AR-15 VS New Ruger Mini 14

This is a discussion on AR-15 VS New Ruger Mini 14 within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I had one of the first run Stainless Mini 14s and it was an OK rifle. It was very compact and it was very well ...

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Thread: AR-15 VS New Ruger Mini 14

  1. #31
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    I had one of the first run Stainless Mini 14s and it was an OK rifle.

    It was very compact and it was very well made.

    I had to play around with a few different ammo brands in order maximize the accuracy a bit.

    It was extremely reliable though. It always went bang and cycled.

    Mine was not a supreme tack~driver but, the accuracy was quite acceptable for what I wanted the rifle for.

    I added a Choate synthetic stock to mine and I'd say it was as close to a totally all weather impervious rifle as I could find at the time.
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  3. #32
    Senior Member Array Smith&Wessonfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    You'll not see many ARs covered with grime & dust behind the seat in the cab of a big farm tractor, but you'll see plenty of Mini 14s there.
    You'll see plenty of sandy, grimy, rode hard and put away wet M16s riding in trucks all over the Middle East.

  4. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    You never see an AR openly exposed to the weather tied-on to the rear seat of an Alaskan snowmobile, you'll regularly see a Stainless Mini in that spot. You'll not see many ARs covered with grime & dust behind the seat in the cab of a big farm tractor, but you'll see plenty of Mini 14s there.
    Not to jump on the Mini bashing too hard, but I'd bet the reason you don't see many ARs in these places has a lot more to do with price and a lot less to do with durability. If I had a Mini and an AR and was going snowmobiling, I'd take the Mini. If I was shooting to save my life, I'd have the AR.

    I've seen AR style rifles take more abuse in a month then any ranch rifle will see in a dozen lifetimes, and still keep on ticking. Soaked for weeks at a time, caked in every imaginable type of mud, exposed to utter extremes of heat and cold (sometimes on the same day), dropped down mountains, used as hammers and pry levers, fired thousands of times in a few days...and lets not forget carried by men as they jump from airplanes, swim through rivers, fast rope out of helicopters, bash their way through jungles and forests...men who abuse their equipment like nobody else in the world.

    The Mini is fine for what it is, in it's price range. But it is inferior in just about every way to the AR.
    Last edited by OPFOR; June 28th, 2007 at 08:35 AM.
    A man fires a rifle for many years, and he goes to war. And afterward he turns the rifle in at the armory, and he believes he's finished with the rifle. But no matter what else he might do with his hands - love a woman, build a house, change his son's diaper - his hands remember the rifle.

  5. #34
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
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    Yep, y'all are right. I didn't say the AR was a tinkertoy. But I did mean a Mini will generally withstand complete & total neglect better than an AR. I've never met a combat soldier who casually neglected his rifle as SOP. That's COMMON for a Mini.

    And yep, the price difference is a big decision-point when making the choice as to WHICH rifle to neglect & expose. But with the Mini prices going UP (~$680 for a new 580 Series Stainless) and AR prices going down (~$800 for a mid-grade M4) it's getting harder to pick the Mini under ANY circumstances.
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

  6. #35
    Senior Member Array palmgopher's Avatar
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    ill have to agree as the prices go down on quality m4's you will see fewer and fewer mini-14's being sold.

  7. #36
    BAC
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    Pat Rogers at Gunsite says he's never seen a Mini make it through a demanding 4-5 day carbine course. Other former soldiers have commented that foreign military units have tried to use the Mini as their standard battle rifle because of its low initial cost, but generally end up replacing them with an AR due to the overall benefits of the AR system over the Mini.

    As a home-defense weapon, I like my handgun and my shotgun. I would not, for many reasons, choose a rifle, namely because most rifle calibers will damage your ears very easily indoors with no hearing protection, which is very possible in a home-defense situation. Anyone else who's had the pleasure of experiencing .223-sized pops without hearing protection will attest to the headache they can cause in real short order. But for shotguns... well, people go duck hunting without hearing protection all, and though it's unpleasant I've shot handguns without said protection through various calibers.

    But, if you had to choose a rifle, don't compromise. Is your family's life, or even just your life, worth getting anything less than the best available tool? Decent AR's start at around $700, especially if you have an FFL of any kind and can find the good deals. Get the battle rifle, not the plinker.


