Mini 14 and AR15

This is a discussion on Mini 14 and AR15 within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; There have been many discussions centered around the Mini 14 vs the AR15 lately. The threads generally have focused on which is "better." Since I ...

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 31

Thread: Mini 14 and AR15

  1. #1
    VIP Member
    Array ctr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
    Posts
    2,273

    Thumbs up Mini 14 and AR15

    There have been many discussions centered around the Mini 14 vs the AR15 lately. The threads generally have focused on which is "better." Since I own both, I thought I would share my take which is better as a defensive rifle.

    The newer Mini 14 tactical, also known as the 581 series is the version I'm reviewing here. Retail in my neck of the woods is around $749.

    The AR is the S&W 15A. Retail is running around $1250.

    Both rifles are stock, I'm an out of the box kinda guy, I prefer not to tweak and customize. Give me simple any day of the week.

    The Mini 14 features a 16" barrel with a 1:9 twist rate, and integral flash suppressor. The 15A features a 16" barrel with 1:9 twist, and also has an integral flash suppressor. The overall length of the mini is 37.5 inches, the 15A is 32 - 35 inches in length. However, the mini feels like a larger, longer rifle.

    The mini weighs in at 6.75 lbs, the 15A is 6.5 lbs. Again, the Mini 14 feels much heavier and has a different balance to it. The 15A is feels lighter and more compact, easier to move around. The Mini14 feels more solid in the hands.

    Dissassembly/Assembly between both models is a pretty even, with a slight nod going to the AR, but not by much. Both models have one small part that is easily lost. The AR's small part is a cotter pin, the Mini 14's is a pin/spring unit used in the bolt lock assembly.

    Both rifles feature synthetic stocks. Both rifles are customizable, however, the 15A comes with a picatinny rail system. The 15A features an adjustable front post sight that is adjustable for elevation, attached to the barrel. This is a traditional A style sight. The Mini 14 features a fixed front blade sight, non adjustable. The 15A is shipped with a Troy industries folding rear battle sight. The Mini 14 features a proprietary peep sight, adjustable for windage and elevation.

    The 15A front sight is adjustable with a standard AR sight adjustment tool. The rear sight is windage adjustable with a dime, or small screw driver. There is no elevation adjustment for the rear sight. The Mini14 rear sight is adjustable for elevation and windage. Adjustment is made by loosening hex screws and spinning the peep up or down, then relocking the hex screws.

    Shooting the 15A was flawless, no misfeeds in 250 rounds of firing. The Mini 14 had 2 instances of the bolt locking open on magazines 1 and 2, the second round in each magazine. This did not happen again during the remaining 250 rounds fired. I chalk this up to rifle/magazine breakin. In terms of reliability, I'd say both performed well.

    Both rifles heat up fairly quickly with regular use. The handguards on the 15A do a better job of insulating. You definitely feel the heat from the Mini14, you know it is there, but you don't get burned or uncomfortable. Note there was no change observed in 3 shot strings between a cold barrel and a hot one, with either rifle.

    Much is made regarding accuracy, and the AR platform being more accurate than the Mini 14, and that is better. My take is it depends entirely on what you want to do with the rifle, and at what ranges. Mission specific selection here folks. The Mini14 does its best work at ranges less than 100 yards, but is fully capable of torso hits at ranges beyond in that. The 15A I would have to say has similiar limitations with its shorter barrel.

    I can't say which is the more accurate rifle because I did not bench test them. What I can say is that I shoot the Mini14 more accurately than I shoot the 15A. My groups with the 15A at 25 yards were around 4 - 5", and somewhat larger at 50 yards. I was able to constantly produce 2" groups with the Mini14 at 25 yards, and slightly larger groups at 50 yards.

    Both are great rifles. No question Ruger has made significant improvments to the 581 series rifle. The 15A is also a solid performer. I like everything about the Mini14 except maybe the magazines. I sure do like the Magpul AR magazines and wish they made something like that for the Mini.

    So, which rifle is better? Again, I'd have to say it is mission specific and depends on what a person wants to do with the rifle. For my purposes, the Mini14 is hands down the better rifle. I shoot well with it, better than the 15A platform, and it just feels better in my hands. The Mini14 fits better and I like the sight picture better. For home defense and SHTF events, I'd pick up the Mini14 without hesitation and be very happy in my choice. Less so with the 15A.

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    8,549
    Thanks for the info. Sounds like a good honest evaluation of the two. I am on the side of the mini for my uses also. I like the operating rod system of the mini over the internal gas system of the AR, just a personal thing. I am like you, keep things simple.

