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Old 03-02-2024, 07:05 PM
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Default I donít like Ruger Mini 14sÖ

Öbut knowing that they currently sell for $800+, at $600 OTD I felt I should bring her home. It came with a 5 and 30 rd mags and owners manual. I immediately swapped out the Tasco scope with a spare Leupold VX1 3-9. The wood is about 95% and metal 98%.
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Old 03-02-2024, 07:22 PM
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Funny. I sold a NIB Mini-14 (.223 caliber) decades ago, during the Clinton ban, for $700.00
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Old 03-02-2024, 07:34 PM
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Nice score. Did it come from Emmalee's?
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Old 03-02-2024, 07:35 PM
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I had one 40 years ago. Stainless with a wooden upper handguard. Never missed a beat, it was good for area saturation fire on shot up old cars in the desert. I never could get it to shoot better than 3-4 MOA, traded it for a Ruger #3 in 45/70.
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Old 03-02-2024, 07:48 PM
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Nice score. Did it come from Emmalee's?
Good eye!!!!!
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Old 03-02-2024, 07:54 PM
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Same here had a couple of different Mini-14's about 30-40 years ago. Never as accurate as I was looking for so off they went to other homes.

Was the Tasco a Japanese made scope? If so was probably a good scope.
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Old 03-02-2024, 07:59 PM
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I had one 40 years ago. Stainless with a wooden upper handguard. Never missed a beat, it was good for area saturation fire on shot up old cars in the desert. I never could get it to shoot better than 3-4 MOA, traded it for a Ruger #3 in 45/70.
Same here. In the late 80s I had three, two 14s and a 30. All three came with skeet chokes; I donít expect this one to shoot any better. Will likely end up as trading fodder at the next show.
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Old 03-02-2024, 08:14 PM
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Mini-14s had a reputation for mediocre accuracy. It was traced to poor barrel harmonics. Once identified the problem was corrected…about 2005 when the rifle had been in production over thirty years.

I’ve never been able to warm up to the Mini. Some love them…I get that.

A colleague went to rifle instructor school back in the early ‘90s. He said students in the class had either a Mini-14 or an AR-15. He said by the end of the week all the AR-15s were still shooting and everyone with a Mini wanted to wrap them around a post due to malfunctions. They simply weren’t made for such heavy use.

Today..there are many clones of the AR-15…there are apparently no clones of the Mini-14. If Ruger had taken more in the design of the Mini…more substantial and designed it around the AR-15 magazine rather than an expensive, proprietary design…they might cut more heavily into AR-15/M4 sales.
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Old 03-02-2024, 08:14 PM
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Nice! $600 OTD? I would have hurt my self getting my wallet out.
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Old 03-02-2024, 08:27 PM
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I got one when they first came out, $200 pus tax.

Ammo was cheap back then, too.
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Old 03-02-2024, 08:33 PM
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I just picked this one up from a pawn shop this week, a 2015 vintage blued model. Had been sitting in the pawn shop for months, priced "High as a Cat's Back", they finally got their mind right to deal on it.

A good utility rifle, accurate enough for shots inside 100 yards (with the iron sights, I'm sure it would do better with a scope). I'll carry it around on my ATV for a while:



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Old 03-02-2024, 08:48 PM
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I bought mine about 30 or more years ago for $90.00 at a car dealership. Some guy used it as a down payment on something. I later had Choate put a flash-hider sight on it.

I recently sent it to my brother in Texs.
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Old 03-02-2024, 09:03 PM
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Allow me to enable a bit of bad behavior -

The Mini comes in X39 chambering also.

IMG_0229.jpg

And the new factory folder fits all Mini's except for the 180 series.

I have 4 Mini rifles, this one is pretty typical -

IMG_0675.jpg

I usually lop off the barrel to 16" and thread for a brake or the Ruger FH. Arms LLC sells an an upper GB with sight. Usually change out the gas port to a .040 (IIRC) for lower orbiting of expended brass.
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Old 03-02-2024, 09:03 PM
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Never wanted nor owned one. They seemed to have the reputation of producing minute-of-barn-door accuracy. But at $600 it might possibly be worthwhile as a flipper. So what's so offensive about a Tasco? I have several, they are as good as anyone else's. I had a Tasco variable varmint scope on my .220 Swift FN, it performed fully satisfactorily for many years. Sharp as a tack and very consistent adjustments.

