Rifles Misc All rifles not covered elsewhere!

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Old 03-13-2006, 06:22   #1
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AR-15 vs. Mini-14

I have read discussions like this for years. Now that I am a member Iím starting this one to try and objectively resolve this matter. Please no bashing lets just deal with the facts. I like both weapons, and have extensively shot then both. I personally favor the Mini 14.

Letís try and stick to these factors when considering these two rifles.
(Also lets try and stick with the most current AR's & Mini's .223 5.56)


1) Cost
2) Functionality
3) Practicality
4) Performance
5) Reliability
6) Accessories
7) Factory vs. Modded




Here is my Ruger Mini 14 (196 series):

My Completely Tuned Ruger Mini 14 Ranch
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:29   #2
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Ar vs mini

I think this is a great topic. I've been doing some of research on it. I found this.
http://www.ar15.com/content/swat/200...vs_Mini-14.pdf
very informative. It's hard to get unbiased opinions from anyone. Most of the Ar crowd will put down most anything other than Ar's and the mini crowd will do the same. Reasons for going with the either are pretty specific to the user. I like the mini because it looks less like an "EVIL BLACK GUN" as some douche bags see the Ar's. I personally think that in a S.H.T.F situation I'd rather have an AK than anything else. BUT I feel you may be seen by other civi's and possibly the authority's as some kind of a threat, I think this includes the AR. To most gun illiterate\ignorant they instill fear. I think the wood stocked mini wouldn't be so threatening and still be just as effective. Just my opinion and you know what they say about opinions......
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Old 03-13-2006, 07:36   #3
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1) Cost You can buy a Mini 14 and 2000 rounds of ammo for what a reliable AR costs. Or rebarrel your Mini for the same price as an AR, which makes that one a wash. If Ruger would build a slightly heavier barrel, like they did with the 10/22, for $100 more, it would tilt the scales to the Ruger. Tie
2) Functionality 90% of self-loading weapon problems are due to magazines. There are reliable mags out there for both, and some real junk. The worst Mini 14 mags are about as reliable as the old aluminum 30 round Adventure Line M16 mags. Tie
3) Practicality If you ever plan to, or do anything other than carry a rifle to the range in a full-size pick-up, a folding stock is the handiest thing they ever put on a rifle. Fold it, sling it across your back, and you can drag a deer, climb a tree stand, work, anything, and your rifle is always there. TSHTF, sling it across your back, roll it in your sleeping bag, you'll have it long after the NO PD takes all the other guy's guns. Mini
4) Performance The AR has evolved to a heavier barrel design for the M855 cartridge. It actually gave away the 5.56 mm cartridge's lethality, the M193 bullet would yaw in the bad guy, and break in half at the cannelure. With a level playing field, a < $1000 AR, and ball ammo, most ARs will shoot in the 2 to 2.5" range at 100 meters, just like most Minis. Most $500 ARs will shoot just like the lighter barrel Minis. I know I'll get flamed for that, but the flamers just need to get some ball ammo and go to the range. I've seen about 3 or 400,000 rounds go down range out of those things. Tie
5) Reliability Bill Ruger worked as an engineer on the M1 Carbine at Springfield Armory during WWII. The self cleaning gas system with the piston in the handguards is infinitely more reliable then the Stoner column of gas that gums up your bolt carrier. Mini
6) Accessories The AR has evolved over the last 20 years to support Aimpoint, lasers, and flashlights. The AR has more junk that can be hung on it. AR
7) Factory vs. Modded Any AR has the two major design flaws, the buffer and spring in the stock, that precludes a folding stock, and the gas system. A heavy barrel Mini 14 in 6mm/.223 would mitigate all of the platform/ cartridge issues. MINI
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Old 03-13-2006, 08:14   #4
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Originally Posted by ghostrider
1) Cost You can buy a Mini 14 and 2000 rounds of ammo for what a reliable AR costs. Or rebarrel your Mini for the same price as an AR, which makes that one a wash. If Ruger would build a slightly heavier barrel, like they did with the 10/22, for $100 more, it would tilt the scales to the Ruger. Tie
2) Functionality 90% of self-loading weapon problems are due to magazines. There are reliable mags out there for both, and some real junk. The worst Mini 14 mags are about as reliable as the old aluminum 30 round Adventure Line M16 mags. Tie
3) Practicality If you ever plan to, or do anything other than carry a rifle to the range in a full-size pick-up, a folding stock is the handiest thing they ever put on a rifle. Fold it, sling it across your back, and you can drag a deer, climb a tree stand, work, anything, and your rifle is always there. TSHTF, sling it across your back, roll it in your sleeping bag, you'll have it long after the NO PD takes all the other guy's guns. Mini
4) Performance The AR has evolved to a heavier barrel design for the M855 cartridge. It actually gave away the 5.56 mm cartridge's lethality, the M193 bullet would yaw in the bad guy, and break in half at the cannelure. With a level playing field, a < $1000 AR, and ball ammo, most ARs will shoot in the 2 to 2.5" range at 100 meters, just like most Minis. Most $500 ARs will shoot just like the lighter barrel Minis. I know I'll get flamed for that, but the flamers just need to get some ball ammo and go to the range. I've seen about 3 or 400,000 rounds go down range out of those things. Tie
5) Reliability Bill Ruger worked as an engineer on the M1 Carbine at Springfield Armory during WWII. The self cleaning gas system with the piston in the handguards is infinitely more reliable then the Stoner column of gas that gums up your bolt carrier. Mini
6) Accessories The AR has evolved over the last 20 years to support Aimpoint, lasers, and flashlights. The AR has more junk that can be hung on it. AR
7) Factory vs. Modded Any AR has the two major design flaws, the buffer and spring in the stock, that precludes a folding stock, and the gas system. A heavy barrel Mini 14 in 6mm/.223 would mitigate all of the platform/ cartridge issues. MINI
Way to pick and choose what areas to compare instead of including all other aspects of these weapons. I thought this was an objective discusison not a biased one.
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Old 03-13-2006, 09:43   #5
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You can`t really compare the 2 rifles, it`s like comparing potatoes and rice= 2 totally different things. They have both their advantages and disadvantages and they`re both fun.

