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Put your gloves on : AR15 or Mini 14 for coyotes

Discussion in 'Northwest Hunting' started by nwwoodsman, Nov 22, 2012.

  1. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    Having a bit of an internal conflict that I need resolved before I feel I can peacefully move on with my life. I was hoping I can get some emotional support from my fellow forum members who have had to fight the same battle. I can't decide on getting a mini-14 or a basic M&P15 (not the Sport. Coyotes can't be killed unless you have a dust cover and forward assist. It's a fact)
    Mini is about $250 bucks cheaper. Talking about the one with the newer hammer forged tapered barrel, not the limp noodle thinner barrel that shot 7 feet groups at 4 yards after 2 shots...according to AR fan boys. Has the classic wood and metal feel of a real rifle that I really like. It was good enough for survivalist, the A-Team and pot growers in the 80's, it should be good enough to kill that bastard that chased the Roadrunner around every Saturday morning. Pretty sure it's capable of taking coyotes out to 150 yards.
    AR15 is the weapon of choice of most state militias. You can buy replacement parts from every firearms catalog and ToysRUs. However it will jam up if you sneeze and a booger lands on the NC Star red/green/pink/yellow/lavender dot scope that is a requirement for every new AR15 owner, possible leading to being unable to fight off a full scale invasion by the Chinese if you suffer a FTF while out coyote hunting. I'm sure it's possible to hit coyotes out to 150 yards. But would a 16 inch barrel be sufficient enough to complete the task as opposed to using a 20 inch barrel? Trying to keep it simple.
    Really not trying to troll here. I know the classic AR vs the Mini question has caused contempt and disdain for your fellow man not seen since the Romney/Obama cage fight of 2012. Anyone here have any thoughts on the subject?
    McGrawski, Sun195, mjbskwim and 7 others like this.
  2. slimer13

    slimer13 Deer Park Well-Known Member

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    FWIT my old mini was an absolute jam o matic with all mags except the pricey Ruger factory and then it was a little better, but still frequent FTF's. I am sure it had some underlying issues that could of been corrected, but I didnt want to deal with it and traded it off to someone who did. I got into the AR game and havent looked back. Thousands of failure free rounds through the platform and couldnt be happier. YMMV

    And a 16 in is more than adequate for the range mentioned (I have little trouble hitting milk jugs at 300 with mine).
    Tacticool22 and (deleted member) like this.

    4NONISSUE south sound Member

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    I have both a Mini 14 & Mini 30 and Mine don't like steel cases and FTF once in a while but feed brass without a hiccup but all I use are Ruger stamped mag's. But for prairie dog's & long range Coyote's I got a 5.56 in 24"ss Bull barrel that's a tack driver further than my old eyes can see even with a BDC scope. I sold a 20" heavy barreled 5.56 that I should have kept for anything out to about 350+ it was right on. The Rugers are more for playing closer in to about 150yds and the AR are trouble free shooters. My next build will be a 16"ss Bull barreled Ar in 5.56
  4. Uberdillo

    Uberdillo Oregon Active Member

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    If I only had my mini 14, I'd spend less time tinkering with it and more time shooting. At some point I got an AR, forgot about the mini, and have been tinkering more than shooting. Both seem more than reliable enough for defending the homefront from 4 legged predators. This thread just made me realize that all else being equal, the flat-top rail is something I get a good bit of use out of switching optics for different situations. Mini's getting a rail for Christmas...
  5. Trailboss

    Trailboss Vancouver, WA Well-Known Member

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    I have a newer Mini-14, absolutely 100% reliable and MOA accurate. I love it.

    I have a budget AR, reliable if I keep it clean and oiled. 2 MOA. I like it.

