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Discussion Starter #1
After the first of the year I've made the decision to invest in several semi auto rifles because the upcoming election isn't looking very good from either camp. Most definitely at least 2 more AR-15's. Most likely Bushmasters, and possibly a Ruger Stainless Synthetic Mini 14. Any of you who know me know I am very critical of the Mini's accuracy, or lack there of. That said the rifle cannot be faulted for it's functionability. I also like its looks. The other downside is aftermarket Hi-Cap magazines usually don't function very well, which leaves paying high prices for Ruger factory 20 rounders, (the cheapest I've seen them new is $50.00 each at www.44mag.com.) I know if I pass on the Ruger and it goes out of production, or worse gets banned, I'll be kicking myself. I'd like to hear from you Mini 14 owners who can give some honest feedback. The price on these things is getting higher all the time, and they no longer are that much cheaper of an alternative to the AR-15's out there. If I do get one it will for sure be a .223 not a 7.62X39MM. Bill T.
 

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I won't buy them...heard too much about accuracy leaving as the barrel heats up-and we might be in a hot-barrel situation where accuracy would matter critically.....you might look at the new Beretta .223 Carbine---looks sharp.........Beretta is high but quality....another option is the Rem pump .223...I just love the Mini-14 platform-I wish they'd done it right........
 

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Sounds like it might just come down to a case of the "wants".

Been a few years since i owned a mini so here it goes...
I think the mini is just fine in the accuracy dept if you treat it as a hunting rifle and not an AR. I know a lot of folks that have the mini and expect it to group as well as an AR---they wound up being very disappointed as soon as she heats up. In my opinion the mini was designed as a huntin carbine and got roped into law enforcement due to lower costs and availability years back and a general concept of a might need rapid 2nd or 3rd shot---not a rapid 12th shot. In other words the semi-auto replacement for the 30-30 lever and shooting center mass---not head shots.
I think the biggest advantage to owning a mini today would be to go with a shortened barrel and a good folder stock to her and make her a Close quarters combat weapon. This will make a unique nich for the mini and a specific role where it would have an advantage over the AR in compactness, portability, and weight.
I think it was gunman here that went that route.
 

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Well, as the past owner of 4 Mini 14s (yeah, I know, I learn the hard way) I would rather talk you OUT of buying one. I bought one of the 580 series Mini's that were supposed to be more accurate. No dice. Did all the modifications suggest on perfectunion.com, including trigger job, glass bedding, muzzle break, ameaga ranges rail, etc., etc., with no improvement. First 3 to 5 shots would be in about 4 to 5 inches, then after that, forget it. If you can live with a gun that you are only gonna shoot one 5 shot group through, then put it down for about 15 minutes and shoot something else before you pick it back up again, then the Mini is for you. If you want something you can shoot all day long with no break down in accuracy, buy a AR!!! My ARs will run circles around any Mini 14 I ever owned. I know longer own any Mini 14, and this time I mean it when I say I will NEVER own another. You guys know I love Rugers, but this is one gun I think they messed up on.
 

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If you fellas will indulge me, here is a "article" I penned, for my own satisfaction, that I am copying here for your reading.

Of ARs and Mini 14s. One mans Oddessy

First, a bit of an introduction. I am a Ruger fanatic. Almost all my guns are Rugers. My first handgun was a Ruger MK 2 (20 years ago) and I have been a fan ever since. Almost all my handguns are Rugers. I even have a 77/50 muzzleloader and a Ruger Old Army black power revolver. Have a couple of 77 MK2s. And I LOVE Old Model Blackhawks and the rest of the single action Rugers. I have owned 3 or 4 Mini 14s over the years. Actually, three Ranch Rifles and one real Mini 14. This is one product Mr. Ruger put out that I have never been completely satisfied with, and believe me I have tried. This is a gun that I like the looks and feel of, a gun that I want to be accurate, a gun that should be accurate, but alas, a gun that is not accurate! I have made excuses for the Mini 14 for years, the same old excuses all Mini 14 devotees make, that the Mini was not meant to be a tack driver, that the Mini is just a plinker, that the Mini is accurate enough for a few shots, etc., etc. Bull! I have resisted buying an AR type rifle for years. As a matter of fact, I honestly did not like the looks of them at all, and was very prejudiced by the reports of them not being reliable, etc.,etc. Once again, BULL!

