle guns, but the truth be told, most any quality made gun would do the job. There was a day when the Mini was far less expensive (30-40%) than an AR. I think Ruger closed the gap a little, so the deal/value aspect isn't as good as it was, but maybe the rifles ARE better now. Would a Mini-14 have held up to the 6 years of service wear and tear that I put on an M16 in the Army? I think so. Would a Mini have held up to all the rigors of range work, plinking, and hunting I have done with all bolt and semi's combined in my civilian life? Probably. Worrying about anything more than that is superfluous. What do I have now? Several AK's, M1 Carbine, and M1 Garand. I don't really like Mini-14's, because I am a gun snob, not because they are bad.

Art Eatman
November 5, 2010, 05:02 PM
"For what 99% of us on this forum do, or have done, I think the Mini-14 would do just fine."

Sums it up pretty good. Only a very low percentage of us ever have to crawl around in mud or sand. Or worry about more than a very few shots at any one time.

Just a personal opinion, but for the common sort of civilian use for plinking, hunting or self-defense, there's hardly a nickel's worth of difference among ARs, Minis, AK/SKS variants or whatever. It's mostly Internet nit-picking.

One place where the Mini is infinitely superior to the AR: I don't advise butt-stroking some Bad Guy with your AR if you wish it to continue to function. :D:D:D

CSA 357
November 5, 2010, 07:56 PM
the mini 14 is a great rifle! i have a ss gb and 2 ar 15s a dpms and a bushmaster the mini 14 is my house gun along with a winchester mod 12, i like the ars too but if i need it i grab the gb!

KBintheSLC
November 5, 2010, 08:03 PM
I can't imagine the Mini being less rugged/durable than an M16. If anything, it is less accurate. But in the toughness realm, the Mini is about as tough as they come... it is sort of like America's answer to the AK. I have a 195-series stainless Ranch Rifle that I have had since the late 90's. Lots of cheap com-bloc steel-cased ammo through it with no breakages. It still sports all of the original parts.

The groups are not pretty, but inside of 200 yards it is a practical killer.

how good is rugers new gas piston ar15? what makes it cost 500$ more than the average ar15?

Piston driven, 3 p-mags, carry handle, chrome'd bolt, and nice iron sights... that would run at least $500.

dougw47
November 5, 2010, 08:10 PM
If I had one, I'd shoot it. I shoot my other rugers and they do just fine.

buzzg
November 6, 2010, 10:12 AM
Gotta agree with niteowl. I got mine new in the box by trading off a Series 80 Colt 1911 that I never used. The one I have is a 581- S/N so I didn't have to go through all the misery of the older ones. At 100 with a 'scope it shoots 1 to 1.5 inch groups when I do my part. When I'm in the woods with it I don't drag it behind me by the barrel, so I haven't had any issues with dirt, dust, mud etc. It's a fun gun and does the job.

On magazines, buy Ruger only. The money you save on other mfg's. mags is an illusion. I tried a few and they're crap.

rodinal220
November 6, 2010, 01:13 PM
Blew the extractor on my blue 180 series mini.Gas piston/barrel clamp assembly loosens quite often and turns weapon into single shot.:barf:

Jeff F
November 6, 2010, 02:02 PM
I can't imagine the Mini being less rugged/durable than an M16. If anything, it is less accurate. But in the toughness realm, the Mini is about as tough as they come... it is sort of like America's answer to the AK. I have a 195-series stainless Ranch Rifle that I have had since the late 90's. Lots of cheap com-bloc steel-cased ammo through it with no breakages. It still sports all of the original parts.

Well said.

Only a very low percentage of us ever have to crawl around in mud or sand. Or worry about more than a very few shots at any one time.


If I did have to crawl around in mud or sand the Mini 14 is the rifle I would want to do it with. I have never seen one not run unless it was a mag related issue. I can't say the same for the AR.

cacop
November 6, 2010, 08:28 PM
I remember reading somewhere that NYPD ESU put 145,000 rounds through some of their ACC556 versions of the Mini over the years. Now they have M4s.

Realistically the Mini will do fine for most people buying it. If you want a combat weapon to mount optics one yous are probably better off buying an AR. If you want great accuracy from a .223 then buy a Remington or Savage. If you want a general plinker than can double as a defence weapon then a Mini will work just fine. Even a LEA would dod fine with a Mini as a patrol rifle.

Welding Rod
November 6, 2010, 10:30 PM
I bought a new 580 and right out of the box it had problems with the bolt not releasing after locking open.

The drilling job into the receiver for the bolt lock pin was exceedingly sloppy and rough. Almost looked like the bore had a course thread in it, complete with a large chip from the drilling operation still stuck to its inside. The pin would get jammed in its bore. Even after removing the obvious burrs it would still stick intermittently as the bore was so sloppy the pin would move around enough to get jammed with its own retainer.

No surprise as Ruger build quality and QC has been crap for the last several years. I think Minis are pretty tough by design, but like with any Ruger, I wouldn't trust one a lick until thoroughly going over it to check for manufacturing problems.

X-Rap
November 6, 2010, 10:59 PM
Of the 12 or so mini's that I have owned or had close contact with none of them functioned poorly with factory mags, all of them did with aftermarket mags, none of them would come close off the bench with a bolt or AR.
For me if I can't hold 5 shots into the end of a soda can at 100yds it won't stay in the rack long. Needless to say I have no mini and neither do those close to me.
I question how tough they are or would be in a side by side test with an AK/AR I know that the AR would be the easiest to keep running, at least for me.

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