Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle Review

by Mike (The Gun Guy)

Not too long ago M.D. asked the group if he could get some product reviews, and he had a list with suggestions for review. In the list was the Ruger Mini-14 ranch rifle, newer style. I got mine about four or five months ago, and I guess that qualifies as new, or at least the newer style.

What’s different from the previous versions? I don’t think any of the internals changed. Really, the difference is in the sights and the barrel. You can tell a new one from the old one because the new one will have a barrel that’s thicker towards the receiver then it tapers in. The old style has a barrel that’s the same length all the way down.

mini14 300x113 Ruger Mini 14 Ranch Rifle Review

Ruger Mini 14 ranch rifle

I guess I should start with why I got a Ruger Mini 14 ranch rifle in the first place. There are several reasons for me. I wanted something in the .223 caliber because it’s a common round, because I wanted something I could coyote hunt with, and because all you AR owners in the states seem to be having so much fun with the .223! For me though, an AR-15 was out.

We have a class of weapons known as ‘restricted’ in Canada, and the AR-15 is on that list. That means I couldn’t take my AR out in the field and hunt with. I could only double lock it while transporting it to an approved range and only with something called an ATT, or authorization to transport.

Not to mention that we still have a registry for restricted weapons, but out long gun registry was scrapped. I got my gun license and my first rifle just after the long gun registry was scrapped so my name appears on none of the old copies, and I want it to stay that way.

For non restricted long guns in .223, there were a couple of options. There was the Kel Tec SU-16, a Remington pump .223, and I believe you could get a VZ 58 chambered in .223. I wanted a semi auto, so the Remington was out. I was leaning towards the Kel Tec SU 16 or the VZ 58 for the reason they took AR magazines (you could get a magwell adapter for the VZ) and in Canada there’s a loop hole where as long as a magazine is labeled ‘pistol’ you can use a 10 round mag in a semi auto, otherwise you are restricted to 5 rounds. In the end though, I went with the mini for two reasons:

  1. Reliability was not in question with the mini 14. They are many things, and reliable is one of them. The Kel Tec received mixed reviews on quality and longevity and I just haven’t seen too many VZ’s around.
  2. The pedigree of the Mini 14. The first time I ever laid eyes on an M1 Garand I fell in love. My love continued to the M14 and the fact the mini 14 used the same mechanicals as the M1 and M14 just in a scaled down and smaller caliber means I love the mini 14 too. Besides, John Garand was a Canadian, and you got to have some national pride. Right?

So, if any of you don’t know what a Ruger Mini 14 looks like, here is a picture of mine:

So, exactly how does the mini 14 perform in my opinion?

Ruger Mini 14 Ranch Rifle Sights:

One of the things with the new mini is it has new sights, so I thought I’d talk about them. It comes with a non adjustable front sight and an adjustable peephole rear sight. Both sights have ‘blades’ on either side to protect them from glare. I’m just guessing at that function, but it seems reasonable. Now, when they work, they work fantastic. But then they don’t’ work so well. Here’s a tip if you decide to buy this rifle. The rear sights will shake itself loose in less than 50 rounds. It’s mounted on a post and secured by one bolt. It will shake itself to the right or left and that’s where you’ll shoot.

The first thing you need to do is remove the screw (takes an Allen key), put a dab of the blue lock tight on it (not the red stuff, unless you want trouble) then tighten it back down. Once the lock tight sets you won’t have that issue. The sights also have windage adjustability with screws on either side of the post that use the same size Allen key as the securing bolt. To adjust left or right you must adjust BOTH screws otherwise it will leave a gap and the sight will shake itself around when firing. It’s a good idea if you want it right in the middle to ensure you snug up both screws or it will shift on you with the vibration of shooting.

I will make a note on the scope mount, as you can see I do use a scope. I like the scope mounts and included scope rings. Each scope mount has a tab that goes into a notch in the provided mounts, making a very solid and secure mount.

