I like the Mini 14. Any better shtf gun for the money? - Shooting Sports Forum


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Old 11-04-2012, 22:21   #1
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I like the Mini 14. Any better shtf gun for the money?

I have always thought the mini 14 was a cool gun. Now that I've started looking for a shtf gun, I've been studying the mini. It looks like a winner.

The other gun I'm looking at is the LWRC M6-sl. The problem is that it is $1600. It is my first choice. It is a gas piston gun that looks to be really well built and is more reliable than a DI gun.

I know the DI guys say they have shot thousands of rounds without trouble. Just keep it lubed and it will run all day. That's fine at the range, but I'm buying a gun for a shtf situation. I'm planning on a worst case*scenario because*that seems to be the type of scenario that is usually presented to me. If I'm bugging out, I don't want to have to drag a tanker of lube around with me to keep my gun from jamming. I want it to work when I've been in the bush for 3 months and haven't been able to fully clean it. I think the gas piston gun has abig advantage.

My questions are;
1. Is there a better gun for similar money for shtf than a tactical Mini 14? I've looked at the Saiga and AK, but those didn't grab me. I want to stick with 5.56/223.

2. If the LWRC m6-sl were rated a "10" for shtf, how would you rate the tactical mini 14 as far as reliability against breakage, failure to fire, and failure to eject? Is it a "9" or a "5"? Is it in the same ballpark? Would I be getting most of the toughness and reliability of the LWRC gun? Accuracy of the Mini 14 is good enough for me. Would the Mini 14 keep me alive as long as the LWRC?

3. I have read that the firing pin can break in a Mini 14. How much of an issue is that? If you were heading into the woods for who knows how long, what spare parts for the Mini 14 would you like to have with you?

4. Is there a better choice of a gas piston gun that is in this price range? I don't want to cut corners. My families lives might depend on it.

I have the money for the LWRC, but really should use it to pay off a credit card. I appreciate any of your thoughts on the subject.
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Old 11-04-2012, 23:20   #2
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The mini is a fine rifle for emergency use. As far as "will it break", who knows? The best bet is to shoot the heck out of it and carefully monitor it for problems. Or, buy 2, since a pair of minis is cheaper than one "uber rifle", and gives a 100% spare parts capacity. When I built an 'emergency rifle' system, that is the approach I took, a system - multiple parts compatible rifles so that if one failed spares were available.

The families of rifles I would seriously consider for SHTF use are the mini, AR, AK, and M1A. Each has pluses and minuses, but at the end of the day you pays your money and takes your chances. I have had terrific examples, and duds of some pretty pricey guns. Wish I could say that the mini is guaranteed perfect, but I have yet to find a guaranteed 100% reliable gun, ever. Maybe I'm just rough on things?

The AK is probably the most robust of the bunch (particularly if you get one built on an RPK receiver), but has an "evil" look that could cause problems in a "post katrina" style situation. Love that Tapco G2 trigger though!
OTOH, the mini is almost as robust (maybe AS robust) yet looks pretty darn tame, which to me is a big plus. Put a wood stock and handguard on it, keep a small capper mag around, and put an ordinary looking scope on it and all you have is a "sporting rifle". At least until you put a high cap mag in it.
The M1A is my own "if I only had one" choice, powerful, built like a Cadillac, and accurate, but it is hampered with high costs all around - ammo, accessories, parts, all are high $$.
The AR is easy to get parts for but has always left me a little cold - yes they work okay, but require careful cleaning due to the DGI system. And the high end ones are about as much $$ as an entry level M1A, though with lower parts and accessories costs.

So if you like the mini and have the budget, get one. If you want a second yet have some debts, pay 'em down then buy your second one. If you're like me, you'll like it. Or if you like the AR get it. Both work and can be made to work. Realize that depending on your version of "SHTF" you may find that you want a milder or wilder profile to your rifle. Since the mini can be either on demand, that is something to consider.

But at the end of the day the person you are satisfying (or not) is YOU. If you want an AR get it instead.

All the best,
Grumpy

Last edited by grumpy_old_man; 11-04-2012 at 23:46.
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Old 11-05-2012, 06:43   #3
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I've got a 580 series tactical Mini 14 with an old wood stock. Doesn't look nearly as aggressive as an AR or AK, but it always goes bang and I doubt anyone will stop to ask when the lead flies their way. I think it's a great SHTF option.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:12   #4
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i suggest if you buy a mini 14, you say you lost your bolt and send it in to ruger to have them fit you a complete new one, test it at the range, and put it in storage and use the other one, the rest of the parts can be purchased of midwayusa, i am not sure how much it would cost, but some say it was free for them, personally i would pay up to 150 for a spare bolt. other than that you will good for a while, most pins last 10000 rounds, the way ammo is priced i doubt you will fire that many, unless you use steel, it will be more rough on your bolt.
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:34   #5
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Most cost effective SHTF gun is a 12 gauge shotgun