A $ 600 DPMS sweet 16 w. bull barrel will be just as accurate as a rebarreled mini (about 600 bucks for the mini and $ 800 for heavy barrel, bedding and triggerjob), as for reliability and ruggedness, you can`t beat the out of the box mini.

With a level playing field, a < $1000 AR, and ball ammo, most ARs will shoot in the 2 to 2.5" range at 100 meters
I`ve tried different types of ammo with the standard mini and best I could get were 3.5" groups, worst about 10".
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Old 03-13-2006, 10:27   #6
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Who cares? A gun is like any other personal item. If you like a particular model buy and enjoy it. It doesn't matter what someone else thinks of it!!!
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:02   #7
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Originally Posted by BlackOps
Way to pick and choose what areas to compare instead of including all other aspects of these weapons. I thought this was an objective discusison not a biased one.
Cost, Functionality, Practicality, Performance, Reliability are probably the most important five. The AR is more easily changed to a new caliber, two pins, five hundred dollars, you can shoot 9mm through it.

Is its demand based on a real market, or is it a niche or price point driving the demand. The mini has a niche in the farmer/ rancher crowd, and the only has $400 to spend crowd. The AR, at $800 to $1200 + for a gun built with mil-spec parts, is in the price range of the M1A, and .308 is just as cheap.