I won’t go into all the Mini 14s I have owned, I will limit myself to the latest one, a 580 series Mini. You know, one of the new ones made on new tooling that’s supposed to be more accurate than the old ones. Well, I am here to tell you it isn’t. Minute of pie plate accuracy is about the best you can hope for, and groups that look more like patterns. And when the gun heats up? Fugetaboutit! The bullets will drop completely off the target. So, I started cruising the web sites trying to figure out what you can do to make one of these things more accurate. I read about chopping off the barrel, muzzle breaks, glass bedding, heavy barrels, etc. I ended up having a trigger job and glass bed job done. Well, the trigger is great now, but still same accuracy! I tried an Amega Ranges rail. No improvement. I tried a Hansen muzzle break, no dice. Nothing worked. I mean this gun is frustrating in the extreme. As the old saying goes, only accurate rifles are interesting. (I have always wondered just how bad the XGI .308 rifle was that Ruger would not release to sell because of accuracy problems! I always wondered if it was truly worse than the Mini’s accuracy!) Well, the only way I could see to really make the gun shoot would be to send it off to Accuracy Systems and spend what I could buy a new AR for. So instead, I broke down and bought a new AR!

I bought my first AR rifle a few months ago, a Bushmaster M4gery. I did not have it a week or two when a young man I work with wanted to swap barrels. He had a DPMS heavy varmint barrel and wanted to trade for my M4 barrel. He had not shot it much, so we swapped. I put a Leupold VX1 3x9x40 on it. This gun was an eye opener! It will routinely shoot less than 1 inch 5 shot groups at 100 yards, no matter the bullet weight. 50, 55, 68 grain bullets, no matter, they all go into less than 1 inch and within a couple of inches of the same POI. I was amazed. This gun was the answer to my prayers!

I know, I know, all the Mini 14 guys are jumping up and down and hollering “you’re comparing apples to oranges”! Well, let me tell the whole story!

I no sooner traded barrels that I wished I had another M4 type rifle. So, I found out about a place called Del-Ton (there are others) that sells rifle kits where you can build your own. You just need to supply the lower receiver. The cost of the lower receiver and kit is about what a new Mini 14 would cost you. So, I ordered me a kit. Bought a Double Star lower. (For those of you that have not heard of Double Star, they are a quality outfit, I assure you.) With the Del-Ton kit, all you got to do is put the lower receiver parts in. The upper is completely done. Once you get everything together just slap the upper on the lower and you are done! Took me every bit of 30 minutes, and I did not even have the proper tools. Well, I already had the Bushmaster scoped, so I decided to leave this one alone and use open sights. Well, once again, the AR is a real eye opener! This gun will shoot as good or better with open sights than my Mini will do with a scope! At 100 yards. And at 50 yards (where I can actually see the target well) it will eat the middle out of it. To say I am impressed would be an understatement. And the great thing about my ARs is that you can shoot them and shoot them and they will still shoot where you want them to instead of dropping off the target! I tell you, I never understood the thing called BRD (Black Rifle Disease) before, but I do now! I have bought a cheap red dot scope I am gonna put on it, and use the irons as back up. And I think I will even put a scope on it too, that way I will have 3 ways to shoot it!

Do I hate the Mini 14? No way. I actually like some things about it better than the AR. I like the operating rod handle much better than the AR’s charging handle. I like both of their safeties, but give the nod to the AR on that one, just because it is a tad easier to flick off for me. One real big objection to the Mini is the lack of higher capacity magazines. Or should I say affordable high capacity mags. Right now 20 round factory Ruger mags are going for upwards of $50 each, while you can buy AR mags for around $10 each. Most aftermarket Mini 14 mags are junk, to be honest with you. The AR is also easier to clean, (many of you will disagree with this, but it is my opinion) being able to break it open and clean it from the breach end. The Mini must be cleaned from the muzzle with a regular cleaning rod. The best way to clean it is with the Otis pull through system. The AR is bad about carbon build up due to it’s gas system. Clean it. Clean it every time you shoot it and you will have no problems. Simple enough. I clean all my guns every time I shoot them, so it is no big deal to me. My AR’s have been very reliable. Honestly, I got to give the nod to reliability to the Mini, but not by as big a margin as some folks will have you believe. If you clean your AR it will shoot reliably with the Mini. Why abuse a gun that cost as much as these do anyway?????

I finally gave up on trying to make my Mini 14 accurate and bought a Butler Creek folding stock for it, took the scope off, and turned it into a CQB (close quarters battle) rifle. It actually seems to be better suited for this than any long range type work. And it looks cool too! (see epilogue*) Now, Ruger has come out with the target model, and I hope it is everything they say it is. But, look how big and heavy it is. It is pretty much a benchrest/varmint hunting rig.

In conclusion, I know some of you guys will take this as Mini 14 bashing. It is not, at least not bashing in the sense that I wish the Mini 14 or Ruger any ill will. And my AR’s? I have discovered that you can hang more things on an AR than a SUV!!!! And that there is no cure for BRD once you have been infected!