You can bird hunt with it
You can small/medium/large game hunt with it
You can defend yourself with it
Shotgun shells are available everywhere
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Old 11-05-2012, 07:45   #6
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http://suburbansurvivalist.wordpress...i-14-tactical/

This link above is one of the best, well thought out articles on selection of the Mini 14 as a TEOTWAWKI rifle. The author started out preferring an AR or an AK, but decided on a Mini and gives very valid arguments why. It addresses the spare parts issue as well as the ammo issue. It was one of the main reasons I got my second Mini. Although some of the reasoning doesn't apply to a SHTF situation, most of it does especially if you plan on bugging out. It gave very valid reasons why the others were not selected and why the Mini was the best with the AR almost a tie with cost as the tie breaker. By the way a 16" barrel Mini with a Butler Creek folding stock is only 26" folded which is ideal for a BOB. The simplicity of the Mini makes it ideal for other members of the family which may not be as familiar with firearms as you. That is a major consideration with 3 girls in my family.

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Old 11-05-2012, 08:03   #7
 
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You said you dont like Saiga? Why ? They make them in .223. Saiga are reliable and will eat anything you feed them.lots of aftermarket parts to convert them any way you want them. Simple and fast to feild strip and clean. You can get the 223 NIB for 4 to 5 hunderd $.
IMO they are about the cheapest most reliable gun to be had for a SHTF weapon. I have 2 Saigas they are great guns. Most people i know that have Saigas like them. My S-12 is about the most versitile gun I own.
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Old 11-05-2012, 08:21   #8
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Originally Posted by Tommygunner View Post
You said you dont like Saiga? Why ? They make them in .223. Saiga are reliable and will eat anything you feed them.lots of aftermarket parts to convert them any way you want them. Simple and fast to feild strip and clean. You can get the 223 NIB for 4 to 5 hunderd $.
IMO they are about the cheapest most reliable gun to be had for a SHTF weapon. I have 2 Saigas they are great guns. Most people i know that have Saigas like them. My S-12 is about the most versitile gun I own.
saiga is a good option if you can convert it to take galil magazines successfully, and it is so cheap you can just buy another rifle for spare parts. you can get 2 rifles and convert one of them for around 1000 total, something to consider, plus the magazines will be a lot cheaper once you convert for the galil, the saiga is a +1 for me if i were to do the above.
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Old 11-05-2012, 13:08   #9
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Oh, if you do go with the Mini, I would highly recommend getting the stainless. It is completely invulnerable to the elements. Both of mine are SS and even the 25 year old one is like new after over 10k rounds. I've never had to replace a single part in either.
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Old 11-05-2012, 13:57   #10
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I would take my Mini all day. 12 Gauge is a great option as well, so I have a way of carrying them both. Not a bad way to go either way. Or in my case, both ways.
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Old 11-05-2012, 15:24   #11
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I'd say "for the money", yes... but I prefer the 30 in 7.62x39
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Old 11-05-2012, 17:01   #12
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+1 for the Mini.

It just hums away like a sewing machine.

Use the money you save to pay off the bills, and over time you can upgrade it if you choose to fit your specific requirments. 2 MOA is a good goal with good ammo.
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Old 11-05-2012, 17:06   #13
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The AR15 is my choice, in no small part because it is the choice of so many other people. I place high value on having a compatible weapon system: mags, spare parts, operator familiarity. If one doesn't place much value in such things a mini is an OK choice. Or maybe you're only counting on the S hitting the F for a short while, in which case such long term concerns as mag and spare part compatibility don't matter. That's really just a fart hitting the fan, though (Katrina, Rodney King riots, etc.). When treasury checks no longer cash and dollar bills are wicks for molatov cocktails you can have your mini. In fact, you can have mine too. I'll be somewhere else with an AR15. I'll leave the safe open for you.

Personally, I prefer either my FAL Para or my M14 clone. Both are far superior to both the Mini and the AR15, but neither are so popular that one can count on spare parts support or ammo availability once the S goes through the F. But if it's just a fart in the fan I'll be using either an FAL Para, an M14 clone, or a Garand to defend the house. Heaven forbid I need to walk off the porch for a long time I'll have an AR15 carbine clone.

And really. Let's back off the old myth about needing to clean an AR15 with pipe cleaners and fairy dust. Part of that BS came from the early days of Vietnam when they used the wrong powder. The rest of the BS came from either interweb experts or ex-GI who thought because their DI was a prick about rifle cleaning that it was for some actual reason. UPDATE: he was being a prick about cleaning a rifle to teach you to do what the F he told you to do without you questing the reason why, and also to give him a reason to make you do pushups. A DI AR15 will run a LONG time without going nuts with the gas system cleaning. In summary, lighten up Francis.
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Old 11-05-2012, 17:21   #14
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I agree with you on the DI AR. The guys who used it in 'nam really got screwed over. No chrome lined bore in a jungle....who decided that one?

