Ruger Mini 14: Good AR alternative?


PDA






A Person
August 14, 2011, 06:22 PM
I like the looks and features of the mini 14 ranch rifle alot better than the AR15/M4, and am looking into getting one. Are they pretty reliable and do they have good (or atleast fair) accuracy? I'm probably just gonna use one for plinking and popping some varmits;)

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger Mini 14: Good AR alternative?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Creature
August 14, 2011, 06:26 PM
I have a Mini-14 that is not as reliable as my bushmaster carbine nor is it as accurate.

sansone
August 14, 2011, 06:28 PM
the ar vs mini thread has been beat to death, but no fault of yours..

AR= tighter groups (much, much)
mini= cheaper (not cheap enough)

I like Rugers, not a basher, tried to make many mini-14's shoot like an AR, wasted bullets

bhk
August 14, 2011, 06:31 PM
I have had two minis and neither ever jammed, ever. I found both to have accuracy 'challanges.' I found their stocks ideal for shooting with the peep sights, but the stock combs were far to low for scope shooting.

If you are wanting a fast shooting gun for plinking and defense with open sights, they are ideal. If you are looking at shooting 200 yard coyotes or shooting small groups on paper, get an AR.

A Person
August 14, 2011, 06:32 PM
It doesn't have to be quite as accurate as an AR for me, If i get one i'm gonna put a good scope on it and sight it in good anyways.

baylorattorney
August 14, 2011, 06:40 PM
I bought the ranch version some time back and can tell you it is not half the gun my BM AR is. The mini 14 ranch rifle was inaccurate, very much so. I sold it as quick as I could.

Jason_G
August 14, 2011, 06:40 PM
It doesn't have to be quite as accurate as an AR for me, If i get one i'm gonna put a good scope on it and sight it in good anyways.

That's got zilch to do with the mechanical accuracy of the rifle. You can put the fanciest scope in the world on it, and it's still not going to make the rifle any more accurate. It will just let you see really well by how much you missed the target.

Jason

trueg50
August 14, 2011, 06:41 PM
I'd say the Keltec SU-16 a/b/c are more competitive to the AR then the mini-14's. They are usually a bit cheaper, and more accurate then the mini-14.

Though the Mini-14's have been terribly expensive, and with the AR popularity they should be at least $100 cheaper to compete.

Seeing DPMS Sportical rifles for $700-something, and S&W running around the same, it is hard to recommend the mini-14.

baylorattorney
August 14, 2011, 06:42 PM
I meant with the scope. Very inconsistent. Would shoot low, then wide left, etc.

M1key
August 14, 2011, 06:46 PM
If you insist on the Mini-14, they CAN be made to shoot with a little tweaking, and are quite capable of taking 200 yard coyotes...

Here are groups (not mine) from a Mini with an a stabilizer strut and handloads:

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=139438&d=1301331104

M

briansmithwins
August 14, 2011, 07:09 PM
Before buying the 'Mini-14 is cheaper' line, price magazines. The only mags that actually work right are the OEM Ruger mags, and those run $30-40 each. If you like having a half dozen or so magazines for a rifle that difference pretty much eats ups any cost savings.

BSW

A Person
August 14, 2011, 07:10 PM
I 'm still not able to decide. Could someone post pictures of a target shot with a standard Mini 14 and then one of a standard AR15 at the same range. I'm short on cash, REALLY short on cash, and I either have to get a mini 14 or the cheapest AR i could find here
http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/products_id/411537958

M1key
August 14, 2011, 07:57 PM
The average shooter with an average AR will probably shoot tighter groups than with the average Mini-14, if that is your deciding factor. :rolleyes:

Also, you can probably fix the AR yourself. Parts are available everywhere. With the Mini, if anything is wrong with the barrel, FCG, bolt, firing pin the rifle will have to go back to Ruger for repair/replacement.

ARs are much easier on scopes, too.

M

eazyrider
August 14, 2011, 08:30 PM
I own a Mini Ranch model and a Bushmaster carbine. The Bushmaster is a much better weapon for me. It is hard to find good aftermarket mags for the Mini and the Ruger mags cost quite a bit. I love the AR and I am not going back.

jmr40
August 14, 2011, 08:42 PM
Mini's are a good $300 gun. If you can find one at that price and don't mind paying $50 each for magazines and find 3" groups acceptable they are for you.

Right now you can buy an entry level AR for less money than a Mini. Mags can be found for under $10 and the worst one I've ever scoped was pretty darn close to a 1" gun

Fonzie2k
August 14, 2011, 09:02 PM
As stated before, Minis aren't as inexpensive as the should be. If you want an AR then they are worth saving for... the mini is a totally different gun and totally different build philosophy.

The only gun that I see as a real AR substitute is the Kel Tec SU-16. Granted its a very different rifle it is clearly intended to capture the attention of perspective AR owners. And it takes AR magazines.

Double Vision
August 14, 2011, 09:16 PM
My Mini 14 is a very good rifle and lots of fun. On a range day, I'll take the 14 over the AR every time. Just my 2 cents.

karlb
August 14, 2011, 09:54 PM
Mini's are a good $300 gun. If you can find one at that price and don't mind paying $50 each for magazines and find 3" groups acceptable they are for you.

Right now you can buy an entry level AR for less money than a Mini. Mags can be found for under $10 and the worst one I've ever scoped was pretty darn close to a 1" gun
I agree. I'd buy a $300 Mini as a novelty . I have 4 ARs. I spent 8 years in the Army; I can field strip an AR in my sleep.

jad0110
August 14, 2011, 10:26 PM
You might also consider an SKS. They aren't as accurate as an AR, not sure how they compare to a Mini (never shot one). My father's SKS is probably capable of 4-5 MOA with surplus ammo. They are very fun rifles for $300 - $425.

dgarvin1
August 14, 2011, 10:33 PM
Unfortunately the mini14 is well known for issues with accuracy. I shot a mini14 that shot +6 MOA. I'm sure you can make them work with the right amount of money, but at that point, might as well by the AR.

ugaarguy
August 14, 2011, 10:45 PM
http://www.budsgunshop.com/catalog/product_info.php/cPath/36_763_977/products_id/71971 - these have been as low as $600 +tax at Academy. They'll eat any other $600-ish AR carbine for lunch in both parts & build quality.

Hi-Lander
August 15, 2011, 01:40 AM
I own Mini's, AR's and AK's. The newer 580 and up Tactical series mini's with the tapered barrel and factory flash hider will give the ENTRY level lower AR's a run for accuracy. They are a great gun for the non AR type and with the additions of a Accu Strut and some glass bedding will be more accurate than most shooters. Mine will shoot 1" groups at 100 yds using a bag, 1-4x24 Burris scope and 55grn PMC ammo. Mine has been 100% reliable. Is it as accurate as my Spikes AR?? No but it was not meant to be a target rifle.

If money is truly tight then look at a AK in the WASR variety. For $400 you can find these all day long. Reliable, fairly accurate to 75yds, and ammo is cheap. You can always add a few parts for upgrades as money allows.

I do like the Mini. I feel it is a great gun. For a HD, Varmint and plinker the newer models are plenty accurate.

35 Whelen
August 15, 2011, 01:52 AM
I don't own either but I've always liked the Mini's. Nothing against AR's other than they're EVERYWHERE ad nauseum... I know they're a good platform but there's a little to be said for being different than the rest of the crowd.

That being said, a friend brought his Mini Ranch Rifle to the house for me to sight in on my 100 yd. range. Even with a scope, that had to be the bullet scatteringest firearm I've ever fired in my life!! Accuracy was non-existant.

Just my 2Ę...

35W

mnhntr
August 15, 2011, 03:22 AM
Love my Ruger handguns but would never own another Ruger rifle of any kind. Stick with an AR 15

Creature
August 15, 2011, 09:18 AM
If you're really strapped for cash, I would recommend that you delay purchasing a rifle. Especially if you're just buying a plinker.

