Custom Mini-14 vs Piston AR15?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by valnar, Nov 4, 2018.

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  1. valnar

    valnar Member

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    I'm looking to buy a (high-end) piston based AR15 or a custom Ruger Mini-14 for my 5.56 needs. I'm not a fan of the AR15 in general, but a piston based one would be palatable. Ease of cleaning and maintenance is #1 for me. Accuracy and overall platform is second.

    The second main reason is the straight back stock of an AR15 doesn't fit me well. I have a long neck and this is a known problem, but there are ways around that.

    My choices would be a PWS MK116 or a Mini-14 customized by Accuracy Systems. For a level playing field, I would choose the sub 1.5" MOA to get the barrel down to 16.5". I'd choose the .750" barrel.

    Any opinions on these two choices?
    New Rifle Packages Accuracy Systems.jpg
     
  2. Hokie_PhD

    Hokie_PhD Member

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    I’m biased towards ARs as I think they’re an excellemrt platform.
    Easy to use, easy to knock down, easy to field strip and clean and easy to put back together. Add all the possibilities with options and you can put together exactly what’s right for you in just about any caliber. And the cost is usually reasonable unless you go nuts paying for crazy high end name brands.

    I guess my dismissal of the mini14 is for the money you get so much more with an AR. So I’d recommend seeing if you can find a stock and optic that fits you well. Then compare it to the mini you’re looking at. Then find what’s best for you.
     
  3. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Good advice. I'm not biased toward AR's, I don't even own one, but this makes more sense to me. I wouldn't pay the extra money for a piston rifle myself but It's not my money. You might consider buying a $600 AR and shoot it for awhile. Who knows, you may decide you can live without the piston. If you still want a piston upper just buy one and change it out. That's the nice part about buying an AR.

    I have a Mini 14 instead of an AR. I don't care for them much either but I have to admit there's a lot to like there.:D
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  4. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    I’ve seen a few sub-moa Mini’s, two of which were my own and which cost thousands of dollars to buy, build, and rebuild to reach that level of precision. I have NOT witnessed more a dozen sub-moa mini’s, however, despite having competed against a veritable fleet of accurized Mini’s in the early days of 3 gun competition in the Midwest.

    I have built hundreds of sub-moa AR’s, almost all of them for under $1,000.

    If someone gave me a Mini today, I would sell it as quickly as I could to put the monetary value to better use.

    I’m not a fan of the AR-15 by nature, but rather by virtue. Modularity, serviceability, precision return on investment, durability, reliability, versatility... the Mini’s are a dull edged lock-back single blade pocket knife in a drawer full of multitools and Swiss Army knives.
     
  5. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    I'd just get an AR with a high rise scope mount.

    Accurizing Minis is a bit like making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. You'll be paying $750 for the gun plus another $800 for shop work just to get to the same kind of place that a $500 Wally World DPMS starts at. If you like the look, fine, if you like the stock fit, fine, but it's not smart to throw a ton of money at it to make the rifle something it isn't
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  6. AlexanderA
    • Contributing Member

    AlexanderA Member

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    See if you can find a good-condition used Daewoo K-2. The Koreans took the best features of the AR, the AK, and the FAL and came up with a rifle that is piston-driven and uses standard magazines.

    I'm waiting for someone to make the Daewoo domestically, since further importation seems to be prohibited.

    ETA: Early Daewoo imports had a 1:12 barrel, whereas later ones had a 1:7 barrel. Barrels (along with their permanently-attached barrel extensions) are easy to replace. They're held on by a press-fit pin that comes up through the bottom of the upper receiver. This press-fit pin is hollow and is internally threaded. You can thread in a common Allen set screw and the pin will back right out. The trick is to find a suitable replacement barrel.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
  7. BSA1

    BSA1 member

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    To paraphase I have spent enough trigger time with the Mini14 to form a opinion about it.

    Ease of cleaning and maintenance is #1 for me.


    With the Mini14 you lock open the bolt and clean the rifle from the muzzle end taking care not to damage the crown. Then use toothbrush, picks, swabs and patches to clean the bolt, inside of the receiver, etc.

    With the AR-15 you push out the Takedown Pin and pivot the Upper Receiver away from the Lower. You then can remove the Bolt Carrier Group for cleaning, With the BCG removed you can clean the barrel from the chamber. I remove the entire Upper to clean it.

    With the Upper Receiver off you can clean and inspect the Fire Control Group. Since the Lower is open it is easy to clean it without needing a lot of swabs and picks.

    Forget about non-gunsmith repair with the Mini whereas almost all maintenance and repair of the AR can be done by the owner with just a few tools.

