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mini-14 as a battle rifle

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by carlrodd, Dec 26, 2007.

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  1. carlrodd

    carlrodd Member

    Dec 20, 2005
    i always see people posting about how, despite what they think about the mini-14, one thing it isn't is a battle rifle. this got me thinking...what makes a battle rifle? in my mind, regardless of caliber, a battle weapon would simply be one made with materials and a design that could withstand the potential rigours of field service(weather, elements), as well as the abuse of potentially poor cleaning regimens. i don't believe the number of rounds put through it would be an issue....during my four years with the same unit, i think i probably put 1,000 rounds through my m16a2. though, you would still want to be confident that if necessary, it could endure sustained use.

    with all that said, what is it about the mini-14 that makes people scoff at it when considering it in regard to service in a combat environment? let's say someone chopped his barrel and popped on a muzzle break to improve accuracy.....what then is missing from this particular weapon to make it function acceptably in combat? my A2 was a finicky piece of crap that was intermittently reliable in dusty, gritty iraq environment ...i felt it was a liability. i would have swapped it with mini-14 in a second. who knows...maybe if i would have had to put a few hundred rounds through it fast in a bad situation, i would feel differently, but for the life of me, i can't see a reason why. has anyone ever taken a mini to one of these civilian, 2 or 3 day combat training things? any stories for us?
  2. dispatch55126

    dispatch55126 Member

    Oct 8, 2006
    Read the threads and you have the answer.

    If you read most people's SHTF/BOB/WWIII items, they list that they carry several hundred rounds not thinking that they may actually have to carry those rounds. People expect more than whats needed and don't think practically.

    In the case of the Mini 14, most people want a sub MOA rifle and they assume the Mini 14 is a poor choice because its not.

    What they don't realize is a USGI M16A2/M4 is NOT a sub MOA rifle. It carries decent accuracy BUT "Minute of Torso" is all thats really required. There is a reason the qualifying silhouette is an upper torso and head. If you can hit that, you can hit the entire torso.

    The USMC advanced marksman program (not the right term but what do you expect from an Air Force SSgt) has a whole program dedicated to making the M16/M4/M14 a sub MOA for competitions.

    The Mini 14/Mini 30 is a fine rifle for what it was made to be. A simple, reliable rifle using common ammo capable of dropping a combatant at moderate ranges. Who cares if each bullet passes the fifth rib on the left side as long as it hits.
  3. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

    May 26, 2007
    There are 2 problems that I can think of. The 5 round magazines that are standard work fine, but anything over 5 rounds that is dependable is hard to find and expensive. If Ruger or another manufacturer would make reliable 20 round mags at a fair price it would help.

    Several years ago a mini-14 could be had for about half of an AR-15's price. Today the price is so close, with some budget AR's actually cheaper, I see no advantage. Unless you live somewhere that AR's are banned and Ruger's are not.
  4. goon

    goon Member

    Jan 20, 2003
    I also noticed the price of the Mini the other day and thought the same thing - why buy one when you can have a Bushmaster for almost the same price?

    I've only shot two of them. Accuracy seemed adequate but reliability was bad because of the poor magazines.
  5. Avenger29

    Avenger29 Member

    Jun 2, 2005
    I think you can still get the Mini at Walmart for ~$550. But of course, that brings into competition the Remington 7615, a pump .223 that takes AR-15 mags...the Mini-14 is overpriced for what you get, IMHO. At least the newer series is supposed to be better...

    And of course, the budget ARs are down near that mark, too. And I believe that the Saiga series totally blows the socks off the Minis.

    I don't see a Mini 14 in my future....it'd work as a decent defensive rifle, but it is not a "battle" rifle by any sense...no military force in their right mind would adopt it...
  6. TexasRifleman

    TexasRifleman Moderator Emeritus

    Feb 16, 2003
    Ft. Worth
    I got a Mini for Christmas when i was like 14 or so. It's been ultra reliable and I've treated the thing like crap. It rode in the floorboard of a pickup truck for years, can't remember the last time I cleaned the thing. It's had thousands of rounds through it.

    It was never particularly accurate but always fired. Now, I had Ruger magazines since this was bought before Bill Ruger decided that we all sucked, I have never used an aftermarket mag with the thing.