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Old 03-02-2024, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by canoeguy View Post
I just picked this one up from a pawn shop this week, a 2015 vintage blued model. Had been sitting in the pawn shop for months, priced "High as a Cat's Back", they finally got their mind right to deal on it.

A good utility rifle, accurate enough for shots inside 100 yards (with the iron sights, I'm sure it would do better with a scope). I'll carry it around on my ATV for a while:



Why do you have 2 milk crates full of stones in the back of your ATV?
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Old 03-02-2024, 09:22 PM
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A mini-14 was my first big boy rifle... wanted a M-14 (M1A) but couldn't swing that in college... I still have it... haven't shot it in a long time... got my M1A-NM and found that more capable. .
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Old 03-02-2024, 09:30 PM
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I worked in several of the Persian Gulf countries in the oil business some 40+ years ago. The Arab cops or militia, whatever they were, roaming the streets often carried full auto Mini-14s. I never asked any questions about them, so I don't know any more than that. Rugerís M16 Alternative: the Select-Fire AC-556

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Old 03-02-2024, 09:37 PM
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I have a stainless Ranch Rifle mini I've had for about 20 years. Not the most accurate rifle I have, but I have great faith in it going bang when needed. I have an AR and other stuff, but the mini-14 is the one I keep loaded in the unlikely event some outside work is needed. 50 yards would be a long shot here in the woods, and I have a 2 & 1/2 x "shotgun" scope on it with a heavy duplex reticle. Suits me.

Since development began on the mini-14 in 1967, the AR was certainly around; but not the sure thing it has become, so I can see why it wasn't developed for an AR magazine.
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Old 03-02-2024, 09:38 PM
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Gotta love the "American SKS"
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Old 03-02-2024, 10:03 PM
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$600 will buy an AR-15 that will shoot circles around the average Mini.

I had 3 of them. Glad they're gone.
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Old 03-02-2024, 10:16 PM
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Nobody ever called the Mini-14 an example of "the gunmakers art". But, it is nice to see some blued steel and walnut.

I've never owned, nor wanted, a Mini-14, SKS, AR, or AK.
From my vantage point on the range, be it as a target shooter or working range officer, they all serve pretty much the same purpose. That is, blasting away through large quantities of cheap ammo while (hopefully) keeping the bullet impacts within the general area of the range backstop.
Funny thing, all these guns, in their own time, have attracted the same array of cheesy, aftermarket plastic accessories and attachments.
One of the constancies of the American mass consumer marketplace, I guess?

Still, the OP made a nice score. Great condition and great price.
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Old 03-02-2024, 10:25 PM
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My AR collects dust . I would love to have a Mini - 14 .
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Old 03-02-2024, 10:31 PM
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I've owned three Mini's over the years. Tried everything I could think of to get them to be accurate. Finally wrote a letter to Ruger detailing the ammo types (including Federal Match), ranges, etc. Got a nice reply back from them stating the factory standard for the Mini-14 was 4MOA. Four inches at 100 yards, 8 inches at 200 yards? No way. Traded the Mini immediately for an AR and never looked back.
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Old 03-02-2024, 10:42 PM
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Had a Ranch model(shark fin front sight)one years ago......It shot "buckshot patterns" instead of groups.......Sold it and got my first AR....It shoots tiny groups with no problems.
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Old 03-02-2024, 11:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AJ View Post
Same here had a couple of different Mini-14's about 30-40 years ago. Never as accurate as I was looking for so off they went to other homes.

Was the Tasco a Japanese made scope? If so was probably a good scope.
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Nobody ever called the Mini-14 an example of "the gunmakers art". But, it is nice to see some blued steel and walnut.

I've never owned, nor wanted, a Mini-14, SKS, AR, or AK.
From my vantage point on the range, be it as a target shooter or working range officer, they all serve pretty much the same purpose. That is, blasting away through large quantities of cheap ammo while (hopefully) keeping the bullet impacts within the general area of the range backstop.
Funny thing, all these guns, in their own time, have attracted the same array of cheesy, aftermarket plastic accessories and attachments.
One of the constancies of the American mass consumer marketplace, I guess?

