AR-15 vs. Ruger Ranch Rifle


Well-Known Member
Sep 29, 2006
Santa Rosa, CA
I am considering the purchase of an AR-15 type rifle, or possibly even a Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle for coyotes only. I know that the AR will be more expensive than the Ranch Rifle. Ruger has just come out with a target version of the Ranch Rifle for a little over $1,000. I know that cost-wise, the price is far less than any AR version...especially one of the custom target AR rifles.

1. Would it be advisable to just spend the extra money for a good AR, or go with the Ranch Rifle?

2. Considering that there are many more calibers available for the AR, which would be the best caliber for coyotes: 308, .20 or .223? I don't care about saving pelts.

Here is the Ruger I am considering:

Ruger® Mini-14® Target Ranch Rifle - Laminate Autoloading Rifle
For Yote's only.. I'd go with the AR15 (rifle) version in the .20 cal. If your going to call them in close most the time, then a plain Jane AR15 carbine in .223 would work just fine for me, very light and easy to walk with.
Nothing wrong with the Ruger rifles but in this case the AR's have the edge in my estimation.
You can build a pretty nice AR for well under $1000. AR's are extremely easy to build. Plus, the AR will be far more accurate. You can have one chambered in multiple calibers, and there are more accesories for AR's than the Rugers.

I would go with the AR hands down. The accuracy difference isn't even close. You can achieve 1/2moa with the AR, not the Ruger.
I do not nor have I ever owned and AR. (not that I don't want one)
I have, however owned the Ruger (not the target version) and traded it back in w/i two months. The lack of accessories and accuracy did me in. The say the accuracy of the model you are looking at is significantly better than the original, but if you want a decent variety of scope bases, and other accessories go with the AR.
Looks like the AR is the one. I know that there are many, many companies that sell ARs that are reportedly accurized, but which company would you suggest that I start that is honest, reliable and sells a product that will produce at least minute of angle accuracy....or as close to it as I can get with one of my bench rest rifles. One minute of angle would be just fine. I know that Ruger just came out with an AR format, but $2,000 is too steep.

Also, which .20 caliber would be suitable (i.e., the .204 Ruger, .20 Tactical, etc.), and why do you feel that a .20 would produce better results than a .223....(or would it?). Remember that I don't need to save pelts. I know I would have to hand load for any of the .20 caliber fodder (perhaps with the exception of the .204 Ruger), so would the .223 be a better bet from the reloading standpoint? And, if I decided to reload, I know that Lapua manufacturers fancy-dancy brass for the .204 Tactical. Does this type of expensive brass contribute any greater accuracy in an AR than Win or Remington .223 brass?

Another thing: I live in good old liberal California, where it appears that centerfire semi-automatic rifles with pistol grip (such as with the AR) or thumbhole grips (such as with the Ruger Target AR) are now illegal. Anybody know anything about this?
I have a mini 14 target identical to that one, and it's actually a fairly accurate gun. With cheap bulk ammo it almost always shoots 1 MOA five shot groups, and many times gets right down around .75 MOA. It's also a nicely balanced gun to shoot off hand IMO. A couple of the people that shot it even went out and bought one for themselves. It's just a sweetheart of a gun.

It does have its faults though. I'm pretty sure when they designed the thing light weight wasn't a first priority, the last 2 rounds never feed out of the 30 round magazines, and that black heat shield on top the barrel came loose on mine. So if your thinking about getting one, start carrying around a 6 foot piece of well pipe to get used to the weight, tape two 20 round magazines back to back instead of running the longer ones, and loctite the screws holding that heat shield in place before the scope is mounted.
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