Accuracy:

It’s not a tack driver. It never was a tack driver. For anyone who buys this thing and then is upset they can’t hit the middle of the target at 1000 yards probably shouldn’t be buying guns at all. The Ruger Mini 14 is called a ranch gun for a reason. It’s made to be a low maintenance reliable gun that you carry around with you in your pick up truck around the farm in case some varmints need killing. I would say though, it’s more accurate than just that. I took a 50 yard pistol target and put it at 100 yards, and that’s where I sighted my scope in. I sighted the scope in and then put a fresh target at 100 yards and took 10 shots (resting the barrel on a block). Two of the 10 hit right in the middle of the target, the rest were scattered around the middle (more low than high) but I’d say the whole group was about 2”. Sorry, I did not take a picture to show you, but I can say that any of those shots would have been in the kill zone of coyote, and definitely a deer. So sure, it’s not a tack driver, but it’s plenty accurate, more than enough, anyways.

Stock and Construction:

The stock of this particular unit is made of a black polymer. You can also get wood if you like. The polymer is light but I feel it’s very strong, and it does not feel cheap at all like a Remington 597 or a Kel Tec. I guess there is a huge difference between polymer and plastic. I’ve had it knocking about the woods on many occasions and it still looks new. The ergonomics are good, the rifle stock fits nicely in my hand and I get a proper cheek weld when sighting down the iron sights. This may change with a very large or very small person. I’m about average height and build and I feel they did a very good job with ergonomics for the majority of people. You can get a blued stock or a stainless steel. I really like the stainless steel. If TSHTF when gun oil and supplies are low, stainless will resist rust much better in the absence of all the awesome gun cleaning and gun oils we have access to now. Sure, it’s shiny and reflective, but you can easily take care of that with some dirt if you really needed to.

The gun easily comes apart by flipping it over, putting a screw driver or punch in the hole in the trigger guard and pushing up. The trigger group comes out and then you can simply remove the stock from the gun. It’s not complicated inside but I will advise to be careful when taking it apart. There is a large return spring along the underside and when you take it out, the part that holds it in that’s closest to the trigger assembly is held in by a loose pin. Turn the receiver either way and it’ll come out and you’ll lose it and you kind of need that little loose pin to keep your spring in place.

Magazines:

I would absolutely love it if Ruger used AR mags. But, they don’t. They use proprietary magazines. In Canada, they are almost impossible to find in anything other than the factory 5 round configurations. Not that it really matters, as we can only put 5 rounds in a semi auto mag at a time up here. I do have a couple of factory 20 rounders that are pinned to 5 (and those pins come out the minute TSHTF and WROL!) but they were $50 a piece. There is only one supplier that regularly gets these magazines, and they get a shipment in about 3 or 4 times a year and the magazines are sold out within a day or two.

Also, the magazines are a bit of a pain. You have to rock them in like an AR mag but it’s not as smooth. It’s easier with a longer mag as you can get a good grip on it. The factory 5 round disappears into the stock, which is something I actually like when shooting the rifle. It’s just tricky to get them in. If you don’t’ angle them in just so, they get stuck and then you’re in for a bit of a struggle. Also, I have one 5 round mag that goes in fine each time and another that’s more finicky. Now, I’ve never had a feed failure yet, so that’s a good thing. I still wish they used AR mags.

Ammunition:

The receiver is marked as .223 caliber. Not Remington .223, .223 caliber. This means that you can feed .223 Remington or 5.56 NATO. I can tell you I’ve fed all sorts of different types of ammo through this gun. American eagle 55 grain FMJ. MFS stainless 55 grain FMJ. MFS 62 grain soft point, and 55 grain hollow point. American eagle tracer rounds. Unidentified 5.56 military surplus I picked up at a local gun show. It eats it all, and it eats it all without complaint. It’s not picky and that’s the way I like it because lets face it, .223 is getting pretty scarce. With the mini 14 you can horde whatever you can get your fingers on and not worry about it.

Shooting:

As a gun enthusiast, I have to say hearing the sound of that receiver closing and chambering that first round is just awesome. It makes that typical gun sound you hear in the movies, or perhaps in a well maintained AR-15. Just beautiful. If fires as slow or as fast as you pull the trigger. I’ve emptied the magazine (5 rounds, I’m a Canadian) in what I swear was less then a second with almost no muzzle climb. I’ve put about 1,000 rounds through it so far and have not had a jam or misfire. The barrel does tend to get pretty hot, but it doesn’t seem to affect the accuracy of the gun at all.

