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Mini 14 vs Ar-15 .223

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Pure Kustom, Oct 13, 2008.

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  1. briansmithwins

    briansmithwins Member

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    Advantages of the AR over the Mini-14:

    1) Better out of the box accuracy.
    2) Better support and modularity. You can do ANYTHING with an AR.
    3) Parts availability. I have a spare bolt for my AR along with a complete trigger group. Try and get Ruger to sell you those parts.
    4) Magazines. Cheaper and better on the AR side.

    Mini-14 advantages over the AR:

    1) Looks cooler*.
    2) Might be more reliable in adverse conditions. I'm always suspect of any weapon that wears its guts on the outside as opposed to keeping gravel out of the action.

    The only way I would even consider a Mini-14 is if I lived in Kali or NY. Even then I would probably go with the SKS. BSW

    *If you're a big A-Team fan. OTOH, they couldn't hit **** with a Mini-14 either.
     
  2. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    I'm not sure whether that's true of the new ones (assuming you're talking about a lightweight 16" AR, which is most comparable to a Mini in size and weight). But in general, the AR's much-maligned gas system makes a more accurate rifle all things being equal, and easy to strip and clean. I can't get into the constant bashing of the AR gas system; it has some real advantages over other semiauto designs.

    ...except make it a quick-pointing gun like a Mini-14 is.

    Still, I really like this feature of the AR. That's why I have an AR or two. The ready availability of a good-quality .22LR upper seals the deal, for me. Fun, durable, easy-to-clean, and cheap to play with.

    OTOH, many people here ask which AR to buy, and have some sort of mental block about buying modules. They want to buy a rifle in a box. Especially given the price premium, I don't quite "get" that -- to me, 99% of the value inherent in the AR platform is its modularity. As a "rifle in a box", it's a pretty damned expensive little thing.

    Have you ever tried?

    Those wouldn't be the parts I'd be most likely to carry for a Mini-14, but if for some reason you want to, Ruger will sell them to you AFAIK. For that matter, when something has broken on a Ruger I've owned, they've just sent me the part in the mail, immediately, no hassle, no charge. Try that with an AR.

    The real upside of the AR here is the ready availability of upgraded parts from multiple vendors, like match triggers, different sights, etc. The AR wins this contest hands down -- not that these things are free, or even reasonably-priced much of the time, but they are highly available.

    The AR wins this one, for sure. Ruger should at least make factory 10-rounders for restricted states. It would help their sales, IMO. I'm going to try to get a 20 or two.

    Again, I prefer the current factory Mini configuration for its excellent pointing ability and convenient carry in the brush. Without all the protrusions of an AR, it's a much more unobtrusive working gun to throw on a sling while concentrating on other things. The AR is designed to be used by someone whose full-time job is to carry an AR, and sometimes this shows.

    Now if you do want a folding stock, the Mini will take one easily. Only a stupid-expensive AR can be fitted with a folding stock.

    Last Sunday, I discovered another way to jam an AR. Somehow, a cartridge got stuck ABOVE the bolt. This doesn't and will not happen with a Mini. An AR relies on a precise mechanism working fine when it cycles; a Mini relies on a big spring slamming a loose bolt shut.

    The idea that you keep the crud out of an enclosed action only works until you get some in. Once it's in, it stays in. You can pour dirt through a Mini-14, and it comes out again right away.
     
  3. cat9x

    cat9x Member

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    AR's are inherentely more accurate.
     
  4. Soap

    Soap Member

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    I really like my 580 series Mini. Mine fills a similar role to what Art describes. However my go-to rifle is a Bushy AR that I've competed with and shot quite a bit over the years.
     
  5. Pure Kustom

    Pure Kustom Member

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    ok now the owner want's to trade. My 6" 629 square butt for the mini straight across.

    Good deal?
     
  6. Glock Holiday

    Glock Holiday Member

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    ateam1.gif
    These guys couldn't hit anybody or anything with one.
    Think about it.
    Get an AR.
     
