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

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Old 03-22-2020, 15:34   #1
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Help-I Think I Want a Mini-30

I'm really thinking about a Mini-30. I want the 7.62 round and the AKs are a bit much these days.

I have yet to warm up to an AR-15, they just don't do it for me for some reason.

I really like the "classic" look of the Mini and not big into the "tactical" look, and AR-15s have never done it for me.

But here's the deal, and I'm sure you have dealt with these inquiries before. I read reviews, other gun forums, watched youtube videos, etc. I really want to know about the barrel heating up and causing inaccuracy. Is this still the case?

Yes, I'm looking for something that has high capacity (20 is fine with me) but I don't want it to be useless after 3 or 4 shots and have to cool off. Bottom line, if chaos hits the world, would you trust your Mini-30 over an AR or AK?

I have a chance to get one now for a very good price I believe, and I really enjoyed holding and pointing the thing. It just felt good to me. Brand new, shipped in 2014, begins with "582." It's the 16-inch "tactical" version, blued. Although I'm tempted to wait and find the 16-inch with stainless barrel.

So please give me unbaised opinions/advice. Thank you!
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Old 03-22-2020, 16:45   #2
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I can give you an unbiased opinion, as I like everything about the Mini-30 and x39 round.
No bias here at all. There are a few other guys here that feel the same way.
I give up some flatness of trajectory, as I realize most engagements are going to be well within the effective range that I can achieve with the M43 round.
In return I get a .30 caliber bullet that hits with some 400-500 more ft. lbs. of energy than the 5.56mm.

As far as heat, I find the x39 to run cooler than the 5.56mm. It isn't a high intensity, high pressure overbore round like the 5.56mm is. You can go over and pick up freshly ejected cases, and they will be hot for sure, but not as hot as a 5.56mm case that will burn your fingers.
I've never been into mag dumps, or "spray and pray", so I can't say a Mini-30 barrel won't get hot, but shoot 5 or 10 rounds fast, and the barrel won't hardly be warm at all.

I've had guys ask me if my red dot on the Ultimak rail got so hot it would get damaged.
I've never even felt the Ultimak get hot, much less the optic on it.
Any Mini-30 ever made has a heavier .625" barrel, none were ever made with the .560" "pencil" barrel like the older Mini-14s. The Tactical you are considering has an even heavier barrel, so would be even less affected by heat and changing impact.

I tend to buy older Mini-30's, the 189 series were some of the best Mini series. Better QC and hardly any of the casting and tooling marks that newer ones have.
That being said, I did a few things to them to make them more like Tacticals, as cutting off an inch or two of barrel makes for a stiffer, less whippy barrel, re-doing the factory crown ( always an improvement), and threading an installing a flash hider, which also dampens accuracy robbing harmonics.

A shorter barrel in x39 doesn't mean loss of velocity, my testing has shown some loads even get more velocity out of a 16" barrel than an 18.5" one.
Russian ammo especially, is optimized for the 16" barreled AK.

If you decide you can't wait and buy the blued Tactical, you can always have it Cerakoted. This Mini-30 started out as a stainless wood stock model, it got a synthetic stock right away ( as I already had a wood stock one). First done in grey Cerakote, last summer I re-did it in FDE and Desert Sand.
Can't get much more weatherproof than a SS Mini covered in Cerakote and a synthetic stock.

Ruger 20 round mags are good to go, and the KCI 30 rounders are even better.
I Cerakote them too, no worries about them ever rusting now:


If you haven't heard already, you'll hear horror stories of the Mini-30 not reliably igniting steel case ammo.
From the factory, some Minis have no problem with steel, some do, as Minis are shipped with different length firing pins. If you choose to shoot a lot of steel, we can help you get your Mini running 100% with anything, even crappy Tula.
I used to look down on Russian ammo, but after trying many different brands, I found most of it is quite good. I avoid Tula and Wolf like the plague.

