Ruger Mini-14

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Ruger Mini-14 GB NB.jpg
The Mini-14 GB (government barrel)
Place of originUnited States
Service history
Used bySee Users
WarsRhodesian Bush War[1]
The Troubles
Militias-Comando Vermelho conflict[2]
Production history
DesignerL. James Sullivan, William B. Ruger
ManufacturerSturm, Ruger & Co.
VariantsSee Variants
Mass6 lb 6 oz (2.90 kg)
Length37.25 in (946 mm)
Barrel length13 in (330 mm) to 22 in (559 mm)

Cartridge.222 Remington
.223 Remington
5.56×45 mm NATO
7.62×39 mm
.300 AAC Blackout
6.8 SPC
ActionGas-operated short-stroke fixed piston,[3][4][5][6] rotating bolt
Rate of fire40 rpm (semi-auto fire)[7]
750 rpm (Full-auto rate-of-fire for AC-556 model only)[8]
Muzzle velocity3240 ft/s (990 m/s)
Effective firing range200 yd (180 m)[7]
Feed system5- to 30-round factory box magazine.
SightsIron sights

The Mini-14 is a lightweight semi-automatic rifle manufactured by Sturm, Ruger & Co. Introduced in 1973, the design was based on the M14 rifle and is essentially a scaled-down version chambered in 5.56×45mm NATO.

Since 1973, Ruger has introduced a number of variants, including: varients chambered in both .223 Remington and 5.56×45mm NATO, the Ranch Rifle with a civilian style rear aperture sight and integral scope ring mounts on the receiver, the Mini-14 GB with a bayonet lug and flash suppressor, variants with folding stocks, stainless steel versions of the most popular variants, a target version featuring a heavyweight barrel and barrel tuner, the Mini Thirty, which is chambered for 7.62×39mm, as well as variants chambered in 6.8mm Remington SPC and 300 AAC Blackout.[9] The rifle is currently used by military personnel, law-enforcement and corrections personnel, and civilians in the United States and around the world.

History and design[edit]

Stainless steel Mini-14 Ranch Rifle with various accessories

Introduced in 1973 by Sturm, Ruger & Co.,[8] the Mini-14 resembles a smaller version of the military M14 rifle.[10] Designed by L. James Sullivan[11] and William B. Ruger, it incorporated numerous innovations and cost-saving engineering changes. The Mini-14 rifle has an investment-cast, heat-treated receiver and is mechanically similar to the M1 rifle, with a self-cleaning, fixed-piston gas system.[8][12]

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.[13]

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.[14]

In 1987, Ruger introduced the Mini Thirty rifle chambered for the Russian 7.62×39mm cartridge. At the time, large quantities of surplus military ammunition were being imported into the United States at rock-bottom prices. Also, the 7.62×39mm 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, update the styling, and reduce production costs. The standard Mini-14 was discontinued and the name became the family name for all Mini-14-type rifles. As of 2005, all Mini-14-type rifles are based on the Ranch Rifle design, with integral scope bases, a nonfolding ghost ring aperture rear sight, and a winged front sight similar to that used on the Ruger Police Carbine.[13] They have serial numbers beginning with 580 and are sometimes referred to as 580-series Ranch Rifles.[15] They also have a new modified gas system designed to reduce barrel vibration[13] and can shoot two-inch groups at 100 yards, which is 2 minute of angle (MOA) accuracy.[15]

Around 2007 or 2008, Ruger added a heavier, larger-diameter barrel visibly tapered from gas block to muzzle. These changes combined with tighter tolerances result in greater potential accuracy.[12]

All Mini-14-type rifles are available in stainless steel or blued finish with hardwood, synthetic, or laminated stocks with 16.12-inch (409 mm) or 18.5-inch (470 mm) barrels.[15]


Ranch Rifle[edit]

Ranch Rifle, note the scope mounts and ghost ring rear sight
Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle with a Bushnell 3-9 X 40mm rifle scope

The Ranch Rifle is a basic model offered in a wood or synthetic rifle stock paired with a blued or stainless steel receiver and a standard 18.5" tapered barrel (1:9" RH twist rate). These rifles feature an adjustable ghost ring rear sight and winged front sight, and they are sold with a detachable Picatinny scope rail mount and a choice of two 20-round or 5-round detachable box magazines to comply with some U.S. states and other countries, which have laws restricting magazine capacity. All models are chambered in both .223 Remington and 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition except the Target Rifle variant (which is .223 only).[13]

Target Rifle[edit]

