NRA Gun of the Week: Ruger Mini Thirty

posted on December 24, 2021

Sturm, Ruger & Co.'s Mini Thirty enters the books as self-loading rifle, unique and capable, with a piston-driven action reminiscent of J.C. Grand’s famed designs. Though brought to life in the early the late 1980s, Ruger’s Mini Thirty came as an evolutionary step for its parent company and Mini-14 line of investment-cast semi-autos in 5.56x45 mm NATO.

Right side ruger carbine wood metal stainless steel text on image noting: "Ruger Mini Thirty Model 5804"


Minis quickly earned their reputation from not just enthusiasts and home defenders, law-enforcement and government-owned armories stock variants of the Ruger Mini-14, some capable of automatic operation. But it’s the .30-cal. Mini Thirty that caught the attention of hunters, it being a lightweight big-game legal hunting rifle with quick-change magazines. In addition to manual, straight-pull mode and adjustable sights, the Mini Thirty offers hunters with a do-all rifle system that is ready for optics straight from the box.

gun silver metal stainless steel rifle action receiver black sight


Ruger’s Mini Thirty is a perennial design that has maintained its spot in the company catalog for decades. Today’s Mini Thirty options include plastic and polished-wood furniture with either blued or stainless-steel barrel configurations. The latter Model 5804 can be seen on the range in the video above.

man shooting rifle black shirt brown gun stock metal silver white walls


Sporting a cold hammer-forged barrel 18.50” in length and a matte-finished stainless steel receiver, our sample weighed in at around 7 lbs. Load down the magazine, install a well-fit sling and optic and expect to find a fully rigged hunting setup to be just over 8 lbs. The Mini Thirty comes with machined-in scope mounts, is drilled and tapped and supplied with a section of Picatinny rail from the factory. If that’s not enough from Ruger, a set of adjustable sights come fixed to the rifle with a wing-protected rear aperture. The front sight is a simple blade. Two five-round magazines and scope rings come with the rifle.

left side quartering view Ruger rifle carbine gun semi-automatic wood stainless steel


Ruger Mini Thirty Specifications
Manufacturer: Sturm, Ruger & Co.

Action Type: piston-operated, semi-automatic centerfire rifle

Chambering: 7.62x39 mm

Receiver: stainless steel

Barrel: 18.5” stainless steel

Finish: matte

Stock: wood

Sights: adjustable rear aperture, post front

Magazine: five-round detachable box

Length: 37.50”

Weight: 7 lbs.

MSRP: $1,279


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