Built Strong for a World in Turmoil

The Ruger Mini-14 is built strong and built in a fashion of the 1950’s M-14 with a Garand style action. In 1973 Ruger started production of their Mini-14 Ranch Rifle in 5.56mm caliber. Ruger also produced the Mini-14 GB (Government Bayonet) and a Mini-30 which is still produced in the 7.62X39. The Mini-14 GB is no longer produced. However, Ruger makes Mini-14 tactical models, six by my count. One tactical model, the 5888, comes in 5.56 mm with a Strikeforce ATI 6-position collapsible and folding stock. They even make a Mini-14 in 300 Blackout which is model 5864.

Ruger sent a sample of the Mini-14 Tactical Model 5889 for me to T&E. I was very happy to review this product as I am a huge Ruger fan. I personally own several Ruger handguns and rifles including the Ruger Lever-action No. 1.

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The Mini-14, in all of its configurations and calibers, is a simple mechanical concept which means fewer moving parts equals reliability at a time when things could go honorably wrong. This rifle is just one rugged piece of American firearm genius. I wish I had a Mini-14 during my time as an International Police Advisor in Iraq. Sure, my issued full-auto AR was cool looking but it was not up to my “keep my ass alive” standards. When leaving the wire If I would have had a Ruger Mini-14 in my meat hooks I would have felt much safer.

The Mini-14, and other models, comes with cold hammered-forged barrels with ultra-precise rifling, which as you know, provides exceptional accuracy and a life time of shooting. As in many Ruger rifles, my Mini-14 sample came with integral scope mounts which attach to the machined solid steel receiver. This is a very positive and stable mounting system. I just love this feature. One-inch scope rings are included as well as a picatinny rail. The receiver is drilled and tapped for mounting the included picatinny rail. On the end of the hammer-forged barrel is a factory-installed flash suppressor which screws on the ½ Inch – 28 threaded barrel. Two 20 round magazines, safety lock, manual and warranty card are also packed into the box with this superb rifle.

In A Time of Uncertainty

A point could be made about uncertain times in the near future and even yes, a point could be easily be made they are here now. Our country’s national debt, as of this writing, or US real debt is $27.6 trillion which equals $220,000 per each of us tax payers. I don’t know about you but they will have to wait until I get my next retirement check. The World is full of aggressive actors who would do us harm. There is proof of this with recent times. You ever hear of, “Divide and Conquer”?

At home in the States, we have considerable unrest. Powerful Tech companies and a couple of billionaires are using their influence and power to change history and manipulate the future. Home defense is more paramount than ever before. In larger cities I would say it is time to think about neighborhood defense. In smaller towns, like I grew up in, consideration of a home-town defense should at least be explored. All being within the law.

If you are like the majority of American Patriots who are firearm owners, you own a couple of handguns and maybe a deer rifle and a shotgun. A good old lever-action 30-30 deer rifle is a force to be recon with but not suitable for any extended use of force. Shotguns are good for hunting, possible home defense from intruders and with the right buckshot or slug effective out to 120 yards.

Of the last, say ten years, many people are buying semi-auto rifles which use removable magazines for feeding ammo to the firing-chamber. Well maybe not those in California. The vastly more popular model or style chosen by consumers is the “AR” platform. There are many different reasons for this but familiarity of the rifle while in the military, seeing them on TV in cop and military shows etc. The basic function and dependability are good however, I had a stinker in Iraq as an LEO advisor.

The AR platform is so popular there are many vendors of this rifle style. There are many vendors of the magazines for this rifle. The ammo is fairly standard but of the last few years has seen other calibers such as the 300 Blackout and Winchester’s bad-boy 350 Legend and others. There are kits to build your own AR. Gridley built his own AR which works great.

For those of us who love the very dependable Garand/M-14 style of action there is only one choice I would recommend. The Ruger Mini-14 in 5.56mm, 300 Blackout or even the 7.62X39. I really like this rifle. The reason is, simplicity, all steel and wood configuration, excellent dependability and the most important reason is…..when I pull the trigger the Mini-14 goes “BANG”. You can mount an optic on top with the 1-inch rings included. As stated before, the tactical model even comes drilled and tapped for a picatinny rail included.