However, the Mini will be just fine if,ever the SHTF. Any guy carrying a gun and decides not to bring his cleaning kit along is in for it sooner rather than later.

The pieces to get at every piece of the Mini would be a......9/64" allen wrench and a flat head. Again, bring the proper stuff with you and it wont be a problem. Be it AR or Mini.

If anything really does decide to blow up so bad, Ill be living it out in the country the grandparents where they grow every fruit and vegtable you can think of. None of this big city BS in Iowa that everyone else has to deal with

The bottom line is no rifle is indestructable. Bring the proper gear and any rifle wont have an issue. The odds of a giant firefight in the IA country side....lol.
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Old 11-05-2012, 18:28   #15
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A different paradigm

A Mossberg 590-A1, 6 shot, 12 gauge, 590 barrel that will accept a Poly choke, ghost ring sights, or a vortex 2x red dot... a wide assortment of slug, OObuck,#7 shot. A great home defense gun, accurate to 150yds.( with the proper slug), useful on either large or small game. And appears nondescript.
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Old 11-05-2012, 18:42   #16
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Originally Posted by bulletjunkie View Post
i suggest if you buy a mini 14, you say you lost your bolt and send it in to ruger to have them fit you a complete new one, test it at the range, and put it in storage and use the other one, the rest of the parts can be purchased of midwayusa, i am not sure how much it would cost, but some say it was free for them, personally i would pay up to 150 for a spare bolt. other than that you will good for a while, most pins last 10000 rounds, the way ammo is priced i doubt you will fire that many, unless you use steel, it will be more rough on your bolt.
You don't need to make an excuse to send it to Ruger, just do it.
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Old 11-05-2012, 18:59   #17
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Originally Posted by 40nascar View Post
You don't need to make an excuse to send it to Ruger, just do it.
they gave me a hard time with the whole process though, but once it got done, it is safe to say my mini is my shtf rifle..
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Old 11-05-2012, 19:00   #18
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I have several 580+ series Minis - 14s and Thirtys. I simply have more faith is the old Garand action, and, they're a hell of a lot of fun to shoot. If the S ever really Hs the fan however, the Garand style bolt will keep running... if 70+ years of reliability means anything. The Mini itself has been around for 38 years wouthout substantive military contracts keeping it alive (i.e., it must work if the public in a free-market system is still buying it). A buddy just went to the range with me and fired his M1 Carbine for the first time in 20 years... without cleaning and oil... dry. I was shocked that he did that, but, the Garand action kept cycling the .30 w/o a problem. The firing pin on Mini v. ARs...? There is a reason that the aftermarket makes so many spare parts for ARs (e.g., titanium pins).

Like grumpy-old-man said, nothing is 100% reliable. Buy what you believe will work for your situation. The Mini will work.

One last note: How long does anyone think ammo will last is a true all out SHTF apocalyspe situation? Most of the guns mentioned will last well beyond the end of an ammo supply - no matter how much ammo is hoarded - IMHO - i.e., we'll be using our rifles as clubs.
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Old 11-05-2012, 19:24   #19
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What is the scenario SHTF

I know what it stands for and I hear it referred to often in different forums. Are you talking about some urban combat, against whom exactly? An invading force or dollar worthless and starving people wandering about seeking food? An invading force I would be heading for an armory and rally up on the heaviest weapons we can field and you should have a working knowledge of military weapons and caliber compatibility would be a plus. Our economy collapses and people empty out the grocery stores then seek your stuff. Now you're talking about backing down intruders and or having a secure location off grid capable. Not really wanting to kill fellow citizens, I would opt for a secure location and ride it out. A 12 gauge with multiple barrels would be a very good choice, the psychology of a 12 gauge in your face leaves little doubt as to what will happen to you if another step is taken!
If I had to choose one of my black guns it would be my RRA LAR8. Someone mentioned the reliability of the DI bolt. I suggest you find the BATF trials for their main battle rifle for Afghanistan drug raids and then forget the old wives tales from some 50 years ago!

