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Considering adding a Mini 14. What sholud I know? Login/Join 
Green grass and
high tides
Picture of old rugged cross
posted
I am a fan of Ruger Bolt actions. Thinking of adding a Mini 14 to the mix.
I have read a bit on them. But honestly do not know a lot. I mean I know the rifle and round Wink But do not know a ton about them. Historically the early ones supposedly has some accuracy issues. Although I do not know how wide spread that was?
I open to wood or syn. I would say wood is a slight preference. Blue or stainless is fine.
What will I need to budget for a good used unit?

Thanks guy.



"Practice like you want to play in the game"
 
Posts: 17405 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
Picture of kkina
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The earlier Minis with the thin barrel almost universally had problems with accuracy (though I understand there's a fix for that). The later ones with the thicker, tapered barrels are usually acceptably accurate out of the box.

Now's not a great time to buying a Mini, though you could probably say that for any firearm with all the gun-buying panic we've had the past couple years. The average Minimum Bid price for a used one on GunBroker right now is about $1100, quite a bit more expensive that a brand new one a few years ago.



ACCU-STRUT FOR MINI-14
"First, Eyes."
 
Posts: 14833 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Green grass and
high tides
Picture of old rugged cross
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From my quick research on gb $8-900 new seems doable. Used $600< but am not sure about various models.



"Practice like you want to play in the game"
 
Posts: 17405 | Registered: September 21, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Lost
Picture of kkina
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There's not really that many different variatons when you get down to it. The basic Mini-14, the Ranch Rifle version (basically for accomodating a scope). The GB model featured a bid-barrel bayonet lug. There are also some short-barrel tactical versions, a couple commemorative models, and a Target model featuring a heavy barrel with a harmonic tuner.

I'd probably avoid the original 180-series, as Ruger no longer supports them and replacement parts would be a problem.



ACCU-STRUT FOR MINI-14
"First, Eyes."
 
Posts: 14833 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
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A local shop has a couple of new ones for $1099 right now. I think the cheapest I've seen a used one for locally is $800 in the past year. They're incredibly expensive right now. I got mine used for $500 about 5 years ago.

I have an older Ranch rifle. I can get about 4 MOA out of it with the factory iron sights...but one must also consider that I'm a factor in that as well. I can do a little better than that with a Garand, but the sights are better and there's a longer sight-radius to help with that. I've never scoped my mini, so I really can't speak to it's true potential.

It's reliable as heck...I can only remember one malfunction in that gun, and it was because a case neck of a piece of reloaded brass separated in the chamber and prevented the next round from chambering. And speaking of brass, it will throw it like 50 feet away. They're a bit overgassed, but that likely contributes to the reliability.

I love two things about the mini...one is practical, the other nostalgic. The lightweight handiness is almost unmatched by anything else out there. I love lever-actions for the same reason, and this thing doesn't even require you to work the lever. I prefer the balance and traditional grip to an AR, and the lower sight-to-bore offset is nice for close-up work, which is really what this gun is intended for.

From a nostalgic perspective, well...who doesn't love a baby Garand/M14 that shoots cheaper ammo with less recoil?

I have 3 complaints....accuracy, price, and the stupid rock-to-lock magazine. I believe Ruger has pretty well solved the first issue with the newer guns with heavier barrel profiles. I'm not sure what's driving the price, but IMO it's inflated...the two at the LGS for $1099 have been sitting there for over a year. I doubt Ruger has any plans to do anything about the magazine, but while it would probably piss off some of the M14 people, but I think re-designing the gun to use AR mags would result in a boost in sales for the platform.
 
Posts: 6008 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of whododat
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I had an older one.
1) Not very accurate.
2) One of the most reliable weapons I have ever shot. That rifle would never let me down, never.
3) Use Ruger factory magazines only.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: whododat,


Escape is not always the safest path.
 
Posts: 1782 | Location: Escaped to TN | Registered: October 29, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Stick to the 580 series and Ruger magazines. Other than that, great rifles.


Ignem Feram
 
Posts: 475 | Registered: October 03, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have a Ranch I bought about three years ago and really like it. No scope, no plan to put a scope on it. It was a bit hard to find but it was not crazy expensive then.

