The Ruger Mini Thirty, an Alternative to the AK

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Ruger Mini Thirty

By Sam Trisler


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Ruger Mini 30 16The Mini series rifles from Ruger are nothing new. They have been in production in various forms since 1973, and the action borrows from one that dates from the 1930s. They have shown up in Hollywood too: the original A Team used them. Still, they are a bit of a curiosity. After running this Mini Thirty through its paces, my opinion on them has risen: this is a very capable rifle with a couple of quirks.

Design

The Mini-14 and Mini Thirty (yes, Mini-14 and Mini Thirty) are pretty much the same rifles in different calibers. The 14 is chambered in .223 or 5.56x45mm, while the Thirty fires 7.62×39. The Mini-14 was the first on the market and gets its name from the gun that inspired it, the M-14. If you are a student of U.S. military arms, you will know that the M-14 is pretty much an updated M1 Garand. The Ruger Minis have some nice roots in the family tree.

Ruger Mini 30

The larger .30 caliber round makes the Mini Thirty a great gun for hogs and whitetail and home defense.

Like the rifles that inspired them, the Ruger Minis have Garand-style actions that use fixed-piston gas systems. The receivers and bolts make them look like small Garands. The Minis have the operating rod on the side as well, although it is mostly covered by the hand guard. But that is the design of the Ruger Minis’ actions, scaled-down Garands. It doesn’t get much more American than that. And these are made in the USA. No 922-R to worry about. To some people that is a huge selling point. There are not too many AKs that carry that label, and they sure were not designed in the states.

The Mini Thirty

Ruger has updated the Mini line a handful of times over the years. The review gun Ruger sent us is the current standard model. If you are familiar with Ruger, you will know it makes slight changes to a lot of its products from year to year. This one sports an 18.5-inch barrel. It has a synthetic stock and is in the brushed stainless finish. The rifle weighs in at 6.75 pounds empty. The rear sight is a ghost ring and the front is a post, which is derived from its military lineage. It ships with two 20-round magazines, scope rings and a short piece of Picatinny rail that can be screwed on to the scope mounts. The current line has integral scope bases cast into the top of the receiver. The scope rings that came with the review gun fit one-inch scopes.

The steel magazines are solid as a tank, but they're no AK mags.  And AK mags won't work.  Who made that decision?

The steel magazines are solid as a tank, but they’re no AK mags. And AK mags won’t work. Who made that decision?

One of the complaints about the Minis has been their accuracy. We will get to how well this one preformed in a bit, but Ruger has done some things over the years to make this shoot tighter groups. These changes primarily involve the thickness of the barrel. That’s not to say these are going to be long-range target guns, nor does Ruger market them as such. These are 2-3 MOA guns.

Ruger ships the Mini Thirty with two 20-round magazines or with five-round ones if you are in an area that doesn’t allow the higher capacity. Here we have the first of what I call quirks. These are proprietary mags. Now these are high quality magazines, and I had zero issues with them. However they are not exactly cheap—they retail for about $40. I wish they would have made these compatible with AK or even AR mags. It’s no small gripe when you already have a metric ton of AK and AR mags around. Such a simple design element would be useful. Also in a SHTF scenario, having a weapon that uses a common magazine would be much more beneficial. But the Ruger mags are reliable and well made, and that is what ultimately counts.

When the Hot Shot would fire, the shots were hot.

When the Hot Shot would fire, the shots were hot.

Function

I took the Mini Thirty to the range a couple of times to run it through its paces. The first trip, I ran nothing but the cheapest steel-cased ammo I could find. These were Tula, Hot Shot and Monarch. These all fed and cycled as they should, but there were a number of misfires. The firing pin looked to be making a nice deep hits, but these are all known to have hard primers. There are aftermarket hammer springs that are stronger for this reason. Another quirk? Or the cost of shooting cheap ammo?

On the second trip, I also shot some Winchester PDX1 Defender that all fired without a problem. I experienced some more misfires with the Tula and the Hot Shot. The Hot Shot was by far the worst. The Tula seemed to have one or two misfires per box of 20. If I rechambered them, they would usually fire after the second strike. If I were going to use this Mini as a cheap round range plinker, I would definitely change out the hammer spring and see if that helps.

Ruger Mini 30

Tula produced more consistent results, were the fastest, and the most accurate.

Range Numbers

The second trip to the range, I set up the chrony to take a few readings. I tested the Hot Shot 123gr, Tula 122 gr and the Winchester PDX1 Defender 120 gr. The Tula was the hottest, with an average of 2,443 ft/s, with the Winchester being the slowest at 2,317 ft/s. The Hotshot came in at 2,380 ft/s.

Accuracy

On the first trip to the range with the Mini Thirty, I used the stock ghost ring sights. I used my portable shooting bench and lead sled to see how close the sights were set out of the box. They were spot-on at 30 and 50 yards. Even with the cheap steel-cased ammo I was feeding, I was able to get nice tight groups of about one inch when the barrel was cold. That is the key here and another quirk. With a cold bore, this rifle is a tack driver. But when it warms up, it really starts to scatter the rounds. It took four or five rounds to get the barrel hot enough that accuracy started to fall off. This was the case with all of the different ammo.

Ruger Mini 30

With a hot barrel, the points of impact drifts. Just shoot the deer once and you’ll be fine.

On the second trip, I mounted up a Leupold 3-9×40 on the supplied Ruger rings. The rings mounted to the rifle with ease but the rings themselves had a few gaps that really should be lapped out. After sighting it in at 30 yards, I moved out to 100 and used the bench and sled. The first couple of shots from 100 yards were dead on, sub-MOA groups, but only for two shots. The third shot would usually be a couple of inches high, the fourth even higher and the ones after were three to four inches from the bulls eye in all directions. At first I thought the scope rings had shifted, but this was not the case. After letting the barrel cool down for 10 or 15 minutes it would tack drive the first two rounds then start to open up.

After shooting some patterns on a Birchwood Casey Pregame Whitetail Deer Target (which is surprisingly small at 100 yards), I moved over to a 12-inch steel plate. I shot these off hand. I loaded up 20 rounds of Tulammo and was able to consistently ring the steel from 100 yards. Eighteen out of 20 hits was the norm. The two misses were probably shooter error.

Ruger Mini 30

The trigger on the Mini Thirty breaks just over five pounds.

The Mini Thirty is a lot of fun to shoot. The 7.62×39 round is a good cheap plinker, and the recoil is very mild and not fatiguing. Ringing steel at 100 yards was where I really enjoyed shooting this. Even with the diminished accuracy of a hot barrel, the Mini Thirty would make the steel ring without fail. The trigger on this was actually pretty nice. There was a little bit of creep but no grit. The trigger broke cleanly at 5.1 pounds. Granted, that is heavy for a target rifle, but that’s not what the Mini Thirty is.

So what is it?

I have a little bit of a hard time finding where the Mini Thirty fits in to the range of firearms classifications. It’s not on the ban list in most places that have those. It is not a military arm, although it has been and continues to be used by law enforcement agencies. The Garand-style action does have a military history, though. It does use less-than-standard capacity magazines (if you consider 30 rounds the standard) but ships with five-round magazines to areas with a ban (which will still make a California Democrat wet the bed). It’s not a target rifle, although with a cold bore it is capable of sub-MOA shots. The 7.62 round, when loaded with soft points, makes a good 100-150 yard whitetail cartridge. The ballistics are very similar to the classic Winchester 30-30.

