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The story behind the Mini-14 ... very interesting!

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by jski, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. jski

    jski Member

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    Bill Ruger claimed that had Ruger come out with the Mini-14 5 years earlier, the M-16 would never have been. The Army would have adopted the Mini-14

    BTW, Jim Sullivan, who lead the group that scaled down the AR-10 to make the M-16, designed the Mini-14.
     
  2. DPris

    DPris Member

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    Ruger never intended for the Mini to be a military-grade gun, he had it designed as a cheaper alternative to the AR15 for LE & the civilian market to use the increasingly popular .223/5.56 caliber.
    Denis
     
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  3. boom boom
    • Contributing Member

    boom boom Contributing Member

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    Bill Ruger claimed that (it is covered in a interview in Bill Ruger and his Guns book, p. 146) but realistically he never got much if any foreign military or police sales. The original M1 Garand was always designed as a semi-auto and the Army by using a similar design for the M14 with its select fire capability and heavy recoiling (compared to something like the 5.56 or the 7.62x39) 7.62 round demonstrated that the design was not as good for full auto.

    From what I've read, part of the lack of military sales for the full auto version of the Mini is that the durability and reliability were not very good when using repeated auto fire in training.

    You see remarkably little about Ruger's promise that the Mini was going to be available in .308. Apparently, they even had barrels made for it and could never quite get the project to work out.

    Supposedly among other stories, the original Mini 30 was designed as a way to use these .308 barrels that could not be used otherwise for the dead .308 Mini project.
     
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  4. jdh

    jdh Member

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    Rumors fueled by the original Mini30 barrels being .308 instead of .311.
     
  5. DPris

    DPris Member

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    When first introduced, the Mini was restricted LE only, took a few minutes for Ruger to open it up to the civilian market.
    It did have some LE appeal, but not enough to keep it LE only.
    Denis
     
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  6. jski

    jski Member

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    Based on what I heard in the Forgotten Weapons video, the engineers at Ruger simplified both the design and manufacturing of the M-14. Nothing wrong with that!

    As an engineer I know all too well that “no value-added complexity” is the monster we all must fight against. In the end, it’s either value-added or value-subtracted. For the M-14, it appears to have been value-subtracted.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
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  7. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    "No value added complexity"...sounds like German engineering!

    The only large LE agencies I know of off hand who bought a lot of Mini-14's are the Ca Dept of Corrections and the SB County Sheriff's Department. And that was 25+ years ago, long before the AR-15 was found in every patrol car.

    Stay safe!
     
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  8. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    The .308 version was called the X-GI from what I remember. I'm surprised Ruger couldn't get it to work unless it was too expensive. Well I like my Mini 14 and 30 for what they are.
     
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  9. lysanderxiii

    lysanderxiii Member

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    Funny how everyone states that the M14 was such and expensive gun to make...

    The final (and and highest) contract cost per gun from Winchester, Harrington & Richards, and TRW were $118.82, $113.60 and $101.78 respectively in 1962 dollars. The cost of the first M16 contract in 1963 was $121.84 each, the second M16 contract was for $112 each. The M16 and M14 were similar in price.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018
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  10. Scooter22

    Scooter22 Member

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    Well you have ti figure the prices then. The M14 has a more machined receiver that a "M16".
     
  11. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Member

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    I love to shoot my Mini, but it is no AR by a long shot.
     
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  12. jski

    jski Member

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    Interesting article on Chuck Hawk's website about the much maligned accuracy of the Mini-14:
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2018
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  13. caribou

    caribou Member

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    Might just be the most popular and widely used Eskimo carry everywhere rifle.
    Handy in a boat or on a snowgo, light to carry and a 20 shot clip, and its the carbine to carry.
    Get close and they always work, rain, shine, snow and blizzard. Very well known not to be exceedingly accurate, but 150 yards and closer, its a very good semi for most all hunting purposes, for , say, when you are out but not deliberatly hunting...... boating, checking net, picking berrys, getting firewood, etc, like the Northern version of a ''truck rifle''.
    Come a deliberate hunt, most up gun because of the wide open Tundra or down size for small game, but you get my jist, I'm sure.
     
  14. jski

    jski Member

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    That's high praise from where I come from. A hearty people living in extreme conditions need a hearty rifle that can function in extreme conditions.
     
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  15. Speedo66

    Speedo66 Member

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    If I lived in a place where local game could eat you, I'd definitely want a reliable gun. If you say the Mini-14 is popular there, that speaks volumes.
     