Epilogue*
I ended up selling that Mini 14. It could do nothing that my AR could not do better, so I just got rid of it. No more Mini’s for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
First off I want to thank all of you for your blunt, candid, to the point honesty! It's refreshing to not have sunshine blown up your a$$ on a passionate subject such as this. And even more refreshing to see it on a Ruger forum! I agree with all of you. Yes, it basicly has come down to a case of "the wants". Little more. But thats all it ever has been. I almost bought a mini first time around. This all got started one day when my wife and I were at the range and the guy shooting on the bench next to us had a Mini 14, and let my wife try it. She immediately wanted one. I managed to talk her into an AR-15 instead, and 3 AR-15's later we have come to this junction. She, and I kept the "maybe someday" approach on the Mini. As I mentioned in my first post we've agreed to invest in a few more semi auto rifles and Hi-Cap handguns after the first of next year because of both the political climate, and because they are basicly fun as hell! The last thing any man in his right mind should do is say "NO" to a woman who wants to buy a gun! That is why the Mini 14 came back on to the table for discussion. I think from reading, and agreeing with your posts, it has been kicked off for good this time. I still love Rugers, and own several, and will be buying more. But sadly the Mini 14 won't be one of them. Bill T.
 

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Have you ever tried an AK? They are fun, reliable, cheap, and cheap to shoot, although not as cheap as they used to be to shoot. And, IMHO, more accurate than a Mini 14. Try talking her into one of those! You can buy one for about half the cost of a new Mini, and spend the extra dough on ammo and extra mags!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
quote:Originally posted by gunman42782

Have you ever tried an AK? They are fun, reliable, cheap.
We've talked about getting an AK-47 many times. But I must plead ignorance about them. I live only 2 miles from the big new Cabela's that opened here last year, and they always have a few in stock for around $399.00. I think they are Romanian, but I'm not sure. I had a co worker friend who had a Russian Sagia, (spelling), and he couldn't find magazines for it anywhere. He said the Romanian ones wouldn't fit. I'm not up on AK terminology. For example, what is a "WASR"? I was told it doesn't make much difference where you buy them because all of them, except for the high dollar American built ones, are imported by Century Arms. Do all of them come new in the box? They certainly seem like one of the last good buys in the military gun market that is left. Bill T.
 

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billt

Here is where I bought my last one:
http://www.centerfiresystems.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID=1035

They have others besides this one, but it is the one I have experience with, so this is the one I am talking about. It is a WASR, and I have no idea what the heck that stand for, but I believe it is just a way of importing a AK without calling it a AK! It accepted any AK mag I tried to put in it, and was 100 percent reliable, and would shoot 2 to 4 inch groups all day at 100 yards with open sights and Wolff ammo. And for at least $200 to $300 less than the cost of a new Mini 14/30. I have NO experience with the Mini 30. I have never owned one.
 

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I picked up my Mini-14 stainless during the Clinton gun ban, because they weren't listed...yet. Granted, it isn't a tack driver, but for home defense against 2 or 4 legged critters it get's the job done. I've added a folding stock and muzzle compensator, but other than that, it's pretty much stock.

I've had a lot of success with RamLine (30 rds, $20.00) and Thermold (30 rd, $29.95) polymer mags. Cabela's has a couple of Mini-14, 30 round mag for $29.99. I'd trust anything from Cabela's. They also have 10 round mags, but I'm not sure why anyone would want one.

I thought I'd save a few bux several years ago and bought some bargain mags at a gun show. They were absolute crapola.
 

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Oh yeah, this is what it looks like, with a Thermold 30 round mag.
 

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Nice looking gun there pioneer....
 

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I like my Mini-14!! One thing that people don't seem to understand about the rifle is that it never really was designed as a MOA shooter. The "Ranch" rifle as described in Ruger ads was something that a farmer or rancher could use to rid his property of assorted varmints and pests that were either 4-legged or 2-legged. It does this well and at a fairly low cost compared to the average AR platform.

You can turn the rifle into a decent shooter for around $75 in mods although the barrel heating up will cause a loss of accuracy. A good trigger job is essential, a smaller gas port bushing, muzzle brake and a op-rod buffer go a long way to smoothe everything out and will help with accuracy. I did all of these things to my Mini and with the factory peep sight and UMC 55gr FMJ, I can get consistent 1" or less groupings at 50 yards as long as I keep the rate of fire reasonable (a round every 6-8 seconds). I guess if you want to send a hundred rounds down range in a minute or so, then maybe an AR platform is a better deal.

