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Ruger Mini - 14

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by RWMC, May 2, 2006.

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  1. RWMC

    RWMC Member

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    I am looking at buying a new .223 auto loader rifle. I do not want an AK copy, and I can't afford a new DPMS AR - 15. I am looking very seriously at the Ruger Mini 14 of Ranch Rifle. Not for sure if I want the stainless/synthetic set-up or if I should stick with the blued and hardwood stock. I will be using it on my farm for coyotes or any other varmits that get within 200 yards of where they shouldn't be, and for punching paper and home protection if the need ( God forbid ) ever arises. Any Mini 14 or Ranch Rifle owners ( past or present ) I sure would like to hear your feed back. Thanks for your time and help!
     
  2. Kaylee

    Kaylee Moderator

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    I've owned two.. a nice older blue/wood standard version and a newer stainless/synthetic Ranch model. Of the two, I'd go with the latter.. slimmer stock made a much handier package.

    That said.. I'd buy a second hand AR (or build one) before I'd do either again.
     
  3. whelen35

    whelen35 Member

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    I grew up shooting my father's mini-14, and I own one now. Both were wood stock-blued metal. I love both of them. We fired thousands of rounds through them. The only problem was aftermarket magazines. Be sure to test all your mags.
     
  4. RWMC

    RWMC Member

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    Thanks for the input Kaylee. I am always concerned with buying a "second-hand" AR with fears that previous owners dinked around with the internals. Maybe my thoughts are unjustified. Regardless, thank you for your suggestions!
     
  5. RWMC

    RWMC Member

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    Hey Whelen35, Roger on the after market mags. I was prepared to bite the bullet and acquire some original LEO Ruger 20 rd. mags. Thanks!
     
  6. esldude

    esldude Member

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    Have had one of each. If you plan on scoping or putting a red dot on it, go with the Ranch Rifle. If you plan to use the peep sights, go with the standard. The standard has better rear sights by far vs. the Ranch rifle.

    A Ruger isn't tops in accuracy, but for use you describe should be fine. Might also take a look at the Keltec .223 rifle as well.
     
  7. Tomac

    Tomac Member

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    I've owned a number of Mini-14's since they first came out and my biggest complaints (relative lack of accuracy & reliable aftermarket mags) have been solved. I like the ProMag 30rd polymer mags ($11 each at Natchez) and just cutting the bbl back a couple of inches and/or adding a muzzle brake or flash hider will improve group size significantly (I get 3" groups at 100yds w/the ghostring rear sight using Winchester Q3131). I like the new 580 series as it has a halfway decent rear sight (I replaced the factory peep w/an XS Systems .150" ghost ring) and takes the std Ruger 1" or 30mm rings as well (shown here w/the 1" UltraDot). The Butler Creek folding stock is both more rugged than the factory synthetic stock and because it requires the internal brace is also more accurate (if you want the BC folder then buy the stainless/wood 580 as the wood stock has the internals the BC folder needs, the factory synthetic does not). I use the pistol grip storage compartment to hold spare UltraDot batteries, rear sight adjustment tool, Phillips screwdriver shank for popping the trigger group, a nickel for removing the UltraDot's battery cap & Ruger rings and a .223 broken shell extractor. Reliability? I now have 600rds of the dirty/underpowered Wolf .223 through this rifle w/o cleaning or any problems. I'll clean it again when I hit 1,000rds. HTH...
    Tomac
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Gary G23

    Gary G23 Member

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    For 200yd work I would much rather have an AR.
     
  9. bgold

    bgold Member

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    If I had a choice beween a second hand AR or a new Ruger, the AR would win every time. If you are seriously concerned about the condition of a used AR, have a smith or knowledgeable friend along with you.
     
  10. Dave Markowitz

    Dave Markowitz Member

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    I have both an AR-15 and a Mini-14. For the uses you post, either rifle will do fine. IMO, new Mini-14s are overpriced, but you can pick up nice condition used Minis for under $400.