Ruggedness. The AR/M16 has a couple of fatal flaws, that my experience with them has shown me. The aluminum threads in the rear of the receiver where the buttstock screws in are extremely thin, making the weapon extremely fragile, it doesn't even take a good buttstroke to render your weapon useless. The second is double feeds. If your mag ever bobbles and feeds two rounds, there is enough room between the bolt carrier and the top of the receiver for the base of the round to fit. Since the charging handle is not part of the bolt, it will not push the bolt forward or backwards. It can be cleared, but it takes time, something you don't have when somebody's shooting back. Any GI that spent a lot of time on the range has seen that one several times.
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:04   #8
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Originally Posted by JackT
Who cares? A gun is like any other personal item. If you like a particular model buy and enjoy it. It doesn't matter what someone else thinks of it!!!
Entirely correct, buy what you like, and shoot it. But then, we wouldn't have as much fun discussing it, would we.
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Old 03-13-2006, 11:34   #9
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How can you say you canít compare these two rifles? They are the same caliber. They are both semi automatic and except high capacity magazines. They both have the ability to except a wide range of accessories. They are both used in the same types of applications. They are both gas powered spring operated. What criteria do two rifles have to meet to be compared (two weapons made by the same company in the same caliber)? I believe your statement is kind of a copout for someone who isnít interested in find out what the real factual differences are. Also I know it doesnít matter what someone thinks of your rifle which ever one you may prefer. I am just trying to compare two different rifles and find the pros and cons in each to better educate those who are willing to learn. There are many misconceptions when it comes to these to rifles and I want to squash them all. A lot of people are in the dark when it comes to there knowledge of these two rifles and I want to help set the record straight. I would be more than happy to discuss any aspect of these two weapons to anyone who would like to pose a question. Iím very familiar with both and have learned a lot about them through experience, research, and first hand knowledge.
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Old 03-13-2006, 14:05   #10
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arvsmini

My two cents worth:

These rifles are similar but not identical. They shoot similar rounds, mini's are marked .223 and AR's are marked 5.56. Supposedly these are different cartridges. They are similar but different.

Both use hi cap mags-most mini mags are steel, steel is better than aluminum which is used in 'most' AR mags.

The AR's biggest problems is the tight clearances in the bolt/chamber lock up. Tight means better....sometimes. The mini is not as tight or picky in this area, this is better....sometimes. If you go back and dig out some old info about the problems in Nam w/AR, most of the problems point to powder. What I have read is that the powder used at first was old. It had been stored with calcium carbonate to absorb any moisture, calcium carbonate is "dirt" when mixed with powder and fired==>JAMS!

The mini is cheaper when new (used the price is very close in this area) than the AR. The AR has better inherent accuracy. Spend the money to equalize price and the mini shoots as well.

Repair parts are easier to find for the AR than the mini.

The AR is black and scary-my mini's are all black and scare my Beamation (half beagle and half dalmation), the German Shepard doesn't care. I take the wood off and go to synthetic on my mini's because synthetic's hold up better. If I want people to like my guns I'll carry a lever action, all
non-believers think you are Roy Rogers or Gene Autry then.

I like the collapsible stock better than a folder because I shoot long guns left handed. Shoot handguns right handed. My DI loved that, and oh yeah, I qualified expert and he was a sharpshooter. I have one BC folder w/AR collapsible stock and am going to convert one or two more for some of the mini's.

What do I have, six Mini 14's, one Mini 30 and four AR 15's-two 20" and two 16" What do I want if the feces contacts the westinghouse, for the non PC, that is when the SHTF. Any one of them will do, along with 10-15 mags and all of the ammo I can hump. Second choice would be a Ruger 10/22M or Marlin 922, You can carry a lot more 22 mag ammo than 223.

This brings up a question that I've wondered about since finding this web site, why do most of us have mini's or AR's-->when the SHTF or plinking. A 22 makes a better plinker so I guess that means for when the SHTF.

