A little info about the Mini-14 please.


January 31, 2013, 07:16 PM
A neighbor is offering to sell me a Ruger Mini-14, SS, wood stocked Ranch Rifle. He bought it new 25 years ago after the panic of a possible weapons ban caused by the shooting of children in California during the late 80s.

He paid $500 (I saw the receipt) for it and it has never been fired since he took possession. He said to make him an offer.

I have an AR-15 and I like it very much, but I have no personal experience with the Mini-14. I did take a carbine course about ten years ago where 2 out of 20 shooters were using the Mini-14. They had no failures (only a DPMS AR-type failed), but I did notice that they were significantly louder than the other AR-type rifles.

My questions are:
1 - Are they reliable
2 - Are they accurate
2 - Are they prone to any major breakdowns
3 - What would be a reasonable offer to make him


If you enjoyed reading about "A little info about the Mini-14 please." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
January 31, 2013, 07:25 PM
This has been beaten to death on this forum and elsewhere online... But heres a quick answer:

1. Yes, very reliable
2. Older ones are generally 3-4moa rifles, newer ones 1-2moa
3. No major breakdowns or issues
4. They are selling on Gunbroker right now for about $800-$1200 new in box. I would offer him somewhere around $400-$600 to be fair.

I speak from experience, not internet hyperbole. I have had 4 Mini's. Two older ones and 2 newer ones (3 basic and one factory target). The target model is a .68 moa rifle btw:D

January 31, 2013, 07:36 PM
Love mini's, have a few...

They are extremely reliable, with factory magazines.
They are "combat rifle" accurate. The sights on the one you are talking about leave a bit to be desired, scoped they are not "sniper" accurate but plenty accurate enough.
No real breakdowns of any kind except for non-ruger mags and bad ammo.
As for offer, they were quite high a few weeks ago but since they made the "not to be banned" list the price should drop accordingly. I paid $450 for a used stainless one with a wood stock this last summer. Offer what you are comfortable with.

January 31, 2013, 07:48 PM
I have owned minis off and on for 30 years, currently got a series 181 and a new series 581 tactical. people either hate them or love them.accuracy is a hit or miss (pardon the pun) on the older minis. the new ones like the 581 are very accurate with a heavier barrel. you do not want to be standing to the side of the mini when someone is firing cause they eject big time. like all semit auto firearms right now, prices are outrageous as driven by the market. a tough time right now to buy or sell a rifle like this to a friend.

January 31, 2013, 09:08 PM
Jackal has it pretty much pegged. I have 4 AR's and 2 Mini's. When my son and I go out shooting for fun, we usually pick the Mini's. Just more fun, to me and easier to clean. A wood and stainless Mini is a beautiful rifle. And to top it off, the older rifles have better rear sights and the metal finish is superior to the new Mini's. I'd jump on it!

Edit: If you don't buy it, PM me his info.

Loc n Load
January 31, 2013, 09:48 PM
Been shooting Mini's since they came out, they are reliable, rugged and as stated in previous posts, 3-4 MOA and better for the newer ones.....Over the past 30 years I have shot thousands of rounds thru Mini's.....have one now with the Choate front sight and mounted in a Choate side folder.....this carbine has rode thousands of miles with me.....it is stainless and has been duracoated( not into big shiny guns).
The problem that people have with the Mini is that they try to make it something that it was never intended to be. If you keep your expectations real, It will serve you well.

Art Eatman
January 31, 2013, 09:49 PM
I've had four of the early models. All were quite reliable for the first shot going where I wanted, so for me as a hunter, they were as good as any of my better-group bolt actions. I'd likely still have one, but people kept waving green stuff at me and profit is profit.

With my tri-focal eyes in those days, I always put a Weaver K4 on top.

I always, repeat always, had 1.5 MOA groups for the first three shots. Again, my interest was first as a hunter and then as a plinker. Did in a fair number of coyotes and a good many jackrabbits.

Even the detractors are honest enough to not bum-rap them for reliability.

Noise is a barrel-length function, so they'd be the same as an equivalent length AR.