  4. #3
    VIP Member
    Array ctr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
    Posts
    2,273
    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Thanks for the info. Sounds like a good honest evaluation of the two. I am on the side of the mini for my uses also. I like the operating rod system of the mini over the internal gas system of the AR, just a personal thing. I am like you, keep things simple.
    I will say too, that the mini 14 had less fouling to cleanup than the AR. Not sure why it worked out that way.

  5. #4
    VIP Member
    Array OldVet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    S. Florida, north of the Miami mess, south of the Mouse trap
    Posts
    15,721
    I always wondered: if the army had adopted the Mini-14, would anyone even want an AR?
    Retired USAF E-8. Remember: You're being watched!
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

  6. #5
    Moderator
    Array gasmitty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    10,018
    Quote Originally Posted by ctr View Post
    I will say too, that the mini 14 had less fouling to cleanup than the AR. Not sure why it worked out that way.
    Likely because the AR is a direct impingement action, whereas the Mini-14 is gas-operated.

    You mentioned you were more accurate with the Mini-14. My question is, do you feel the fore-and-aft balance of the guns makes a difference? My guess is that the Mini-14 With its fixed stock balances close to the trigger guard, whereas the AR with a skinny, collapsible stock balances a lot further forward. Care to comment?
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

  7. #6
    VIP Member
    Array ctr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Shenandoah Valley in Virginia
    Posts
    2,273
    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Likely because the AR is a direct impingement action, whereas the Mini-14 is gas-operated.

    You mentioned you were more accurate with the Mini-14. My question is, do you feel the fore-and-aft balance of the guns makes a difference? My guess is that the Mini-14 With its fixed stock balances close to the trigger guard, whereas the AR with a skinny, collapsible stock balances a lot further forward. Care to comment?
    Hi gasmitty. The AR is definitely weighted forward, which may be part of the difference. I believe though the size of the aperture is probably a factor, as is the height of the sight above the bore on the AR platform. With the car stock I found it more challenging to get the cheek wield into place and still have alignment of the sights.

    The size of the pistol grip supplied on the 15A may also be a factor. I have small hands and I found the grip size to be very small. I think all of these factors work to determine the fit of the gun.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array 10thmtn's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    USA
    Posts
    5,832
    And...for the price of the AR, you can get the Mini AND a good pistol.

    Mini-14 mags do cost more than AR mags, but I'm not one of those folks who think they're going to need twenty mags to defend themselves...
    The more good folks carry guns, the fewer shots the crazies can get off.
    www.armedcitizensnetwork.org - member
    Glock 30, 19, 26; Ruger SP101, LCR, LCP (2), Mini 14; Remington 870; Marlin 336 .30-30
    CT Lasers

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array Texag's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    508
    Quote Originally Posted by OldVet View Post
    I always wondered: if the army had adopted the Mini-14, would anyone even want an AR?

    Yes they would, not many firearms are anywhere near as versatile as the AR platform.

  10. #9
    VIP Member
    Array OldVet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    S. Florida, north of the Miami mess, south of the Mouse trap
    Posts
    15,721
    Quote Originally Posted by Texag View Post
    Yes they would, not many firearms are anywhere near as versatile as the AR platform.
    But . . . if the army had adopted the Mini, would anyone even had heard of the AR, or would it have even made it past the trials. What makes the AR popular (thus available) is the fact that the military adopted it.
    Retired USAF E-8. Remember: You're being watched!
    Paranoia strikes deep, into your heart it will creep. It starts when you're always afraid... "For What It's Worth" Buffalo Springfield

  11. #10
    Moderator
    Array gasmitty's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Gilbert, AZ
    Posts
    10,018
    Quote Originally Posted by Texag View Post
    Yes they would, not many firearms are anywhere near as versatile as the AR platform.
    Or as durable, assuming the original "design data package" is adhered to. The Mini-14 is a fine gun, but its commercial configuration would likely not run 15-20K rounds with just basic lubrication and no cleaning, as many quality ARs do. The better ARs cost more for a reason.
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

  12. #11
    Member Array 120mm's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Afghanistan
    Posts
    448
    Plus the open action on the Mini-14 make it a non-starter for military purposes.

    When the M-14 and the M-16 have been reliability tested in lab conditions, the M-16 blows the M-14 out of the water. The Mini-14 has even less clearance for moving parts, so would probably fail worse, if subjected to the same tests.

    Somewhere there is a GAO study on M14 failure rates in Vietnam. Contrary to mythology, the M14 was an relatively unreliable battle rifle, and miniaturizing the action was never going to be a solution.

    Now, a miniaturized FN FAL action might've flown at the time, since the full-sized FAL was accepted and scheduled to be the Army's next rifle before political hacks forced the M14 on the US Army.

