Ruger Mini 14 Review

Yes we know, we need to make a Mini Mini…

We live in chaotic times, with a major economic recession, rioting going on all over the country, and the worst global pandemic in history.

It’s because of these circumstances that millions of Americans are rushing to stock up on as much firearms and ammunition as they possibly can. One of the best kinds of firearms that you can own in these times is a semi-automatic rifle that fires an intermediate rifle cartridge such as the 5.56x45mm NATO. Such a rifle offers you greater stopping power than a handgun, less recoil than a shotgun, and greater range than both. 

In fact, in this day and age a semi-automatic rifle is one of the most practical rifles you can own, because it is useful for both hunting and self-defense or tactical situations. A large magazine capacity of 20 or 30 rounds would also be immensely beneficial for defending your home against multiple attackers, if things were to get that bad. 

Easily the most popular 5.56 semi-automatic rifle sold to American civilians today is the AR-15 and its many variants, but the AR-15 is also hardly the only other option available. Another solid option is the Ruger Mini-14. We’re going to talk about this rifle today. 

What Is The Ruger Mini-14?

The Ruger Mini-14 was originally introduced in the early 1970s as a scaled down M14/M1A rifle and chambered for the 5.56 or .223 round. That being said, the Mini-14 still offered many improvements over the original M14, including a receiver that was heat treated, a self-cleaning fixed piston gas system, and an investment cast. 

There are numerous variants of the Mini-14 today. Easily the best one to get will be the Mini-14 Tactical version. Most Mini-14s are chambered for the .223 Remington cartridge, but the Tactical version is chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO. This is crucial, because rifles chambered for 5.56 can also chamber and shoot .223, but not vice versa. The Mini-14 Tactical is simply a more practical version from that standpoint because it can shoot two kinds of ammunition.

Another version to consider would be the Ruger Mini-14, which is the same gun but that fires the 7.62x39mm round just like the AK-47. The 7.62x39mm is a larger round that can be easily used on mid-sized game animals such as deer. 

Why The Mini-14 over the AR-15?

A big reason why some people go with a Mini-14 over an AR-15 is because of the manual of arms. The Mini-14 is a scaled down M1A and offers the same manual of arms both the M1A and the AK-47, where the charging handle is on the right side and the magazine release is located down by the trigger. If you prefer this manual of arms over an AR-15 but still want something in the 5.56 cartridge, the Mini-14 is without a doubt the gun you’re looking for.

Yes, the AR-15 is certainly a highly ergonomic firearm, but it’s also simply not for everybody. 

The Mini-14 also offers solid reliability. The AR-15 is a closed off firearm where it is very difficult for any gunk or debris to get into the gun, which is why it has been so successful on the battlefield. But if anything does get into the gun, it can cause serious problems. 

With the Mini-14, the gas piston operated system in conjunction with the two locking lugs ensures excellent reliability right out of the box.

Most Mini-14s are capable of 2 MOA accuracy, which is higher than the AR-15, which is usually capable of just 1 MOA right out of the box. A general rule of thumb is that the Mini-14 will be slightly less accurate than the AR-15, so be aware of this.

All in all, both the AR-15 and the Mini-14 are two great 5.56 or .223 rifles and largely fulfill the same roles. The one you choose should be based on which one you feel is more comfortable and which type of manual of arms you prefer. 

What Roles Can The Mini-14 Fulfill? 

There are three big roles that the Mini-14 can fill for you: target shooting on the range, hunting mid-sized game, and home defense.

The Mini-14 is a short and lightweight rifle that will be easy maneuver in tight scenarios. It was originally marketed by Ruger as a ranch rifle that could be used as a general rifle for ranch or homesteading use where a rifle was required. Firing the 5.56 or .223 rounds, the Mini-14 is an adequate rifle to use for mid-sized game such as pronghorn, deer, or wild boar. However, it is a bit too light to use on larger game such as bighorn sheep or elk or moose, and for such animals you would be wise to upgrade to a larger caliber such as .308 Winchester.

That being said, the Mini-14 is also equally at home as a tactical or defensive rifle as well. As noted previously, the concept of a semi-automatic rifle that fires the 5.56 round or another intermediate cartridge is a great choice for defending your home against multiple attackers. The 5.56 round offers limited recoil but plenty of stopping power, and the traditional 20 round magazine of the Mini-14 offers you plenty of firepower against multiple attackers.

In today’s day and age, where the rioting could become worse or the economy could continue to falter even further, having such a semiautomatic rifle for defense could give you strong peace of mind, and could potentially even save your life if you know how to use it. 

Conclusion

All in all, the Ruger Mini-14 is a proven rifle and a solid alternative to the AR-15. It’s reliable, accurate enough, and offers a manual of arms similar to an M1A or an AK-47. The Mini-14 will be a great rifle to have on hand for defense, hunting, target shooting, or general ranch use.