I have waxed lyrical before about pistol-caliber semi-automatic carbines, and I remain fond of them, for all sorts of reasons. However, a couple of recent articles are making me rethink my fondness — not towards total rejection of the concept, but perhaps towards a better option.
I speak firstly of this article, about the TNW Aero Survival Rifle LTE – 9mm:
There’s a lot to like about this: it uses Glock mags, it has an AR-15 clone action, you can get it in multiple barrel lengths, it breaks down easily for storage, and so on. (Of course, as it shoots the plentiful 9mm Europellet, practice is cheap too.)
My antipathy towards said cartridge is well known, however, and I would far rather have such a carbine chambered for the .45 ACP — but from what I’ve read about the Aero, it’s going to be offered solely in 9mm. Fine. But then we come to the retail price of $650 (street), and about a hundred more for the short-barreled “pistol”. That makes me wonder whether one couldn’t do better, cartridge-wise, for about the same money.
And right on cue came this article, suggesting that it may be time to reconsider the venerable Ruger Ranch Rifle (Mini-14 or Mini-Thirty):
Now my own experience with the Mini-14 has been dismal — it couldn’t hold zero, the hot barrel whipped like a cooked noodle, and the larger magazines (aftermarket, because Bill Ruger thought that nobody should ever need more than 5 rounds) were Jammin’ Central.
But apparently, Ruger has fixed all that — even unto offering 20-round factory magazines — and they’re apparently now manufactured as they should have been made in the first place.
What I’ve always liked about the Ranch Rifles is that they’re not threatening to the gun confiscators, appearance-wise anyway. (That doesn’t mean that the bastards wouldn’t go after them with similar fervor to the hated AR-15, but there’s less justification for doing so — at least, in the public’s eye. Yes I know it’s all bullshit — the AR and Mini-14 are functionally identical — but these are the times we live in.)
The Mini-14 retails for just over $800 right now — and given that you’re shooting the 5.56mm poodleshooter instead of the 9mm Europellet, the price difference might be justified. (You know where I’m going with this, right? Yup, the Mini Thirty in 7.62x39mm Commie is the one I’d pick, if I was going in this direction.)
All the above assumes that the boys at Ruger have fixed all the old problems with the Ranch Rifle, of course.
If anyone near north Texas has recently bought one of the latest generation of the Ruger Mini (with the 20-round mag) in either caliber, I’d love to give it a little impromptu range test. I’ll supply the ammo.
Comments, as always, are welcome.