So Tell me About the Mini-30 - Shooting Sports Forum


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

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Old 01-28-2012, 22:42   #1
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So Tell me About the Mini-30

As I've posted here, I recently picked up a 581 Series Mini-14 and am pleased with it. I started thinking thatI have a couple of Yugo SKS's laying around here that I never shoot. It occurred to me that I could sell them to finance a Mini-30.

Do the Nini-30's exhibit the same problems and the Mini-14's as far as large groups as the barrel heats up? If so, has Ruger made improvements on the 30's as the did with the 581 Series?

Thanks!
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Old 01-28-2012, 23:28   #2
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If I had a pair of SKSs, (knowing what I now know) I would not even think about a Mini-30. They shoot the same ammo, except that the SKS shoots if reliably and not like a little crybaby. The Mini-30 shoots it when it feels like it. And you'll have to trade BOTH SKSs to buy ONE Mini-30. If I had it to do over again, I would never have bought a Mini-30.
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Old 01-29-2012, 00:40   #3
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I agree with Mosinka. To me the Yugo SKSs aren't as desirable as those from some of the other countries, due to the gas system shutoff sometimes causing trouble and the non-chrome lined barrel, but they're very well made, historically significant rifles. From a practical standpoint, you said you never shoot them, but have you at one time to test their function? If they're decent shooters I personally wouldn't even consider trading them for a Mini 30. Those SKSs can eat any 7.62x39 ammo made. The Mini 30 firing pin is known to be susceptible to breakage from Russian 7.62x39 ammo. That's the affordable $200/case ammo that makes the SKS/AK type rifles more affordable to shoot than the .223 rifles. So just factor into your decision that you'll have to buy non-Russian ammo for your Mini 30 if you don't want to take a chance damaging your firing pin.

I don't know about the present Mini 30 accuracy.

There may be other reasons you want a Mini 30, and as long as you consider the factors involved, the Mini 30 may be right for you. They're fine rifles too.
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Old 01-29-2012, 00:40   #4
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It would depend on what you want to do with the mini 30. Having owned a Yugo SKS, I can say they weigh alot (9+ lbs., almost as much as a garand). A mini 30 weighs 7.0 lbs. (without optics). The primary reason to consider a mini 30 is if you intend to hunt with it, or use it for paper punching and you like to tinker with handloading to optimize accuracy. The new (580+) series mini 30's have recieved the updated improvements of its .223 cousin. It is alot more accurate than the earlier mini 30, which I can best describe as deplorable. With my new M30 I get 2.5 to 3.0 MOA with the ammo it likes, and this is with an out of the box, unmodified mini 30 with the exception that I put a scope on it. The mini 30 is ammunition finicky, but works 100% reliably when you give it what it likes.

This is what it likes: Silver and Golden Bear, Yugo surplus (brass case/berdan primer) and all U.S. made brass/boxer primered. Do not give it anything else, especially WOLF.
Using other than the reccomended ammo will just result in frustration and disappointment.

The advantage of the Mini 30: 1) Optics friendly - best with a standard scope. 2) very good accuracy for a 7.62x39 carbine (580, 581 prefix only). 3) Light weight - about 1.5 to 2.0 lbs less than an SKS. 4) better ergonomics than a military style rifle. 5) Uses a detachable magazine. 6) Currently Made in the US and has good customer support from the manufacturer (Ruger will repair it)

The advantage of a yugo SKS: 1) Military tough (durable) 2) Will shoot any 7.62x39 ammo made (not ammo finicky). 3) comes equipped with grenade launching sights. and flash suppressor 4) Comes with a bayonet which can be detached. 5) It is an instant military collectable.

