Ruger Mini-14 Tactical 300 AAC Blackout

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

May 27th, 2015


Click pictures for a larger version.





Rugged and reliable gas system.





Excellent set of rugged, well-protected sights.



Charging handle is integral with the operating rod.



Manual bolt hold-open (top), magazine latch (center), manual safety (bottom).





Rifle ships with two steel twenty-round magazines.





The Ruger Mini-14 semiautomatic rifle has been on the market steadily for just over four decades now. I have told this story before, but it has been awhile, about my first introduction to the Mini-14 rifle. I was just nineteen years old, working a construction job on renovating the Kentucky State Prison at Eddyville. We were working in an area that had us among the prisoners, and being obsessed with anything related to firearms, I noticed the wall guards were walking around holding carbines at the ready. I could tell from a distance that they were not 30 M1 carbines, but I knew that I had to get a closer look at these weapons, which I did. This was my first look at the Ruger Mini-14, and I determined that I must own one. I have since owned several. The design of the bolt hold-open has changed, as well as a couple of other details, but the Mini-14 remains basically the same as it was when introduced in 1974.

The adjectives that come to mind when thinking back on every Mini-14 that I have owned or fired include rugged and reliable. I have only had one Mini-14 to malfunction on me. Back in my younger years when I played with a couple that had been converted to run, let's say, "faster", even those ran flawlessly. I am not saying who did the conversion; just that they were converted. While on that topic, Ruger also made for many years the AC-556, which is pretty much a fully-automatic Mini-14. I think my local Sheriff's Office still has a couple of these; one solid stock and the other a folder, if I remember correctly. Besides the thousands of 5.56 NATO and 223 Remington Mini-14 rifles, Ruger also markets, and has done so for many years, the Mini-30, which is chambered for the 7.62x39mm cartridge.

Now, Ruger has introduced the Mini-14 chambered for the increasingly-popular 300 AAC Blackout cartridge. The 300 Blackout has ballistics that are similar to the 7.62x39mm in its supersonic form, but the 300 is much more efficient, and is also available in a subsonic form, which is preferred by many for use in sound-suppressed weapons.

The 300 Blackout Mini-14 Tactical wears a black synthetic fixed stock with molded-in checkering for a positive grip. The stock wears a sling loop at the rear, to match the loop attached to the front of the gas block. The Mini-14 uses a heavy-duty, simple gas system similar to the M1 Garand and M-14 systems, and has proven to be as reliable as a mechanical device can be. The 300 version of the Mini-14 Tactical is constructed primarily of blued alloy steel, with the hammer and trigger being noticeably made of stainless. The receiver wears integral scope bases to accommodate the supplied Ruger scope rings. On that point, if your dealer tells you that the Mini-14 does not include scope rings, and tries to charge you extra for them, you need to find yourself an honest dealer. Included also is a 1913 Picatinny spec optics rail, which attaches to the top of the receiver with supplied screws. Ruger also thoughtfully includes a wrench and thread locking compound for the attachment of the Picatinny rail. The rear sight is an adjustable aperture unit, mated to a rugged protected front blade. The hammer-forged sixteen and one-eighth inch barrel has a one-in-seven-inch right-hand rifling twist, and is fitted with Ruger's birdcage style flash suppressor. The barrel diameter forward of the gas block measures .75 inch diameter, and is slightly smaller under the handguard. The Ruger Mini-14 Tactical 300 AAC Blackout weighs in at six and three-quarters pounds on my scale, without magazine. The overall length measures 36.375 inches, with the length of pull measuring thirteen inches.

All accuracy and velocity testing was done at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with temperatures in the seventy-seven degree Fahrenheit range, with calm winds and a relative humidity of sixty-four percent. All accuracy testing was done firing from a solid bench using a Target Shooting, Inc. Model 500 rifle rest. For accuracy testing, I used a Leupold Mark 4 8.5 to 25 power scope set to the highest magnification. The scope was attached to the Ruger's Picatinny rail using an ArmaLite one-piece base. All ammunition was tested for accuracy at one hundred yards. Velocities are listed in the chart below, and were recorded ten feet from the muzzle. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (fps). Bullet weights are listed in grains.

Remington OTM 220 1026 Not Recorded


Remington OTM 125 2253 2257
Barnes TAC-TX 110 2336 2314
Barnes Range AR 90 2687 2692

Shooting the 300 AAC Mini was uneventful, as most every type of ammo tested ran flawlessly. The only exception was that the 220 grain subsonic ammo would sometimes fail to fully cycle the bolt without the can attached to the muzzle. With the can attached, that ammo also ran flawlessly. The trigger pull measured about 7.4 pounds of resistance on the test rifle, but was smooth and crisp. The Mini trigger is very easy to work on, if desired, but nothing should be done to change the angle or the surface area of the contact points of the sear and hammer. Just smoothing the surfaces makes a noticeable difference, but the Mini trigger is acceptable as is for most uses. The Mini-14 300 Blackout comes with two of the excellent twenty-round Ruger steel magazines. The magazines are marked "300 AAC Blackout", but they are functionally identical and interchangeable with the 556/223 magazines. They are marked to distinguish the ammo carried within, to prevent the chambering of 300 AAC ammo in a 223 rifle, which can be disastrous if fired.

Accuracy of the Mini-14 Tactical improved greatly as the extended shooting session progressed, with the best groups turned in near the end of the day. Rifles often shoot better after they have had several rounds passed through the bore, as did this Mini. Accuracy was very good with some loads, and the better groups are pictured here. The Barnes Range AR ammo did not perform well in this rifle, regarding accuracy, but it is built and marketed as practice ammo. The premium Barnes TTSX is my favorite load in 300 Blackout, for all serious purposes, such as hunting and resolving distasteful social conflicts. The TTSX bullet performs perfectly, expanding and penetrating every time. After the accuracy testing, I removed the big Leupold and mounted a Redfield Accelerator electronic dot scope atop the rail for some fun plinking out to 100 yards. The Redfield weighs almost nothing, and is an excellent choice for this rifle for close range work.

The Ruger Mini-14 300 Blackout rifle is available now, with a suggested retail price of $1019 US as of the date of this review, but on "Gallery of Guns" I was able to find them in stock and ready to ship for about $250 less. Again, that is as of the date of this review. Prices and availability of any weapon could change overnight. Like all Ruger firearms, the Mini-14 Tactical is built in the USA.

Check out the Ruger Mini-14 and other Ruger products online at

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

To order the Ruger Mini-14 online, click on the Gun Genie at

For a closer look at the extensive line of Redfield optics , go to

To order quality 300 Blackout ammunition, go to,,  and

For Mini-14 magazines and accessories, go to

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.





Birdcage flash suppressor.



Tactical Solutions sound suppressor.



1913-spec Picatinny rail is included.



Sturdy Ruger scope rings are included with the rifle.



Redfield Accelerator electronic dot sight.



Some of the better groups fired at 100 yards.



Disassembly is quick and easy.





This picture shows the relationship of the primary and secondary sears to the hammer.