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I have an urge to get a .223 semi-auto rifle. For reasons of avoiding controversy within a group of family and friends that includes some people who are not gun enthusiasts, I want to get one that does not look like a military assault rifle. That means I will not be getting an AR-15 or the like. I am leaning toward a Mini-14, but I know little about them. I would probably go for a wooden stock, to reduce the military appearance.

I want reliability and decent accuracy. I know there are variations within the Mini-14 family, but I don’t know that variations to look for. I would need to mount a scope or optical device, because I have reached the age where my eyes cannot focus very well on iron sights. Can you give me some thoughts on what I should look for?

What is a fair price range? I have seen comments on some other forums indicating that the AR-15 market may be in a decline now, and I hope that would also mean that Mini-14 prices could decline.

If you know of another type of semi-auto .223 that does not look like an assault rifle, I would be interested to know about that also.
 

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Most members here will agree that the Mini 14 is a fine carbine ,they are reliable , sturdy and accurate enough for most situations . I would recommend a newer model 580 and up and avoid aftermarket mags they run flawlessly on factory magazines , I've run all brands of ammo through mine including steel and have had zero issues .Ive seen Prices range from 650$ to 800$ for SS and depending on model .They are known for being a little rough on optics so buy something that will hold up . Good luck be sure to post pics when you get one .
 

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i understand 100% where you are coming from. i was on this exact "quest" in 2010.....the mini 14 is honestly about the only game in town (in 223) other than "AR."

that said....the mini 14 is a great rifle imo. i have the mini and AR and slightly prefer the mini.

some thoughts:

1) if you want a wood stock, don't be discouraged by the models. for example, stainless steel (and i think tactical models) are only offered with a plastic stock....but changing it to a wood stock is easy.

2) the irons on minis are serviceable, if not great. the mini is a little bit tricky to apply optics and you are slightly more limited as to what is effective. that said...there are still enough optic options to make your head spin!

3) fair price range? new or used? models starting 580+ will have a "tapered barrel" which is an improvement to the platform. if you get an older mini with a "thin barrel"...a strut will be almost necessary imo.

i now have 2 mini 14's and love em both. many posters have helped me build them into what i wanted. if you have any other questions...holler out! i owe all the great posters who helped me by passing on what little i know.


I have an urge to get a .223 semi-auto rifle. For reasons of avoiding controversy within a group of family and friends that includes some people who are not gun enthusiasts, I want to get one that does not look like a military assault rifle. That means I will not be getting an AR-15 or the like. I am leaning toward a Mini-14, but I know little about them. I would probably go for a wooden stock, to reduce the military appearance.

I want reliability and decent accuracy. I know there are variations within the Mini-14 family, but I don’t know that variations to look for. I would need to mount a scope or optical device, because I have reached the age where my eyes cannot focus very well on iron sights. Can you give me some thoughts on what I should look for?

What is a fair price range? I have seen comments on some other forums indicating that the AR-15 market may be in a decline now, and I hope that would also mean that Mini-14 prices could decline.

If you know of another type of semi-auto .223 that does not look like an assault rifle, I would be interested to know about that also.
 

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That mini 14 will soot you fine. It all depends on what you want in a rifle. Are you looking for a rifle that shoots tight groups or do you want a rifle that will hit 5 inch targets at 200 yards? The mini is what it is, it is a good carbine that will handle anything you can throw at it. Not quite as accurate as a AR15 but it will still hit it's mark. The horror stories of the mini having 6 and 8 inch groups at 100 yards are just fish stories, and inexperience shooters. And reliability? Oh buddy, it's a Ruger... I don't think I have to say anymore:D And as far as price goes, do not go to Rugers website... Can we say "INFLATED!" Where I live Wal-Mart has a wood stock, brand spanken' new Mini 14 with scope rings, and two 5 round magazines for $627.00 dollars. Your gonna have to do some shopping around but a Mini can be found in the 600 to 800 dollar range. Or you can try to find a used Mini, I saw a older one in a pawn shop 195 series(made in 1998) going for 465 bucks, and I bet I could have talked the guy down a little. When it comes to optics don't screw around, get a Nikon or something similar. The reason I say Nikon though is they are a good tough scope that can handle the shock of a mini's action. But here is a good one for a .223 bullet. Nikon P-223 Rifle Scope 3x 32mm BDC Carbine Reticle Matte Or Nikon P-223 Rifle Scope 1 Tube 1.5-4x20mm BDC 600 Reticle Matte

And dont forget. A mini can be modified just as much as a AR can. Here is another website with a good group of guys that can help make any mini you get a great gun.
https://pureguntalk.com/forumdisplay.php/30-Ruger-Mini-14-and-Mini-Thirty

Good luck.
 

