I never hear anything about the Ruger Mini-14 anymore…..

I had an original Mini-14 back in the 90’s and thought it was great. The only magazine I used that worked well was the Ramline polymer magazine designed to function in the Mini-14, AR-15, and AR-180. Wish I had never sold that gun. The Mini-14 has since been redesigned and has been improved but yet still rarely do I see it referenced when defensive or SHTF-guns are discussed.

I would suppose changing marketing conditions are partly to blame for this. AR’s can be bought as low as $500 now and they look much “sexier” than a Mini-14. Accessories  are more readily available for the AR. Reliable 30-rd magazines are plentiful and inexpensive. Of course much of this goes for the AK as well.


There are many other firearms out there besides the Mini-14 that may not get the attention they deserve as a viable SHTF-gun. Reasons may be cost of the gun, cost of the ammunition, lack of awareness from the masses. It may also be the overwhelming portrayal of the AR-15 as THE gun to have. I likely play a role in that. Guilty as charged.




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24 thoughts on “I never hear anything about the Ruger Mini-14 anymore…..”

  1. I have a mini-14. It works very well, is accurate, easy to maintain. Everything you can ask for in a go-to rifle.

    It is actually one rifle that takes a lot of abuse and keeps on running. While, when it was new, it had ‘issues’ with some ammo, in the last few years there hasn’t been a single problem.

    Come to think of it, one of my kids asked what they should have in their home, and I now have a good answer. Before, there was some debate. But, given the state of things, the mini is less likely to draw unwanted attention.


  2. The mini 14 was designed for the police trade. They bought a lot of them. While I am not a huge fan of AR 15’s, most people with military experience agree that the Ruger mini 14 is not adequate for anyone’s military arm, which I feel is a pre-requisite for any semi auto “battle rifle” which would be used in a WROL environment. If it is not good enough for adoption by a major military, it is not good enough for me. Perhaps their major flaw is the open hole in the right side of the action. Pour some dirt, sand or mud in there and see how it responds. It becomes an expensive paperweight.
    Cops keep them in the armory, waiting for the next civil disturbance. No problem keeping them clean.

  3. I bought my first one in the late 80s. All in all…. Nice idea. Rugar’s foux copies of military weapons aren’t bad. The Mini.. Only found 1 magazine that would function with it… the stock mag that came with it. Reloads would not extract well. Any brass used in any HK would have the head ripped off it. By the time I could afford more stock Rugar Magazines and enough ammunition to run the gun… I could afford an AR.. and an HK.. and an AK.

    It was like a tool that worked but just didn’t quite have the quality and ‘legs’ to rely on every time you needed it. Todays Mini is a fine first choice I’d bet. It just didn’t have those legs in the 80s.

  4. Every person I have known that had one got rid of it. It’s small, reliable and good looking, but, after five rounds the barrel heats up and you can’t keep them on a paper plate at 50 yard. Not my experience, I have never owned one, but all my friends that have said the same thing, barrel is too thin.

  5. I still have my mini-14 ranch in stainless that I bought in the 80s. It has dispatched a lot of ground hogs. There are plenty of aftermarket goodies for it out there. Among my favorites are the flash hider and the Butler Creek folding stock.

  6. Texas Scout, your friends are full of beans. I also own the select-fire version and have auto fired it enough to light cigarettes off the barrel and it behaves fine. That carbine shares the same barrel as the civilian mini. I “miched” them both to find that they are the same.

  7. When you could get a Mini-14 for $200-250 on the used market, I recommended them. Although I also recommended only factory 20 round magazines.

    Now a new one goes for around $800, and used they are $550-700! Since a new AR can be had for about $500-600 now, and mags and accessories are plentiful, that should explain why.

    Personally I’d rather have a Mini-30 than an SKS or and AK, but not at these prices.

  8. @CaptTurbo

    AS I SAID, it’s not my experience, just hear/say. I have never owned one. But several friends have told me that they lose zero quickly.