Flfiremedic
August 15, 2011, 10:26 AM
I have a Colt AR, Sig 556, and a Mini 30 Tactical. The Mini 30 is as accurate as any albiet with a lesser trigger. It also has more "thump", and might be of more use...at least out to 200-250 or so with iron sites. Without question the AR platform is more modular, and what I'd choose for combat...but I really like the cut down heavy barreled Mini 30.

I edited this to add that as of a few weeks ago, the accu-strut was not available for the Mini 30 tactical, and the salesman I spoke to didn't think they'd bother making them as they didn't appear to be necessary.

sargents1
August 15, 2011, 11:23 AM
I hear a lot about how Mini 14 magazines are more expensive than AR mags. If you are talking about Ruger Factory mags, then Yes, this is true.

However, I have had good luck with mags from TripleK. I got three of the straight 20rd mags with the green follower from CDNN and three more of the 30rd mags with the green followers. All have been flawless. $14.99 each. Its pretty hard to beat that.

As to the AR vs Mini debate...I own a Mini 14, but if I was going to do it all over, I would get an AR.

Advantages to ARs:
-Accuracy.
-Accessories
-Spare parts

Basically it boils down to Options with an AR. You have more with then AR.

Mini 14/30's do have a few things going for them:
- compatibility with a variety of ammo. Cheap reloads, steel case garbage...you name it, a Mini will probably run it without complaint.
- I think they handle a bit better and are often lighter than AR's because they dont have all those Tacki-cool rails to hang your dishwasher off of.

In the end, you will probably be better served by an AR and the price differential is usually less than some folks will make it out to be (unless you get a screaming deal on a Mini, ie, less than 400$)

cheers,

Lincoln4
August 15, 2011, 11:49 AM
I was less than impressed with my Mini 14. I traded it as soon as possible. Go with a cheap AR, or maybe even a SKS if you want to spend less.

Cop Bob
August 15, 2011, 12:20 PM
I have 3 Ruger Mini's. the 1st one I bought for $125.00 on an LE Letterhead the year they were released... The second, a 200th Year cut down to 16" with the flash hider.. and another in SS that I picked up on a trade about 2 years ago... I absolutely LOVE them.

Accuracy, meh... not a drill, but everthing you need in a truck gun, duty carbine, or ranch rifle.. at 100 meters, I own what I aim at.. 2 to 3 MOA Avg. I have a Bushmaster, and an Olympic AR, all shoot about the same as far a accuracy right outta the box.. Now I do have a couple of AR's that are purpose built, and they are drills... 1/2MOA no problem

Magazines, yup, only Rugers, I have had issues with the aftermarkets.. and the AR mags, good ones are available for cheap as surplus...

Dependability, NEVER had one fail... EVER... and I am not kind to duty long guns... It is based on the Garand action.. Fool proof design in my opinion... Early production Mini's which all of mine are.. are great, I cannot speak to the later production guns..

Art Eatman
August 15, 2011, 12:20 PM
From the OP: "I'm probably just gonna use one for plinking and popping some varmits."

I've had four early-model Minis. I always used a Weaver K4. My uses were the same as the OP's. The Minis did as good a job as any other .223, and I've had several sub-MOA ARs; have one now.

But, no, generally, if your deal is for tight groups on paper, don't buy a Mini.

IMO, the best deal going for a magazine is the factory 10-round. It doesn't protrude so far that you can't carry the rifle at the balance point.

CAR-AR
August 15, 2011, 12:51 PM
i was thinking of going the accurizing route on my Mini 14 but I think I might just sell the Mini 14 and buy a Mini 30. I'm taking my time looking for one in wood furniture.

Sheepdog1968
August 15, 2011, 12:57 PM
My mini-14 after a couple thousand rounds has functioned flawlessly. In terms of accuracy, it's about a 2 MOA rifle, which for it's intended purpose is fine. Yes, the Ruger mags cost more but this is essentially a one time cost. The only thing I've done to mine is widen out the rear sight so it's a bigger diameter ghost ring, painted fluorsecent orange on the front post, and pop riveted a small rail onto the stock as a sight. I am quite happy with this weapon. If you're after an accurate rifle, bolt actions are the way to go anyway.

ugaarguy
August 15, 2011, 04:36 PM
Mini 14/30's do have a few things going for them:
- compatibility with a variety of ammo. Cheap reloads, steel case garbage...you name it, a Mini will probably run it without complaint.
- I think they handle a bit better and are often lighter than AR's because they dont have all those Tacki-cool rails to hang your dishwasher off of.
You assume incorrectly. Here are the facts:

A well lubricated AR with a 5.56 chamber will eat cheap steel case ammo all day as well

An AR-15 carbine with flat top, fixed front sight, standard handguards, and clamp on rear weighs 6.5 lbs. That's 1/4 less than a synthetic stock Mini-14 ranch or tactical model rifle. Add a detachable carry handle, and the AR weighs exactly the same as the Mini. The Daniel Defense M4V1 (https://danieldefense.com/rifles/daniel-defense-m4-carbine-v1.html) weighs 6 lbs 15.1 oz. That's an AR carbine with a rifle length aluminum quad rail, and plastic VFG which is .9 oz lighter than a wood stocked mini -14, or 1/4 lb lighter than the mini-14 tactical with collapsible stock & partially railed synthetic stock.

If you're after an accurate rifle, bolt actions are the way to go anyway.
I suppose that's why there are so many accurized AR-15s that shoot just as well as bolt guns.

dprice3844444
August 15, 2011, 04:45 PM
but if ya gotta butt stroke somebody,mini is better

ugaarguy
August 15, 2011, 05:21 PM
but if ya gotta butt stroke somebody,mini is better
That's why mil-spec AR/M4 receiver extensions are thicker than commercial REs. From the A2 stocks on, AR-15/M16/M4 stocks have been quite solid. If you really wanna get hard core you can always get a MagPul UBR stock & strike plate (http://store.magpul.com/product/MAG331/34) :evil:

Dr.Rob
August 15, 2011, 06:13 PM
I'm thinking about getting one of those stabilizer rods to try out on my dad's older Mini as my brother is considering taking up tactical rifle with me and can't afford an AR.

ArfinGreebly
August 15, 2011, 06:41 PM
Ruger recently (like in the last four years or so) junked all their barrel making machinery for the Mini 14 and started over with all new equipment.

The accuracy improvement, according to those I've spoken to who have tried both, is significant.

Not necessarily in the AR class, but not nearly as sloppy as their historical reputation would suggest.

If cost is a factor, also look into the Kel-Tec SU16. I have two of them. They have (or at least mine do) surprisingly good triggers, and group acceptably at 50 and 100 yards. I have no glass on mine, so I'm not your accuracy guy for this.

The primary difference between the Kel-Tec SU16 and the Mini 14 (other than the fact that the Kel-Tec folds down, the Kel-Tec is noticeably lighter, and the Kel-Tec is cheaper) is that the Kel-Tec uses standard AR magazines.

My SU16s both eat whatever I feed them without complaint, and frankly I've fed them some real garbage. They're chambered for 5.56 NATO, so they'll eat that along with .223 Rem no problem.

The SU16 isn't a competition gun and was never intended to be one. It's a lightweight, folding sport-utility rifle that shoots a popular caliber and is useful in a ranch-and-plinking capacity.

My next .223 rifle will probably be a Mini 14. Just something I have to get out of my system, I suppose.

At some point, maybe after my next substantial bonus, I'll go AR shopping. And then I'll be right back here asking all the same dumb questions you've all seen before.

:D

sansone
August 15, 2011, 06:58 PM
if I was strapped for cash, forget the mini and get a Saiga in .223 / I sold a new one to a dear friend and he claims 2.5"-3" groups with Remington UMC ammo (the cheap stuff)

benEzra
August 15, 2011, 08:24 PM
If you get a mini, I'd suggest getting a new one, 580-xxxxx and up, not the older pre-580 series. Some of the older ones were decently accurate, but a whole lot weren't (my 1989-ish 188-series Ranch Rifle shot 5-ish MOA cold or hot). There are things you can do to improve accuracy of an older mini (cut the barrel to 16" and recrown, add a heavy flash suppressor, install a smaller gas bushing, barrel stiffeners, etc.) but the newer ones seem to have less need for it.

