May 8th, 2008 10:35 PM
Mini 14 or SOCOM 16?
I have been reading every discussion I can regarding .223 vs .308. I live in South Texas and am an avid whitetail hunter. I also consider myself a bit of a survivalist nut and I am searching for the one gun that I can use for hunting and as my all purpose bug out rifle. I have narrowed it down to one of two weapons:
1. Springfield Armory SOCOM 16 (.308) Black Synthetic fiberglass stock, 5 to 20 round mags, 37 1/4 inches long, 16.25 inch barrel, and 9.3 lbs (Price $1250 to $1950)
2. Ruger NRA Mini-14 (.223) Black Hogue Overmolded Stock, 5 to 20 round mags, 35 3/4 inches long, 16.125 inch barrel, 6 3/4 lbs
(Price $730 to $1035)
Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifles & Mini Thirty Rifles*Autoloading*Rifles
I am a firm believer in the reliability and accuracy of the .308, based on having taken down several deer and elk with an old .308 Savage Lever-action in my youth in Oregon. However, now in South Texas and taking in consideration, whitetail, cyotes, and an overall bug out survival rifle, I am leaning heavily towards the new NRA Mini-14 in 223. It is shorter, almost 3 pounds lighter, not counting ammunition, and I love the feel of the hogue overmold stock. I feel that it will adequately work as a whitetail deer rifle, and I'm sure I can find the right ammunition to take down bigger game if absolutely necessary. Those facts combined with the price of ammo, and the overall appeal of the gun as a ranch/bug out gun, I think I've come to that decision. So while my heart, and my ego may say get the .308 SOCOM 16, my mind and my wallet say get the .223 NRA Mini 14.
For those who are big AR 15 fans, and say why not just go with the AR. It is just a matter of preference, that and the fact that some of the old fellas I hunt with can accept a mini-14 on the ranch, but would not exacty take kindly to an AR style rifle in the deer blind. Let me know what you all think and why. Also let me know your experiences with each rifle, if you happen to own them. Thanks
May 8th, 2008 10:46 PM
Minis have a rep for being inaccurate compared to AR's. Magazines (30's) are expensive most times too. I know the deer are smaller in Texas than MI, but I 'm a big believer in bigger is better for taking game. Not sure the SOCOM is the ideal choice either. some reports I have read on 15.com Internet game tell of less than stellar reliability. Sorry I'm not more help in telling you what might work, I use a bolt gun for deer and a AR for other purposes.
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset
May 8th, 2008 10:57 PM
The Socom had issues when SA first released them. They hadn't got the shorter barreled rifle gas system set up correctly.
Thats been resolved for some time now. You might find one that still runs raggedy for the same gas system problems, but that to be expected when you take a 22" barreled rifle thats reliable and cut it down to 16". To overcome the timing issues were enormous, they still aren't as reliable as the m14/M1a's with 21 or 18" barrels.
Find one with an 18" tube and you won't have the issues associated with the Socom. On another note, the Mini's were always known to have weak/fragile rear sights. Not something you want to bang around in the woods hunting with IMO.
You extend the killing range with the 308 over the 223 as well. One never knows when that buck jumps up at 250 yds. Better to have more than you need than not enough gun.
The mind is the limiting factor
Quick Kill Rifle and Pistol Instructor
May 8th, 2008 11:46 PM
I've got a Bushmaster Varminter and a M1A. Love both of them. The first .223 I had was a Mini 14 and never liked it. Problems with the gas system and not very accurate. The only thing I would like to change is a different stock for the M1A. I like the new pistol grip stocks and one of these days I'm going to pick one up but they are sure expensive right now. I'm hoping they go down in price pretty soon. As it is, I sure cannot complain on how wll it shoots now. I had both of them out about 3 weeks ago playing with them and my 45/70 Sharps and a friends Barrett 50 BMG. At 500 yards they all impressed me. I did have to dial in an extra 51 MOA for the 45/70 to be on target but I expected that. I think you will like the Springfield much better then the Mini-14.
Life member NRA since 1983
I carry a Kimber Ultra Carry II in a Crossbreed SuperTuck. My wife carries a Walther PPS .40 w/Crossbreed holster.
