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Which would you choose?

  • entry level AR platform

    Votes: 144 48.2%
  • Mini 14

    Votes: 71 23.7%
  • Other (Saiga, AK, SKS, ect.)

    Votes: 84 28.1%
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Ive been looking to add an AR to my stable for quite some time. My boss has wanted one for years but he got an excellent deal on a mini and he says he could not be happier. This has got me looking at a Mini 14 insted of an AR, mainly because of pricepoint, secondly because of ther gas tube desing of the AR. From the thread reading I have done on other sites I have heard that the Mini is nothing but a magazine money pit, terrible inaccurate, and a waste of money. Would you recommend that I honestly check out a Mini, or stick with the original plan and buy a base model AR?

Budget is around $800.

Weapon to be used as part time home defense, amature target shooting, plinking.
 

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I had a Mini 14 back in 1976. They got a bad rep then for accuracy, partly because of barrels and bedding.

They have an advantage in that they are not EBR with bad press, neither are they AK/SKS .

The current production Mini is fine and Ruger is now [once again] selling 20/30 rd magazines. The new Ruger's have better barrels and stock bedding.

I would buy a conventional looking Mini [wood or Hogue stock] unless I intended to trick it out with all the wiz-bang stuff, then ratehr than buying a fancy Ruger I'd get the AR. The Ruger AR SR 556 is pretty well tricked out with excellent BUIS, quad rail, etc and such but is more money than an entry level gun.

On a budget, there is nothing wrong with an SKS if that is all you can afford.
 

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Tough Guns

The Mini 14, SKS and AK's are all tough guns that are far less $$$ than an AR. If you go AR...DO SOME RESEARCH! There are a lot of people producing AR's and there ARE quality control issues.
For a Cop Gun... i.e. Patrol Carbine I would opt for a Sig 556.
For a fun gun I would opt for any of the above three.
If this were a gun I might use for civilian self defense I'd get a Marlin Lever 30-30 or a wood stocked Pump 12 Ga.
Cruiser safe; Magazine full & chamber empty.
"Your Honor I'm just thankful I had my old Deer gun handy".
 

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I have an SKS and I like it. I wont shoot a golfball at 200 yards but I did not
buy it to be a super marksman shooter. Its for hitting stuff centermass
in a SHTF situation and fun shooting. I never did like the 5.56 round and
I am in the military. I prefer a larger 7.62X39 (or .308) for a defesne rifle. Just my 2cent.
 

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Go with the AR.

Infinite amount of parts and after market items, very customizable,even to the point of changing calibers.

The Mini has no such luxury.
 

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I don't think any knowledgeable person is going to say the mini isn't a nice little package, but it is what it is, and it isnt a lot of things. It doesnt really excel in a particular area, like the AR's do. Its just there. I think that is why it doesnt get a whole lot of attention.
 

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Just to spare some confusion later, the M14 and Mini 14 are not the same weapon. The Mini 14 is a scaled-down descendant of the M14.

If you're looking to add an AR to your stable, then add an AR; there's really nothing a Mini 14 can do that an AR can't do better (yes, at a couple hundred bucks more). If you're looking to add a rifle to your stable to fill a particular role, first define the role, then pick the rifle that best fills that role at an acceptable budget. That may include the Mini 14, or may not.


-B
 

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Part of the problem with the Mini is the action.

There is too much mass in the bolt for such a small caliber and it really shakes and vibrates the gun around when it is shot, one of the several reasons for reduced accuracy.

Its a good action on the .308, which is a much heavier gun that does not suffer from the same problems that the pip squeak .223 does.

While the whole idea of a scaled down action sounds great and looks good on paper, in actual application it doesn't work as good as it should.
 

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Adding to HotGuns' post how long it took Ruger to start making acceptable barrels for the Mini...

When first introduced, the AR-15 and Mini 14 were each others' competition from the onset, and were both really the only ones in the game. The AR-15 won, commercially. It's not especially hard to see why.

Then again, as I said, if the Mini 14 meets your needs or you just want a Mini, then by all means get one. If you want an AR, though, a Mini probably isn't going to get you what you want.


-B
 

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This is just me but, I went with an AK for my first battle rifle I bought and I couldn't be happier. I now own an AR as well. I like it too but, the AK is way easier to clean and take care of. And it cost just $350 but that was like 10 years ago.
 

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I have a Mini-14 All-Weather Ranch that I bought new back in 1999 for Y2K. Since then, I've tried to trick it out with the tactical goodies. IMO, you would be ahead to just get an AR (supposedly DPMS is a good buy for the money). If you aren't going to shoot it much, you don't need to worry about the direct impingement vs piston question, just get the regular DI type and be done with it. As mentioned by others, there are tons of parts and accessories made for the AR platform, and you can tailor your gun exactly the way YOU want it--the Mini-14 is more difficult to do that with, and IMO more expensive to customize. The steel Ruger magazines are heavier and can rust, too. If you want drop-dead reliability, then you have to buy the Ruger OEM magazines, not the aftermarket mags, which cause most of the operating problems that people report.
 