Mine was 100% reliable, though. Never had a failure of any kind in several thousand rounds with good magazines, but I did run across a couple aftermarket magazines that were severely out-of-spec, and I had a Ram-Line polymer mag that broke on me once. Now that Ruger is selling full-capacity factory magazines again, magazines are much less of a weak point, IMO.

A new mini won't be quite as accurate out-of-the-box as an AR, but should do 2-3 MOA or better with decent ammo, I'd think.

eazyrider
August 15, 2011, 09:12 PM
I think that the problem is with us. We tend to compare the Mini with the AR, myself included. After trying the AR there is no way I could go back with the Mini. But I also realize that the problem is with me and what I was expecting. Kind of like buying a bass boat and then getting mad that it doesn't make as good as a ski boat. The Mini and the AR are not only different in design, they are different in intended function. The two are easy to compare, they both have large magazines and shoot fast but they are really not going after the same market. The market may merge a little but the core is different.

I think of most of my weapons as defensive albeit combat weapons, with that mindset it is no wonder that I like the AR better. But if your a guy that is just happy with a plinker and varmint gun and you really don't need or want more than a couple of mags then the Mini should be great.

1stmarine
August 15, 2011, 11:10 PM
One is a good alternative to another depending on what you want it for?
The advange of the AR is that is a modular and very accurate. The advantage of the Mini is a great
ranch / trunk carbine.

Four_Speed
August 16, 2011, 12:25 AM
I've got a Mini and absolutely love it. It has never ever failed, shoots about 2 MOA, and is really good for what I use it for. I've got bolt actions to shoot the lights out, the Mini is for filling the air with lead. It eats cheap UMC ammo (no steel) and, finally, is not an AR.

Try this place for decently priced mags. http://www.hoffgun.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc? I've bought a few from these guys and have been satisfied every time.

Bobson
August 16, 2011, 01:52 AM
Right now you can buy an entry level AR for less money than a Mini.
Where at? Cheapest AR I've ever priced was like Dr. Frankenstein's monster composed of assorted parts from different manufacturers - the cheapest parts found went on the rifle (minus composites - I stuck with aluminum alloy for the lower). Total, it priced at just under $700 online. Then there was shipping costs and the FFL transfer fee for the lower...

Right about there, I abandoned the whole idea.

ugaarguy
August 16, 2011, 04:08 AM
Where at? Cheapest AR I've ever priced was like Dr. Frankenstein's monster composed of assorted parts from different manufacturers - the cheapest parts found went on the rifle (minus composites - I stuck with aluminum alloy for the lower). Total, it priced at just under $700 online.
S&W M&P15 Sport for $600 at Academy. If seen them right around that price point at local dealers as well.

If you want a screaming deal PSA has a special on complete 16" Mid Length uppers with FN marked 1:7 twist hammer forged barrels for $460. http://palmettostatearmory.com/2431.php. That upper would be considered their premium line with the FN made hammer forged "machine gun steel" (educated guess is it's very likely certified Mil-B-11595E steel since it's a hammer forged FN bbl) which typically run about $500 regular price. $400 regular price will get you their standard grade upper with a 4140 steel, chrome lined, button rifled bbl. Those are all prices with HPT/MPI bolts in the carriers, which are also properly assembled according to the specs. Even the standard grade upper is nothing to sneeze at, and especially not at that price. They also have pretty nice (on paper) complete lowers for $254 shipped.

Side Note - The M&P15 Sport was $598 at www.budsgunshop.com. If it's an indication of popularity Bud's doesn't have the standard sport in stock. They're selling the http://www.smith-wesson.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Category4_750001_750051_772660_-1_772659_757784_image for $636, and it's reserved for VIP customers. It's funny to me that by shipping with a 10 round mag & bullet button (instead of standard mag release) CA residents get the Sport with the collapsible stock, flash hider, and bayo lug: While the CT, MA, MD, NJ, NY compliant AR-15s have a standard mag release, but lack the other goodies that the CA compliant & standard rifles have.

Fishbed77
August 16, 2011, 10:51 AM
They also have pretty nice (on paper) complete lowers for $254 shipped.


The complete lowers might be pretty nice on paper, but they are VERY nice in person.

I assembled one of their lower build kits with a PSA stripped lower a few months back, and couldn't be more pleased with the quality. I've since purchased another PSA stripped lower that's awaiting my next build.

valnar
August 16, 2011, 11:02 AM
Other than price (and maybe that's the only reason), what would be a reason somebody would prefer a Mini-14 over an AR?

Art Eatman
August 16, 2011, 11:23 AM
valnar, did you read the first post? That's the context for posting. :)

Some of it is looks; some folks don't like pistol grips. Some folks like to carry at the balance point.

And if you're mostly a hunter, the Mini is quite adequately accurate for the first shot--which is the one which matters the most. My experience has been that shots #2 and #3 are certainly close enough to #1 to call them a decent group.

I dunno. I have a half-MOA .223 bolt action. I had a half-MOA AR. Neither did any better on Wily Coyote than did my Minis. IOW, I fail to understand the problem.

batmann
August 16, 2011, 02:43 PM
Another alternative is a Kel-Tec SU 16. All reports say is it reliable and it uses AR mags.

Red State
August 16, 2011, 02:55 PM
I have a little experience with ARs and a LOT of experience with Mini 14s.

As previously stated, the new Mini 14s are a step up in terms of quality and accuracy. A friend has a new one that is really nice. 2 moa is a piece of cake.

I have a mid 90s mini that actually shoots well. With a Bushnell Elite 1.5-4.5x32 and a trigger job and 16" barrel it is shooting 2moa with some ammo and 3 moa with all the rest. For pictures of groups, check this thread:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=573530

I recently ran this gun in my first 3gun competition and I was the lone mini user surrounded by ARs. I placed in the top 30% on the long range stage and every guy that beat me had a rifle & scope combo that easily cost double what mine did.

I am not saying that Minis are better than ARs, I am just saying that for many uses, they can compete with ARs.

Also, the mini requires very little cleaning and is amazingly reliable. I can't remember the last time I removed the bolt or cleaned the gas system. Most AR owners would have trouble if they tried that.

Other reasons why people might choose a mini over an AR:
ergonomics
scope rings included
ability to fit in scabbard
not as affected by local AWBs

Bobson
August 16, 2011, 05:34 PM
S&W M&P15 Sport for $600 at Academy.
You may very well have just showed me my next rifle. Never realized M&P ARs were so inexpensive.

ugaarguy
August 16, 2011, 05:42 PM
Also, the mini requires very little cleaning and is amazingly reliable. I can't remember the last time I removed the bolt or cleaned the gas system. Most AR owners would have trouble if they tried that.
The gas tube on an AR doesn't need to be removed - it gets cleaned by a jet of hot gas every time the weapon is fired. The great majority of the carbon accumulates at the rear of the bolt on an AR. If you keep them lubed they don't need the frequent cleaning internet myth claims they do.

kludge
August 16, 2011, 06:04 PM
For my money... plinking and varmints... Kel-Tec SU-16.

Bobson
August 16, 2011, 07:48 PM
I can't remember the last time I removed the bolt or cleaned the gas system. Most AR owners would have trouble if they tried that.
Anyone who has difficult cleaning an AR inside and out (including a full field strip) has no business owning a gun of any kind, much less a quality example of American design like an AR. The only gun I can think of that's easier to care for is the AK47, but the AR is still a walk in the park.

Gun owners should be able tinkerers, at least on a novice level. But if the willingness to learn isn't there, a gun probably isn't the tool for you. Try a recurve bow or a hatchet.

Hangingrock
August 16, 2011, 08:06 PM
The Mini-14 is what it is a simplistic semiautomatic utility carbine. I have a newer model which appears to be 2-MOA accuracy capable. For my usage itís good enough. If you donít like the Mini-14 then you donít like it. Iím not here convert anyone.

Art Eatman
August 16, 2011, 11:50 PM
Bobson, nobody mentioned anything about difficulty.