Just weigh your wants/needs and go from there. If I were in your shoes this is what I would do. Keep one SKS for cheap plinking and trade off or sell the other SKS towards the purchase of a mini 30. If you will never hunt, or attempt to install optics on the SKS (which will really make it heavy) then maybe the MINI 30 is not for you. My 2c.
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:39   #5
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I gotta confess, 40nascar's two cents is far more even handed, detailed, and balanced than mine. Spot on.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:22   #6
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40 NASCAR is right on. I have a Mini-30 tactical and a Norinco SKS. The Mini is a much better gun in every aspect. It's much more accurate, easy to scope, handles better, and you can choose between a flush-fitting five round magazine or a solid metal 20 round mag. SKSs have their own firing pin issues and are not safe with commercial hunting ammo, which the Mini is designed for. My SKS also has a horrible trigger and the safety is not a true safety. I rarely shoot my SKS, the Mini-30 is just better. Stay away from Wolf and Tula and it is 100% reliable.
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Old 01-29-2012, 06:22   #7
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I've fired the SKS's quite a bit. I have two and both of them were "cracked stock specials", with minorly cracked stocks. I repaired both of the stock and at the same time bedded them. On one of them I mounted a Tech Sight. Whether using Monarch steel cased ammunition or handloads, it's shoots about like this at 100 yds:


Both have been 100% reliable and I only have one complaint: Size. Like someone said, they weigh almost as much as a Garand, and the Yugo's are probably almost as long as a Garand. Add to that the fact that they fire a cartridge with about 1/4 to 1/3 the effective range of a Garand, they're a pain to load with strippers, detachable mags are unreliable and they almost seem silly.
On the other hand I don't want a rifle that won't reliably feed. I have about 700 rounds of Monarch steel case ammo, so that's what I'd be shooting.
Not to get off the subject, but are any of the other SKS's like the Chinese or Norinco sinificantly lighter than the Yugo's?

Thanks!
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:09   #8
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I'd buy the SKS-D (The SKS that takes AK Mags), over the Mini-30.
- SKS-D Takes AK Mags
- SKS Doesn't have issues shooting Russian Ammo
- SKS Is probably slightly more accurate
- SKS-D Doesn't have the Bayonet and that removes weight off nose
- AK Mags are CHEAP.

I'd Buy the Mini-30 over ANY OTHER SKS all day long.
- Mini Scope mount system is more solid than the SKS's
- Mini just looks better.

(I would love a STAINLESS MINI-30 IN A WOOD STOCK). They are hard to find, since Ruger doesn't make them anymore.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:44   #9
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SKS-D is less accurate than the old mini. From what I saw at the range, it's about 8moa, maybe worse. Iron sight only though. SKS-D has no last-round-bolt-hold-open.

I have heard the long barrel Saiga 7.62x39 is pretty good ($400~$450), about as accurate as the new mini30. The Molot Vepr is supposed to be better, but it is also a little more $$ than the mini.

maybe sell the Yugo's and buy a Molot?

About the Ruger servie: yes they will repair stuff, whether for free or not is debatable ( I was quoted $85 for a mini30 firing pin replacement on my mini30). And, a lot of times Ruger is the only one that can do the repair, since they don't sell certain parts such as pins to the public.

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Old 01-29-2012, 14:03   #10
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the Saiga is a better buy than most SKS.
I have a 189 series M30 - took some 'tweaking' to get it down to near MOA - and on a good day I' ve done MOA off a bench with good handloads and Lapua and Sako ammo.
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Old 01-29-2012, 17:55   #11
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Guncats brought up a good point about factory support. Buy an SKS and if something breaks you have to pay a gunsmith. With a Ruger you can always send it back to the factory for repairs. Repair parts for an SKS may or may not fit your exact rifle, according to its country of origin and era.
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Old 01-29-2012, 18:25   #12
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Okay. I'm going to throw in an argument that's based purely on intangibles. When I look at my Mini-30, I see an American battle rifle heritage. I see the M-1s and M-14s that came before it and see how an American company has kept that design alive. When I see the Russian designs, well, I see something else and it's not something that I particularly I care for. I stipulate that this is purely emotionally based and happliy acknowledge your range results and technical arguments. And yes, I understand that the 7.62X39 is a Russian cartridge designed for Sov-Bloc guns, but to me it's just another 30 caliber cartridge that I can use for home defense and hunting.

When I hold my little Mini-30 American carbine, I cannot imagine swapping it for a commie gun. But, I'm just an old fart and what do I know?
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Old 01-29-2012, 18:26   #13
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Originally Posted by BugHunter View Post
Guncats brought up a good point about factory support. Buy an SKS and if something breaks you have to pay a gunsmith. With a Ruger you can always send it back to the factory for repairs. Repair parts for an SKS may or may not fit your exact rifle, according to its country of origin and era.
I've shot many rounds out of a SKS, I know friends who have shot a SKS, and I've yet to hear anyone break anything in one.