This is a no frills rifle, which is part of its appeal.

This is a no frills rifle, which is part of its appeal.

Thoughts

I liked the Mini Thirty a lot. I was a bit disappointed in how much the accuracy was affected by the hot barrel. That’s its final quirk. There are some aftermarket parts that are supposed to address this issue that I would really like to try out. It’s not accurate enough to be a competition target rifle. I would take it hunting though. It would be great as a brush gun or in other areas where your shots would not be much over 150 yards. The round is capable of taking deer and hog-size game and, with the cold bore shots common to most hunting situations, I would not be afraid of the rifle not doing its part. The magazine being proprietary is at most annoying for availability and price. but it does what it is supposed to. I can’t blame the rifle for the trouble with the hard primers on cheap ammo. If it had the same issues with the better-made Winchester stuff, I would have an issue with it. I do think that swapping to a higher-power hammer spring should fix this.
The Mini Thirty has an MSRP of $1039. The street price is lower, $750-775. Being able to plink with cheap ammo is one reason people buy rifles chambered for 7.62×39, but the Ruger Mini Thirty is so much more than that. These guns were good enough for the A Team, which is good enough for me.


Ruger Mini 30

Unlike the AK, the gas system is under the barrel.

 

The front sight is a wide post well protected by the two wings.

The front sight is a wide post well protected by the two wings.

 

Ruger Mini 30

The mag well is a bit snug, but easy enough to use.

 

Ruger Mini 30

The safety is easy to use, but makes a loud click when taken off.

 

Ruger Mini 30

The group on the left, the small one, was shot with a cold barrel. The larger mess was shot with three different ammo types.

 

The Mini Thirty is kind of like a pickup truck.  It goes well with a baseball hat and a pair of ratty jeans.

The Mini Thirty is kind of like a pickup truck. It goes well with a baseball hat and a pair of ratty jeans.

 

Ruger Mini 30

It doesn’t take many shots to get the gun hot enough to effect accuracy.

 

Ruger Mini 30

The scope rings are solid, but really should be lapped to true them up.


Ruger Mini 30

The bulge on the handguard covers the operating rod.

 

Ruger Mini 30

There are no ramps inside, as rounds are fed straight in.

 

Ruger Mini 30

The mags need to be rocked in, just like other 7.62 rifles.

 

Ruger Mini 30

The Winchester needed to be sighted in separately, as it shot lower than the others.

 

The one appeal of the 20 round mag comes when you put it in a sled, as it fits where a typical AK won't.

The one appeal of the 20 round mag comes when you put it in a sled, as it fits where a typical AK won’t.

 

Ruger Mini 30

A cold Mini Thirty shoots to point of aim at 25 (left) or 100 (right) yards.

 

Ruger Mini 30

The branding on the gun is very subtle.

 

Ruger Mini 30

The 3-9×40 is ideal for the potential range of the Mini Thirty.

{ 96 comments… add one }
  • John E February 2, 2017, 8:38 pm

    Nice writing very informative good photos no bull!

  • David January 10, 2017, 11:26 am

    I just don’t get people. Why do they feel the need to bash something just because it’s different and praise one specific style of product? The mini is a great rifle. It was not designed to be an AK, It’s Not designed to be an ar15… it is what it is. It’s a different take on 2 very popular calibers. For people who like the garand style action, but don’t want a full power round, or pay 1800 dollars for a gun, it is a great option. To keep bashing it because it’s not an AK is pretty pointless, because in no way is it even remotely close to one, other than the round… just like their are thousands of 9mm guns, hundreds of 5.56 guns, from bullpups to bolt action and pistols… the mini is simply just another take on a great caliber.. EVERY factory mini 14 or thirty has trouble with steel cased ammo, thats just how the gun is. Their is no perfect firearm.. EVERY SINGLE ONE has its pros and cons..no need to bash it man.. not every rifle is designed to be fired at a 5 inch target at 400 yards and score a 2 inch group.. I personally do not find that style of shooting very enjoyable anyways. This is a run and gun type weapon.

    • Mario June 16, 2017, 9:42 pm

      I couldn’t agree with you more, I just got my hands on a Mini 30 and I love it, I’m not trying to sit here and say it’s the best rifle I’ve ever shot, but I did get a good deal on the rifle (it was used) and I couldn’t pass it up. I’ve only run a couple hundred rounds thru it but for what it is, I really enjoy shooting it.

  • Wake_UP_America September 30, 2016, 4:28 pm

    AR’s work just fine for me! The situation with the magazines alone is a solid reason to consider them. I am not getting a damn Ruger and having to play their games with the over priced mags, etc, etc, no thanks. I will go to war with my AR 15, thank you.

  • Jon September 4, 2016, 5:16 pm

    I have both Mini-14 and a Mini-30. I studied the problem of barrel heating and it’s interaction with the gas block, and finally arrived with a device that called the Gas Block Thermal Stabilizer, with it’s purpose to drain heat away from the barrel. After a lot of work, I was able to shoot dime sized groups from the 14 and MOA sized groups from the 30 on a frequent basis. There are other struts out there that just stiffen the barrel, but the one I developed actually greatly kept the barrel cooler and greatly increased the duration of shooting and barrel life.

    • Keith Soisson February 8, 2017, 9:26 pm

      Where did you get the block stabilizer. I have a mini 14 I wouldn’t give up to anything.I get a 2 inch group at a hundred yards even after 30 or 50 rounds. People listen t stories of before ruger made improvements an axe the barrel thicker. I’ve had two bushmasters and Ill take my mini 14 any day, it’s a lot more fun.

  • Dave July 9, 2016, 1:45 pm

    The mini 30 is the T-type of rifels it Can run 10 sec 1/4 miles for little money and is considered a family car nobody knows that it has a Buick GN moter lurking in it.

  • Rfacemyer July 5, 2016, 4:29 pm

    I own a modern mini 30. I deer hunt with it and it is a good rifle. This article mentions problems with shooting tulammo rounds. Yes…a problem. I solved this problem because I looked at the firing pin and saw it was “mushroomed”. I believe the firing pin is a softer steel and I replaced it with a hardened steel aftermarket firing pin that was a little longer also. SHAZAM. No more misfired using tulammo after many hundred rounds. I did not replace the spring. I like my mini 30….a lot.

    R in missouri

    • Jon September 4, 2016, 5:22 pm

      Where did you find your hardened firing pin? I tried the heavier spring, and it actually made the Wolf, Tul etc. misfire worse for some reason. I noticed that the AK and the SKS firing pin strikes are pretty “dead center” in the primer, and the Mini-30 is noticeably off center. The Berdan primers use a center nipple to crush the priming compound, and it makes some sense that the Ruger is off just enough to cause some misfires. Still working on it…

      • Pete December 28, 2016, 12:43 am

        I bought my mini 30 a year ago and after reading the comments about misfires with Russian ammo I took the firing pin out of the bolt and stoned the shoulder back so that more of the pin would protrude from the face of the bolt. I haven’t had any misfires with Tulammo which is the only Russian ammo I have used but I have shot a lot of it.