Steve CT
August 17, 2011, 12:35 AM
I tried the Mini 14 route, it just didn't work for me. After installing the accu-strut, fiddling with the gas block, investigating the many options in stocks, bedding, free floating, trigger groups, cryo treating barrels, etc., I just sold it and got an AR. There is too much you can do with the AR, so much easier than on the Mini, that it didn't make sense for me. I think that if you're a dedicated experimenter/"tinkerer" the Mini might be entertaining and rewarding, it was too much for me.

1858
August 17, 2011, 01:14 AM
I've had my Mini-14 Ranch Rifle for about 15 years (sold another non-Ranch version) and have added some high-end ARs over the years, but the Mini is here to stay. As others have mentioned, with factory magazines it's a superbly reliable rifle and I'm talking thousands and thousands of rounds without a single failure to chamber, fire or eject. Would I complain if it suddenly turned into a 1/2 MOA rifle or even a multiple shot 1 MOA rifle ... no. But the truth is, with iron sights it's capable of better accuracy than most shooters. Throw a 1-4x variable on there and you have a very good, corrosion resistant (stainless version like mine), clean action, tough, light and reliable rifle for hiking, home defense or even hunting.

courtgreene
August 17, 2011, 02:42 AM
I've had a mini for a few years now, and loved it since I first brought it home. Lately I decided to build an AR, I love it too. I don't think either is better than the other, though. I guess it depends on what you want out of it. The mini 14 is a great rifle, so is the AR, and they aren't interchangeable. So, is the Mini 15 a good AR alternative? No, they're very different, but it's a REALLY good gun. (Especially with Sierra 69gr MK's)

X-Rap
August 17, 2011, 01:47 PM
I'd like to know what makes a mini superior as a truck or ranch gun.

ugaarguy
August 17, 2011, 05:17 PM
^ The new mini 14's are cheaper and to be truthful, unless you're a really good marksman, there is no point in dumping the extra cash for the AR's better accuracy. They are also pretty tough and reliable.
Minis are still the same price as entry level ARs. AR prices have come down much more than Mini prices have. There's no reason to spend the same money on an inferior rifle which takes expensive proprietary mags. If you want to use expensive proprietary mags .223 Saigas are $350, and will use sgm tactical mags.

W.E.G.
August 17, 2011, 05:19 PM
http://i227.photobucket.com/albums/dd7/rkba2da/humor/mini-14chart.jpg

Redneck with a 40
August 17, 2011, 08:48 PM
Last week at the range, with my 52 grain HPBT handload's, my Mini was putting 5 rounds into an inch, no joke! The biggest group was 1.5". I thinki this is stellar out of a mini.

Art Eatman
August 17, 2011, 09:19 PM
X-Rap, my experience has been that the Mini was easier for me to manipulate inside the cab of my little Toyota 4WD. Mostly on account of no hang-down magazine to snag on something during a quick grab.

1stmarine
August 17, 2011, 09:52 PM
Perfect all around to toss in the back of the truck and pop a few cans or critters around the ranch. They are not an AR in terms of accuracy but they are rock solid and lately much better in accuracy than early models.
For a ranch also consider a Saiga in .223. That is an dressed up AK can be legally converted to assault/tactical. I am not sure about the magazine situation for those though. Surefire seems to be having some serious issues with some of the magazines (broken lips). The Minis have great robust mag options.
...just a thought.

dennyd
August 17, 2011, 10:18 PM
I have had 2 mini-14's, wanted to love them, very reliable guns, would eat anything, tried everything to get them to shoot better than an sks, you know the drill, a lot of times 2 shots nice and close and the third would blow out the ring,no dice, fustrating,gave up, so got an ar, wow tack driver compared to a mini.

rbernie
August 17, 2011, 10:27 PM
As much as folk seem to want to bag on the Mini for its traditional accuracy issues and dated design, nobody seems to want to swing at Art's description of the ergonomic values of the Mini platform. I suspect that because most of the folk offering opinions haven't actually put a couple/ten thousand rounds thru each under field conditions to see how they actually perform.

I have owned lots of ARs, and I have brush hunted with ARs for close to decade. I also have owned a few Mini's, and have some modest experience with them in the field. The reality is that the Mini14 simply carries easier in the hand and is easier move around with in the brush than an AR. If that sort of thing is useful to you, then the Mini is a viable choice.

There are lots of things favoring the AR - better accuracy, cheaper magazines, more modular and modifiable design, and so forth. But let's not take away things from the Mini that really *are* in its favor, and that includes ease of carrying, speed to shoulder, and ease of pointing.

Oh, and insofar as accuracy is concerned - my 16" Tactical models (-14 and -30) are both 2-3 MOA carbines, and that's good enough for most needs.

0311
August 17, 2011, 10:46 PM
Minis are still the same price as entry level ARs. AR prices have come down much more than Mini prices have. There's no reason to spend the same money on an inferior rifle which takes expensive proprietary mags. If you want to use expensive proprietary mags .223 Saigas are $350, and will use sgm tactical mags.

LMAO, wow.

There is no reason to stoop to entry level junk when one can purchase a quality rifle for less unless the stated goal was to just own an AR.

Jease.

1stmarine
August 17, 2011, 10:53 PM
I have many ARs and AKs/Saigas and I like them all.
The mini I shot many times too and I love them too.
Just pick up what you like and feels good to you. I would make sure I get a chamber that supports 5.56 from manufacturer so I can use all sorts of surplus/value packs for plinkin. that is the only thing.

eazyrider
August 17, 2011, 11:02 PM
I suspect that because most of the folk offering opinions haven't actually put a couple/ten thousand rounds thru each under field conditions to see how they actually perform.

I have owned lots of ARs, and I have brush hunted with ARs for close to decade. I also have owned a few Mini's, and have some modest experience with them in the field. The reality is that the Mini14 simply carries easier in the hand and is easier move around with in the brush than an AR. If that sort of thing is useful to you, then the Mini is a viable choice.

I was given the Mini that I still own 15 years ago when I was a kid. It was my Christmas present. The first semi auto rifle that I had access to. Trust me as a 12 year old boy I walked and hunted for miles with that weapon. I have sent more rounds down range than I can count. With that being said I disagree that it carries easier. I do agree that is moves easier through thick brush. Speed to shoulder and pointabilty are draws. My point is, I still prefer the AR. But my mini will always conjure up good memories

35 Whelen
August 17, 2011, 11:11 PM
I think Art made a good, if not a seldom mentioned point; Mini's a re somewhat...sleeker. In other words, no pistol grip and/or mag hanging under the rifles and no 2" or so tall front sight.

Maybe one of you guys who own both could get an overall height measurement on both of them just to satisfy my morbid curiosity.

35W

eazyrider
August 17, 2011, 11:28 PM
AR is about 9 inches from pistol grip to carry handle and the Mini is about 4 inches from guard to the top of the rear sight.http://i463.photobucket.com/albums/qq360/easyrider1984/DSCF0459.jpg

1858
August 17, 2011, 11:39 PM
And folding stocks (with/without pistol grip) are available for the Mini making them shorter too! Ruger produces a Mini tactical which can be had for around $665. I wouldn't necessarily buy one ... ok, I probably wouldn't buy one ... but it has a lot of features for the money. If it's anything like mine, it'd prove to be 100% reliable with any .223/5.56 ammunition. It might launch cases into the next zip code but you'll never have a failure to feed, fire or eject!!

