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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Gents,
Yesterday, I went to my local gun shop to purchase some ammo. I decided to go over and pick up a M1A rifle. This $1639.00 dollar Springfield, left me scratching my head a bit. First off, the "action" is just like our beloved Mini which is cool. The heat shield seemed kind of flimsy to me. The finish on the black coated model seemed a bit shoddy I thought. The rifle is on the heavy side which I expected. For this kind of $$$ I could buy 3 Mini 30's. I was wondering however, how well can a Mini 30 rifle shoot the hard hitting 7.62 round. With the same dimensions and weight as a Mini14. What kind of recoil etc, should one expect using the bigger round? I do live in California and there are really only two rifles to buy. In .223 its the Mini, and in 7.62 its the M1A. For about half the money of this rifle, I could get a killer AR...if only I moved from here..:( So, are Mini 30's ok for limited engagement type use? I know the M1A has a greater range, but in the 200 yard arena, is the Mini 30 the ticket?

Larry C.:rapid:
 

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Larry,

I own a Mini-30 and a Mini-14. I like them both but if I had my pick I would stay with the .223. The problem with the 30 is mags and ammo. My 30 doesn't shoot the cheap ammo worth a crap (Wolf, Barnhaul, etc.) I was contemplating using this rifle as brush gun for close range deer stalking. So I scoped it and tried to zero the thing. I could get it to hit dead center at 100 yds. with Russian softpoints, but after I would fire two or three rounds, the bullets starting dropping. The longer the firing session and the more heat that built up, the worse it got. It would literally be spreading rounds all over the place. I checked the scope on another rifle just to be sure it wasn't the problem and it wasn't. I switched to Winchester softpoint and that helped considerably. I have a hypothesis that this may have been caused by the poorly made ammo which basically looks like a hollow point that's had hot lead dabbed into the cavity. It works fine in my SKS but the Mini just didn't like this load. So my point is, to get good accuracy outta this rifle, you may need more expensive ammo. And if you are going to spend a lot of dough on good ammo, I would get something better, like a good bolt gun. If I'm going to spend 30-06 money on a box of rounds, I would rather have a 30-06! Know whatta mean? The other problem with the 30 is finding good mags. Thermold made the only really reliable aftermarket mags for the Mini-30 but those now cost like $99 each if you can even find some. The USA's will work, but you will have to sort through them and determine the good ones from the junk. I bought about 10 or 15 of them and picked through them and function tested them until I had a good batch of about 6 or 7 twenty rounders. The rest I got rid of. I have since had no problems with them. I have also found that on average the 20's work best in the Mini 30. I think there are some 10 rounders now also, maybe Eagle makes one of them and perhaps John Masen also.
But if you really like the .308 cartridge in a self loading package, buy one of the L1A1 or FAL battle rifles that are on the market right now. Last time I checked, SOG had the L1A1's for about $425 each and FAL's with Imbel receivers for about a hundred more. These are tried and proven old rifles and would probably serve you well. Also, the 20 rd. mags for these are cheap and you get mil issue type mags, not aftermarket junk. And good surplus .308 can be found on the market now for less than $150 for a case of 1,000 rounds. Just be careful and make sure you don't get something with a Hesse receiver. Hesse is about as well thought of in the firearms circle as Osama bin Laden! Get an Imbel if you can, they are good.
I would normally recommend any Ruger product over most manufacturers, but in my opinion, the Mini-30 just isn't as good as the 14 for the reasons I have explained. I like the 7.62x39 round, but to enjoy the benefits of using this cheap round, you probably need to stick with an SKS or AK in which it was intended for. To get good ammo, you are paying more than you could get Mil surplus .308 for.
The Springfield M1A is an awesome rifle. Even the basic models shoot like a dream. I have held them and fired a few of them,, but like you, I could never justify paying that much money for them when they are basically just like my Mini! But the FAL is a good substitute .308 if you want a battle rifle. Might also check out the G3 rifles, but they run about $600 for the better ones on the market right now. There is a Portugese H&K contract rifle that I have seen in various ads, so I would assume they are of better quality than Century or Hesse, but I don't know for sure. Then there is the CETME rifles, and they are roughly equal in price to lower end FAL's. But don't give up on your Mini-Thirty until you try it. You may have better success than me. Rifles are like that. I still have mine and plan on keeping it because I have a bunch of factory 5 rd. mags and several good high caps, along with a bunch of Winchester USA FMJ and softpoint loads that shoot reasonably well. I am satisfied with it, but I still prefer my .223. My problem is that I have so much $$$ tied up with the 30 that I could never get my money back for it, too many accessories and accessories will never sell for their original value. I guess I'm stuck with it! BTW, I have found a good brush rifle for up close and personal deer hunting in tough terrain....the tried and true 30-30 in Marlin form. I use it with open sights and Winchester Powerpoints. Does a nice job in that role.
Hope this has helped some and I didn't mean to be so negative, afterall, the 30 isn't so bad! Good luck!