    I am glad I had it, it's been a great rifle, but I can't imagine buying one today with the alternatives available.
  7. stevereno1

    stevereno1 Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    Wal Mart stopped carrying the mini's a few years ago. They have shifted the remaining guns to the stores that still sell firearms. The only arguement that I have heard against the mini, is that they have thin barrels.
  8. stevereno1

    stevereno1 Member

    Nov 5, 2007
    I work a wal mart. I saw a mini 30 come in there at $175.00. It sold before I got off work, D#$%!
  9. Benelli Shooter

    Benelli Shooter Member

    Aug 16, 2005
    1. If you shoot more than a couple hundred rounds in a SHTF scenario, you will

    a. Be dead
    b. Have a cool new gun collection.

    2. Minute of torso is a myth. When the shooting starts, people hide. All you will get as a target is a head, foot, arm ect.. You need

    a. An accurate gun
    b. A gun that shoots through things.
  10. gcrookston

    gcrookston member

    Nov 22, 2007
    I shot a nice little Ruger with 3-burst ability. It was kind of fun. I get a kick out of arm chair folks all battle ready and all, so I'm going to sit this one out. So I really don't know wee wee about this
  11. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

    Sep 26, 2006
    all over Virginia
    Remember too, you can piece-together an AR.

    FUN and affordable if you are on a tight budget.

    Try to piece-together a Mini-14.

    I can't say I agree with your proposition that "popping on" a muzzle brake would have any beneficial effect on the accuracy of a Mini-14.

    The current version of the Mini-14 rear sight is a significant improvement over the previous version. Athough, the Mini-14 sighting system is still several steps behind the A2 sighting system on the AR-types.

    I'm willing to say the Mini-14 is an "OK" gun - maybe even a "good" gun for "battle rifle" applications. I'm unaware of any test that has put a Mini-14 alongside an AR-type in conditions of fine-grain sand contamination. I think such a test would be very interesting. In the opinion of many of us, if we were required to use a rifle under conditions of serious sand contamination, the rifle of choice would be neither an AR-type or a Mini-14.
  12. jpwilly

    jpwilly Member

    Aug 10, 2007
    Phoenix AZ
    The AR-15 / M16 is a far better battle rifle anyday than a Ruger Mini...but for the purposes of accurace and penetration an AR-10 in ..308 is next on my list!
  13. MrAcheson

    MrAcheson Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Newark, DE and APG, MD
    People have done it, but from what I've heard they don't hold up as well as the ARs. Try searching since I'm almost positive I heard it here.
  14. takhtakaal

    takhtakaal Member

    Nov 16, 2007
    This Ruger design is unproven in anything even coming close to what history has wrung out of the AKs, the ARs, the FALs, the Galils, etc.

    The original crop of Minis mostly sold (IMHO) because of the A-Team, frankly. They're fine for occasional plinking, and informal varmint extermination, but they don't seem to hold up well for MBR conditions. What I remember of the two originals that I had was that they would warm up and the shots would crawl all over the target. Not enough barrel, and the gadgetry to make them more useful is wicked expensive.
  15. Just Jim

    Just Jim Member

    Mar 27, 2006
    Early Mini 14s had a wood stock including the handguard. They had no bolt hold open button and they heated up pretty fast. The rear site was loose as a goose and accuracy wasn't to be had. Ruger did offer high caps with the first gun but even with Ruger mags you had to really watch what ammo you used.

    Todays improved Mini still eats the magazine lips in short order and they will jam quickly on most after market mags. $50 for Ruger 20 rounders is a joke and one good ding and there goes $50.

    In my opinion I would soon use an SKS of good quality than any Mini they have made. Ammo is the same and stripper clips that hold ten rounds are cheap. I bought a NIB Chinese one when they came out and it outshot any Mini I have ever seen as a life member of our gun club. Wish I had kept that $89 SKS

  16. meef

    meef Member

    Nov 7, 2004
    I figure it'd be just dandy if you were going into a mini-battle.

  17. Groucho_

    Groucho_ Member

    Dec 15, 2007
    From one perspective and one theory, the battle rifle is the predecessor to the assault rifle. Typically these weapons are semi-automatic (rather than selective fire) and fire a larger caliber (as opposed to the intermediate calibers found in assault rifles) . Famous battle rifles from this definition include the M14, the FAL, the Gew. 43, the SVT 40, etc. Usually by this definition a battle rifle is semi-automatic. They are also military designs.

    From this definition, clearly the Mini-14 is not a battle rifle. That doesn't make it a bad rifle, it just doesn't fit the aforementioned definition.