16.5" BARREL FACTORY TREADED (1/2X28)
FLASH SUPPRESSOR
ADJUSTABLE GHOST RING REAR SIGHT
ATI COLLAPSIBLE AND FOLDING TACTICAL STOCK
PICATINY RAILS ON THE FOREND
ONE FACTORY 20 ROUND MAGAZINE
SET OF FACTORY 1" SCOPE RINGS

http://www.gunsamerica.com/UserImages/3321/705131446/pop_wm_188558.jpg

http://www.gunsamerica.com/UserImages/3321/705131446/pop_wm_188559.jpg

1stmarine
August 17, 2011, 11:56 PM
Again, the Mini is a great bush/ranch rifle but the argument that the AR15 is not good for the woods is totally unfunded.
Actually after introduced in Vietnan and all the initial reliability/maintenance issues where resolved it became very popular as an excellent jungle rifle.
And this was a full length 20" M16 rifle not the current most popular M4.
The ARs like to run wet and clean but with the current exo treatments and pistons can be treated like AKs (well almost LOL).
Don't beat yourself too hard. both are great choices. Get them both! and a Saiga .223 for desert! LOL!

ugaarguy
August 18, 2011, 12:13 AM
There is no reason to stoop to entry level junk when one can purchase a quality rifle for less unless the stated goal was to just own an AR.
So the M&P15 Sport is junk? Palmetto State Armory's $419 FN barreled uppers (add a $250 complete lower) are junk? I'll put my Sport up against any Mini, any day.


Back when Mini's were $500 new, DPMS were $700+, Bushmasters were $900+, and Colts were well over $1k, and Saigas weren't being imported then the Minis were a good value. Now, there are darn good ARs for the same price as Minis. Minis are great if you want a more traditional look, and traditional handling. Minis have to compete on features now: They can no longer compete on value.

You can also get a Saiga (unconverted) in .223 or 7.62x39 for $350 from a handful of online dealers. They aren't as pretty as a Mini, and they ain't made here, but darn the price is hard to beat.

benzy2
August 18, 2011, 12:43 AM
I have a serious question for the original poster. If you are having trouble affording the rifle itself, how do you plan to afford ammo for it? To me, I'd want to shoot the rifle I buy as much as possible. Not everyone can afford loads of .223 ammo. It's a shame how many rifles are bought because they seem cool only to not get shot more than a couple hundred rounds because there is no budget for ammo. If it were me, and I was on a budget, I'd look for a fun .22lr in the price range and be able to actually use the firearm a lot.

X-Rap, my experience has been that the Mini was easier for me to manipulate inside the cab of my little Toyota 4WD. Mostly on account of no hang-down magazine to snag on something during a quick grab.

That's a bit of BS if I've ever heard it. Not every Mini magazine is short and not every AR magazine is long. They make 5 and 10 round AR mags that hardly stick out of the magwell, 20 rounders not being much longer yet. The Mini 14 30 round magazine is practically the same size as AR magazines. If you want to argue the pistol grip is an issue, I can't really debate that. To say that an AR handles worse because of the magazine length seems a bit far fetched.

FIVETWOSEVEN
August 18, 2011, 12:44 AM
Well the Mini 14 is good for scaring what you're trying to hit with it.

35 Whelen
August 18, 2011, 12:47 AM
That's a bit of BS if I've ever heard it.


Easy there Turbo. Can't argue with a tape measure:


AR is about 9 inches from pistol grip to carry handle and the Mini is about 4 inches from guard to the top of the rear sight.


I'm not for or against either, but the AR is over twice as tall as the Mini unless you put one of those 1529 round magazines in your Mini.

35W

benzy2
August 18, 2011, 01:01 AM
Easy there Turbo. Can't argue with a tape measure:
Go read both his comments and mine again. I even went on to agree about the pistol grip that you want to quote, though it wasn't mentioned in his post. The claim was that mag length was the problem.

smle41
August 18, 2011, 01:51 AM
I have to agree with Art, in that the Mini is sleeker and 'points' better, at least for me, than the AR does. My experiences with M16s, ARs and M4s have been mixed in terms of reliability, while my (less) experiences with Mini-14s is that they were utterly reliable whether clean, dirty, wet or dry. Also, I have had positive experiences with the accuracy of older Minis, but, I certainly have not met all of them, and I have come to believe there are more and less accurate guns of all types.
Ruger factory magazines are expensive, but there are inexpensive magazines of dubious quality for both guns (personal note, I do like the new 'anti-tilt' M4 magazines, but they still can tilt and 'jam', just not as badly as the green and black followers), so if one wants quality magazines, one will have to pay for them either way.
I've owned Bushmaster and S&W ARs and both could malfunction in feeding, extracting, ejecting, were fairly finicky about ammo, and more maintenance intensive. Years ago, I had an inexpensive, used Mini that was plenty accurate for field use; I shot any .223 or 5.56 out of it, the Ruger magazines seemed to be of excellent quality (much better than surplus M16), and easier to maintain (locking lug recesses, less of them, and easier to reach in the receiver, etc)
Plus, there is, for some, if not all, the 'politically correct' factor of the wood stock, no pistol grip, not an 'eeevil black rifle' factor.
Get what feels good to you and what you are comfortable with, what you enjoy. Even supposing that the mini is not as mechanically accurate, if you enjoy shooting it, enjoy it. I have come to love my Marlin 39, even though it may not be as mechanically accurate as a match target gun, and am better with it than I am with my old CZ and Ruger .22s, likely just because it is so fun I shoot it more. The best shot in our neighborhood is a fellow with some ancient Springfield semi-auto that you push a button in and it becomes a bolt-action gun, ancient, worn, not a 'match gun', but he is great with that thing since he had it from his childhood and still shoots it weekly.
So, get what feels better in your hand, on your shoulder, points better or handles better or (even) looks better to you, for you. And, shoot it. If you decide one way or another, you can always 're-choose' and maybe 're-choose' again. :)
Have fun.. :)

ugaarguy
August 18, 2011, 02:20 AM
I've owned Bushmaster and S&W ARs and both could malfunction in feeding, extracting, ejecting, were fairly finicky about ammo, and more maintenance intensive.
I'm not surprised to read that about a Bushmaster. However, was your S&W bbl. marked "5.56 Nato" or "5.56 NATO"? That's a very important distinction.

smle41
August 18, 2011, 05:35 AM
I cannot recall.. but, out of curiosity, what is the difference between the 5.56 "North Atlantic Treaty Organisation", and the 5.56 "North 'atlantic treaty organisation' " Is this something S&W does to differentiate it's weapons? I know there is a difference between .223 Remington and 5.56 'NATO'.
Gunnery is an exacting art, to be sure.
Still, for those that do not want to laboriously clean all those little locking lug recesses from all the dirty gas that went right back into the chamber, (i.e., many shooters who are more shooters than maintainers), the mini should not be overlooked...

ugaarguy
August 18, 2011, 06:07 AM
smle, 5.56 Nato marked bbl indicates early M&P15 built from outsourced components, while 5.56 NATO marked bbl indicates an in house manufactured M&P15. Here's a link to where I explained it in further detail earlier this week on THR - http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=7515171&postcount=16. The very early M&P15s with outsourced parts weren't up to the standard that the in house built M&P15s are. If you feel like spending $5 for a PDF back issue, you can read Pat Rogers' article "A Tale of Three Smiths" in the May 2008 issue of SWAT Magazine. His experience with an outsourced gun (tight mag well, not the best reliability) vs. the in house built guns (run like a champ) mirrors what I saw when I was in gun retail during that period. There was a vast jump in quality when S&W brought the components in house.
Still, for those that do not want to laboriously clean all those little locking lug recesses from all the dirty gas that went right back into the chamber, That sounds like worn or out of spec gas rings to me. Maybe even a gas key that wasn't properly installed. An in spec AR should keep the great majority of the gasses (and therefor the carbon fouling) behind the gas rings at the back of the bolt & in the rear of the carrier. It should run when filthy if moderately to heavily lubed.

