Mini 14 vs Mini 30

In my previous article on the best scope of Ruger Mini 14, it was assumed that Mini 14 was preferred. However, one common question folks are considering is whether to buy a Mini 14 or Mini 30. Both are by the same company and can sound the same if you are not familiar with their details. So, here is how they are different.


#1: Weight and Size

Mini 30 is the ‘bigger’ brother of the Mini 14, with its heavier weight and meaty handing. Which size suits you depends on your own physical attribute as well as prefer handling. I prefer the Mini 30 myself because I am tall and have bigger arms and hands. The Mini 14 feels wrong when I was playing with it


#2: Ammunition type

The Mini 14 is able to take in common ammunition types, which means you can use some of the cheaper import ammunition. Brands such as Monarch, Tula, Herters, Wolf, Federal etc are no issues for the Mini 14. For the Mini 30, it is difficult to find non-Russian 7.62×39 rounds. While the Mini 30 is able to use some of the import bullets, the issue is that they will tend to cause light primer strikes, i.e. the bullets are not fired even though the hammer has dropped.


#3: Availability of magazines

Related to point two is the affordability and availability of magazines. For the Mini 14, it is easier to find them for sale and they are usually cheaper to purchase. Mini 30’s magazines are harder to spot at any gun show and they are always pricey, relative to the Mini 14.


#4: Hunting big animals

If you are thinking of using the guns for hunting, then Mini 30 is the preferred choice for larger animals. You can shoot the larger and heavier bullets from the Mini 30 that is needed for those kills. Also, some stated prohibit the use of Mini 14 for hunting.

If you getting the minis for self defense, then the Mini 14 will be more than sufficient. Human flesh is relatively softer and the smaller bullets from the 14 will do the job nicely if you ever meet an intruder.


#5: Long range shooting

If you need to make long range shots, the Mini 14 has a flatter trajectory which makes it easy to shot accurately over distances beyond 100 yards. If you are using the Mini 30, your range estimation needs to be pretty good to put off a shot in the 300 yards range.


#6: New vs old

On a side note, there is also the choice between getting an older version of something vs the newer version of another. For example, old Mini 30 vs new Mini 14. My personal preference is for the new versions even though they are more expensive. This is due to the improvements in design which enhances the accuracy of their shots. You can try out a old and new Mini 14 for instance and see what I mean. There is no comparsion in my mind when it comes to new vs old.



The Ruger mini have a niche fan base. Most of their fans will tell you to get both but if you really need to choose, here is what I recommend. If you want to use it for hunting bigger animals, the Mini 30 is more suitable but you will have difficulty finding the ammos and the magazines. The Mini 14 is much easier gun to restock but it is not as effective when it comes to big game hunting, although it is a fun gun to play with.

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