January 31, 2013, 10:36 PM
I went over to his place and offered him $500 (in the middle of Jackal’s range) and he said, “Show me the money”.

I brought it home and tomorrow I’ll give it a cleaning and pop off a few rounds on the back 12 to test for function and some off-hand plinking. The private range I belong to reopens on Feb. 15th and I’ll bring it out on a weekday after that to break it in and see how accuracy shapes up.

Again, thanks to all…..Frankie

Carl N. Brown
January 31, 2013, 10:45 PM
you do not want to be standing to the side of the mini when someone is firing cause they eject big time.

My cousin has one. If you were in a firefight, you would not have to cover your right front flank: the ejected empties would have you covered. They eject like the CZ52 pistol with firmness and vigor (only your rear right flank is covered by the CZ52 ejection pattern out to 15 paces 4:00 to 5:00 o'clock).

January 31, 2013, 10:57 PM

Did you get mags too?

If not you might need to take a mortgage out to get a couple.

Sun Tzu warrior
January 31, 2013, 11:12 PM
I am a fan of Mini 14's, never seen an issue with a SS model, I have had one blued model with the gas tube and piston worn out. (bought it used, it wasn't kept clean) I replaced these two parts with stainless replacements, (about $10) and the friend who bought it from me has been using it for 20 years now without any problems. Most folks that complain about these early models use cheaply made aftermarket mags, and the wrong weight projectiles for the barrel twist. I have had AR's and by comparison, unless it's a newer model with a gas piston they are jam-o-matics! Mini's are the American AK as far as reliability goes. I'm sure there will be those who would like to debate this, but they will not change my mind.

January 31, 2013, 11:31 PM
I went over to his place and offered him $500 (in the middle of Jackal’s range) and he said, “Show me the money”.

Good job. They are great rifles, always been my go to gun for sub 200 yards coyotes (any further, I have my CZ 527 Varmint for that:D). Mini's are just the rifle you grab when you need it to work.

February 1, 2013, 12:44 AM
You did extremely well, my friend; especially considering the mood of the nation. Heck, one of my fellow workers just bought a NIB model 5819 (somewhat rare) Mini-14 for a grand and I thought he got a good deal. Please post a picture.

February 1, 2013, 12:48 AM
a 5819 ? thats lots of numbers.

February 1, 2013, 12:55 AM
id say 600 is a good deal. the new basic ones are supposed to go for like 650-700. i wouldnt pay more than that.

the current climate right now is kinda stupid. i think in 2 months (unless something happens) the market will be flooded with mags, ar lowers, and all the other stuff people have been panic buying. and since there will be so many the price will be back to normal.

February 1, 2013, 01:06 AM
I am a fan of Mini 14's ... I have had AR's and by comparison, unless it's a newer model with a gas piston they are jam-o-matics! ...

Sounds like you bought Vulcan, Hesse and Blackthorne! :D Anyway your AR experience is far, far from the norm.

February 1, 2013, 01:09 AM
A 5819 is the stainless tactical. I was afraid that might be confusing. I guess most are accustomed to using 180 or 580 series serial numbers.

February 1, 2013, 04:05 AM
I have a 14 and a 30. They throw brass into the next county as delivered. I replaced the gas bushings in mine to neatly drop the brass about 6-8 ft to my right.
As for accuracy, well, they do drift as the barrel heats up. Sight it in for the first shot if hunting with it.
Many of us have had issues with some mil style steel cased ammo not lighting off reliably, the firing pin just doesn't hit hard enough. Be aware if you break a firing pin trying to solve this problem with a stouter spring that Ruger will NOT sell you a replacement. They demand the gun be sent back to them for fitting. IMO that really stinks.
Still I have no plans to get rid of my 2:)

February 1, 2013, 04:43 AM
I have not seem one for sale for under 1200 bucks used for like 2 months.

February 1, 2013, 08:20 AM
I have not seem one for sale for under 1200 bucks used for like 2 months.
That was when people thought they would be banned. Then "the list" came out, they were not on it.

