I posted this in the mini forum also, but want to make sure I get input from both sides, the mini lovers and the die hard AR fanatics. I'm looking to pick up a good tactical rifle. I'm mainly a handgun guy and have only owned one AR in the past, a Bushmaster, and never cared for it. There are so many ARs out there now that are cheap junk. I don't have the budget to go for a better Colt or F/N AR so I'm looking at the mini 14 Tactical versus maybe the Smith M&P AR or other AR in that $500-$650 range. My question to both mini and AR fans is this.... For TRUE reliability which would I be better off with a high mid range AR like the M&P or the mini 14 Tactical? I want a gun I can trust to fire every time; be it sitting in the safe, cleaned and oiled or 2 weeks into a back country hike and run into Mr. mountain lion. As far as familiarity I have years of experience with the AR platform. I carried a GUU-5/P during most of my career in the Air Force even if everyone called it a GAU-5/A, and also used M16A2, M16A3 and M4 at one time or another.