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M16 OR MINI 14 FOR FIGHTING IN VIETNAM?

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by mbdolfin, Feb 26, 2007.

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  1. mbdolfin

    mbdolfin Member

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    I bought my first colt ar15 about 20 years ago from a guy that claimed to be a retired army armorer.
    He made a comment to me that he would have rather seen our troops in Vietnam issued the mini 14 over the m16. He says it is a more reliable weapon all around.
    I never shot the mini 14 and i don't even know if it was around in the early 60s.
    Just wondering what everyones thoughts are on that.
     
  2. GreenFurniture

    GreenFurniture Member

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    uh...............

    Mini 14?

    That wasn't an option so I'll stick with the M16.
     
  3. Devonai

    Devonai Member

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    Given factory magazines, a chrome-lined barrel, a cleaning kit, and a diligent squad leader, I would consider the two equal for use in combat.

    I do not see the Mini-14 gaining an advantage over the M16A1 in any respect.
     
  4. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    The Mini 14 is not as accurate, not as reliable, not as ergonomic, not as easy to field strip, has a crappy wooden stock........ no way would any ordnance board give it a second look.
     
  5. Gator

    Gator Member

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    I don't think the Mini-14s wood stock is crappy, but the M16 is a far better rifle.
    Are you sure he said Mini-14 and not M-14? Then his statement would make perfect sense.
     
  6. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    Sure he didn't mean the M-14?

    M-14 is no more reliable than the M-16 these days, but early on the M16 had a well-earned bad reputation.

    Mini-14 was not around during the Vietnam war, however they were and most still are decidedly less accurate, more fragile, and no more reliable than the M-16. They certainly can't take the full-auto fire for long either.

    There WERE actually alternatives to the M16 that were real and tested. The Stoner 63 was an excellent example. The Marines wanted the gun, but cited the advanced state of production/adoption of the M16 by the other services and roughly equal performance in the field as reasons for sticking with the M16. (This was pre-production Stoner 63's vs. mature production model M16's, but I'm not second-guessing the Corps on this decision. It was sound.)

    The AR-18 was also under-developed and unappreciated although many aspects of this Armalite gun were doubtless superior.

    In the end, the M16 had the momentum, ergonomics, sex appeal, and it was just Good Enough to preclude the use of any other weapon.

    BTW, I'd have preferred the M16 myself were I over there... Then again, I know how to clean the gun too. If you'd given me a Mini-14, i'd have tossed it for anything else the first chance I got. I'm talking M2 carbines, Grease Guns, Tommy guns, BAR's, M60's, Sterlings, Stens, MP40's. Whatever, so long as it fired quick and reliably.

    The BS artist you got the gun from might have been an armorer to keep him out of the field!!!
     
  7. mbdolfin

    mbdolfin Member

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    HE SAID MINI 14 NOT M-14

    he said mini 14 not m-14
     
  8. blackhawk2000

    blackhawk2000 member

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    Ask some of the carbine trainers, if any minis make it through a class.
     
  9. g5reality

    g5reality member

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    In Vietnam

    The first M16's sucked. If he's speaking to the reilability of the mini-14 I agree. They're both chambered for the same round. If the Mini were fully auto it might be a consideration. A mini-14 can be dressed up like any AR or M-16, fires the same round, has about the the same range & accuracy. The AR is based on the M14, predecessor to the M-16. I personally would rather have a M-14 or M1A fully auto with a .308 round than a .223 round. Also early M16's jammed alot unless they were totally clean. This was the argument in favor of the M14/M1A. They were more reliable in vietnam.

    This is of Course all based on early 60's rifles IN VIETNAM. The mini wasn't invented until 1974. Never had a chance to be proven in that scenereo
     
  10. Kor

    Kor Member

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    Mini-14 in VietNam...

    ...as produced, I'd say NO. As a former Mini(standard, not Ranch Rifle) owner, I have to say that the rear sight was not sturdy enough for protracted combat use, and the wood stock would be subject to swelling in a high-humidity environment.

    However, the basic design has much to recommend it, especially the tappet-piston operation vs. M16-direct-gas; IIRC Bill Ruger Sr. related in a book how he once showed a Mini-14 prototype to Col. Rene Studler of the Army Ordnance Board, who got bug-eyed and quiet, almost like he was going to slap his forehead and say, "I coulda had a V-8;" Ruger said that if he'd developed the Mini-14 ten years earlier, it might have become the Army issue rifle, as it was less of a "wrench" to the old-school officers and non-coms than the M-16's then-unconventional handling and field-stripping.

    IF the Mini-14 design had been "ruggedized," it might have served well in combat - give it better sights, a synthetic stock, and make jillions of top-quality magazines, and who knows...
     
  11. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    Bear in mind also that the M-16 was the very first American military rifle to go straight from the drawing board to the battlefield. No extensive field testng, no PIP (product improvement programs) etc.

    The first M-16s were issued without cleaning kits, and without chrome lined bores and chambers. Eugene Stoner specified that EXTRUDED powder was to be used exclusively, and the Duphi (doophusses?) from the ordnance board INSISTED on ordering the ammo with dirty burning ball powder.

    And if that wasn't enough, they issued water soluble LSA oil in the jungle!

    There were folks in the command structure of both the army and marine corp that wanted to keep the M-14, and they were hell bent on sabotaging the M-16 program. And they got a bunch of troops killed in the process.
     
