Ruger Mini-14

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Ruger Mini-14
The Mini-14 GB
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by See Users
Production history
Designer L. James Sullivan, William B. Ruger
Designed 1967–73
Manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.
Produced 1973–present

See Variants:

  • Ranch Rifle
  • Mini Thirty
  • Mini-6.8
  • Bolt-Action Only (BOA)
  • AC-556
  • GB
  • Target
  • Tactical
  • NRA Edition
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)

Action Gas-operated, rotating bolt
Rate of fire
Muzzle velocity 3240 ft/s (990 m/s)
Feed system 5-, 10-, 20-, or 30-round factory box magazine. Numerous aftermarket magazines and drums.
Sights Iron sights

The Mini-14 is a lightweight .223 caliber semi-automatic rifle manufactured by Sturm, Ruger & Co. It is made in a number of variants including the Ranch Rifle with an integral scope base on the receiver and the Mini Thirty which is chambered for 7.62×39mm. These rifles are popular with law enforcement, security personnel, hunters, ranchers and target shooters. There is also a selective fire variant.

History and design[edit]

Stainless steel Mini-14 Ranch Rifle with various accessories
Ranch Rifle with 16.5 inch barrel, folding stock and picatinny rail mounts

The Mini-14 was first introduced in 1973 by Sturm, Ruger & Co.[1] The name Mini-14 was coined because it resembles a smaller version of the military M14 rifle.[2] Designed by L. James Sullivan[3] and William B. Ruger, it incorporated numerous innovations and cost-saving engineering changes. The Mini-14 rifle employs an investment cast, heat-treated receiver and is mechanically similar to the M1 Garand rifle, with a self-cleaning, fixed-piston gas system.[1][4] 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.[5]

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. It introduced a plastic heat shield and ejected spent cartridge cases at a lower angle to avoid hitting low-mounted scopes.

In 1987, Ruger introduced the Mini-Thirty rifle chambered for the Russian 7.62×39 mm cartridge. At the time, large quantities of surplus military ammunition was being imported into the United States at rock bottoms prices. Also, the 7.62×39 mm 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 and update the styling while at the same time reducing production costs. The standard Mini-14 was discontinued and the name became the family name for all Mini-14 type rifles. All new models are now based on the Ranch Rifle design, with integral scope bases.

As of 2005, all new Mini-14 type rifles 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.[5] These new rifles were designed to improve overall accuracy. They have new iron sights and a modified gas system designed to reduce barrel vibration.[5][6] These new Mini-14s are capable of shooting 2 inch groups at 100 yards or 2 Minute of angle (MOA) accuracy.[6] These new upgraded Ranch Rifles with serial numbers beginning with 580 and are sometimes referred to as 580 series Ranch Rifles.[6]

Sometime between 2007 and 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.[4]

All Mini-14 type rifles are available in stainless steel or blued finish with hardwood, synthetic, or laminated stocks, and 16.5-inch (420 mm) and 18.5-inch (470 mm) barrels.[6] Most Mini-14s have a classic sporter appearance, in contrast to comparable autoloading rifles such as the AK-47 and AR-15.[6] However, Ruger now offers some Mini-14 rifles in a black ATI adjustable folding stock with a pistol grip. Also, Ruger factory-fresh 20 and 30-round steel-magazine are readily available.[6]


Ranch Rifle[edit]

Ranch Rifle. Note: scope mounts and ghost ring rear sight

The Ranch Rifles are currently 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 certain magazines are banned due to their capacity, the rifles are sold with 5-round magazines instead. This model will chamber both .223 Remington and 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition.[5]

Target Rifle[edit]

Introduced in 2007,[7] 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.[8][9] The Target Rifle does not have iron sights and comes with scope rings and Picatinny rail mount.[9] The Target Rifle is only designed for the .223 Remington round, 5.56 NATO is not warranted by Ruger.[10]

NRA Model[edit]

Introduced in 2008, the "NRA Model", is a Ranch Rifle with a shorter 16.25-inch (413 mm) barrel, two 20-round magazines (where permissible), and a polymer stock with a gold National Rifle Association medallion. Ruger made a donation to the NRA-ILA for every rifle sold.[11]

Tactical Rifle[edit]

Ruger Mini Thirty with pistol grip folding stock, Harris bipod, 30-round magazine, AK-74 style flash hider with added flash diverter and 3–9×40mm scope on Ruger high-post rings

Introduced in 2009,[12] 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 Rifle model except for the "bird cage" flash suppressor, folding stock, and shorter barrel. This model will chamber both .223 Remington and 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition.[13]


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 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.[14]

Government models[edit]

Mini-14 GB[edit]

Ruger Mini-14GB with a pistol grip, side folding stock, 30-round magazine, bayonet lug, threaded barrel, and flash suppressor.