smle41
August 18, 2011, 07:58 AM
Still, with as many things that can 'go wrong' on an AR / M16, I will support the OP's idea that the Mini is a good, viable "AR" alternative. My issue M4 has barely seen a couple hundred rounds (that I know of, it supposedly came straight from the factory), as well as many M16s and ARs that I have had to shoot and clean, all ended up with much carbon fouling all over the chamber, receses, firing pin, key, lugs, bolt face, etc. I think that may be more of a function of the 'direct gas impingement' than 'worn' or 'out of spec' rings.. it is just design, likely little more nor little less.
By the way, thank you very much for the information.. that the marking is more of an identifier for S&W than some cartridge variation I did not know about.. :)
For those that don't want to have to worry about whether their gas key ('carrier key') or three little rings are tweaked, and just want a gun that is easier to work with, I think the Mini is very user-friendly indeed. I cannot recall the bolt face or lugs getting quite so messy on the Mini, and it's dual lugs are easier to 'get at' with the thumbnail in a rag, etc.
I have come to love my M1 carbine because, in my opinion, it is easy to maintain (everything that needs cleaning is pretty easy to get to), handy, light, points well for me. I do not mean to get off-topic, at least too far, but couldn't we consider the M1 carbine a viable "AR alternative"? I do not know how it would be for 'popping off varmints', but, to me, my M1 is utterly reliable, user friendly and as accurate as a person might want in the field. I suppose I ought to ask what their 'field conditions' consist of? I live in forested mountains, so my considerations may be different from those who live in the open plains..
So, I urge the OP to give it it a try and learn from himself, with many rounds and many hours afield. Take a friend, too, and have fun making the world safe from dangerous tin cans with a Mini, learn it's magazine release (to me, pretty positive and easy and not easily 'accidentally released', and shoulder it, learn it, and learn what you like and not like...
...In full disclosure, I used to work part-time in a little gun store and I encouraged people to try everything from Mosin-Nagants to M1As and Arisakas to Colts, as the knowledge gained is priceless and the learning is fun.
I am glad to have learned the things I have and that others are still kind enough to teach me more. :)
Thank you...

ugaarguy
August 18, 2011, 05:28 PM
I cannot recall the bolt face or lugs getting quite so messy on the Mini,
I'm beginning to think much of this has to do with the open receiver, Garand based, design. Not so much piston or DI, but simply open receiver. Though I've fired AKs several times, I recently bought my first one. The majority of the gunk was on the front of the piston, but the bolt still got quite dirty. I don't remember my Garand bolt ever getting near that dirty. I believe the Garand based designs just let the gunk float off into the air, while the enclosed receiver designs enclose the gasses - and gunk - in the action.

Cop Bob
August 18, 2011, 07:23 PM
I'm beginning to think much of this has to do with the open receiver, Garand based, design. Not so much piston or DI, but simply open receiver. Though I've fired AKs several times, I recently bought my first one. The majority of the gunk was on the front of the piston, but the bolt still got quite dirty. I don't remember my Garand bolt ever getting near that dirty. I believe the Garand based designs just let the gunk float off into the air, while the enclosed receiver designs enclose the gasses - and gunk - in the action.
Yup... Think your onto something there....

As stated, I own both types, multiples of each.. have and do run both Mini's and AR's

AR's can be tack drivers.. there are a few things that can go wrong with them, the gas rings come to mind.. and they are a little more effort to clean... a few more minutes.. But who cares...

The Mini's, Simple to break down, easy to reassemble.. insides tend to run a little cleaner as stated... out dated design? Yeah, kinda like that junker 1911 huh? It is a great and well proven design...Done..

Ease of handling, To me the mini is a touch better for me personally for instinctive point shooting... it is a traditional form or shape.. it seems to go where I point it... for me... I really like it..

Inside a vehicle... FOR ME... the mini is balanced better. I have one that the barrel is cut to 16" with the flash hider, and it wheels around inside a patrol car or my truck just fine.... The AR, with it's collapsible stock is close, but a bit front heavy.. to me, the balance is a bit off..

Fact... Either gun will serve you well.. the both shoot the same cartridge, so the only real factors are, Ergonomics.. how does the gun fit you, does it point well, and come into battery for you the way YOU like it to... short.. DOES IT FEEL RIGHT TO YOU...

Accuracy, just how much to you need for its intended purpose.. If you need at 1MOA gun, then the AR is the place to start.. If you are looking for a dependable duty, ranch, truck, defense gun.. then either gun will serve you well..

Maintaince and upkeep, meh.. both are pretty close actually, with ME giving a slight edge to the Mini...(had one since the month they came to market, never replaced a gas ring, or for that matter anything on any of my three.) The are a bit easier to clean, and have a tendency to run a tad cleaner.. My AR's are fine guns, and shoot well, I love them... but then again, I love the Sharps too...

The real question here is what do YOU like..... no one will fault you for choosing either way ... See It's kinda like the guy who walks into the brothel, and he is, well... under-endowed... when the deal is struck and he and the lady of his choice retire to a room, he drops his pants and his "Date" begins to point and chuckle.. His response is.."Hey what are you laughing at?" At this his date points at him and responds with "Who do you think you are going to make happy with that?" .. His answer was simple..."ME !"

And that is who you need to satisfy sir... either way you will be happy...

benEzra
August 18, 2011, 08:10 PM
If it were me, and I was on a budget, I'd look for a fun .22lr in the price range and be able to actually use the firearm a lot.
For a centerfire, .223 is pretty cheap to shoot compared to a lot of centerfires. I shoot cheap Tula steel-case from Wallyworld in my AR (under $5/box). It's not as cheap as .22LR, certainly but it's not all that bad.

for those that do not want to laboriously clean all those little locking lug recesses from all the dirty gas that went right back into the chamber,
Unless your gas rings are defective, the gas is coming out of the chamber, not going in from the gas system. An AR's gas system feeds gas into the piston chamber behind the gas rings, and from there it is vented outside the receiver via the gas vent holes in the bolt carrier (and the bolt is still closed when that happens).

Operating gas is not dumped into the chamber or receiver in the AR, and there's not a lot of residual blow-by from the gas tube after the bolt opens either unless you're running a sound suppressor.

I shoot cheap Tula steel-case in matches for cost reasons; the only place I see much residue after a hundred rounds or so is on the tail of the bolt, and that's pretty much self-limiting.

I cannot recall the bolt face or lugs getting quite so messy on the Mini,
If I remember correctly, the mini has a 2-lug bolt, and the mini's lugs are further from the chamber than an AR's lugs. The closer the lugs are to the chamber, the smokier they'll get from case blow-by during ejection, and the same amount of goo would be less noticeable in those huge bolt recesses anyway, I'd think.

Even so, unless the gun is run bone dry, powder residue isn't really an issue until you go thousands of rounds between cleanings, and that's true of both the mini and the AR.

Here's an entry-level Model 1 Sales AR after fourteen thousand rounds of dirty Wolf steel-case, without cleaning; the only maintenance was occasional lubrication to keep things wet. Note that the bolt lugs aren't too bad; once goo builds up to a certain thickness, it tends to flow out of the way, unless you let it get dry and turn to concrete.

http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2010/06/09/a-clean-wouldnt-hurt/

http://cdn5.thefirearmsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/ppppp_desktop_px_1-tm-tfb.jpg

http://cdn5.thefirearmsblog.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/ppppp_desktop_px_2-tm-tfb.jpg

FlyinBryan
August 18, 2011, 10:36 PM
wonder what that guys house looks like?

Ignition Override
August 18, 2011, 11:12 PM
Cop Bob:
I handled the Mini 14 of a patrolman in eastern AR, and the rifle has either a red dot sight or some other fancy type.

The totally unexpected shootout and murders of those two West Memphis patrolmen by rabid anti-govt types happened not too far from here.
The officers might only have had a shotgun- out of reach when the attackers suddenly fired many rds. through the windshields or doors- and their attackers were very proficient with the AK clone.

I can't second guess what a patrolman might want or need, but my choice could be whichever semi-auto allows a guy to shoot thorough an attacker's car windows and doors, considering one's skill level, muzzle rise and other factors.
Maybe a primary risk is whether an LEO can even leave cover in order to try to reach the rifle?

kfgk14
August 19, 2011, 12:41 AM
If you want to plink, buy an SKS or an AK. They'll shoot as accurate as a Mini, and they'll be cheaper up front, cheaper ammo, reliable, etc.
That's my view. Don't waste your time with the Mini, for a the price you could just get two SKS's.
If you want accurate, buy an AR. If you want customize-able, buy an AR. Put the money in for a good one.