5888 Tactical

As I stated at the beginning of this article, Ruger sent me their Mini-14 Tactical in 5.56mm for test and evaluation. Winchester sent me 60 rounds of their 5.56mm military grade ammo to test as well. Yes, everyone is paying the price for panic buying and price gouging. Remember the run on .22LR ammo a few years ago. So, Gridley and I did our best testing this excellent firearm with 60 rounds.

Gridley and I picked a fantastic day to test the Ruger Mini-14 Tactical. It was 71 degrees with little wind. We took this bad-boy to the OKC Gun Club Range to test and evaluate this firearm. At the range we set up a green silhouette NRA LEO approved at 30 yards. As we had only 60 rounds to shoot, we had to do away with any bench work or even sighting in at this range. I felt we needed to show the Mini-14 could function flawlessly as well as the Winchester ammo.

In shooting the Ruger Mini-14 Tactical #5889, Gridley and I found this firearm shot effortlessly. We both loved the way the bolt sounded when it ejected an empty and loaded a fresh round. Music to our ears. We could not help thinking about the M1 Garand being used in WWII. We savored every round fired. This semi-auto rifle was just a joy to shoot. Within the 60 rounds we had no malfunctions from the firearm or the excellent Winchester 5.56mm ammo. As we shot, we noticed all shells were ejected into a three-foot circle. To me, a sign of the consistency of the Winchester loads matched with the excellence of the Ruger Mini-14 rifle. If the ammo is not consistent, it will be slung all over the place.

Very minimal recoil was felt while shooting the 55 gr. 5.56mm Winchester ammo. This rifle is very pleasant to shoot. One could say it was like shooting a mini-Garand or M-14 in semi-auto.

A club member I ran into at the store said his Mini-14 shoots very accurately at 300 yards when shooting his handloaded 5.56mm with a 73-gr. Hornady bullet. We both agreed distances out past 300 yards was a real stretch. The US military’s opinion of maximum lethal distance is around 218- 273 yards. See the Army University Press article at this link. Interesting read.


The Ruger Mini-14, 5.56 mm, Model 5889 is a superb firearm. Ruger has been hitting them out of the park since 1973. Our T&E example worked flawlessly. I believe the reason is the simplicity of the design of this firearm and the simplicity of the magazine lock up to magazine-well to align with the breach. The Winchester ammo fired without a hitch. I even fired rapid fire to try and cause a jam…..no jam experienced.

One thing I was thinking about along the lines of the Mini-14 design is one model chambered in the 6.5 Creedmoor. Yes, this would take some engineering and maybe a slightly heavier breach. However, a Ruger Mini-14 in 6.5 Creedmoor would be one bad-boy hunting round and ever a better long range “reach-out and touch someone” rifle. Ruger has a fantastic rifle which should be exploited to meet the needs of Ruger fans who like this rifle but see a need for one which shoots at greater distances.

Never the less, I highly recommend the Ruger Mini-14 in any caliber Ruger decides to product them in. I know Gridley and I totally enjoyed shooting the Mini-14 and hope to shoot others for T&E in the future when ammo hording settles down.

Ruger Mini-14, 5.56 mm, Model 5889

  • Barrel Length: 16.12 inches
  • Overall Length: 37inches
  • Front Sight: Blade
  • Rear Sight: Adjustable
  • Material: Alloy Steel
  • Length of Pull: 13.62 inches
  • Weight: 7.2 pounds
  • Finish: Blued
  • Stock: Speckled Black/Brown Hardwood
  • Thread Pattern: ½ Inch – 28
  • Twist: 1:9 inches RH
  • Capacity: 20 X 2 mags (Factory 30 round mag available.)
  • Grooves: 6

MSRP: $1069.00



Ruger Mini-14 Tactical 5889

Winchester Ammo

Winchester 5.56 mm, 55 gr.

Ruger Firearms