The Mini-14 is a lightweight semi-automatic rifle manufactured by Sturm, Ruger & Co. used by military personnel, law enforcement personnel, and civilians. A .223 caliber (5.56 mm) firearm, it is made in a number of variants, including: the Ranch Rifle (a basic, civilian variant), the Mini-14 GB, and the Mini Thirty, which is chambered for 7.62×39mm.
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||See Users|
|Wars||Rhodesian Bush War|
|Designer||L. James Sullivan, William B. Ruger|
|Manufacturer||Sturm, Ruger & Co.|
|Mass||6 lb 6 oz (2.90 kg)|
|Length||37.25 in (946 mm)|
|Barrel length||13 in (330 mm) to 22.0 in (559 mm)|
.300 AAC Blackout
|Action||Gas-operated, rotating bolt|
|Rate of fire||750 rpm (Full-auto rate-of-fire for AC-556 model only)|
|Muzzle velocity||3240 ft/s (990 m/s)|
|Feed system||5- to 30-round factory box magazine.|
History and designEdit
Introduced in 1973 by Sturm, Ruger & Co., the Mini-14 resembles a smaller version of the military M14 rifle. Designed by L. James Sullivan and William B. Ruger, it incorporated numerous innovations and cost-saving engineering changes. The Mini-14 rifle has an investment-cast, heat-treated receiver and is mechanically similar to the M1 rifle, with a self-cleaning, fixed-piston gas system.
Initial rifles were produced with a complex, exposed bolt hold-open device with no button for manual engagement. Stocks were somewhat angular and heat shields were made of wood. These rifles, with serial number prefixes before 181, were tooled and redesigned with a new stock, new bolt hold-open mechanism, and other small changes.
The original Mini-14 rifle had a rear aperture sight with large protective wings and no integral scope bases. In 1982, Ruger introduced the Ranch Rifle with an integral scope base on the receiver, a new folding-aperture rear sight and factory scope rings.
In 1987, Ruger introduced the Mini Thirty rifle chambered for the Russian 7.62×39mm cartridge. At the time, large quantities of surplus military ammunition were being imported into the United States at rock-bottom prices. Also, the 7.62×39mm is ballistically similar to the .30-30 Winchester cartridge. As a result, the Mini Thirty proved to be an effective deer rifle.
In 2003, the design was overhauled to improve accuracy, update the styling, and reduce production costs. The standard Mini-14 was discontinued and the name became the family name for all Mini-14 type rifles. As of 2005, all Mini-14 type rifles are based on the Ranch Rifle design, with integral scope bases, a non-folding ghost ring aperture rear sight, and a winged front sight similar to that used on the Ruger Police Carbine. They have serial numbers beginning with 580 and are sometimes referred to as 580-series Ranch Rifles. They also have a new modified gas system designed to reduce barrel vibration and can shoot two-inch groups at 100 yards, which is 2 MOA (minute of angle) accuracy.
Around 2007 or 2008, Ruger added a heavier, larger-diameter barrel visibly tapered from gas block to muzzle. These changes combined with tighter tolerances result in greater potential accuracy.
All Mini-14 type rifles are available in stainless steel or blued finish with hardwood, synthetic, or laminated stocks with 16.12-inch (409 mm) or 18.5-inch (470 mm) barrels.
The Ranch Rifle is a basic model offered in a wood or synthetic rifle stock paired with a blued or stainless steel receiver and a standard 18.5" tapered barrel (1:9" RH twist rate). These rifles feature an adjustable ghost ring rear sight and winged front sight, and they are sold with a detachable Picatinny scope rail mount and a choice of two 20-round or 5-round detachable box magazines to comply with some U.S. states and other countries which have laws restricting magazine capacity. All models are chambered in both .223 Remington and 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition except the Target Rifle variant (which is .223 only).
Introduced in 2007, the "Target Rifle" version has a 22-inch (560 mm) cold hammer-forged heavy barrel, adjustable harmonic tuner with adjustable minute-of-angle accuracy, and either a laminated wood or Hogue overmolded synthetic stock. The Target Rifle does not have iron sights but includes the standard scope rings and Picatinny rail mount. It is designed for use with the .223 Remington round only; 5.56 NATO is not warranted by Ruger.
Introduced in 2009, the "Tactical Rifle" is the newest variant, which includes the shorter 16.12" barrel with flash suppressor, and is available with a standard fixed stock/forend, or a collapsible ATI-brand stock with Picatinny rails. This model is chambered in both .223 Remington/5.56×45mm NATO and .300 AAC Blackout as of 2015.
In 1987, Ruger began production of the Mini Thirty. The Mini Thirty is chambered for the Russian 7.62×39mm cartridge, used in the SKS and AK-47, as many states prohibit hunting of deer with calibers smaller than 6 mm (.243 in). The 7.62×39mm has ballistics similar to the well-known .30-30 Winchester. The Mini Thirty is available with a 16.12" (Tactical Model) or 18.50" barrel having a twist rate of 1:10" RH, and is sold with two 20-round or 5-round box magazines. Ruger does not currently produce 30-round Mini Thirty magazines. The Mini Thirty shares many of the same design and accessory options with those of the smaller caliber Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.