Taurus 617 CCW
February 1, 2013, 09:17 AM
The mini 14 is a great gun and serves its intended purpose well. It was designed as a miniaturized version of the M-14 rifle. It utilizes a similar rotating bolt design and is quite reliable. It was not designed to be a sniper rifle and can become costly to turn it into one. Mounting a scope on older mini 14's is sort of a challenge but can be done. New ones have a scope ring attachment integrated into the receiver. If you are looking for a reliable plinker, or a good gun to invest in, go for it. If you want a sniper rifle, keep looking.

February 1, 2013, 09:36 AM
Congrats! I loved my Mini-14. They're reliable, and operate with authority. $500 for a solid rifle is a good day in my book. If you notice issues with rounds drifting as the barrel heats up, you can install a rod which supposedly acts as a heat sink and dampens harmonics:


I owned a 186, but never bothered to monkey with any add ons. The rifle was plenty accurate for me.


February 1, 2013, 05:19 PM
Cool, congrats! Good deal, IMO. Keep your eyes open for a used Accu-Strut... mine works a treat. I paid about $60 IIRC.

Click for larger if desired
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/Ruger%20Mini-14%20Burris%20red%20dot%20sight/th_452cf876.jpg (http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/Ruger%20Mini-14%20Burris%20red%20dot%20sight/452cf876.jpg)
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/Ruger%20Mini-14%20Burris%20red%20dot%20sight/th_44d6812c.jpg (http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/Ruger%20Mini-14%20Burris%20red%20dot%20sight/44d6812c.jpg)
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/Ruger%20Mini-14%20Burris%20red%20dot%20sight/th_fff0e279.jpg (http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/Ruger%20Mini-14%20Burris%20red%20dot%20sight/fff0e279.jpg)
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/Ruger%20Mini-14%20Burris%20red%20dot%20sight/th_02001d64.jpg (http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/Ruger%20Mini-14%20Burris%20red%20dot%20sight/02001d64.jpg)

http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/th_IMG_4018.jpg (http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/IMG_4018.jpg)
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/th_IMG_4020.jpg (http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/IMG_4020.jpg)
http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/th_IMG_4021.jpg (http://i12.photobucket.com/albums/a206/1KPerDay/Guns/IMG_4021.jpg)

February 1, 2013, 05:30 PM
I recently picked up a NIB mini 14 tacticle, finally got to shoot it a little last week and it was a blast, seemed very accurate out of the box with out having to adjust the sights, easy to hit a bullseye off hand at 20 yards or so anyway. I hope to shoot it at longer ranges at a range soon when ammo becomes more available, just shot a couple 20 rnd mags worth in my back yard. I ordered an ATI adjustable/ folding stock for it but have not gotten it yet.

I am a little nervous about taking it all apart and cleaning it I will admit, have not done that yet, I was wondering how often this needs to be done, in general. Sounds like you got a good deal, I paid $895.00 for mine and thought I did ok considering all the crap going on right now, this is actually my first semi auto rifle other than my 10/22.

Sun Tzu warrior
February 1, 2013, 05:58 PM
@Quentin They were colt! @ Dee It is simple no tools needed!

February 1, 2013, 06:12 PM
Dee, if you go to Ruger.com they have videos to show you how to disassemble for cleaning. Its a simple process.

February 1, 2013, 07:03 PM
Thanks, I saw a few you tube vids, just haven't tried it yet, I'm probably making too big a deal about it I guess

February 2, 2013, 11:10 AM
Thanks, I saw a few you tube vids, just haven't tried it yet, I'm probably making too big a deal about it I guess
The only hard part is the bolt and charging handle. It takes a few times to get the hang of getting them in the "just-right" position for them to fall into place. Once you do though it becomes very easy.

February 2, 2013, 05:12 PM
Sorry for the delay in reporting on the function test. The flu bug scored a bullseye on me and I will be side lined for a few more days.

Jackal - “This has been beaten to death on this forum and elsewhere online…” I just got here on Jan. 23, 2013 and I was unaware that this was beaten to death. I did try the search function, but failed miserably. If I stick around long enough maybe I’ll get the hang of it.

