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Mini-14 or R-15 ?

Discussion in 'Shooting Related Threads' started by Orange Irish, Dec 9, 2009.

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  1. Orange Irish

    Orange Irish Member

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    A friend wants to buy a rifle for plinking and possibly a coyote. He mentioned both these rifles as contenders in his decision. His main goal is to buy American. I told him to go with the Ruger as I believe it is American made / American owned, however I have heard they lack in accuracy. I have never shot a R-15, and know nothing about them....where are they made, reliablity, accuracy? Any info would be great. Also stick with .223?

    Thanks, Eddie
     
  2. Lyle

    Lyle Member

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    I have an R-15 and the accuracy is pretty good. I have seen some very good groups by the handloaders. The R-15 is a Bushmaster and Remington I believe.
    I would not go Ruger simply because the R-15 (AR-15) platform gives you so much to play with. You can convert your .223 to a .204 with a different upper or vice versa, a myriad to optic options and stock configurations. Fun to mess with.

    my .02

    Lyle
     
  3. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    I have an R15 carbine in 223. In this photo it is equipped with an EOTech 552 for low light hunting, but I've since changed it to a Leupold Mark AR 3-9x scope, which is more suitable for all around coyote hunting.

    Accuracy is excellent. It will cut 1" groups at 100 yards with bulk remanufactured ammo, and half inch groups with premium ammunition and handloads.

    The gun balances very well. It may be a tad light at the muzzle for some folks. In that case, I suggest the slightly heavier R-15 rifle. The carbine has an 18" barrel, which is a very good compromise between a 16" carbine and a regular 20" rifle. It has a bit more velocity, a bit less noise, and the gas port is moved forward two inches over the carbine. This is called a mid-length carbine. The gas pressure at the gas port is roughly 9000 psi less, and the recoil impulse is closer to a rifle than a carbine. There's less battering of optics. You can, though, accomplish about the same thing by installing a heavier buffer, like a 9mm buffer. (The R15 rifle has a 22" barrel, by the way, and gives more velocity, yet still isn't as awkward as the 24" barrels. It also has a mild report compared to even the 20".)

    The barrel is fully free floated in an aluminum free float forend. If you use a bipod or sling, this does not put pressure on the barrel. The barrel itself is a medium weight. Note that there is no difference in accuracy with a quality heavy target barrel or a quality lighter barrel for the first couple or so shots. It's when the barrel starts to heat up that the difference becomes apparent. The R15 is NOT a varmint gun, meaning it was not designed for high volume fire. It was designed with coyote hunters in mind. In my opinion, this is the ideal barrel for that purpose. The barrel beyond the gas block is fluted. This does not add strength. Frankly, it doesn't really save much either, because the flutes are rather shallow. At best it helps cooling not from increased surface area, but from the bottom of the flutes being closer to the bore, allowing faster cooling of the inside of the barrel where it is hotter. This supposedly helps the barrel not shift as quickly. I do not know if this is a contributing factor to the accuracy of this gun, but it certainly does not hurt anything.

    There are no sights on the R15s. They are designed for optics. However, Bushmaster makes a folding sight that can easily clamp onto the front gas block, and there's a whole raft load of rear sights, from fixed to folding. This means primary or backup sights can be installed, or at least the rear can be carried, or iron sights can be installed to cowitness with a red dot or EOTech.

    The trigger is single stage, and is very nice right out of the box. It's good enough that I'm not going to change mine for a match trigger. Note that the Bushmaster version of this rifle (in 20" and 24") comes with a two-stage match trigger, which is why it costs more. Because the R15 trigger is a smoothed up AR15 trigger, it does have a long takeup compared to a bolt action. Creep is very little. Break is clean. It's glass smooth.

    Reliability has been flawless. Because I use mine for hunting, I mainly shoot 5-round Bushmaster mags in it, which ain't cheap (about $30 each). They've been reliable. (Oregon regs restrict centerfire semi-autos to 5-rounds for all hunting.)

    Finish. The R15 is camo dipped. I've had mine long enough, and have used it enough, to have some wear. The pistol grip is worn and chipping. I'm going to order a replacment. Some of the camo film is a bit thin on the edges around the front of the mag well, but it's still intact. The forend has a slight sheen to it from hand oils where contact is normally made, but this is common to any camo dipped gun.

    The gun fits me quite well ergonomically. It comes up fast, and eye alignment with the scope is right there, using 1" height rings (as measured from the top of the rail, which is actually a Picatinny, not a Weaver, to the bottom of a 1" scope tube). There are plenty of positions to set a scope up for proper eye relief. I prefer my scope back more than most people, because I have neck alignment problems and can't crane my head forward. For the ultimate in adjustment, the R15 carbine is also available with a telestock, which can be set to different positions for length of pull.

    If you want a semi-auto for serious coyote hunting, this is it.

    One thing I would not do with the R15 is use it for plinking. The R15 is a hunting rifle. Get a cheaper gun or better yet a cheap upper for that, so you don't have to worry about burning out the throat. Oh, and that's another thing. The R15 has a 223 chamber, not a 5.56 NATO chamber. I only shoot 223 ammo in mine. I have other AR15s for burning 5.56 ammo.

    As for a Mini-14, plinking is about all they're good for, with the exception of their target model. If a Ruger product is really wanted, get the Ruger SR-15. But it will cost more than an R15.
     
  4. Doubles Shooter

    Doubles Shooter Active Member

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    Brian,

    Try this company, 44Mag.com. They carry C-Products 5 round mags 9.99 each. I've been using them as NY has a 5 round limit for hunting too. I haven't had a problem with them in my Bushy V-Match.
     
