Armory, Self Defense, And EDC > Modern Rifles, Shotguns and Carbines


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Sturla Snorrison:
My daughters are ready to step up from their 10/22s, and I would like to get them something like a .223 caliber or thereabouts with a semi auto action. I guess the 10/22 has spoiled them and they are not interested in a bolt action rifle. They also prefer a wood stock, which I am fine with as my neighbor, whom I currently get along well with, is also a social worker who would be horrified if she saw my daughters toting around an evil black gun, and I just don't want to open that can of worms (she is fine with us using "hunting rifles" however, ever since the coyotes ate her cat ). For these reasons, I would prefer to stay away from the traditional AR style rifle.

So- about the Mini-14. My daughters are interested in have one, but I have never owned one myself, and mostly what I read online is that the Mini cannot be counted on for accuracy beyond the first four or five shots. Others say no, that was the old ones and the newer ones are fine. For me, "accurate" means consistent 2"-3" groups. I know that would be unacceptable to many, but I can live with it. What do the folks on this forum have to say about the current production Mini-14, if anything? Can it blow through 2 or 3 magazines and maintain accuracy these days, or should I look at something else for the girls? If your view is that the new Minis still suck, I would be grateful if you could recommend an alternative semi-auto rifle smaller than .30 caliber with a wood stock and accepts magazines capable of holding 10 or more rounds. Thank you for your opinions and suggestions.

Never had the Mini-14, so I can't comment on that. I would suggest SKS, but if you insist on a lesser caliber, that's not an option. I would also suggest it's none of your neighbor's business what rifle you use, as long as you're not breaking any law. If you insist on a "hunting" style gun, things like Galil or a 5,56 version of vz.58, or a Saiga also won't work for you, even though you can add wooden furniture on them (I know, wooden stuff with separated pistol grip and a long curved magazine make any gun an evil AK).
Since I'm not into this style of rifles much and the only 5,56 gun in our armory is my wife's Galil, I can't really help much...there would be some hunting rifles in 5,56 but they mostly don't have large external mags like you want.
The Mini-14 may be the only easy option in the end. I would suggest visiting for some detailed experience and feedback on these.
Perhaps another option would be a different caliber choice? Maybe an easy pistol caliber like 9mm, such as Ruger PC9 (not made anymore), Marlin Camp Carbine (most likely also not made anymore, not sure), or an M1 carbine clone in 9mm by Legacy Sports (

There are two Appleseeds I worked in Colorado where there was a female shooter on the line running a Mini-14. Each of them was a spouse running the gun that used to be their husband's before the husband went with another platform.  Both seemed to work fine.  The ergonomics were a little different, I thought not as good but I will freely admit I am biased towards the AR, and they were both trying to run optics and there were significant cheek weld issues to work through.  I cannot speak to the accuracy, they were both new shooters.

I would think the adjustable butt stock on the AR would be a huge advantage for growing kids and for changing conditions (summer shooting vs bundled up winter shooting for instance or traditional slow fire prone marksmanship vs. standing or moving courses).  But whatever floats your (their) boats.

I would lean towards not giving a shit what my neighbor thinks and go with the AR.  They are a lot more versatile than the mini 14 in my opinion.  They also seem to be a fair bit more accurate, or capable of being so.  You could get a conversion to shoot 22lr out of the AR, various different calibers/ uppers for different tasks, etc.  They also have very little recoil and are easy to disassemble and clean. 

   I own a Mini 14. The early ones were min. of milk jug. About 6" at 100 yards. The newer ones are much , much better. In order to get an older one to shoot good groups you have to weight the end of the barrel to change it's resonance. I did this by putting a by-pod on the end of the barrel which I never use. I keep it folded up. My groups went from 6" to 2" at a 100 yrds.
   After all that I still like mine. Unless you run the worlds dirtiest ammo from Russia they won't jam. Back when I bought mine they were half the price of an AR, didn't break bolts, and you didn't  loose pins when you cleaned it. Just as the Mini 14 has gotten better with age so has the AR. Pins are captured, price has come down and better metallurgy has made the AR the go to gun. A good AR will still cost about 10 to 20% more the a Mini 14, But you could make up the difference in the cost of magazines or not having to buy a custom stock to fit the kids.
  My other 5.56 is a Kel-Tec 2000. For me it works. 


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