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Ive been looking to add an AR to my stable for quite some time. My boss has wanted one for years but he got an excellent deal on a mini and he says he could not be happier. This has got me looking at a Mini 14 insted of an AR, mainly because of pricepoint, secondly because of ther gas tube desing of the AR. From the thread reading I have done on other sites I have heard that the Mini is nothing but a magazine money pit, terrible inaccurate, and a waste of money. Would you recommend that I honestly check out a Mini, or stick with the original plan and buy a base model AR?

Budget is around $800.

Weapon to be used as part time home defense, amature target shooting, plinking.
If you've been wanting an AR, get it. You won't be happy with a substitute. The new Mini-14 is however a great gun for what you want to use it for.
 

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I think if Ruger would make the Mini 14accept AR15 mags they could not make enough to keep up with the demand. Why don't one of you engineer types make a retro fit for Mini 14 to accept AR mags I bet you could make a fortune.
 

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If you want to spend less money (than the AR), still have fun, and reach out a little further than a .22, look at the Henry lever action .22 mag. I have one with the octagonal barrel...great looking rifle.
I sold my AR, bought a Marlin 336, an Henry .22 mag, and still had money left over for ammo.:king:
 

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Go with the AR in my opinion. I don't have any dislike for the Mini-14 or Ruger for that matter, but something just aint right with them from what I've heard, and I've never seriously taken a look at them as a want item for me no matter what I've read in the magazines. I do know that some law enforcement agencies rely on them to this day, but then again, they have way better armorers than me. I've probably been around some ten years previous to the intro of the Mini-14. Better platforms for the .223 including a bolt action IMO. My 2¢ If I was given one, I might not turn it away until I had things worked out to my liking, and if I couldn't, it would go out in trade.
 

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This is just me but, I went with an AK for my first battle rifle I bought and I couldn't be happier. I now own an AR as well. I like it too but, the AK is way easier to clean and take care of. And it cost just $350 but that was like 10 years ago.
They only cost about $380 now. Classic Arms Inc.

While your may be a nicer variant the Romy WASR-10's are as reliable as my old Ford truck.

Personally, I like the AR but I've had a few AK's and they were GTG. :bier:
 

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I almost bought a Mini, glad I didn't, got a DPMS Sportical for $679 local, the Mini was more, and for the most part you have to leave it alone, the DPMS is very convertible, and already has the flattop on it.
From what the store owner told me the accuracy issues have been taken care of on the Mini, with new barrel design, but the mags go in very akward to me, and are expensive. You can make the AR anything you want it to be....
 

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I have a Mini-14, a mid 90's model...but I only have about $250 in it. I'm not really into AR's... I would look at AK's over AR's but that's me... I only keep the mini because it was a good deal and it's fun to shoot, but I don't rely on it for any particular purpose...
 

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I have both. Several of each action type really. 5 D.I. operated AR-15's, and 2 LWRC gas piston AR-15's. This past year I picked up 2 M-1A's, A National Match M-1A, and a SOCOM 16, and added a Ruger Mini 14 as well. The Garand action has it in spades over anything AR. Both of my LWRC piston rifles run about as well as one could expect for the price, and are effortless to keep clean when compared to any direct impingement model AR-15.

With that said, I think the Garand fixed piston gas system is a superior design. I like many, criticized the Ruger Mini 14 for years. Then this past year when Ruger finally saw the light and started making their Hi-Cap magazines avaliable to the public, I purchased a NRA Commemorative Model. It ships with 2, 20 round factory Ruger magazines, as well as the nice Hogue overmolded stock. The Ruger Mini is as accurate and reliable as any AK-47 I own. In this type of weapon reliability is far more important than accuracy. In spite of how many people toss around "MOA accuracy", most don't possess the talent to extract that kind of accuracy if it was available to them in a factory weapon. It reminds me back in the 60's muscle car era there was all of this talk in car magazines about "close ratio 4-speed" transmissions. Most didn't even know what that meant. No matter, they had to have it. All of this talk of "MOA accuracy" falls into much the same category. Bill T.
 

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I don't have any dislike for the Mini-14 or Ruger for that matter, but something just aint right with them from what I've heard,
With all due respect, that's malarky. The Mini-14 is as good a platform as any AK, IMO. And I own a "good" AK (Norinco Preban AKM-47S, Sile Import) as well as a Mini-14. My third Mini-14 to be exact.
 
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