[Previous entry: "Digging a ditch -- Second dispatch from the desert"] [Main Index] [Next entry: "Third dispatch from the desert"]

10/25/2004 Archived Entry: "Comparing the Mini-14 and Daewoo K2 (yeah, hardly fair, I know)"

ON A MORE PRACTICAL (SHOOTING) MATTER ... Before waxing all poetic about the desert night, I went out in the desert day with the other denizens of the Hermitage and we did a comparison: my girly gun against what blogispondent Ian calls an Evil Black Rifle (EBR).

My girly gun is a Ruger Mini-14. I've been a fan of Mini-14s ever since reading about them in Mel Tappan's Survival Guns back in the 1970s. But serious gunny friends scoff. Either they don't like .223s at all ("underpowered little mouse gun"), or they point out that the Mini was a fine rifle in its day but it's been eclipsed by more accurate, longer-range .223s.

But I've always liked the Mini-14 because by damn it's a fun little gun. It makes a big noise while only having about as much kick as a powder puff. And it's light weight enough that even a 130-pound weakling (aka me) can hold it steady - something I can't say about larger, heavier weapons. It's also still relatively inexpensive (although, as the scoffers have pointed out, not as relatively inexpensive as it was back when it cost $400 and ARs cost $1,200 or so).

The EBR we compared it to was a Daewoo K2 - a pre-ban semi-auto version of a Korean military rifle - same caliber as the Mini-14, but the sort of military-looking weapon, complete with bayonet, that would put Dianne Feinstein's knickers in a serious knot. The Daewoo also cost about 2-1/2 times what the Mini cost.

While the Mini-14 might have a reasonable outside range of 250 yards, the manual on the Daewoo suggests you start zeroing in at 250 meters. Its range-selector switch goes all the way out to 600 meters - a distance I can barely imagine shooting from. (How do people even see their target at such distances?) The concept of a range-selector switch is lost on my little Mini. And our test didn't include such serious distances, in any case.

Two women and two guys took turns shooting both weapons. Some of the things we noticed (and keep in mind that the whole gang of us are only occasional rifle shooters and, generally, amateurs with firearms):

I'm still a fan of Mini-14s, and my fellow female shooter said that was the gun for her. But if you laid 'em both out on the table, I'd certainly grab the Daewoo in an instant.

Oh, and we took some shots at a steel silhouette target with the .223s. And for an "underpowered mouse-gun round" those little 55-grain bullets certainly did poke some serious holes clean through that 1/4-inch steel.

BTW, we also did some shooting using a bi-pod from JohnMasen.com. This handly-dandy little $7 gadget simply spring-clamps onto any rifle you've got around, so we tried it on the Mini, the Daewoo, and the SKS. It was the hit of the day.

But I also had two newly purchased 30-round (post-ban!) Mini-14 magazines made by Masen, and despite coming highly recommended, the one I opened and tried was total garbage. Couldn't even feed a single round into the Mini's chamber with it. Had to go back to one of my old magazines, whose makers didn't have the good sense to stamp their brand name on it. Of the 10 or so magazines I've purchased for the Mini over time, perhaps three have worked well. But none were as useless as that one from Masen. Nice people at Masen, though. I suspect they'll be kind about giving me a refund or a replacement.

Posted by Claire @ 01:10 PM CST

Powered By Greymatter