  7. CSA 357

    CSA 357 Member

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    Have Both, Like Them Both, They Each Have There Highs And Lows,
     
  8. Pure Kustom

    Pure Kustom Member

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    :eek: Yeah I remember that show!!! The only thing that died was the show................:D
     
  9. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Like some others have opined, I like 'em both and would hate to have to give up either. I see the Mini14 as a relatively close range sd carbine with iron sights and the AR15 as more of a longer range, scope- equipped rifle for varmint hunting and "sniper" tasks- except when I'm using it in Service Rifle, iron-sighted competition!
     
  10. Reid73

    Reid73 Member

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    AR-15s are inherently more accurate, but have some reliability issues (not usually critical for most purposes). Mini-14s are inherently more reliable, but have some accuracy issues (not usually critical for most purposes). Both models can be tweaked to improve their respective shortcomings.

    To non-shooters, the AR looks like a 'machine gun', while the Mini looks like a rifle. If you want to look 'cool', the AR is definitely the way to go. If you want to appear non-threatening, the Mini is a much better choice.

    The Mini has a cheap plastic buttplate and the length of pull is too short for most males (although that does make it faster-handling). This defect can be easily remedied with inexpensive aftermarket buttpads.

    Both are decent firearms, and I don't think that you would be disappointed with either one.
     
  11. Soap

    Soap Member

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    That was true, but the new 580 series Minis have a conventional buttpad setup.
     
  12. Crazy Fingers

    Crazy Fingers member

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    For any person who has to be concerned with silly things like money and finances, the AR is clearly the better choice. Why buy two rifles when the AR does everything the mini wishes it could?

    My lightweight profile, chromed, 16" Del Ton AR shoots 2 MOA with a red dot sight. It is every bit as quick handling as a Mini. It is much more customizable. It has high capacity magazines that actually work and are cheap as well. It eats anything I feed it. I can reliably hit man sized targets at 200 yards without great concentration or effort.

    The Minis I have shot have been very inaccurate. Badly inaccurate. The only advantage the mini has over the AR is that you can get it totally in stainless. So if you are the laziest slob ever when it comes to cleaning guns, it'll keep on trucking.

    The AR can actually be cheaper than the Mini if you are willing to do some work. I built my AR for $650, which is less than I see used minis selling for around here.
     
  13. Gunsby_Blazen

    Gunsby_Blazen Member

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    mini target

    My mini shoots fairly good. Haven't tuned it due to ammo prices but it gets groups a little bigger than an inch. Its the most fun gun to shoot that I own other than my lever action... The only problem is that its handling is not as good as I would like it to be. Over on PerfectUnion some of the folk claim to get amazing results with this rifle with handloads. I plan on seeing how well it can shoot sometime this fall. Minis are Great, but ARs are Great too. I really like them both. On the mini, i do like the operating system better. I like old school rifle ergonomics. The biggest ergonomic feature i like about the AR is the mag release. I wish the minis had those.
    I have no regret in buying it
     

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  14. Rshooter

    Rshooter Member

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    Have both. If you want a rifle that will save you in the long run and like black rifles get an AR. If cost is not issue and you want a neat politically correct rifle get a mini. After market and the like will eat you up like $25 to $40 dollars for a mini 20 round magazine compared to $10 to $15 for an AR 20 round AR magazine.
     
  15. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    I would for sure get the AR. One can build an AR that will be a better shooter than the mini for nearly the same price. Additionally there are also loads of inexpensive functional 30 round mags available. Mini mags often are unreliable or expensive and can be both.

    I would offer a thrid option of the saiga in .223. IMO it does everything better than a mini and does it for half the price ($300). With a few after market parts it will accept AK mags which are more common and less expensive than the mini mags.

    The mini is a nice looking gun but honestly one that makes no sense to purchase IMO

    If cost is an issue look at buying a lower and a Del ton upper. If cost is really an issue (or if you just want a solid, dependable carbine) check out the saiga.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2008
  16. RockyMtnTactical

    RockyMtnTactical Member

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    AR15 is better, it's not even close.
     
  17. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    It all depends on what you want to do. If carrying in a truck to shoot the occasional coyote or jackrabbit is your deal, the Mini is as good as any other rifle I've messed with--and that's a bunch of sub-MOA critters over these last 45 years. As long as the first shot or two from a cold barrel hit the same POI today as they did last week, I'm happy.

    Home defense? A Mini will shoot minute of torso for the next month, if you need to.