    In general, AR-15s will be more accurate, but as mentioned already, you can do some simple tweaks to the Ruger to improve accuracy. USGI mags for the AR-15 are common and inexpensive. In contrast, you have to do some hunting for factory Ruger 20s, but since the demise of the AWB they can be had for $35 or less. Most users of the new ProMag Mini-14 mags report favorably on them.

    If you plan on putting optics on the rifle, the Ranch Rifle version of the Mini will make doing so a lot easier. Accessorizing the AR-15 will be easier than the Ruger.

    Either rifle will serve your needs well.
     
  11. Creeping Incrementalism

    Creeping Incrementalism Member

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    Take the worst characteristic of any popular auto-loader, combine them in one gun, and you have the Mini-14. Not to mention Ruger is the most anti-RKBA American gun maker. Unless you live in California, get something else.
     
  12. Guns_and_Labs

    Guns_and_Labs Member

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    Someone needs a nap.

    But the point is probably well-taken. For 200 yard shots on coyotes and such, just about any quality AR-style will do fine. For a Mini-14 to do the same requires a bit of tuning and care. I have one of both, and they both work fine.
     
  13. Buckskinner

    Buckskinner Member

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    200 yard coyotes?

    That's called "varminting", and the Mini probably isn't the right tool for that game.
    I like the Mini because it works (sorta) like my M1. So its comfortable. And the aftermarket stuff let's you do easy mods if you like to do that kinda stuff.

    The Mini is a good rifle for $450. With good mags, I 've never had an issue in 5000 fun rounds of plinking.

    Beer can MOA at 75-100 yards, offhand is plenty good.
     
  14. Creeping Incrementalism

    Creeping Incrementalism Member

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    I'm not exaggerating. The Mini has the accuracy of a commie gun, less relibility than anything, less reliable mags than anything, fewer after-market accessories than the the AK/AR, is overpriced, and specifically has no warranty. And most of the people I know (myself included) bought one only because everything else got outlawed by SB23, and the Kel-tec wasn't out yet. Not that the Mini is terrible, but if I knew then what I knew now, I certainly wouldn't buy one.
     
  15. AZ Jeff

    AZ Jeff Member

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    In general, that's true

    Totally FALSE. The main problem with Mini-14 reliability (when a reliability problem is present) is due to poorly made AFTERMARKET magazines. Use good aftermarket mags, or better yet, Ruger factory magazines of any size, and reliability will rival a "commie gun". I repeat: in general, a Mini-14 is a VERY RELIABLE rifle.

    That's an ignorant complaint, based on your lack of understanding of Ruger's warranty policy in general. While Ruger's warranty seems to be vague or non-existant, if you do any research, you will find that they have a reputation, in practice, of fixing just about anything that goes wrong with their firearms at no cost to the consumer, and usually, for an infinite period. That's about as good a warranty as one could hope for.
     
  16. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    Unless you're talking about problems with aftermarket magazines, or a particular gun that was broken, this has no basis in fact.

    Now I think you've never owned a Ruger. Clearly, you've never called them. Ruger's no warranty beats most company warranties hands-down. At least that's been my experience.

    This is my experience with Ruger's "no warranty":

    "Sturm, Ruger and Company, may I help you?"
    "Hi. The X on my Y broke."
    "No problem. Can you give me the serial number?"
    "12345-67890."
    "What's your mailing address?
    "Blah blah blah."
    "We're sending you one right now."
    "Do you want me to send the broken one to you?"
    "Nah. Just throw it away."

    I'll second whoever said to get the stainless/xytel Ranch Rifle. I prefer the package to the AR-15. It's more compact, mounts real fast like a little shotgun, shoots very reliably, and readily tolerates bad cleaning habits. Doesn't mean I haven't bought an AR, but honestly, it's only because of the recent opportunity to do so legally here in CA. I really didn't even want one; I just couldn't turn down a chance to thumb my nose at the primate in the Attorney General's office. I haven't even put it together yet.:)

    What I don't prefer is the Mini's accuracy. It's a carbine made to fill the same niche as the lever gun has for more than a century, not to compete with bolt actions. The AR can compete with bolt actions. And often does. Actually, a customized Mini can also, but it ain't cheap. And the trigger on a Mini is a basic field trigger, not even a good service trigger. So, for paper punching, a Mini-14 just isn't much fun. But for plinking or as a truck gun, it's great.