  • John June 12, 2016, 12:48 pm

    I was considering picking up a Mini 14 as an addition to my AR’s, when I came across this review. I’ve never had any experience with a mini 30, but from the looks of things, if you want a rifle to shoot 7.62×39 why not just acquire the original – an AK or SKS?
    I have a variety of rifles – I have 7.62×54 Russian, a 300 Win Mag, an M4, an AR 15A2, and a Win 30-30. They all have their purpose. Except for building the AR’s none have been modified and they all work as they were designed. If it works don’t fix it. Shoot what you’re comfortable with. The opinions expressed here are great, but I’m with a lot of the folks here in the opinion that it shouldn’t have to be modified to perform it’s intended purpose. As of the moment and after reading several reviews on the mini 30, I choose not to own one, I’ll just have to decide which rifle I need to accomplish the task at hand – Whether it’s target shooting, home defense, or taking down a buffalo at 1/2 mile.

    Happy Trails, and Good Hunting

    • RL June 16, 2016, 8:34 pm

      And a mini 14 takes what rounds, right 223
      And what round does an AK take, right 7.62 x 39 just like a mini 30
      So what is the difference in the comparing the two sets, right

  • Andy May 8, 2016, 9:04 am

    Have a Mini 30 i bought last year at gun show in va and an CAI Pap Ak 47 i bought a couple years ago both good guns have had no feeding problems with tula or wolf ammo and both have been very accurate out 100 yds, havent shot past that, never really had to so can’t say on accuracy past 100 yds

  • Jon Krüger January 20, 2016, 7:35 pm

    I had the same problem with light strikes on steel-cased ammo. Changed out hammer spring for Wolf extra-power, but it made no difference. It turned out the problem is: firing pin protrusion beyond the bolt face is not enough. Changed firing pin for Glend Arms oversize firing pin, and that fixed it! Depth of indentation in primers now matches ammo fired from AK47. Never misses a beat.
    (The ad says Mini-14 firing pin but the Mini-30 takes the same size pin)
    http://www.midwayusa.com/product/988708/glend-arms-oversize-firing-pin-ruger-mini-14
    (The ad says Mini-14 firing pin but the Mini-30 takes the same size pin)

  • Steelshooter January 1, 2016, 7:13 pm

    Never ever unless it’s an emergency do a double strike on a bad primer. Two reasons. If the cartridge is removed and returned to the chamber the firing pin may be mis-aligned and break. The firing pin may pierce the primer.

  • David December 5, 2015, 3:01 pm

    Hey don’t be scared to use a mini-30 it’s a damn good rifle it will hang with a AK on anything its wants to do. In my opium the mini 30 is a better rifle. I should know I have AK’s AR’s HK’s Galil and the one i prefer is the mini-30 its what you can hit something with how fast does it come into action, how does it point, can you throw your AK up to fire and be on target Yes maybe you can but have you tried the Mini-30. I had a problem firing the cheap ammo but i did a firing pin job and a couple of stiffer springs and that solved that problem several 1000 rd later no miss fires from light strike of the primers that is why a Mini 30 miss fires on cheap ammo doesn’t strike it hard and far enough to go bang. Mine has a 18.5 stainless steel barrel and is very accurate. So don’t run it down tell you try it for the money its the best thing going.

  • sandog November 26, 2015, 12:55 pm

    If your Mini is a 7 MOA or 10 MOA carbine, you are doing something wrong. Mine shoots 1 MOA with my hand loads, and 1 1/2 MOA with good brass case ammo like PMC or PPU. Putting an Accustrut under the barrel virtually eliminates vertical stringing as the barrel warms, and acting as a heat sink, keeps the barrel from getting as warm in the first place. On the older skinny (.560″) barrel Mini’s the strut will really cut the size of your groups.
    Mini’s are made to fire brass cased Boxer primed ammo. They do this with great reliability. If you want something that will fire Com-Bloc ammo just buy an AK or SKS. Or fit a spare firing pin for your Mini that has a bit more protrusion out of the bolt face.
    DO NOT just install a heavier hammer spring to try to increase reliability when shooting Berdan primed import ammo. All that will do is slam your firing pin into the inside of the bolt harder with no where for it to go with the increased strike from a heavier hammer spring. It will greatly increase the probability that your pin will break.
    And I would not modify your factory firing pin either. Ruger will not sell you a spare pin, unless you send the Mini back to them for fitting and test firing. Mini bolts and firing pins are not “one size fits all” like some other platforms. My two Mini-30’s are from the same production run (189 series), but the bolt and firing pin fit is different.
    Get a spare pin off of E-bay from a Florida company called Iron Sight Precision. These are quality heat treated stainless steel pins that are a bit oversize so you have some extra material to fit to your bolt.
    I shoot quality reloads out of my Mini’s using PPU bras and Hornady .310 diameter bullets. But if one day I have to shoot a bunch of steel case Russian ammo, I can take a few minutes and slip in my spare pin, which has been test fired with 100 % reliability with several brands of import ammo.

  • Don November 5, 2015, 5:37 pm

    I have a new Mini 30 stainless topped with a P-223 1.5 x 4.5 The first 20 round mag was Tulammo FMJ and I had 3 FtoF in the first 40 rounds. Then I loadede up the even cheaper Monarch and put 600 down range with no FtoF. The next day I loaded up two mags with Tulammo and all of them shot. My groups were 2″ at 100 yards even when the barrel was hot. I know the scope is for an AR but it looks right on my 30. The gun & scope costs me under $900 with my military discount. I used one of my old M-16 issue slings looks right on this gun. As you know Ruger provides scope rings and they look right. I dont want an AK or AR if you do then good for you.

  • W J Fortner October 24, 2015, 12:30 am

    American Gun Companies Do Not Want Gun Owners To Shoot Foreign Ammunition. ENUFF SAID!!

  • james October 15, 2015, 9:25 pm

    These fools talking about AKs have no clue, the mini is 4 times more accurate than an AK, 1/2 the recoil. Just as rugged. I wouldn’t pay for an AK, i’ll take a pellet gun over an AK. It is nothing but junk. When you fight someone who has an AK all you have to do is walk straight at them with a slow leisurely gait they will never touch you. You will be lucky to hit a milk jug at 25 yards with an AK. Its nothing but a piece of junk.

    • JR February 5, 2016, 3:50 pm

      Funny, why is it that I can, with consistency, hit a man sized steel silhouette at 400 yards with my Arsenal AK? Which, BTW I traded a mini 30 for and have never looked back.

    • DiverEngrSL17K June 28, 2016, 9:04 pm

      You really are an ignorant, arrogant jackass, aren’t you?

      • Marvin Tanner September 28, 2016, 10:18 am

        Men we should stand together as Americans and not fight each other. i have quality ruger mini 30, 14 and a century arms ak made in America. They all are accurate and great. You get what you pay for, lets save our hate and anger for the foreign bastard that want us dead, not each other. Have a great day! God Bless America. Call sign Michael Tango Whiskey, X covert operative

    • Wake_UP_America September 30, 2016, 4:17 pm

      Hmmm sure is odd that the AK really is the rifle of the WORLD, other than the US which of course is the AR-15. . . .there must something about them there AK’s partner.