The Mini-14 GB models feature a pistol grip, side folding stock, 20 & 30-round magazine, bayonet lug, threaded barrel, and flash suppressor. The GB models also come with standard rifle stocks. The "GB" stands for government bayonet.[15] The Mini-14 GB models sales are intended for only the Law Enforcement, Military and Private Security market, and can only be found in their Law Enforcement Catalog.[16]


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.[17][18]

Mousqueton A.M.D[edit]

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 even the Army's Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale ("GIGN") special operations unit.

Straight pull action[edit]

A small number of straight-pull 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.[19]

Disassembled Mini-14 with various accessories
Mini-14 with various accessories

Other calibers[edit]

.222 Remington[edit]

Some countries prohibited civilian from possessing firearms that are chambered for military cartridges, such as the .223 Remington. Therefore, by chambering firearms to the similar but not interchangeable .222 Remington caliber, the Mini-14 could be sold in those countries.[20] These rifles were made mostly for the European market and were discontinued in the early 1980s.[21]

6.8 mm Remington[edit]

In 2007, Ruger began production of the Mini-6.8 utilizing the commercial 6.8mm Remington SPC cartridge. However, they were discontinued in 2012, and are no longer listed in the Ruger catalog.[22]

300 Blackout[edit]

In 2015 Ruger introduced the Mini-14 Tactical chambered in 300 AAC Blackout.


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.[5]


Royal Bermuda Regiment soldier armed with a Mini-14 GB in 1994
French police armed with Mousqueton A.M.D. rifles

In popular culture[edit]

  • 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.[43] It was chosen because of its reputation for reliably firing blanks, which tend to clog a gun's action.[44]
  • George Clooney uses the Ruger Mini-14 as a sniper rifle with collapsible stock, side-mounted scope and large homemade silencer in the 2010 film The American.[45]


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  3. ^ Ezell, Virginia Hart (November 2001). "NDM Article - Focus on Basics, Urges Small Arms Designer". Archived from the original on October 8, 2006. 
  4. ^ a b J. Guthrie. "The Mini Grows Up--Again". Rifle Shooter. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Lewis, Jack (28 February 2011). "Today's Mini-14". Assault Weapons. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. pp. 128–130. ISBN 1-4402-2400-5. 
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  14. ^ Shideler, Dan (28 February 2011). "The Hammer of Thor". Gun Digest Book of Deer Guns: Arms & Accessories for the Deer Hunter. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. pp. 42–43. ISBN 1-4402-2666-0. 
  15. ^ Peterson, Phillip (30 September 2008). Gun Digest Buyer's Guide To Assault Weapons. Iola, Wisconsin: F+W Media. pp. 198–200. ISBN 978-1-4402-2444-7. 
  16. ^ Ramos, Joe (1982). The Mini-14 Exotic Weapons System. Boulder, Colorado: Paladin Press. ISBN 0873645278. 
  17. ^ "Ruger AC-556 Select Fire Military Rifle". 1 February 2013. Retrieved 2 August 2013. 
  18. ^ Chris Bishop; Tony Cullen; Ian Drury (1988). The Encyclopedia of World Military Weapons. Crescent Books. p. 246. ISBN 978-0-517-65341-8. 
  19. ^ Bishop, Chris (1996). The Vital Guide to Combat Guns and Infantry Weapons. Airlife. p. 44. ISBN 978-1-85310-539-5. 
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  25. ^ "Bermuda Regiment Fitness for Role Inspection". British Defence Staff. November 2005. 
  26. ^ Rifles worth $1.4m donated to Regiment. By Lisa Simpson. The Royal Gazette. Published 5 August, 2015
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  33. ^ "Mini-14 Uses". 
  34. ^ Larry Celona (2002-07-04). "Terror-Wary NYPD testing new assault rifle". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
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  42. ^ Mike Ryan (2008). The Operators: Inside the World's Special Forces. p. 187. ISBN 1602392153. 
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  44. ^ Major Pandemic (March 27, 2014). "Ruger Mini-30 Rifle". Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  45. ^ "Rifles". Port Fire Studios. 2014. 

External links[edit]