    For me, that's good enough. Punching paper with a rifle -- especially a semiauto -- is the lowest thing on my list of fun shooting activities. Actually, I don't even enjoy it. Last few times I've done it was just to sight in a new hunting rifle.

    And the Mini field-strips easily, too. So does the AR, of course.
     
  17. Guns_and_Labs

    Guns_and_Labs Member

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    My Mini-14 spent time at Accuracy Systems before I even touched it, so it's probably not a good example, but it is consistently 3" or better at 200 yards and has never had a problem with the factory mags.

    That said, my CA-compliant Bushmaster was the same price (I bought both used), and is better than 1 MOA.

    They're both a pain to clean, though.

    What's wrong with a bolt action for a truck gun?
     
  18. Art Eatman

    Art Eatman Administrator Staff Member

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    What's important in a hunting rifle is that the first shot from a cold barrel goes to the same place as the last time there was a shot from a cold barrel. The Mini-14 is as good at this as most any other rifle. You don't shoot groups on a coyote...

    The ONLY unreliability is from after-market mags.

    Four Minis over some 20 years, and maybe around 3,000 rounds, but what do I know? :)

    Art
     
  19. Guns_and_Labs

    Guns_and_Labs Member

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    Speak for yourself. :D
     
  20. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    ANY semiauto is a pain to clean. The Mini beats most, as long as you keep your thumb out of certain places when you reassemble it.:p

    For a truck gun, it's hard to beat the gun that was on horses and wagons first, then graduated to trucks and has been there ever since: the lever-action carbine. Now some of them are even stainless.
     
  21. JNewell

    JNewell Member

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    I've owned a couple of Mini-14s and without trying to inflame anything or anyone I have to say that without a lot of work they are just not suitable 200 yard rifles. By the time you spend the money on that work and pay the premium for decent magazines, you're at or near AR costs anyway - my advice (worth everything you're paying for it!!!) would be to save a little longer and buy the AR.
     
  22. ArmedBear

    ArmedBear Member

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    If I were going to leave a semiauto .223 in a ranch truck in dusty and muddy country, and ignore it until I needed it, but still expect it to fire whenever I wanted it to, it'd be a stainless Ranch Rifle with iron sights. I wouldn't expect it to hit prairie dogs at 200 yards. But hitting a coyote at iron sight range isn't a problem.
     
  23. RNB65

    RNB65 Member

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    I had a mini-14 for several years and it just sat around the back of the gun cabinet and never got fired much. A rifle that went bang everytime I pulled the trigger but otherwise boring and mostly ignored. Then, after the AWB expired, I bought one of those Butler Creek folding stocks and now I love it. Small, compact, lightweight, easier to clean than my AR, and just plain fun to shoot. Even bought 5 Ruger factory 20rd mags to go with it.

    I've found my mini-14 to be more reliable than my Bushmaster AR15 (never had a single jam with the mini using WWB ammo), but slightly less accurate. Still, the mini is accurate enough for fun shooting and self defense. I have no trouble shooting baseball sized groups at 50yds without using a benchrest.
     
  24. Tokugawa

    Tokugawa Member

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    Yes I can read (about not wanting an AK) but still- One saiga 223(about $300) and a $130 for a russian scope - I suspect this will shoot with a mini any day of the week
     
  25. tomkatz

    tomkatz Member

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    I bought my rock river AR for $500.00 used. It is heavier/longer than a mini 14, a twenty incher, so maybe not a fair comparison, but it will do things at 200 yards a mini can't even approach, much less equal. My brother-in-laws short bushmaster will pretty much keep pace with my RR though.
    I have owned a couple minis, they were good guns so I'm not knocking them. I still own a pc-9. I just think I'd go on a mission to find an AR you can afford.
    ......tom
     
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