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

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Old 01-27-2010, 19:35   #26
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Well as far as a battle rifle goes I only have two options in my collection. A mini 14 and an AK 47 (Bulgarian). If I had to choose between the two I would choose the mini for the reason that it is far more accurate than the AK.
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Old 01-27-2010, 21:42   #27
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The Mini 14 worked great for Randy Weaver as a battle rifle!
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Old 01-27-2010, 21:46   #28
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Originally Posted by wulf03 View Post
The Mini 14 worked great for Randy Weaver as a battle rifle!
yeh!! He won that battle didn't he.
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Old 01-28-2010, 14:24   #29
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Balzac72 said
Anyway, in a pinch, I'd grab a mini 14, but it'd never be my first choice. The mini (to me) is a commercial rifle that was meant to sling bullets, but it never caught up to the accuracy of the AR15 or the modularity of it either.

Ruger missed the boat when they refused to develop the Mini 14 past 1980. Before 1980 there were very few add on's or modifications to the AR 15 and M-16's either in the military or civilian market. What you see today was not arround 10 years ago. It's just that Ruger has been extremely stubborn to develop the Mini to it's fullest production potential. The add on parts and modification market for the Mini is 10 years behind the the AR market. It will stay behind as long as Ruger treats the Mini as a "plinker" and not exploit the potential. Ruger went balls to the walls on the SR556. Why not the Mini? kwg
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Old 01-28-2010, 15:26   #30
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I keep hearing this but I am not convinced. I have both and can tell you that I would grab my Mini First in. It shoots tight groups, and all ammo feeds through it as well as any aftermarket mags.

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Old 01-28-2010, 16:36   #31
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Originally Posted by Balzac72 View Post
You say "battle weapon," but do you mean BATTLE RIFLE? I personally don't see the difference in terms, but I think its different than the question you pose. ANY weapon can be used in battle, thus calling it a "battle weapon." But a battle rifle is a full sized cartridge firing rifle, generally 308 and higher in caliber. Intermediate cartridges are not considered battle rifle calibers.

But if you're saying that the Mini 14 COULD be a battle weapon, I think you're absolutely correct. But it'll never be a MBR. It will never shoot that larger cartridge.

Anyway, in a pinch, I'd grab a mini 14, but it'd never be my first choice. The mini (to me) is a commercial rifle that was meant to sling bullets, but it never caught up to the accuracy of the AR15 or the modularity of it either. But I do like the mini for it's folding stock, M1 garand style action and ability to keep the action clean. But its accuracy I demand and the mini doesn't come through, not even to the extent I expected in my ASI improved Mini. For the money spent, it's still not as accurate as my el cheapo AR15.
The Mini-14 is more accurate than an AK-47 and I don't think there is a rifle that has seen more combat than the AK.
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Old 01-30-2010, 17:12   #32
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Originally Posted by stchman View Post
The Mini-14 is more accurate than an AK-47 and I don't think there is a rifle that has seen more combat than the AK.
I completely disagree. A parts gun that was a chop shop special is nothing compared to a legit Russian produced AK, like my Vepr or a Saiga. I've seen my Vepr shoot 3/4" groups @ 100 yards. My Mini ASI is capable of around 1" and not much better. I won't even talk about reliability of magazines...

The mini is aptly described as a plinker. I don't think it'll ever get beyond that title. Sometimes "old tech" just can't catch up to new tech. I personally believe that the locking lugs leave everything to be desired and that the rifle suffers from a lack of accuracy potential. I just don't think it'll ever be there without massive amounts of money spent. And as a cheap platform, that doesn't make sense when you can buy an AR15 for $800, which will shoot rings around and in the X ring. I won't even discuss the accuracy of the Sig 556, which puts both platforms to shame.
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Old 01-30-2010, 17:30   #33
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Originally Posted by Balzac72 View Post
I completely disagree. A parts gun that was a chop shop special is nothing compared to a legit Russian produced AK, like my Vepr or a Saiga. I've seen my Vepr shoot 3/4" groups @ 100 yards. My Mini ASI is capable of around 1" and not much better. I won't even talk about reliability of magazines...

The mini is aptly described as a plinker. I don't think it'll ever get beyond that title. Sometimes "old tech" just can't catch up to new tech. I personally believe that the locking lugs leave everything to be desired and that the rifle suffers from a lack of accuracy potential. I just don't think it'll ever be there without massive amounts of money spent. And as a cheap platform, that doesn't make sense when you can buy an AR15 for $800, which will shoot rings around and in the X ring. I won't even discuss the accuracy of the Sig 556, which puts both platforms to shame.
1" groupings is very respectable for a rifle at 100 yards. I don't know why you are crabbing.

