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I have been considering the purchase of a mini 14 and have also looked at the bushmaster and the ar15. Can someone give some unbiased advice and explain the advantages and disadvantages and the best gun for all around use? I appreciate the help.

Morgan
 

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Gloomsday Prepper
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I'll take a rambling shot at this...

Comparison

AR-15 Standard Model $850
20" Heavy barrel will shoot under 2" at 100 yards
Upgrades will get you a sub MOA rifle without much effort
30 round magazines more readily available
Military "Evil Black Rifle" Look
Many, many accesories and upgrades
"Boing" noise heard through the stock (recoil buffer spring) bothers some folks

Mini-14 Standard Model $500
Thin barrel heats quickly and shoots under 8" at 100 yards
Gas block design hampers accuracy, MOA will cost you another $500
extended magazines less available and more expensive (for good ones)
innocent "carbine" look
some accesories available
No "Boing"

Consider this: 2000 rounds of ammo will cover the difference in price. If you are going to buy any number of reliable 30 round mags, the AR-15 comes out ahead again.

My experience:

My Mini-14 will digest any ammo I feed it; my Bushmaster is a little more finicky- 5.56mm doesn't work well in my .223 chamber. My experience leads me to trust that my Mini will function no matter what. At 50 yards against a 10 inch circle my mini is deadly accurate. I can fire more accurately and get back on target faster with my Bushmaster.

One final thought:

I live in Kalifornia. There are a lot of people here who wish they had the freedom to make your decision...
 

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Gloomsday Prepper
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I had to add a couple of thoughts. let's look at why a person purchases a rifle and which is better for each purpose.

Collecting/Gunsafe Weight:
The AR-15 is much cooler looking and a fun gun to own. Especially considering the potential for bans.

Target Shooting:
The AR-15 is far more accurate out of the box. You will take you mini to the range, sight it in, and get out of there.

Plinking:
If you can get extended magazines that are reliable, the Mini-14 could get the nod here. Less particular. Less need for cleaning. Accurate enough.

Hunting:
Coyotes within 100 yards- Mini-14
Anything further/smaller...get a real hunting rifle.

AR-15? Some people use them for Prarie Dogs out to 300 yards. But still, a bolt action is better.

Defense:
There isn't anything on two legs you won't be able to hit at self-defense ranges with a Mini-14. It is more politically correct (which may matter to a jury). My experience is that it is more reliable.

AR-15? Long-range defense? Get a .308! A guy riding a Harley 250 yards away is a defensive target only in video games.

EOTWAWKI:
(End of the world as we know it)
I guess an AR-15 is the way to go. Parts can interchange with military rifles liberated from a UN armory in post-apocalyptic world. Unless it is the "Yellow Dawn" scenario... OK I am done.
 

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My results basically parallel Dave's thoughts. I have owned one Mini-14, and 3 AR-15's. I really prefer the latter, but I don't knock the Mini-14.

I'm in California as well. My hi-cap magazine collection went on permanent freeze at the 12/31/1999 cutoff, and as Dave mentioned, it was easier to build up a supply of reliable AR-15 mags than it was to build up a supply of reliable Mini-14 mags.

On a personal, non-technical note, I prefer the ergonomics of an A2 variant AR-15 to that of the Mini-14. My main AR-15 is in carbine-flattop form right now, and while that is an effective platform for lots of things, my funnest range times were with the AR-15 in 20" A2 form... something about the heft of the gun and the solidity of the platform that I liked. The Mini-14 always seemed a little flimsy to me, even though it is a solid, proven design.:usa:
 

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the above posters are correct, i'll just add my 2 cents worth.
i have never owned an AR, but i have shot them on occasion, and i was always impressed with them, would love to own one but just cant afford one. i have owned 3 different mini-14's over the last 20 years and they were all nice little rifles. the thing that really makes the mini 14 shine is that they are very reliable, about the only way to make one jam is to use a crappy after market clip, stick with Ruger mags and they will function, you can bet your life on a mini 14. the only down side to an out of the box mini 14 is that they wont shoot tight groups, there are several ways to tune up a mini, the mini 14 that i currently own will shoot a 3 to 4 inch group at 125 yards with the factory peeps, i am happy with that. people who knock mini 14's need to realize that a mini is NOT a target rifle and was never meant to be. if you want to punch paper and make tiny groups, get something else. if you want a rifle that you can count on every time you pull the trigger, one you can stake your life on working time after time, get the mini. one last thought, the mini was never designed to shoot 'minute of angle', just 'minute of bad guy' and it does that very well.
 
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