    I have a Sig 556, 100% reliable, clean, dirty, any ammo, doesn't matter. 1 MOA accurate. I love it.
  6. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    Trailboss, I've been googling mini's for months and that's the most straight forward answer I've recieved on the them yet
    safetyman and (deleted member) like this.
  7. jonn5335

    jonn5335 Longview Active Member

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    I stole this post from another forum I belong to this guy has been tinkering and accurizing mini's for a long time. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Handloading for a Mini can be very frustrating.
    It's very hard to tell what a particular Mini wants to shoot well.
    One day it likes this load, another day it pukes on it.
    The root of problems lie in the over-all design tolerances of many of the Mini's critical parts...and that thin crappy barrel.
    The older Mini's, are worst of all.
    Ruger made a decent attempt at fixing some of these issue w/ thier redesign.
    But they still failed to fix some of the most important deficencies.
    Some of these can be fixed, or at least minimized w/ some critical mods.

    Once a Mini has been modified and made to be more consistant, you find that their tolerate of just about any bullet weight from 40gr to 64gr.
    One of my favorite loads is the 40gr V-Max moving ~3500fps.
    But in general the 55gr BT over 25gr of H335 sits near the middle of it's prefered bullet weight range.

    My general recipe includes: glass bedding, fire-lapping, trigger improvements, gas port kit, a shok-buff and a good scope.
    Oh and I like a flash suppressor to dampen barrel harmonics.
    (in fact you can tune them much like the BOSS system on the Brownings)

    But in the end, you can acheive honest 1-2moa accuracy.
    But even when you do all these mods, it will still never shoot on par w/ a good AR.
  8. kukusya

    kukusya King County Wa Active Member

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    If you like semi's look for Browning Bar or Remington 750. Just my 2c.
  9. deadeye

    deadeye Albany,OR. Moderator Staff Member

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    In general I would go with the AR just in the fact that barrel length can be changed easily if needed. There is nothing wrong with the mini but the Ranch Rifle model is best.

    I would be more worried what Wiley E Coyote is using from Acme......
  10. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Buy a Model 12 Savage Varmit rifle in what ever caliber you want and kill all the coyotes you can find out to 500 yards. Personally I recomend the Model 12 VLP DBM in .243 you can sight it in 1.5" high at 100 yards and only be 5" low at 500 yards if you push a Nosler Ballistic tip 55gr slug along at just under 4000fps.
  11. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    TNT requires too much paperwork and I can't seem to find a semi-auto anvil
  12. mambo

    mambo Eugene, Oregon Member

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    I went through this process several years ago. Choices were down to AK variant, AR, or a Mini.
    Read about Col. Hackworth clearing land for an FOB in the Mekong Delta and uncovering a long dead VC with AK (Norinco, no less) still slung. He jumped down in the pit, grabbed the AK and fired until mag was empty. "Now that's a battle rifle," he said.
    Mini, solid, Ruger (they overbuild everything), and the superiour weapon in the '86 FBI Miami shootout. Heavy, though, and with historical challenges already noted.
    AR, accurate, light, ammo and parts accessible everywhere. Got to keep it clean, though. But, I asked myself, what gun do I own that I do not clean?
    A2 DPMS 223/5.56, 16", no scope, was my result. Enjoy the journey, you will like what you get!
    nwwoodsman and (deleted member) like this.
  13. Greenbug

    Greenbug Bend Well-Known Member

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    I owned a Mini back in the early 90's and it was mainly a pain in the butt. It would jam, the mags would fall out while shooting, and the accuracy at 100 yards could be easily duplicated by any shotgun with 00 buck. I learned my lesson and now have a couple of good quality AR's, not that tactical junk either. Get a good one with a float tube fore end, or buy a float tube and install it. A 16" barrel works fine for me on coyotes.

