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

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Old 03-09-2008, 23:40   #1
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Question Mini 30 reliability when buying/trading for used gun.

Hello: I need the help of present/former Ruger 30 owners, whether for or against. Any frank comments, criticisms are most welcome.

With limited experience shooting/buying rifles, am considering trading my almost mint condition new (Kahr) M-1 carbine (bought in October) for a used Mini 30 with a decent wooden stock, or plastic. I like the ammo prices of the 7.62x39 rounds and would like to diversify to another type of Mini, having bought my first Mini14 (used) and really like it .
The guy stated that some low-priced 'commie ammo' can be hard on firing pins. How often is this a problem with low-priced Wolf ammo etc? Do Mini 30s have problems with any other components?
I've never taken any gun components apart and don't want a gun which needs work, unless I can buy a part somewhere and a gunsmith can do the work without needing to ship the gun to the factory. Being a novice, I wonder whether I could spot a problem with a used gun, except for rough metal parts etc.

Being an unexpected Mini fan (bought used 14), the idea of a Mini which shoots harder-hitting very economical 7.62x39 ammo appeals to me. Carbine diversity with low-cost popular ammo might be a good thing in guns.
Having seen no used 30s in stores here and read numerous bad things about the gun on 'THR' and 'TheFiringline', either about the accuracy or larger magazines' problems. Accuracy is not an issue with me, whether for shorter distance plinking or a chance to hunt pigs in the future. These are my only interests when shooting. I only want military-style guns (with wooden stocks, or can be bought) which are very reliable.

Do Mini-30 reliability issues center entirely on magazines or prices?
Are aftermarket higher-capacity mags dependable? Read that MegaMags can hold 20-30 rounds for about $30.

Thanks very much for advice.

PS: What is the name of a website which has used gun values?

Last edited by Ignition Override; 03-11-2008 at 21:06.
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Old 03-10-2008, 17:43   #2
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i have a 197 series m-30 & it is as reliable as the mini-14. i think they may be a little more accurate out of the box with the heavier barrel. factory mags & some American 10 rounders are about all i've found to shoot reliably. i would highly recommend a trigger job, reduced pressure bushing, & adding the Accu-Strut. good optics also. mine is an 1-1/2" to 2" shooter at 100yds with good ammo. i don't shoot steel cased.
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Old 03-10-2008, 23:45   #3
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Question

pbrktrt:

Thank you.

Other than the desired parts replacements, is there anything about the 30's engineering/design which, in the long run, could easily make a 30 less reliable (bought used-too risky with a 30 versus a 14?) than the superb Mini 14, from a basic functional perspective? My buddy is quite knowledgeable (on the Navy Rifle Team) about numerous rifles and had learned years ago that the first 30s were not strong enough for the more powerful 7.62x39 ammo. His impressions could be mistaken-he never owned a Ruger rifle.

To clarify, my ONLY gun until last October was a very old Savage bolt-action single- ........and used it just once since '85. Had no knowledge of gun parts even before that. The M-1 Carbine was my first gun purchase, then used Mini 14. Clean all of them within two days of shooting, if not same night.
I'm now 52 and very enthusiastic about military-style semi-auto. rifles along with some WW2 surplus rifles/ammo (Mosins), if low cost.

I realize that not needing good accuracy is sacrilege and heresy.
These are the most interesting and fun objects I have ever owned, along with the Ruger Mini14. Simple fun is good enough, in my opinion. As for the long-term, some of these guns should make dependable weapons for self-defense...not just econ. plinking...if ever needed in a crisis.

Would any other present/former Mini 30 owners (like 'em or hate 'em) care to comment?

Last edited by Ignition Override; 03-10-2008 at 23:55.
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Old 03-10-2008, 23:56   #4
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I have one of the oldest, a 189 series.

Mine is choice. New ones are supposed to be better, but I can't see how.

Reliability? Faggettaboutit! The Mini is the American version of the AK. You'd have to work hard to foul one up.

Get the 30, torque the gas block, have GunDoc do the trigger and perhaps get a new gas tube if you don't want the brass to fly so far.
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Old 03-11-2008, 00:11   #5
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ive had my mini-30for 3 years now and love it ....but i dont shoot commie ammo thru her at all ,commie ammo is for aks and sks remember this is a american made gun that should have brass cased ammo thru it....now dont bash me for shooting brass cased only as i also have a ak and a sks that i shoot (wolf ,goldentiger, brownbear, only thru these guns) but the mini-30 has a tighter chamber and isnt recomended that you shoot commie rounds thru it...so if you are getting it because rounds are cheep then remember that brass is outrages right now..
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Old 03-11-2008, 03:33   #6
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Ok-but is Wolf ammo a larger diameter, i.e. .311 versus .308 as stated on a website (somewhere here, 'TheFiringline' or 'THR') and being made of steel, can become jammed in the chamber of a Mini 30, or cause frequent misfeeds etc?
If not, then how does using cheap Wolf (about 20 cents/round) hurt the 30's mechanical reliability?

A work buddy who is quite experienced and on the Navy Rifle Team has learned that the early Mini 30s (if not later) were not correctly engineered for the stronger 7.62x39 round-but IF they were later improved, beginning in which year? I could understand these issues, if explained in a general sense.

Keep in mind, although middle-aged, I have only a few months of frequent rifle experience , except for safe yet amateurish .22 plinking when I was young (before '85), to be quite frank.
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Old 03-11-2008, 04:31   #7
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i don't know of any strength/engineering issues with the mini-30. your buddy may be thinking of the 308 version that never was released. i've read about cracked receivers in that fabled model. the problem i have with the Wolf ammo is the hard primers. way too many failures to fire. run it through 2 or 3 times it may finally shoot. can't be good on the firing pin. fed american eagle & win white box are not that pricey for usa made brass cased ammo. and it goes bang every time.
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Old 03-11-2008, 06:25   #8
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I am a recent purchaser of a new model 581 series Mini30.

The only drawbacks I see right now are the availability of reliable magazines. ProMag makes a 30 round plastic mag and 10 round steel ones. They are both supposed to be good. American makes good ones, too, but I haven't tried them.

From my research the Mini30 has always had a .310 bore. If you reload, you are limited to only a few actual bullet selections, but from conversation here several have reloaded standard 30 caliber / 7.62 (actual .308" diameter) bullets with good or fair accuracy success. .311 bullets are for the 303 British cartridge. To my recent knowledge, all Wolf and subsidiaries are standard .310 fare.

Many here have shot the steel cased ammo with good reliability and accuracy. It may be that the Russian primers are harder, I don't know, but you can buy extra power hammer springs for small money. Dropping the trigger assembly takes a second and the changeout should be easy. The vast majority here have no problems with ignition; it appears much more the exception than the rule.

IMHO, Ruger has always made a reliable and tough firearm.

Wil
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Old 03-11-2008, 23:15   #9
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Wil, the early Mini 30's were .308 bore, my 189 series is one of them. Do a search here and you can find the year Ruger converted them to .310.

I handload for mine, so I prefer .308 for bullet selection and that's why I have an older version.
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Old 03-13-2008, 01:54   #10
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Thanks, but how often will Wolf ammo lacquer from steel cases jam up a Mini 30 chamber? I'm new to the Mini 14 and Wolf so far is perfect, being used for plinking.
My Mini 30 might arrive in about two weeks or so.

Some people now claim that Wolf 7.62x39 steel-case ammo nowadays has no lacquer in some boxes of newer ammo.
Will other NON-coated steel cases also jam in a newer Mini 30?

This newer gun has only had about 100 rounds through it, from what I was told.

Last edited by Ignition Override; 07-23-2010 at 22:31.
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