May 9th, 2008 12:08 AM
My old 1973 Marlin 336 30/30 is a tack driver at 100 yards compared to my Mini-14. The Mini is now awaiting a new owner to come through with "the money", and part will go for a re-blue on the Marlin, and part will buy a friend's .270 Rem 700. The Mini was "fun", if you like spray and pray, but I like to punch holes in things in certain places when I point at them. The Mini just can't do that, and considering the physics behind the design I would assume that few, if any of the Mini series guns can consistantly hit POA.
I'm also not a big fan of .223 for anything other than varmint and paper shooting.
May 9th, 2008 12:46 AM
I have both the M1A (22” bbl) and a Mini-14.
As already mentioned the Mini-14 is not the most accurate rifle in the rack. With that said, I really like mine and it is awaiting the funds to replace the barrel and the sights. These are the two weak points on the Mini-14. In general it is a nice, easy to handle, reliable rifle. You can bring it down to better than a 1 ˝” group at 100 yards by replacing the light weight stock barrel with a good medium weight barrel and add a good set of sights for an additional $800.00. If I didn’t already have a Mini-14 I might look at something else, maybe the KelTec.
Also as already mentioned, you might want to consider the Springfield M1A Scout (18”). The weight difference is not that much difference for the extra 2” of barrel but, from what I have heard, there is a big difference in how loud it is as well as its accuracy.
Realistically, I really don’t shoot either one that much. The two that I shoot most are a Ruger 10/22 and an M1 Carbine. If I had to “bug out” right now I would take both of them. Combined, with ammo for both, I am still looking at less weight than the M1A plus ammo alone. With the 10/22 strapped to a backpack and the M1 Carbine in hand I would feel just fine for anything I would need in my area (nothing larger than small Black Bear, and they are not a problem unless there are cubs around). After all, if I need to “bug out” it will be strictly survival and defensive.
May 9th, 2008 12:57 AM
Since your a survivalist type you will probably want to stock a bit of ammo I guess. The .308 is superior for your applications to the .223, but .308 ammo costs a fortune.
Of course if money isn't a problem, go with the .308, but for a lighter round to carry that is sufficient for deer hunting and cheap to buy and stockpile, it's hard to beat something in a 7.62x39. I think that's the best all around cartridge for SD and hunting at under 200yds when you factor in availability and price. More domesticaly produced hunting ammo is being made each year because the cartridge is becoming more popular for deer hunting. I bought some Remington express soft points for mine recently for less than half the price of a box of .308.
A Saiga in 7.62x39 might be a good choice. Reliable, at least as accurate as a mini (probably more accurate) with plenty of knockdown power for deer and a look that won't draw too much attention in the hunting woods, yet capable of accepting high cap mags. *though they ain't cheap either* But the drawback is a lack of long range capability.
Good luck with whatever you choose.
When you've got 'em by the balls, their hearts & minds will follow. Semper Fi.
May 9th, 2008 10:37 AM
i have to say go with the M1A in the .308. The 308 is such a better round for all around survival and hunting. The mini 14 is not an accurate firearm unless you put a good bit of money into it, and at that point you might as well buy a higher quality .223.
--people ask why I carry, and I show them this picture. I think it says it all.--
NRA Certified Instructor--many disciplines
May 9th, 2008 10:42 AM
“You can sway a thousand men by appealing to their prejudices quicker than you can convince one man by logic.”
― Robert A. Heinlein,
May 9th, 2008 12:20 PM
Old news, needs to be updated....
(1) Ruger retooled Mini-14 production in 2003, in an effort to improve the quality of all mini-14s.
Originally Posted by rocky
(2) The barrel on the NRA version is heavier than early mini-14 barrels. Look for yourself.
That said, if deer hunting is your game, the .308 is probably a better choice.
But the $1,000 premium would have me looking elsewhere.
May 9th, 2008 02:14 PM
The essential point being, Ruger has to charge you $1K for a $500 rifle to get it right. There are some good Minis, but you never know until you get the one you buy to the range.
Originally Posted by aquanomics
Equally, if you change the stock, front sight assembly or cut the barrel down, the "good shooter" will (statistically)nose-dive. Yes, I owned one. Worked on a few others.
Hard call. I feel the Springers are a bit over-priced. I prefer the G3 (91 or PTR) simplicity for the same $$ or less. Saigas are available in .308, but I have not fired or accessorized one.
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