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Mini-30 Rifle: Why You Should (And Shouldn’t Buy It)

Mini-30 Review
Image: Creative Commons.

The M14 is iconic, second only to its elder image, the M1 Garand, so iconic in fact that Ruger decided it needed two little brothers. The Mini-14 and Mini-30 bring some classic imagery to the table, especially the Mini-30 with 7.62×39 packed into its small (or mini) frame. It boasts a more manageable frame with all the stopping power you could want for hunting, target shooting, or home defense. Do you need this in your gun safe right now or are you better off just grabbing an AK-47? Make an informed decision by giving my review of the Ruger Mini-30 a read!

The Mini-30 has a lot going for it, especially in states that are lacking in the 2nd Amendment Department. My first thought out of the box was simple, “wow, this just feels nice. There is certainly an attraction to the Mini-30 for a multitude of reasons, the first being its classic design and size. Its blueprint is that of the M14, so you get the classic feeling and visuals packed into a smaller version of a firearm icon. You get a 37.5-inch rifle that only weighs a trivial seven pounds to carry in your hands or on your back. Both of these rockin’ attributes lend themselves well to flawless weapon maneuverability. Light, short, and maneuverable are easily some of the most critical aspects I’m looking for when I purchase a firearm, and the Mini-30 has it down pat.

This rifle sure is a blast to shoot as well, there’s something indescribable about the enjoyment I got from operating this firearm. The fun factor is through the roof, but fun doesn’t cover how practical this rifle can be in the right hands. It’s an optimal choice for hunting, and possibly a contender for low-key home/self-defense, but there are some nagging issues that you need to keep in mind before you run out and purchase this rifle.

The Mini-30 is not an AK-47 and just can’t perform like one. It’s not going to be chowing down any ammo you jam in your magazine. With an AK you can dig up ten-year-old ammo that’s been sitting in the sand, the Mini-30 cannot do that. It’s a picky eater so-to-speak. With American-made brass cartridges, everything was in tip-top shape, but as soon as I loaded some steel-case into the magazine, I swore I heard the Mini-30 shudder. There’s no exaggeration when I say that there was a minimum of two misfires with every single magazine that I shot through (with steel-cased ammo).

The accuracy, in terms of consistency, is something that is lacking a little bit as well, but that can vary wildly based on the ammo that you select. Good, American-made brass will net you a cool two-inches at about 100 yards if you’re propped up on a bag. Steel cased budget ammo can go crazy with groups of 3-5 inches at the same distance, and if you choose to shoot beyond that, well, good luck.

The price kind of hurt me a little as well. The Ruger Mini-30 won’t go easy on your wallet coming in at nearly $1070. I don’t know if this weapon would be something I’d seek out when I’ve built my AR-15 for less than that.

The Ruger Mini-30 is definitely a first-rate rifle, but I’m not sure if I’d buy it in the place of another.

Here’s why you should buy:

-It’s just fun because of its compact size, trivial weight, and beefy caliber

-It’s practical for several situations like hunting, plinking, and self-defense

-The accuracy is solid if you’re using superior quality ammo

Here’s why you shouldn’t:

-It can’t run through any ammo without some sort of modification

-It’s a little pricey

Richard Douglas writes on firearms, defense and security issues. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, 1945, Daily Caller and other publications.

Written By

Richard Douglas is a long-time shooter, outdoor enthusiast, and technologist. He is the founder and editor of Scopes Field, and a columnist at The National Interest, Cheaper Than Dirt, Daily Caller, and other publications.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Evan

    September 20, 2021 at 1:38 pm

    Yeah, so basically, you can get an SKS for half the price that will eat any old ammo you have lying around, or you can spend $1000 on this Mini-30, which doesn’t seem to offer any advantage over the SKS.

    These days, 2 MOA from a supported position just isn’t good enough.

  2. Jim Hovater

    September 20, 2021 at 7:48 pm

    I never had any problems with my circa 1993 stainless Mini-30 as long as I used Yugoslavian ammo.

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