Ruger Mini-14

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Ruger Mini-14
The Mini-14
Type Semi-automatic carbine (Mini-14)
Place of origin United States
Service history
Used by See Users
Production history
Designer L. James Sullivan, William B. Ruger
Designed 1967–1973
Manufacturer Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc.
Produced 1973–present
Variants See Variants:
  • Ranch Rifle
  • Mini Thirty
  • Mini-6.8
  • XGI
  • 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)

Cartridge .223 Remington/5.56×45mm (Mini-14/AC-556)
7.62×39mm (Mini-30)
6.8mm Remington SPC
.222 Remington
.300 Blackout
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.
Sights Iron sights

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 5.56×45mm 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 6.8mm 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 folding paratrooper stocks, short barrels, flash suppressors and bayonet lugs. The Mini-14GB model is a semi-automatic variant for police and military use with the additional factory options of a folding paratrooper stock, flash suppressor and a bayonet lug.[1]


Designed by L. James Sullivan[2] 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.[3] 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 5.56×45mm NATO round. They feature a 22-inch (560 mm) heavy barrel and either a laminated wood or Hogue overmolded synthetic stock.[4] 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.

Production versions

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]

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.[5]

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.[3] The new mini-14 rifles are capable of shooting under 2 MOA (Minute of angle) accuracy.


The Mini-14 was first introduced in 1974 by Ruger. The name Mini-14 is derived from the military M14 rifle.[6] It incorporated 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.[5]

Ranch Rifle

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 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]


Ruger Mini-14/F30GB The GB model features a pistol grip, folding stock, 30-round magazine, bayonet lug, threaded barrel, and flash suppressor.

The Mini-14/20GB featured a flash suppressor and a bayonet lug. The "GB" stands for government bayonet.[7]


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.[8][9]

Mousqueton A.M.D

In France, the AC-556 is known as the Mousqueton A.M.D. The Mousqueton A.M.D. 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.

Mini-14 with various accessories

Target Rifle

A "Target Rifle" version with a heavy barrel, adjustable harmonic damper and target stock was introduced in 2006. The "target rifle" is only designed for the .223 Remington round, 5.56 NATO is not warranted by Ruger.[10]

Tactical Rifle

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 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition.[11]


In 2008 Ruger introduced an NRA model, 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.[12]


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. 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.[13]

Other calibers

Some early Mini-14 rifles were chambered in the .222 Remington cartridge. Since the .223 Remington is dimensionally identical to the 5.56×45mm, Mini-14s chambered for the .223 will also chamber the 5.56×45mm, and are prohibited in countries (such as Mexico) that restrict civilian possession of firearms that are chambered for military cartridges. By chambering the Mini-14 in the similar but not interchangeable .222 Remington caliber, the Mini-14 could be sold in those countries.[14]

In 2007, Ruger began production of the Mini-6.8 utilizing the commercial 6.8mm Remington SPC cartridge. As of 2012, the Mini-6.8 has been discontinued and is no longer listed in the Ruger catalog.[15]

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


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.[16]

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 centerfire rifles in 1988.[17]


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 in 1994

Effects of criminal use

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.[38] It was chosen because of its reputation for reliably firing blanks, which tend to clog a gun's action.[39] 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.[40]


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External links