    Some quotes from the interwebs:


    Today, Mini-14 owners need not hang their heads in shame over accuracy concerns. In 2005, Ruger retooled its Mini-14 manufacturing facility to produce an updated design featuring numerous small alterations that in sum equals much greater precision from the shooter’s bench, returning groupings smaller than 2” with a standard 18.5” barrel and off the shelf ammo at 100 yards, rather than the 5” groupings typical of previous iterations.

    Mini 14’s have established a poor reputation for accuracy in the 30 years that have passed, between these rifles.


    The only thing that kept me from immediately pulling the trigger on the purchase of a Mini-14 was the rifle’s poor reputation for accuracy. I read several reviews and the consensus was that Mini-14 rifles built from rifle’s introduction in the 1970’s through 2005 typically grouped from 3-6” at 100 yards.

    Maybe you never owned an OLD ONE.

  9. I love my Mini-14! As easy to clean & maintain as my Garand – cheaper and easier to shoot, even. I like it so much that I got the mini-30 which shoots AK ammo, so WROL I can use either of the 2 main ammo types. It IS heavier than an AR, but it is made of real wood and not that Mattel plastic – and it’s quite noticeably lighter than the Garand. About the only downside vs an AR as far as I am concerned is that there aren’t conversion to select fire kits all over like there are for the AR. Final point: I have the misfortune of living in one of the Nanny states that require registration of ARs as “assault rifles” [dumbass politicians – nobody is registering anything anyway Molon Labe!]; mini-14 is specifically listed as NOT having to be registered – so I can have it on backseat with no worries about a traffic stop.

  10. Is that not a prime example of banning a gun for its looks. Same caliber, same function, on is “good”, the other “BAD!”

  11. Love my mini. Loved my m-14, too. The Gen II Tapco mags work great in mine. Kudos to Tapco for exchanging my Gen I mags with no hassle or cost.

  12. I worked at a state prison in the early nineties that used the mini 14 as their rifle of choice. I had to qualify with it and loved it!

  13. Wood stock no rails, little accessories what marketing agent would ever want to market a “riffle” its a great gun rourke, but as a buisness ppint of veiw, mise well sell marlin 22’s… I have a collection of old war proven guns and know every change i make is a specialized conversion exspense, logically you buy with the bulk to decrease price, AR accessories, magazines, and all other aspects is by far for cheaper… I myself have got myself in a bit of a rut this last year.. Or maybe a obsession ive seemed to buy everycool, must have gun ive seen! Not the best thing, considering i have little to no ammo for well over half ive bought lately, ive been so caught up with biuying the best of the best and getting ALL , the so called ” necessary” accessories that you just cant EVER live without that ive accumulated quite the paperweight set! Lol, i often justify my obsessive spending on night vision thermal imaging rangefinding scopes, ect.. As must have contingency is that I will eventually need and must have, but im finding that the more i think about these hugely expensive builds in the time it takes to complete them that I have no ammo for them, i cant help but to think… If it hits now, what was it for…, its very hard to stay focused and be moderate when you get the gun you should have ammo… My only advice, is think twice, always reevaluate every plant, its something im week at more times than not, i think the gun is before the bullet, but the bullet is before ALL the extras… Theres my two cents

  14. The SO at the little cowtown near the Texas ranch had a rack of full automatic Mini-14s. I think they finally got traded to an even smaller SO nearby. The Texas Rangers had a bunch of them back when. There is nothing wrong with that fine rifle, just that the AR-15 variants were more familiar with succeeding generations of servicemen and women. With the parts and accessories available for the AR-15, it is my choice for a 5.56×45.


  15. Son just called and said he bought. . . .

    The Ruger 10/22 take down model.

    Not what we discussed. But he is now debating the merits of .223, 7.62, and 308.

    So, I guess it is time to break out some rifles for a trip to the range and let him get a feel for what he likes and doesn’t like. Though most everything I have is geared toward hunting, I think we can alleviate any doubts he may have.

    Now is the time to work with him on the basics, technique, and safety.

