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Thread: The Mini-14, a great gun, but...

  1. #1
    Gunco Regular dario541's Avatar
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    Default The Mini-14, a great gun, but...

    One of my all-favorite rifles is the Ruger Mini-14. I have liked this gun ever since the first time I heard of it, even before Ruger released it for sale to the public in 1976. It has its detractors, but, I believe that the good outweighs the bad.


    During the 60s, Ruger decided to make a semi-auto military style rifle based on the M1/M14 action. He thought (correctly, I feel) that the many returning GIs would like to own a rifle similar to the then standard issue M14. He even named it the “XGI” to show his intent. But, somehow he was unable to make it work in .308 and he shelved the project.
    About that time, the US Army started to transition to the M16/AR15 family of rifles. One big difference about these guns was that they were chambered for the .223 Remington/5.56X45. Ruger then decided to offer his new rifle in that caliber. To show its resemblance to the M14 he called it the “Mini-14.” But, he made it for several years before he introduced it to the public.
    At that time, there were no ARs, AK47s, SKS’s. or any other of the small caliber military type guns available. So, the Mini-14 won the popularity contest by default.
    I was buying all of the survival publications (such as American Survival Guide, Survive, and a couple of others) in those days. I read them from cover to cover. Many articles featured the Mini-14. It was extremely popular with survivalists. If Ruger had of used their heads, they could have built that gun into the number one survival gun in the country. After all, it had a big head start! But, for some reason Ruger totally missed the boat on that one!
    There are some who feel that the Mini is only a light duty gun. However, I have read a number of reports from people who claim that they have fired thousands of rounds through their Minis with NO malfunction! I believe that it is possible. Being based on the old M1 Garand can’t be all bad!
    But, as a former mechanic, I know that any machine or other man made product can break and need to be repaired. Therein lies my main complaint about the Mini. For some reason, Ruger does not seem to want to sell some spare parts for it. I have heard too many reports of Minis breaking their firing pins to not believe it. Any part can break. But Ruger will resist efforts to sell some replacement parts. If you can persuade them to sell you a firing pin, you will have to send the entire gun back to them. You will have to pay for shipping 2 ways, the parts, and the labor to fit them. Try doing that if TSHTF! I don’t know of any reason that you could not send only the bolt from the gun. They could use the old firing pin to fit replacements. That would be a lot less expensive than sending the entire rifle. But, Ruger does not seem to be interested in doing this. Midway sells a replacement firing pin made by a company named Glend. I don’t know how good it is, but, I think I will buy a couple and have a local gunsmith fit them. Then, I will do all my practicing with replacement parts and save my factory part for a possible TSHTF need.
    I, personally, like the Mini. I like its looks, the way it handles, its dependability, and, the fact that the Mini does not frighten anti-gunners the way that the AK and AR do. It doesn’t look like an evil “assault rifle” and is more acceptable to some people.
    Some people complain about the accuracy of this gun. Well, I admit that it won’t shoot every bullet through the eye of a gnat at 200 yards, but, it will hit minute of potbelly. Ruger does make a target version for more money, but, the regular gun is fine for its intended purpose, being on target at 200 to 300 yards. You don’t really need any more than that.
    If I had the money back that I spent on my Mini, I might consider buying an AR. Because of the number of companies that now manufacture the AR, the price has come down a long ways the last few years. But, I have what I have and I think I will still be OK.

  2. #2
    Gunco Good ole boy kernelkrink's Avatar
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    Colt released a semi auto copy of the M16 as the AR15 in 1963. Predates the Mini by a few years. Browning imported the first FAL rifles from Belgium in 1959. Numerous other makers started selling semi auto copies of their military rifles throughout the 60s and 70s.

    Ruger "won the popularity contest" because they could be bought at K-Mart and every other gun seller as an affordable production item. They also appealed to the "traditionalists" who thought these newfangled "plastic rifles by Mattell" were junk. They won "fair and square" back then, not by default!

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    Gunco Addicted for life j427x's Avatar
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    and they were NIB for $168 list price--far far less than any colt ar-15 in those days. add to that there was not many ar-15 clones around other that some horrible looking cast ones for $600


    i have had 4 minis over the years. 180,181, 182s two in stainless and two blued--the old 180 blued steel was the best one. i think the first one i got i was a teenager it set me back a whole $180 in 1978 -

    -i think the most expensive one i bought was a stainless 182 or 183 for around $360 sometime in the middle to late 80s it was a POS--too some time after that i got a couple bushmasters a ar and a m-17 bullpup.

    now if you could buy a mini parts kit and then i could cherry pick the parts /BIY then maybe.

    it would damn sure help if they made a m-4 barrel version that took ar-15 mags.