    • Rita Beigh July 16, 2017, 12:40 pm

      As a Vietnam vet I can tell you that there are a whole bunch of dead people who, if they were able, would disagree with that ridiculous hyperbole. If it were legal to do so I would love to see you put your money where your mouth is.

  • Chad Sondersen June 14, 2015, 11:08 am

    I purchased a Mini 30 about a month ago, knowing its not an AK47. If I wanted an AK I would have purchased one. Its a great gun to take with in your truck or quad. Good accuracy from the iron sights. I havent had any feed problems with non Ruger magazines. Had some problems with some very old steel casings (I think they were Wolf rounds) but the Tulammo works fine. I dont need to shoot 500 rounds at a target 200 yards away. More like shoot 3 or 4 rounds at a target 70 yards away. Im happy with the gun. Argue all you want, but I am happy with with the platform. This updated Mini 30 is a lot more accurate than my Mini 14s, one being from 1982 the other from 1994; and you can actually see out of the updated sights. Oh and by the way a pieced together ak-47 will run you $600+ and a nice one will run you $700+ here in Montana. I paid $799 for the Ruger.

  • Wheelgunner July 10, 2014, 3:23 am

    I wouldn’t get one because the A-Team used them. The A-Team fired thousands of rounds and never hit anyone. If they were Special Forces maybe that was why we lost Viet Nam.

    • Phil December 24, 2014, 12:06 am

      That’s old TV, had to get past the cencors to show it.

  • Philip Goodale July 1, 2014, 8:35 pm

    I had a Mini-14, and a Mini 30 both, and because of the cost of ammo given what I wanted to use it for so I sold the Mini 14 and never had regretted it. My gun is about 6 years old and I am happier with this rifle than any I have ever owned.

  • Zeus July 1, 2014, 8:31 pm

    Have a Norinco so called para trooper SKS that IS a tack driver out to 75 yds. Beats hell outta the Mini-30 and if I want a 30 rd mag. no problem. Taking my time…10 mins. They look so much better with the blond wood stock. Well Freakenstein would pee her pants.

    • Phil December 24, 2014, 12:27 am

      I’ll stick with the 14, despite the AR guys dis it.

  • Giterdone July 1, 2014, 6:39 pm

    Is Ruger still going with the .308 bore size rather than the .310 bore size for the 7.62×39? I know that two expander’s are provided with some reloading dies for that reason. Maybe this contributes to the accuracy problem?

  • Browser July 1, 2014, 1:29 pm

    A rifle that “patterns” is good for what now?

  • Robert July 1, 2014, 8:03 am

    I have shot several Mini-14’s, and half of were tackdrivers and the other half shot patterns, not groups. For the money I’ll stick with an AR-15.
    If you absolutely, positively have to have a 7.62X39, then you can get a Mini Thirty and accurize it, or just buy an AR-10 and call it done!

  • D. Hicks June 30, 2014, 9:29 pm

    Mini 14 isn’t the action more like an M-1 carbine ? AK47 up against anything< I'll take anything else. The AK 47's have a weak recoil spring better have an extra.Ar 15's M 16's are better and proven.I my self shot an M-16 full auto over 5000 rounds ,that's right FIVE thousand rounds,with out cleaning NO jams No misfires no problems.The 7.62×39 is just not accurate.as where the .223/5.56 is.As far as impact the 223 out preforms the 7.62×39,ask any one who has been in harms way. Hey what did happen to the XGI? I was told years ago that the XGI wasn't heavy enough ,receiver bolt barrel. The rumor was barrel bursting.the 7.62×51/.308 was to much for the design,so Ruger dropped the project.

  • John L June 30, 2014, 9:25 pm

    The A Team TV show was produced from 1983 to 1987. Ruger didn’t introduce the Mini-30 until 1987. I SERIOUSLY doubt that you know what you are talking about when you say they used the Mini-30. As a former owner of BOTH the Mini-14 and Mini-30 at the same time, I can also state that it’s fairly obvious that you can tell the difference between the 14 and the 30 just by looking at the magazines. Watch ANY episode of the A-team and you can tell that they are using the Mini-14 because the 30 round magazines aren’t curved like they are for the Mini-30. Mini-30 magazines almost look like AK magazines. They have that drastic curve to them that is VERY distinctive. Unfortunately, YOU seem to have missed that OBVIOUS fact.

    • D. Hicks July 1, 2014, 5:48 pm

      I’m glad you mentioned this. Your comments are on target.

      • John L July 2, 2014, 8:41 am

        Here is a link to a video of the classis tv series. >> http://youtu.be/u7rKHs4v-CM
        Start at about 2:20 into it. You can clearly see that they are using 40 round Mini-14 magazines. Another clue is the M-14 style pin on flash hider. These flash hiders don’t fit the Mini-30. The barrel diameter is larger and you have to have the flash hider bored out and the slot for the front site widened in order to make them fit. (That’s what I did to mine.)
        If they were using Mini-30’s, those magazines would have curved around so much that the bottoms would have practically been pointing forward.

  • montewhiteowl June 30, 2014, 8:30 pm

    the ruger company has been a favorite for a long time now,however the wish list has been diminished because of their propriotory magazine fetish,i am speaking of the scout rifle that I love and would own at least two in my family and the mini 14 which I owned and sold because of the magazine issues and being common only to the one rifle,now you can spend thousand plus on their new ar rifles but the mini thirty would have been kickass if it had commonality with other rifles in this caliber,i love this American company but someone has dropped the ball as far as I am concerned. no more redhawk,no more common rifles with ironsites. try to find an American rifle with ironsites in 30-06 for example.looking hard at zastava right now..but anyway you get my point,love my 10-22 right

    • Michael January 24, 2016, 9:52 pm

      Try the Remington 700 BDL – it comes standard with good iron sights.

  • GKJ June 30, 2014, 8:00 pm

    I recently purchased the carbine version and I also have a mini chambered in 6.8 SPC. I paid $ 700 for each of them. I have not had any problems with them and like them a lot for what they are supposed to do. For me that is shoot and not fail to eject or jam. I have not had either problem these rifles. They have chambered, fired, and ejected very cheap ammo and very expensive ammo without fail – both rifles. I wanted a short range automatic deer rifle and that is what I got. I have a Redfield 2×7 on one and a Leupold 2×7 on the other and have not looked back. I settled on the Hornady 120 gr SST in the 6.8 SPC and the Federal Fusion 123 gr load in the bitty Russian – which was the most accurate of the 10 or 15 I tried. That being said, I have wondered about the change in accuracy I always seems to experience and settled on 3 shot strings and waiting at least 30 minutes, sometimes an hour (in the summer heat) before shooting a second group when I was actually shooting for accuracy. Both rifles have that same quirk and it is pretty acute – now I know why. Excellent review and I learned something and I would purchase both firearms again given the choice.

