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Ruger mini 14 or 30

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by jlwatts3, Jan 18, 2005.

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  1. jlwatts3

    jlwatts3 Member

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    I want to buy one of these used. It would be for an all purpose hunting, plinking, varminting, and self-defense rifle. I am leaning towards the .223. It is cheaper to shoot and reasonably powerful without being too much for small-medium game. Since I would not be using it for deer very much if at all, is there any reason to go with the .308?

    What would be a good price for these?
    What are some similar choices from different manufacturers?
     
  2. natedog

    natedog Member

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    Mini-14s aren't available in .308, however, they are available in 7.62x39mm (AK-47 round). The 7.62x39mm Minis are known as Mini-30s.

    For a straight plinker, 7.62x39mm is the better choice as it is a bit cheaper to shoot. .223 is the better choice if its to be used for self-defense in addition to plinking.

    A good price for a used Mini-14 would be in the $350-500 range, depending on finish, model (Ranch models have built in scope mounts but really really bad iron sights) and stock.

    The Mini-14 can do all the functions you described, but there are other rifles that cost less and perform equally, if not even better. It is a nice handling carbine, at 7lbs empty and 36" long, but is somewhat innaccurate- 4MOA on a cold barrel, with random patterining after a few magazines.

    For a small/medium game, self-defense, auto-loading, plinking, CA legal rifle, consider the following:

    1) SKS- Generally heavier and longer than the Mini-14 (by about 1.5lbs and 4"). Sights and trigger aren't as nice, but accuracy is comparable. They cost between $100 and $250 (the latter for a Paratrooper, short barreled model which is the same size as a Mini-14)

    2) M-1 Carbine- Lighter (6lbs) and shorter than the Mini-14, but more expensive- around $500-800 for a shooter. The round is quite a bit weaker, in the .38 Special realm. Good sights and trigger, comparable accuracy.

    3) SU-16- Lighter (5lbs) than the Mini-14, about the same length. Takes AR-15 magazines, has an integral picattiny rail, cheesy iron sights (swappable for non-cheesy sights) and from most reports is very reliable and more accurate than the Mini-14.

    This is all coming from a former Mini-14 owner, who is currently an SKS buyer (hurry up, Fedex!)

    Those are pretty much your only choices in CA. Sucks, don't it?
     
  3. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    The .30 Carbine round is considerably more powerful than .38 Special. With a 110 grain bullet at ~1900 FPS MV, it's more like a .357 Magnum when fired from a rifle.
     
  4. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    I guess it's been about ten years since I've owned a Mini. I had one of the first blued models, and then one of the first stainless. I traded into a couple of others. Folks kept showing up who'd want one of them worse than I did, and profit's profit...

    I mounted a K4 on each of them. I regularly would get three-shot groups of 1.5 to 2 inches at 100 yards. The skinny barrel heats up after that, and groups sizes aren't so hot, but that's unimportant for a hunting/plinking rifle. The Mini does just fine at consistent point of impact for a first shot from a cold barrel--which is far more important than group size for five or more shots.

    IMO, they're great for jackrabbits and coyotes. Rugged and reliable; mine traveled a lot of jeep trails in rough country.

    Art
     
  5. Crownvicman

    Crownvicman Member

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    Natedog, I have to disagree with you on the .223 being a better self-defense round than the 7.62x39. That bigger hole might make a difference. And many states won't even allow the use of .223 for medium to large game.
     
  6. Justang

    Justang Member

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    I'd look at the SU16 too. Some can be had for $400 new. Read some of my posts on this page about the SU vs the Mini. I really think the SU is a better gun. But it's up to you.

    The M1A's can get really expensive. New they run $1200 or more, depending on the model. But they are great guns.
     
  7. Domino

    Domino Member

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    I think if the reasonable California legal rifles to fit the bill would either be the SKS or the Mini-14, I would choose the SKS. But Mini's are good guns just don't pay too much for one.
     
  8. benEzra

    benEzra Moderator Emeritus

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    mini-14 vs mini-30--the mini-14 is probably the better choice, only because if you want a 7.62x39, you can get better rifles for far less money (SKS, Saiga, SAR-1, WASR) that outperform the mini-30. Even if you are stuck in California, you could get an SKS.

    The mini-14 is a decent .223, though not very accurate (mine gives about 5.5" groups at 100 yards).
     
  9. jlwatts3

    jlwatts3 Member

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    Thanks for the help. I think in the next year I am going to end up with an SKS and a mini-14.
     
  10. R.H. Lee

    R.H. Lee Member

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    I had a Mini 14 that I sold, and wouldn't have another one. First, you're limited to 5 round factory mags; aftermarket mags just aren't reliable. 7.62x39 ammo is considerably cheaper than .223. Since you're in CA, I'd recommend an SKS before a Mini 30.
     
