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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 7/5/2002 12:40:22 PM EST
Many times on these boards I have heard the Ruger Mini-14 and Mini-30 series of rifles take all sorts of verbal abuse. Well today I had the chance to test one just to see how bad they were. My findings were exactly the oppostite of what I had expected based on the comments I have read on these boards.

The gun was a Stainless Mini-30 with a 189-xxxxx series serial number. This one used only factory sights with the flip up rear. The magazines were USA brand 20 rounders (two were blue and one was stainless) and one factory 5 rounder. The ammo used was Winchester USA 123 gr ball and Winchester Super X 123 gr SP.

Reliabilty with both types of ammo and all mags was 100%. There were no malfunctions of any type and all mags fed smoothly and without a hitch. I had read that none of these aftermarket hi-caps were worth a dime, but my testing suggested otherwise.

Also, these mags seated well and were not any problem to insert.....also unlike I had heard. It took some getting used to, but these mags go in at an angle and are rotated back until they lock. Mag changes were fast and again, no problem at all.

Accuracy was also better than I had expected. While it didn't appear to be a match grade rifle by any means, the thing consistently hit what I shot at. The targets I chose were cheap cans of soda bought at the local discount grocer. These were placed at 25, 50, 75 and 100 yards. This little rifle had no trouble in making these bounce and spew the soda all over the place.

After firing about 150-200 rounds through my buddy's gun, I took the liberty of cleaning it for him. This thing was filthy and other than just wiping off the metal and wood, I don't think he had ever give this thing a decent cleaning. This only shows how reliable these guns can be. So this just goes to show that you can't believe everything uttered on the net. If you want something, find one and try it out for yourself. If you like it then buy it. Don't just take others opinions about anything. I wouldn't mind having one of these for myself after trying one. I find them as accurate and reliable as any AK I have dealt with and more comfortable to hold and fire.
Link Posted: 7/5/2002 12:51:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/5/2002 1:06:03 PM EST by ED_P]
When you look at a Mini-14 or Mini-30 with a full mag and the bolt held back, the bullet tip of the next round to be loaded is already about as close as it can physically can be without already being in the chamber when the bolt is about to move forward and load it-
something I wish I saw when I looked into my AR-15 under the same circumstances. I think this short loading distance design has alot to do with it's ability to tolerate poor ammo and filth.

I have had bad experiences with USA mags, double feeds due to bad feed lips- I think the ones they made right before Oct 94 were alot worse.

PMI magazines function flawlessly with my Mini-14, and you can find them new in wrapper, though they almost rival M1-A mags in price these days.

I just wish they'd spend a bit more on the barrel- if they did, I'd choose it over my AR in all circumstances.
Link Posted: 7/5/2002 1:04:43 PM EST
My dad has an old mini 14, a 181 series. Like you, I can hit most everything I shoot at with it. His gun works well with USA mags too.

The reason they are so dirty is they have no gas cylinder. The gas port just blasts the gas pressure back against the operating arm. Once the arm begins to move, the remaining gas pressure exits the gun into the stock.
Link Posted: 7/5/2002 1:10:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/5/2002 1:13:00 PM EST by ED_P]
I kind of like the design, though the gas does blast right back into the cup at the end of the operating rod, then into the stock, I'd rather have it blasting into the cup on the end of the operating rod there, as it is a single big moving part that can get filthy without impacting reliability. And it completely isolates filth from the bolt, trigger group, etc...
Link Posted: 7/5/2002 3:49:00 PM EST
Ed,

I agree with your thoughts on the short feeding distance. I too noticed that the rounds are almost dead level with the chamber and basically feed straight in and this occurs over a very short distance. I just wish mags were cheaper....I have a Mini-14 myself and have a few PMI and John Masen 30 rounders. The John Masen's are actually my favorite. They look and feel more like a factory Ruger mag than any I have tried. But not many people know about them. I also have a few Triple K and USA's that I use for range and back-up's, but they have yet to fail. As long as the mags have a decent spring and the feed lips are bent correctly where rounds cannot jump up from the mag causing double feeds, I don't hardly see how else they can fail. If the Mini was just a bit more accurate, I would have no need for any AR. But as it is I have no problem what-so-ever relying on it anyway. It shoots well enough for my needs.
Link Posted: 7/5/2002 3:51:31 PM EST
I agree w/ your assessment of the mini-30. It is not match quality, but plenty accurate. I'm surrent running a 1x scope that works great. Reliability has been better than my AR or SKS. In fact, its never jammed! I've read that minis are not supposed to digest russian 7.62x39 ammo b/c of cal differences. I don't know whether this is valid or not. As far as mags go, I've had terrible luck w/ hi cap mags, feed lips don not direct bullet tip pass mag wall. ZT
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