Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 family of rifles

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Old 08-19-2002, 13:02   #1
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I am trying to decide on whether to get a stainless Mini-14 or Mini-30.

Other than the difference in the ballistic performance of these two cartridges, are there other differences inherent to the Mini's with regards to these two cartridges? For instance, is one more accurate out of the box than the other? Is one more reliable? Durable?

Thanks guys. I appreciate you sharing your knowledge with me.


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Old 08-19-2002, 13:07   #2
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Couple things -
The "30" is a ranch style rifle. So, unless you plan to mount a scope, the standard sights are not very good.
Hi Cap magazines are much harder to get for the "30".
Other than that I would say that a Mini-14 ranch and a mini 30 are just about the same.
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Old 08-19-2002, 13:51   #3
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How about (practical) ammo capacity, and recoil? I would also be curious about the overall reliability of the aftermarket magazines, compared with the mini-14.
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Old 08-19-2002, 14:06   #4
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A nother thing that needs to be asked. What are you planning to do with it? If you are just going to plink and play, they are about the same. If you want a gun to hunt deer or pigs, the thirty would be a better choise. A 223 can take a deer with good shot placement or if its close. The 7.62x39 is close to a 30-30 by the numbers and would do a better job. If some you talk to are right, and I'm not one of them, some day you may see UN troops in the US, some of them carry 223. You can re-arm yourself. For around the house, I would think the 223 would be better. The bullet will not go as far. It likes to bounce around more. The 7.62 is more likly to keep going. Both shoot about the same. Neather are tack drivers. One last thing. I tend to buy one type of ammo and then have several firearms to use the same round. I use the same rounds in 4 different rifles. An AR, 2 mini's and my bench/varmint gun. So if you already have one type of ammo, your already on your way. As you may be able to tell, I picked the 223. But you will not go wrong with eather one of them. Why not buy both and then see witch one you like best.
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Old 08-19-2002, 14:33   #5
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You hit on one of my main concerns, ammunition availability. It seems like the 7.62x39 will wane in popularity due to the Russia's own adoption of a high speed .22 centerfire cartridge for their assault rifles. I know that there are loads of 7.62x39 ammo on the market but it just appears as though over time into the future, the 7.62x39 will wane in popularity.

One other big concern of mine is accuracy. Is a stock Mini-14, generally speaking, more or less accurate than a Mini-30?

Plinking and self-defense would be the main uses of the gun.
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Old 08-19-2002, 15:00   #6
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I have not shot the mini 30 lot, so I can only tell you what little I know and have read. Its about the same at 100 yrds as the 14. I do remember reading about a test between a mini 30 and an SKS. The SKS with iron sites out shot the mini 30 that was scoped. But if 5 in. groups at 100 is fine with you, there both about the same. One thing I did was get out from anything made out of the US. Ammo and firearms. I know there are tons of parts out there and more and more US shops are putting out AK's. But I went with the Rugers and Bushmasters. I was not thnking about problems in my day but my kids will have them some day. I can tell you that there are lots of good hi-cap mags for the 14's, not sure about the 30's. You are right about the 223. Its going to be here along time to come. But like I said before, I like the 223. Now only the mini's came in 30-06, I would be happy. I know, its called the M1. Have one of thoes too.
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Old 08-19-2002, 18:19   #7
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Hi Doc, like the camera man said, it depends on what ya want to do with it. The 4" to 5" group out of the box at 100 yds is typical, but we know how to tune the mini's to shoot under 2" , with some near 1", for not much money. I think your main decision is which bullet will do it for ya. Some advice, after you make your decision, on which ever mini, don't buy 1,000 rds of ammo till you know how it shoots. Its better to buy several boxes of different bullet brands, and weights, till you find out what your mini likes. Each rifle is different.
If I had the cash, I'd buy both, but in my circumstance, I wanted a longer range rifle for varmint, especially coyotes, and could only afford 1 so I got the 14. But thats me, and my particulars.
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Old 08-19-2002, 22:58   #8
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I purchased a stainless ranch rifle last year. I really enjoy it. I do, however, intend to purchase a mini-30 next year. (I have limited myself to one gun a year. This year it was a springfield .45) After I get the 30, I will start tinkering with the ranch (24" heavier barrel and so forth) for some serious varmanting. I will probly keep the 30 stock for awhile. After all, ya gotta love the carbines! Ammo is inexpensive for both, and I don't know if you can find a more reliable autoloader. If you only plan on getting one, see if you can find someone local who has one you can go shooting with first. Always nice to try one on before you buy it!
In any case, I think they are both worth the money and you will enjoy either one of them. Just don't expect them to do things they were not meant to do.
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Old 08-19-2002, 23:06   #9
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I was at the range the other day getting in some practice with the minis I enjoy shooting both rifles. I use usa thirty rounders in the mini thirty which I have made my deer hunter with the 5 round mag. topped with a bushnell 1.5x4.5x32 scope, buffertech recoil buffer, choate stocks both are interchangable,conventional stock and e-2 stock.Also use the double muzzle brake on the thirty an the ak-74 brake on the mini 14. the next improvement gas sytem. No problems like them both as far as the 7.62x39mm ammo a lot to chose from, an millions of weapons a round the world use this. My thinking get them both, if you like your mini 14 then a mini 30 just might be the ticket for you too.
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Old 08-19-2002, 23:18   #10
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singleside, which brake do you prefer, the AK-style, or the Double?
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Old 08-19-2002, 23:42   #11
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I have one of each and they are both my favorite shooters. With the number of Ak varients in the world at several million and still growing I don't see 7.62x39 growing scarce in our life time.
I scoped the Mini 30 and have a standard 14 which I will leave with Iron sights both can group around 2 inches at 100 If I am really careful.