  • Glenn June 30, 2014, 7:06 pm

    Ruger has a history of making some awesome guns, then screwing them up with some really dumb choices,,, I remember the 44mag version of the 10/22 action. it only had a 5 round magazine, if Ruger would have made 20 round mags for that rifle it would have won security contracts and been the ultimate ranch rifle.
    Now a mini14 chambered in 7.62 Russian that won”t accept the Eastern Block 30 round mags…?,, really DUMB….!
    I guess Ruger likes shooting their sales in the foot, WHY..?,, who knows. But only a fool would spend crazy cash for a 7.62X39 that doesn’t take AK47 mags,,, thus the SKS is a much better alternative to the stupid Ruger mini-30. For varmit extermination, security work or just a fun shooting hobby, Ruger missed the boat, AGAIN….!

  • OFBG June 30, 2014, 5:01 pm

    Just an aside relative to the “Mini” rifles Garand ancestry: a couple decades (more or less)ago Ruger generated some interest by cataloguing the “XGI”, another Garand-type rifle (in .308), but it never appeared. I remember seeing “production issues” cited as the reason. Might have been interesting, but I also recall that at the time you could still get an actual Garand from DCM for less than $400.

  • Dough June 30, 2014, 4:42 pm

    I really like my Mini 30, although it does lack in the accuracy department. Much to my luck (?) the only ammo I have found it will shoot without fail is Tula. I have tried Wolf, Federal, surplus and a host of other brands and have a fail to fire about every 3rd to 5th round. Any thoughts? Should I be happy with tula and not mess with it or try to fix it?

  • Ed Day June 30, 2014, 4:34 pm

    The Mini Thirty is a fine weapon, use the recommended ammo, add a stabilizer system and you’ll have a tool that will be around for generations.

  • Steve June 30, 2014, 3:55 pm

    I have a couple Mini-14s and one Mini-30 and both the 14s are utterly reliable but only moderately accurate (3″ @ 100 yards) but the Mini-30 is a totally different story. I have tried several different types of magazines, with a minimum of six of each type and the only one I consider moderately reliable is the factory five round magazine. I tried two different 20-rounders and three different 30- rounders and none will fire more than five rounds without the gun jamming. When I can get it to shoot (5-round mag) the best accuracy I can get is 3-4″ groups. I also have a SKS, AK-47, and a AK-74 and despite firing well over a thousand rounds through each I can’t remember a single malfunction or jam; even the SKS! I keep the Mini-30 only because my wife likes it since I put it in a modern polymer chassis. I do NOT recommend the Mini-30 to any one. Although not accurate the AKs truly are absolutely reliable.

  • Greg June 30, 2014, 3:52 pm

    On the plus side, the Mini-30 is a fun rifle to shoot.
    To be kind to Ruger, I will only make the following three comments.
    First). Mine was sold because it was unreliable. I will not keep any firearm that will not accept any ammo off the shelf. A letter to Ruger about using steel cased ammo was answered by stating “that their guns are not designed to shoot foreign steel cased or berdan primed ammo, for best results use only quality American made brass cased ammo”. This really dumb! If I’m going to shoot $20.00 + a box ammo then it’s not going to be 7.6239.
    Second). I talked to a couple of local gunsmiths about this problem, and both told me the only way to solve this issue was to install a “Wolff Heavy Hammer Spring”. Both also stated that there is a better than average chance that the firing pin will break when this spring is used. Installation of this spring VOIDS Rugers Warranty, so if you do this your own your own.
    Third). The Mini-30 costs more than many AK’s, as well as factory magazines are way more expensive.

  • Lew June 30, 2014, 3:18 pm

    My issue Garand was a tack driver at 500 yards with open sights.
    Comparing this scatter gun to a Garand is truly a folly.
    I enjoy my AK with red dot (avoiding the short sight radius issue) for plinking with bulk priced ammo. At this time it is the only affordable plinker I can use (although I bought my AK prior to the huge mark up caused by the Obama nonsense).

    Ruger has known about the issues cited in your article for years/decades, why do they refuse to rectify those and restore the Garand reputation? The bean counters run Ruger these days….sigh.

    • Jon October 18, 2016, 10:15 am

      With a little tinkering on my 1980’s Mini 30, and handloaded ammo, at my last trip to the range I was able to pull out a 3/4″ group at 200 yards. I have also replaced the firing pin due to steel case Russian Wolf ammo mis-fires, and at the same range, Wolf ammo turned in a 3″ group at 200 yards, slightly higher and same to the left of my 150 gr. handloads, but both very acceptable. No more misfires either with the new firing pin. I also replaced the gas port to stop case extraction from being lethal to any by standers, and a recoil buffer to “gently” stop the bolt recoil. It is a very sweet, reliable and accurate shooter,

  • Mike June 30, 2014, 2:59 pm

    I (and others) have had good success fixing the steel-cased ammo issue by polishing off the burr that Ruger leaves on the face of the bolt around the firing pin hole. This little raised “pimple” apparently impacts and deforms the hard (which is to say stiff) primer without setting it off. Then when the firing pin comes forward it is hitting in the middle of a shallow dent – it doesn’t get a clean, deep strike. If you find you have this “pimple” try taking it off GENTLY with a polishing stone. Do not remove metal from the rest of the bolt face, you’ll affect the headspacing. This would be an easy fix for Ruger, though it would add 10 minutes to the production time of each rifle and I am sure that has something to do with it.

  • JtothaK June 30, 2014, 12:32 pm

    If Ruger truly updated the mini-30, I believe they would have a very,very popular rifle and one that would actually compete with a rifle that does all the things a mini-30 SHOULD do (AK):

    – Redesign to accept AK mags
    – Resolve the accuracy problem: at least make it as accurate as a good quality AK
    – Fix the light primer strike problem: the reality is that the overwhelming majority of 7.62×39 ammo available requires heavy primer strikes
    – Sell these updated versions with and without magazines in the $600-700 range

    I (and probably a lot of other 7.62×39 shooters) would buy one of these in a second given the current cost of a decent AK.

    Until then and in light of the AK platform, the mini-30 is nothing more than a novelty weapon that the A-team used: marketed to use a cheap Russian designed surplus round yet it never really accomplishes that purpose due to poor design and performance issues.

    • Jeff June 30, 2014, 7:30 pm

      While I understand the desire to have this gun take AK mags, it sort of kills one of the benefits this gun has over the AK — it has a last round bolt hold open. Two possibly better alternatives would be: 1) Ruger could make a rock-solid 30-round mag for the gun and sell it for a reasonble / semi-competitive price (say $25 – $28), or 2) Ruger could make the gun take VZ 58 mags. In general, I think people make too big of an issue out of proprietary magazines. As long as the mags are reasonably priced, or standard capacity, and reliable, it’s really not that big of a deal, IMHO.

  • Jeff June 30, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Couple of comments here:

    1) If you want a thicker and slightly shorter barrel, Ruger does sell the Mini 30 Tactical wich has a thicker, 16.1 inch barrel. Reports on that rifle are much better around accuracy during extended shooting, with the average report claiming a solid sub 2.0 MOA with decent ammo for 5 shot groups.

