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Hi, I'm new to the world of fire-arms and I do not post much online so please forgive me if I make any blatant mistakes. I've been trying to read a lot of the posts on this forum; hopefully I will not ask too many questions that have been answered here before.

First let me start of by saying that I've never owned a firearm and only shot one once when I was a teenager. It was a single shot .22lr that my friend had. So, my practical knowledge base is very thin. I have decided that I would like to purchase a firearm and learn more about the shooting sports (before I'm not allowed to, I'm kicking myself for not doing this 4 years ago. My choices are so limited now).

The reason that I am posting here is that I think I have decided on buying a mini14 as my first rifle. A local gunshop has several models available and I am having trouble deciding whether or not to get a standard mini vs. a ranch model.

My ultimate goal is to have a rifle that will shoot 2-2.5 inch groups at 100 yds using readily available commercial or mil. surplus ammo. I would also like to eventually be able to reliably hit targets out to 300 yds or so. I do not plan on using this rifle for hunting. Rather, I would like to use this rifle as a starting point for me to learn and perfect my riflemanship and marksmanship skills. Maybe someday I will want to tune it up to be used in competitions (tactical rifle) ,or by then maybe I will be willing to spend $$ on a rifle such as a match quality M1a. Right now, reliability, durability and ease-of-use are more important qualities than inherent or potential accuracy. I want to spend my time having fun with the rifle and not fixing it. Overall costs are also a factor. I'm talking the total cost when considering upgrades to achieve my goals vs. purchase price of the rifle.

At some point I think I would like to put an Aimpoint scope (or some other ACOG style sight) on this rifle but feel I should learn the basics of shooting with iron sights first. When I do put a scope on this rifle, I do not want to lose the ability to use the iron sights though.

So my trade boils down to the ability to mount an ACOG/aimpoint style scope on a standard mini vs. the quality of the rear sight on the ranch model. I have seen some good posts on this board regarding aftermarket rear sights for the ranch and scope mounts for the standard model. Most of the commercially available scope mounts for the standard model appear to require the removal of the rear sight. The ones that do not, tend to be "scout" style mounts that either attach-to/replace the upper-gas block or the forward upper hand guard. At this point in time, I want to stay away from any custom machining or drilling on the rifle/receiver.

Can someone please explain to me the pros/cons of the "scout" style scope mount where the sight is mounted forward on the rifle vs. a more traditional mount where the scope is more or less directly over the rifle's receiver mechanism.

Once I've decided ranch vs. std mini, my next choice is wood stock vs. synthetic. I understand the pros/cons of wood vs. synthetic in terms of durability and shot consistency w/ respect to weather. From posts on the board concerning accurizing, it seems like a Houge aftermarket stock seems to be preferred. Is there anything about mechanics/receiver-fit of the Houge stock over the Ruger synthetic stock that directly affects accuracy or is the choice in stocks more a consideration of shooter preference/ergonomics (which will ultimately affect how accurate the shooter is with the rifle)? In other words, if I bed a Ruger synthetic stock will I see similar improvement on the rifle's accuracy that you get when you bed the rifle in a Houge (or other aftermarket) stock. I don't want to spend the extra money upfront on the Ruger-synthetic to turn around and have to buy an aftermarket stock to achieve my accuracy goals.

The only thing I am concerned about is the mini's reputation for being finicky with magazines. I know that is not much of an issue in CA since full capacity magazines are now illegal. Still, I want the ability to use >10 capacity magazines if ever needed (i.e. taking a class in NV/AZ). I also wouldn't want the inability to use full capacity magazines to affect the resale value of the rifle out of state. I read a rumor on this board about newer mini's compatibility with older >10 cap magazines. As far as anyone knows this is still a rumor? The mini's magazine issues has more to do with the inconsistency in the design or tolerances the mini14's magazine latch lever and the size of the catch tab on the magazine itself (and is correctable) vs. a deliberate re-design of the magazine well, right?

Right now I am currently leaning toward buying the stainless-steel ranch model with the synthetic stock. I would possibly have to buy an aftermarket rear sight if the ranch's original rear sight proves to be in-adequate for my needs. My understanding is that my desired accuracy goals should be attainable by bedding the stock, installing a muzzle brake/new front sight, and having the trigger worked on (assuming my abilities progress as well). When I do get an optical sight, I am planning on getting a weaver-style rail that mounts to the ranch model's scope ring mounting points. Is this setup reasonable considering my goals? Do any of the experienced mini shooters on this board have any other recommendations? Are there other factors that I should consider that I haven't presented here? What should I initially expect to pay for the ranch rifle + aftermarket rearsight in a local Los Angeles area gunshop?

Are there any gunshops in the Los Angeles area that members of this board can recommend or conversely warn against?