The AK has a reputation of being not so accurate. I have WASR and it is not the most accurate, but it ALWAYS shoots dirty or clean.

As far as the Mini-14 mags, if you use Ruger mags they are excellent. It is not Ruger's fault that aftermarket folks are incapable of producing mags worth a cr@p.

As I have said before. Jeff Quinn over at Gunblast got 5/8" grouping with a Mini-14 target rifle.

That rifle can be had for about $850 street. I don't believe that an AR is going to outdo the Mini-14 Target at that price point.

http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger-Mini14Target.htm

Still think the Mini is inaccurate? If yes, then tell Jeff Quinn he is F.O.S. and that he must have photoshopped those pics.
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Old 01-30-2010, 18:11   #34
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I enjoy reading gunblast but it seems J.Q. has never met a gun he doesn't like, this kind of reporting is why I quit buying gun rags. Own both Minis and an AR and a second lower for later but my plan for now is to focus on more factory mags, just trust the mini more. Put me in with the group that thinks Ruger really screwed the pooch by not upgrading our little guns sooner and more often. If my new(ish) tactical would have been out with good hi caps I might not own ARs.
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Old 01-30-2010, 18:37   #35
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Originally Posted by Balzac72 View Post
I completely disagree. A parts gun that was a chop shop special is nothing compared to a legit Russian produced AK, like my Vepr or a Saiga. I've seen my Vepr shoot 3/4" groups @ 100 yards. My Mini ASI is capable of around 1" and not much better. I won't even talk about reliability of magazines...

The mini is aptly described as a plinker. I don't think it'll ever get beyond that title. Sometimes "old tech" just can't catch up to new tech. I personally believe that the locking lugs leave everything to be desired and that the rifle suffers from a lack of accuracy potential. I just don't think it'll ever be there without massive amounts of money spent. And as a cheap platform, that doesn't make sense when you can buy an AR15 for $800, which will shoot rings around and in the X ring. I won't even discuss the accuracy of the Sig 556, which puts both platforms to shame.
Standard battlefield accuracy is right around 2-4 moa. A gun that shoots 1" at 100 yards is more than accurate enough for the battlefield. 2 moa is about where the standard M14 and M16 is in terms of accuracy.

I'd bet that's about how accurate most $800 AR's are, too, provided it is equipped with a standard barrel. People seem to think any gun with an AR designation is going to shoot as well as the ones that have been highly modified and cost $1500 or more, however that simply isn't the case.

Also, your Vepr and Saiga aren't what Russian soldiers were equipped with. The Saiga, specifically, was designed as a sporter rifle, and the Vepr is a highly modified version of the AK47.

One more thing: most of the AK47s used in battle weren't produced by the Russians. Many, many countries had their own factories cranking them out, and the quality of these copies varied considerably. The WASR comes to mind as one example.
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Old 02-02-2010, 20:47   #36
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Vepr, Saiga, Norinco etc are all commercially produced rifles for the civilian market. Yes even the prebans and the orginal $400 HK-91. All these guns were produced to appeal to the American consumer.
Just like the Ar-15's. So much of this stuff is coming so fast these days I would venture to say about 90% would not hold up in a true survival situation.
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Old 02-02-2010, 22:50   #37
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I would trust my Saiga and Norinco any day in a survival situation. Same goes for my Ruger Minis.
Siaga, Norinco, and Ruger Minis have been around a lot longer than most of the cheapo AR clones poping up on the market in the last 10 years. I wish Colt would put out a semi auto center fire .223 rifle for under 400 that shot as good as any of them.
Siaga is built by IZHMASH in Russia. Who have been building the AK47 for over 40 years.
It is simply and nothing more than an AK with a sporting stock and a slightly modified magazine.
A milled receiver Norinco is a damn fine, very reliable,accurate shooter. That will pass thousands of rounds without a hiccup. They are a highly sought after rifle by many people and collectors
These guns weren't produced for the American consumer. They were a proven reliable gun. Produced cheaply for civilian use and be sold on the world wide market.

All these guns including the Minis are built on a proven, time honored battle tested design. They will hold up under harsh conditions just as well or better as any battle rifle.
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Old 02-03-2010, 03:49   #38
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Originally Posted by Regolith View Post
Standard battlefield accuracy is right around 2-4 moa. A gun that shoots 1" at 100 yards is more than accurate enough for the battlefield. 2 moa is about where the standard M14 and M16 is in terms of accuracy.