    2) Ruger states up-front that the gun is not designed to shoot steel cased or berdan primed ammo. I think this is stupid, but it’s how it is, and therefore it seems silly for this review not to mention that, or to fault the gun for having malfunctions when firing exactly the ammo the manufacturer tells buyers not to use. That said, most Mini 30s have at least one brand of cheapo steel cased ammo that work fairly reliably for plinking purposes. Still the gun was envisioned as a American hunting rifle and intended to use American hunting ammo, meaning quality brass cased, boxer primed ammo. So if you want flawless functioning buy that.

    3) If you already have a non-tractical model and have stringing issues, there are a number of solutions for this. One is to buy a stabilizing bar, like an Accu-Strut or HarBar and such. These are known to cut hot-barrel group sizes in half. Another is to ship the rifle off to a company like 300 below and have them cryogenically treat the barrel to reduce stringing. I know cryo-treating is somewhat controversial, but people who have done that for their mini 30s and mini 14s have reported good results.

    4) In terms of other comments on this post, keep in mind that sometime in 2005 or 2006, Ruger re-tooled their Mini production and added in the (slightly) thicker barrels. So experience with Minis from a decade or two decades ago isn’t really relevant or accurate for determining the performance of newer Minis.

    5) While there are a lot of solutions to the quirks mentioned in the article, most of them add to the cost of the gun. And some quirks, like the expensive 20-round only mags, can’t be fixed. For these reasons, I opted for the VZ2008, which is cheaper to begin with, has none of the quirks, and comes with plentiful and relatively inexpensive 30 rounders.

    • JtothaK June 30, 2014, 4:49 pm

      Never heard of the VZ2008 so I just checked it out and like what I see. Seems like a fantastic price and I like some of the design changes (ambi safety, milled yet lighter, etc.).

    • Chris October 22, 2014, 12:31 pm

      I have had a Mini-14 for 30 years and it still works great! My Mini-30 I have only had for 6 years but it shoots all ammo without any FTF, Wolf, Tula, Bear, etc. Put over 1800 rds in it so far. Keeps about 1.5 MOA. Shot 4 deer, 1 shot kills from 75 to 198 yds (verified with my laser range finder). Used 123gr softpoint Bear ammo for all. Did add a barrel stabilizer (mo-rod from sunfloweroutdoorsports.com/MO-ROD-MO-REAPER). On the mags, after trying some of the non factory 30 rd mags I did a careful inspection on them vs factory and noted most did not have back edge notched to allow bolt to go forward, a little file work ended that issue and they function fine. Shot 10s of thousand rds from ARs and like them but the mini’s are fine. Just shoot what you like and I like American made Garand style arms without a hand grip.

  • Joe Mercer WI June 30, 2014, 12:05 pm

    I LOVE my Mini-14! It is by far my favorite rifle. I haven’t had any FTF or FTE with about 1500 rounds through it (see below). I also have not experienced any accuracy loss when the barrel gets hot,, and trust me when I go to the range with that rifle, the barrel gets hot. Its shoots the Russian plinking ammo just fine (Wolf). The only “downside” which really doesn’t bother me is you MUST purchase Ruger magazines. I’ve purchased cheaper mags, and it does fail to feed with the cheaper magazines. However with the Ruger magazines, no problems whatsoever. So that would be one up on the Mini’s for AR’s.

  • Grifhunter June 30, 2014, 11:10 am

    Comparing the Mini Thirty to an AK is apples and oranges. The Mini is a 6 1/2 pound rifle with no pretensions toward full auto or sniper/battle use in .30 caliber. The AK and Saiga’s with similar barrel lengths weigh 8+ lbs. Sustained MOA fire in a rifle in this weight, burning .30 caliber powder amounts isn’t gonna happen, but the rifle wasn’t designed for it. Its a fun, light carbine with designs more for trail hunting pigs and deer, like a Remington 7500.

    Using brass ammo this rifle will serve well for home defense, starting out a new shooter, truck gun and backup deer rifle. Not everybody buys a rifle for survivalist fantasy making.

  • Ryan June 30, 2014, 10:22 am

    Great article SAM. This was a very interesting review to read. You should tread lightly when bashing the AK style platform, it is the worlds most popular and recognizable firearm ever developed and it is or has been used by every major military in the world. I have always liked the Ruger mini series as well as the AK style rifles, and although the AK was not developed in the United States, neither was the Garand in which the Ruger Mini series was copied from. The Garand was designed in Canada, not the States in which you imply during the end of the third paragraph of this article. So, although the Garand was adopted for use in the US military, it is just as foreign as the AK style rifles.

    • Muhjesbude June 30, 2014, 12:34 pm

      Just because it was the world’s ‘most popular’ and can be said to be the ‘most lethal’ cartridge ever invented due to the sheer numerics of the AK platform- which is due to a very UNRELATED aspect of why most of us buy and use guns–DOES NOT MEAN IT IS THE BEST PLATFORM.

      Otherwise advancing middle East forces (and even the Viet Cong back in the day) always toss their AK’s to one of the ‘kids’ every time they get a chance to pick up a battlefield AR-15.

      I guess that now that we finally got the mythical .45 v. 9mm power debate put to rest, at least among the living!

      We’ll now perpetuate the AK v. AR myth for a couple more generations?

    • Nascar59 June 30, 2014, 10:40 pm

      Actually, you are wrong about this. Although John C. Garand was born in Canada, the rifle he designed, was done entirely in the US under his guidance.

    • Emo July 1, 2014, 1:13 am

      The Garand was designed in the U.S. BY a Canadian.

    • Frank Johnson January 6, 2016, 10:38 pm

      I think Canada is a LOT less foreign than Russia.

  • Clayton Boutian June 30, 2014, 10:17 am

    I purchased a Ruger Mini 30 five years ago, and I must say I am satisfied with it. Even though there are a few quirks you
    mentioned. I use it hog hunting, deer hunting , coyote hunting, etc. I have clips that I bought at a gun show that don not
    work. I was not aware the mini 30 used proprietary . Thanks for that tip. I believe if you will look in the manual it says
    not to shoot any of those cheap brands such as Wolf , Tula, because they use steel casings and firing pins. If I try to
    shoot those it will not fire them ,just as you mentioned . As long as I shoot brass cartridges I am find , so that as what I
    do. There is two parts on the net you can buy that is suppose to correct this for about $50.00 . I had no luck with it.
    Thanks for the info. Happy shooting.

  • petru sova June 30, 2014, 10:00 am

    The Mini is preferable to the unreliable M16 gas impingement system but it is inferior to the AK47 by a wide margin. I never had the accuracy go south when the barrel heated up in the .223 Mini but it is a totally different story with the Mini 30. I find it hard to believe people are still buying them or that Ruger has not fixed the problem.

  • John Russo June 30, 2014, 9:51 am

    I owned one about 12 years ago and wuickly sold it. Same problem. Terrible accuracy.

  • joe elliott June 30, 2014, 9:41 am

    The only problem with the Mini-30 is when you use crappy russian ammo and the magazine is a little tricky to insert…….

  • Edward Jackson June 30, 2014, 9:38 am

    I love this rifle, if i can have a 4-5 inch group at 100 yards hot or cold i am happy a head is a lot bigger than 4 inches, i will not use cheap ammo in any of my weapons, very happy owner.