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That's a pretty hard thing to find. I know H&K used to make the model 630 back in the 80's which was chambered in .223 and looked like a conventional, wood stocked hunting rifle. You could probably find one used, but they will be pricey.

 

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As others seem to suggest, I'd get a Mini-14 Ranch Rifle, the newer model with the tapered barrel. Get it with the wood stock, and it looks very innocuous to the uninformed observer. Especially if you get one of the flush fitting 5-round magazines (keep a larger capacity one handy).

The Mini-14's are rugged and reliable- as they should be, considering that the action is pretty much a copy of the Garand and the M-14.
 

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As other have stated its a great rifle. Their are several variations I own 3 of them. The std mini 14(1988) a mini 30(1998) stainless, and a mini 14 laminate target. I am also a fan of the ar platform. But the mini is a gas piston rifle, its extremely reliable. Its light weight, and traditional versus the ar. Its accuracy is combat capable. With the right ammunition or reloads its capable of even tighter groups. The mini target is capable of sub moa. Their is also many aftermarket parts to be able to make fit your needs. It has a nostalgic feel, and is worthy to any collection. I own ar's, but I would never let go of my mini's.
 

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On the Ruger website they show different models with the five and twenty round magazines. Can any mini-14 use either magazine?
 

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"The Real Deal"
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On the Ruger website they show different models with the five and twenty round magazines. Can any mini-14 use either magazine?
Affirmative, and the 30rd as well.;)
 

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As for other 223/556 semi-autos with a conventional look, the Russian VEPR has a fairly traditional look. Probably not what you want, but a good gun nonetheless.
 

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For clarification, the Mini-14 (except the target model) can handle both .223 and 5.56. We all know that on the Mini forums, but many AR detractors/snobs who have no experience with the Mini perpetuate the myth that it can only fire .223.

Agree on getting a later model with the tapered barrel. They are far more accurate and consistent out of the box than the early (181-197) series of rifle. Somewhere around the middle of the 580-series, Ruger went to the thicker, tapered barrel, so just because it is a 580 series doesn't necessarily mean it has a thicker/tapered barrel - you'd have to do a visual on it. Depending on your skills and desires to tinker with the older models, the early models are good but you'll probably need to put a strut on them for reasonably consistent accuracy. So if you see an older model (skinny barrel) for a good price, factor in adding about $100+ to get it near the accuracy level of the newer models.

Expect your Mini to eject brass a fair distance. There are fixes to that if it gets to be a problem. I doubt, though, that you will find a more reliable, beautiful, and fun-shooting semi-auto .223 rifle than the Mini.
 

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I've enjoyed my Stainless Mini-14 since I bought it in 1991. Back then, stainless was available with the wood stock. I have a couple AR's, but the Mini-14 feels more solid. It feels like a real rifle. Recently, I installed an Amega rail which allows me to mount a red dot sight on.

Never had a lick of trouble with it except when I tried after market 30 round magazines. That was before Ruger started making higher capacity mags. Those mags are gone and been replaced by OEM Ruger magazines.
 

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As others seem to suggest, I'd get a Mini-14 Ranch Rifle, the newer model with the tapered barrel. Get it with the wood stock, and it looks very innocuous to the uninformed observer. Especially if you get one of the flush fitting 5-round magazines (keep a larger capacity one handy).

The Mini-14's are rugged and reliable- as they should be, considering that the action is pretty much a copy of the Garand and the M-14.
. . . and the Ranch Rifles are cut for, and come with, Ruger scope rings, making that a no-problem area.

:D:D:D
 

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. . . and the Ranch Rifles are cut for, and come with, Ruger scope rings, making that a no-problem area.
And the current production Ranch Rifles come with a picatinny rail that screws onto the top of the receiver, which is drilled and tapped specifically for this.
 

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And the current production Ranch Rifles come with a picatinny rail that screws onto the top of the receiver, which is drilled and tapped specifically for this.
Ah, you dont need that rail. The Ruger scope ring system is top notch
 

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I've owned a lot of the standard configuration Mini 14 rifles over the years. Never had a heavy barreled target model. The rifles have been remarkably similar. Using Ruger magazines, they are reliable. Using aftermarket magazines, reliability drops off.

Expect this for accuracy:
Sighted in from a cold barrel, the little rifles do a good job! You might get good accuracy from a second or third shot, too. When that skinny barrel gets hot, it turns into a noodle and the rifles throw bullets like a slingshot! Accuracy from a HOT barrel is unacceptable.

The first thing a Mini 14 owner tries to do is add a scope to improve accuracy. After the first three shots, the scope is useless.

Flash
 
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