Its like my AK, I've shot tons of crap ammo out of it and never had a issue with it.

Honestly I seriously doubt you'll have a issue with a SKS. (Just be careful of the Yugos with the Grenade launcher, I have read that the gas valve can go bad on those, other than that, I've never seen a SKS fail).
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Old 01-30-2012, 19:34   #14
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Originally Posted by 35 Whelen View Post
Not to get off the subject, but are any of the other SKS's like the Chinese or Norinco sinificantly lighter than the Yugo's?

Thanks!
I have a Norinco with the resin stock. It is a heavy beast!
My Russian has an aftermarket K-Sports non evil synthetic stock. VERY nice except the stock has no bayo groove.

I bought both of these after buying an early Mini-30 Ranch on a whim. Things I found out later that did not amuse me:

1. Ruger does not make a 10 round Mini-30 magazine! So us residents of Kalifornistan either are stuck with factory 5 rounders or aftermarket 10 rounders.

2. Aftermarket magazines are junk.

3. Mini-30s don't like milsurp ammo. Allegedly. Mine gobbles up brass case Yugo milsurp & asks for more! And no misfires. Well... none after I disassembled it and removed the live .22LR round that was in the trigger group when I bought it.

4. Early Mini-30s are .308 bore. But mine shoots the Yugo milsurp just fine. It's not a bench rest match rifle for sure, but that's not what I bought it for.

5. IF the firing pin breaks you must send the whole rifle to Ruger for a replacement.

While I have no real plans to get rid of the Mini at the moment, the SKS is a combat proven battle rifle. It doesn't "look evil" and since we are limited to 10 rounds anyway, stripper clips make sense.
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Old 01-30-2012, 19:40   #15
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Originally Posted by Fishslayer View Post
Well... none after I disassembled it and removed the live .22LR round that was in the trigger group when I bought it.
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Old 01-30-2012, 19:42   #16
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how did i not know there are no factory 10 round mini30 mags?

Last edited by whofarted; 01-30-2012 at 19:43. Reason: forgot factory
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Old 01-30-2012, 20:32   #17
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Originally Posted by Fishslayer View Post
I have a Norinco with the resin stock. It is a heavy beast!
My Russian has an aftermarket K-Sports non evil synthetic stock. VERY nice except the stock has no bayo groove.

I bought both of these after buying an early Mini-30 Ranch on a whim. Things I found out later that did not amuse me:

1. Ruger does not make a 10 round Mini-30 magazine! So us residents of Kalifornistan either are stuck with factory 5 rounders or aftermarket 10 rounders.

2. Aftermarket magazines are junk.

3. Mini-30s don't like milsurp ammo. Allegedly. Mine gobbles up brass case Yugo milsurp & asks for more! And no misfires. Well... none after I disassembled it and removed the live .22LR round that was in the trigger group when I bought it.

4. Early Mini-30s are .308 bore. But mine shoots the Yugo milsurp just fine. It's not a bench rest match rifle for sure, but that's not what I bought it for.

5. IF the firing pin breaks you must send the whole rifle to Ruger for a replacement.

While I have no real plans to get rid of the Mini at the moment, the SKS is a combat proven battle rifle. It doesn't "look evil" and since we are limited to 10 rounds anyway, stripper clips make sense.
1) very true, but if you owned the M30 and the high cap mags before the Ca. mag ban in 2000, then the mags are grandfathered in (legal to possess at home and on private property (shooting range)).

2) I have found the U.S.A. brand 10 rnd. mags to be as reliable as the factory 5 rounders. They have curvature like the 20 and 30 rnd mags.They are no longer made, but show up once in awhile on auction sites. The pro-mag 10 rnds.- not so great.

3) If you found cheap ammo that works in your rifle, stick with it! Silver bear and Yugo surplus also works in my M30. I also have a very small amount of chinese copperwash that works, but that stuff hasn't been imported in nearly 20 yrs.

