Ruger Mini-14 or Kel-Tec SU-16 (A or CA model)?

Ruger Mini-14 or Kel-Tec SU-16 (A or CA model)?

This is a discussion on Ruger Mini-14 or Kel-Tec SU-16 (A or CA model)? within the Defensive Rifles & Shotgun Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I'm looking into buying one or two new carbines in .223/5.56. I've narrowed it down to the two in the thread title. I've weighed some ...

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  1. #1
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    Ruger Mini-14 or Kel-Tec SU-16 (A or CA model)?

    I'm looking into buying one or two new carbines in .223/5.56. I've narrowed it down to the two in the thread title.

    I've weighed some of the pros-cons of both, but I'm at a stopping point and can't really make up my mind. Perhaps you guys have some insight that I'm not thinking about.

    So, price is about the same. Ruger is around 100 more or so depending upon the Kel-Tec Model. For my intents and purposes, its close enough.

    Both shoot the .223. Magazines for both are cheap. Edge to Kel-Tec because it uses AR mags.

    Are availability of spare parts the same?

    The Kel-Tec is slightly lighter. However, I've read that gets hot with a quickness, whereas, I'm assuming the Ruger will stand up to sustained shooting better.

    Accuracy of both is going to be acceptable. I'm not looking for a MOA rifle here.

    Any thoughts?
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller


  2. #2
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    The Ruger heats up very quickly, as well... Not that that really answers your question...
    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.

  3. #3
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OPFOR View Post
    The Ruger heats up very quickly, as well... Not that that really answers your question...
    No, but it takes that out of the equation. Thanks for the info!
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

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    That is a tough choice... I think I'd take a leap of faith and go with the Keltec. I dont know much about them, but the AR mag factor is not to be ignored. Mini 14 mags are getting harder and harder to find, an a lot of the ones on the market now are junk. Plus, if there is another ban, AR mags will be far easier to get than mini 14 mags.
    "Just blame Sixto"

  5. #5
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyIamToday View Post
    Both shoot the .223. Magazines for both are cheap. Edge to Kel-Tec because it uses AR mags.
    Factory 20 round mags are NOT cheap.

    In fact, they are going for $40 at the lowest to over $70 for a 20 round mag.

    After market mags are supposedly something to beware of.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Array Scot Van's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    Plus, if there is another ban, AR mags will be far easier to get than mini 14 mags.
    Why? Are there just so many AR mags out there that it will still be relatively easy to find old ones?
    A man in the hands of his enemies is flesh, and shudderingly vulnerable. - author unknown

  7. #7
    Senior Member Array Scot Van's Avatar
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    IF you go with the mini...

    you can put our new collapsible, sidefolding stock on it!

    shipped for $109.00! (and LE / Military folks get dealer discount direct!)
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    A man in the hands of his enemies is flesh, and shudderingly vulnerable. - author unknown

  8. #8
    VIP Member Array MitchellCT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scot Van View Post
    Why? Are there just so many AR mags out there that it will still be relatively easy to find old ones?
    You can't throw a cat without hitting a stack of AR mags.

    The AR/M-16 system is a system used by the military as a standard weapon and most of LE uses it to in some capacity, in addition to regular people unaffiliated with either.

    "Everyone" uses it, and as a result magazines and parts are common.

    If back in the 1960-70 Bill Ruger got his Mini-14 into the hands of the right people sooner they military may has decided "How cool is this?!?! It's just like the M-14 that worked so well for us in service, but its smaller and lighter with the same manual of arms!! Holy Shi+ we need us some of these...Oh, and that M-16 thing...yeah. Its nice...but no thanks..." then this conversation would be very different.

  9. #9
    VIP Member Array BigEFan's Avatar
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    Sammy, I have both guns, so I offer my opinion for what it is worth. Hands down, if I could only keep one, I would keep the Kel-Tec CA Model.

    Here is why:

    1) You already stated it, it takes the M16/AR Mags which are really in abundance. Besides, if you live where you are not a criminal for owning guns then your goal should be to eventually have a nice AR and you will benefit from not having to have two different types of mags.

    2) The gun is very light and a joy to carry when going for a hike, camping or trail riding. The fact that the gun folds very nicely allows you to carry it in a backpack very discreetly.

    3)I stated the CA model because I don't like the C model stock (although it has its benefits) and the C model is illegal in my communist state. The CA Model has the sights closer to the end of the stock instead of the end of the barrel and it is a steel sight at that. While you may get a better sight picture I have found that having the sight sit back protects it from being beaten up. If you are using this as a utility rifle it will be prone to getting beat up and better protected and more durable sight will save you headaches down the road. Also, you wont have to remove the sights on the C/CA model if you decide to add a tactical scope (I highly recommend).

    4) I have some really nice rugers in my collection and Ruger makes a very durable, reliable, cost effective weapon but I have never gotten over their stance on hi cap mags and I would not have bought the Mini had I not gotten at a basement price (around $150).

    The Mini is a nice gun, don't get me wrong. I just don't think it has the versatility or the features the Kel-Tec does.

    If you decide to get the Ruger, you will be happy, but take my word, ONLY BUY RUGER BRAND MAGS. I have yet to find any other brand that works reliably in my 181 series mini.

    Good luck and feel free to PM if you have any specific questions.
    Lex et Libertas Semper Vigilo, Fortis, Paratus, et Fidelis!

