By Bad Seed
PART 2 OF 3:
The Ruger Mini-14 is everything that Ruger says it is: light, fast handling, and durable. Right or wrong, Ruger has always marketed the Mini-14 as ranch and varmint rifle. However it also is a viable, high-value defensive rifle choice that makes a lot of sense and thousands of good people have purchased a Mini-14 with that exact use in mind. Nutnfancy has had a lot of trigger time behind Minis and can attest to their durability, reliability, and indeed impressive handling characteristics. For those users wanting customization, the Mini-14 can be outfitted with folding stocks (Butler Creek folder being the best) barrel shrouds, flash suppressors (older Minis), normal capacity magazines, and optics. In recent years the Mini-14 was finally improved by Ruger: thicker, more accurate barrel, an improved synthetic stock, and improved iron peep sights. Nicely done. The Mini-14 represents a good value in tactical carbines that can serve well in the defensive/offensive role as needed by law enforcement, select military users, and good ole civilian sheepdogs. But it has some definite downsides that a potential buyer should consider. First, its touted lightweight will be worsened by the fitment of optics using the heavy steel Ruger rings (included). And the normal capacity. quality magazines for the Mini-14 (like ProMag brand and Ruger factory mags) are usually made of steel and will add even more weight to your loadout (compared to AR-15 alternatives). Other downsides include: still unimpressive accuracy of only about 3 MOA with standard ammo, lack of an integral Picatinny rail system for optics mounting, inability to mount flash suppressors to new Mini-14, lack of accessory railing for light mounts, and a higher cost for magazines. The Target versions of the Mini-14 with their adjustable harmonic barrel dampeners totally correct the accuracy problems inherent in the design and they shoot tight groups. However they are much heavier (add 2 lbs) and more expensive, negating the high value advantage of the Mini-14. The design also comes in 6.8 SPC and 7.62x39mm loadings but their mags are harder still to find and Nutnfancy recommends the standard .223 version unless you want a deer rifle as well (get the 6.8 SPC in that case). Also be advised the 7.62x39mm Mini has a looser chamber to accommodate surplus ammo and it is even more inaccurate. But despite a few drawbacks, the Mini-14 remains a high-selling favorite among American shooters. For defensive use out to 100 yrds, the Mini would serve admirably despite its lack of ultimate accuracy. Couple that will diehard reliability and reasonable cost, the Ruger Mini-14 still remains a smart choice for the tactical carbine buyer.////////////////Nutnfancy Likeability Scale: 7 out of 10///////////////
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