4) I get 3 MOA with yugo surplus (With a scope)

5) I havn't broken one yet. If you avoid ammo with machine gun primers (Like WOLF, Tula, Uly, China North Industries, ect). It shouldn't be a problem, especially if you stay with brass cased ammo.
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Old 01-30-2012, 21:14   #18
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I like my -581 Series Mini 30, especially when the factory 20 rounders came out.

I think it balances faaaar better than any SKS I've ever handled. I have not shot a AK model or Saiga. I hear good things about Saigas.

I have slain many feral pigs with this M30 since I've gotten it a few years ago. Its the main reason I bought it. That little 7.62x39 packs a punch and sends them rolling.

I get an average 2 MOA with Norma Milsurp. Can't complain about that. Nothing fancy other than a ATI stock and upgraded sights: scope, red dot, laser/flashlight.

I made a good choice and am satisfied.

Wil

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Old 01-30-2012, 21:16   #19
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Well I can only speak from my personal experience but the SKSs that I have shot with were horrible in respect to the trigger and stock ergos.....
When shooting with the Mini-30 they felt, well, like a 60 year older chinese gun! Very crude and not nearly the refinement....
In addition to weighing a metric ton and feeling horrible in hand the Mini-30 shot circles around them with irons. We shot and are headed out tomorrow with a Russian, Chinese, and Yugo SKS and the Mini purely outclasses them in every department.....
As for reliability, mine like many others here has never failed in any fashion so it doesnt get any better than that right? And this is with both the factory 5rd and 12 different 20rd magazines. I will say I have only shot brass cased boxer primed ammunition through it but have done so happily and she has rewarded me with great accuracy and unsurpassed reliability!
I never would have thought it when I bought this little carbine but it turned out to be the funnest most reliable gun I've ever had!
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Old 01-30-2012, 21:32   #20
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just buy an AK. cheaper mags.
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Old 01-30-2012, 22:02   #21
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Originally Posted by deersniper6 View Post
just buy an AK. cheaper mags.
So should he also get a chevy vega cause it has cheaper tires
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Old 01-31-2012, 19:35   #22
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Originally Posted by whofarted View Post
how did i not know there are no factory 10 round mini30 mags?
If you don't live in The People's Republik why would you want to?

Originally Posted by 40nascar View Post
1) very true, but if you owned the M30 and the high cap mags before the Ca. mag ban in 2000, then the mags are grandfathered in (legal to possess at home and on private property (shooting range)).
That's nice. Doesn't apply to me tho. I bought the rifle sans magazine.

2) I have found the U.S.A. brand 10 rnd. mags to be as reliable as the factory 5 rounders. They have curvature like the 20 and 30 rnd mags.They are no longer made, but show up once in awhile on auction sites. The pro-mag 10 rnds.- not so great.
The ProMags make good paperweights. The ones I bought don't even fit in the rifle.

3) If you found cheap ammo that works in your rifle, stick with it! Silver bear and Yugo surplus also works in my M30.
Yugo surplus? Ya mean like this? I also have a stash of the Boxer primed MFS which supposedly is .308.



4) I get 3 MOA with yugo surplus (With a scope)

I have an XS ghost ring on it now. I'm probably going to replace it with a Tech Sight. It's actually more accurate than I had expected.

5) I havn't broken one yet. If you avoid ammo with machine gun primers (Like WOLF, Tula, Uly, China North Industries, ect). It shouldn't be a problem, especially if you stay with brass cased ammo.[/QUOTE]

My plan is to keep buying the Yugo till it runs out.
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Old 01-31-2012, 19:40   #23
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Nobody should buy a Chevy. Fact. Id rather buy a good Saiga Conversion AK than pay Ruger more money for the same thing (accuracy wise) that has more expensive magazines. I guess if you just want something different go ahead.

Saiga 7.62X39 Converted AK Style Rifle, New.
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Old 02-01-2012, 15:51   #24
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saiga's can be a gamble too. I have read all kind of posts claiming 2~3moa accuracy, maybe the long barrel models can shoot a little better but from what I have seen at the range the short barrels ones are not better than a Mak90.

I'd expect Molot Vepr with heavy barrel to do much better.
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