Aftermarket:

As far as aftermarket parts for this rifle, it’s on the same level with the likes of the 10/22, Remington 870 and AR-15. You can get all sorts of stocks in all sorts of configurations. Scopes, mounts, flash suppressors or muzzle breaks (if you need a muzzle break with a .223 caliber you should really start working out). I mostly prefer my rifle stocks to be rifle stocks, but if you want to make this thing tacticool, the only limit is your wallet.

Conclusion:

I think the Ruger Mini 14 is a well built and well made gun. It does exactly what it’s advertised as. It’s a ranch rifle, a field gun, a reliable little buddy that will go into the bush with you and come out none worse for the wear. Sure, the magazine situation kind of sucks, you have to ensure when you field strip it a tiny little pin that’s very loose and 100% necessary to the operation of the rifle doesn’t take a walk, and you have to monkey with the sights to get them to work properly. I paid $830 for the rifle brand new, and I can more than live with those quirks for a gun that is that price and has the kind of reliability that the mini has. I don’t have to worry what ammo I put through it, it’s not picky. I don’t have to worry if it gets rained on, I just wipe it down when I get home and it’s good to go store if I don’t feel like cleaning it that day.

The charging mechanism is smooth, it doesn’t seem to jam and it’s accurate enough. I even think that the rifle is pretty, but beauty is always in the eye of the beholder.

From what I’ve read, the mini isn’t as accurate as an AR-15 but it’s a lot less expensive and apparently more reliable. Reliable in that you don’t need to clean it as meticulously to maintain that reliability. I’m sure that will cause arguments from the die hard AR people, but if it’s true than that makes the mini 14 a better TSHTF gun.

I don’t regret buying it, and I think I’ll be keeping it. If you ask me if I recommend it, yes, 100%, but the choice is yours.

Ruger Mini-14: Homestead Defender

Comments

  1. I’d like to make a correction: When I wrote that the magazines rocked in like an AR mag, I meant to say like an AK mag. Sorry!

  2. Mike,
    So you can own a Mini but not an AR? That just shows me that politicians are generally idiots no matter the country of origin, LOL.
    I had the original stainless Ranch rifle about 20 years ago and except for the long range accuracy it was always a great rifle. Sounds like it’s been improved and for a solid gun, even a little improvement, just makes it a better gun.
    You mentioned you put 1000 rounds through it. What is the cost and availability of ammunition in Canada? .223 is still hard to get and very expensive here in the states.
    Thanks for a great review, which I think is a good template for other reviewers. It seems to hit all of the important points, without going into BS mode on anything. IMHO, a good job.

    • Hi Ohio

      You can buy an AR but it’s restricted. I’m licensed for restricted, but the issue with restricted is that you can only shoot them at an approved range and have to have transport paperwork. In Canada handguns have the toughest regulations and they lump the AR in with handguns. It really doesn’t matter that a Mini is about the same length, same action, same ammo.

      Oh, and anything on the AK platform is prohibited.

      Yes, retardation everywhere, not just in America!

      It’s difficult to get mainstream stuff like American Eagle here in Canada. There are some specialty stores that sell gobs of military surplus. You can get chinese .223, and some of the German stuff online. That stuff above when you buy in bulk goes for between 29 cents and 35 cents a round. The stuff you use for hunting like soft points, like Remington and Federal, they are around 75 cents to a dollar a piece. So it’s actually still pretty easy to get up here and it’s cheap as long as you don’t mind some different stuff.

      Thanks for the compliment on the review, much appreciated!

      • axelsteve says:

        Mike. Can you handload ammo in Canada? Is there laws restricting buying powder and etc?

        • Zeker98 says:

          No I re-load a ton in Canada. I can re-load hunting tips for about .25 each. Just buy in Bulk

  3. Jersey Drifter says:

    Very nice product review Mike. A local gun shop had two in stock Friday, and a customer was looking at one of them. After reading your review I want to go over there and see if they still have one, if only I had the spare cash.
    I like the way you described the pros and cons as you see them. The heavier barrel on the newer models I think would improve accuracy. Yes using AR magazines would be nice as opposed to the proprietary ones. If one had a Mini 14 and an AR, magazines would be interchangeable. The fact that you have found it to be reliable and easy to maintain, has me convinced to take a second look .
    Very well done Mike. Thanks for the info.