  12. GRIZ22

    GRIZ22 Member

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    The Mini14 is:

    1. About as accurate as your run of the mill M14.

    2. I would rate the reliability of a Mini 14 along with a M14 or M16. The gas system in a Mini14 is basically an improvement of the M14's which was an improvement over the M1's.

    3. Ergonomics are subjective. You had to tilt the mag when inserting in an M14, Controls are basically the same as a M14.

    4. Fieldstrips the same as a M14. You don't have all the tiny parts like the firing pin, firing pin retainer, or cam pin like a M16.

    5. The stock should be synthetic I'll agree along with a stronger rear sight and heavier barrel.

    I agree.

    I had a M14 when I first got to Vietnam. I later got a M16 which I carried most of my tour. The M14 would have been better for long range shooting but there wasn't a lot of that where I was. I cleaned my M16 as I was trained and had no problems. I considered that fact you could carry more ammo a plus. A claymore bag and bandolier gave you 21 mags more than 400 rds. There is no way I could have carried 400 rds of 7.62 NATO with everything else,
     
  13. g5reality

    g5reality member

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    GRIZ22

    GRIZ22,

    Thanks for the first hand account and Thank you for your service.
     
  14. AH-1

    AH-1 Member In Memoriam

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    ditto.
    "some" of these guys here have never had to "hump" in the field so they just don't know how much any extra weight can make a big difference.
    pete
     
  15. rayman

    rayman Member

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    Good enough for Government work

    The GB model is a nice & very capable weapon. In the hands of a well trained California Correctional Officer, the Mini can do a lot of good in a short ammount of time with not a lot of cleaning. Any prison guards out there concur?;)
     
  16. Gator

    Gator Member

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    GRIZ22, I respectfully disagree on two points:

    Standard service grade accuracy for an M14 is 2-3 MOA, it is a very rare Mini-14 that can even come close to that. And,

    The Mini-14's gas system was modeled after the M1 Carbine tappet system, which is totally different than the M1/M14.

    I like the idea of the Mini-14, but as is it just isn't up to snuff as a service rifle. If Ruger ever gets it right I'll buy another one.

    Thank you for your service.
     
  17. Stretchman

    Stretchman member

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    The original design was for the .308 caliber, and the rifle was designed around it, from what I understand. Then the transition was made to the .223, and the rifle was rebarreled and re magged for it, I think. Could be wrong. But it may be why it took some time to work the bugs out of it. That's the stoner story I heard.
     
  18. Byron

    Byron Member

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    Griz22, Well said. Welcome Home.
    I had no problems with my 16,I kept it clean but all infantryman should keep their rifles clean.
    The Mini 14 is a good rifle and may have done well in the jungles.The loads we carried were about 80+ pounds.We carried 200 rounds each for the 60. I shudder to think what the ruck would have weighed using the M14.
    Byron 3/8th Inf,4th Inf Div 68-69
     
  19. HorseSoldier

    HorseSoldier Member

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    I'm not sure how likely this story sounds. My understanding is that Army Ordnance, somewhere in the M16 development fight, had their own competing design that was pretty much a Mini-14 for all intents and purposes (scaled down M14/Garand action, intermediate cartridge, traditional wooden stock, etc.). Their design didn't do well against the AR-15 in testing, and McNamara shut them down.

    If anything, I'd be a bit surprised if Ruger did not have some knowledge of the Ordnance experimental design when designing the Mini-14 . . .
     
  20. Badger Arms

    Badger Arms Member

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    Has anybody caught on that the Mini-14 was introduced in 1975? Now, by my calculation, that was after ground hostilities had officially ended. Yes, I'd have liked to have had a Vickers at Gettysberg, but it hadn't been invented yet.
     
  21. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    What happens in a carbine class that a Mini-14 would not be able to make it through?
     
  22. USMC Tanker

    USMC Tanker Member

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    I'm not sure what the M16A1 was capable of achieving in terms of accuracy, but if it performs anything like M16A2s or M16A4s, you can accurately and consistantly engage targets out to 500 meters.

    I'm not so sure I'd trust my life on the performance of the Mini 14 at that range.

    Even taking into consideration the fact that the majority of combat engagements occur under 300 meters, the Mini 14's "ruggedness" is unsatisfactory IMO. The thin, light barrel and low quality wood stock come to mind.

    The M16A1 definitely had it's down-falls, no argument there.
     
  23. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    I am not a fan of the Mini14 really, and prefer the AR, but most Mini 14s now have synthetic stocks, and the barrel isn't any thinner than the original pencil barrels of the M16.
     
  24. Ed Wagner

    Ed Wagner Member

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    Off topic a little but my personal favorite in the river boats was a 870 remington with #4 buck. We had 16's and 14's most got traded away for Ithaca's, 870's, or if lucky an 1100 Rem.
     
  25. cottonmouth

    cottonmouth Member

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    GB Mini-14

    HPIM2002.jpg
    Here are my two BG Mini-14s. I have never had one fail to function, never. I also have and have had Ar-15s that did well too. 99% of the time when a Mini-14 fails to feed or fire it is due to a low quality magazine, I only use factory Ruger magazines, mostly 20 rounders. Also, I think that if the Mini-14 was ment to be a combat/military rifle or carbine it would have had a better stock. I do agree that the Mini-14 is not as accurate as the AR-15 but it would be well suited for hitting man sized targets up to 250 or 300 yards. Just because a rifle won't shoot a one inch group does not meen it won't get the job done.

    J.B
    HPIM2209.jpg
     
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