Davek1977
August 19, 2011, 02:33 AM
smle4:
couldn't we consider the M1 carbine a viable "AR alternative"?
I don't think so. The .30 carbine round, performs more like a .357 handgun round than a rifle round like the 5.56. The AR has it beat on range, adapability, overall usefulness of the caliber chambered, etc. Also, while some consider it questionable, the .223 can be used to take deer sized game humanely. most states outright prohibit the .30 carbine round from being used legally on big game. I really can't think of anything aside from size where the M1 carbine is actually equal to or better than the AR. Too, ammo supplies of 5.56/.223 are widely availble. While 30 carbine ammo isn't "hard" to find, its not one of the dozen or so calibers most big box stores sell, nor are you likely to find it in amny ma and pa shops. The .20 carbine is what is....buit what it isn't is a viable alternative for most people looking at an AR for their needs.

Kendal Black
August 19, 2011, 02:54 AM
I prefer the ergos of the Ruger Mini. Unlike the AR or the M, the charging handle is in a sensible location and connected to the innards, so if perchance you need a bit of forward assist, assistance is in a sensible place.

The Garand safety is better if it is dark, you are scared, and everyone is in a hurry. If it will not pull, you push. If it still won't, you pull the handle. If that won't work you push the handle. It's all very logical and consistent.

As of the 580-rifles Ruger has been trying to make this work. Now the complaint is a bad one is a three inch rifle. Used to be, that was the lucky strike.

You can also buy factory magazines; whatever Wm. Sr. said about that, he is gone now.

ugaarguy
August 19, 2011, 03:22 AM
It's all very logical and consistent.
SPORTS
Slap - the mag base
Pull - the charging handle
Observe - the chamber
Release - the charging handle
Tap - the forward assist
Squeeze - the trigger
It works with AR-15s just as well as it works with M16s/M4s. It's pretty logical to me. But if you like the Mini better, you like it better.
You can also buy factory magazines; whatever Wm. Sr. said about that, he is gone now.
Ohh yeah, they're only 2-3 times the price of good AR mags now, instead of 4-5 times the price when they were supposed to be restricted to MIL/LE/GOV.

Kendal Black
August 19, 2011, 04:08 AM
SPORTS
Slap - the mag base
Pull - the charging handle
Observe - the chamber
Release - the charging handle
Tap - the forward assist
Squeeze - the trigger
It works with AR-15s just as well as it works with M16s/M4s. It's pretty logical to me. But if you like the Mini better, you like it better.

Ohh yeah, they're only 2-3 times the price of good AR mags now, instead of 4-5 times the price when they were supposed to be restricted to MIL/LE/GOV.

I admit that is the best first try if an M16 fails. There is a further drill if it not only fails but furthers its failure, but I am sure everyone knows all about it.

On the Mini (or the M14): Yank back the bolt, lock it if you like, or else hold it, remove the magazine, shove a finger down the well, extract your digit and cycle the bolt three times. Reload (different magazine) & try again.

This is getting more esoteric than the OP wanted. He wanted to know if he should have an AR-15 or a Mini, and my answer is clearly an unequivocal YES.

He probably didn't want to know about stoppages in the dark. My apologies.

ugaarguy
August 19, 2011, 04:41 AM
It's all good Kendall. I ran off on the tangent too. It defies my own logic in this thread, but the local cop shop has a bunch of Police trade in Mini-14 GBs; and for some reason I keep being tempted by them.

Cop Bob
August 19, 2011, 02:38 PM
Cop Bob:
I handled the Mini 14 of a patrolman in eastern AR, and the rifle has either a red dot sight or some other fancy type.

The totally unexpected shootout and murders of those two West Memphis patrolmen by rabid anti-govt types happened not too far from here.
The officers might only have had a shotgun- out of reach when the attackers suddenly fired many rds. through the windshields or doors- and their attackers were very proficient with the AK clone.

I'm can't second guess what a patrolman might want or need, but my choice could be whichever semi-auto allows a guy to shoot thorough an attacker's car windows and doors, considering one's skill level, muzzle rise and other factors.
Maybe a primary risk is whether an LEO can even leave cover in order to try to reach the rifle?

One of the things that I loved about carrying my Mini in a patrol car, was the fact that it was a cheap burch stock, if I scratched it, so what.. I bought it to beat it up.. I had one cut down to just 16" from the flash hider to the face of the closed bolt.. it was a short as I could legally make it. As a result, I could wedge it between the seats, or depending upon the car, seat and door post.. only draw back was the magazine length.. sometimes it just got in the way.. But with the AR, there was the Grip, the mag well and the Mag that protruded... The only thing that laid flat and smooth and stayed out of the way was my 870.. But the important thing to me is I should be able to access it inside a closed car, and bring it to bear on a threat from either side if needed, and be able to safely exit the vehicle, with control of the weapon... this is something that is practiced.. unfortunately by too few...

I vehicles without consoles, or those with BENCH seats... I would lay the weapon over the hump, with magazine under the seat if there was room. I found that I could slide the weapon out, underhand as as I was exiting the vehicle, and be in a point shoulder ready position quickly, using the door and front of vehicle for cover.

As far as being able to access it when TSHTF, well, you try and keep it accessible, but not where anyone can reach in and grab it.. in other words, keep your car locked.. Try and listen to the little hairs on the back of your neck.. when they start to stand up, pay attention... keep all your radars up and running all the time when your arriving somewhere.. and if you think your gonna need it.. what for the rest of the troops to arrive, and take it with you... the fastest draw I have ever seen, is to already have it in your hand... Cover is a primary concern, I swear I have seen 300 lb policemen, properly motivated by the sound of gunfire, jump UNDER a car, and not get a spot of grease on em, or one use a 5" sapling tree for cover, with 8 inches of butt and belly on either side, because it is all they could get too..

rbernie
August 19, 2011, 02:55 PM
Ohh yeah, they're only 2-3 times the price of good AR mags now, instead of 4-5 times the price when they were supposed to be restricted to MIL/LE/GOV. A USGI 30rd AR magazine is $10, a 30rd PMAG is $14, a 20rd PMAG is $13, and a steel factory Mini14 20rd magazine is $29.

Yes, a Ruger mag is twice as expensive as a PMAG and three times the cost of a USGI magazine. But its price is in line with (or less than) other non-surplus magazines of similar manufacture and lineage. Price an AR10 magazine lately? :)

I have had excellent luck with the current ProMag 20rd and 30rd magazines, and can usually get them for about $20/each.

Ignition Override
August 19, 2011, 03:35 PM
Cop Bob:
That's interesting.

As for ARs, the .223 round is usually the only round being discussed.

Do some patrolmen carry an AR-10 (.308) or a Mini 30, in order to have ammo with the same penetrating force as an 'AK 47' clone?

wow6599
August 19, 2011, 03:56 PM
Mini's are a good $300 gun. If you can find one at that price and don't mind paying $50 each for magazines and find 3" groups acceptable they are for you.

Uninformed. Period.
I have both, but shoot my Mini better than my AR. My Mini-14 (2008 NRA 16") will shoot 1-2 MOA all day long. The Ruger Mini-14 (and 30) bashing is done by folks who don't care to listen, or look, to the people that have the 580s and up. It's not 1984 anymore, and it ain't your daddy's Mini. Things change, and not always for the worse.

BTW, here are some $50 factory mags you were speaking of - http://www.cdnninvestments.com/rumi14220blm.html

Snowbandit
August 19, 2011, 04:04 PM
I got rid of my mini-14 years ago, had a stainless one that shot 4-5 MOA. For the guy that just wants to make a bunch of noise and splash lead over the hillside a mini is fine. If you actually want to hit anything get the AR.

Kendal Black
August 19, 2011, 06:20 PM
A Person, if you're still tuned into this station, be aware that the Mini's bad rep for accuracy is deserved in part: The older models shot about like M1 Carbines, which is to say, only well enough to get by.

As of the 580 series Minis, Ruger took ear to what people were saying and tightened up their production process. A well made AR-15 still beats the new Mini slightly; the AR is one of those nice designs that just wants to shoot straight.

The Mini beats the AR for reliability in harsh field conditions: It is, in essence, a Garand. As I said above, I prefer the Mini's ergonomics. However you sort this out, a newer Ruger Mini or a decent AR-15, you'll have a more than okay rifle.