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  16. jmorris

    jmorris Member

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    If I lived in a place where local game could eat me I would rely on any .223 to keep them from eating me.

    That said maybe a case ejected from my Ranch rifle could put their eye out...
     
  17. kBob

    kBob Member

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    I believe I posted pictures of the two XGI .308 Ruger rifles I handled on THR some years back.

    They did make at least the two rifles I handled. They were the size of M-14s so I can not imagine that the barrels got used for Mini 30s but the tooling might have been.

    Ruger was pretty tight lipped about the guns. I noted the magazines looked like cut down M-14 mags and asked and they would not tell me. Being the kind of guy I am I went to the Springfield booth and asked if I might borrow a 20 rounder, they asked why and I told them. They excitedly loaned me a mag to get info on potential competition and I wandered back to the Ruger booth. I again handled the rifles and stuck the M-14 mag in both examined the Ruger mags side by side with the M-14 mag.....the XGI used M-14 magazines.

    In later years I spoke to Ruger folks at various shows about the XGI and it was always like digging up something embarrassing and smelly. I was assured repeatedly that the XGI would never be reborn. Once one of them spoke of receiver issues but other than that I never got a straight answer as to why.

    Guns and Ammo annual ran an article on the then new Mini-14 using the company proto type with M-1 style rear sights so I was disappointed when the production sight was all I could get. I was even more disappointed with the Ranch rifle sights. Those Tech Sights look pretty decent and If I were not so cheap I would have a set to review.

    -kBob
     
  18. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    I remember well the X-GI project and believe the reality of firing full power 308 in such a small platform is what really derailed the gun. There is no mechanical reason they couldn't get it to function, but physics and recoil can't be worked around and that little carbine would have been a real handful to shoot. Throw in some real thermal issues with small mass rapidly heating up and it's no wonder they canned the project. I do think 7.62x39 is about the maximum caliber for the platform and with proper ammo the Mini-30's have done well.
     
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  19. RecoilRob

    RecoilRob Member

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    Interesting! I'd never seen an X-GI in person nor a size comparison to M-14's....and always assumed they were just slightly enlarged Mini-14's. If they were the size of full M-14's could it be that they didn't want to be in direct competition with the M1-A? If they couldn't downsize to a more handy platform is that why they canned the project?
     
  20. cheygriz

    cheygriz Member

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    If Bill Ruger had not been so fanatically obsessed with notion that mere civilians should not have para-military weapons, he would have offered the original Mini-14 with 16 inch barrel, folding synthetic stock and 30 round magazines. He well might have cut deeply into the AR-15 market at the start. But he was too bull headed.
     
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  21. ECVMatt

    ECVMatt Member

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    I'll agree with Caribou that the Mini makes a great all around rifle. I especailly like the way the safety captures the hammer if you are transporting the rifle while loaded.

    When I first moved to Texas many years ago, I picked up a Mini for my truck gun. I worked great and never let me down function wise. It always went bang, but was really not all that accurate. When I began to spend more time on a ranch helping the owner, misses were not acceptable. We often had to shoot at coyotes around cattle and you were expected to hit your target. I switched to a Remington 700 in 6mm Rem, which was much better for the task at hand.

    Again the Mini is great for a general purpose/truck gun kind of rifle, but I do not see it being any type of front line battle rifle.

    As I was once told by a lady of questionable morals, "There is nothing wrong with being happy with what you are good at...."
     
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  22. CoalTrain49

    CoalTrain49 Member

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    Just changed my gas bushing out. My brass was hammered. Guy next to me said one hit him in the head after bouncing off of a wall. He wasn't anywhere close to me and to my left.
     
  23. LoonWulf

    LoonWulf Member

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    I have a chipped tooth from a case ejected from my buddies mini while we were spotlighting.
     
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  24. DPris

    DPris Member

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    "The inside philosophy has always been that it is a ranch/truck gun for close range (50/75 yard work). A gun you can knock around, let it get dirty and it will still work. It was also intended for urban LE work to replace shotguns and the surplus .30 M1 carbines that the police were using."

    "Bill Ruger always said, 'It's not a target rifle, it's a utility gun.'"
    "The receiver is much too flexible."
    Retired Ruger engineer.
    Denis
     
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  25. Rudolph31

    Rudolph31 Member

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    Of all people, the French adopted the Mini-14 for Law Enforcement. There were videos of the cops carrying them in Paris during the last terrorist attack there.
     
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