One thing to tell you. After cleaning the bolt can be a bitch and a half to get back in. It has to go in at a very precise angle and then a very precise twist to seat. But there is a trick you can find on you tube videos involving placing your index finger underneath to guide the notch into place. Watch the videos you will see what I mean. Even the Ruger Tech Tip video for reassembly does this if you look closely but does not mention it. Don't do what I did and spend two hours trying to get it back in before watching the video....
 
Posts: 358 | Location: The Sun & Fun Capital of the World | Registered: May 03, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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quote:
Originally posted by 92fstech:
I love two things about the mini...one is practical, the other nostalgic. The lightweight handiness is almost unmatched by anything else out there.

I prefer the balance and traditional grip to an AR

From a nostalgic perspective, well...who doesn't love a baby Garand/M14 that shoots cheaper ammo with less recoil?


That pretty much mirrors my thoughts on the Mini-14's positives. Light, handy, fun little carbine with a traditional stock that makes for a great plinker and further scratches my Garand/Carbine/M14 itch.



However, I wouldn't pay today's prices for one. And it wouldn't be my first choice for a duty/defensive rifle. (Although I could make it work if I needed to, the AR platform beats it in a number of ways for those purposes.)

It falls into a similar camp as the SKS or M1 Carbine for me... Fun range toy, and worth what I paid for it back in the day, but not really worth the current prices.

Besides the cost of the rifle itself, factory magazines are themselves fairly pricey at ~$30-$40 a pop, especially when compared to AR mags. (And aftermarket Mini-14 mags are notoriously unreliable, so don't try going cheap there.)


Mine's the 2006 NRA Commemorative Edition, which besides the Hogue stock with cheesy NRA medallion in the grip basically just means that it has a 16" barrel with no muzzle device, as opposed to the more typical configuration of an 18.5" barrel, or 16" plus flash hider, of the standard Minis. This shorter barrel length adds to the handiness, as it's now practically the same size and similar weight to a M1 Carbine.

I bought mine used back in 2013ish, and have like $400-$500 in the rifle itself. (I paid more than that in total, but it came with a case of ammo and a half dozen factory mags.)

I've upgraded it with a Tech Sights rear iron sight, which is a nice improvement over the stock rear peep. I also added an Ultimak rail and forward mounted mini red dot. And I bought a spare wood stock to swap out the factory Hogue NRA stock, because it just seemed more fitting for it.

Mine's one of the newer 580 series, so it has the heavier tapered profile barrel and better accuracy than the earlier 180 series with their thin pencil barrel. I haven't scoped it or really tried to wring it out for accuracy, but it's easily minute of bad guy out to 100 yards (the furthest I've shot it), and I've had no problems plinking soda cans and softball-sized reactive targets offhand at 50-75 yards.

According to the Mini-14 accuracy testing by member kkina, the older thinner-barreled Minis trend towards ~4 MOA (~4" groups at 100 yards) and the newer thicker-barreled Minis are ~2 MOA (~2" groups at 100 yards).

This message has been edited. Last edited by: RogueJSK,
 
Posts: 29244 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Prepared for the Worst, Providing the Best
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quote:
One thing to tell you. After cleaning the bolt can be a bitch and a half to get back in. It has to go in at a very precise angle and then a very precise twist to seat. But there is a trick you can find on you tube videos involving placing your index finger underneath to guide the notch into place. Watch the videos you will see what I mean. Even the Ruger Tech Tip video for reassembly does this if you look closely but does not mention it. Don't do what I did and spend two hours trying to get it back in before watching the video....



Lol, this is definitely true. I thought I'd broken it the first time I tried to put the bolt back in...I figured something had to be broken because there was no way that thing was going back in there. Once you get the hang of it, though, it's really not too bad. It's still tricky enough, though, that I get a sense of accomplishment when it pops in Big Grin.

Rogue, I was hoping you'd chime in on this one, and post that picture. You have a beautiful collection, sir! I like the short-barreled mini with the Ultimak...kind of a scout-squad-like configuration. Mine has a wood handguard which I like the look and feel of, so it's probably going to stay like that, but I don't have an M1A yet, and I've been jonesing for a Scout Squad for years. It's a lot of money for a rifle that I don't really need, but the heart want what the heart wants!
 
