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Friday, January 14, 2022

Ruger Mini-14 A Garand Inspired Rifle


I had looked at a Mini-14 and I liked the Rifle, but the cost is up there and I will probably lose it in another kayak accident like my AR's and Garand *Sniff*Sniff*.  Part of me wondered why the Military never tried the Ruger in Trials.  I shamelessly *Nicked* this from American Rifleman.

Min 14

In 1967, Ruger embarked on an ambitious project. The task was to shrink the M14—the select-fire, 7.62 NATO-chambered rifle that replaced the U.S. military’s venerable M1 Garands in 1959—to a more nimble firearm with the same performance and reliability. Adding to the challenge was the fact that the new firearm also needed to run .223 Rem. cartridges.

The task was a formidable one, but after six years of design work and exhaustive testing, the first Mini 14 was unveiled in 1973. Full scale production followed the next year.

The firearm featured a variety of innovations and cost-saving alternations that would have made it a serious contender against the M16 that was ultimately fielded by U.S. Army. The timing was poor, according to Bill Ruger, although a semi-automatic version is offered to this day by Ruger. It continues to be a popular choice and a standout in the company’s long list of time-proven performers.  

Despite similarity in name, the manner in which the M14 and Mini-14 gas systems operate is not the same. The M14 uses a piston, operating rod, gas plug and gas cylinder. The Mini-14, on the other hand, employs a Garand-style breech bolt locking system, a fixed-piston gas system and self-cleaning, moving gas cylinder.

Enthusiasts added Mini-14s to their collections in steady numbers after its introduction, but when it started appearing with “Mr. T” in “The A-Team” it went mainstream. Those regular appearances in the hands of the crime-fighting quartet on the television series—from season two in 1984 until ratings dropped in 1987—put the gun on nationwide display.

Today Ruger offers two distinct families of the Mini-14 (not including the Mini-30, which is a variation chambered in 7.62x39 mm). There are 11 versions in the Ranch line and six Tactical models. All are chambered in 5.56 mm NATO.

Every Ranch model has an 18.5", cold hammer-forged barrel. Stocks available include wood, synthetic, camo patterns, wood laminate and even an engraved hardwood. Their solid steel receivers are drilled and tapped for Picatinny rail mounting and the rifles ship with one, along with scope rings and a pair of magazines (capacity of 5 or 20 cartridges, depending on model). MSRPs for non-distributor exclusives run from $1,189 to $1,359.

Tactical versions feature the same rugged, optics-ready construction, but barrels are threaded. Most ship with a flash suppressor and they measure either 16.12", 16.15" or 20". Stocks are either synthetic or speckled hardwood. Magazine capacity is 20 cartridges, and the carbines ship with two, along with the Picatinny and scope rings. MSRPs run from $1,259 to $1,399.


  1. My only experience with the Mini-14 came during a DTI rifle course. Someone brought one and it caught fire during a mad minute drill. Not smoking like the AK's, but a little flame from the wooden stock. It still ran thru the whole course and the guy passed the test at the end.

  2. I have shot a Mini for years. Great Garand trigger. Eats anything. Reliable as hell. Unfortunately it has one fatal flaw. Fatal. It has lousy sights that are not upgrade-able. Ergo, the Ranch Rifle is the only one to consider.

  3. I've tried a half dozen of them, owned an additional 4 and never been able to get decent accuracy from any of them.
    They all ran reliably with whatever ammo I gave 'em, were easy to clean, and were ergonomic and easy to shoot. But I could never get less than 3" at 100 yds or so as accuracy.

  4. I bought a "ranch rifle" knowing it would take some work to make it decent, and then finding the right ammo was the second half of the battle. It groups about 1.5" at 100 yards, 3" at 200 yards.

    Not for everybody.

  5. Mine doesn't like anything but Ruger factory magazines. Does anyone know of affordable and reliable source?

    1. No such thing exists. Just suck it up and buy the Ruger factory ones. Being metal they'll last a good long while.


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