Still, the OP made a nice score. Great condition and great price.
(Cue soundtrack to The A-Team!)

As stated I had a couple of Mini's and sold them. I do have an AR, but that was our primary weapon for 20 of my 24 years in the Corps. I had a M1A (also a primary weapon for 4 years)for a while, then someone offered me stupid money for it. I do own an SKS, but it only cost me $100 NIB(and it is more accurate than a Mini), For a heavy hitter I have an M! Garand, and it will do the job.
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Old 03-03-2024, 12:24 AM
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Quote:
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Same here. In the late 80s I had three, two 14s and a 30. All three came with skeet chokes; I donít expect this one to shoot any better. Will likely end up as trading fodder at the next show.
I'd give it a try at the range if it is a 180- or higher SN prefix. By report those and later guns were more accurate than earlier versions.

I also recall seeing an aftermarket part called the Accu-Strut, which (I gather) changed the barrel harmonics and improved even the earlier guns.
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Old 03-03-2024, 12:30 AM
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Thanks
I’ll give it a shot. 187-
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Old 03-03-2024, 07:16 AM
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I've owned my Mini-30 for nearly 40 years. It's 10 times more accurate than the 14.........It would take several pickups to holds the deer I've killed with it.
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Old 03-03-2024, 09:44 AM
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"180- or higher SN prefix. By report those and later guns were more accurate than earlier versions."

Mine is a 181-070xxx. It is a 4-incher at best. Was there a heavy barreled Mini at some point that was supposed to be more accurate?
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Old 03-03-2024, 10:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hoosierville IRN View Post
Finally wrote a letter to Ruger detailing the ammo types (including Federal Match), ranges, etc. Got a nice reply back from them stating the factory standard for the Mini-14 was 4MOA.
That sounds about right.

My agency issued Minis in the 90s because we were too cheap to buy ARs, and most deputies couldn't afford to buy their own AR. As instructors the Minis had us pulling our hair out at qual time because of the accuracy issues (our qual included 100yd shots). Add a 4 moa shooter to a 4 moa gun, and it's pretty much impossible.

I was very happy when we finally transitioned to ARs... made my life as an instructor MUCH easier!

Interesting side note... at that time, our policy was pretty open on rifles. We had deputies carrying everything from lever guns to SKSs...
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Old 03-03-2024, 10:39 AM
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I love the mini I picked up 25 yrs ago for 600 bucks, It shoots bug holes.
It was used and has an aftermarket krieger barrel and some other modes done to it. so the original owner had some serious money stuck in it. great coyote gun topped with a bushnell firefly retical.
it does sit in a tupperware stock and need to find a nice wood stock.
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Old 03-03-2024, 11:01 AM
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My Mini has always done what I asked of it. Way back when I got the first SS Mini to arrive in northern NY.

Gun was reasonably accurate and the one mod I did to it was open up the peep sight aperture a couple drill sizes. Could get a faster target acquisition that way and it did not hurt accuracy.

I still have it but hardly shoot it. Of course I'm limited to only a 10 round magazine of which I have a few.
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Old 03-03-2024, 11:17 AM
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I have owned several, they were quite good sellers when they were $250 back in the early 1980's. I sold my last one during the 1994-'04 ban for 5X what I paid. Currently I can build a serviceable AR for $400 so I can't justify a $4 digit expenditure for one. I like them though. Joe
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Old 03-03-2024, 11:24 AM
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I have owned several, they were quite good sellers when they were $250 back in the early 1980's. I sold my last one during the 1994-'04 ban for 5X what I paid. Currently I can build a serviceable AR for $400 so I can't justify a $4 digit expenditure for one. I like them though. Joe
I too, sold mine for a profit. I own an AR (easier to buy it, than build it), it is a early mil-spec DPMS with a Nikon 3-9X on it for $750. My NIB SKS cost me $100 OTD. My Garand (Service Grade) cost me $575. So I am glad I sold the Mini's rather than trying to throw money at them to make them shoot better.
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Old 03-03-2024, 11:47 AM
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I like the Mini-14. It is a good solid practical design and fits me. A nice, accurate (now), reliable semiautomatic rifle under $1,000.
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Old 03-03-2024, 11:55 AM
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I like the mini. It’s a fun 100 yard rifle. Mine has always been completely reliable.
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Old 03-03-2024, 12:18 PM
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Nice! $600 OTD? I would have hurt my self getting my wallet out.
I would have too. I haven't seen either a 14 or a 30, new or used, priced under $950 in the last few years. If I ever spot a 14 or 30 for anything close to $600 I'd buy it. Gladly pay a little more for the newer 'heavy barrel' series.
Used to have a 182 series stainless 14 w. wood. Sold it for $350 back when that price was the norm.
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Old 03-03-2024, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rodan View Post
That sounds about right.

