|Type||Semi-automatic carbine (Mini-14)|
|Place of origin||United States|
|Used by||See Users|
|Designer||L. James Sullivan, William B. Ruger|
|Manufacturer||Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.|
|Weight||6 lb 6oz (2.90 kg)|
|Length||37.25 in (946 mm)|
|Barrel length||22.00 in (559 mm) (Target Rifle), 18.50 in (470 mm) (Ranch Rifle, Mini-30)
16.12 in (409 mm) (Tactical, Mini-30, NRA Edition)
13 in (330 mm) (AC-556)
|Cartridge||.223 Remington/5.56x45mm (Mini-14/AC-556)
6.8 mm Remington SPC
|Action||Gas-operated, rotating bolt|
|Rate of fire||Semi-automatic (Mini-14)
750rpm Selective fire (AC-556)
|Muzzle velocity||3240 ft/s (990 m/s)|
|Feed system||5, 10, 20, or 30 round factory box magazine. Numerous aftermarket magazines and drums.|
The Mini-14, Mini Thirty, and Mini-6.8 are small, lightweight semi-automatic carbines manufactured by the U.S. firearms company Sturm, Ruger. The Mini-14 non-target versions can fire both the .223 Remington cartridge and the similar military 5.56x45mm cartridge. The target model Mini-14 rifles are chambered only for the .223 Remington cartridge. The Mini Thirty uses the 7.62×39mm and the Mini-6.8 fires 6.8 mm Remington SPC.
Ruger offered a selective fire variant of the Mini-14, the AC-556, to police and military customers. AC-556 models have a slightly longer receiver (shared with early production "series 180" models) to allow for full automatic operation. These models are available with features such as short barrels and bayonet lugs. The Mini-14GB model is a semi-automatic variant for police and military use with the additional factory options of a short barrel, folding paratrooper stock, flash suppressor and a bayonet lug.
Designed by L. James Sullivan and William B. Ruger, the rifle employs an investment cast, heat-treated receiver and a version of the M1/M14 rifle locking mechanism with a self-cleaning, fixed-piston gas system. The Mini-14 product page describes it as a “simple, rugged Garand-style breechbolt locking system, with a fixed-piston gas system and self-cleaning, moving gas cylinder.” The rifle is available in stainless or blued finish with hardwood, synthetic, or laminated stocks and an 18.5-inch (470 mm) barrel. Target models are currently available only in .223 Remington and are not chambered to fire the 5.56x45mm NATO round. They feature a 22-inch (560 mm) heavy barrel and either a laminated wood or Hogue overmolded synthetic stock. Most Mini-14s have a classic sporter appearance, in contrast to comparable autoloading rifles such as the AK-47 and AR-15. However Ruger now offers some Mini-14 rifles in a black ATI adjustable folding stock with a pistol grip. While the magazines of the Mini-14 resemble M16-style STANAG magazines, the two designs are not interchangeable.
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.
In 2003, Ruger again overhauled the design and the production process to improve accuracy and update the styling while at the same time reducing production costs. The new models, marketed as Ranch Rifles, are based on the previous Ranch models, with integral scope bases. In 2005, the new ranch rifles carried serial numbers beginning with 580. These rifles are sometimes referred to as 580 series ranch rifles. These new models use a modified gas system designed to reduce barrel vibration, and new iron sights.
At an unspecified time in 2007 to 2008, Ruger added a heavier tapered barrel to the Mini series. The heavier barrel had an overall larger diameter with the barrel visibly becoming thicker in the final inches as the barrel approaches the gas block from the muzzle. These changes combined with tighter tolerances result in greater potential accuracy. The new mini-14 rifles are arguably capable of shooting under 2 MOA (Minute of angle) accuracy. The "target model" Mini-14 supposedly can shoot under 1 MOA.
The Mini-14 was first introduced in 1974 by Ruger. The name Mini-14 is derived from the military M14 rifle implying a miniature version of the M14. Ruger used the M14 as a model for the new rifle while incorporating numerous innovations and cost-saving engineering changes. The Mini-14 proved popular with small-game hunters, ranchers, law enforcement, security personnel and target shooters.
The rear sight on standard models was an aperture sight with large protective wings, and there were no integral scope bases, until recently. In 2005, Ruger made design alterations to the Mini-14 altering the receiver, rear and front sights. All new Mini-14s are built with integral scope bases, non-folding ghost ring aperture rear sight and a winged front sight similar to that used on the Ruger Police Carbine.
