TheEdge, sorry for the short answer. I had to head out to a meeting for awhile.
I picked up the folding stock version that has scope mount and rails already. You can add a rail where the scope rings would go. You could add a rail up to the barrel shield. Check the pictures others have under optics and under the Mini-14 posts in the rifles formum.
Then others will repeat some mount acccessories out there for you.
For red dots, some grab the low price 1X magnification ones and use just that, or some mount a swing away magnifier before it. Some go for more expensive, higher magnification red dots. Depends on how far you want to shoot and what you want to shoot at.
See the manual or the Ruger website, yours is already drilled and tapped for the rings or to mount a rail.
There are some very good optics offered thru Nikon. The P 223 series the 3 power unit requires some special rings/ mount to work on the Mini 14. Because it is so short & the turret design but the P223 3-9 I bet it would work has the built in BDC for .223 & you can dial in your target based on how many yds out. My Mini 14 is a Ranch Model Stainless Steel put a Burris Mini 2-7x28 on my Mini-14 it fit just fine very clear optics with a range type of recticle on it. Like it so much I lucked out and found another one for my 10/22. There are alot of Tactical Scopes based for the AR-15 that will work with your tactical Mini-14. If you are in to your rifle $800.00 or close I would want to get a decent optic that works for your needs. My scope retailed new for around $300.00 I got my first one for $85.00 my 2nd one for $90.00 both scopes used but in excellent condition. Cabela's also has some decent scopes that are caliber specific if that's what you are looking for. Bu take a look at the Nikon P.223 series really nice scopes my 2 cents worth!!