View Full Version : Ruger Mini-30 Tactical

5 November 2010, 17:02
Ruger sent me their new Mini-30 Tactical for testing and evaluation. Got it in yesterday. No time for a range session yet, but here's the out of the box review. I've owned two in the past but am not all that familiar with the Mini family as I'm an AR-type guy. My previous experience with the Mini-30 was limited - I had my first cut from 18.5 inches to 16 inches to make a short carbine. The rifle never functioned properly after the surgery and I got rid of it.

I later acquired a second, but didn't keep it long because high capacity magazines were hard to find, expensive, and never functioned reliably. I heard that Ruger was coming out with a revised model featuring tighter tolerances and military iron sights and let it go. This was several years ago, and in the meantime I pretty much gave up hopes of getting a Mini-30 configured like I wanted....

...until now


The 16 inch heavy barreled Mini-30 Tactical was exactly the rifle I had envisioned.


Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Co
Model: Mini-30 Tactical
Caliber: 7.62x39mm
Overall length: 36.75 in
Barrel length: 16.1 in
Rifling twist: 1/10 in
Muzzle thread: 5/8 x 24 TPI
Weight: 6.73 lbs
Loaded magazine weight, (20 rds): 18.8 oz
Trigger pull: 5 lbs 11.5 oz


Included with the rifle is an owner's manual, one 20 round magazine, and a set of 1-inch rings. Also included is an action lock, already misplaced. Oh well...

This is an attractive little carbine. The sights are a great improvement.

Also attached to the heavy barrel is the AC-556 styled flash suppressor, which I like. The Ruger flash suppressor is unique among others in the industry and visually distinct.

Barrel diameter forward of the gas block measured at 0.782 in.

Barrel diameter aft of the gas block measured at 0.623 in.

8 November 2010, 21:52
I disassembled the rifle for thorough cleaning and to familiarize myself with it.

I knew of the heat shield in the upper handguard, but was unaware of the one in the stock.

I really like that Ruger opted to use stainless steel for the hammer, trigger, and firing pin as opposed to using non-stainless components.

The Ruger manufactured 20 round magazine has witness holes in both sides. Magazine feels very solid and well designed.

The magazine floorplate is stamped for the Mini-30, but the markings are finely cut and not immediately visible. Nowhere on the body is the cartridge specified as 7.62x39mm. It would be beneficial for Ruger to mark 7.62x39 somewhere, preferably where it can easily be seen.

Five pull average of 5 lbs 11.5 oz.

The rifle looks like it means business.

Ruger's distinctive logo is inset on the pistol grip cap.

My overall out of the box impression is that Ruger has refined their Mini-30 into the rifle I always wanted; a short, handy, heavy-barreled no-frills carbine. It shows promise as a truck gun, a pig stopper, defensive carbine, and patrol rifle for law enforcement.

Range test soon to follow.

8 November 2010, 21:55
Velocity Test

First thing I wanted to do at the range was run some ammo through the chronograph and get some velocity readings.

ShootingChrony F-1 Master was set at 12 feet for the test.

Ammo used for velocity test was Remington UMC 123gr FMJ, Winchester 123gr FMJ, DoubleTap 123gr Barnes Triple Shock X, and DoubleTap 123gr Rifle Defense.


DT Rifle Defense bullet diameter measured 0.3105 in.

DT Barnes Triple Shock X bullet diameter measured 0.3105 in.

Ruger Mini-30 Velocity Results

Rem UMC 123gr FMJ.....2228 fps
Win 123gr FMJ.....2298 fps
DT 123gr Barnes Triple Shock X.....2202 fps
DT 123gr Rifle Defense.....2171 fps

Rifle bore was cleaned before and after each brand was tested so as not to provide any advantage or disadvantage to any specific manufacturer. Cleaning also aided in the barrel break in process.

Primer strikes appeared sufficient.

8 November 2010, 21:56
50 Yard range test with irons.

The BVAC 123gr V-MAX didn't arrive in time for the velocity test, but will be included for the accuracy test. Bullet diameter measured 0.3105 in.


The irons were pretty much on right out of the box. No adjustment was necessary.

My impression at fifty yards was that the military type iron sights are an improvement over the original style in respect to target acquisition and the rifle accuracy was up to expectations.

8 November 2010, 21:57
Burris sent me their FullField II Tactical (2-7x35mm) for range testing with the Ruger Mini-30 Tactical. I figured 2x would be good for close-in work and 7x at extended ranges.

FFII TAC includes the TAC II knobs. Nice definite clicks when adjusting.


The FFII TAC also features the Ballistic Plex reticle, a bullet drop compensated type.

Also included is a BDC chart and stickers for numerous popular cartridges.

Here is my attempt to capture the Ballistic Plex reticle looking through the scope. My poor attempt is not indicative of the clarity of the glass.

Burris FFII TAC mounted on the Mini-30 Tactical with supplied Ruger rings.

The supplied scope rings sit a little higher than I prefer. However, the glass on the scope is clear and provides a crisp image. I like this Ballistic Plex reticle, it's simple and not cluttered.

8 November 2010, 21:58
100 yard test

Temperature was 78 degrees. Three round groups as I did not have enough ammo left for 5rd groups. As I'm cheap, I used the same target for the scope sighting in and the 100-yd test, hence the white pasters.

Center group is Remington UMC 123gr FMJ - 2.474 in.

Winchester 123gr FMJ - 1.787 in.