My agency issued Minis in the 90s because we were too cheap to buy ARs, and most deputies couldn't afford to buy their own AR. As instructors the Minis had us pulling our hair out at qual time because of the accuracy issues (our qual included 100yd shots). Add a 4 moa shooter to a 4 moa gun, and it's pretty much impossible.

I was very happy when we finally transitioned to ARs... made my life as an instructor MUCH easier!

Interesting side note... at that time, our policy was pretty open on rifles. We had deputies carrying everything from lever guns to SKSs...

You took the words right out of my keyboard as I was about to post the same story about my old department.

Back in the day the minis from our armory probably would only average a 6" group at 50 yards, unsupported. One or two examples could/might do a 3" group.

They were very reliable though, if the magazines were taken care of.


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Old 03-03-2024, 12:40 PM
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I've owned my Mini-30 for nearly 40 years. It's 10 times more accurate than the 14.........It would take several pickups to holds the deer I've killed with it.
I've never had an attraction for a Mini 14 but a Mini 30 has peaked my interest many times.
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Old 03-03-2024, 12:42 PM
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Carried a standard Mini from '81 to '87; when purchased, it was about 60% of the cost of an AR-15. It would shoot 2"-4" 100 yard groups depending more on it's mood than any discoverable reason. It was fine for what I needed at the time, but the agency began issuing AR-15 HBARs to supplement shotguns, so I sold it.

Never had a malfunfunction with it except with an occasional Soft Point reload.
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Old 03-03-2024, 12:43 PM
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I bought a used Mini 14 Ranch for around $400 about 12 years ago. During the first time I shot it, I said to myself “Why did I wait so long to get one of these “. It’s a very fun plinking rifle. Every one who shoots it likes it.
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Old 03-03-2024, 12:44 PM
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Although I don't own one at the moment, I bet in all the years I've dealt with firearms I've owned at least 12 or so mini's. Thousands of rounds ran through them collectively, I cannot remember malfunctions of any type, all were extremely reliable.
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Old 03-03-2024, 01:17 PM
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I bought a standard mini 14(not Ranch rifle) back before the Y2K concerns as a contingency. I got a great price on it it. AR 15s cost much more then. I didn't own an "urban combat" rifle at the time. I had planned on selling it after the anticipated apocalypse subsided. I didn't expect much accuracy from it but it was a 2.5 to 3.5 MOA rifle and that was more than enough for a driveway length or city block distance employment. It was also fine for the woods I frequented as 50 yards was about the the maximum distance one could see. My Mini NEVER jammed with anything, but every single AR-15 that my friends had did at some point. That, or they suffered from some malady that required an armorer or trip back to the mother ship. My feeling at the time was that any accuracy advantage an AR15 had was muted by it's less than 100% reliability. So, I never got rid of it. I put a scout style upper forend on it with a red dot sight and improved my ability to hit with it at the distances I would use it.
I later bought a S&W Sporter 2. Most of the issues I observed in earlier ARs are gone. It seems they are more refined nowadays. And far less expensive, relatively speaking. It has far greater accuracy and has runs flawlessly. It is now my urban defense rifle in the unlikely event I would need one. The mini is now used more as a woods gun with the factory 5 round mags. Its looks don't scare people when that is a consideration. It is less bulky than an AR. But more importantly it is a reliable performer for what I use it for. One can ask for no more than that.
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Old 03-03-2024, 04:21 PM
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I love the mini I picked up 25 yrs ago for 600 bucks, It shoots bug holes.
It was used and has an aftermarket krieger barrel and some other modes done to it. so the original owner had some serious money stuck in it. great coyote gun topped with a bushnell firefly retical.
it does sit in a tupperware stock and need to find a nice wood stock.
Could be the synthetic stock helps with accuracy. Wood is nocer to look at, but it can be a curse when it comes to consistency.
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Old 03-03-2024, 04:28 PM
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I see that some sneer at the SKS. It is well known that the Chinese Type 56 variant with the right ammo (.310 bullets, not .308) is a 2 MOA gun and sometimes better. The Box o' Truth website shot a stock AR with vanilla FMJ and surplus ammo and it didn't get close to that kind of accuracy.