1858
August 19, 2011, 06:32 PM
One of the biggest problems with the Mini-14 in terms of accuracy is the trigger. I haven't put much effort into working up a load for my 15 year old Mini-14, ok, no effort, but if I were to do that, I bet I could come up with something that could easily hold inside 2 MOA at 100 yards. As it is, here's a target shot with the crappy iron sights and the crappy stock trigger.

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/rifles/ruger/mini_14/targets/mini_14_xm193_50y.jpg

Here's a target shot with a scope mounted using a load that didn't shoot particularly well in any of my AR-15s. I found "the" load for an AR-15 and was using up some ammunition that was part of load development. Considering the twist rate , the 77gr SMK, the lack of load development, and the crappy stock trigger, this isn't that bad.

http://128.171.62.162/hawthorn-engineering/thr/rifles/ruger/mini_14/targets/mini_14_77gr_smk_50y.jpg

Magog
August 19, 2011, 06:52 PM
It is insane, that people think that the MINI 14 today is anything like the old ones. The newer mini 14's with the hammer forged heavy barrels are very nice solid 2 MOA rifles.

Now with the piston sliding back and forth it will affect accuracy, but because of that beefy M1A grand op system the machine will never fail you like AR jam-o-matics.

Same with AK's, that op rod is a big piece of metal, and AR's are the closet thing you can get to a free floating system...

People have to dump a lot of cash into their AR's to make them sub MOA's, and for an all out battle rifle that will never quite for only 600 bucks the Mini 14 can not be beat. Mags do cost money but that only adds to the uber reliability of the Mini 14 system.

Magog
August 19, 2011, 06:56 PM
The cheap 700 buck AR's are only 2 MOA rifles as well. DMPS sub part kits made in some losers basement trying to be a smart frugal shopper has nothing over the new Mini 14.

Check out Nut-n-fancy's youtubes on the mini. True the new minis are just 2 MOA rifles at the bench, but they beat the pants off the AK74, and Rock river arms rifles in simulated battle fire fight drills.

Oh yeah, did I mention the MINI 14 can not be beat in reliability. When was the last time anyone said that about an AR other then top of line Colts huh??? You like spending 1500 bucks when you could had gotten a MINI 14 for 600...

Magog
August 19, 2011, 08:15 PM
Everyone who says the New mini 14 suck vs AR lets see your videos proving that. NutNfancy has done a fine job putting the MINI 14 up against both AR and AK and the MINI 14 won the day.

benEzra
August 19, 2011, 10:28 PM
Now with the piston sliding back and forth it will affect accuracy, but because of that beefy M1A grand op system the machine will never fail you like AR jam-o-matics.
I believe that a properly assembled AR is about as reliable as a mini, and I suspect both designs are somewhat more reliable than the Garand, assuming good magazines. By most accounts, Garands really like to be greased and can jam on modern full-power .30-06 loads.

The standard meme that AR's jam if not kept clean is as much bunk as the meme that AK's can't hit squat at 200 yards.

FWIW, I owned a mini for over 20 years and never had a failure that wasn't the fault of bad ammo or bad magazines. Nor have I had a failure of any kind with my AR, and I shoot local carbine matches with cheap steel case Tula.

Oh yeah, did I mention the MINI 14 can not be beat in reliability. When was the last time anyone said that about an AR other then top of line Colts huh??? You like spending 1500 bucks when you could had gotten a MINI 14 for 600...
Again, having owned both, I'd assess the reliability of a properly assembled, 5.56mm-chamber AR as on par with a mini, and you can get very good AR's for under $1K. BTW, there are a lot more top-tier manufacturers besides Colt, e.g. Noveske, Daniel Defense, LMT, BCM, and such.

Panzercat
August 19, 2011, 11:11 PM
I'd submit that an SU-16 is a far superior product, but availibility continues to cripple purchasing ability. It's also driving up the price into the $600s.
In either case, buy something else. Ruger doesn't deserve your money.

That said, apparently our local walmart decided to start carrying them and 10/22s here in AZ. Was kinda surprised.

Chris Rhines
August 19, 2011, 11:27 PM
Accuracy to one side, my experience with Mini-14 rifles has been that they are unreliable and prone to small parts breakage when they get hot. I would say that a tier-1 AR will generally be more reliable than a Mini-14, especially if you plan on shooting it in classes or 300+ round practice sessions.

-C

smle41
August 19, 2011, 11:48 PM
"The standard meme that AR's jam if not kept clean is as much bunk as the meme that AK's can't hit squat at 200 yards."
I must be cursed. Each and every M16A1, M16A2, M4 and all AR's I've had were (are) sensitive critters. My M4 seems to believe in the adage 'cleanliness is next to Godliness'. I know it is not PC to say so, but, 'memes' come from somewhere...
But, each gun, even of the same brand or even next to each other in serial number, has their own quirks. There are ARs that love lots and lots of lube, and M16s that run better dry. And, then, there is the factor of what Private Joe Snuffy did to that weapon before it was issued to you, and, some guns like to shot a lot before they 'break in', some guns, if you shoot them a lot, they 'break down'.
I'm glad someone else mentioned that the cost of magazines comes to par when one considers quality to quality. Several soldiers buy their own quality magazines and swear by them, I wonder if the main weakness of the AR is that the military went with 'cheap' and lesser quality magazines.
So, if the OP is wondering if the Mini is a viable alternative, I say yes.. as accurate in the field as necessary, handles well, reliable...
Someone mentioned the operating rod handle.. to me, I have to agree that it's placement is 'natural'. I 'grew up' on a Lee Enfield and the smle is still my favorite rifle, so having the handle where it is, instead of a two-finger, wrist-bending motion and then tapping a forward assist, versus using the edge of my hand to the side of the gun and backward.. maybe it's the 'bolt gunner' in me, but it seems more 'natural'..
Oh, yes.. ugaarguy.. buy that police trade in mini.. :) Shoot it, they are fun guns. :)

ugaarguy
August 20, 2011, 12:27 AM
Price an AR10 magazine lately?
Do the $18.99 PMAG LR magazines for my LR-308 count? I also wasn't aware that Ruger is making the Mini in 7.62 NATO / .308 Win.

I am referring to those sold at gunshows. I don't buy from retail.
Okay, get a S&W M&P15 Sport at a gun show, just like you buy a Mini at a gun show.
The cheap 700 buck AR's are only 2 MOA rifles as well. DMPS sub part kits made in some losers basement trying to be a smart frugal shopper has nothing over the new Mini 14.
I bought a S&W M&P15 Sport for under $600. I'll take it over a Mini or a DPMS AR-15 any day. If DPMS built their AR-15s to the same standard they build their LR-308s I'd take a DPMS over a Mini.
Oh yeah, did I mention the MINI 14 can not be beat in reliability. When was the last time anyone said that about an AR other then top of line Colts huh??? You like spending 1500 bucks when you could had gotten a MINI 14 for 600...
See above.
The newer mini 14's with the hammer forged heavy barrels are very nice solid 2 MOA rifles. ... People have to dump a lot of cash into their AR's to make them sub MOA's, and for an all out battle rifle that will never quite for only 600 bucks the Mini 14 can not be beat. Mags do cost money but that only adds to the uber reliability of the Mini 14 system.
Yes, but I didn't have to put any money into M&P15 Sport to make it sub 2 MOA. That Nitrided 1:8 twist 5R T/C Arms bbl. is nice :D . If a hammer forged bbl. only gets a Mini to 2 MOA then you've proven the point. My USGI mags with green followers of MagPul anti-tilts are uber reliable too. I can say the same for the PMAGs. It doesn't take tons of cash to make an AR sub MOA either: It just takes a good barrel, and a simple free float tube.

Art Eatman
August 20, 2011, 12:50 AM
Y'know, since TFL got going in 1998, and then THR, I've yet to see one of these threads have anybody jump up and say, "Hey! I've changed my mind!"

Enough. Rest assured, somebody will bring it up again and folks can vent and rant and not change anybody's mind...

If you enjoyed reading about "Ruger Mini 14: Good AR alternative?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!