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KHickam 05-29-2012 02:03 PM

Accuracy aside - Is there any good reason
That the Mini 14 tactical rifle would not be a good home defense/self defense tactical carbine -

I just think that the Mini 14 would be more reliable in tough conditions - What do you think?

Things I want in a tactical carbine

Practical Accuracy can it hit a man sized target at 200m?- As a Persian Gulf vet and former LEO - I believe that I can function in stressful situations.

Is it reliable with all types of ammo - steel case, brass case - different bullet weights and configurations

Can it mount - scopes and other optics

Are parts/magazines readily available?

Quality construction? There is so many opinions on what you need in an AR format that it makes my head hurt

Please post your experiences based on these parameters - I am getting ready to get a rifle and I have narrowed it down to AR and Mini-14 - and although there are a pleothra of AR lovers - few people talk about the mini-14 as a tactical carbine


Olde TSgt

Rick1967 05-29-2012 02:25 PM

I see nothing wrong with the Mini for home defense. I considered one myself. I went the AR route because I wanted the option of adding different uppers later to shoot other calibers. I also like the platform from my Army days. But if you want a Mini 14, I would not be afraid to buy one. They have lots of aftermarket stuff for them. Mags are certainly plentiful.

hawkguy 05-29-2012 02:33 PM

this is an interesting video based on the mini 14's ability in regards to tactical shooting.

shooting an inch tighter off a bench probably isn't much of an advantage in most practical shooting in other areas. mini 14 seemed to perform pretty well in this video against an AK and AR.

and as far as mini accuracy goes, my mini and my AR shoot very closely so far at 50 with irons.

steve4102 05-29-2012 10:03 PM


Practical Accuracy can it hit a man sized target at 200m?
Yes. No problem.


Is it reliable with all types of ammo - steel case, brass case - different bullet weights and configurations
Most steel cased ammo is Berdan primed. Berdan primed ammo is a big problem for the Mini-30 as it breaks firing pins and is responsible for a lot of FTF. Not sure if the 14 suffers from the same issue as the 30.


Are parts/magazines readily available?
Yes and no. Some parts like Mags are available in factory or after market, but some parts like firing pins and bolts are not. Ruger will not sell firing pins or bolts to the general public or to Gunsmiths. For these parts the rifle needs a trip back to Ruger.


Quality construction?
Quality is hit and miss with the Ruger Mini. There are thousands of Mini owners that have zero issues and their rifles are Good to Go right out of the box. That said, there are many Mini owners that have nothing but problems and there new rifles have to be sent back to Ruger for repair after repair after repair. No different than many other companies, but IMO Ruger has zero quality control and uses it's customers to weed out the bad products instead of taking the time and money to perform this important task before the rifle hits the dealer rack.

tri70 05-29-2012 11:59 PM

I love the mini platform, shoots well out to 200m, I hand load ammo and will shoot all bullet weights 40-69 gr. I have not broken a firing pin and have owned a mini for over 20 yrs, shot thousands of rounds. I like the solid steel receiver, no quality issues to note. My minis will shoot factory mags and Promag aftermarket 20's.

TLuker 05-30-2012 01:42 AM

I think the mini is a great platform and I love mine. It eats whatever you feed it and it just keeps going and going. Finding the right round will improve accuracy, but it spits out all of them with a reasonable degree of accuracy. It might not be the most tacticool gun out there but it gets the job done. :)

KHickam 05-30-2012 12:42 PM

Not - looking for tacticool - seems you pay a premium for that - Just a gun that fires without fail and can hit man-sized targets to 200m because based on my knowledge and experience very few engagements will be much beyond 50 m.

GunDoc 05-30-2012 02:16 PM

The tactical model suffers the same common Mini issues - poor trigger, sloppy stock fit, poor to good reliability with steel cased ammo. It can certainly hit man sized targets to 200 meters from the box, but a little work to the rifle will increase accuracy. A trigger job and stock bedding will do wonders. The iron sights can be a little crude, and I haven't found any mount/sight that will allow for co-witnessing, so you're really down to irons or optic. Steel cased ammo is an issue. A heavier hammer spring usually fixes this but ups the risk of firing pin breakage. I'd only shoot it if I had to and knew my rifle would run it reliably. As a vet and former LEO (thank you) you may find the length of pull a little long for your liking, but aftermarket stocks and shortening the stock are options. And if you're a mag well gripper doing so on the Mini is detrimental to feeding in most cases. Speaking of magazines, now that factory mags are affordable and plentiful I wouldn't use anything but factory mags if reliability is a priority.

None of this is meant as a deterrent, I do a lot of Minis and they can be utterly reliable and accurate. With the above in mind go get your Mini and go shooting.

scottybaccus 05-31-2012 05:00 AM

I think these TNP videos go more directly to your question....

Shoobee 05-31-2012 06:43 AM

I like the open bolt design of the Ruger, which is based on the M-14 and the M-1, rather than the covered bolt design of the AR's and the AK's which comes from the 1940s sturmgewehr.

I enjoyed my Mini-14 until I graduated to bolt action scoped rifles, at which point I sold the mini.

I never put a scope on the mini, so I don't have a sense of how accurate is really was.

But my moa was about 1 1/2 which is not bad for iron sights. It could have been my eyes, and it could have been the rifle.

With my scoped bolt actions I am used to less than 1 moa now.

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