I'd be interested to know what ammo Mike uses in his Mini-30.
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Old 03-03-2024, 04:43 PM
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After all these years I'm surprised some enterprising engineer hasn't developed a quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive magazine well conversion so folks can use AR and AK mags in their mini's. Just a thought. Please don't flame me. LOL
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Old 03-03-2024, 04:54 PM
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Some years back there was a company that made plastic mags that would fit the Mini-14, AR-15 and the Armalite AR-180.

I had an AR-180 at the time as well as AR-15s...tried one of those mags and didn't like it. It was hard plastic which seemed less durable but the big problem was that it fit very tight and wouldn't drop out of either model rifle I had tried it in. You really had to pull it out. I guess it likely wouldn't have worked any better in a Mini.

Whether the issue was poor design or poor manufacture I don't know but it was a piece of junk. Maybe a more thoroughly engineered design might work or possibly there's simply too much incompatibility between the competing design rifles.

Basically...if there's money to be made someone would likely have come up with a workable design by now.
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Old 03-03-2024, 05:17 PM
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The Mini 14 is a rifle some folks just love to hate, beyond any rational reason.

I own a number of AR-15s in various configurations and in my experience quality of the barrel makes a a difference in accuracy as does the configuration. The average $600 M4gery wonít shoot with a newer 58x series mini 14 or an older mini 14 that has been accurized.

I also own three mini 14s and all of them are extremely reliable. Back when I was issued an M16A1 if I was going to have to shoot it, and Iíd been crawling around on the ground and or there was dust and sand blowing in the wind, the first thing Iíd do at every opportunity was pull the rear pin, slide the bolt out and wipe off the bolt carrier and upper receiver and relube it. If you didnít the odds of a malfunction were high.

With an M1A, BM59 or Mini 14, I get superb reliably even if the action is dirty and contaminated with sand, dirt pr leaf litter. The larger tolerances make it much less picky about operating in extreme environments.

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Old 03-03-2024, 05:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SnidelyWhiplash View Post
Some years back there was a company that made plastic mags that would fit the Mini-14, AR-15 and the Armalite AR-180.

I had an AR-180 at the time as well as AR-15s...tried one of those mags and didn't like it. It was hard plastic which seemed less durable but the big problem was that it fit very tight and wouldn't drop out of either model rifle I had tried it in. You really had to pull it out. I guess it likely wouldn't have worked any better in a Mini.

Whether the issue was poor design or poor manufacture I don't know but it was a piece of junk. Maybe a more thoroughly engineered design might work or possibly there's simply too much incompatibility between the competing design rifles.

Basically...if there's money to be made someone would likely have come up with a workable design by now.
The AR-180B was for the most part a big improvement over the AR-180.



Out of the box the AR-180B lacked the folding stock of the AR-180, but it was an easy modification. Similarly it lacked the Z shaped charging handle, but at the time you could get a charging handle for the V-15 and install it in the AR-180B after a single minor milling operation on the bolt.





I miss the AR-180ís dust cover but itís not a great loss as the AR-180 is a very AK like open design, not readily choked by dirt.

The big improvement was an AR-15 style magazine release and full compatibility with unmodified AR-15 magazines.



Itís major problem was that it just could not compete with cheap AR-15s and there wide array of adult Lego set like 3rd party aftermarket accessories.
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Old 03-03-2024, 06:23 PM
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The Mini 14 is a rifle some folks just love to hate, beyond any rational reason.
I disagree. I think most folks want to love the mini or they wouldnít have bought one, or several. I bought a dud then bought two more hoping for a more accurate example, but to no avail. I didnít need another shotgun, so I dumped em.
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