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.