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M1A versus Mini-14

This is a discussion on M1A versus Mini-14 within the M1A /M14 Talk forums, part of the Long Gun Talk category; Hello All, I really want an M-14-type rifle for all-around enjoyment, and defense capability in case things go sour. I love the walnut-stocked M1A from ...


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Old 01-06-2011, 01:32 PM   #1
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M1A versus Mini-14

Hello All,
I really want an M-14-type rifle for all-around enjoyment, and defense capability in case things go sour. I love the walnut-stocked M1A from Springfield but I am concerned about the cost. I am on a real budget and I know they run about 1500 new plus .308 is not the cheapest ammo.

I know many disparage the Ruger Mini-14 but some say quality has improved and I know they are about 1/2 the M1A in price and 5.56 is a cheaper round. I also like the smaller size of the Mini but bemoan the loss of punching power the .308 has in an emergency.

I am not interested in an AR or anything else. Is the M1A worth the double price for the purposes of what I want it for? I would appreciate some advice.
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:07 PM   #2
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I have both and each has it's advantages and disadvantages.

The M1A is expensive and heavy. Its mags, ammo and accessories are expensive. It is, IMO, overkill for most self defense purposes.

The Mini 14 is universally badmouthed by internet commandos, though one rarely sees anyone giving one away cheap. The hit on the older ones is due to poor accuracy (allegedly) not quality. I've always seemed to be able to hit what I aim at with mine, so I don't have any excuses. The newer versions are not so bashed as much. They are handy little carbines. Factory mags are expensive compared to AR or AK mags. If you are uncomfortable with the 5.56 consider getting a Mini 30. Same gun, larger bore. Ruger now sells hi-cap factory mags for them.
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:08 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 51st Georgia View Post
Hello All,
I really want an M-14-type rifle for all-around enjoyment, and defense capability in case things go sour. I love the walnut-stocked M1A from Springfield but I am concerned about the cost. I am on a real budget and I know they run about 1500 new plus .308 is not the cheapest ammo.

I know many disparage the Ruger Mini-14 but some say quality has improved and I know they are about 1/2 the M1A in price and 5.56 is a cheaper round. I also like the smaller size of the Mini but bemoan the loss of punching power the .308 has in an emergency.

I am not interested in an AR or anything else. Is the M1A worth the double price for the purposes of what I want it for? I would appreciate some advice.
I have both and got rid of the mini 14. I love the M1A !!!! but you could get a Mini 30 more punch in the 7.62X39 round but again I would go with the M1A
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:47 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zipgun View Post
I have both and each has it's advantages and disadvantages.

The M1A is expensive and heavy. Its mags, ammo and accessories are expensive. It is, IMO, overkill for most self defense purposes.

The Mini 14 is universally badmouthed by internet commandos, though one rarely sees anyone giving one away cheap. The hit on the older ones is due to poor accuracy (allegedly) not quality. I've always seemed to be able to hit what I aim at with mine, so I don't have any excuses. The newer versions are not so bashed as much. They are handy little carbines. Factory mags are expensive compared to AR or AK mags. If you are uncomfortable with the 5.56 consider getting a Mini 30. Same gun, larger bore. Ruger now sells hi-cap factory mags for them.
This jives with what I've read as well. My understanding is that the very thin, lower quality barrels used in older Minis were the cause of much of the accuracy issues. the newer models, which have 58** model numbers, have thicker, cold hammer forged barrels which seem to fix some of the accuracy issues. For the record, I don't own a Mini but I have examined both the older and newer ones and the barrel is noticeably thicker in the new ones.

Now a Mini 14/30 won't be as accurate as an M1A (new Minis seem to be 2-3 MOA from the reports I've seen), but still more than sufficient for defensive shooting, especially considering most SD shootings are at relatively short ranges anyway.

I think the Mini would be a great defensive rifle, especially for the price relative to an M1A and I in fact have put the Mini-14 Tactical toward the top of my gun "wish list".

Like others have said if you want a little more punch, go with the Mini-30, which, like the Mini-14, is now offered in a "tactical" version that has a 16" barrel and a flash suppressor and now has 30 round factory mags available. Either of the Mini's calibers will also be much easier to find and cheaper to buy as well.