    -B

  8. #37
    Senior Member Array Smith&Wessonfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BAC View Post
    But, if you had to choose a rifle, don't compromise. Get the battle rifle, not the plinker.
    And there's the bottom line.

  9. #38
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    I prefer my Mini-14 Ranch Rifle to my M-4 when it comes to range shooting or plinking. Within 300 yards my Mini is just as accurate as my M-4.

    I can say that because I have both. If I did not and had to choose, I'd choose the M-4 because it is a more well-rounded carbine that can be applied to any situation (i.e. combat, target shooting).

  10. #39
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    To correct soemthing I put on here earlier, according to the Ruger owners manual, it is designed to fire 5.56 miltary ammo, not just .223. Even though the receiver is marked .223.

    Sorry for the misshap, I'll try to do better next time.
    When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.

  11. #40
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    Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes.....IT'S ALIVE!!!! ALIVE!!!!

    The thread revival bandit has struck! LOL!

    I actually regret selling my Mini 14. Yes, all it's short-comings have already been laid out in this post. It isn't as accurate. It isn't as customizable. It isn't as sexy. I have a AR15....I've used an M4 as an Infantryman for the past 13 years....I'm very good with that platform. BUT.....I want another Mini 14. It isn't for everyone. If you want a simple rifle that is reliable right out of the box, no nonsense, same 5.56 caliber as an AR15, get one. Don't plan on any sniper shots, but it will hit a man-sized target out to about 200-300 meters....maybe not exactly where you are aiming but you WILL hit him somewhere! LOL Bottom line...it isn't a battle rifle. It's a RANCH RIFLE that is capable of being used in a defensive role. Use it accordingly.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." - Groucho Marx

  12. #41
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    Red face another take on mini 14 versus AR-125

    Not military, ex-Arizona PD so I have a bit of training background.
    I currently have 4 AR-15 chassis (an original AR-15, a shorty, a heavy barrel and a custom built target model). I also have a Ruger Mini 14 ranch rifle (scoped) and an AC556 which I purchased from the Yuma PD years ago (AC556 is the select fire version of a mini 14 if you don't know). I sold a pair of older mini-14's when I picked up the ranch rifle.
    Item of note I have found the Mini is chambered for the .223 and does not like the 5.56 rounds. I reload a lot and separate the 5.56 and .223 brass. I did however try some of the 5.56 military I had bought in the mini and they do not shoot well. Stay with the .223 ammo for best reliability.

    The AR-15 I find to be more accurate and will eat just about any ammo so from that standpoint the AR would win. The cost of the AR versus a good Mini might be a tipping point as the cost for a Mini is currently a lot less.

    Mag's cost a lot more for a mini, I have a bunch of USA brand mags and a coupe of the "real" and rare 30 round Ruger mags. I use mostly the 30 round USA brand but only load about 20-22 rounds in a mag. No problems and the feeding is good. Mag insertion is an area of concern, you have to be a bit more thoughtful when changing mags as the rocking motion necessary takes a bit of practice (another reason to short load as cycling when done works better). Trigger as supplied is usually not as good as an AR (seen lots of crappy AR triggers though) and you can't fix the trigger on the Mini.

    Reliability has never been an issue with either firearm. I've run 700 plus round through both my mini's in an afternoon with no problems and have not even cleaned the weapon until after range time was complete. I use 748 which is a clean burning ball powder which does not leave much residue behind (use the same loads in the AR's). I've run a few hundred rounds of the wolf steel cased stuff through as well, smells bad and lot harder to clean at the end of the day.... I don't use the steel cased stuff in the AR's just cause I don't like the thought of steel cases rubbing on a nice polished chamber. It's just me: these are combat rifles and they should function in any type of environment and weather. The target AR I build from pieces and it will never see much dirt or steel ammo.

    Accuracy: this is where the AR shines, even my old Colt mfg. AR will group under an inch off the bench with open sights at 100 yards. The target rifle will place 10 rounds in under 3//8" at 100 yards off the bench with good ammo. None of my Mini's will group that well no matter what I try. The ranch rifle will group at about 2.5 inches all day with good ammo, it opens up as the rifle heat up. The design of the firearm and location of the gas port DO NOT make this a target rifle. The action is also a bit loose and long in comparison so I suspect you will never come close in accuracy to an AR.