Finally, I know that purchasing the proper rifle is only the beginning of what I need to know about firearms. I've been trying to read as much as I can online about fire-arms laws & safety, etc. Are there any good instructors/ranges in the LA area that anyone can recommend so I can learn to shoot, care for, store a rifle & ammunition in the safest, most legal manner possible.

Please feel free to email me responses to the LA-area questions. I am not trying to clog up this board with non-mini14 specific posts.

Any and all opinions & information will be greatly appreciated.

Sorry that my first post here is so long.

Thanks for your time.
 

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Consider a Ramline synthetic stock also, the fit is tight enough to avoid bedding in some cases.
You can see what's going on around the scope with the scout mount, but since the scope is so far away from your eye your field of view within the scope is limited. Try it out first before you buy if you can. Could be some heat issues with scout, don't know.
You can take a scope off and put it back on the ranch in seconds with no zero loss. Don't know about doing that with the standard.
Turners Outdoorsman has specials on Mini's quite often, one on a laminated ranch right now.
There is a tactical rifle course offered at Topgun in Lytle Creek.
 

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Wow drc, that might be the record for length of post. :) Welcome to the forum. I’ll take a shot at some of your questions.

I think you’ve answered your own question – I think a stainless RR would be the most versatile option for you. You can conventionally mount optics (i.e., over the receiver) and still go the scout mount route, too.

You asked about the advantages of scout mounted optics – two things I like about this setup is that it facilitates quick target acquisition with optics, and having the optics forward in the scout position allows you to have unobstructed access the receiver area to clear jams, etc. If you do a web search for “scout rifle” you’ll find a few web sites that provide some good discussions of the advantages of scout rifles.

You mentioned an ACOG scope. If you get to the point where you’re considering optics options, you might look at Trijicon’s Accupoint TR-21 1.25-4X scope. I’ve got one for my M1A and like it. At 1.25X it’s just like a 1X red dot sight, and you still have the 4X power option. If I had the bucks, I’d buy one for my Mini-14, too.

Good luck,

Brad
:):)
 

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Welcome to the world of shooting. Your post is excellent - logical and certainly well thought out.

A few thoughts from someone who owns both a Ranch and a Regular mini:

As long as you are fairly sure that you want to mount optics on your rifle, I think the Ranch is what you want. Regular minis and scopes just don't mix well when compared to the Ranch.

On a 300 yard range for the mini - that's a stretch unless you plan to go farther in accurizing the mini - like a barrel upgrade. As this does not sound like your first priority, it may not be a big consideration.

On a mini as a first rifle, it's certainly a good choice as it makes an excellent home defense gun as well as a real fun-to-shoot gun, but I would also suggest that you consider buying a 22 rifle as well. My first gun was a Ruger 10-22. Its reliable and cheap to shoot. Learning basic rifle skills is a lot more expensive using 223 ammo when compared to 22.

Last item - as a citizen of CA it is probably very obvious to you that the gun grabbers want to completely take away your second amendment rights. Join the NRA and actively support your pro-gun elected officals.

Again welcome!
 

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Welcome to the forum drc. I enjoyed reading your posts. It tells me you are a detailed thinker, and have put some serious thought into what you are doing.

To be fair to you the first thing I would Highly recommend is call a local gun shop to find out where you can enroll in a Hunter safety course near you. Its only $25. You would be surprised at how many people are shot because someone had a gun, and didn't know what they were doing. They will cover gun safety, and the final test is a written, and live fire. Where you load, and fire, and clear a gun safely. (they will furnish the gun).

Silver has the right idea, for your first gun get a .22 LR whether it is a Ruger 10/22 semi auto or other. A new one is $179 to $212. A bolt action marlin is probably more accurate, and cheaper. You can use the .22LR to develope shooting skills, plinking, small game hunting. Then move up to a more powerful center fire rifle. A box of Federal Lightening 22 LR is .99cents for 50. A box of .223 Is $3.50 to $19

You can get marksmenship books at the library for free, or search the net. There is a lot more to it, than point, and shoot. Or you can enroll in the best shooting school in the world, they will really teach you how to shoot in the USMC! Their boot camp is really tough though.

You can find a lot of answers to your other questions, by using the search button in your upper right control panel, and enter key words. All related posts will come up.;)
 

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Cajungeo is right - the firearms safety class is step #1. I missed that suggestion - a BIG oversight on my part.

On Cajungeo's suggestion of the Marlin 22, I'm surprised. He's a big fan of the 10-22 and suggesting the Marlin shows some real flexibility on his part. (Cajungeo - I'm impressed!) He's right about the Marlin 22 too - it's an excellent rifle. The reason I suggested the 10-22 is that it has the most upgrade options and - well - as it was my first rifle - I'm biased. I now own three 10-22s. Got to have enough guns to pass one down to every child.
 
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