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Old 01-10-2011, 04:43 PM   #1
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 47
New and Improved Mini-14

Hi All,

Having finally started to pay more attention to long guns, I am apparently the last human being on earth to 'discover" the venerable Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle. After checking them out at the store and reading many reviews, I can't think of a more practical and affordable general purpose rifle on the market today.

Well, I am ready to make a purchase and would not mind buying a well-treated used one, but I want to make sure it's a "newer design" Mini-14. I understand at some point its accuracy was improved by different machining methods.

Questions :

What year did they start improving the accuracy of the Mini-14, and how would I be able to identify the "new and improved" Mini-14 from an older, (perhaps) less accurate one?

Further, am I making too much out of the accuracy issue? Would I be just as well off with an older model? It's purpose would be mostly target and plinking and maybe some varmint popping.

Thanks all!
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Old 01-10-2011, 06:25 PM   #2
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Tidewater,VA
Posts: 117
New and Improved Mini-14

early, I would start with popping over to the Ruger forum and looking through the Mini-14 thread, not sure when the design changes where done but for use/new I would look no further back then 2009,

There are several tricks to spiff up the accuracy of the early ones, most will never match the better AR's but they make dandy tractor/truck guns
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Old 01-11-2011, 07:19 AM   #3
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Location: Richmond, VA
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New and Improved Mini-14

Early on (1977 or so) I came into a Ruger Mini-14 in a swindle. The gun was handy and completely reliable. But I found two real drawbacks.

First, mine was not accurate at all. Not only were the sights crude but the gun would not hold zero as it heated up. It was minute of bed sheet for sure.

Next, the Ruger magazines were the only reliable mag. As a result they were both rare (as Ruger did not want folks to have 20 rounders) but they were comparatively expensive. AR mags were GI and dirt cheap.

I have never owned the Mini-30 but those folks that I know that have them do like them a lot. This was peculiar as the Chinese made 762 Soviet was not particularly accurate in my experience.
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Old 02-25-2011, 06:07 AM   #4
Join Date: Feb 2011
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New and Improved Mini-14

They are very good and more accuarte than the others of decade or 4 decades ago. A good house,truck,survivior rifle. They do not have the poop where they eat at gas system like the AR family or the Black rifle assault look that draws unwanted attention. I,m not a fan of Ar,s. A good levergun is allso a very good rifle to keep handy.
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Old 02-25-2011, 03:52 PM   #5
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New and Improved Mini-14

Hello earlybird,

About 2-3 years ago, Ruger came out with a heavier barrel version of the Mini-14 that turned, as Bill Ruger said, "the most expensive plinker you can buy" into a more accurate rifle. I've owned two mini-14's over the years and at one point looked to a builder here in South Carolina that simply re-barreled the Mini-14's and restocked them.

I have alway's liked the concept of the Mini-14 and only managed to make them accurate by handloading .223 ammunition for them.

The heavier contoured barrel and new M-1 front sight is the dead giveaway. Also check Ruger's serial number data base.


Proud member of the Horry County Tokarev Society.
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:13 PM   #6
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 204
New and Improved Mini-14

I was actually looking at one yesterday. Finally getting back on my feet (financially) and want to replace the AR I regret selling a few years back to pay the bills. Seems the closest I can come to a base model AR is ridiculously expensive. I can pick up the Mini-14, scope it, and maybe even by a box of ammo or two, for the price of a basic AR. what? I want the AR, but can actually afford the Mini!
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Old 03-03-2011, 05:22 PM   #7
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New and Improved Mini-14

Our local Wallmart has them for $629.
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