I do want to thank you for getting me in the ballpark with my offer. I wasn’t really looking for a Mini-14, but the opportunity and price brought me around. From some of the remarks it looks like you helped me to seal a really good deal.

ID-shooting - The original 5 round Ruger mag was in the box. I didn’t think to ask him if he had any other mags for sale and as a second thought he brought out:

2 - 30 round Ram-Line mags (designated for: Mini--14/AR-15).

2 - 30 round Thermold mags (no gun designation, but has the Ruger hole).

1 - 30 round U.S.A. Magazine (still in sealed wrapper).

NO CHARGE. I have some Thermolds for My AR-15 and they have worked without issue. I have never even seen anyone use a Ram-Line mag for a Mini-14 or AR-15. I have no experience with U.S.A. mags, but I have heard them being bad-mouthed. Any comments on these?

If I like the gun then I think that I did much better than just okay!

Izhevsk - Thanks for the links on the accurizers. Now I’ll know some places to go to fix any accuracy problems.

1KPerDay - Do you know how the Accu-strut measures up against the Har-Bar or the Mo-Rod? Anyone else with an opinion?

Many thanks to everyone for their input. I got a whole lot more than I bargained for.

February 2, 2013, 07:55 PM
I have a older 185 Mini 14, it "ain't" a tack driver, but neither am I at age 68. But, it never, never gives me any grief. I went that way after some bad, very bad sessions with the early M 16's in Nam (before the thumb assist) and had the Btn. armorer replace the second one issued to me.

I have a newer AR 15, has a lot of improvments, but will still give me troubles that the Mini 14 does not, with the same ammo. Like someone earlier said it is the American AK. If I had to grab something that I needed to go bang, it would be the Mini.

February 3, 2013, 08:42 AM
Those hi-cap magazines may or may not function in your mini. The factory Ruger 20 round magazines work flawlessly. They're pricey but worth it.

February 3, 2013, 02:55 PM
2@low8: About 10-11 years ago I bought 10 USA mags on sale for my Mini-14 at $4.95 each from Midway.

Eight of them would not function right. I packed them all up and sent them back for a refund. Maybe the ones produced today are okay, but I can’t help you with that.

February 3, 2013, 03:03 PM
Those hi-cap magazines may or may not function in your mini. It only takes a little knowledge of how a magazine works and a little tweeking will get those aftermarket mags humming with the best of them.

February 3, 2013, 03:06 PM
I recently sold my 185-series Mini, simply because the current sales prices were too good to pass up. If it wasn't the case, I would've kept it forever. It was amongst the most reliable semi-autos I've owned...steel cased or brass ammo, .223 or 5.56, it didn't care. Ate it all. I primarily ran Precision Mag Industries & USA Magazines 20 & 30 round mags through it with no problems whatsoever. I used an Accu-Strut LT for a little while, and although it made a bit of a difference once the barrel heated up, the added weight was off-putting as I saw it running contrary to the purpose of the rifle.

I'd recommend a Mini-14 to anybody provided they had reasonable accuracy expectations (it's no AR-15), though I'd probably spring for a new model with the better barrel to improve upon that.


February 4, 2013, 05:18 PM
Hey guys, sorry if this a dumb question:confused:- I was at Academy sports the other day and they only had tracer rounds in 5.56, I got one box of those but I wanted to make sure they are safe to shoot out of a Mini though before I try it.

February 4, 2013, 05:28 PM
Yes, they're safe for the rifle. Whether they're safe in your locale is another issue. :)

February 4, 2013, 06:45 PM
Thanks 1k it would be cool to see some of those light off at night sometime I'll bet

February 4, 2013, 06:50 PM
I guess I should add a disclaimer... they're as safe as tracer rounds are out of any 5.56... they've been known to go off in the barrel, etc. Consult your lawyer and get written approval from Barry O before shooting, etc. :D

February 4, 2013, 07:07 PM
Hmm, one going off in the barrel doesn't sound like that would end too well. Good advice about consulting our Supream Leader first in any case though, :banghead:

February 4, 2013, 07:10 PM
I have a Mini-14 GB and it has never given me problems. It came from the MS State Troopers and it is in that small group of rifles I will never sell.

