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 (5.56 mm) semi-automatic rifle manufactured by Sturm, Ruger & Co. that is popular with law enforcement, security personnel, hunters, ranchers, and target shooters. 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.

History and design[edit]

Stainless steel Mini-14 Ranch Rifle with various accessories

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.[4][5] 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.[6]

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 7.62×39mm 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.

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. As of 2005, all Mini-14 type rifles are now based on the Ranch Rifle design, with integral scope bases, a non-folding ghost ring aperture rear sight and a winged front sight similar to that used on the Ruger Police Carbine.[6] These upgraded rifles have serial numbers beginning with 580 and are sometimes referred to as 580 series Ranch Rifles.[7] They have new iron sights and a modified gas system designed to reduce barrel vibration[6] and are capable of shooting 2 inch groups at 100 yards or 2 minute of angle (MOA) accuracy.[7]

Some time 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.[5]

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.[7] Most Mini-14s have a classic sporter appearance in contrast to comparable autoloading rifles such as the AK-47 and AR-15.[7] However, Ruger now offers some Mini-14 rifles in a black ATI-brand adjustable folding stock with a pistol grip. Also, Ruger factory-made 5-, 10-, 20- and 30-round steel magazines are readily available along with numerous aftermarket options.[7]


Ranch Rifle[edit]

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

The Ranch Rifles are currently the most basic models, generally 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 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).[6]

Target Rifle[edit]

Introduced in 2007,[8] 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.[9][10] The Target Rifle does not have iron sights but includes the standard scope rings and Picatinny rail mount.[10] It is only designed for use with the .223 Remington round; 5.56 NATO is not warranted by Ruger.[11] As of January 2017 this model has been removed from the Ruger website and was not included in Ruger's 2017 U.S. firearms catalog (PDF), which may indicate that it has temporarily or permanently ceased production.

NRA Model[edit]

Offered only in 2008, the limited-edition "NRA Model" Ranch Rifle included a shorter 16.12-inch (409 mm) barrel and a polymer stock with a gold National Rifle Association medallion. Ruger made a donation to the NRA-ILA for every rifle sold.[12]

Tactical Rifle[edit]

Introduced in 2009,[13] 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/forend, or a collapsible ATI-brand stock with Picatinny rails. This model is chambered in both .223 Remington/5.56×45mm NATO[14] and .300 AAC Blackout as of 2015.[15]

Mini Thirty[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

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.[16] The Mini Thirty shares many of the same design and accessory options with those of the smaller caliber Mini-14 Ranch Rifle, including a Mini Thirty Tactical Rifle variant released in 2010[17] which closely mimics the Mini-14 Tactical Rifle variant. 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.[18] Ruger does not currently produce 30-round Mini Thirty magazines.

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 ("government bayonet")[19] models feature either a pistol grip, side folding stock or a standard semi-pistol grip stock, a 20 or 30-round magazine, bayonet lug, threaded barrel, and flash suppressor. The GB models also come with standard rifle stocks. Sales are intended for only the law enforcement, military and private security markets, and can only be found in their Law Enforcement Catalog.[20] However, some have entered the civilian market.[21]


The AC-556 is a selective-fire version of the Mini-14 marketed for military and law enforcement use. The AC-556GF is fully automatic.[19] 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.[22][23]

Mousqueton A.M.D[edit]
French CRS police officer with Mousqueton A.M.D.

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.[24][25]

Straight-pull action[edit]

A small number of straight-pull only (a.k.a. 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 centerfire rifles in 1988.[26]

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

Other calibers[edit]

.222 Remington[edit]

Ruger produced a .222 Remington caliber model as of 1984.[27] These rifles were made mostly for the European market and were discontinued in the early 1980s.[28]

6.8 mm Remington[edit]

In 2007, Ruger began production of the Mini-6.8 utilizing the commercial 6.8mm Remington SPC cartridge.[29] 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.[15]


There are a wide range of aftermarket accessories available for the Mini-14 and Mini-30, including numerous stocks, magazines, weaver and Picatinny rail mounts.[6]


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 incidents:

In popular culture[edit]

The Ruger Mini-14 was seen extensively in many episodes of The A-Team, an NBC television series that aired from 1983 to 1987.[50] It was chosen because of its reputation for reliably firing blanks, which tend to clog a gun's action.[56]

George Clooney uses the Ruger Mini-14 as a sniper rifle with collapsible stock, side-mounted scope and large homemade suppressor in the 2010 film The American.[57]


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External links[edit]