As far as mags go, I have a few Pro-mag 20 rounders and a couple John Masen 10-round mags. All work fine in my Mini and the cost was considerably less than Ruger factory mags.

Personally I don't care for the AR design. I just don't find it comfortable for me and too many people want to jump on your case for owning an EBR. At least with the Mini, it doesn't look too threatening unless you stuff a 30-round mag in it.

I would also recommend trying the new Target Mini. Lots of good reviews and the accuracy is MUCH improved.
 

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I like my Mini-30 quite a lot and hope to get a Mini-14 at some point as well. For my needs, the 30 is accurate enough and I think very suitable for a SHTF type scenario.


The Saigas are worth having too and generally run between $250 - $300 for their .223s & 7.62x39s and a little more for their .308s. I have a Saiga .223 that eats whatever I put through it, though it loves Wolf ammo. I just have to get hicaps for it now.
 

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quote:Originally posted by gunman42782

Have you ever tried an AK? They are fun, reliable, cheap, and cheap to shoot, although not as cheap as they used to be to shoot. And, IMHO, more accurate than a Mini 14. Try talking her into one of those! You can buy one for about half the cost of a new Mini, and spend the extra dough on ammo and extra mags!
Can be built from a "kit" (torched out gun) for around $130, if you know where to look. Shotgun News usually has some deals on parts kits and receivers. Problem with them is they are much harder to assemble than an AR. Rivets and such, a little machining. Worth the time though. Everyone will think you are totally insane when they ask "Where did you get that?" "I built it....."
 

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I like my Mini 14 a lot. These guns aren't made to be long range sniping rifles; they are true "Ranch Rifles" and/or semi autos designed for self/estate defense at 150 yards and less. That having been said, I can hit human sized targets with my new Mini (the one Ruger sent me to replace the first one, which had defective sights) all day long at those distances, with the factory iron sights.
 

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I hate to say it, but I too would rather talk you out of buying a mini of any sort. I just sold all of my mini's and am in the process of replacing them with AR's. Even after I spent all that money with accuracy International, neither the mini14 or the mini30 can even come close to the "out of the box performance" of the AR. For that matter, they don't even come close to an AK "out of the box" either. Also, you CAN NOT build an AK for $130, $130 is the price of a decent parts kit before shipping and then there is about $250 to $300 dollars worth of other parts needed to complete the gun. Those prices are only correct for the AK build if you already have the neccesary tools to build it in your possesion already, Tack on another $300 for the correct tools and yes I do know this for a fact as I have built over 18n of them in different stages to date. Also, don't worry about not knowing about AK's, just read the manual that comes with them and then its just like buttering your toast, it becomes second nature. The other selling feature of both the AR and AK is the fact that they make, o so very many accessories for both it isn't even funny. Plus one can have quality mags for both for under $15 dollars a piece, versus the $40 plus dollar asking price for Ruger factory mag(the only one that work for a damn)for the mini's. One other thing to keep in mind is that the CAI Romanian AK's have issues with canted sights and gas blocks, so make sure you can handle it before buying to make sure you get a good one. I have a couple and they function perfectly. Arsenal may be worth looking into for a AK or for an AR Rock River, Stag, Colt, or even DPMS who has a quality heavy barrel flat top for about $700 dollars before shipping.
 

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The 130 was a few years ago. I have seen the prices of everything go up since. We also did tons of shopping beforehand, and didn't buy the super nice stuff. What would I spend big money on something I am going to carve 'sat cong' on?
 

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I can talk you into a mini-------one of these years when you are in the rockin chair you may think back about the mini and come to realize you don't have one of those ole' ranch rifles in your collection and since they will probably be discontinued the used ones available will be too high.
Regrets are hard to live with.[8][:p][:eek:)]

Of course those different AR's can still provide some comfort!:D

I can't predict the future but still i think the mini ain't long from this world. If ruger ever starts producing an AR of their own that will be the final nail in the coffin for the mini.
 

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quote:Originally posted by rp_cavanaugh

The 130 was a few years ago. I have seen the prices of everything go up since. We also did tons of shopping beforehand, and didn't buy the super nice stuff. What would I spend big money on something I am going to carve 'sat cong' on?
Why would you carve somethin on the side of a gun that you just finished building ? Any thing worth building is worth building the right way the first time. I like AK's just as much as I like AR's. The AR is a well made longer range rifle, but the AK has it in reliability and function, hell you could pull an AK out of the sand and kick the bolt loose with a little oiling to and it would be up and runnin. So, both rifles have their place in this world in my opinion, but for accuracy and dependability, I'll stick with the AR.
 
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