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Old 03-13-2006, 14:32   #11
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good comparison, but as always, bashed from all sides.
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Old 03-13-2006, 15:53   #12
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I have never been an AR fan until recently. I plan on buying one. I see the advantages and disadvantages of both. The main disadvantage of the Mini is accuracy for me. Mags have become less of a problem since the end of the idiotic AWB. The AR is quite a bit more expensive and to me its advantages are cheap mags everywhere and accuracy.
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Old 03-13-2006, 16:21   #13
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How to end the debate

It's really simple. Buy both. I did. And I'm loving it!
The only fair comparison is that they both (mini14, standard AR)are chambered for a similar cartridge.
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Old 03-13-2006, 17:29   #14
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Question

This is more of a question....than a critique. I have never owned...or shot an AR. I have countless thousands of rounds through my Minis. I have no military service experience. Every time I have pondered purchasing an AR...just to see what one is like....I get cold feet when I think about cleaning it. Just looking at an AR manual/cleaning instructions gives me hives. I can literally disassemble and reassemble a 14 with my eyes closed...because I have done it so many times. It is a piece of cake to clean...no small parts to lose. So I pose to you who have great experience with both: how do the two stack up in terms of maintanence issues?
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Old 03-13-2006, 17:29   #15
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Or buy both and trade them in on a M-14.
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Old 03-13-2006, 17:32   #16
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I like the way you think, fatdaddy!!
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Old 03-13-2006, 18:50   #17
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Maintenance

AR / M4 maintenance is cake. Breaking it down is easily and so is cleaning it. After doing it once you'll see it isnt complicated at all. I could break mine down with my eyse closed.


Last edited by BlackOps; 03-13-2006 at 19:28.
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Old 03-13-2006, 19:37   #18
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I went with the mini for a couple of reasons. Its very very similar to the M1 Garand and M-14 gas system which is more then proven. It is stone cold reliable no matter how dirty it is (good mags are important in any weapon. Even my M-14 will fail with crap mags... which is about the only thing that will stop it. ). I like that the mini has a handle that can clear just about any kind of jam. An its plenty accurate and can be made even more so for either free or next to nothing from the info on this board.

Black and scary? My mini is now . If you wanna know more check out my thread in the gallery. State/local law might make the choice for you.

.223 or 5.56? Doesn't matter both the mini and AR shoot both.

High caps? Both have them. Good and bad.

Cost? I dont know for sure about ARs but I know you can find deals on minis. I got mine with wood and BC folder, Ultra Dot red dot, Assault systems bag, and about a dozen 30rds for a little over $400. As with everything if you have the time to look around you can find a good deal on either I would bet.

Ammo? I know a mini will eat anything but I dont know about an AR.
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Old 03-13-2006, 19:39   #19
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I forgot to add that as far as accessories go the AR wins hands down since the military use them. However there are still decent selection for the mini and some simple DIY things for some others.
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Old 03-13-2006, 22:34   #20
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But isn't the AR considered a rifle and the Mini considered a carbine? Rifles are more accurate than carbines I've read. And ARs cost twice as much as Minis. I can only dream about either gun because I don't owm an AR nor a Mini but I have compared the two and price is why I'd choose a Mini over an AR but the AR is probably a more capable gun.
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Old 03-13-2006, 23:01   #21
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I have owned both. I currently own niether. I am planning on buying another Mini-14 soon however. I will not ever own another AR. Yes, the AR is pretty easy to break down for cleaning, but it does have a lot of little bitty pieces that are easy to lose(ask me how I know). The Mini doesn't have that problem and it is easy to break down for cleaning as well. It is also easier to clean, since it doesn't "crap where it eats" like an AR. It can be a real chore to remove all the fouling from an AR's action after a lot of shooting. The AR is also very sensitive to over or under lubrication. If you do not lube it properly it will jam. The Mini doesn't care. I have fired Mini's dry, with no lube, and they still functioned perfectly(not reccommended). If you try that with an AR it will jam(again, not reccommended). Yes, an out of the box AR will typically be more accurate than an out of the box Mini. If you like to shoot itty bitty groups on paper, then you might like an AR better. For me, I don't care. I'm more interested in practical accuracy, not intrinsic accuracy. For me the Mini has better practical, real world, field accuracy because it feels better to me.
That last part is the most subjective. For me an AR feels clumsy, uncomfortable, and cheap. I also can't stand that annoying "sproing" sound the buffer spring makes with every shot. A Mini feels "right" to me. It feels like a real rifle, and I like that its action is very similar to my 2 favorite rifles of all time, the M1 Garand and the M14. As far as add on accessories, the AR has more. If that matters to you then an AR would probably be a better choice. I don't care, because I don't need all that "tactical" garbage. I prefer to keep all my guns stock, or pretty close to it. I've never felt handicapped in the least by not having all that "super ninja, high speed, low drag, tactical" crap hanging off my weapons. I prefer to adhere to the K.I.S.S.(Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle. So for me, and my uses, I prefer the Mini-14.