In 1982 Ruger began marking many Mini-14 rifles as "RANCH RIFLE" instead of "Mini-14" on the receiver. This version was optimized for use with a telescope sight, thus was produced with integral scope bases on receiver and is supplied from the factory with Ruger scope rings. The rifle's ejector is set to eject the spent cartridge case at a lower angle to avoid hitting a low-mounted scope ejection and the rear sight has a folding aperture, which fits under a scope. The older models lacked a winged front sight. The Ranch Rifles are the most basic models, they generally come in a wood rifle stock or synthetic stock with black or stainless receiver, and feature an 18.5" tapered barrel. Although some are available with a 16" barrel such as the NRA edition. These rifles feature an adjustable ghost ring rear sight and winged front sight. They are sold with a 20 round detachable magazine, however in some states like New York, New Jersey and California where high capacity magazines are illegal, the rifles are sold with 5 round magazines instead. This model will chamber both .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition.
The Mini-14/20GB featured a flash suppressor and a bayonet lug. The "GB" stands for government bayonet.
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 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.
A "Target Rifle" version with a heavy barrel, adjustable harmonic dampener and target stock was introduced in 2006. While never adopted by the U.S. military, both civilian and military Mini-14 variants are popular with many police departments as an affordable medium-range patrol rifle to fill the gap between short-range weapons (handguns and shotguns) and sniper rifles. The "target rifle" is only designed for the .223 Remington round, 5.56 NATO is not warranted by Ruger.
The "Tactical Rifle" is a newer model with a 16.12" barrel (1:9" RH twist rate) with flash suppressor, and are available with a standard fixed stock/forend, or a collapsible ATI brand stock with Picatinny rails. This rifle is marked on the receiver as "Tactical Rifle". It is very similar to the "Ranch" model except for the "bird cage" flash suppressor, folding stock, and shorter barrel. This model will chamber both .223 Remington and 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition,
In 1987, Ruger began production of the Mini-Thirty. The Mini-Thirty is chambered for the Russian 7.62x39mm cartridge, used in the SKS and AK-47, as many states prohibit hunting of deer with calibers smaller than 6 mm (.243 in). The 7.62x39 mm has similar ballistics to the well-known .30-30 Winchester. The Mini-Thirty was only available as a Ranch Rifle, with integral scope base. Current production Mini-Thirtys are similar to Mini-14's except for caliber. The Mini-Thirty is available with a 16.12" or 18.50" barrel, with a twist rate of 1:10" RH.
Some early Mini-14 rifles were chambered in the .223 Remington cartridge. Since the .223 Remington is not completely dimensionally equivalent to the 5.56x45mm, Ruger chambered Mini-14s for both 5.56 and .223 Remington. Civilian firearms chambered in 5.56 are highly restricted in countries that restrict or prohibit firearms that chamber military cartridges (such as Mexico). By chambering the Mini-14 in the similar but not interchangeable .222 Remington caliber, the Mini-14 could be sold in those countries.
In 2007, Ruger began production of the Mini-6.8 utilizing the commercial 6.8 mm Remington SPC cartridge. As of 2012, the Mini-6.8 has been discontinued and is no longer listed in the Ruger catalog.
A larger version of the Mini-14, called the XGI, was developed by Ruger in .308 Winchester and .243 Winchester. Although it was advertised in 1984–1985, it never entered production due to unresolved mechanical and production issues.
Bolt-Action Only (BOA)
A small number of straight-pull, 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 centrefire rifles in 1988.
There is a wide range of after-market accessories available for the Mini-14 and Mini-30 to include numerous stocks, magazines, weaver and picatinny rail mounts. Ruger also sells slings, magazines and various spare parts for the rifles on their website.
- Australia: Previously used in the 1980s/1990s by the New South Wales Department of Corrective Services.
- Bermuda: The Bermuda Regiment use the Mini-14GB/20 as their standard service rifle since 1983, original wooden stocks were replaced with Choate black plastic stocks in 1994
- France: Used since the 1980s by the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS) of the French national police, the Administration Pénitentiaire (department of corrections) and formerly the GIGN as the Mousqueton AMD.
- Hong Kong: Used by Surveillance Support Unit of Hong Kong Police Force and Hong Kong Correctional Services.
- United Kingdom: The Surrey Constabulary Firearms Support Team (now known as the Tactical Firearms Unit) was armed with Mini-14s in the 1980s modified with Choate stocks. A few examples were seen on the news used by Police during the Hungerford Massacre. The AC-556 was used by the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
- 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 and the North Carolina Department of Correction. US Marines assigned to Marine Security Guard posts at certain US embassies are issued Mini-14s instead of M-16s.