I trust my Mini-30s as much as any AK or AR I've shot, and I've shot a lot of all of them.
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Old 03-22-2020, 17:33   #3
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I have been on Mini 14 forums for many years now. You have taken the Mini 30 design further than any other person I know. If Ruger had done the same research as you have done the Mini would still be a major player in the world of Offensive and defensive arms of the world. We know that several small countries have adapted the Mini as their defensive fire arm of choice.

Unfortunately, the start up cost and availability of parts has moved the AR15 into a spot once held by the Mini. For those of us who appreciate the design, ergonomics and simplicity of the Mini still consider the Mini our primary choice of home defense rifle.

kwg
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Old 03-22-2020, 17:51   #4
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It's the Mini-30 for me and has been for 30 years. Love the carbine and love the 7.62x39 round. It's the perfect medium power round. Today's loads are fully equal and even surpass 30-30 Win performance. Today's 7.62x39 is on par with Bill Wilson's 300 Ham'r round loaded with anything between 110 gr to 150 gr projectiles.

The mini-30 has proven to be a very reliable design. I'm speaking from statistics and 30 years personal experience with the same Mini-30 that's never let me down. It's a great rifle/carbine right out of the box, and you can tweak it beyond that to your heart's content. I've got an 18.5" barrel model and heating/stringing problems just aren't an issue.

Nothing wrong with ARs and AKs, but if I had to choose only one, it's the Mini-30 hands down... no doubt!

Let's hope this COVID-19 craziness passes sooner than later. The only downside to buying any firearm at the moment is finding ammo for it.

Thank God I've been on an ammo buying binge for the last couple years. I thought maybe I had a problem I might need to be treated for, "Ammunition Acquisition Syndrome." As it turns out I was just following my gut, and my gut was right.

I like my Mini-30 so much I've been looking for a second one from around the same vintage, but a newer one would do just as well. I guess that's the meat of my testimony right there... I've owned one for 30 years and I want a another one. 'Nuff said.
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Old 03-22-2020, 18:45   #5
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Dang it! Sandog has two more Ruger factory 20-rnd mags than I do. I best get on the ball an buy some more.

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Old 03-22-2020, 18:49   #6
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Actually, Beck, some of those are Bepe's. I coated his and mine together.
I gave 6 of my 20's to my daughter with her Mini-30, so I had to get some more.

So you win in the 20 department. But I have 8 KCI-30s !
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Old 03-22-2020, 20:22   #7
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Whew! I feel better now... and I have 9 KCI 30s! My plan is to buy three more Factory 20s for a total of 15.

Then I'm buying Mini-30s for both of my sons. We'll each have 5 Ruger 20s and 3 KCI 30s. One son lives in Arkansas, so he's in a free state. My youngest son, who just got out the Navy Lives in California, so that's complicating my original plans.

If he stays in Cali I'll have to buy him a bunch of 10-rounders. He was a field corpsman embedded with the Marines and the best shot of all the other corpsmen, and even better than quite a few of his Marines. He'll do fine changing out those 10-rounders lickety-split!

If he ever moves out of California back into the United States I'll have those 20s waiting for him.

PS: He thought the AR he carried was ok, but he still likes Mini-30s better. He carried both full length M16s and M4s in the service.

By the way, nice job with the Cerakote on those mags. You're a man of many talents. I'm going to do my Ruger and KCI mags in Matte Black Aluma-Hyde II once I find some spare time. I've got two rattle cans of Aluma-Hyde, but I don't have the time at the moment.
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Old 03-22-2020, 21:55   #8
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Thanks for the responses so far. I look forward to reading more.

Those of you that responded: you're not buying into the stuff I've heard so far about the barrels overheating and causing large patterns? Don't get me wrong, I don't expect this thing to be a sniper rifle, but I like a little accuracy.