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Old 03-13-2006, 23:05   #22
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Deadreckoning: This is one of those topics that people just can't talk about objectively. Its kinda like Chevy vs Ford. eventually you get those in the group who just start sticking their tongue's out and saying "mine's better than yours".
Personally I find the following as I have owned 3 AR's in various configuartions, a true M4 (classIII) and 3 mini's (as well as several others).

I have seen both with manufacture errors (everyone is human). I have seen both jam although the ruger not so much. I shoot my trick dept issue M4 and personal tac AR at work becasue that's what they make me shoot. Yes I love the interchangeable parts but the thing is a pain to clean thoroughly and it jams when subjected to extremes (mud, sand, clay, snow, etc...). With a proper folding stock (ie buttler creek), forward pistol grip and tac light set-up I truely prefer the mini when I hit the mud.

If I'm kicking doors I prefer the intense firepower and quicker mag changes of the ar/m4 style. Then again I have never owned or shot a class III ruger. I also like the things I've seen with the 50 bewolf (sp?) cartridge upper and shear awsome penetration in car bodies

I believe the AR is more accurate out of the box due to prodruction practices at ruger, but these can easily be fixed as mentioned eslewhere on this board with minor expense.

AR/M4's can be made more user friendly with the addition of a gas piston upper that keeps the carbon and gas out of the action but these are VERY costly. I believe in general the AR/M4 has more options and accessories if that's your bag.

It boils down to this. I carry the AR/m4 at work becasue they won't let me carry anything else and it does many things well.

I carry my mini-14 in my POV becasue it works 100% of the time after I neglect it like crazy. The mini replaced my 45-70 guide gun but only because I spend more time in urban areas now and don't want to worry so much about over-penetration. I believe in being prepaired, knowing your needs and adapting to your environement.

Anybody who thinks the AR is easy to clean has never had one jam while being fired upon. Yes they are easy to clean when sitting at home or at the range. You can even get quick when racing eachother in cleaning contests. But loosing a firing pin retaining pin or bolt assembly in the mud when trying to free the mechanism SUCKS. Trust me and read my signature at the bottom! ( I now carry a spare slide assembly in a zippy bag) There is a reason why some contractors in Iraq carry McCormick triggers in zippy bags. You can drop them out (another pain but better than no long gun) and put another in to get back in the fight.

I've never had this problem with my mini and do not feel the need to carry around spare parts for it in my turn out gear.

The 223 round is good for urban environments when compared to most common rifle rounds due to overpenetration concerns. If I worked somewhere more remote I'd opt for a M14 (16in) and call it good. I understand the CA DEPT of Fish and Game has them now and loves them.

See there deadreckoning, I ended up rambling on forever and still didn't answer the debate. By the way I'm a Chevy guy I'll check back in a few days and see if you guys have figured this one out for me yet.

Last edited by gunrun45; 03-13-2006 at 23:23.
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:40   #23
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Cleaning and breaking down an ar-15 is just as easy as an mini 14 if you are at home or somewhere where you donít have to rush. If you are in a hostile environment taking down an ar-15 is not something to look forward to for these two reasons.