In popular culture
- The Ruger Mini-14 were seen extensively in the The A-Team an NBC television series that aired from 1983 to 1987 in a multitude of episodes. 
- The Ruger Mini-14 used by the main character Jack Colton, played by Micheal Douglas in Romancing the Stone a 1984 adventure film. 
- Ruger Mini-14 GB, stainless steel model used by Arius' men in the 1985 film Commando (1985 film) starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
- Ruger Mini-14 GB, stainless steel model used by Constable 'Miss Purdah' in the 1991 film Nothing but Trouble (1991 film).
- Ruger Mini-14 GB with Folding stock, suppressor, and scope attached used by Forest Whitaker in the 1999 film Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai.  
- Charly Baltimore (Geena Davis) uses a Stainless Ruger Mini-14 with synthetic black stock, heat shield/barrel shroud, Stainless B-Square side-mount scope base & scope, and an aftermarket stainless flash hider in the 1996 action comedy film, The Long Kiss Goodnight.
- Ruger Mini-14 GB used by El Mariachi played by Antonio Banderas and Barrilo's men in the 2003 film Once Upon a Time in Mexico 
- Blued Ruger Mini-14 Standard Model used in Australian 2010 film Tomorrow, When the War Began
- George Clooney uses the Ruger Mini 14 as a sniper rifle with collapsible stock, side-mounted scope and a really big silencer in the 2010 film The American (2010 film). 
- Mini-14 Owner's manual
- "Ruger AC-556 assault rifle / Mini-14 GB rifle (USA)".
- NDM Article - Focus on Basics, Urges Small Arms Designer
- Mini-14 product page
- J. Guthrie. "The Mini Grows Up--Again". Rifle Shooter.
- Ruger press release on Ranch Rifle Target model with overmolded stock
- "Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle Autoloading Rifle Models". Ruger. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- http://stevespages.com/pdf/ruger_ac556.pdf | Technical Manual for Ruger AC-556
- "Ruger AC-556 Select Fire Military Rifle". 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- http://www.ruger.com/Firearms/PDF/NewProducts/KMINI-14-5TH.pdf Harmonic Dampener spec sheet (Ruger)
- "Mini-14 Ranch Rifles & Mini Thirty Rifles - NRA Mini-14 Rifle".
- Brister, Bob (1984). "News from the 2 R's". Firld & Stream 88 (10): 110. ISSN 87558599. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
- R.L. Wilson (2008). Ruger & His Guns: A History of the Man, the Company & Their Firearms. Book Sales, Inc. p. 173. ISBN 0-7858-2103-1.
- "Ruger Auctions". Retrieved 2011-10-20.
- Graham Williams (July 1, 1988). "NSW Declares Chemical War On Prisoners". Sydney Morning Herald. "Other equipment includes [...] a Ruger .223 gas-operated, semi-automatic carbine (with a range of 2800 metres)"
- http://www.bermudaregiment.bm/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=167:ruger-mini-14&catid=48:weaponscat&Itemid=223 Ruger Mini-14
- Bermuda Regiment Fitness for Role Inspection. British Defence Staff Washington, 4–6 November 2005
- Gander, Terry J.; Hogg, Ian V. Jane's Infantry Weapons 1995/1996. Jane's Information Group; 21 edition (May 1995). ISBN 978-0-7106-1241-0.
- Dick Chase, Eric Adams, Mick Wayland, Bob Bartlett. "Firearms Support Team and Firearms Training". Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Firearms". Surrey Police. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- Larry Celona (2002-07-04). "Terror-Wary NYPD testing new assault rifle". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- "NYPD boosts training after Mumbai attack". Associated Press & Taipei Times. 2009-02-17. Retrieved 2009-10-29.
- Lewis, Jack (2007). "CQB Combat Training". Gun Digest Book of Assault Weapons (7 ed.). Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. p. 134. ISBN 978-1-4402-2652-6. Retrieved 2 August 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ruger Mini-14.|
- Official website
- Gunblast.com - "Ruger’s Improved Mini-14 .223 Ranch Rifle", September 24, 2006
- Modern Firearms - Ruger AC-556 assault rifle / Mini-14 GB rifle (USA)
- Ruger Mini-14 vs. the AR-15 (.pdf) Denny Hansen, S.W.A.T Magazine, March 2002
- AC-556 and AC-556K manual (.pdf)
- Small Arms Review: The AC-556
- Disassembly Instructions for the Ruger Mini-14
- Ruger Reinvents the Mini-14, American Rifleman
- "The Ruger XGI Rifle" - S.W.A.T. Magazine, April 1985