    Side note: I can't remember anyone ever getting shot with the Mini-14 on the A-Team, I do remember them hitting all around where they were aiming though.:rolleyes:
  14. RVTECH

    RVTECH LaPine Well-Known Member

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    I don't own either (but did at one time have an early Colt AR-15 Sporter) however I can hardly imagine the Mini as a 'serious' varmint rifle. I suspect it could be used if a good scope mount (and scope) were installed but it seems good scope mounts for mini's are expensive and somewhat ungainly. Also there is the fence-post like heft and balance of a mini when brought to the shoulder. I would have to lean toward the AR but only because of what I consider to be better ergonomics and balance but only with the traditional solid buttstock (some of the collapsing stocks are still too short to properly get the rifle in front of you for a proper sight picture) The reality is if one is going to varmint hunt seriously then a good, traditional 'sporting' rifle should be chosen (that feels and fits well) in a typical varmint caliber..
  15. nwwoodsman

    nwwoodsman Vernonia Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter 2015 Volunteer

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    Not really looking at a serious varmint rifle. Planning on getting something I can shoot 5.56 out of in order to defend our country against blue helmets or zombies. Figure I'll actually spend more time shooting coyotes and milk jugs with it.
  16. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    OK I was just going to read and I did have some laughs
    But then you had to go and say it was for defense first then for coyotes.

    Now you should look for a 308 NATO rifle,as a 556 is just OK for a human sized varmint
    After all it is just a 22 that flies real fast. But just a 22.
    Not my first choice for larger prey.
    (remember the reasons that the military uses the 556 isn't because it's the best man stopper on the planet)

    So at least look at the 6.5s and 6.8s out there in the AR platform.Still great accuracy and a caliber that is formidable against larger animals.
    Or the mini 30
  17. OregonPlinker

    OregonPlinker Creswell, Or Active Member

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    I watched a guy hit a gallon paint can every shot till the paint can was basically gone with a 16 inch barrel on an AR-15 at 460 yards. It took him maybe 10 shots to get his battle sights dialed in with me spotting him but once he was on he never missed. No scope, 460 yards, prone off a back pack. His AR wasnt anything fancy either. He was a sniper though, A real one...lol

    My buddy has a newer mini14 and Ive never seen him have any problems with it. The farthest Ive seen him shoot it is maybe 50 yards so I cant say how accurate it is but it seems reliable..
  18. Hellgate

    Hellgate Portland New Member

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    NW Woodsman,
    I'm in the same situation only a little farther down the line. What matters is how much you prefer a conventional handling/looking rifle like the mini-14 or the AR platform. If it doesnt matter a whit, save your self the agony and just get an AR and be done with it. It will be "good enough" without a lot of work. I happen to not care for the AR at all but recognize its advantages (most already stated above). I went for the SS mini-14 "all weather" Ranch Rifle w/synthetic stock. Most of the postings I have read suggest the Tactical version is a little more accurate out of the box due to its shorter 16" barrel which is more stiff than the RR. The flash hider also dampens barrel vibrations on the tac model. Both have the newer tapered heavier barrels. I wanted the longer barreled one.

    The mini has a bunch of negatives:
    They really ARE less accurate from a rest than the AR. If you want a SHTF gun, then that is not so much of a concern. I just want a semiauto 223 that is good to go on standing coyotes out to 200 yds or running shots beyond that. Beyond that, my brother can shoot them with the bolt gun when we call them in. IMO the older "pencil barreled" minis need a strut to stabilize the barrel for better accuracy. I put one on mine (~$80) because I want to ring out whatever accuracy that I can. It helped. The struts prevent stringing as the barrel heats up. With the strut it looks more like an M-14.

    The Minis are over gassed and throw brass over the next hill. I reload so I installed a $2 (1911 Wilson) rear recoil buffer and a $15 smaller gas port bushing and now it tosses brass 8-12 ft instead of 30-40. I had a mini RR back in the 80s that I sold because I didn't want to break glass in my pickup or ding a buddy with the brass that was flying as hard as the bullet. The buffer & bushing fixed that on this rifle.

    The mini trigger is pretty heavy but you can smooth it up with minimal tinkering. I did mine.