    • Thanks for the compliment! Like I said I’ve had the mini knocking about the bush and bumping around on an ATV and it’s performed well always.

    • I dont see that having the magazines being interchangeable would be that big of a benefit , your still going to have to reload a magazine , your stil going to have several ( or should ) anyway .Depending on what you believe , if you really want an AR ( in my case AK ) there will be several of them laying on the ground after the shooting starts and you will have the ammunition for it already .

      • There are two reasons:

        1) AR magazines are EVERYWHERE up here. And cheap. At least the 10 round ones because of the loophole I mentioned. I can go to a local gun show and come back with 10 rounders for usually $10 a piece. Compare that to the lack of Mini magazines up here. I purchased two 20 rounders (pinned to 5) for 50 a piece and they’ve still been sold out today.

        2) If TSHTF AR mags will still be easier to come by up here. Of course by that point there may actually be AR’s to scavenge..

        • unfortunately , if its anything like the way Selco describes living in Bosnia , then there will indeed be AR’s and everything else to scavenge .

        • Peak Crackers says:

          Hi mike good choose ,, I had to by extra nags on line here in Canada all waited close to a month .. I have the same rifle , Not liking the feel of the after market mags . I called rugger and they blew it off on the Pinned mag rule here. Just you thought on mini 30 . It was my 1st choice but sold out at the time . I thought the ammo swap was versatile selling point , on the 7.6×39

  4. I’m very happy that you like your Mini-14 and you are correct in that it is a great “ranch rifle” or “hog gun”.

    25 years ago the Mini was “THE” survivalist weapon to have. Many of us have owned several

    What you did not list were the Mini’s problems.
    #1 Although it may look like an M1 or (real) M-14, it is not built as one and have failed in extended combat with the Contras in Central America. It’s a great Cop/ Citizen rifle, but it’s not designed for long term fire fights.
    #2 Like most of what Ruger makes, the Mini is not made out of forged steel. This is one of the reasons that most Ruger parts appear thicker.
    If you wish to see the difference pick up a Smith revolver and a Ruger.
    Also Ruger used a cheap method to rifle their barrels on the first models, which added to it’s problems.

    The Mini-14 and the M1A both suffer from having investment cast receivers, neither are forged. If you feel comfortable with either, O.K., good for you. A black powder musket can protect you, so can a Mini-14.

    • Ghost

      I have to say, I really, really hope I never have to engage in extended combat. Just like everyone here, I’m a prepper, not in the military. I’m sure there will be skirmishes when TSHTF, and realistically no matter what you have if someone is shooting at you there’s a chance you’re going to die regardless of what’s in your hands at the time.

      I don’t have $2,500+ for a (real) m14. I don’t have $2,000 for good AR15 and as of right now, it would be useless to me anyways as it’s a restricted gun in Canada. I’m a prepper, and I use what I have to collect all the things I need, like water, food, clothing, tools, bug out locations, etc. If you can do all of that to perfection, you’re one of the rare preppers that have oodles of money. I’m not one of those.

      I’ll just say that for an all around semi automatic .223 the new Mini 14 works for me and for my prepping budget.

      • Mr. Mike, you are right, the Mini will get the job done. Frankly the Mini and the AKM are my two favorite carbines. I guess I want what I can’t have, a Mini built like a military weapon.
        In Canada are you allowed to own a FAL? Being south of you in Minnesota it would be good to know, should I and my family ever need to flee north.

        • I want what I cant have also , but if I win the lottery , Im going to buy a few T-34/85s and transport them to several locations and hide them in residential garages . Lets see the look on the faces of the DHS brownshirts in their tricked out carriers when they set up their their checkpoints in neighborhoods , especially when the main gun takes out one of their new toys , would paint on the front of each one of the hidden 34′s ” your F*cked now ! “

        • The FAL is considered a PROHIBITED firearm. Not because of any particular reason. It meets all the descriptions of a non restricted as long as it’s not select fire and the mag is pinned to 5 rounds. It’s just one of those things. Maybe because there are full auto military variants.