  5. Orange Irish

    Orange Irish Member

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    Thanks for the responses guys. Brian in Oregon, thanks for the detailed info and photos. Always a wealth of knowledge here!
     
  6. blkcloud

    blkcloud Active Member

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    I have both, my r 15 is a DPMS..excellent accurate gun..
    My mini 14, very reliable, but the accuracy, not so good..
    If I were fighting yotes..the r-15
    If I were fighting gangsters.. the ruger..
     
  7. Remstar311

    Remstar311 Member

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    I would just open up a thirty round mag and put a couple pieces of wood in it so that only five rounds fit in. Just as legal.
     
  8. Setterman

    Setterman Well-Known Member

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    Rock River = Minutes of angle, Ruger mini 14 = Minute of pie plate.
     
  9. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Setterman, once a round or two has been fired, the wood tends to rattle around and make noise.

    I've made U shaped sheetmetal plugs similar to the original Colts to convert 20 round mags. The 20's are also easier at times to use when in a prone position than the 30's.
     
  10. BrowningPotato

    BrowningPotato Member

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    I agree with most previous posters. Those thin ruger barrels get hot very quickly and the accuracy goes right out the window. The R 15 is an AR15 platform which is, arguably, the best semiautomatic platform ever produced. Can't go wrong with any AR15 platform gun.
     
  11. Peasant

    Peasant TS Member

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    I have both...my mini 14 is reliable and accurate less then an inch at 100 yd consistently...however, I did change the barrel, different stock and worked the trigger down to 3.5 lbs...if money is not an object an altered mini 14 would be my pick...
    Hey... but that's me...

    Ugo
     
  12. Hoosier Daddy

    Hoosier Daddy TS Member

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    Why settle for just one?
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Rastoff

    Rastoff Active Member

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    "Rock River = Minutes of angle, Ruger mini 14 = Minute of pie plate."

    This is absolute drivel. My Mini-14 was shooting 1.5MOA right out of the box. It is a newer model with the tapered barrel. With more practice I'm sure I can get that down to sub MOA.
     
  14. Hoosier Daddy

    Hoosier Daddy TS Member

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    Bryan, would you explain to me the difference in .223 and 5.56 ammo? Is there a difference in size? In speed? In powder capacity? I honestly don't know what the difference is and I have reloaded both military and commercial brass for a long time. I haven't noticed a difference. My pet load is 21 grains of H322 with cci primer and a 52 grain boat tail HP.
     
  15. Brian in Oregon

    Brian in Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Hoosier Daddy, it's not the external dimensions of the cartridges that are different, but rather the case thickness and loading, which leads to a difference in pressure (62,000 PSI for 5.56, 55,000 psi for 223, according to SAAMI).

    The 5.56 chamber takes this into consideration, by allowing the bullet to free travel a fraction of an inch to keep pressures in check. The 223 did not have this pressure issue, so the chamber throat is not lengthened, which increases accuracy. The 223 can be fired in a 5.56 chamber, but SAAMI does not recommend firing a 5.56 in a 223 chamber because of the higher pressures. Despite this, people do it all the time. I'm not aware of any reported problems, but, it is not considered to be good practice.

    On the other hand, CIP doesn't show any difference between the two cartridges for their pressure measurements. Wikipedia (at the link) explains this.

    In addition, there are "compromise" chambers, like the Wylde (pronounced "will-dee") that are an attempt to make an accurate chamber yet will not have a problem with 5.56 cartridges.

    As for the R15, Remington chambered it for the 223 to increase accuracy. Because it is a hunting rifle, those purchasing this rifle will probably have that use in mind, not plinking or using it for tactical matches. As I said I have plenty of AR15s for burning cheaper milspec ammo, and reserving my R15 for premium hunting ammo.

    This link also explains the difference, with a drawing that shows the difference in the chambers.
     
  16. CalvinMD

    CalvinMD Well-Known Member

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    Thats the best thing about my Bushmaster,..its chamber is a special proprietory hybrid that shoots and feeds either flawlessly into one hole...my next purchase will be a DPMS upper in 338 Federal..major hurt power
     
  17. oz

    oz Active Member

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    ruger also makes an ar15 style rifle with al the NEW features that all the other companies are incorporating, ie: piston action. check it out. oz
     
  18. AdamsRibs

    AdamsRibs TS Member

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    I have a Mini-14 "Target" model, which gives very good results. I've installed an aftermarket rail on it, along with a 40 power scope and it shoots like this at 100 yards;


    [​IMG]


    It has a sort of an M14 action and has been very reliable. I shoot it with
    both 5 and 20 round magazines and it has not failed me once.
    I'd like to have an R-15, just because one can never have too many rifles/pistols/shotguns....

    Adamsribs

    PS: The ammo used for that group is handloaded stuff, using Sierro Match King bullets.
     
  19. Hoosier Daddy

    Hoosier Daddy TS Member

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    Thanks Bryan, I am not too old to learn.
     
  20. 5spd

    5spd TS Member

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    I have an R15, CS 18"bbl, with my handloads I get 1/2" groups at 100. It is a great Coyote carry gun. I have a Tasco 3-9x40 on it.
    I also have a Rock River PP, 20" bbl which I get 3/8" groups at 100 with the same loads I use in my R15, this has a Nikon BM 6-18x44 mildot on it, great for all day p-dog shooting.
    I just use a 10 round mag when out calling coyotes.
     
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