Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Another Ruger Winner?

From a press release this AM:
Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. is proud to announce that the Mini-14® Tactical rifle is now available in 300 AAC Blackout. This newest version of the Mini-14 rifle features an optimized gas port that reliably cycles with both supersonic ammunition and subsonic ammunition when a sound suppressor is installed. The rifle weighs approximately 6.75 lbs., features a 16.1", 5/8"-24 threaded barrel with a 1:7 twist rate, and is supplied with two, twenty-round detachable box magazines.
Here are the specs. MSRP is $1019.

This will no doubt trigger a flood of "the Mini-14 is crap" and/or "why should I buy a Mini when I can get an AR?" responses.

I have always had a pretty good opinion of the Mini-14. I bought my first one back in the 181-series days of the late 1970s. No, the little carbine was never a tack-driver and, yes, the group would string when the pencil barrel heated up. OTOH, I can't recall the thing ever failing, except with $10 aftermarket magazines, and it even worked with most of those (yes, it's still interred somewhere in the gun safe).

At the very beginning of 3-Gun, I used the Mini in a number of matches with the first tiny tube Aimpoint red dot affixed with a Rube Goldberg scope mount. I never had any trouble dinging the steel out to 300 yards with it. I've shot one of the 5.56 Minis with the beefed up barrel, and it shot just fine, couple of MOA, at 100 if I remember.

The .300 Black (as does the 7.62 X 39) makes the little gun excellent for deer/hog applications.

AN ASIDE: Yes, we do now live in an AR-centric universe, much more so than when the Mini-14 first appeared on the scene. I don't believe, however, that the Mini-14 fits in the same niche as the AR platform guns. I see the Mini as more of the "truck gun" category, a knock around gun, maybe in line with the Kel-Tec SU-16, the old SKS, the new generation of M1 Carbines or even the AK. I'm not an AK many as I've shot, I've never really had the urge to own one. The MSRP on the Mini-14 is high, but they tend to sell for a few hundred less in the Real World. Besides, it's a Ruger and it'll outlast you. Versatile enough to do a bunch of things, from hunting to plinking to home defense; not tacticool enough to light up anyone's radar.


KevinC said...

That's nice.

Please, PLEASE tell Ken to come out with a re-engineered PC9 so we can have a 9mm carbine that falls in between the Kel-Tec on the low end and a dedicated 9mm AR on the high end.

George said...

A nice addition to the Mini-14 line.

Michael Bane said...

Damn, Kevin, you don't want much! I'm a little surprised they haven't rolled that out, given the strength of the 9mm carbine market. Shot my JP at length yesterday working on dialing in Appleseed prone. Just started working with the Stag dedicated 9, and it looks to be on par with the JP accuracy-wise. Heck of training rifle for 3-Gun!


Sheepdog1968 said...

I just finished the Thunder Ranch Urban Rifle class with an iron sighted mini 14. It held its own. There was one AK and the rest were ARs. I had a friend who was an armorer/gunny (I don't know the formal title) in the Navy and was running an AR. He has 30 plus years experience with this platform. We were taking the class together. He thinks I was able to shoot the mini 14 faster than its possible to shoot an AR. Not sure if this is the case or not but point it out for others to think about, discuss. I have nothing against an AR platform. I live in CA and don't want a bullet buttoned AR. The mini 14 easily gets around this requirement.

Don T said...

I use to own one and it was one tough little gun.I'd still have it if things were cheaper for it.I only ever saw one fail and I don't really think it was the guns fault.As I remember I think it doubled on some cheap and I mean CHEAP ammo and it broke the locking lug off and seized the gun up bad.Lesson learned,shoot good ammo.

kmitch200 said...

That's a buttload of money for a "truck gun".

This will no doubt trigger a flood of "the Mini-14 is crap"
Mine wasn't "crap", that would be way too kind. It was a POS of the highest order that should have ended up in the factory recycle bin.

Martin said...

My Mini-14 is also a 181-series gun, and it is tough. When I was younger and dumber, and learning reloading, I had cases that weren't sized right; they wouldn't quite chamber. So I would hold the rifle vertically and slam the cocking handle on the edge of my pickup tailgate to do the final resizing. The gun still shoots as well as it did new, which is better than I can hold offhand.

gunman42782 said...

I own 2 Minis, and have owned probably a dozen over the years. I have a GB model, and one of the new 580 series. Never had a failure to feed or extract with ANY Mini I ever owned. The older ones where nothing to brag about, accuracy wise, but they worked. My GB model is the most accurate old Mini I ever owned. Doesn't string shots like the others, don't know if it is because of the bayonet lug, or what, but it's a keeper!

Unknown said...

For a time here in the communist republic of California, a mini-14 was pretty much your only choice. Even now, my AR has a stupid bullet button! I have had a couple of mini-14s and I have enjoyed them. Of course I don't think I have ever had a bad gun except for a kahr pm40 that the factory just couldn't make work right. I gave it away.

Overload in Colorado said...

When Ruger comes out with the re-engineered PC9 it should use SR9 magazines.

Then we need S&W to do a carbine that uses M&P magazines.

Vince Warde said...

The problem with a 7.62x39 Mini, and to some extent the same rifle in .300 Blackout, is that you can pick up a shooter SKS for a small fraction of the cost of a Mini.

Rivitman said...

I Like the mini.

That being said, it has one Achilles heel, and that is Ruger's service policy.

The firing pin.

The firing pin is a restricted part, and Ruger will NOT sell you OR YOUR GUNSMITH ONE.

Ruger uses different length bolts to headspace the mini, therefore, any new firing pin must be fitted to the bolt.

Ruger deems you, and or your highly skilled gunsmith unqualified to do this. Therefore you have to send the rifle to Ruger if the firing pin breaks. The only available aftermarket pin (GLEND ARMS MFG. CO., LLC.)
has many anecdotal stories of breakage prone at times.

Now things get fun. If you have modified the rifle in any way (trigger job, shortened barrel, aftermarket muzzle device or barrel) Ruger will refuse to fit a new firing pin. Unless you let them restore the rifle to factory original spec, and pay for it. And they take all of your mods, and pitch them in the trash.

And top it off with shipping both ways.

I like the mini I have. I will never buy another, or recommend it to anyone else. And I hope I never break a firing pin.