Let me come out and say this new never-fired blued version is going for just over $700. Again, the numbers start with 582 if that means anything and I looked it up and it was shipped by Ruger in 2014. This gun shop has had it that long. Would it be price-effective to get this one and maybe buy a stainless barrel for it later? (If that's possible)

I really do love the way it feels and really want this more than an AK or AR. But I want to make sure I'm buying the right gun.

(Let me ask this: do you think after firing 20 rounds, it would at least be on par with an AK or SKS?)
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Old 03-22-2020, 22:37   #9
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Run don't walk, to your shop if you can buy a NIB mini for $700. JMO
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Old 03-23-2020, 04:09   #10
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Sounds like a deal, especially with the zombie apocalypse rush on guns and ammo.
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Old 03-23-2020, 05:06   #11
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The barrels overheating and causing large patterns was only an issue with the pencil barrel Mini-14, and then the large pattern was caused by vertical stringing of the groups.
An $80 strut will take care of stringing with a pencil barrel Mini-14.

I don't know where you've been reading about Mini-30s throwing large patterns, when heated or not. Don't believe it, believe the guys that own one ( or several ).
If someone says Mini-30s shoot large groups, they were probably using Tula, and couldn't shoot that well to begin with.

As with any Mini, you might need to do some improvement on the trigger, reduce the gas with a smaller bushing if it launches empties more than 15 feet, and put in buffers front and back.
You will be starting out with a Tactical, so you'll already have a thick, shorter barrel and flash hider. I would unscrew the FH and check the crown, I can do a better job with Brownell's hand tools on the crown than the factory does with their fancy lathe.

Iron sights can be improved by replacing the rear sight with a Tech and thinning the front blade some. A micro dot with a 2 or 3 MOA dot will allow you to connect on a man size target to at least 300 yards, and won't burden the Mini down like a scope.
For deer or hogs, the maximum effective range will be dictated by remining energy and your shooting skills, but 150 yards is generally about as far as most of us would shoot at game.

Most x39 ammo uses FMJ, and most manufacturers don't take a lot of care when building FMJ bullets, as they figure they are just going to be used for plinking/blasting.
The exception are Hornady FMJs, I've got some great groups form Hornady FMJ with none of the usual flyers.
For much better accuracy, you'll need to handload better bullets and tune the powder charge to your gun.
Hornady factory loads the SST in steel cases, they are a good bullet, accurate and controlled expansion.

Typical of better factory FMJ, you'll get a flyer or two, due to inconsistent bullets:

Load a better bullet, and things improve, no flyers:



Even the better steel case ammo will give decent accuracy, but you'll still get occasional flyer that open up a good group:

And some steel case will shoot like Match ammo (Silver Bear HP):

Some of the lower priced ($9 a box) brass case, reloadable ammo is pretty good, too:
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Old 03-23-2020, 06:28   #12
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Both of my Tacticals are 583 series. The blue is an early and the stainless a late. I think the only difference was the size of the screw that held on the rear sight. The older blue had the long flash hider also. I replaced it with the short one.

If you get a Tactical you don't have to touch the gas bushing. Both of mine are running the .10 bushing and only toss the brass about 5 to 7 feet. When I first got my blue Tactical I swapped out the bushing with a .070 prior to its range debut. Single shot and wouldn't even eject the fired round. I put the original bushing back in and all was fine. Never touched the stainless 30. You won't be sorry with the 30 Tactical.

The Cerakote masters work.....they are a beautiful thing. The pic of the pouch was before the treatment.

Bepe
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:21   #13
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I have yet to warm up to an AR-15, they just don't do it for me for some reason.
i once felt very much the same way. the AR has warmed up to me greatly since then.

I really like the "classic" look of the Mini and not big into the "tactical" look, and AR-15s have never done it for me.
now you're preaching to the choir! most here feel the same way, but for me....it isn't just looks. i LOVE the ergonomics of the mini.

But here's the deal, and I'm sure you have dealt with these inquiries before. I read reviews, other gun forums, watched youtube videos, etc. I really want to know about the barrel heating up and causing inaccuracy. Is this still the case?
ALL barrels of semi autos heat up and affect accuracy to some degree. ultimak rail or strut helps greatly with a mini.