    People who go to a benchrest and expect tight groups from pencil-thin barrels are in for a rude awakening. That includes a lot of stuff like Weatherby, for that matter. Thin tubes heat up and walk.

    I like ARs; I've had four before the one I have now. But there are a lot of box-stock ARs out there that won't do much better than two to three MOA. Some are super accurate, but they're not bought NIB for $500, either...
     
  18. Reid73

    Reid73 Member

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    That has not been my experience.
     
  19. Sam Adams

    Sam Adams Member

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    The AR is also lots more accurate - believe me, I've owned both.

    My first rifle was a stainless, scopeless Mini. It'd shoot into about 2-3 MOA if cool. When it got warm or hot (which didn't take more than about a dozen shots in 5 minutes, not a lot for a semi-auto), it'd become a 4-5 MOA gun and string shots toward the top of the target. I ditched it for rifle #2.

    My second rifle was a blue Mini-14 Ranch, to which I added a 3x-9x Leupold. I figured that the first rifle's problems had to be related to me not seeing the target well enough. That was only partially true. When cold, I could shoot about 1 MOA at 100 yards. Beyond that (distance- or temperature-wise), nope.

    I finally ditched the 2nd one for a Bushmaster AR upper with a heavy barrel. I already had a lower with a match trigger. The two mated up in about 10 seconds, and it has shot 1 MOA-1.5 MOA consistantly, hot or cold, ever since. Standard capacity mags are also a LOT less expensive.

    I like taking the Mini down - it is a relatively simple mechanism, and shows its relationship to the Garand (for which I have a soft spot, and a bruised shoulder). I simply cannot understand why Ruger cannot make an accurate rifle out of the box. I think that a lot of people would pay $50 or $100 for a heavy barrel that was reasonably well made, but they haven't.

    Go with the AR.
     
  20. Soap

    Soap Member

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    I agree 100% with Art.

    I don't think that anyone can argue that the Mini is a better combat weapon than the AR. The Mini is a fine rifle for its intended purpose. Notice they call it the "Ranch Rifle" not the "Extended Combat Operations in the Mountains of Afghanistan Rifle".

    Also, I find it interesting that plenty of people show affection for the M1 Carbine but moan about another carbine that will only do 2-3 MOA.
     
  21. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Some of the Mini-14 hatred comes from the fact that most people buy guns as toys, instead of tools.

    There's nothing wrong with that.

    If you want a range toy, get an AR. You'll like it FAR better than a Mini. It's more accurate, it can be dolled up six ways from Sunday, and it's a fun gun.

    The AR is also pretty well-suited to military applications, obviously.

    However, if you want a knockaround tool for dirty civilian environments, the Mini offers a lot, especially in stainless/xytel. It's light, sleek, compact, tough, rust-resistant, low-maint, dirt-tolerant.
     
  22. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    The only guys I know who prefer the Minis are the ranchers I grew up with. They keep them in their trucks for the occasional coyote or plinking, and like to have rifles they can beat up a little bit. They are also very stubborn and never change their minds about anything. If I bumped into them now, I'd show them an SKS, cheaper, about as accurate, and much more 'beat-upable'. They still believe their uncles' Vietnam stories about M-16s jamming in the mud, and wouldn't touch an AR.

    With the options, history, and shootability of an AR, they're VERY tough to beat in this caliber range.
     
  23. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    Trouble is, mljdeckard, you don't know many folks. :) It's casually easy for a tri-focal fella to put a scope on a Mini, which can't be said for the average AK/SJS critter. And, since the Mini is equal to most anything for the casual coyote shooter, why worry about "better"?

    I guess what bugs me, these last ten years of TFL/THR, is that it's so difficult to get folks to understand that the Mini just isn't a benchrest, tight-group critter. Why all the peeing and moaning when the reasons are known? Why go out and buy one, and then go to whining about it not giving tight groups?

    My only gripe is the price, but then at my age the whole world is a source of sticker-shock. :D

    Art
     
  24. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    My mini wouldn't do 2-3 MOA. Best-ever group was 5.5" at 100 yards, and it wouldn't shoot consistently enough to properly sight in a 2.5x shotgun scope. That was the last straw for me; I sold it and put the money aside for an AR.
     
  25. dispatch55126

    dispatch55126 Member

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    Does the mini have a .223 or 5.56 chamber?
     
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