    "Not only do the people who put their lives on the line to protect the rest of us deserve better, we all deserve better than to have our own security undermined by those who undermine law enforcement." -Thomas Sowell

  10. #10
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    BigEFan, thanks for all of the advice. I'll keep it all in mind. Although, I'm not eventually going to the AR. Bigger fan of the AK platform, but starting to really like the idea of a light .223 beater type rifle. That and I don't really care for pistol grips on a rifle. (use a Saiga AK)

    Quote Originally Posted by MitchellCT View Post
    Factory 20 round mags are NOT cheap.

    In fact, they are going for $40 at the lowest to over $70 for a 20 round mag.

    After market mags are supposedly something to beware of.
    Google Fu failed me. I just saw mags that looked cheap. This is another strike against the Ruger.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scot Van View Post
    you can put our new collapsible, sidefolding stock on it!

    shipped for $109.00! (and LE / Military folks get dealer discount direct!)
    That stock makes it look like a space rifle. Cool, but not a big fan of the pistol grip.
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

  11. #11
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Ruger parts are "challenging" to come by, depending on the part you need. Ruger is exceedingly loathe to sell parts, without an exchange from the gunsmith (Ruger Certified), or sending your weapon to the factory. I've not dealt with Kel-Tec, but I will assume they are somewhat more understanding. A call should settle the question.

    I had a Mini-14. If I wanted a durable, reasonably accurate rifle, and had the money/time to lay in 20 or more magazines; and 2extractors, 2 firing pins, 1 hammer, all springs, and a new gasblock, I might. Otherwise.... the Kel-Tec makes more sense, unless you just can't stand the feel of it.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Array Scot Van's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyIamToday View Post
    That stock makes it look like a space rifle. Cool, but not a big fan of the pistol grip.
    I will agree that the 'black rifle' look isn't for everybody. Since the weapon was essentially a scaled down civilian Mini30, it is sometimes a nice alternative to an AR in .223. We figured that, since you can always buy an original stock directly from Ruger, we should make something for a different demographic. Fotunately, Ruger loved it at the last SHOT Show, and we're working to have an option available directly from them.

    Since the pistol grip and buttstock are no different from what you'll find on any AR15 (except that this one features the side folding option), I assume you feel that 'black-tical' rifles fit the 'spacegun' label. I'lll further surmise that there isn't anything fitting your tastes in the realm of 'assault' weapons, anyway (unless you include OLD stuff...Tommy Guns and M1, M4...probably should, at that).

    The purist will always have wood, and that is very cool. But pretty much everything made for CQ combat these days has a pistol grip.
    A man in the hands of his enemies is flesh, and shudderingly vulnerable. - author unknown

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rob72 View Post
    Ruger parts are "challenging" to come by, depending on the part you need. Ruger is exceedingly loathe to sell parts, without an exchange from the gunsmith (Ruger Certified), or sending your weapon to the factory. I've not dealt with Kel-Tec, but I will assume they are somewhat more understanding. A call should settle the question.

    I had a Mini-14. If I wanted a durable, reasonably accurate rifle, and had the money/time to lay in 20 or more magazines; and 2extractors, 2 firing pins, 1 hammer, all springs, and a new gasblock, I might. Otherwise.... the Kel-Tec makes more sense, unless you just can't stand the feel of it.
    Thanks, no one had chimed in on availability of parts yet. If Kel-Tec treats their rifles like they do their pistols, parts will be very easy to get.

    Quote Originally Posted by Scot Van View Post
    I will agree that the 'black rifle' look isn't for everybody. Since the weapon was essentially a scaled down civilian Mini30, it is sometimes a nice alternative to an AR in .223. We figured that, since you can always buy an original stock directly from Ruger, we should make something for a different demographic. Fotunately, Ruger loved it at the last SHOT Show, and we're working to have an option available directly from them.
    Oh, I like the black rifle look, just don't care for a pistol grip. Never have. They may be awesome for some folks, just not for me.

    Since the pistol grip and buttstock are no different from what you'll find on any AR15 (except that this one features the side folding option), I assume you feel that 'black-tical' rifles fit the 'spacegun' label. I'lll further surmise that there isn't anything fitting your tastes in the realm of 'assault' weapons, anyway (unless you include OLD stuff...Tommy Guns and M1, M4...probably should, at that).

    The purist will always have wood, and that is very cool. But pretty much everything made for CQ combat these days has a pistol grip.
    Yeah, I know. I wouldn't really call myself a purist. I like the black rifle look and feel, I just don't like the pistol grip. That's why I went with the Saiga for my AK. I've done some stuff to it, but until I get the replacement stock, its still black.

    I really do like the space rifle look, it wasn't intended to come across as detrimental.
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array Duisburg's Avatar
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    well if you are not looking for MOA then what are you looking for? I'd say a Mini-14 Ranch Rifle is good for a "truck gun" for a farmer but then again so is a M44 or a Mauser
    I am sworn to protect the Constitution of the U.S.A. from all threats both foreign and domestic.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array Scot Van's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyIamToday View Post
    Thanks, no one had chimed in on availability of parts yet. If Kel-Tec treats their rifles like they do their pistols, parts will be very easy to get.



    Oh, I like the black rifle look, just don't care for a pistol grip. Never have. They may be awesome for some folks, just not for me.



    Yeah, I know. I wouldn't really call myself a purist. I like the black rifle look and feel, I just don't like the pistol grip. That's why I went with the Saiga for my AK. I've done some stuff to it, but until I get the replacement stock, its still black.

    I really do like the space rifle look, it wasn't intended to come across as detrimental.
    NOT IN THE LEAST!!! No worries.
    A man in the hands of his enemies is flesh, and shudderingly vulnerable. - author unknown

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