Hope this is helpful.
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Old 01-06-2011, 04:54 PM   #5
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Thank you all. This is great information.
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Old 01-06-2011, 09:32 PM   #6
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I had a Mini 30 (I know you said Mini14) because I love the Garand system and thought the little cousin would be great too. I was very disappointed. I glass bedded that rifle with pressure on the barrel just like I have done for my match M1s and M14s, and accuracy barely improved to only about 2" even with handloads. I got rid of it.

I have since heard others had similar issues with Ruger barrel accuracy, and on other Ruger products as well, not just the Mini series. Maybe they have improved the barrels as someone posted, but I would investigate before I jumped. If they have, it is otherwise a great little rifle, but I still like the power of the .308. They do make a bolt-on device that is supposed to stiffen the barrel and improve accuracy. Makes it look kinda like an M14 gas system but longer.

I have AKs that are as accurate as my Mini30 was and more fun, plus gun and mags are cheaper.

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Old 01-07-2011, 06:20 PM   #7
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is there anyone out there who can comment definitively about the barrel issue and Rugers? Have they indeed changed their manufacturing process to correct this? I see lots of posts regarding inaccurate Mini 14s and lots of posts saying "mine shoots great". I was wondering if anyone has seen some reviews or research that comments on this?
I have seen a lot of posts like Charlie XRays saying the Mini 30 was far less accurate than the 14 and the barrel gets super hot after 3 rounds or so. Charlie, was that your experience?

Thanks to all!
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Old 01-07-2011, 06:26 PM   #8
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There is a thread on the new Ruger "Gunsite" Scout rifle. It is expected to retail for half the M1A, but shoot .308 rounds. By all accounts it seems like a winner.

Crazy New Rifle from Ruger!!!
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Old 01-07-2011, 07:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 51st Georgia View Post
is there anyone out there who can comment definitively about the barrel issue and Rugers? Have they indeed changed their manufacturing process to correct this? I see lots of posts regarding inaccurate Mini 14s and lots of posts saying "mine shoots great". I was wondering if anyone has seen some reviews or research that comments on this?
I have seen a lot of posts like Charlie XRays saying the Mini 30 was far less accurate than the 14 and the barrel gets super hot after 3 rounds or so. Charlie, was that your experience?

Thanks to all!
My experience with it was 20+ years ago and I bought it for deer hunting at close ranges. I never noticed a heat issue, but then I generally avoid grabbing barrels when shooting. (I forget that about once every five years and get retrained with blisters.)

I was disappointed in the accuracy and the fact that it did not respond to traditional accuracy improving methods that work on other Garand type systems. I did a lot of experimenting with loads and never found one it liked. To be fair 2" at 100 yards is really more than acceptable for what I intended to use it for, but I was used to better from my M1A and M1s. I guess I was picky. I live with that from my AKs and love them.

I have friends with bolt Rugers and they complained the accuracy was only average. Ruger makes a great product but their barrels sucked back then. Maybe they are better now? But my Remingtons, even my cheap Sportsman 70, once bedded, all shoot under 1" easily with a number of loads. I own a Ruger 1022 Target with a hammer forged barrel, and it is a tack driver, so maybe things have changed.

Back then - sounds like I am an old-timer - there was an outfit in Texas that produced sub-minute Ruger Mini14s, but they put in new barrels, among other things.

Sorry I can't help more. There must be several Ruger forums around. Go lurk on a few and you will probably find your answers.

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Old 01-08-2011, 12:03 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 51st Georgia View Post
is there anyone out there who can comment definitively about the barrel issue and Rugers? Have they indeed changed their manufacturing process to correct this? I see lots of posts regarding inaccurate Mini 14s and lots of posts saying "mine shoots great". I was wondering if anyone has seen some reviews or research that comments on this?
I have seen a lot of posts like Charlie XRays saying the Mini 30 was far less accurate than the 14 and the barrel gets super hot after 3 rounds or so. Charlie, was that your experience?

Thanks to all!
I think this may give you some info on the newer barrels of the Minis. He discusses the newer barrels versus the older ones.


I can't find it at the moment, but I also read an article about 2 years ago written by Ken Jorgensen from Ruger, where he stated that they completely re-tooled to make the newer Mini 14/30s, bringing back one of the original product engineers to supervise the project. IIRC, the article said they spent about 18 months re tooling and re engineering for the Minis before re introducing the newer 580 series (the ones with the newer barrels.) If I can find this article, I'll post it for you.

Hope this helps.
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Stag Arms Model 2 AR-15
S&W M&P22
Walther PPS 9mm

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