Is Ruger Mini 14 or Mini 30 suitable as an Emergency Weapon?


December 31, 2011, 10:57 PM
I am looking to add a SHTF rifle/carbine to my collection and am considering the following 3 rifles/carbines: Ruger mini 14 (223/5.56 cal), ruger mini 30 (7.62X39 cal) or a PTR 91 GI in (nato 7.62 cal). The Rugers look like neet little carbines (i really like the compcatness of the carbine etc) but I keep reading mixed reviews as to acuracy and reliability of this platform. While I would like a fun rifle/carbine for target practice, the ultimate purpose is as a SHTF weapon that i can use for self defense/defense of my family in case of riots and all around civil disorder caused by natural disaser or whatever end of the world type scenario one can think of. In a SHTF scenario I would like to have a rifle/carbine that can be handled with ease in a home defense scenario or in a vehicle and it needs to be reliable and accurate enough for me to stake my life on it. I am curious to hear what members of this forum think about the reliability of the ruger mini series (the new 2010-2011 production), especially the mini 14 as this carbine seems quiet afrordable -- cdnn is selling the tactical version for under 600 bucks. Is this rifle in a 5.56 caliber worth the money or should i just suck it up and buy something like the PTr 91?

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December 31, 2011, 11:29 PM
I think they are a fine little rifle. I wouldn't hesitate to buy one. I wouldn't mind having a Mini 14 as a partner to my AR. I like the old M1-style operation. My dad has a new Mini 30 that I've shot quite a bit, I liked it, too.

Hickok45 did a pretty good video on the Mini 14.

December 31, 2011, 11:34 PM
I don't think we're allowed to talk about this, as the SHTF topic is a bit hard to define. But now that we are discussing the Mini's, and the topic we can't discuss, I'd say the most important thing to consider is reliability. My experience is they are extremely reliable. Not as accurate as the AR's, but you can carry lots of ammo and the abundance of accessories makes it easy to refine one as you like. Mini's have been around a long time for a reason.

December 31, 2011, 11:36 PM
Mini 14 are a fine rifle indeed. Shouldn't have any problem finding ammo either. The biggest deal I would encounter is extra magazines. Here in the peoples republic of New York, the gracious governor has seen fit to only allow us 1o round mags. and the price is scary on mags anymore. Anyway, if you get one for a shtf gun, buy lots of both.

December 31, 2011, 11:42 PM
You betcha!

The problem is the high price of extra Ruger magazines.

For a SHTF rifle, I want more fully loaded spare mags then I can carry.

And at $30 to $35 bucks a pop for real Ruger mags that work when the chips are down?

The mags would cost more then the gun did.

$35 bucks will almost buy 3 real good AR-15 mags.


December 31, 2011, 11:47 PM
I handled a Mini 30 at my LGS last week, and a Mini 14 today. Can't say that I'm a fan at the price they command, when I can get a decent AR over the mini 14 for a similar price. and for the price of a Mini 30, and AK or an SKS would be much less, and more reliable.

the issue of the scarcity and high price of the ruger mags has been covered. Spare parts are neither as cheap or abundant as the multitudes of spare parts for the AR, AK or SKS. just my opinion.

T Bran
December 31, 2011, 11:49 PM
You will get lots of different opinions on the mini series of rifles and their accuracy. I havent seen many bad things about reliability though.
As the design of the barrel changed the revues seem to improve as far as accuracy.
Mine is a mini 30 ss and synthetic stock bought new in 2010. It is a truck gun that gets less maintenence than my other guns that's why I bought SS less concern about corrosion. I tried a scope but the factory rings set it too high for my comfort so I took it off. The ejected brass also beat the windage turret up pretty badly not the guns fault my fault for not checking it for clearance sooner. It is pop can accurate at 100 yards with peep sites plenty good enough for me. I had a batch of Wolf steel cased ammo that would not fire 2 out of 5 times on average. Every thing else it has been fed it eats I just feed it brass cased ammo after hearing about broken firing pins with the steel cased stuff. Since last year it only gets my reloads anyway so no biggie. The only mags that are reliable so far are factory and they are a bit pricey.
Over all I really like the gun but I wanted to give you a review of the bad as well as the good points of this rifle. As long as you use factory mags and quality ammo it will serve you well.

December 31, 2011, 11:55 PM
How accurate does a SHTF carbine have to be?

One that works 110% reliably with minimal maintenance is about 1,000% more important then whether or not you can shoot a gnats tail feathers off at 500 yards.

If they are 500 yards away and all you have is a carbine?
It's well past time to escape & evade, not stand and fight!


December 31, 2011, 11:57 PM
The Mini-30 has a rep for breaking firing pins and Ruger won't just sell you one. The entire RIFLE has to go back to Ruger.:confused: The aftermarket replacement available is said to be of not as high quality.

The Mini-30 is also said to have reliability problems with milsurp ammo because of the hard primers.

That said, I only have a bit over a hundred rounds of milsurp, Wolf & MFS ammo through my Mini-30 but it has been 100% out of the 5 rd Ruger magazines. It's definitely not a target rifle...

January 1, 2012, 12:10 AM
I guess I'll take a slightly different view than the other guys here, I'm not convinced of the reliability of the Mini rifles. Most of the people I see using minis are using them as range toys or possibly hunting rifles. I have yet to see someone take one to a heavy use carbine class. When I started looking for a new defensive (read: SHTF) rifle, that's the first thing I started looking for: what kind of use do these rifles actually take and keep working through. In those classes, I see predominately military style rifles like ARs, AKs, FALs, M1As etc. If you do end up getting a Mini, make sure you run it hard to make sure it will function in harsh conditions.

