1) When did the Mini-14 first become available on the civilian market?
A: The Mini-14 was introduced by Ruger in 1974.
2) Was the Mini-14 ever used by the U.S. Military?
A: No. The Mini-14 has been used by several law enforcement agencies and other militaries, but was never adopted by the U.S. Military.
4) Was the Mini-14 ever offered in other calibers?
A: Yes. The Mini-30 is chambered in 7.62×39 Russian. In 2007, Ruger introduced the Mini 6.8, chambered for the 6.8 Remington SPC (Special Purpose Cartridge). Some export only models were chambered in .222 Remington so they could be exported to countries where civilians are prohibited to own firearms chambered in military calibers. Interestingly, in the mid 1980’s, Ruger announced a version of the Mini-14 chambered for .308 Winchester called the XGI. It was never put into production due to design problems that could not be overcome.
6) Are there many variations of the Mini-14?
A: There are few. The AC556 is a selective-fire version capable of full-automatic fire. The Mini-14/30GB came from Ruger with a skeleton folding stock, threaded barrel, flash hider and pistol grip. In 2006, Ruger started producing a target version of the Mini-14. It features a thumbhole laminate stock, heavy barrel and harmonic barrel tuner.
7) Will AR-15 magazines work in my Mini-14?
A: No. AR-15 and Mini-14 magazines are not interchangeable.
8) Are there replacement stocks for my Mini-14?
A: Yes. Several companies like TAPCO and Butler Creek produce replacement stocks for the Mini-14. These can be had with features such as folding or collapsible buttstocks, pistol grips and accessory rails. They are also available in different colors.
9) Can I install a muzzle brake on my Mini-14?
A: Yes. You can have the barrel threaded for a screw-on brake or install a pin-on model that doesn’t require gunsmithing. Note that on the newer models with serial numbers starting with 195 or higher, the barrel diameter is larger and the pin-on brakes may not fit.
10) What is a Ranch rifle?
A: The Mini-14 Ranch rifle has integral scope mounts machined into the receiver. This allows easy scope mounting without drilling and tapping the receiver or using a side mount. Special rings are required and are supplied by Ruger with new guns. Other ring manufacturers also produce rings to fit the Ranch rifle.
11) I have an older 180-series rifle and am having trouble finding parts for it. What is the problem?
A: The 180-series was the first series of the Mini-14 that Ruger produced. Several design changes occurred for the following series to upgrade the rifle. These changes make some 180-series parts difficult to find since Ruger ceased manufacturing those parts that were changed. The changes also make most aftermarket products incompatible with the 180-series.
12) What capacity magazines can I get for my Mini-14?
A: Magazines from Ruger and other companies are available in 5, 10, 20, 30 and 40-round capacity. The Beta Company even offers a 100-round dual drum magazine for the Mini-14.
13) Can I mount a scope to my standard Mini-14?
A: There are two ways to mount a scope to a standard (not Ranch Rifle) Mini-14. The first and more secure way is to have the receiver drilled and tapped by a gunsmith to accept a scope base. This will permanently alter the firearm and can be costly as the receivers are quite hard. On models with a removable plate on the left side (most will have this), a side mount can be installed. This uses the existing slot in the receiver and does not require any gunsmithing.