Introduced in 2007,[16] the "Target Rifle" version has a 22-inch (560 mm) cold hammer-forged heavy barrel, adjustable harmonic tuner with adjustable MOA accuracy, and either a laminated wood or Hogue overmolded synthetic stock.[17][18] The Target Rifle does not have iron sights but includes the standard scope rings and Picatinny rail mount.[18] It is designed for use with the .223 Remington round only; 5.56 NATO is not warranted by Ruger.[19]

Tactical Rifle[edit]

A stainless Mini-14 Tactical (top) and Mini-14 GB-F

Introduced in 2009,[20] the "Tactical Rifle" is the newest variant, which includes the shorter 16.12" barrel with flash suppressor, and is available with a standard fixed stock/fore end, or a collapsible ATI-brand stock with Picatinny rails. This model is chambered in both .223 Remington/5.56×45mm NATO[21] and .300 AAC Blackout as of 2015.[22]

Mini Thirty[edit]

This early model Mini-Thirty rifle is identical to the Ranch Rifle. Note: folding rear sight
A Mini Thirty with multiple aftermarket accessories

In 1987, Ruger began production of the Mini Thirty, which 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.[23] The Mini Thirty is available with a 16.12" (Tactical Model) or 18.50" barrel having a twist rate of 1:10" RH, and is sold with two 20-round or 5-round box magazines.[24] Ruger does not currently produce 30-round Mini Thirty magazines. The Mini Thirty shares many of the same design and accessory options with those of the smaller caliber Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.

Mini Thirty Tactical Rifle[edit]

The "Mini Thirty Tactical Rifle" variant was introduced in 2010.[25] It closely mimics the Mini-14 Tactical Rifle variant, but in 7.62x39mm. It also has a shorter 16.12" barrel with flash suppressor, and is available with a standard fixed stock/fore end, or a collapsible ATI-brand stock with Picatinny rails.

Government models[edit]

Mini-14 GB[edit]

Ruger Mini-14 GB with a pistol grip, side-folding stock, 30-round magazine, bayonet lug, threaded barrel, flash suppressor, and M7 bayonet

The Mini-14 GB ("government barrel") models feature either a pistol grip, side-folding stock, or a standard semipistol grip rifle stock, a 20- or 30-round magazine, bayonet lug, threaded barrel, and flash suppressor. Proof that GB stands for "government barrel" and not "government bayonet" can be seen in Ruger's new Tactical models and Ruger continuing to use "GB", which are catalogued for example KM-14/20GBCP. These models have no bayonet lug but do have the flash hider. Sales of the models with bayonet lug were intended only for law enforcement, military, and private security markets, and could only be found in Ruger's Law Enforcement Catalog.[26] Many have entered the civilian market, though.[27]


Introduced in 1979, 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 semiautomatic, three-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 rifle 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.[28][29] By that time, some models became available for private civilian purchase in the NFA market.[30]

Mousqueton A.M.D.[edit]
French CRS police officer with Mousqueton A.M.D. with tangent rear sight, note the selector lever at the rear of the receiver

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 the Groupe d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale ("GIGN") special-operations unit.[31][32] The A.M.D. was made in two versions, the first has the standard Ruger aperture rear sight. On the other, the aperture rear sight has been completely removed and replaced with a tangent rear sight located on top of the barrel just forward of the receiver.

Straight-pull action[edit]

A small number of straight-pull only (or bolt-action only) Mini-14 and Mini Thirty rifles were manufactured for sale in the United Kingdom as a result of legislation that banned semiautomatic centerfire rifles in 1988.[33]

Other calibers and accessories[edit]

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

.222 Remington[edit]

Ruger produced a .222 Remington caliber model as early as 1984.[34] Designated Mini-14/5R.222, these rifles were made mostly for civilian markets overseas where .223 caliber and 5.56 mm firearms are generally banned. These were discontinued in the early 1980s.[35][36]

6.8 mm Remington[edit]

In 2007, Ruger began production of the Mini-6.8 using the commercial 6.8 mm Remington SPC cartridge.[37] However, they were discontinued in 2012 and are no longer listed in the Ruger catalog.

.300 Blackout[edit]

In 2015, Ruger introduced the Mini-14 Tactical chambered in .300 AAC Blackout.[22]


A wide range of aftermarket accessories are available for the Mini-14 and Mini Thirty, including numerous stocks, magazines, and Weaver and Picatinny rail mounts.[13]


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

Criminal use[edit]

The Ruger Mini-14 was used in several notable crimes:


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External links[edit]