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Here's the way I see it.

The older Mini's- mine included- had a well deserved lack of respect due to their lousy accuracy. There were exceptions to the rule, but by and large, they shot like shi* and Ruger didn't care.

A modern rifle is primarily judged by two things- accuracy, and reliability. These days, everyone feels a rifle needs to put three holes touching at 100 yards or it's worthless. That's why the Mini is "inferior" to the AR- in the minds of AR owners. They see all the 3-gun guys with AR's, and not Mini's...

The Mini platform has improved it's accuracy, though I still believe there's still room for improvement. Through forums like this, those of us with the older models have been able to make them decent shooters.

Old reputations die hard. I've personally met guys at the range that see and ask me about my Mini (it's customized as much as any AR) and I often hear "I used to own one, but it wouldn't shoot so I sold it".
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