Ruger Mini-30: A Mini-14 chambered in 7.62x39mm

Author: Eric Sof

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The Ruger Mini-30 resembles the M14 and M1 Garand, iconic rifles in American history. They are also considered one of the best guns ever produced, so Ruger decided to manufacture it in their mini versions. The Ruger Mini-14 and Ruger Mini-30 bring some classic imagery, especially the Mini-30 with 7.62×39 packed into its small (or mini) frame.

Design

Ruger Mini-14 (also referred to as Mini Thirty) rifle was designed by L. James Sullivan and William B. Ruger. It incorporated numerous innovations and cost-saving engineering changes. The only thing that differentiates Mini-14 from Mini-30 is the caliber. Ruger Mini-30 is chambered for the Russian 7.62×39mm cartridge bringing a more manageable frame with all the stopping power you could want for hunting, target shooting, or home defense. The first Mini-30s were produced in 1987.

Ruger Mini-14 and Ruger Mini-30 differentiate only in caliber
Ruger Mini-14 and Ruger Mini-30 rifles differentiate only in caliber (Photo: XY)

In the US, many states prohibit hunting deer with calibers smaller than 6 mm (.243 in), so Ruger used a 7.62.39mm cartridge because it has ballistics similar to the well-known .30-30 Winchester.

The Mini-30 rifle has an investment-cast, heat-treated receiver and is mechanically similar to the M1 rifle, with a self-cleaning, fixed-piston gas system. Initial rifles were produced with somewhat angular stocks, and heat shields were made of wood. These rifles were tooled and redesigned with serial number prefixes before 181 with new stock, a new bolt hold-open mechanism, and other minor changes.

Most Mini-30s selling those days have installed Picatinny rail and the option for integral scope mounts machined directly on the solid-steel receiver. It provides a stable mounting surface for included scope rings, eliminating a potential source of looseness and inaccuracy in the field.

Variants

Mini-30 Tactical Rifle

The tactical rifle was introduced in 2010. It closely mimics the Mini-14 Tactical Rifle variant, but in 7.62x39mm. It also has a shorter 16.12″ barrel with flash suppressor and is available with a standard fixed stock/fore-end or a collapsible ATI-brand stock with Picatinny rails.

The Mini-30 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. Ruger does not currently produce 30-round Mini Thirty magazines. The Ruger Mini-30 shares many designs and accessory options with those of the smaller caliber Mini-14 Ranch Rifle.

User experience

Most users consider Ruger Mini-30 a reliable weapon with a low level of malfunctions. It can “chew” everything from cheap military surplus balls to meticulously crafted handloads, including cast bullet handloads. The Mini-30 is accurate, with its best loadings grouping 1.5″ at 100 yards. Like many 7.62×39 firearms, ammunition is a significant factor in accuracy. Most ammunition is slapped together for AK / SKS-type firearms where the function is the primary design goal, but a little handload development can yield satisfactory accuracy.

Technical specifications

Manufacturer:Sturm Ruger & Co., Southport, CT 06490, United States
Type: gas-operated, semi-auto, or selective fire
Caliber:7.62x39mm
Barrel:18.5 in (470 mm)
Weight:7 lbs (3,17 kg)
Magazine capacity:5, 10, 20, or 30 rounds
Cyclic rate of fire:750 rounds per minute
Price:$1319.00 (February 2022)
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6 thoughts on “Ruger Mini-30: A Mini-14 chambered in 7.62x39mm”

  1. If, God forbid, a civil war really does start here, logistics are going to be very important. 7.62×39 is a premiere “assault rifle” caliber, but in addition to the caliber, other elements of logistics are important: the gun, AK-47 or compatible as well as parts support, the magazines AK compatible, as well as the cartridge. The Mini only has the cartridge, not the rifle and parts support or magazines.

    I think the SIG 556R is a better candidate. It at least has the magazines and cartridge.

    5.56 is similar. AR-15 and clones for the rifle, AR mags and cartridge. If you want to do something like .300 Blackout, you are on you own.

  2. More information on purchase. My father had his issued through the US Army while serving 2 terms in Vietnam. I would like to remember him by as well as sport/ whitetail hunting. Thanks