    Broken firing pin? Good luck with replacing that on the Mini14. With the AR you don't even need any tools.

    Accuracy and overall platform is second.

    No brainer here, Even budget AR's outshoot Mini-14's. As the saying goes only accurate guns are interesting. I am curious why you want a piston system.

    Platform. The modular design of AR makes it very easy for the owner to maintain. Parts replacement are a snap and there is a huge selection of custom parts out there for it.
     
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  8. valnar

    valnar Member

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    OK, thanks everyone. I'll give up my Mini aspirations.
     
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  9. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    I have both DI and Piston AR's, as well as the Mini:
    IMG_20181020_204351.jpg IMG_20180313_015736.jpg IMG_20180313_015340.jpg
    I was very skeptical of DI after cutting my teeth on Garands, M1 carbines, etc.....so I got the Mini first. Mine has had 100% reliability and is minute-of-enemy accurate, but it is no Designated Marksman rifle, which is what the OP seems to be looking for.

    Have I noticed any difference in accuracy, reliability, heat buildup or maintainance needs with either AR? Nope.

    In fact, the DI gun is actually easier to clean and I don't have to worry about hot gas and debris getting blown into my optics, unlike the piston gun which exhausts upwards. Add to that the fact that the piston restricts your handguard options and uses a dedicated bolt carrier so if it did break, good luck scrounging parts in the post-apocalyptic wasteland.

    Unless you're doing lots of full-auto mag dumps, a high-quality DI gun will do just as well as a piston gun.
     
  10. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    I have a ranch rifle and a bunch of AR’s. If I thought the Ruger was a superior platform I’d have an AR and a bunch of them.

    These days you can get an AR that will outshoot a mini for less money.
     
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  11. <*(((><

    <*(((>< Member

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    I’ve never understood civilians thoughts on DI AR’s not being suitable for use due to its gas system. Do they not realize our military fields them by the 10’s of thousands everyday, as well as militaries around the world. But “joe civilian” is worried some pumpkins might get away on the firing line.

    In regards to cleanability (which was a key point to the OP’s worries) I’ll take a DI AR over a Mini-14 any day (and the reason was stated by @BSA1 succinctly above). And in regard to DI vs. Piston, does one think a piston driven AR magically cleans themselves? Not saying piston ARs don’t have merits but it’s really not that big of a difference in my opinion (and really not enough for me to have to have proprietary parts for what should be considered (“America’s Modern-day musket”) and I run my DI’s suppresses as well.

    Primary Weapons does make a fine AR though, one cannot go wrong with them other than price.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018
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  12. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    The AR is a superior rifle in every way to the mini. The only edge the mini 14 has is that it can sometimes be owned in jurisdictions where the AR is illegal. Personally, I don't care for the piston guns, and yes I have used them. I used a DI rifle for 23 years in the mil, and never felt as if my weapon was inferior. I also like my AR to be compatible with most other AR's regarding replacement parts.
     
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  13. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    Really consider that for a second - when liberal gun grabbers wrote a law to prohibit the AR - because it is too effective - they didn’t bother to also prohibit the Mini... says a lot to me about its relative efficacy.
     
  14. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

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    We all know those laws are about looks rather than function. Minis look PC, ARs don't. I don't think the legislatures writing those laws have any clue how effective either gun actually is.
     
  15. cheygriz

    cheygriz member

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    AR

    WITHOUT the piston.
     
  16. ttarp

    ttarp Member

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    This is either satire, or a lamentably ignorant statement. Surely it was satire, its just hard to tell sometimes.
     
  17. Husker Hunter

    Husker Hunter Member

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    Looked at the Accuracy Systems link. If money wasn't an issue, I'd go with the custom mini, but that's just my opinion. Seems like everyone and their brother have a super accurate AR. Like Varminterror said, how many people you know with a sub-MOA mini?
     
  18. DannyLandrum

    DannyLandrum Member

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    If accuracy is your concern, get a DI gun over a piston gun, and definitely do NOT get any Mini-14. The AR is better in every way (except charging handle).
     
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  19. kwg020

    kwg020 Member

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    I have 3 Mini 14's. 2 have been modified by ASI. One with a heavy barrel and one with a thinner .625 diameter barrel. The .625 barrel is really nice to pack around and reasonably accurate. ASI uses quality barrel blanks. The ergonomics of the Mini are traditional and familiar. My heavy barrel Mini is too heavy to just pack around. I had it built to shoot prairie dogs which I have not yet had the chance to do. If you like the ergonomics of the traditional style rifles I see no issue with paying the extra money to have ASI build one. Personally, I would look for a bubba'd rifle for cheap and have ASI do the modifications and put on the new barrel. Buying a rifle from ASI will be pricey. Their rifles are brand new series 530 and up direct from the distributor. ($$$) The most I would pay for a skinny barrel Mini would be less than $350. Every body seems to want the new price for an old rifle but the demand for the skinny barrel Mini's have a very small market.