1) The hand guard is tight and has to be stood up vertically and requires considerable force to remove.

2) There are many more very small moving parts in an ar-15.

The mini 14 is very simple to breakdown and the smallest part you have to deal with is the gas bushing, which is roughly the size of a penny.

When I was in the Army we had two qualify with M16A2. We were given 40 rounds and had to shoot 40 pop up silhouette targets 2 at a time. I qualified as a sharpshooter instead of a expert because I had a jam during my qualification. As a result of the malfunction I had to eject 1 round that I could never get back and missed two targets due to the time it took to perform S.P.O.R.T.S. on the rifle.

Everyone knows the factory Ar-15 shoots tighter groups than the factory Mini 14 because of the thin crap barrel Ruger uses. If you spend about $450.00 on a Mini 14 and spend another $350.00 on a really good bull barrel you have spent 800.00. If you spend another $100.00 on a nice pistol grip synthetic stock you have spent $900.00. If you spend another $100.00 on a recoil buffer and other minor accessories you have spent $1000.00 which is the average going price for a new Ar-15 M4. So you see if you modify the Mini-14 to equal the price of the Ar-15 you have a weapon that shoot as good as if not better than Ar-15. Not to mention it will be more reliable do to its loose action and self cleaning bolt. Imagine if Ruger sold there rifles in the configuration that I just mentioned from the start. Don't you think it would have received more attention in the Law Enforcement and Military circles? I kind of think people like Ar-15 because they are the rifles everyone sees when they watch movies and play video games, ect... If the Mini 14 had been manufactured in the way I mentioned before I think that the ar-15 would have had a run for there money when being chosen by different governments as a service rifle. Especial since it took so much convincing on the part of the US Government to change from the proven Garand style rifles to the ar-15 type rifles.

Just a side note the AR-15 is the only service weapon in the world that comes standard with a forward assist. Whatís that saying?

I think the Ar-15 is a great weapon and would serve law enforcement agencyís better than the mini 14 since they arenít getting their rifles as dirty. But when it comes to the battle field I donít want to be stuck with a rifle that has such a tight chamber a small amount of dirt will render it useless. Not to mention the gas that recycled into firing chamber that gets it dirty fast.

The Ak47 has a similar style action as the Mini 14 and variations of that weapon have been around since 1947, and is still the most produced service rifle in the world. Sometimes newer doesnít mean better. Sometimes the cooler looking or more menacing looking weapon doesnít mean more deadly.

Basically I prefer a Modified Mini-14 for the same price as a factory Ar-15 because it will shoot the same if not better. Once you have eliminated accuracy problems from the equation it comes down to reliability, which almost everyone agrees the Mini -14 is superior in that aspect for the reasons I have stated above. There is no modification for the AR-15 that I know of that will increase the reliablity of the action.

Also who ever as trouble finding Mini-14 accessories isnít looking very hard. The only accessory I canít find for the Mini 14 that the Ar-15 has is a forward vertical grip. And yes you can get a telescoping stock for the Mini 14 you can find a link to it in this forum, all you need is the adapter.

Just because the military uses the ar-15 doesnít mean there are more accessories. If you have been in the military you know the only accessories you get with your M16 is a bayonet, mags, and ammo.
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Last edited by DeadReckoning; 03-14-2006 at 11:28.
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Old 03-14-2006, 08:58   #24
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The Mini 14 is rugged an reliable, the only two problems are the light barrel an the aftermarket magazines, you just about have to use factory magazines for 100% reliable, an the light barrel that gets very hot . down here in Louisiana Summers are very hot to start with , run A thirty rounds through one an see how super hot the barrel gets. but all in all I still like my mini 14 . as for as the AR goes don't own one right now, maybe in the future.
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Old 03-14-2006, 09:14   #25
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I buy 30 round blued magazines for $15.00 a piece new. They do not malfunction anymore than any other mags. Why are so many people having a hard time finding cheap reliable mags for the Mini 14?
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