February 4, 2013, 09:12 PM
I have a 581- series Mini-14 wood stock that is blued that came with the factory 5 round mag. I also have 4 ProMag 20 rounders that work
flawlessly in it. I have a Centerpoint 3-9x 40 scope on it and it shoots very well with iron sites and with the scope.
Best money I have ever spent on a rifle.

Sun Tzu warrior
February 4, 2013, 09:54 PM
Every mini 14 I have ever had would hit the gong at 300 yards, every time, with the military style peep sight, just make sure the ammo you use is correct for the rate of twist in your barrel. Not sure about the fold down sights on a ranch, never owned one!

Welding Rod
February 4, 2013, 11:22 PM
I own a stainless / wood that my Uncle willed to me and have owned 2 or 3 others prior, including one current version.

Oddly my Uncle's, which was built in '93, is as good shooting as the current version was. It shoots about 2 MOA and the POI doesn't move with barrel heat under a normal shooting cadence.

It put a Tech Sight on the rear and though it was a worthwhile improvement.

The gun is great fun to shoot off hand.

The triggers on all of them have been horrible though.

I didn't find my Minis to be nearly as reliable as my ARs either, and I shot and shoot the ARs at about a 10 fold volume over the Minis. Ruger seems to occassionly butch up their guns with sloppy machine work. I seem to be lucky about finding these specimens.

February 5, 2013, 06:01 AM
In the great white North, the Mini is long favored over the AR when things get really cold. Reliability is certainly a location, location, location thing.

Though in the muggy Gulf South, my Mini has never jammed - of course, I only use Ruger mags.

February 5, 2013, 01:28 PM
I'm on my third Mini so I know a little. Every individual rifle seems to shoot differently in regard to the older ones, newer ones can be quite accurate.

First was a blued 185 series ranch, 1.5 inch groups at 100 yrds with a 3x9 scope and hot barrel. Regret selling this one.

Second was a stainless standard 186. Best it could do was 4" @ 100 yrds. It was a dog but never malfunctioned.


Third my 582 Tactical. 1.25 " @ 50 yrds with irons and a hot barrel and progressively worse eyesight. I can get that down to an inch easily. Here it is with a 30 rd Thermold, the only aftermarket mags I trust.



Between the three and thousands and thousands of rounds I can remember approximately 2 malfunctions. Thats pretty darn reliable.

Roadking Rider
February 5, 2013, 01:58 PM
For a pistol,it would be a 1911 or a CZ75B. For a rifle it would be a Mini14 ranch rifle or a 30/30. Own all four all,love them all.:D

February 5, 2013, 05:40 PM
Good looking mini's greyeyezz, that tacticle one you have pictured is the same as the one that I picked up recently, so far I sure like it. I have an ATI folding/ adjustable stock that should arrive shortly, hopefully that will go on ok. Plan to get a forward grip and mount a light and pressure switch on the front rails and maybe later on get a good red dot like an aimpoint but the iron sights seem to work great for now.

February 5, 2013, 11:47 PM
I like it!

This morning I cleaned the barrel and chamber then I oiled it and took it out to the backyard for some function testing. Even though there is no restriction on shooting on your property as long as you have 5 acres or more, I limited myself to 15 shots because there are neighbors who are in earshot.

I put 5 rounds in 3 of the different types of mags and there were no glitches. I shot at unopened soda cans and water filled 2 liter plastic bottles with nary a miss… not hard to do at 25 yards. I’ll give it an accuracy test using full mags at the range in 10 days when it reopens.

I can see why so may posters had good things to say about it. I thought it was very handy and compact. It came up to my shoulder very naturally… just like the shotgun I use for international skeet. I can see that this rifle is going to become a favorite. My English-stocked 1100 that I usually carry on my walks on my property may have to share duties with the Mini-14.

Welding Rod
February 6, 2013, 12:46 AM
I think you are right. I find the qucik handling character of the Mini one of its greatest assets.

If you enjoyed reading about "A little info about the Mini-14 please." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!