    I have several AR's and I enjoy shooting them but they don't have the ergonomics of the Mini's. I won't own a piston AR. I don't see the value. The direct impingement rifles have been working for over 50 years now. With a little care and cleaning the DI rifles are almost fool proof. The design of the AR will always be more accurate than the Garand rotating bolt style rifles. But, if ergonomics are important, an ASI Mini is a close second to the accuracy of the AR's. A 16.5 inch .750 diameter ASI rifle would be the bomb.

    kwg
     
  20. Catpop

    Catpop Member

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    In the beginning, a new AR was $750 and mini was $400. (Prices from memory)
    Today a new AR is $399 and mini ranch list for over a grand (but don’t see mini very often any more)

    I did have a mini ranch ($350) then and still have it.
    I didn’t have AR (A1 model) then, I do have AR now ($499)( can buy same today for $399)

    Each has its merits and faults.

    But if RUGER had designed a heavier barrel (my opinion .750 minimum) on the mini from the get go, it’s stature against the AR would be much higher today! One of the very few design flaws Mr. Bill made in his life!

    You live in the greatest nation in the world! You have the right to own one! And you have the right to choose which one! And it is available for your purchase today!
    You can’t get those options anywhere else in the world!
     
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  21. NIGHTLORD40K

    NIGHTLORD40K Member

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    Well, don't forget the early ARs, like the SP1, had incredibly thin barrels too- but yes, it took far longer for Ruger to address the issue.
    'Merica!:)
     
  22. Kame B.

    Kame B. Guest

    That is a shame, you could have had one of these.

    1.png
    That's my old 188 Mini 14, it has a $250 aftermarket Shilen barrel with a $100 install job. I've reduced the gas bushing to .050, bedded the stock, added recoil buffers, faced up the head of the slide assembly to sit square with the gasblock, a better ventilated hand guard that doesn't cover the arm of the charging handle, and a Wolff extra power recoil spring. It's not magic to make a Mini 14 accurate, it's a solid gun, with a sound design, they are just not fitted together like a national match M1A. I've had to do some file and fitting to the slide assembly to meet up with the gas block better, evened out the sides, and leveled the head so it doesn't slide out of place when riding up and down the barrel. The stock has to be bedded with the receiver, any slack in the stock will throw shots off by inches. The stock and rifle needs to be like one, and the slide assembly needs to flow freely and move evenly. You dont have to poor thousands of dollars into a Mini, you just got to use your head and understand the physics of a rifle.

    Oh, good ammo also helps:


    As you can see in my video the rifle is a solid MOA shooter, with little money invested, but a lot of hands on time. Also the reward of something you have done by hand is priceless.
     
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  23. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Has to be satire or maybe a DP. Ruger has sold close to 3 million Mini 14's and the rifle has a following. Used ones go pretty fast at my LGS. :)
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
  24. someguy2800

    someguy2800 Member

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    After a couple years of shooting AR’s and having built a half dozen. I have no idea what the appeal of a piston AR is. The DI is just not a problem. No matter where you put the gas system it gets dirty. On a piston AR it’s under the handguard so you don’t have access to it. On a DI AR you pull the bolt carrier out and the whole gas system is sitting in your hand. It comes apart with no tools and there are very few parts.

    On the same note people always say the AR15 is complex. I have no idea what they are talking about. They are as simple as a semi auto rifle can be built. They are simpiler, have fewer parts, and are easier to take apart and assemble than any semi auto firearm I’ve ever encountered.

    I’m not a big fan of semi autos to begin with, but I just don’t think you can do any better than an AR15 at any price if your looking for an accurate and reliable semi auto rifle, period.
     
  25. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    I'm wondering what the big deal is with sub-MOA AR's these days. People spend a lot of money for sub-MOA AR's. I'll bet if you pulled a dozen M4's from a military rack not a single one would shoot sub-MOA. 2 MOA more than likely. It's a rifle designed for a military application (suppressive fire), not civilian benchrest shooting which is where I see most AR's. Semi autos are really poor platforms for sub-MOA. Just about any serious benchrest shooter will tell you that.

    Being a benchrest shooter that has built a sub-MOA bolt rifle for that application all of this this seems very odd to me.

    AR roadkill.

    wm-6855990.jpg

    roadkill.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2018
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