  16. Owned a Mini14 in stainless steel in the eighties. It had the normal accuracy problems. Today the AR is cheaper and more flexible and versatile. It is easier for home gunsmiths to work on and the parts are widely available and cheap. As far as the Mini30, an upper chambered in 7.62×39 and with the proper magazines is a lot cheaper than a second gun.
    Even if the pricing was better, in prepper terms the AR is head and shoulders above the Ruger. I like Ruger guns and have a number of them, but this one I tried and would pass on in the future.

  17. FYI to everyone:


    BATFE To Ban Common AR-15 Ammo
    BATFE To Ban Common AR-15 Ammo
    In a move clearly intended by the Obama Administration to suppress the acquisition, ownership and use of AR-15s and other .223 caliber general purpose rifles, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unexpectedly announced today that it intends to ban commonplace M855 ball ammunition as “armor piercing ammunition.” The decision continues Obama’s use of his executive authority to impose gun control restrictions and bypass Congress.

  18. Glad I just purchased a set of .223 reloading dies. Along with a LOT of brass and bullets. Hope all of you know why the gov’t is banning these weapons or the ammo for them. It has nothing to do with the liberal left wing agenda. This is a march to totalitarian rule my friends. Disarm and conquer. I say MOLON LABE all the way to Thermopyle. Long live the red, white, and blue.

  19. I own an original 180 series Mini-14. It is in my safe right now. It has killed many deer and varmints that were on the farm so many years ago.
    I’ve heard a lot about the supposed inaccuracy of these rifles but have never seen it in my own or my friends.

    After I joined the Army I was acquainted with the M16-A1. Then the Car16,M16-A2. In between there was the M60 and M21. All of these had there problems as well. The old A1’s were wore out. The Car16 had range issues. The A2 model had to be broken in, yes I was there during the change over from old to new. All of the 16 series had extraction problems related to old mags. But we learned to work with these issues and the weapons worked.

    The same can be said for the Mini14. Most issues relate to the shooter. These weapons were made for the civilian populace with a eye to the worlds military’s. Many of these weapons were sent to Central and South America in the 80’s. Most of the problems there were magazines and the wood stock. The mags should have all been stock from Ruger and the stocks synthetic. Wood has a hell of a time in that environment.
    As a side note the US bought a ton of Springfield M1A’s and sent them south too.

    The Mini14 didn’t get adopted by other militry’s because the US was pushing to sell them the old M16A1’s to all of those countries. Plain and simple.

    The Mini14 was adequate for what it was designed to do for its time. Most issues people talk about are what they heard, not what THEY experienced themselves.

    The M16/AR series of rifles had a long time to mature. Most don’t remember how they were hated for being unreliable. This weapons system has had over 40 years to mature and had tons of money to “fix” its issues.
    Had the same time and money been pushed into the Mini14 things would be a lot different now.

    I remember, I was there for most of it. The adoptio of the M9 pistol. The change out from the old M1 steel pot to the Kevlar. The M21 to the M24 and then to the Knight SR25. Yeah I remember.

    As far as the M855/SS109 being banned, I saw it comming after they banned the old soviet stuff. They are going too get it too. Then will be the regular ball ammo. While DHS buys millions of rounds. AND it does have to do with the Liberal Left Wing Progressives. This has been there agenda all along.

    Be ready. Stand to because when they stack on your door you can only Fight or flight. Start reading your history of other conflicts, other insurgencies. Start with our Revolutionary War and end up with whats going on today.

    This will point you in the right direction.

  20. I went with the Mini 14 for my wife for a simple reason, my rifle is an M1A1 (M14 Semi-Auto).
    with the Mini 14 she knows how to break down and clean my weapon as well and she can do it.

    • I did exactly the same thing. I have a Beretta BM-59 with adjustable gas system and a pile of original magazines. My wife has a Mini-14GB as does my son, and my daughter has an M1 Carbine. All operate with the same manual of arms (not quite with the M1 Carbine, but charging and shooting are the same). Common manual of arms is valuable. Plus, they are light, comfortable to carry, easy to shoot, reliable, accurate, everything I need. I just got a Mini 30 to replace the SKS I keep (which is now surplussed and stowed in long-term storage) for the same reason. There will be no long arm that cannot be immediately put into action by any member of the family despite what they might normally carry.


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