But I'm curious as to what you guys imagine when someone says SHTF scenario.
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Old 11-05-2012, 19:32   #20
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I been pulling the trigger on ar15 and mini 14 rifles longer than alot of people on these gun forums have been alive . either rifle will do you fine if you can hit your target . A piston rifle dont have any advantage over a di rifle so dont let that drive you to pay double the cost of a decent rifle . in the event of a natural disaster there will still be some type of law enforcement which means if you do use your weapon it had better be at self defense range or eventually you will be explaining why your picking off guys from the christian motorcycle riders club at 300 yds because they looked like the hells angels.
do some reading on the economic collapse in brazil there is some strong arguments for having a good accurate handgun that can be concealed and carried during daily task with out raising concerns from others. I would consider all of this before I made any purchase then if you think you need a 5.56 rifle I would handle and shoot both systems and then go with a palmetto state patrol rifle or a mini tactical . that leavs alot of money left over for ammo and mags.
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Old 11-05-2012, 19:43   #21
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Originally Posted by chill1955 View Post
I know what it stands for and I hear it referred to often in different forums. Are you talking about some urban combat, against whom exactly? An invading force or dollar worthless and starving people wandering about seeking food? An invading force I would be heading for an armory and rally up on the heaviest weapons we can field and you should have a working knowledge of military weapons and caliber compatibility would be a plus. Our economy collapses and people empty out the grocery stores then seek your stuff. Now you're talking about backing down intruders and or having a secure location off grid capable. Not really wanting to kill fellow citizens, I would opt for a secure location and ride it out. A 12 gauge with multiple barrels would be a very good choice, the psychology of a 12 gauge in your face leaves little doubt as to what will happen to you if another step is taken!
If I had to choose one of my black guns it would be my RRA LAR8. Someone mentioned the reliability of the DI bolt. I suggest you find the BATF trials for their main battle rifle for Afghanistan drug raids and then forget the old wives tales from some 50 years ago!

But I'm curious as to what you guys imagine when someone says SHTF scenario.
shtf = zombie apocolypse , red dawn , or starbucks going bankrupt. I personally find alot of humor in the guys who have these fantasy's about being the avenging sniper of the resistance . or getting in a sustained fire fight with a gang of thugs. the odds are there will be some type of governing force and or law enforcement which will really depress alot of rambo wanna be's .
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Old 11-05-2012, 20:26   #22
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+1!

Couldn't have been said better!
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Old 11-05-2012, 20:36   #23
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Originally Posted by jwb47 View Post
shtf = zombie apocolypse , red dawn , or starbucks going bankrupt. I personally find alot of humor in the guys who have these fantasy's about being the avenging sniper of the resistance . or getting in a sustained fire fight with a gang of thugs. the odds are there will be some type of governing force and or law enforcement which will really depress alot of rambo wanna be's .
I'm not too worry about SHTF since like you said there will probably some law enforcement or national guard around (eventually) and I'm sure one of my 15 guns will work in the meantime. In the event of an Argentina type economic collapse, I agree you really need a handgun. However, in the highly unlikely event that a TEOTWAWKI occurs then I prefer a Mini because help isn't coming and only the armed will survive. I read a book titled "Lucifer's Hammer" about a comet hitting the earth and the aftermath. Not only was it well written and entertaining and a best seller, it really opened my eyes about what it took to survive afterwards and the importance of joining an organized group of good guys, because the bad guys will be organizing and will be armed and hunger will turn anyone into a bad guy. I would highly recommend reading this book not only for the entertainment value, but also because very large meteors have hit the earth many many times and will again. Just look at the moon and it's a much smaller target. It would be very unlucky for it to happen in my life time, but it could and this book made me think about a lot of things that never occurred to me. If you don't like the book take it out about 400 yards and shoot it with an AR.

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Old 11-05-2012, 22:07   #24
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Lucifer's Hammer is indeed a classic and the tome that started it all.

A current fictional account I would recommend is One Second After by William Forstchen.
One Second After: William R. Forstchen, Newt Gingrich: 9780765317582: Amazon.com: Books One Second After: William R. Forstchen, Newt Gingrich: 9780765317582: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 11-05-2012, 22:16   #25
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Originally Posted by Chilly View Post
Let's back off the old myth about needing to clean an AR15 with pipe cleaners and fairy dust. Part of that BS came from the early days of Vietnam when they used the wrong powder. The rest of the BS came from either interweb experts....
This article on the un-reliability of direct impingement ARs in dusty conditions must be bogus because it appears on the internet then? The USA’s M4 Carbine Controversy

"The Army has now done 3 dust tests. In the late 2006/Jan 2007 report “Baseline Reliability and Dust Assessment for the M4, M16, and M249,” the M4 jammed 9,836 times – 1 jam every 6 rounds. In a May 2007 “Extreme Dust Test II”, with no competitors, the M4 had 1 jam every 88 rounds, using heavy lubrication."

Contrast this with the HK416 piston AR:
"A rifle with everything they loved about the M4, and the fire-no-matter-what toughness of the Kalashnikov"

"In response, H&K replaced Colt’s “gas-tube” system with a short-stroke piston system that eliminates carbon blow-back into the chamber, and also reduces the heat problem created by the super-hot gases used to cycle the M4."
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