Yes, I'm looking for something that has high capacity (20 is fine with me) but I don't want it to be useless after 3 or 4 shots and have to cool off. Bottom line, if chaos hits the world, would you trust your Mini-30 over an AR or AK?
personally i'd trust any gun i have a comfort with, plenty of trigger time, and plenty of ammo for!

I have a chance to get one now for a very good price I believe, and I really enjoyed holding and pointing the thing. It just felt good to me. Brand new, shipped in 2014, begins with "582." It's the 16-inch "tactical" version, blued. Although I'm tempted to wait and find the 16-inch with stainless barrel.
i think the tactical is the best version of the mini to date. i just like the maneuverability and i like carbines to be short and compact.

So please give me unbaised opinions/advice. Thank you!
HAHA! sure, no biased opinions here on our mini forum!

in seriousness, you are dealing with a few mini experts on this board. they know their stuff. you came to the right place.
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Old 03-23-2020, 07:29   #14
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Originally Posted by zebco View Post
(Let me ask this: do you think after firing 20 rounds, it would at least be on par with an AK or SKS?)
i've only shot an SKS once and an AK a handful of times....but i'll go out on a limb here and say...uh, YES.

shooting off hand, there is no noticeable difference between my mini and an AR. off a bench, the AR i shot could edge my mini a bit at 50 yards.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:06   #15
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Originally Posted by Mule man View Post
Run don't walk, to your shop if you can buy a NIB mini for $700. JMO
I second that emotion!

I paid about $500.00 (including tax) for my then new 189 Series Mini-30 in 1989. I would jump on a new/new-old-stock or even lightly used Mini-30 for $700.00 in 2020.

Especially during this current Corona crisis. You're lucky to find anything. Just do it before it's gone!

I was going to buy a new shotgun for my oldest son for his birthday coming up next month. I did a lot of research, found just the right one at a good price. It was still there a week ago still on sale, but now they're sold out and I can't find that model anywhere at any price. Everyone is sold out. I waited too long.

^^^^^ Here endeth the lesson for today.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:32   #16
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Thank you everyone!

I called the gun store today. They had 3 of these brand new. One tactical blued, and two 18-inch SS. He has already sold the two SS. That leaves the blued tactical that I wanted anyway. Has to be a sign, right?

He's holding if for me and I'm picking it up this afternoon.

If I can figure out how, I will post pictures later. Thanks again to everyone. Great forum.
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Old 03-24-2020, 11:58   #17
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Love the pic of the mags lined up, but one thing is missing. The ammo!
They're useless until loaded!(friendly smirk).....
Seriously folks, if you have mags they should be loaded. there simply isn't time in a firefight to load mags, strippers and spoons or not. All your mags should be kept loaded at all times. It won't hurt a thing...
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Old 03-24-2020, 12:25   #18
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I think that pic was right after SD got done Cerakoting and assembling them. They are super nice with the coating. Slick and rust resistant. They seem to load into the rifle better also. Ruger should offer them like that instead of the gloss blue.

That Tuff Products pouch is loaded with the reserve mags. Got a number more mags for the mag pouches and rifles.

Tuff Products for some reason no longer sells that pouch. They have some cheap azz pouches that are blue and red!!!! My pouch will carry that entire set all loaded with no problem. Real heavy duty. Got the Molle hooks also. I would have bought two or three of them had I known they were going to be discontinued.

Don't worry....they are all loaded now.

Bepe
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Old 03-24-2020, 19:17   #19
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Originally Posted by zebco View Post
Thank you everyone!

I called the gun store today. They had 3 of these brand new. One tactical blued, and two 18-inch SS. He has already sold the two SS. That leaves the blued tactical that I wanted anyway. Has to be a sign, right?

He's holding if for me and I'm picking it up this afternoon.

