The Mini 14 stands among the most loved and widely used rifles in America. It is obviously the most popular .223 semi-automatic rifle and combines the features of many other ‘sought-after’ rifles. The market is flooded with options for upgrading the standard Mini 14 magazines, which leaves people confused about it.
Today we’ll learn about whether to use those aftermarket mags or stick with the original ones. We’ll also take a look about some of the best mini 14 magazines available on the market and if you really need one.
Quick Comparison Chart of Mini 14 Magazines
2. Ruger Mini 14 Magazine
3. Tapco Mini 14 30rd. Magazine
4. John Masen 10rd Magazine
What to Look for in an Aftermarket Magazine
There’s quite a few things to keep in mind when considering an aftermarket magazine. A magazine is responsible for feeding the bullets into your action. If it’s not reliable, your feed system will jam every now and then. Not a good sight anytime.
Before choosing an aftermarket magazine, you must ensure that it is reliable and feeds well. Check the spring, which shouldn’t be too tight or too loose. Also check to see if the magazine has an ‘hold-open’ follower (this can be done manually using the switch, but if it’s built in, so much the better).
Another important aspect to consider is the size. There are 5, 10, 20 and 30 round magazines for the Mini 14. There’s even some larger ones. Think carefully about what size you really need. Sometimes it can just be a preference of how much it bothers you to switch clips.
The weight and the material of the magazine also matter. That’s because a heavier magazine will add to the weight of the rifle. That in turn might affect accuracy. It is also not a good option if you have to walk a good distance with your rifle.
Most of the magazines today are manufactured with polymer or metal. The polymer lightens these mags and eliminates the problem of rusting. However, the metal mags are still more durable and long lasting.
One last factor that might not be a huge deal but is a nice feature, and that’s transparency. There are magazines where you can check out the number of rounds left without detaching them. This will be a bonus feature.
Best Magazines for the Mini 14
Now that we’ve talk about what to look for, let’s see how a few different magazines stack up.
Pro-Mag is probably the most loved and trusted brand for purchasing Mini-14 Mags and other upgrades. No doubt, there’s a solid reason for their reputation for magazines. These magazines have a TIG welded carbon steel body, similar to the OEM version.
They feature a self-lubricating polycarbonate follower and a heat-treated chrome silicon spring which improve the feeding process. The magazine has a black finish and comes in 20 and 30 round variants with a minor difference in prices. It also features a removable base plate for easy disassembly and cleaning.
- Stainless Steel outer body with removable base plate.
- Inexpensive price.
- Polycarbonate follower which may degrade with time.
The original factory magazines from Ruger are a pretty good option here. If you are skeptical about the magazines of other companies, these original ones are your best choice.
They have a spot-welded all-steel body with a self-lubricating nylon follower. They also feature a tempered-steel spring which gives reliable feeding and durability to the structure. Available in 5, 10, 20 and 30 round variants.
- Steel Construction.
- Fits perfectly well with the Mini 14.
- Priced higher than its competitors.
- A bit heavy than latest polymer magazines.
- Lightweight with grooves for better grip.
- Relatively Low Price.
- Polymer construction won’t last long compared to the metal ones.
- User may face problems with quick fitting
There is a notable effort from John Masen to imitate the Ruger factory magazines. Manufactured from stainless steel, these magazines can hold 10 rounds and are available in black or nickel finish variants. The stainless construction provides corrosion resistance and durability. It features a black polymer follower and a shock-absorbing bottom pad.
- Stainless Steel Construction like OEM models.
- Shock-absorbing bottom improves longevity.
- Priced high compared to similar mags.
- Not a very thick gauge; it bends easily.
In many cases, third parties have to improve on the original manufacturer's design. In Ruger's case that's rather rare; they usually get it right and aren't outdone by others. The same came be said for their magazines.
This Mini-30 mag holds 30 rounds and works quite well. There are occasional issues with it not working quite as smoothly as the 20-round versions. However, on the whole this is another quality accessory from the masters themselves.
- OEM product
- Sturdy and stable
- Good price
- Occasional issues with it not loading as smoothly as 20-round versions
There are quite a few good aftermarket options for changing your Mini 14 magazines. The original Ruger factory mags are no doubt the best choice for the Mini 14, but they are quite rare and overpriced compared to the other options.
Lighter and more inexpensive models of magazines are easily available and can be used without any problems. But it all depends upon your individual discretion.