Ruger's Side Folding Stock Mini-14® Tactical Part 1

01/20/2024 – Maine often has polar weather, however, now it is having a bout with bi-polar weather. For the past several weeks, we have had several storms with the same characteristics. The temperature drops into the teens overnight, accompanied by heavy snow fall. At dawn, the temp begins to rise, snow turns to rain, and we are left with 6″-8″ of slush. Temperatures then fall again, and we are left with 6″-8″ of lumpy hard ice.

The current storm was particularly annoying for at least two reasons. First, I had to get up before dawn to make a first clearing pass of a 100 yard driveway and home and shop walkways… and steps… and ramps… the generator… the porch. Then I had to do it all again around 10 AM, at the seam separating heavy snow from heavy rain. Okay. Okay. I’ll stop whining.

Second, and more annoying, wearing jeans over long johns, and snow pants over jeans, I tried a new two sets of suspenders approach, which left me fighting off an atomic wedgie all morning, while trying to work. Totally uncomfortable. It was like being elementary school bullied by my own pants.

This has been the third temperature swing storm we have had in very recent times. Another is forecast for two days out. I do not know how to spell the sound my mouth just made, and I do not want to spell the words I subsequently uttered.

You gotta love it… The return of the Mini-14 GB?

The Ruger Mini-14 design effort of James Sullivan and William Ruger began in 1967. The Mini-14 has been in production since 1973.

During its production run, in addition to civilian configurations, the Mini-14 has been available to law enforcement / military / private security versions as the Mini-14 GB (government barrel), and as the AC556. The latter a selective fire version, (1979-1999). This time around, the Mini-14 Tactical, with folding stock and 2 – 20 round magazines, is available through regular retail channels.

Ruger’s most recent release is the Mini-14® Tactical with folding stock. It is pretty much a duplicate of the Mini-14 GBF (Government Barrel-Folding) And, yes, it does have the look and feel of a WW II folding stock, M1 Carbine. In this instance, the folding stock is supplied by Samson Manufacturing, made with castings from the Ruger foundry.

Mini-14® Tactical

Manufacturer

Ruger
Model 5895
Hardware
Matte Finish Stainless Steel
Stock Stainless Side Folder / Walnut
Action Type Fixed Piston Gas – Semi Auto
Caliber 5.56 NATO
Magazine Capacity  2 x 20 Rounds Nickel Teflon Plated
Barrel Length 18.5″ + 1/2″- 28 threaded Flash Suppressor
Twist Rate 1:9″ 6 Groove RH
Adjustable Sights Aperture Rear – Protected Blade Front
Sight Mounting Ruger Proprietary Rings + Picatinny Rail
Overall Length 39.25″
Length of Pull 13.5″
Weight 7.5 lbs
Trigger Pull 5 lbs 14 oz
MSRP $1849.00

Pictured with stock folded and accessories included: 2×20 round stainless steel magazines, a set of Ruger proprietary scope rings, a Picatinny rail with fasteners and blue thread locker. The front sight underlug accepts a U.S. M7 bayonet… not included.

In earlier Ruger days, high capacity magazine firearms were restricted, so the original “GB” configuration was not available through retail civilian channels. This Mini-14 Tactical in this configuration, and with high capacity magazines, illustrates an evolution in company philosophy.

M1A1 Carbine Paratrooper stock? Fortunately, not really

Approximately 14,000 – 150,000 M1A1 Carbines were made with a folding, heavy gauge wire stock. The folding stocks were made by the Inland Division of General Motors. A stamped metal bracket held the upper and lower frame together, adding structure. Designated for paratrooper use, as a compact firearm, the stocks were fragile and folded to the left side of the carbine.

The Ruger folding stock design is quite robust. The Ruger castings are heavy duty, the tubing is substantial, the hinges and locks are smooth working, but tight fitting. The Mini 14 tactical can be fired with the stock extended or folded.

 

With the stock unfolded, there is no play in the assembly and it is a comfortable fit. The strut connecting the hinge to the buttplate is stout, if a bit chilly in Maine’s winters. Folded, the buttplate latches to the buttplate catch stud on the side of the stock and is solidly retained.

Sight Accommodation? Everything and anything


In the course of a few days, the subject carbine was shot with the factory aperture sight, a red dot optical sight and a traditional scope. No problems encountered, the Mini-14 is an accommodating design. The flash suppressor was removed and replaced with a silencer for much of the range work.

The 5.56 NATO… Neato…

(5.56 NATO far left, 308 Win left) The Ruger Mini-14 Tactical utilizes 5.56 NATO or 223 Remington ammunition. Please don’t make me talk about ballistics or  differences between the two. The Real Guns’s site, and just about every other public source of information has covered the issue exhaustively.

I can say that the variety of types of ammunition within this caliber heading, make the Ruger Mini-14 Tactical suitable for small game and varmint hunting, deer hunting and security duty. There are lower capacity mags available for states like Maine, where laws restrict hunting magazine capacity to 5 rounds, plus one in the chamber. Outside of hunting there is no limit. ShopRuger.Com carries 30 round magazines for the Mini-14.

Why a folding stock rifle?

I am not an avid gamer, tactical weapon aficionado, ex rifle carrying military, or member of law enforcement. I’m sure those folks could all provide a litany of valid purposes for a folding stock firearm. For myself, I can say the greatest practical benefit is making a long gun less… long.

Compact firearms ship to hunting destinations at a lower cost. Compact firearms can be stuffed into a pack when heading for a more remote location, on foot or on horseback. In fact, it can more easily be placed in a waterproof container and stowed on a boat, kayak or canoe. The rifle is kept clean and dry and it is still ready to use, stock folded or unfolded.

Okay, yes, it does also look pretty cool and that is reason enough.

Performance

I’m not ready to present accuracy data. That will be contained in Part II. I can say the little carbine is dead nuts reliable, both feed and cycling, and it is comfortable to shoot, steel cheek rest and all. The problem is, this winter is kicking my butt, storms are coming in waves. We finished one, and another is forecast for tomorrow. If I didn’t have to trek through a snow field to place and change targets, I would wrap this up. Next week for sure in Part II.

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