DoubleTap 123gr Rifle Defense - 1.2445 in.

BVAC 123gr V-MAX - 1.755 in.

One of the tighter groups of the day. DoubleTap 123gr Barnes Triple Shock X - 0.953 in.

The tightest group of the day. BVAC 123gr V-MAX - 0.801 in.


Final impression is that the Ruger Mini-30 Tactical delivers best results with BVAC and DoubleTap. Both brands consistently produced tighter groups than ammunition from the larger manufacturers. During testing no malfunctions of any type were encountered. Overall I'm very pleased with the performance of this rifle, but I wouldn't complain if Ruger supplied an additional magazine. I think this is a positive addition to the Ruger Mini family of rifles.

8 November 2010, 22:00
One complaint I've heard from multiple sources against the new Ruger Mini-30 Tactical is the apparent lack of tactical features, such as a pistol grip and collapsible stock. So I figured I'd play with this one a little bit and see how it turned out.

Choate Machine & Tool sent me their new Mini-14/M4 stock for testing on the Tac-30, featuring Choate's M4 style five-position telescoping buttstock assembly. Buttstock has dual compartments for batteries and a rubber nonslip butt pad. Included also is a barrel liner and receiver reinforcement. I'm 6'2" and found only the first three positions usable, as the last two made the length of pull too long. Barreled action dropped in easily and without modification.

Amega Ranges sent me their Mini-Scout-Mount III to include in the project. Included was their Mini-14 mount and Tactical Light Mount Kit, which consists of one 2-in and 4-in 1913 Picatinny rail adapter and all necessary mounting hardware.

For the primary optic, Burris sent their 2.75x Scout scope with their low-height 1-inch diameter XTR scope rings.



8 November 2010, 22:01
For the secondary optic, Burris sent their FastFire II mini-holographic sight along with a Picatinny Protector Mount. As a backup, this optic will be mounted offset on the right side.



The project has evolved into a weapon of mass destruction.

Streamlight TLR-1 added to the left side offset rail.


After assembly the Mini-30 bears little resemblance to its original form. With the modifications, the Mini-30 Tac can be considered a true tactical platform. The transformation from a stock Mini-30 Tactical to the 'Tac-30' is complete.

20 December 2010, 16:28
Steel Cased ammo Function Test

Didn't have much time. The sun was setting. Temperature was 64 and the wind was 15-20mph variable with 25mph gusts so I decided to forgo the the 100yd test and went to the 50 instead.

Ammunition used was Wolf 154gr SP and 122gr HP, Military Classic 124gr FMJ, and Monarch 123gr FMJ. (Monarch is ammo made in Russia for Academy sporting goods stores) Also tested were 15 loose rounds of Wolf 122gr HP.

50yds prone
20rds Wolf 154gr SP are grouped in the head area. Center mass is 20rds Wolf Mil. Classic 124 FMJ.

Wolf Performance ammo spent cases show acceptable primer strikes, but lighter than I've experienced with brass cases.

Wolf Military Classic 124gr FMJ primer strikes appear to be deeper than the Performance brand.

No malfunctions with either the Wolf 154gr SP or 122gr HP or Monarch. I experienced one failure to fire with the Military Classic, which appeared to have a sufficient primer strike. The round discharged properly on the second attempt. Which is odd as the Military Classic showed deeper primer strikes than Wolf Performance brand. So very pleased for this range session and that out of 95 rounds of steel case ammo I had only one light primer strike. Accuracy seems to be acceptable.

1 January 2011, 14:45
Very nice review, bro.



1 January 2011, 16:00
Thanks for sharing, how were the stock sights?

28 January 2011, 23:44
The irons are nice and simple, peep aperture rear - adjustable, front protected and not adjustable. When shouldered they are right there, no searching. I may be old school but I like Rugers newer military type sights, also I find them a great improvement over their older sights.

15 December 2011, 07:23
I have a Mini-30 and would like to use some Wolf (steel) or Herter's as it's cheap and I like to plink and use that 20 round mag once in a while. Problem is I get more duds than fires. I put in a different spring but still have the same problem. I'm seeing the tacticle version doesn't have as much of a problem with the steel stuff. How can I get my SS Mini-30 to fire the stuff. I really don't care a lot about accuracy with the steel stuff. I'll use the brass for hunting etc.

10 January 2012, 20:18
I have the same problem with Herter's. I primarily attribute this to inconsistent/malshaped primers. Herter's primers are nearly hemispherical, and some are seated too deeply. This is easy to observe by comparing to other brands. Now, Mini-30 deserves part of the blame, since, for example, my Vz. 58 devours anything I feed it, including the rounds that did not go "boom" in the Mini-30.

I have a Mini-30 and would like to use some Wolf (steel) or Herter's as it's cheap and I like to plink and use that 20 round mag once in a while. Problem is I get more duds than fires. I put in a different spring but still have the same problem. I'm seeing the tacticle version doesn't have as much of a problem with the steel stuff. How can I get my SS Mini-30 to fire the stuff. I really don't care a lot about accuracy with the steel stuff. I'll use the brass for hunting etc.

23 January 2012, 20:26
Primers on steel case are seated deeper to avoid slamfire on auto weapons. If you pull the firing pin out of the bolt and carefully remove matierial from the pin shoulder to let the pin travel farther into the primer the steel case will work with no problem. It worked for me

17 February 2012, 09:57
Not much of a machinist here. Are you suggesting use some emery cloth or file?