          Here’s a fun fact: 90% of the population of Canada lives within 100 miles of the American border. If TSHTF in the U.S. I’m betting it has in Canada too, or it’s not far behind. Basically, if it’s WROL up here feel free to bring whatever you got, and if you make it 100 miles north of the border the sheeple should be few and far between.

          • And in when the dust settles , both Americans and Canadians can eradicate socialism from the north american continent .

            • I’d be happy with ending entitlement and ensuring that everyone has the understanding that ‘you get what you earn’ and there are no free rides.

  5. axelsteve says:

    Do they still make it in the mini 30? On the face of it I would prefer the 30 cal round for a hog gun.My friend has had the mini since the late 70`s and he still loves them.

    • bwright1553 says:

      Yes they still make a Mini 30. I haven’t seen one around the local gun shop in months. I agree with the author the mini 14 is a great gun for what it was suppose to do. Good article!

    • One of the things we have up in abundance here in Canada is the SKS. That’s my go to for the 7.62 x 39! I heard the Mini 30 is good too though.

      • I own a newer model Mini-30 in 7.62×39 and love it. I like the light weight of the composite stock and the durability of the stainless finish. I have hunted both hogs and deer with it and have been successful in both cases (dropped them in their tracks at 50 yds). I opted for a holographic sight maounted on a picatinny rail as apposed to a scope it does limit the range as to yardage because basically its the same as a steel sight I just like the low light capability and the sight picture of a pinpoint red dot that I get. Overall I agree with MIke. The Ranch Rifle is a good durable gun.

  6. JP in MT says:

    Mike:

    Nice review. If the “new” Mini’s had been available when I was seriously getting into AR, that is the one I way I would have gone. Given the reasons you gave, I have to say that I would have made the same choice. I had an old one for a while and the issue was magazine for me. Aftermarket mags just didn’t work reliably. Then there is my DW’s and my military service, where we carried around one for 20+ years and had some access to magazines (not many surprisingly). Plus her statement “You can have anything you want but I want a military grade AR!” Sort of put a lid on it. I still would like to add on of the newer ones to my battery, especially for “camping” as some of our group is “uncomfortable” with military-looking weapons.

    Great Job!

    • Hi JP

      I’m a fan of the AR no doubt. I would love to have one, but it’s not in the cards for me. The mini is fun at the range and I use it at my friends farm to help with pest control and it’s never let me down.

      Also, you need to educate some of your camping friends! They’re gun racist!

  7. axelsteve says:

    Does anyone make a kit to convert the mini to use ar type mags? A company makes a kit to convert a model 700 in 308 to accept m14 mags.

    • If someone did, I’d be the first one at the door with money. I’ve looked, unfortunately they don’t. I think perhaps Ruger is kind of like apple, they don’t play well with others.

  8. thatAway says:

    Well Ya the mini’s have had some sighting issues but I never used my more that 100 yards out 10 rounds at a time..
    I am on my third one because, I just like Ruger..
    Got rid of the old one because a friend wanted it and the price was right..
    My first mini’s were all used… from about 83 on??

    Now my I bought a new one.. It was bought in 98 in plain city store.
    O.P will know that store.. that does not exist I think it is still in business..

    Any ways.. I have it scoped in at 100 yards for varmints..
    And I can do an 1″ to 1 1/2 ” patter all day long.. at 100 yards. With scope.

    I am happy with mine from 100 yard in and mabey even further out .
    But it is my rifle of convenience at 100 yards..
    But what do I know.. Any closer than 100 yards it is even better.. They are a noisy I have never had so many neighbors call and ask what are you shooting as that rifle ..

    All I will say is I am a Ruger nut. and it was helpful article on the older models is a great article.. I also love there hand guns till they put the little key lock in some concealed carry pistols.. I do not like he key lock.
    Then we buy that gun that we (want) for play or whatever..

    Can Any one tell if Ruger made 1998 this rifle better and in what 1992??
    I do not rember my old rugers being that bad!!!!!