  11. Prof

    Prof Member

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    I also have been thinking of getting a Mini-14 Ranch (new one with better iron sights). I own two SKS's and they are good shooters but I am incredibly slow at loading with strippers! I fear that in a defensive situation I couldn't reload! When people talk about the Mini-14 losing accuracy after a few rounds, exactly what kind of non-accuracy are we talking about? For me, if they can keep all shots within an eight-inch circle at under 100 yards, that's combat accuracy. Will they do that all day? (I'm also in ********** and am limited in choices; have heard good things about SU16's but am leery of new products until they've had a few years to prove themselves.) Thanks!
     
  12. Rebar

    Rebar member

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  13. 308win

    308win Member

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    I have a Ranch that I paid $450 new 4 years ago. It will shoot into 2-2.5 all day with about any ammo. The John Masen 10rd mags are as reliable as the factory 5rd (at least mine are). Use blued Ranches in central Ohio usually can be had for $350. If you scope it don't waste your money on something cheap as they are scope eaters.
     
  14. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    aw Hell, you know what you're gonna do...

    buy one of each :)
     
  15. Prof

    Prof Member

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    .308win: What is recoil like with the Mini-14? Compared to, say, a bolt-action Ruger 77 or an SKS, etc.? Thanks! (I realize the SKS is 7.62x39 but since I have both of these rifles, I know what their recoil is like as a point of reference.)
     
  16. 308win

    308win Member

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    I have never shot an SKS so I have no frame of reference. I have both a Mini Ranch and a heavy barrel Remmy 308. The Remmy has a slightly heavier recoil but it is less sharp than the Mini - my Remmy is also almost 15lbs with scope. Recoil won't be an issue unless you are extremely sensitive to recoil. I put a John Masen butt pad on mine -more for length of pull than recoil - and it lessens felt recoil quite a bit.
     
  17. Prof

    Prof Member

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    Thanks!
     
  18. George S.

    George S. Member

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    Recoil on the Mini-14 is not really that bad. And if you add the typical accurancy-enhancing mods like a smaller gas port bushing, muzzle brake, and a recoil buffer, the Mini-14 will be a pussycat to shoot. And these items will also cure the scope-eating problems.

    As far as caliber goes, the .223 is probably better for light use, but as mentioned, some states (like here in WA) do not allow this caliber for deer and other small to medium game. You can find .223 Wolf ammo as cheap as 7.62x39 so some of the ammo costs depend on the brand of ammo and the bullet type you want. I don't kow a lot obaut the 7.62x39 round, but the .223 is available with a wide variety of bullet types and weights.

    One thing about buying a Ruger Mini in either caliber is that Ruger will do any repairs needed under their warranty program regardless if you are the original owner or the 14th! And that is true for any of their firearms.

    If you decide on the .223, go with the Mini-14 Ranch version. The Ranch allows for mounting a scope (and with a new rifle, you get a set of rings). The Ranch iron sights are not the best, but they can be upgraded with little cost or effort. The 2005 Mini has a much improved front and rear sight along with a better stock design. If you can stand to go into a Wal-Mart, you should be able to find a new Mini for under $500.

    There are a variety of high-capacity mags for the Minis and there are factory Ruger LEO hi-cap mags floating around but the cost will be higher. I use the Masen 10-round mags and they work great.
     
  19. MrMurphy

    MrMurphy Member

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    I'd get the SKS.


    Be aware, Volquartsen is coming out with a 5.56mm Cali-legal rifle, using AR-15 magazines that accuracy-wise should be far, far better (it's a Volquartsen) than any Mini, right out of the box.

    Excellent for plinking, self defense (uses plentiful, WORKING 10-shot AR mags or any others that fit an AR), etc.

    You could hunt coyotes with it, but not deer.

    A .44 Magnum Marlin leveraction would make a good all-around carbine, easy on the shoulder, fun to shoot, packs a wallop, 10 shots, and looks "innocent" (ditto the .357 Magnum model), the .357/.38 Special model would be cheaper to shoot a lot. Both are appropriate for hunting too.

    But in a semi, in CA, I'd go with an SKS on a budget, the SU-16 after that, and the Volquartsen when it comes out.
     
  20. Prof

    Prof Member

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    Wow, that Volquartsen rifle sure looks nice. But, with a MSRP of $1,900+, it probably won't be a big seller here in Kali!! :eek: :D
     
  21. lee n. field

    lee n. field Member

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    Another thing to be aware of is that Ruger does not sell certain parts apart from their shop installing them. Ruger will not sell Mini-14/30 firing pins. I think they also restrict the bolt and trigger group.
     
  22. esskay

    esskay Member

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  23. Justang

    Justang Member

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    Oh, that's nice of Ruger. I didn't know other owners could use the warranty as well. Kel Tec does not do that. It's a Lifetime warranty, but only for the original owner.
     
  24. bcochran

    bcochran Member

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    unless things have changed

    Unless things have changed, you can not buy a firing pin for either model from the Ruger factory.
     
  25. OpenRoad

    OpenRoad member

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    If you want a musket that will launch projectiles in the general direction of the target, you don't have to pay the $600 that Ruger is asking.
     
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