    --these days i'll stick to the ar-15 and AKs--

    i could be tempted to try a really old blued one maybe--

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    Citizen, Patriot, Ranger bellson's Avatar
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    I have always like the Mini-14. I have owned quite a number of them over the years. I always sold them based on one stupid issue: Magazines.

    Back in the '80s, you could get good mags. Or at least you could get mags that were serviceable and functional. I always replaced the springs with AR units, and that helped quite a bit.

    The other issues were the pencil barrel, when hot would affect accuracy in a terrible way, with up to 3 moa variance from stone cold. Not good, but no worse than the AR rifles with a similar profile barrel.

    I did have one Mini-14 re-barrelled with a "middle weight" profile, and a modified operating rod. WHAT A DIFFERENCE! A somewhat adjustable gas system was installed as well, and while I never really took advantage of it, I did notice that recoil was much more manageable and that the empty brass was no longer being thrown 20+ feet away.

    The Mini-14 is a sad story of mediocre craftsmanship, cut corners, shitty mags, and a Company that just did not seem to care. The lack of spares is just the last nail in that coffin. This is why the Mini-14 has been labeled a "lite-Duty" rifle.

    It is just sad.
    Imagine whirled peas

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    Bellson

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    Always sore, always tired Bradrock's Avatar
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    Hey.....If it's good enough for the A-Team...............
    " Save a tree...........Eat A Beaver!"

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    Gunco Member wpage's Avatar
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    The mini 14 is a fun rifle, however it is not a platform like the ar. Mini 14's are cool but not option rich like ar's
    God so loved the world He gave his only Son...
    ...Believe in Him and have everlasting life.
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    Gunco Regular dario541's Avatar
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    Thanks for your comments. I appreciate all of them.
    I, too, like the Mini-14. Back during the 70s and 80s I read a lot of gun and survival magazines. The Mini was very popular with the various writers. And, I determined that I wanted one. So, years ago I purchased one of the (now) older models-the "pencil barrel" type. I still have it. It has always worked. I enjoy carrying and using it. It seems to be sufficiently accurate for a "duffer' like me. Under today's conditions, it's a keeper. It goes "BANG" every time I pull the trigger, so it will suffice for my needs.
    A couple of years ago I decided to buy one of the newer types (580, I think). It has a tapered barrel and is supposedly more accurate that the older model. I haven't had the opportunity to take it to the woods and test it yet. But, I hope to do so soon.
    In the current Shotgun News there is an ad for a new type of Gas Block for the Mini. It is adjustable. You can change the gas system to make the gun function to your specifications-anything from "mild to wild!" One you replace your old block with this one, you can easily adjust it as you shoot. There is no need to dismantle the gun. I like the looks of this product and am considering it. It does cost $119.11. But, if it functions as they say, it will be worth it to me.
    Another thing I am going to do is to order 2 Glendt replacement firing pins from Midway. These pins will have to be fitted to my guns, but, as an old former auto mechanic, I think I can do it. If not, there are several good gunsmiths in this area. Midway also sells various replacement springs and other small parts (extractors, etc) and I think I will make a small parts kit for my Minis. At that point, I will make it or break it with my Minis. I think it may be too late to try to accumulate M4s and their spare parts.
    I might add that I also have an AK47 and a couple SKSs.
    And, for all of the above I do have a good supply of ammo.

    [url=http://www.accuracysystemsinc.com

    [url=http://www.midwayusa.com

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    Gunco Addicted for life j427x's Avatar
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    +1 on what bellson said.

    the mini could have been a very good firearm. ruger just cut way too many corners.

    had some body who had a lot of experience with the grand rifles made the mini, some one who did cut not so many corners in production,--i figure it would have been great.

    add into that no parts , and sucky mags-- another wet dream shot to hell.

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    Chief Administrator 7.62x39's Avatar
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    I'm with you guys. Fun gun to shoot and I really like it, but if it was really crunch time, I would probably go for one of my ARs. That said, if it was all I had available, I would not feel under gunned.
    .

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    Chief Administrator 7.62x39's Avatar
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    This is a great video on how to tune up your mini's trigger. It really is a great improvement.
    Ruger Mini14 Trigger Job by Great West Gunsmithing
    .

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