    Like I said I will keep my 1998 version sling it over your shoulder and it is light and short .. But like all weapons the evolution is just starting to really change again with designs.. I do not know if the 1998 is a new version I have not bothered to look my fault.. The world moves on..
    By for now wolfpack
    Time to go
    thatAway

  9. Yea it is noisy isn’t it? It’s got quite the muzzleflash too. I think flash supressors are illegal in Canada but muzzle breaks aren’t. I wonder if I could get away with calling a flash suppressor a muzzle break?

  10. I have a mini 30 , because I dont like the .223 . I have no problems with it , like you said , your not going to make that 1000 yard hot . Thats fine for me , anything past 150 yards is something I dont need to be shooting at . I picked it for the ammo also and simplicity , there are a TON of AKs out there , and 7.62×39 can be had rather cheaply . Its a good size , especially if you were running around in close quarters . A folding stock would make it even better for that . Not real fond of fussy designs that need babysitting , thats why if given a choice , prefer Russian design or older American weapons . The AK and Mosin are good examples of a weapon that can take extreme neglect .

    • Zeker98 says:

      I have an older Mosin 1906 with all original serial numbers and original wood. I loaded up some rounds with open sight and was shooting apples at 100 yards no problem. They are a great camp gun and you can buy brand new brass from Lapua for 30.00 for 100.00.

      • WOW !!!!!! that is an old one , very cool !!!!!!!! mine is dated at 1938 . here is a website with a lot of good information dedicated to the Mosin Nagant , good pictures also of all the different markings and how to identify your rifle .
        http://62x54r.net/

  11. Nice review, Mike.

    I still have the early models, and have to say that the triggers have a remarkable amount of take up, and some creep as well. Do you have the same issues, or has Ruger improved on those issues?

    I think the blades bracketing the sights are more to protect them from getting banged up, rather than prevent glare. Does anyone know for sure?

    I like the stainless Minis for any salty atmosphere: they are a huge improvement over anything else, especially in a low maintenance situation. I understand that stainless Mini-14s were popular with the Gulf Coast shrimpers back in the day when shrimp boats were having .223 caliber conversations with each other.

    The upside to the different magazines for those of us in the People’s Republic of Paradise aka Hawaii is that AR mags are classified by our noble leaders as pistol magazines, and there is a limit of 10 rounds capacity to a magazine. Mini magazines are classified as rifle mags, so 20 & 30 rounders are fine. At least until someone makes a pistol which handles them.

  12. Rider of Rohan says:

    Mike, first of all, very good article. I’ve owned 3 Mini-14s in my life. Heck, I still own the first one I bought from a cop cause civilians weren’t allowed to buy them back then. Some silly Ruger rule.
    Anyway, I was never happy with the accuracy on my Mini’s as they all had the thin barrels with the wooden stocks. You could fry taters on them after about 5 shots, and I noticed what accuracy I had went further away when they got really hot.
    In any event, I kept the one for old time’s sake. It has quite the light signature at night as someone said, but I just couldn’t turn loose of the first semi-auto I ever owned. Growing up in Texas we all carried Rem. Model 700s in .22-250, .220 Swift, etc. I spent many a day shooting coyotes and jackrabbits. For heavier use(deer and antelope) it was always the .270 win.
    I really would like to try one of the newer models of Mini-14. The barrel looks much heavier which should improve accuracy and help with the heat issue. And I never had a failure to feed in any of my Mini’s. And I shot them thousands of times, so yes they are reliable.
    I wouldn’t feel underarmed at all with one, myself. But, then again, I’ve been known to conceal carry an SR-22. Don’t tell anybody.

    • I wouldnt want to be shot with a SR-22 ( or anything else for that matter )

    • The barrel does get pretty hot, but no hotter than say, my 1912 Lee Enfield after 1 magazine. I haven’t noticed any accuracy slips. Not a tack driver like I said but I can and have shot quite a few rounds and it still functioned well.

      • Rider of Rohan says:

        Mike, I think the newer models with the thicker barrels and polymer stock are much more accurate, and frankly better for a prepper. I might just see if I can trade this old rifle for a new one. I have a number of those things that cost so much in Canada. They are pretty expensive here now as well, but I bought a lot of them for under $20 over the years.
        I really like the idea of having the Mini, though, as they don’t attract the attention some others do.