    Another definition of a battle rifle or more specifically and commonly referred to, a "main battle rifle" refers to any weapon that stands as the primary infantry weapon of a given army/militia/civil guard. Examples from this category are more broad, anything from a Mauser K98, all the way up to the M16 and M4.

    From this definition, even still, the Mini-14 is not a battle rifle. Once again, that doesn't make it a bad rifle.

    The Mini-14 is a civilian rifle, it was designed as a sporting and hunting weapon. I don't think we need to use terms such as "assault rifle" and "battle rifle" for these types of weapons. It just gives the media more fuel for badly definining and mis-reporting firearms. I think everyone needs to have a competent understanding of the differences between military and civilian weapons. Just because someone adds a folding pistol grip stock and a thirty round magazine to an Mini-14, that doesn't really make it anything more than a modified civilian weapon, in my oh so humble opinion. Calling it anything else just adds a negative spin to it we as the gun owning community really don't need. I mean especially lately when the Mini-14 is beginning to be labeled as a criminal's gun (entirely not true, but the other day the chief of police in my town, after an officer involved shooting, referred to the Mini-14 as an assault rifle. That's pure propaganda and it breeds misconceptions and other reptiles of the mind).

    Now of course, people's definitions and opinions will vary. I respect that. But I just can't see calling the Mini-14 anything more than a civilian semi-automatic rifle.


    To add my opinion on the Mini-14 and Mini-30 designs specifically, I'll further on what I said. For sporting and civilian purposes, it is just fine. I just don't think I'd trust one if the SHTF. The system is really not that rugged and has a tendency to choke on cheaper ammunition. In a tight spot, I don't think I personally would like to trust my life to the Mini-14 or Mini-30 design. I do not own one but got to spend some decently considerable time with one on a trip up to the mountains I took with some friends to field test and sight in our rifles. I hunkered down in the dirt with the Mini-30 using ten round mags. Ammunition used was Wolf Classic 7.62x39 steel lacquered case. Also had some Brown Bear of the same case type. The Mini choked on this ammo repeatedly when other weapons such as the SKS ate it with ease. It basically got to the point where I couldn't tell if the gun was jamming or not, and preparing for my next shot I was surprised to pull the trigger and have nothing happen. At which point I'd have to pull the bolt back, noticing the ammo was either getting jammed up, not feeding well, or not seating properly.

    Accuracy was nothing to write home about either, at least with this particular example. This Mini had a red dot sight installed, I want to say it was a Trijicon but I don't recall. I couldn't hit crap with it beyond 20-30 yards. It could be that it needed to be sighted in better but no matter how I adjusted for windage or elevation I just couldn't get it to shoot POA, and for some reason--even firing from a bipod-- I couldn't get shot consistency. It shot fliers like nothing I personally experienced. Up close and dirty I could hit cans with it all day, like I said out to about 25-30 yards it was fine. I went out and set some stuff up about 80 yards from our firing line and after emptying a magazine my friends spotting had called only one hit--and it was barely that, it went through the side of the can. I didn't do an MOA reading on it since we weren't using large paper targets but I'd estimate it was about 5-6 MOA at 50 yards. With work, of course this could be remedied and improved--but considering the entire rig including the sight totaled $1000+ I just can't see it being worth it.
  18. DannyinJapan

    DannyinJapan Member

    Dec 18, 2005
    Didn't our country use the M-1 carbine in combat? Granted, they are not the same rifle, but very similar. Is there not sufficient similarity between those two rifles to extrapolate the performance of Mini-14's, should they be used for military use?
  19. TheGrimReaper

    TheGrimReaper Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    Had a Mini-14, sold it and never have regretted it. Get an Ar instead!!! You'll never regret it!
  20. roscoe

    roscoe Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Uuuum, no. The other thing is that there are other excellent alternatives, like Saigas, SKSs, and SU16s that are more reliable, as (or more) accurate, and cheaper.
  21. TheGrouch

    TheGrouch Member

    Jun 15, 2006
    Bloomington, IL

    I'm stuck on the whole rifle deal. ARs feel like toys to me and for the most part have to be kept clean. Minis have problems with accuracy and expensive/hard to find mags.

    You get a mini-14 with a heavy barrel (consistent 1-2 moa accuracy) with $20 Ruger factory hi-cap mags and I think AR purchases will be cut in half.

    I'd like to see this:

    wood stock
    5.56 or 7.62x39
    inexpensive hi-caps
    no BS factory warranty
    minimum 2moa accuracy
    Retail price $600-700

    I'd buy three.