Posts: 6008 | Location: In the Cornfields | Registered: May 25, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have owned several over the years and now have a 583 serial model. With ammo it likes and me working hard, it will do 1.5 MOA with a scope at 100. I have never had one, regardless of model, ever fail to work if you use Ruger mags. Every one I had refused to work at all with non Ruger mags. If you are a reloader, prepare to hunt for your brass, it ejects brass into the next zip code. Some people dislike the fact that you have to rock (like an AK) the mags into position but I find its a non issue for me. One of our members here
has a high quality barrel stabilizer system and he will probably check in later.


End of Earth: 2 Miles
Upper Peninsula: 4 Miles
 
Posts: 13837 | Location: Marquette MI | Registered: July 08, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of MG34_Dan
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quote:
Originally posted by kkina:
There's not really that many different variations when you get down to it. The basic Mini-14, the Ranch Rifle version (basically for accommodating a scope). The GB model featured a bid-barrel bayonet lug. There are also some short-barrel tactical versions, a couple commemorative models, and a Target model featuring a heavy barrel with a harmonic tuner.

I'd probably avoid the original 180-series, as Ruger no longer supports them and replacement parts would be a problem.


Get a GB folder or a short AC folder:


“Elections have consequences, and at the end of the day, I won.”
– Barack Hussein Obama, January 23, 2009
 
Posts: 2113 | Location: Austin Texas USA | Registered: February 03, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have had several, and they are what they are - light, handy carbines for shorter ranges. I carried one as a patrol rifle before ARs were as common as they are. I regret trading that had with an original stainless folder. I still own one, but it doesn't get a lot of use in this day of AR pistols.

They make fine little truck/utility rifles, though at the current cost it's just as easy to go with a mid level AR.
 
Posts: 460 | Registered: June 11, 2018Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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You've got to decide what you want to do with it to know which model. I prefer the old GB folders, because, Bill Ruger told us civvies they were too dangerous for us to own.

 
Posts: 2688 | Registered: December 21, 2014Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of vthoky
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quote:
Originally posted by PGT:
Bill Ruger told us


Ol' Bill didn't really do us any favors there, did he?

That's a nice collection you've got there, PGT!




God bless America.
 
Posts: 12019 | Location: Hokie Nation! | Registered: July 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Hop head
Picture of lyman
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my 180 series was my first rifle,
given to me back in the late 70's


not very accurate, compared to an AR or bolt gun, but minute of human at most distances (kinda,, keep it under a 100)



https://www.chesterfieldarmament.com/

 
Posts: 9658 | Location: Beach VA,not VA Beach | Registered: July 17, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Fighting the good fight
Picture of RogueJSK
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quote:
Originally posted by vthoky:
Ol' Bill didn't really do us any favors there, did he?


Ol' Bill Ruger didn't do us any favors in a number of different ways. He was pro-gun-control in his later years, which is ironic for one of the more prolific gun designers/manufacturers.

"No honest man needs more than 10 rounds in any gun. I never meant for simple civilians to have my 20- or 30-round mags or my folding stock.”
-Bill Ruger, 1992

Luckily, Sturm, Ruger & Co. has done a good job of moving past his misguided policies in the two decades since his retirement and death.
 
Posts: 29244 | Location: Northwest Arkansas | Registered: January 06, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Basics to know. It’s harder to mount a light and red dot, they aren’t as accurate as an AR but good enough and use factory mags.

They are fun and handy little guns.


-----------------------------------------

Roll Tide!

Glock Certified Armorer
NRA Certified Firearms Instructor
 
Posts: 7641 | Location: Hoover, AL | Registered: November 06, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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20 years ago, one of the major reasons people bought a Mini-14 was that is was a lower cost alternative to the AR15, so paying a premium over an AR just seems wrong to me. I understand getting a Mini-14 for the nostalgia, but they should be less expensive than a decent entry level AR15.
 
Posts: 94 | Registered: September 12, 2021Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Bought my ranch rifle in 1991 for 352.00. Leupold golden ring 3-9
Fun to shoot and yes, anyone to the right of you watch out for hot brass!
Need to get with KKINA to see which Accustrut I need.
 
Posts: 601 | Location: Mason, Ohio | Registered: September 16, 2015Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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