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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Sights: adjustable rear aperture, post front
Magazine: five-round detachable box
Weight: 7 lbs.