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Better Built, Mini 14 VS AR15?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by wildchild2010, May 29, 2013.

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  1. cacoltguy

    cacoltguy Member

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    I own two AR's and also a Mini-14. The Mini is an early 1990's version with the pencil thin barrel. With both Ar's, I assembled the lowers myself and paired both of them to White Oak uppers (one is an A2 upper for service rifle competition the other is an 18 inch flat top) Both the Mini and the Ar's have been nearly 100% reliable. Granted They are more or less range guns and I don't beat on them or drag them through them mud. Nowadays I almost never shoot the Mini though. I enjoy shooting long range and challenging myself in this regard. The Mini is not the tool for this.

    IMO opinion the issues with the Mini-14 have nothing to do with how well it is made. It is excellently made. It all comes down to the horrible barrel Ruger puts on it. It's not a quality control issue but rather a design issue. Ruger never intended for the rifle to be a long range precision tool. Varmint hunting and long range shooting with .223 semi-auto rifles was pretty much non-existent when these designs came out. The barrel is too thin and the harmonics are seriously affected by the piston driven operating rod underneath it. Reportedly the newer versions of the Mini-14 improve upon this. Even still it will never shoot as good as the majority of DGI Ar's out there. AR's were also never designed to be long range precision rifles either, but with the advent of better heavy .223 bullets, match shooters realized decades ago that the Direct Gas impingement system provides for an inherently more accurate platform. Nevertheless, this takes nothing away from what the Mini was designed for. Its a truck gun that will never let you down, eats any ammo you throw into it and is suitable for targets out to about 200 yards.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2013
  2. Ash

    Ash Member

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    Value is subjective - I'd take the Mini over an AR were the prices the same (especially when you compare non-panic pricing).
     
  3. Quentin

    Quentin Member

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    Well then compare the Mini to the S&W M&P-15 Sport. I like the Mini but the Sport is a better rifle for about the same money. Last year I put together a $700 PSA when I could have paid the same or more for a nice Mini-14. I'm keeping the PSA.
     
  4. Ash

    Ash Member

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    Better perhaps for you, but not for me and my uses.
     
  5. 35 Whelen

    35 Whelen Member

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    Ding! Ding! Ding! Winner, winner chicken dinner!

    I still contend that if Mini-14's were featured in Call of Duty, everyone would be cheering for them. AR wins hands-down in a popularity contest. You know...it's cooler!:D

    This simply boils down to two basic firearms that are capable of performing the same basic task. The AR, by design, is probably more accurate and the Mini more reliable. Take your pick.

    35W
     
  6. pintler

    pintler Member

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    You don't see a forward assist on a Mini-14, now do you?

    Sure, it sticks out the side of the bolt. It's a combined charging handle and forward assist :)

    (have both, like both)
     
  7. Welding Rod

    Welding Rod Member

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    I don't think the barrel profile is the main accuracy issue with the older Minis. I think it is a manufacturing process issue with the thinner barrels.

    In my experience the biggest problem with Mini barrels, and many other Ruger bolt gun barrels as well, is a significant change in POI as the barrel heats. This leads to poor accuracy. However if the barrel is only shot cold, the accuracy may be quite reasonable.

    This problem isn't due to the profile so much as too much residual stress. That is a process issue.

    I currently own 1993 vintage Mini my Uncle bought to leave me when he died. I received it new in the box recently. Unlike previous Minis I have owned and shot, this one doesn't walk it's shots across the paper to any great extent as the barrel heats up. It obviously doesn't have a lot of residual or uneven stress in it.

    Dumb luck, but I finally got a good one.

    Point is, I believe this is evidence of manufacturing rather than design issues.

    Additionally, Ruger machine work has had Minis hiitting the street with pretty generous chamber dims and/or headspace. It can be argued that helps lead to reliability under adverse conditions. It can also be argued this isn't conducive to great accuracy.

    If a Mini has generous dims, was that a design feature or a quality control issue? IF all Minis had similar generous dims I would call that a design feature.
     
  8. Justin

    Justin Moderator Emeritus

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    Maybe among weekend plinkers, but when it comes to competitors at the top of the game (High Power, 3 Gun) and LE who put their life on the line, cool factor doesn't even make the bottom of the list.

    The Mini is a good rifle for what it is, which is as a centerfire plinking/truck/'yote/kickin' around type gun, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    However, some people want a gun that does more (whether or not they'll actually shoot that gun to its potential is, of course, something else altogether) and in the vast majority of those cases, they use AR15s.
     
  9. itsa pain

    itsa pain member

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    the minis have the same outside diameter barrel as the M1 garand M14 and the mini would be heavier being ot has a 22 hole drilled in it. they were horribly rifled barrels not thin
     
  10. justice06rr

    justice06rr Member

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    Yep, aware of those. Somehow you never ever see those in real life, while your typical gun owner can have a full-auto suppressed SBR AR...
     
  11. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

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    actually, ac556 are not hard to find. a few years ago they were about $6k and there are plenty for sale. that compared to about $10k at the time for a registered AR lower. having seen and fired them, i'd say the lower price reflects not just the cool factor but also... if you ever wondered how the A-Team could dump a full mag at a person less than 30 yards away and not manage to get a single hit... well, go to knob creek and rent one and see if you can do better :)

    haven't really kept up with class 3 prices since the election. maybe that's all changed.
     
  12. mordechaianiliewicz

    mordechaianiliewicz Member

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    I believe it's the AR-15 platform, potentially (if built well).... However, I don't think that Mini-14s suck either.

    However, as has been said, the versatility, and higher inherent accuracy of AR-15s makes it get the nod.
     
  13. meanmrmustard

    meanmrmustard Member

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    Yup.

    Just like an AK.

    I love hearing how much better the AR platform is due in no small part to its forward assist, that other semis are lacking.

    This said as I point out the charging handle built into the bolt of my Maadi at the range.

    They say talent and intelligence skip a generation!
     
  14. OilyPablo

    OilyPablo Member

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    I've never used my forward assist. Does that make me special?
     
  15. justice06rr

    justice06rr Member

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    Well, i've never seen one anywhere in FL in any LGS. So that makes them hard to find. (rare if you want to coin it that way)

    But you can find an AR15 SBR suppressed in many stores or gunshows. Many LEO/Swat also carry them.


    Lets not forget the HK416. I would like to see a direct comparison between that and a Mini14. if you have to pit the Mini with an AR, you must compare it to the top-end model, not your Walmart special or Frankenbuild..

     
  16. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Tired horse, once again. :)
     
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