        • Unless you put one of those ‘mean black stocks’ on the thing!

          Don’t get me wrong, I like wood. I have it on my Lee Enfield and my SKS. But the two firearms I actually use most are my Mini 14 and my Remington 870, especially the 870. I like the feel of the polymer and it does shave some weight off, and when you’re hunting pheasant for 5 hours and holding your gun for that long, you’ll be glad for any shaved weight no matter how in shape you are.

          • axelsteve says:

            Before my boating accident I had a rifle with an evil black stock. I did paint it olive drab to make it less evil. Too bad the evil black rifle did not know how to swim though.

            • I once lost a pair of magnetic clip on sunglasses for my prescription glasses on the bottom of lake Erie.

              What happened to you, my friend, is infinitely worse.

  13. 2heavyb says:

    Have both the 14 and 30. Had an “extended ” stay in California so opted for the mini instead of the BS dealing with ARs there. My second job out there allowed me to get the factory 20 and 30 round mags for my personal weapon. Now thank god I am back home in Texas after 34 years of BS. I have ARs now and the appropriate magazines. My older Mini’s have the cheap sights and thinner barrel. I would like to see if I can update those to the improved parts

    • Can’t hurt to look for the upgrades. If TSHTF I have friends who don’t have firearms that I will arm, and I imagine you may do the same?

      Might as well have the straightest shooting mini you can have eh?

  14. Had one of the first Ruger Mini-14 made. As I have a number of there other weapons and love them all the Mine-14 was a total bust. Twenty rounds in twenty differant holes. Even put it in a machine rest and it was the same. Sold it to a fellow in Co. I didn’t like that much.

    • Steve

      That’s too bad. Sounds like you got a “Friday before the long weekend” gun.

      The new mini I find is carbine accurate. Like I said, it’s not a tack driver, it’s no slouch.

  15. I’ll start by saying that I am a huge Ruger fan and own several different models and that I have no experience with the older models of the Mini14 but am very familiar with their short comings pertaining to accuracy in the past so I will provide my thoughts on the new model and try to speak to the more common issues that have been commented on.

    I own a new tactical model Mini14 20/CF (20 rounds/ATI collapsible-folding stock) and purchased mine 3 years ago when Ruger first came out with them and have put a few thousand rounds through it without any type of failure of any kind. I’ve had no problems what so ever with the sights and they do their job, but I am planning on replacing the front blade with an aftermarket Hi-Vis sight as my eyes aren’t what they used to be. I also have a red dot on mine and like the fact that on my model it is positioned forward like a scout rifle set-up. I can also use the sights without removing the red dot with no special mounts which is an advantage should something go bad with the red dot.

    As for the accuracy, it does what it’s supposed to do and has very acceptable accuracy given the type of firearm it is. I have no problems hitting a target the size of a dinner plate at 200 yds. This is not a tack driver nor a long range weapon, it’s not designed for that so if that’s what you want you need to find something else. What the Mini14 is is a very solid performing platform for taking care of business reliably with easy maintenance to keep it purring.

    It’s loud and it flashes in low light but so what, the barrel heats up but no more than any other rifle you’re pouring rounds through. As with all things it really comes down to a matter of opinion and personal preference. All things considered IMHO this is a great choice, especially considering price (paid $700 for mine new with 2 20 rd mags and scope rings that always come with Ruger long guns) and quality.

    If you haven’t tried out a newer model it’s worth it to find one and run a few rounds through it to decide for your self.

    Molon Labe

    • Agreed , its just a good general purpose carbine , its a clean design , and simple enough for young shooters , and those that dont want to do a lot of maintenance .

  16. I would really like to pickup a Mini-14 because 1) they look cool and 2) I don’t have anything else that will use the .223 ammo I have for my AR.

  17. Up until about six months ago you could easily get a basic AR-15 for $850. The Smith & Wesson M&P stripped down model was running around $700, even in New York State. Under those circumstances it was crazy to pay the $700 or so that a ranch rifle would have cost you at the time.