Another issue that others have already hit on is mag availability. Ruger mags are proprietary, so they can sell them for a good bit more than the other military style rifles. For example, I bought 10 mags for my AK for just a bit more than $100. Those 10 mags for a mini would cost $350! :what:

For $600, you could get a decent AR with cheaper and better mags and the ability to add pretty much any accessory you could imagine.

Out of the rifles you mentioned, I think the PTR 91 is the best (mainly cause its the only one left). I'm more of a fan of the FAL, but the PTR does have some advantages to it, mostly the cheap mags and good reliability. Surplus mags can be found REALLY cheap if you buy them in bulk, last I checked it was only a few dollars each (we're talking single digits) for good, quality mags. Another plus is the ease of installing a registered sear trigger pack for all the NFA goodness ;). A downside to the PTRs though is that it's kind of awkward to fit optics to if you ever want to do that.

January 1, 2012, 12:15 AM
The mini makes a good multi-purpose rifle. It doesn't do anything extremely well, but it does everything pretty well. It's solid, reliable, light, and potent. You can modify it or leave it be. I really like mine.

January 1, 2012, 12:20 AM
Well, I've got a couple of the 14's (one blue, one stainless, both older models) and like 'em both. Had some hiccups with the stainless I bought used, but a new extractor & spring had it singing in no time. No problems since then, including lending it to a bud whose idea of maintenance is shoot it until it quits working. Despite hundreds of rounds through that one, mostly Wolf, and no cleaning, it just kept on rocking.
I don't know where you guys are getting your aftermarket mags, but I haven't had any issues with the ones I bought. A little de-burring on the feed lips and they work just fine. Average cost was around $14 per 20 round mag, sometimes less if I found a sale.

January 1, 2012, 12:21 AM
sks is cheaper in 762x39.mags internal

January 1, 2012, 12:23 AM
I would trust my 1x7 twist AR out to 600 yards with heavier 62 grain loads, with no hesitation, I would like to try the even heavier "around 70 grain" rounds, in a controlled experiment to see if they are really capable of getting out to 800 plus yards with enough power to take down an advisary. I know some of you rifle guys have shot distance with a proper AR setup. I realy need a good scope next, perhaps one of the new laser jobs, that calculate bullet drop for you.

January 1, 2012, 12:47 AM
Forgot to ad, although the Mini 30 was fun to shoot, if I wanted a rifle in 7.62x39 I'd get an AK before I went with the Mini. Only Mini I'd actually buy is the 5.56 version.

January 1, 2012, 01:09 AM
Mini 14 is a proven design, reliable functioning rifle.

I wouldn't hesitate a nano second to buy one if it meets your needs.

January 1, 2012, 01:11 AM
FWIW - In the 90's (pre-ban), I got a Norinco "National Match" AK with the milled receiver instead of the "less expensive" stamped sheet metal receiver. The barrel is about 2" longer and about 1/4" O.D. bigger.
However, according to the manual, the service life of the barrel is only about 6,000 rounds! It isn't built for the long haul.
I tested the accuracy by putting the rifle in a frame so all I had to do was aim and gently pull the trigger w/o actually holding the gun. At 100 yds., out of the 5-shot mag, only 2 were even on the paper. These were green-lacquered steel-cased milsurp JHP ammo so that may have been part of the problem.
In all likelihood, even with the higher prices, you will get not only better accuracy but a gun that lasts longer than this AK.

Mauser lover
January 1, 2012, 01:15 AM
If the PTR is anything like the "real" G3, I would get the PTR. But I would rather have a full size M1A, but I really do prefer a shotgun for end of the world scenarios; you can use 00 buckshot for close range and slugs for longer range, and it should be pretty reliable. If you are planning on using something for a longer range than a slug is good for, I like the M1A, but of the ones on your list, get the PTR.
Just my two cents, well maybe three cents.

M1A website, just for your convience:D

January 1, 2012, 01:20 AM
sks is cheaper in 762x39.mags internal
This ^^^^^ Buy two SKS and a case of ammo.

January 1, 2012, 01:21 AM
I too would be one to promote that for around the same price figure you could own a M4 clone and use magazines that are alot cheaper, one I know of even holds ~250 rds. If magazine rd count is the issue, I would look for camp 9 or other such carbine as they hold a better track record.

January 1, 2012, 01:53 AM
It all depends on how you define your scenario(s) that you are preparing for. I have found the mini 14 to be extremely reliable. Accuacy is sufficient for normal use (non war time). On a man sized target, I suspect I am fully capable of making 100+ yd shots if I had too and I wouldn't particularly want to be the zombie at 600 yds if I was determined with the lowly Mini 14.

Magazine cost... Ruger mags are fairly expensive, but I highly doubt I would carry more than 5 20-round mags. I believe if I really wanted them, I can afford 10 mags ($350). For me the issue is getting the mags. It all depends on what you are preparing for. I'm betting that a couple of mags is plenty that you might actually carry. IF you need more, you're probably going to be dead anyway.

Larry Ashcraft
January 1, 2012, 06:24 AM
1: We don't do "SHTF" scenarios here.

2: If you have a question about rifles, there is a "Rifles" subforum where it should be posted, not here in General Gun Discussions.


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