op-rod
 

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Oooops! I forgot that you mentioned you live in California. You probably can't own an FAL or G3 there legally. Sorry. And since 10 rounds is the limit there you don't have to worry about high caps anyway! So the Mini 30 with factory mags should be the best auto rifle you can have there. Get some good ammo and you'll be ok. Oh and regarding recoil, they are very mild. I would have no problem letting a young boy or a woman fire these rifles. They have a bit more recoil than a .223 but it is still a very, very mild round. Less recoil than a .243 IMO which is regarded as a very mild round itself. If you desire a more powerful, longer range rifle, you can still get your hands on some good bolt rifles on the surplus market. There is a K98 rifle that was used by the Israelis in the 1950's and is chambered in .308. These run about $150 I think. The Russian Mosin-Nagant and M44 Carbines are also good shooters and very accurate. The ammo is cheap too and you can buy stripper clips with these which will allow you to keep up a decent rate of fire. These can be bought for about $50 each if you can find a dealer that will order for you. Yet another choice is any of the various Enfields out there that fire .303 and have a 10 rd mag. Strippers are available for these also. They also run about $150 each. Sorry for the long, useless post back there. I get caught up in my passion for firearms and get carried away. Some of my shootin' buddies say I should join forces with Massad Ayoob and some of the others writers at Guns Magazine! LOL. I also talk too much so I will shut up for now! Good luck in your hunt for a good .30 caliber rifle. Let us know what you decide to buy.

op-rod (again!)
 

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I may be forced to buy at Mini 30 just to use up about 1000 rounds of Norinco left over from when I sold my SKS!

I already have a Mini 14, as most folks recommended that above the 30 EVEN considering the $100 or so of ammo I already have! But ammo costs are down so much that I can't sell what I have for anything near what I want, sooooooo....maye it WOULD be 'good' ecomonics to buy another Mini, eh? :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I want another Mini.... A wood version this time...:) These are very versatile guns, and I am enjoying them more & more each day. I was hitting a metal target yesterday with ease at 100 yards. Standing, sitting, smoking..:) whatever, this is an awesome mid ranged engagement tool.
 

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Originally posted by Tady45
I was hitting a metal target yesterday with ease at 100 yards. Standing, sitting, smoking..:) whatever, this is an awesome mid ranged engagement tool.
Just promise you won't do that while DRINKING or DRIVING. I hear both are LOUSEY for shooting tight groups! ;)
 

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As much as I like the Mini-14/30. They cannot touch the M1A/M14 in range, durability, out-of-the-box accuaracy, and hitting power. The Mini-30 fires the 7.62x39 while the M1A fires the 7.62x51 NATO (308win). The M1A was designed from the ground up as a combat rifle. The 7.62x39 is on par with the .30-30, but is slightly more effective as you can use pointed bullets. If you scope the Mini-30 it should give you good service within the 200 yard range you mentioned on animals, if you hunt, and farther out on the two-legged kind.

I use my M1As for target shooting and hunting at distances the Mini-30 and it's cartridge would have problems handling.

Surplus 7.62 NATO ammo is around 1/3 more expensive than 7.62x39.
 
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