    Then NY made all of the AR’s illegal too, and they exempted the ranch rifle for no apparent reason. It has the same basic functionality of an AR and it looks like a scaled-down M1 from WWII. It’s been used by military and law enforcement agencies around the world a principal rifle.

    I guess the most dangerous thing about a rifle is how it looks when a civilian carries it.

    • Selkirk,

      Those may have been prices in your neck of the woods but not where I was at, and I don’t appreciate being told I’m crazy. I’m not a novice and don’t need to be “schooled” on what constitute a good deal or purchase in your mind. I’m sure that if you reflect on purchases you’ve made someone else could surely call you crazy which you wouldn’t particularly agree with nor appreciate.

      Molon Labe

  18. I bought a mini 14 as a light rifle for target shooting, plinking, medium game and home defense. I like the feel of it and recoil is non-existent. Accuracy out to 200 yards is good and if your in that close it accurate enough to ruin your day. It’s also a rifle that my wife can shot easily. With the cost of ammo so high right now a bought a 10/22 for the target/ plinking role. In a home defense role for my wife is very good with it and Its an ideal weapon for that role. I use a socom 16 or a m1a. The good thing is the action, loading and shooting is basically the same all around. That helps with muscle memory too.

  19. Semper Paratus says:

    I loved the article – thank you. I am intimately familiar with both the Armalite and Garand platforms having carried the M16A1 in the Army and I am the owner of both a Mini 14 and a SA M1A standard now. About the only positive thing I can say about the AR platform is that it is accurate at distance. Beyond that, it is a failed platform, the evidence of which is that we are on the brink of a sea change transformation of the American military standard weapon from Armalite to the SCAR made by FNH. I believe within 10 years the only rifles left standing will be FNHs and M14 variants. The M16s and M4s will be gone. The great thing about the SCAR is that it can easily and quickly converted from carbine to long barreled assault weapon very quickly and easily in the field. Back to the Mini, though, the strength of the weapon is its Garand action, which by the way the SCAR borrows from in many respects. Thanks for the article!

  20. Ronald A. Lord says:

    You can get 30 round stainless steel mags for your Ruger Mini 14 Ranch Riffle from sportsmansguide.com

  21. I bought a mini-14 a year ago..like you said not a tack driver but decent accuracy, absolutely eats any ammo…not one single failure of any kind. Just agreat rifle and different from what everyone else owns.

  22. Nice comments for the current generation of Mini 14. I own a pre 84 Stainless GB and have put at least 2500 rounds through it. The only complaint is the B Square scope mount sucks. Good luck in Canada.

  23. I forgot the second point. If you have a desire to shoot 1000 yards , which most states have no space, consider .308 Fal, or HK 91, style semis.

  24. Once the Norinco T97 lands in greater numbers, I think the Mini-14 is going to have a tough time competing.

  25. lee in az says:

    One of the beefs for mini14s has always been the factory only parts. If the factory goes down, or the laws change, etc., you will have no major repairs, just aftermarket bubba gunsmithing.

    I bought a bunch of 20 round factory mags way back when and they have worked flawlessly. 20 rounders are about the right size and weight for a semi auto, especially if you are going to move to prone to shoot.

    For HD, 0 to 20 feet, the sights are bad for a quick shot, so i would pick some other carbine for HD, At 50 to 100 yards the peep sights would come into their own.

    The rings on the new model work fine. I have a scope on it now and am gearing it up for a 100-200 meters rifle, for which I have very little use at this time but one never knows what the future holds. I`m not too hung up on the accuracy debate because it shoots better than I do and bigger cartidges are better for longer distances. Even though the bullet is good out to 600 yards, you would be better off with a .243 or .308.

    I`m also not too hung up on the durability debate–with the cost of ammo and the fact that it doesnt serve well for HD it won`t be shot much, just a once a year checkup.. If it lasts 1000 rounds before it breaks or needs a factory only part, that is acceptable me. `If I wanted to run a lot of ammo thru a .223, I would get an AR. If I were in nasty street fighting, I would probably go for an SKS.

    Right now Ruger is blowing RKBR, but they have had some restrictions in the past so I trust them less than some other companies.