    If 3" at a hundred yards is a problem then go with an AR. Personally if I can hit center of mass at that distance within 3" then you're going to need help and I will probably just shoot you again for good measure.

    I use either 55 or 52 grain bullets in all the AR and Mini platforms. I guess I'm old school, if you needed the heavier bullet for better long range performance then you should have bought a bigger gun. The firearm was designed for the 55 grain bullet weight and tinkering with the loads and twist for heavier bullets seem like an excuse for lack of performance. The only exception is the Hornady 55 grain SX bullets. The fast twist from the Mini will vaporize these loads coming out of the barrel. I mark these loads and use them only in the AR with the original slower twist barrels.

    Cost might be the biggest concern, if you're looking for a solid, reliable rifle I'd buy the Mini the difference in price versus an AR at present would allow for a few mags, some ammo and a good case. The ranch rifle is the better choice as it comes with rings its comfortable to shoot. Final note: with a scope and wood stock the ranch rifle I own draws a lot less attention from the public. I would not feel under-gunned with a Mini versus an AR, I love both and shoot both depending on my requirement and mood. I'm lucky to have both

  13. #42
    CJM
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    Even though this is a necro thread I'll play.

    AR-15 all day long, any continent, any environment, any situation. The mini might be good for shooting gophers, dirt clods, and Pabst Blue Ribbon empties out in the woods, but I would never under any circumstances choose one over a quality built AR. While the mini might be slightly cheaper, you will make up for any perceived savings by the cost of mags. If the mini's were $400 rifles, they might be worth it, but they are usually in the $6-700 dollar range at pre-Sandy Hook pricing. Now, upwards of a grand on GB. A quality built AR will withstand more abuse than a mini.

    Even if I had to choose between a mini and a low quality AR like Bushmaster, Olympic Arms, Stag, Rock River, DPMS, etc, I would still take the budget bin AR, at least those can be improved upon if you know what you're doing and what to look for.
    "Thank you for the advice Mr. Vice President, but I'll be keeping my AR15 for defending my home and family."

  14. #43
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    ...I had a blued Mini-14 for a short while...still have a lot of ammo...some .223...some 5.56...if I buy a newer model stainless model can I expect both calibers to function properly and reliably in it??? Ruger lists the caliber of the Ranch rifle as .223/5.56...if it's going to be fussy then that would be the deal-breaker...

  15. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snub44 View Post
    ...I had a blued Mini-14 for a short while...still have a lot of ammo...some .223...some 5.56...if I buy a newer model stainless model can I expect both calibers to function properly and reliably in it??? Ruger lists the caliber of the Ranch rifle as .223/5.56...if it's going to be fussy then that would be the deal-breaker...
    The poster in the wee hours this morning indicated his Mini did "not shoot well" with 5.56. I'm not sure if he just meant accuracy-wise, or if he had malf issues. Maybe he will post again with some specifics (?).

    I have two stainless Mini-14's; a 181-series circa 1978 and a 186-series made in 1992. I have used .223 and 5.56 interchangeably (and pretty much indiscriminately), including old mil-surp and reloads, in both rifles since new. Neither rifle has given any indication it prefers one or the other, and the ONLY failures I have ever had with either cartridge in either rifle was while using cheap aftermarket mags. I know better now.

    If you can find a decent deal on a stainless Mini, go for it! It's a great gun.
    Snub44 likes this.
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  16. #45
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    ...now them're mighty encouraging words...the 186-series was the improved model giving better accuracy than the originals, right?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kilowatt3 View Post
    The poster in the wee hours this morning indicated his Mini did "not shoot well" with 5.56. I'm not sure if he just meant accuracy-wise, or if he had malf issues. Maybe he will post again with some specifics (?).

    I have two stainless Mini-14's; a 181-series circa 1978 and a 186-series made in 1992. I have used .223 and 5.56 interchangeably (and pretty much indiscriminately), including old mil-surp and reloads, in both rifles since new. Neither rifle has given any indication it prefers one or the other, and the ONLY failures I have ever had with either cartridge in either rifle was while using cheap aftermarket mags. I know better now.

    If you can find a decent deal on a stainless Mini, go for it! It's a great gun.

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