I'd bet that's about how accurate most $800 AR's are, too, provided it is equipped with a standard barrel. People seem to think any gun with an AR designation is going to shoot as well as the ones that have been highly modified and cost $1500 or more, however that simply isn't the case.

Also, your Vepr and Saiga aren't what Russian soldiers were equipped with. The Saiga, specifically, was designed as a sporter rifle, and the Vepr is a highly modified version of the AK47.

One more thing: most of the AK47s used in battle weren't produced by the Russians. Many, many countries had their own factories cranking them out, and the quality of these copies varied considerably. The WASR comes to mind as one example.
The WASR is a parts gun, which goes to what I originally stated about guns that have had their guts ripped out. And in my experience, every AR15 I've owned (except for the one with the shot out barrel I bought for $250) has shot MOA or better @100 yards. They're just better. 2" may be acceptable for the military, but not me.
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Old 02-03-2010, 06:31   #39
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Originally Posted by patches View Post
Smith Corona? They are known to be terribly inaccurate. I'll stick with my trusty old Underwood, all metal with a red/black ribbon. I know that I'm going to catch a lot of guff from the IBM Selectric crowd; but, I just can't trust all that plastic!!!!
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:30   #40
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[bias]

My bias knows no limits. (Or maybe my ignorance…)

IMHO, the mini is a viable battle rifle. The round has adequate reach and its accuracy is more than acceptable. If it shot 3" groups the dead wouldn't care. Any rifle that will go bang is better than a rock.

So the mini hasn't seen combat...I'll take the vet with a mini over someone with a scary black rifle.

I really do enjoy and appreciate reading the technical information, opinions and banter. I learn a lot from you guys. Facts are about the only thing capable of penetrating my bias. Ruger could have done many things, but they didn't. It is what it is...an affordable, well made, rugged and reliable rifle.

[/bias]
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Old 02-03-2010, 07:39   #41
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My understanding is that mini's lack a military grade barrel. The barrel on my sks is definately heavier than my mini-30. That said, its my mini-30 if the SHTF.
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Old 02-14-2010, 01:58   #42
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A Mini is a "Battle Weapon" - period.

Under the specific and intended function, description, definition, a Mini is not a "Battle Rifle"

Battle rifles are things like FALs, HK91's, M-14's, etc.

Semi auto weapons are not assault weapons no matter what my God forsaken state says. No select fire, no assault weapon.

In the end, when the SHTF its still gonna be damn good for killin whoever needs to die!
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Old 02-14-2010, 09:55   #43
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The negatives about the Mini are mainly based on choices Ruger, as a company made.
a. They don't sell some of the critical parts
b. For many years, they refused to sell high cap magazines, even after the AWB sunsetted.
c. The Mini, since it was never sourced through the Military, is not 'mil spec'.
d. The barrel, being skinny and not of high quality, made accuracy an 'iffy' thing at best. The Ruger company did not care, and made no effort to fix the issue until very recently.
e. There have been very few instances of the Mini actually being used as a military weapon. The reviews are mixed, at best, about the Mini's performance.
f. When used at three gun and other combat training classes, the Mini has a high failure rate.


I like my 188 series a lot, and it has had a fair amount of tender loving care, but it is NOT the rifle I would grab in a pinch. My M1A or one of my AR rifles would go out the door with me in a time of crisis.
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Old 02-14-2010, 10:17   #44
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Originally Posted by Balzac72 View Post
I personally believe that the locking lugs leave everything to be desired...
What do you see as the deficiency in the locking lugs?

On a slightly related note, the problem with threads like these is that the question is vague, but nobody answers it. To be fair, the ones who say yes and cite the Mini's use as a police and prison carbine are doing a little better than the people who say that the Mini wouldn't hold up as well in a combat zone and then fail to provide any reason why this might be the case. Is it because it's a civilian gun and not a military weapon? That doesn't necessarily mean anything: The military uses AR-pattern rifles, and you can find civilian-market examples of these that are both significantly more and less durable and reliable than what the military uses. Is it a deficiency in the design, the implementation of that design, or both? A lot of people say they don't think a Mini would stand up to the abuse exected of a real "fighting rifle," but I've yet to see a single explanation of why this would be.

For what it's worth, I have no dog in this fight. My Mini is not intended to be used for extended firefights, and any enhancement that would improve its suitability for that sort of thing would just be wasted money. One way or the other, though, I'd like to know why people hold the opinions they do.
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:29   #45
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I owned a Mini-30, and now own an AR in 6.8.

This type of discussion always perplexes me....yes, there are inherent differences in any two operating platforms, and one may or may not be more accurate than another. One platform may or may not have "advantages" over another.