    The minis are more picky about ammo. Cheap military ammo doesn't group well. I handload. Mine likes 40 & 50gr Ballistic Tips and 60, 63, & 65gr soft points. It hates 68 & 69gr HPs. The tightest groups so far are the 63 & 65gr Sierra SPs (7/8" 3 shot 100yd groups) that I fired a few days ago while working up loads. My "coyote load" so far is a 60gr Hornady SP that shoots into 1.5-2" @100 but that is on a WARM barrel. I've never gotten a first shot at a coyote on a warm barrel so shoot a cold barrel group each outing. Two outings so far, twice the gun threw the first round 2" away (each time different directions) from POA shooting a 3-4" 5 shot group but centered. That's OK for 100 yds but I want a 200 yd gun. If I can repeat the =to or <1" groups of the 63 or 65gr Sierras on both hot and cold barrels I will be done with my project. In fact, 1.5" groups hot and cold would be fine. If not, then off goes the barreled action for cryo treatment (maybe another $80).

    I got my first coyote with it about a month ago from a kneeling position @50yds in tall grass & sage. So, I guess it is officially a "coyote gun".

    So far, I've put about 100 bucks and maybe 300 rounds through it but I am not yet completely satisfied with it although I feel I am getting there. My bolt guns and the ARs are pretty straight forward working up a load for them. The mini has a lot more variables to dial them in and then, only so far. They are not tack drivers but I actually derive great satisfaction in taking what conventional wisdom calls a POS and making it do what others say it can't or shouldn't. We'll see on the next range sessions with the Sierras.
    nwwoodsman and (deleted member) like this.
  19. Hellgate

    Hellgate Portland New Member

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    NW Woodsman,
    Here's a similar post from Perfect Union mini14/30 forum much like my own response to your question:
    Anyway, here it goes...

    The long and short is this...A Mini-14 can be accurized and remain extremely reliable at the same time. In fact, as you poke around the PU's forums and threaded discussions, you will see MANY suggestions that can help improve the Mini's performance. And, frankly speaking, they're not going to break the bank either.

    As someone already mentioned, a homemade barrel strut ($30-$40) will do a lot to improve on stringing when the barrel heats up. Or, you can go with a "bolt-on" model (this is the route I went).

    A trigger job will definitely help, if you want a crisp, no-nonsense trigger. You will gain accuracy from not having to "wrench-on" the trigger when action-ing it. GunDoc's trigger jobs RULE!

    Recoil buffers (you can use 1911 buffers) will help mitigate metal on metal contact, with regards to the internals. And, it will help to save your scopes too.

    If you want to get "scientific", a "cryo" job is in order (CryoPro). Check out the link provided, or Google-it-up for more info (i.e. cryogenic tempering). In short, it is intended to improve the rigidity of the barrel by putting the metal through a second tempering process.

    The gas block should be checked for even spacing and torquing, and while you're at it, swap-out the gas port bushing for a smaller one.

    Finally, you could glass-bed your stock. Not essential, but it should help.

    From the reports here on the PU, the 580 series with the shorter 16" barrels are really good shooters, right out of the box. So, if you get a Mini-14, I'd start with the Tactical Mini-14 model.

    YES, in order to get your Mini-14 to run at its full potential, you will have to do some "mods", but as mentioned above, these won't cost very much...maybe $100-$200.

    But, in the end, you'll wind-up with a rifle that you will feel very proud of. As you can tell from the sheer number or responses to your post, Mini owners who have worked on their rifles are proud of them. You see, there's just a connection to a rifle that you've "tweaked".

    Lastly, AR-15's are great rifles...period! But, I still love the rifle that started it all for me...the Ruger Mini-14!

    And, with a little time, patience and a small financial investment...you can make them into really nice shooters.

    I hope this helps.

    ~ alaj70
  20. Oregonhunter5

    Oregonhunter5 2C IDAHO Well-Known Member

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    They both have options.
    But the AR has waaaayyyy more.
    I think there more comfortable to shoot then any other gun I own.