I've decided to make my Mini 14 the primary home defense long gun. The main reason is the fact that my wife has never used my pump shotgun, and shows no interest in learning. With lower recoil and a simpler manual of arms, I figure it will be easier for her to use the Mini 14 in the event I am not around.
I've also had extraction issues from time to time with the 26" barrel on my Rem 870, which I use for trap shooting. This has been with cheap Wal Mart target loads from both Winchester and Federal. I might try my 20" defensive barrel just for the sake of it, but it does make me wonder. This seems to be a fairly common issue with Rem 870 Express models and cheap target loads. I might polish the chamber...or use better ammo. ($)
I currently have a 3-9 X variable scope mounted on my Mini 14, and leave it set to 3 X for close-in work. I'm thinking of removing it and going back to the iron sights. I would just need to center the rear sight (it's zeroed for me, at 100 yards...not for my wife) - which should make no difference at close range.
I've not played with red dots much - if anyone knows of one that will mount with a Mini 14 Ranch Rifle's included (1") scope rings, please let me know. I really do not want to mod the rifle, though. I'd rather stick with irons than muck it up.