Why spend time arguing about the technical capabilities of a given platform, when the real question of accuracy lies with the individual trigger puller and conditions the shot are made in? A previous poster mentioned that MBR standard accuracies are 2-4 MOA....something easily achieved by either a Mini or an AR or <insert your preference>. Keep in mind that a "battle" scenario doesn't involve bench-rest shooting....therefore it's not quite reasonable to expect bench-rest accuracy, regardless of the platform.

My 2 cents...take it for what it's worth.
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Old 02-14-2010, 11:40   #46
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I have put hundreds of rounds through the mini in a single sitting with no malfunctions of any kind and not bullet stringing. I do not see the magazine changes to be an issue because it works in the exact same way as a AK 47. I have shot it until the barrel was way too hot to touch and it has had zero adverse affect on the barrels accuracy over long or short term use. What more do you need?
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Old 02-14-2010, 14:29   #47
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Originally Posted by Mannlicher View Post
The negatives about the Mini are mainly based on choices Ruger, as a company made.
a. They don't sell some of the critical parts
...
This remains an issue for those planning to rely on the Mini in a crisis but there are two valid workarounds: One is to send it in to Ruger for another firing pin or bolt assembly. Granted, this solution adds expense, time and a bit of hassle. Barring that, always using quality brass case ammo is probably likely to reduce the likelihood of a firing pin breaking.
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Old 02-14-2010, 18:35   #48
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aero, either one will work fine for a battle weapon. The real question is, do you have enough ammo stashed away. But remember this, you will have to stop and clean the AR lots more than you will the Mini - something to think about.
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Old 02-16-2010, 11:23   #49
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I was a small arms repair instructor at Aberdeen Proving Grounds as well as a level 4-5 repairman in 5th Corps US Army. I carried an M-16A1 in combat as well as several other small arms. A proven rule of thumb in the Ordanance Corps is that human negelect causes 90% of weapon breakdowns, next is ammunition and last is design, this is because military weapons usually progress through torturous testing and improvement as well as continuous quality checks before being issued. The M-16 was an exception and the troops suffered as a result.
Once four M-16A1's were delivered to me all with bent barrels, the crew of a SP howitzer used the traverse ring as a rifle rack and traversed the 8 ton turret right across those four M-16's. That's just one example of what equipment in the field is exposed to, add dirt, hummity and neglect over a long period of time and you begin to realise that the Mini is not a military grade firearm.
Bill Ruger purpously designed his products to LOOK like famous military weapons, the Luger, M-1 Carbine (two products) and the M-14 rifle (two products). That was a marketing strategy as well as designing the product to be made inexpensively with castings, hence the failure of the XGI. A further corporate stratagy was to reduce corporate liability to lawsuits and legislation by staying away from the 'evile black gun syndrome' hence no coporate drive to militarize the Mini but a huge budget to promote cowboy guns. The recent move to improve the Mini, black plastic stocks and 20-30 round mags is driven by competition and cost reductions in a shrinking market.
I have owned 5 Minis and performed numerous mods to make them combat worthy in a civilian enviroment. I have often observed a lack of robustness in the Mini, starting with the quality of the steel used that would cause it to fail the basic parameters for military service overseas, that is function to military specs for 90 days in a combat enviroment with only basic maintainence.
The Mini's 2 greatest detriments to it's military capabilities are it's barrel and the gas system it uses. Changing to the same, combat proven, short stroke gas piston developed by Carbine Williams along with the dual recoil spring system used by the Universal Co. in thier M-1 carbine clone would eliminate many of the pontental reliability problems inherent in the open gas system now used in the Mini as well as elinating the troublesome gas block assembly. Thickening the barrel pofile to that of the Mini-30 as well as crome plating the bore and chamber would do wonders for the platform.
Design improvements were intentionaly passed-over by Mr. Ruger and though it is possible to reverse engineer the Mini today the added expense would elevate it's retail price to a point equal to many ARs.
The Mini is a fine civilian firearm and it can do duty as a civilian combat weapon, but there is little point in up-grading it to a true military grade weapon when for an equivelent cost, a mil-spec firearm can be bought outright.
So in my opinion the Mini does not qualify as any sort of military weapon nor is it necessary that it does.

Last edited by lenno; 02-16-2010 at 12:13.
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Old 02-16-2010, 15:57   #50
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Originally Posted by lenno View Post
I was a small arms repair instructor at Aberdeen Proving Grounds
...
So in my opinion the Mini does not qualify as any sort of military weapon nor is it necessary that it does.
Excellent post.
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