Mini Thirty Tactical RifleEdit
The "Mini Thirty Tactical Rifle" variant was introduced in 2010. It closely mimics the Mini-14 Tactical Rifle variant, but in 7.62x39mm. It also has a shorter 16.12" barrel with flash suppressor, and is available with a standard fixed stock/forend, or a collapsible ATI-brand stock with Picatinny rails.
The Mini-14 GB ("government barrel") models feature either a pistol grip, side folding stock or a standard semi-pistol grip rifle stock, a 20 or 30-round magazine, bayonet lug, threaded barrel, and flash suppressor. Proof that GB stands for Government Barrel and not Government Bayonet can be seen in Ruger's new Tactical models and Ruger continuing to use "GB" which are catalogued for example KM-14/20GBCP. These models have no bayonet lug but do have the flash hider. Sales of the models with bayonet lug were intended only for law enforcement, military and private security markets, and could only be found in Ruger's Law Enforcement Catalog.  However, many have entered the civilian market.
Introduced in 1979, the AC-556 is a selective-fire version of the Mini-14 marketed for military and law enforcement use. The design incorporates a selector on the right/rear of the receiver to select either semi-automatic, 3-round burst, or full-automatic fire modes; the manual safety at the front of the trigger guard operates the same as a standard Mini-14. The front sight is winged and incorporates a bayonet lug. The 13-inch (330 mm) or 18-inch (460 mm) barrel incorporates a flash suppressor, which can be used to launch approved tear-gas and smoke rifle grenades. A folding stock was used on the AC-556F and AC-556K. The rifle came equipped with 20-round magazines and a 30-round version was available for a time. The AC-556 was dropped from production in 1999 and Ruger stopped offering service for the rifle in 2009. By that time, some models became available for private civilian purchase in the NFA market.
In France, the AC-556 is known as the Mousqueton A.M.D. where it was used by several governmental agencies within the French Interior Ministry: the Police Aux Frontières ("P.A.F."—Border Police), the Police Nationale Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (or "C.R.S."—Riot Control Brigade) and the Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale ("GIGN") special operations unit. The A.M.D. come in two versions, the first has the standard Ruger aperture rear sight. On the other, the aperture rear sight has been completely removed and replaced with a tangent rear sight located on top of the barrel just forward of the receiver.
A small number of straight-pull only (a.k.a. bolt-action only) Mini-14 and Mini-30 rifles were manufactured for sale in the United Kingdom as a result of legislation which banned semi-automatic centerfire rifles in 1988.
Other calibers and accessoriesEdit
Ruger produced a .222 Remington caliber model as of 1984. Designated Mini-14/5R.222, these rifles were made mostly for civilian markets overseas where .223 and 5.56 caliber firearms are generally banned. These were discontinued in the early 1980s.
In 1987, Ruger began production of the Mini Thirty chambered for the Soviet 7.62×39mm cartridge.
6.8 mm RemingtonEdit
There are a wide range of aftermarket accessories available for the Mini-14 and Mini-30, including numerous stocks, magazines, weaver and Picatinny rail mounts.
- Australia: Currently used by the New South Wales Department of Corrective Services.
- Brazil: Federal Police of Brazil
- El Salvador: Mini-14GB and AC-556 used by the National Civil Police
- France: Mousqueton A.M.D. variant used by French police forces (Police Aux Frontières, GIGN, CRS).
- Hong Kong: Used by the Hong Kong Police Force Hit Team and Hong Kong Correctional Services.
- Indonesia: Used by Indonesian National Police
- Rhodesia: Used by Rhodesian security forces during the Rhodesian Bush War.
- Thailand: Use by Thai Army and Royal Thai Police 
- United Kingdom: The Royal Ulster Constabulary had used the AC-556 model prior to its inventory being destroyed by 1995. The Surrey Constabulary Firearms Support Team (now known as the Tactical Firearms Unit) was armed with Mini-14s in the 1980s modified with folding stocks.
- United States: Mini-14s were used by the New York City Police Department Emergency Service Unit with the rifles eventually being replaced by the M4 carbine. The NYPD's Organized Crime Control Bureau is armed with the Mini-14s. The Mini-14 is the main rifle used by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the Georgia Department of Corrections, and the North Carolina Department of Correction. US Marines that serve as guards at certain US embassies are sometimes issued Mini-14s. Delta Force has some Mini-14s in inventory. The Rajneeshpuram Peace Force employed some Mini-14s in addition to Galils and Uzis.
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The Ruger Mini-14 was used in several notable crimes:
- Michael Lee Platt used a Ruger Mini-14 in the 1986 FBI Miami shootout, which resulted in FBI agents and other American law enforcement agencies adopting stronger body armor and discarding revolvers in favor of more powerful, higher-capacity handguns.
- Marc Lépine used a Ruger Mini-14 in the École Polytechnique massacre, which resulted in the Canada Firearms Act, 1995 and new police response procedures.
- Anders Behring Breivik used a Ruger Mini-14, along with a Glock 34, in the 2011 Norway attacks, during which he fatally shot 69 people on an island summer camp and was further responsible for eight additional deaths in a bombing in Oslo. It was Norway's deadliest attack since World War II.
- Gabriel Wortman reportedly used a Ruger Mini-14, along with several other firearms, in the 2020 Nova Scotia attacks. This resulted in the reclassification of the Mini-14 and at least 1,500 models and variants of other "assault-style" firearms as prohibited weapons in Canada.
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Trajectories are identical according to Remington
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