  • Larry June 30, 2014, 9:30 am

    I never could understand the reasoning behind why the Ruger Mini’s were not made to use AK and AR magazines. Huge mistake in my opinion.

  • Senor Nobody June 30, 2014, 9:25 am

    I’ve had a Mini-30 for many years and loathe it. I can’t believe I shelled-out the money for the rifle and mags for a 7.62 x39mm rifle that can’t handle firing steel-cased ammo (because of the hard primers). If you go through all of the forums, you’ll see all kinds of tricks and tips to try an get it to work with a new hammer spring, but that it takes it’s toll on the firing pin. You’ll also see where Ruger, at one point, even marketed that the rifle would should steel-cased ammo, but then retracted it from their marketing material online. This rifle could have been a decent piece, if Ruger would have fixed the issues on this over the years and even offered a retroactive refitting for older rifles that didn’t have the improvement (if they made it). All-in-all, this rifle is an epic fail in my opinion. As others have mentioned, stick to the tried and true Kalashnikov design and you won’t be disappointed (probably ever).

    • Martin January 6, 2016, 8:40 pm

      So if you’re so down on it, sell it to me. I do a little Gunsmithing and would love to work on yours. kc0myg@yahoo.com

  • AJMBLAZER June 30, 2014, 8:32 am

    So…it delivers AK accuracy with less than AK reliability while using very expensive magazines and costs twice what a basic AK will cost?

    What a deal!

    • Big Gay Al June 30, 2014, 9:37 am

      Have you priced AKs lately? I have. They are UP there in price. Most I’ve seen cost as much or more than a Mini-30.

      • Muhjesbude June 30, 2014, 12:28 pm

        All the more reason to forget about all of them and stick with an ultimately reliable AR-15 Carbine platform.

        • AlaskanIronworker February 3, 2015, 4:58 pm

          I purchased a 35 round mag for a mini-30 from a local gun shop. It appeared to be a modified AK clip, the clip works great after 1000+ rounds, no jams. The modifications looked very minor, some light filing and a small 3/16 hole to drill. Something to look into if your set on a mini-30

    • nighthawk June 30, 2014, 1:50 pm

      AJMBLAZER : comments about sum it up for me also.
      I own two AK-47 s and believe I would probably buy another,
      before I would spend $1,000.00 on a mini

    • Bill Ludeman June 30, 2014, 10:08 pm

      “So…it delivers AK accuracy with less than AK reliability while using very expensive magazines and costs twice what a basic AK will cost?”
      That sums it up perfectly.
      I spent an absolute fortune on mine changing springs, buffers, firing pins and the contraption would still not fire consistently. If you expect to use “cheap” ammo think again. It WILL NOT happen. Ruger says use factory ammo NOT import stuff. After spending over six hundred bucks on gunsmithing attempts to fix this I sold it for a few hundred less than the initial purchase price – an expensive mistake. I have just about sworn off Ruger entirely – the 10-22 with its plastic receiver and this mini 30 did me in,.
      I wanted to shoot cheap ammo reliably and the incredible thing I found was the SKS I bought several – picked the best 2 and kept them. Added a few reliability and legality items and have stone cold reliable 100% performance with cheap ammo and very good accuracy to boot. Yes there was some fooling around but I will place reliability over a name brand NON PERFORMING firearm period. (( I would have preferred a nice USA stainless Ruger !!))
      This reviewer told you that he had mucho trouble with his firing TULA etc. but he did it in writer-ese.
      Read between the lines and avoid the mini 30 like the plague. My experience is the normal one by the way.
      Good luck if you buy one.

      • Dan May 7, 2015, 7:48 pm

        I bought the Mini-thirty a couple months ago. Been to the range several times and I love the gun. No jams and at 100 yards open sights took the middle out of the target. I’ve been shooting guns for years now. I’ve owned ARs and AKs and wouldn’t trade the Mini Thirty for any of them. Made in the USA still means something to me. The point I can’t argue is the price of the magazines, but how often are you going to be buying magazines..

  • Bill Taylor June 30, 2014, 8:22 am

    A little thicker barrel would help the heat problem, but like you said the only reason me and everyone else wants a Mini 30 is to shoot lots of cheap ammo. Don’t understand why is would be so hard to fix these two problems, plus throw in a better striker for the hard primers. I also think the chamber is too tight for steel cased ammo because when the gun gets hot it melts the lacquer off the case and it sticks in the chamber causing FTF. Ruger has chosen not to address any of these problems so their not the sellers they could be.

    • sexy vampire June 30, 2014, 10:08 pm

      The new ones have a thicker battle.

  • Joe June 30, 2014, 8:13 am

    Additional quirks I have found with my Mini Thirty: The ejecting brass would hit the windage knob on several scopes I tried, and the scope rings would tend to loosen up at the base, had to use thread locker to fix that. Beyond the 4MOA issue, the rifle has much utility.

    • Doc June 30, 2014, 2:56 pm

      I don’t know if it was this forum or another, but they reviewed a rifle that had a TERRIBLE MOA problem, I can ‘t recall what it was, but it was large >2MOA??? something, which they dubbed accurate to ‘within 1 Minute of Deer’. With VERY few exceptions, most deer and smaller ‘large’ game are taken within 100 Meters (read: yards). Six packs add about 100 yards to most shots I’ve learned over the years.

      I was AMAZED at how many 200-300 yard shots hunters were in camp and I’d taken my deer at 75 yards at the most, absolutely inside 100 yards. Grandpa told me MOST anyone who claimed beyond 100 yards was a ‘6 rack hunter’ (when our beer came in 4×6 wooden cases; and, yeah, sigh, we had to carry our own home-made ice too made in 1 quart quart milk cartons the second they hit the market). If is’s within 2 MOD it’s good enough for what you are using it for – now the question is: is it good enough for the price?

      Many ‘ranch rifles’ are either the Winchester 94 carbine in 30-30, or the Marlin 98/336 carbine in 45-70/30-30 (because that’s what shoots each time, every time. Rainbow trajectory or your memorized trajectory for your 30-30, like your 22LR or 223. AND you can actually hear it cycle. It’s not just one big ‘bang!’ where MAYBE you hear the bolt slap home.