If I can figure out how, I will post pictures later. Thanks again to everyone. Great forum.
awesome for you!

hope you can find ammo!
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Old 03-24-2020, 21:05   #20
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Hawkguy, yes, not a lot, but I do have 8 boxes (20rd).

Well, I picked it up this afternoon. Here are some pictures, sorry for not being the best at taking pictures with the phone. This gun is the 5854 model and it was $739 plus tax, NIB. (Although it's been sitting in his stock room since 2014 or 15.) Can't wait to get it to the range and shoot it.

Thanks again everyone and just because I have it now doesn't mean you still can't leave responses to this thread! If you have anything else to share please do. Meanwhile, I'll start browsing other threads.

I wanted to mention that it turns out he has two more NIB SS models (5853) in his stock room. These were ordered the same time mine was and also begin with the number "582." He has them priced at $789. He does charge 3% for credit cards, there is tax, and $30 shipping, so not sure if after all that it is still a deal, but if it is to you give him a call. He will ship.

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Old 03-24-2020, 21:22   #21
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Thumbs up

Congrats, zebco. That's a beautiful Mini-30 you have there. Welcome to the Mini-30 fraternity! You've come to the right place to get the most out of it. Happy to have you aboard.
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Old 03-24-2020, 21:51   #22
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Congrats on the new rifle.
Great deal to.
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Old 03-25-2020, 04:25   #23
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Sweet pick up. My first Mini 30 was a 189 series bought in the late 80's. It was only a couple serial numbers off of Becks rifle. I sold it like a fool during the AR craze. Glad I came back home.

I've had a couple more 189 series over the last few years. One was a new in box 189 from the end of the run. I could never get them to shoot as good as Sandogs so I moved them down the road. Both Tacticals shoot as good as desired.

Your rifle looks like it has the long flash hider. What is the first three digits of the s/n again? Ruger switched over to the shorter flash hider late in the 583 run. My stainless had the short...the blue had the long. I switched over to a short f/h on the blue.

Don't touch the gas bushing. It should be good to go. Make sure to take it apart and give it a good cleaning. Ruger slathers them in rust preventative. Remember to have the rifle cocked and put your safety on prior to pulling the trigger group. The manual will walk you through it. Put a little gun grease in the op rod channel and bolt lock up points. I put a dab on the gas tube also. Helps make the fouling a little easier to clean up. For right now I'd think about the Tech Sight rear sight. Other than that you should be solid.

The Mini 30 rules. Congrats.
Bepe
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Old 03-25-2020, 11:41   #24
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nice rifle, good deal.....

congrats! have fun!
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Old 03-25-2020, 21:32   #25
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Originally Posted by Bepe View Post
Sweet pick up. My first Mini 30 was a 189 series bought in the late 80's. It was only a couple serial numbers off of Becks rifle. I sold it like a fool during the AR craze. Glad I came back home.

I've had a couple more 189 series over the last few years. One was a new in box 189 from the end of the run. I could never get them to shoot as good as Sandogs so I moved them down the road. Both Tacticals shoot as good as desired.

Your rifle looks like it has the long flash hider. What is the first three digits of the s/n again? Ruger switched over to the shorter flash hider late in the 583 run. My stainless had the short...the blue had the long. I switched over to a short f/h on the blue.

Don't touch the gas bushing. It should be good to go. Make sure to take it apart and give it a good cleaning. Ruger slathers them in rust preventative. Remember to have the rifle cocked and put your safety on prior to pulling the trigger group. The manual will walk you through it. Put a little gun grease in the op rod channel and bolt lock up points. I put a dab on the gas tube also. Helps make the fouling a little easier to clean up. For right now I'd think about the Tech Sight rear sight. Other than that you should be solid.

The Mini 30 rules. Congrats.
Bepe
Hi Bepe. My mini starts with 582. Is there any significance to the longer f/h? Should I switch to a shorter? Thanks again for your input in all this.
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