My state makes high caps a moot point. They are both good rifles if I had to choose one I would keep the 30. But I don't have to choose so I say get both. Then you have all bases covered.

I also like to have more then one rifle in each caliber so I'm in the
market for a Jersey legal AK clone.

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Old 08-20-2002, 00:09   #12
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I have them both. One in synthetic stock (the Thirty) and one in wood (the 14). The 30 is a more serious take-down weapon - best at close range. If I were thrown into a CLOSE combat situation, I'd rather the Thirty was at my side. But if it was distant, probably the 14 because that gun allows me to stay on my target after successive rounds. I have glass-bed my Mini-14, used a smaller gas orifice, double-brake, the recoil buffer, and an adjustable trigger which is set very light (Thanks Mike!). Also, I have many more reliable hi-cap mags for my 14. The other benefits of the 14 are the much lighter ammo, and a very slightly lighter rifle. Also, mini-14 mags are definately easier to find.

If I could only buy one or the other, I'd buy the Mini-14, since it is the most versatile of the two. And we are not currently in a combat situation.

As far as accuracy, they can both be tweaked down to about 1-1.5 MOA. Out of the box, they are about same/same for accuracy, the Thirty just makes a bigger hole (easier to sight it in using a spotting scope), more noise and more muzzle lift. The muzzle lift makes it difficult to re-acquire your target. My Mini-14 can be held spot-on after many trigger pulls. Thats why I would prefer the Thirty at CLOSE range and the 14 at long.

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Old 08-20-2002, 00:52   #13
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I have and used both style muzzle brakes they both worked well, I have to say the mini 30 is one I carry around on the ranch, my work and hunt weapon. This forum is the best, I plan in the future to make improvements in both weapons. Just bought a bushmaster ar-15 to add to my collection of carbine rifles, hope it will be as reliable as my minis.
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Old 08-20-2002, 01:46   #14
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I have a stainless 14 and a blue 30. The 14 is the most fired weapon I own and I own more than a few. The 30 is O.K. its just that I have enjoyed better accuracy from the 14, also the 30 jams up using hollow point military ammo. Guess who has 900 rounds of military hollow point around waiting for the right SKS to come around . I have enjoyed hunting small game with a group of guys all using the 14, it seems to be easier to find a hunter who owns one. Lastly the two high capacity magazines I have for the 30 are crap. Its no fun going 5 rounds at a time with this type of weapon.
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Old 08-20-2002, 18:31   #15
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Satan, the 30 is louder than the 14? I don't remember the 14 or AR being less loud than the 30. The AR was annoying with 16 inch barrel and brake.
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Old 08-21-2002, 19:45   #16
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Seems louder to me, but then again, I may be deceived because of the caliber difference in my mind.
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Old 08-29-2002, 15:22   #17
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My reasoning in choosing the Mini-14 over the Mini-30 was this (although I would like to have one of each):

1. Mini-14 Mags of 20 rounds and higher are more readily available, esp. quality ones.

2. If 7.62x39 surplus or import ammo runs out, gets banned, US Made .223 is more available and at reasonable prices > i.e. Wal Mart.

For example - Wal Mart sells .223 beacuse they sell Mini-14's but WILL NOT SELL 7.62x39 becasue they consider it an assult rifle caliber.

(anyone else see the stupidity in Wal Mart? Hello M-16?)
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Old 08-29-2002, 17:07   #18
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Up in PA, I bought a box of KMC 7.62x39 at Walmart. Mabey it's a regional thing. By the way it didn't work very well in my SKS strippers, first one would go in and the rest would go flying out all over the place.
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Old 08-29-2002, 18:52   #19
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our local walmart sells 7.62x39. ive never bought any, because i really dont want to pay for brass case stuff. no need. my AK feeds everything and im not interested in reloading the stuff. only the cheap stuff for me.
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Old 08-29-2002, 20:19   #20
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It may be a regional deal for Wal-Mart. Esp in Kansas/Missouri.
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Old 08-30-2002, 06:15   #21
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"For example - Wal Mart sells .223 beacuse they sell Mini-14's but WILL NOT SELL 7.62x39 becasue they consider it an assult rifle caliber. "

Maybe where you live, but all the Wal-marts around here will sell you all the 7.62x39 you want. I used to use Wolf because it was so cheap, but after my local gun shop stopped carrying it, I went to Winchester brass. Shoots better, and I can reload it, too.
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