  22. Oohrah

    Oohrah Member

    Dec 29, 2006
    So. Coast Oregon
    Nope, not an assult rifle nor a target rifle. What it lacks in MOA it makes up
    for in reliability. Had mine since 82 and has been 100% with factory fives or
    after market high capacity mags. Gee no bayonet lug on the standard?
    Maybe don't need one like that early jamin M-16!!! It will take care of center
    mass hits to a couple of hundred yards as well as other carbine platforms and
    better than many others. Oh yeah, also own a Bushy so really don't have a
    a dog in that fight! My choice for anything serious that might shoot back
    would be a thirty that I seem to have more of:neener: A wet test favors
    the piston run platform over the gas puked into the action. The Mini would
    be a good choice with .223 ammo, but not many seem to care for the weak
    caliber for all around use.:D
  23. MachIVshooter

    MachIVshooter Member

    Aug 11, 2005
    Elbert County, CO
    Unless some SOT or a (now) felon concocted a burst FCG, you didn't. The AC556 is full auto (as in, empties the mag).

    I am always so amused at how many people are so quick to bash teh mini, and tout the AR and SKS in the same paragraph. From someone who has owned several of each

    -The mini is less ammo finicky than an AR or SKS. You can use heavy loads with extruded powder and 40 grain varmint bullets in the mini. AR's, not so much.

    -I have never owned an SKS that didn't jam occasionally, regardless of ammo type. And yes, this happened with the stock fixed magazines. My Russians have the best track record, but still jam more frequently than the Mini, AR's or AK's.

    -Hi capacity mags. Yes, this can be an issue with mini's. The 40 rounders are all pretty much junk. However, I have 20 and 30 round aftermarket magazines that work just fine. USA and promag. Ruger factory mags work too. The Mini magazines do tend to be a little more delicate than AR and AK mags, just the way they're built. Don't use rifle magazines to drive nails and you should be fine. I have got hold of AR and AK that were abused to the point of being unreliable as well. They're all sheetmetal, guys; you can destroy them.

    -Reliability-Because of the huge gas port and generous tolerances of the mini's gas system, fouling is a non-issue. I've run my mini's with enough residue to completely fill the gas tube and chamber of an AR and they still cycle fine. And I've run everything from 3,800 FPS handloads to cheap military ball and wolf with no issues. The AR didn't care for the hot stuff so much.

    -Accuracy. AR's definitely accel here, but it has been my experience that the mini is at least as good as AK's and SKS's (as well as other military auto's). I've never owned/fired one that couldn't do better than 3 MOA at 100 with ball ammo. That's a torso hit at 400 meters. You wana shoot further, probably shouldn't be counting on 5.56mm to get the job done. Not that it isn't nice to have a rifle that will hit the enemy at twice that distance, but it's really not in the parameters of this class of weapon. It is an intermediate cartridge, hence effective at intermediate range.

    -Ergonomics-Largely personal preference, but the mini fits more people comfortably than an SKS or AK. I do prefer an AR myself, but the mini comes before the com bloc stuff.

    The mini is not a battle rifle by any definition. Neither are it's contemporaries; The AR, AK and SKS. Could the mini be an effective combat rifle? Well, it's design was adapted from one of the best ever built, so I'd have to say yes. But it never will be a military arm, as even the space-age-by-comparison AR is growing long in the tooth from a military perspective.

    All that said, I now propose that unless one has owned a mini, you should not bash them. And unless one has owned a mini and one of the other rifles it is constantly compared against, don't compare them.
  24. TexasSkyhawk

    TexasSkyhawk Internet SEAL

    Dec 17, 2007
    I love these "when the crap hits the fan" scenarios . . .

  25. def4pos8

    def4pos8 Member

    May 31, 2007
    SW Ohio
    I gave my last remaining AR-15 to my Jarhead son because it's the only rifle he knows how to clean after a session at the range.:scrutiny::D

    For my part, I was OVER having to scrape carbon grunge out of the bolt carrier.:rolleyes:

    I learned, back in the Bad Old Days, what humping 270 rounds, the rifle, the (old fashioned) armor and forty pounds of field gear was like. --and I was in the ChAir Force!:what:

    I've accurized my Mini. It's a good example of a KISS carbine -- easy to clean/maintain, extremely handy and minimal mass to hump. It's NOT a battle rifle. My M-1A NM is a battle rifle, right down to the bayonet, but I wouldn't want to hump 140 rounds of 7.62 and a nine-pound rifle anymore. I'm just too damned old and feeble!:evil:
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