      Yep it is wood. It’s not black. It doesn’t cycle 1000 rounds a minute. BUT it’s within 1 Angle of Deer out of the box open iron sights, first round. AND the 98 will put a buffalo down at half a mile; any of your flat-black plastic 1000 (cyclic) bullets down range every minute able to say, let alone DO that? Yeah I didn’t think so. 1 bullet, 1 buffalo, 1000 yards. And for topping $1,000 with glass (it’s not worth much glass), case, sling, locks I can think of a better use for that money. ‘Ranch Rifle’? Hardly. (we likes them there what rifles actually fire what we put into them, hitting what you pull the trigger at is something else). The Mini-22 IS a ‘standard ranch rifle’. Is it me, or an I about the only one who remembers when a rifle came with a sling and a soft-case? I’ve walked away from some nice rifles because they would not throw in a sling, your cleaning kit was just something you got at 10 years old and kept. It’s not like you need a new one with ever rifle like you do a soft-case or sling. And it it me, or did wood go away about the time common sense went away too? Don’t get me wrong, I have a Steyr that will put three rounds through one hole at 100-200 meters (both) and it’s plastic —- AND flat black. But it won’t put a buffalo down at half a mile. And that sub-.25MOA is nice, but it might not bring home the back-strap for —- 20 hungry hunters. $1000 for 1 Minute of Deer at BEST? I’ll pass. I don’t know about you, but I’ve NEVER enjoyed opening a breach on a ‘dud’, if I loved EOD I’d have joined up, but I ran the other way, I was a Corpsman, crazy yes, but in a different kind of way. (and I never had to take point! 🙂 )

      My grandfathers 94 will pound spike nails into a tree too, so it’s about as useful as your $1000 Marlin too, I guess, I guess it DOES have ‘much utility’ as you say. “Beyond the 4 MOA . . .” isn’t that like saying”‘besides the fact it won’t hit the broad side of a barn it’s a GREAT rifle!”? Counting trajectory, does this mean I could aim two feet high over it’s shoulder and hit it dead on at 350 yards? GREAT rifle!!!! I don’t know where the graphic artist or advertiser grew up, but we call a ‘ranch rifle’ a rifle that will hit what we are aiming at — AND can take a beating before and after we use it. 2 Minutes of Deer for $1000? Someone is selling someone a bucket that isn’t empty.

      When the best thing you can say about a rifle is that it traces is action back to the M-1 Garand, I see a LOT of problems that are being covered up – yes but Dang! Ain’t that action just packed with history??? TWO MOA? — Well let me tell you about that action, it’s cousin took our Marines across Iwo Jima!!!!! Doesn’t fire any ammo short of match grade? Well, THAT Action’s father took out the Third Rich starting at NORMANDY!!!!!! Where IS that bucket when I need it the most!???

      • Jimbo July 16, 2015, 11:42 am

        Mr. Doc, What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

    • Richard June 30, 2014, 8:40 pm

      I don’t recall that “anyone or anything” was “ever” shot by any member of the “A” team. Just lots of noise and sparking lead bullets. Not much credit to the Minithirty!

  • Charles Trainor June 30, 2014, 5:26 am

    This was an excellent review for me.Years ago the Mini14 was a gun I almost purchased until I found out about the accuracy problem.Now,I see this latest version is still plagued by the same issue. No thanks,if I miss it’s because I am at fault.I have to be able to trust the tool to be accurate constantly and I will match that capability as well as possible.
    I hunt with a 1917 Springfield model of the Eddystone 30.06 with iron sights.It is right on the button and I usually only fire one round per animal.It had a reputation for barrel movement as well but I have never had to be concerned.With this Mini and its price,I would want to know it is flawless and I could hunt and target shoot as well, for extended periods.

  • Petr Bastar June 30, 2014, 5:12 am

    There is a reason people run AKs, AKs take anything you can dish out and more and still keep running. I seriously doubt this Ruger carbine is up to it. I have heard numerous stories about problems with the Mini-30 as to inability to run with Russian surplus ammo, accuracy and lack of ruggedness. Sorry, rather have a 922r compliant AK then a Mini-30 that will fail when you need it the most. Made in the USA means nothing to me, even the military is buying foreign made/designed hardware, and made in USA usually means lower quality standards at a high price. Besides Ruger was one of the first to sell out to the AWB “high capacity” magazine ban and did it voluntarily. Unless you are literacy challenged there are simple ways to get around 922r and make your AK even more functional and effective without spending a fortune. Nope, when the zombies come I will stack the bodies or Mini-30 users as sandbags while I fight off the hordes with my AK. Automat Kalashnikova, a better and more informed choice.

    • Muhjesbude June 30, 2014, 12:26 pm

      AK’s are already exceeding their obsolescence life so why should anyone buy an ‘alterenative AK’ when the ‘alternative’ should NOT be an AK? But something entirely different? Especially if it still has the stone age mag replacement release set up? Even Die hard .30 people already have a much better alternative AK platform. Just get an AR-15 that shoots 7.62×39?

      Yeah, this is one area Ruger should not have wasted their ‘ingenuity’ on and customers shouldn’t waste their money on.

      • Naw June 30, 2014, 10:06 pm

        Ruger Mini 30 is a fantastic rifle that consistently shoots sub MOA to 200 yrds and is safe in anti constitutional states.
        Its a testament to a fantastic company who are doing this consistently and differently than everyone else.

      • Naw June 30, 2014, 10:06 pm

        Ruger Mini 30 is a fantastic rifle that consistently shoots sub MOA to 200 yrds and is safe in anti constitutional states.
        Its a testament to a fantastic American company who are doing this consistently and differently than everyone else.

      • Jake November 21, 2014, 1:21 pm

        No one makes an AR lower receiver that will take a properly curved magazine for 7.62×39. That’s why ARs have trouble feeding that round unlike the Mini 30. I have an old 187 series Mini 30. Its a 7 MOA rifle. I’m shy of the newer Minis because of that. When they make a Mini for 30 RAR I’ll come back.

        90% Reliable Mags
        http://www.ar15.com/media/mediaFiles/766/26389.JPG

        • Rodney December 17, 2014, 8:22 am

          Rock River makes a lower for curved mags that just plain works,
          the gun restrictive states are the best reason for this gun,better yet fix the laws.
          In my state there are better options, AR-15in(7.62×39), VZ58, SKS, AK47 and others just try them all …………… LOL
          and yes the first Mini 30’s where terrible in many ways, the one I had was a disaster, this looks to be an improvement.

      • steve January 22, 2016, 12:38 pm

        Yes I did this and it is my favorite rifle, But takes special magazines too. ASC mags have worked every time for me.

    • lg1722 July 2, 2014, 3:43 pm

      4.5 stars for the Mini-30. Bought mine as a hedge against the stallinista’s in California, who are still on the hunt. Mine had the FTF with Soviet and Dark-Euro surplus ammo. Replaced the the hammer spring with the Wolfe “Extra-Power” hammer spring, and the failure to ignite was reduced by 90 % (that commie ammo has really hard primers).

      It’s a good rifle, that will keep them in the middle inside 100 meters, which is plenty for most problems.

    • Pro2Aguy June 8, 2015, 9:24 pm

      I agree that an AK is a better buy here if all one is looking for is a low-cost frugal “battle-rifle” for lack of a better term…The real problem for me here is the Ruger proprietary 20 round magazines that are, moreover, quite costly to state the obvious (hell, I can get 4 Tapco 30 rounders for the price of one freaking Ruger 7.62 mag). All that said, for the firearm enthusiast/collector or the like it would make a fine addition to be sure. These things have been tweaked quite a bit since the rifle’s inception and I can tell you first-hand that they are very nice, durable LE/MIL type firearms that will not disappoint. And it is very true that these are found in the LE field of duty albeit not on the same scale as the M4.

      As far as Ruger’s late 80’s position on magazine limits, it sucked then and it sucks now in that it will forever be remembered as a black-mark in Ruger’s storied history to be sure. However, they have made significant efforts to ‘repent’ for their sins and the old expression “water under the bridge” may or may not apply according to the guy you’re having a beer with…

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