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array Sarge45's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    962
    Great write up and comparison on the Mini vs. AR. It's good to see an honest assessment of the Mini and not a bunch of "parroting" of heresay about how inaccurate they are.

    I own a NRA 16" Mini, a Colt 6920 and BCM M4. I love all three. My Mini ain't going anywhere.

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array wvshooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Charleston, WV
    Posts
    530

    mini 14 - ar15

    Thanks for the nice write up.

    I finally bought a mini 14 tactical after being interested for about a year. It's a 580 series and is my first rifle of any kind. OK, I did have a 30-30 lever action and a single shot 20 gauge as a kid but I havn't been a kid since 1960. I found the Mini used a Gander Mtn and was able to get it for $549 + tax. From it's condition I would guess it had 100 - 500 rounds downrange. Of course the first thing I did was get acquainted with the manual of arms and give it a good cleaning. Other than slight wear on bearing surfaces it's condition was excellent. Grabbed a couple hundred rounds of Federal at Walmart and headed for the boonies. I only put about twenty rounds through it but came away impressed.

    The 580 series tactical model has a 16 1/4" "heavy" barrel and sports a flash suppressor. The shorter heavier barrel is supposed to have corrected some of the problems with poor accuracy found in the older Minis. Not that I'm anticipating any attacks but the rifles' short length would make it a good choice for close quarters combat. I'm sure it would excel at home defense either inside or outside the house, especially if using rapidly expanding ammo. In the limited shooting I did the gun functioned perfectly. One downside was seeing the brass land about twelve feet away on ejection. Not a big deal unless someone is standing over there or you want to collect your brass.

    My first goal is to mount a nice scope and see how accurate it can be at 100 yards. I'll be working up my own .223 loads so I think 2" moa may be possible. It'll be interesting.
    "You have to answer for Santino, Carlo. You fingered Sonny for the Barzini people."

  15. #14
    Member Array puffer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    237


    Just my 2 cents.
    1. I am BIASED on the GARAND platform.
    A. Orig. issue = M-I ( 1960)
    B. Issue late 1960 = M-14 ( 101st ABN )
    C. Carried early 1961 ( " in country") but later "swapped" out for a FN Para ( NOT an AR platform) for "tac" reasons.

    NEVER had a "reliability" problem with any, nor the ones I now own.

    2. The Ruger "mini 14"
    A. Own an early model 1,00s +++++++ of rounds put through it & no "problems."
    1. Accuracy = Ok under 100 yd.s ( due to original "twist" )
    B. Equipped both my daughters with the Tactical Rifle recently. My brother just got one also. (just for "fun" & varmints)
    1. Accuracy in the "new ones"GREATLY improved.
    2. the only "drawback in them vs the ARs is "policing brass" The ARs "dump" the brass next to you, the "minis" TOSS it 10+ yd.s away

    BTW, my "mini" is used now only for fun & varmints, for the BGs = a SOCOM16

    Puffer

  16. #15
    BGE
    BGE is offline
    Member Array BGE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    ______
    Posts
    19
    My father has a Ruger mini-14 SS and its a real accurate. I like it, only thing ive ever heard happen to them is barrels over heating after several mags through it quickly, but rapid fire will do that to any gun. The built in scope ring mounts are nice. +1
    "AND YE SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH AND THE TRUTH SHALL MAKE YOU FREE"
    - JOHN VIII:XXXII

Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Similar Threads

  1. New S&W M&P AR15
    By Devil Doc in forum Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: February 19th, 2010, 08:49 AM
  2. AR15 style stock for Mini-14
    By jwalker497 in forum Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: October 25th, 2009, 07:50 PM
  3. M4 vs AR15
    By NavDoc in forum Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: May 26th, 2009, 04:36 PM
  4. Sig 556 -VS- AR15
    By dunndw in forum Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion
    Replies: 28
    Last Post: January 5th, 2008, 12:57 AM
  5. How do you guys feel about the Ruger Mini 30 and Mini 14?
    By Euclidean in forum Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion
    Replies: 38
    Last Post: December 11th, 2006, 10:31 PM

Search tags for this page

mini 14 580 vs 581

,

mini 14 failure rate

,
mini 14 internals
,

mini 14 tactical vs ar15

,
ruger 580 vs 581
,

ruger mini 14 580 vs 581

,
ruger mini 14 tactical vs ar 15
,

ruger mini 14 vs ar 15

,

what is better mini 14 or ar 15

,

which is better ar15 or mini 14

,

which is better mini 14 or ar 15

,

which is better mini 14 or ar15

Click on a term to search for related topics.