The Best Scopes for Mini 14 in 2021 [Hand-Tested]

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I’ve used every Mini-14 variant (ranch, tactical and Mini-30) on the market. 

I’ve fired hundreds of rounds with them through dozens of optics — including red dots. And from my extensive research and personal experience, the best scope for Mini 14 is dependent on your use. Here are the top two:

  1. Close range (0-100 yards): For self/home defense, go for a red dot sight. Nothing beats a RDO for speedy target acquisition.
  2. Medium to long range (50 – 400 yards): For varmint hunting, coyotes and prairie dogs, get a magnified optic.

If you want the best of both worlds — a red dot for getting on targets fast and a scope for range — I highly recommend getting the Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20. It can be used for close and medium range uses, and it’s the optic I personally use on my Mini-14.


Best Overall
Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20mm Riflescope, Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish
103 Reviews
Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20mm Riflescope, Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish
  • Repeatable 1/4 MOA precision finger clicks offer intuitive, simple adjustment over a lifetime of dependable use
  • Complete waterproof and fogproof integrity: ready for a lifetime in the field, in all conditions
  • Crafted from 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum

Here’s why the VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 is my favorite choice:

First, the magnification. It’s almost as fast as a red dot (great for close range) and works wonders for short to medium range hunting. Second, the Duplex reticle. It’s super simple to use and not cluttered with fancy lines. Finally, the TLMS system — it makes shooting at dawn/dusk a breeze. Plus, the scope is affordable. 

These are the biggest reasons why the Freedom sits on top of my Mini-14 to this day. 


Best for Home Defense
Burris 300234 Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount 3 MOA Sight (Black)
1,806 Reviews
Burris 300234 Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount 3 MOA Sight (Black)
  • PINPOINT ACCURACY: The FastFire III puts an unmistakable red dot at the point of impact within your field of view, giving you an immediate advantage in speed and accuracy.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT OPTICS: With lightweight construction and durable design, the FastFire III can be used as a primary sight or paired on top of an existing sight.
  • VERSATILITY DEFINED: Rely on the automatic brightness sensor to adjust to match the environmental conditions or choose one of the three manual brightness settings.

If you’re using your Mini 14 primarily as self/home-defense, then get the Burris Fastfire III.

It’s a super small red dot (1.6 oz) that will get you on target fast. In a situation of self-defense, speed of target acquisition is vital. The faster you can get on target, the better off you will be. And the Fastfire III has fast target acquisition. 

That’s why it’s my go-to choice for home defense. (If you have astigmatism, I’d recommend the VX-Freedom or iron sights.)


Best for Hunting
Sale
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle
651 Reviews
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle
  • The 2-7x32 Crossfire II Rimfire riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The V-Plex reticle is a popular all-purpose hunting reticle intended for a variety of hunting...
  • With long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, you'll be able to quickly get a sight picture and acquire your target. The fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing.
  • Anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses provide bright and clear views for the user.

If you’re hunting further out (100-300 yards), then get the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32.

It has a wide FOV at low magnification settings, while offering all the magnification you need for 300+ yard shots. The glass is clear, it has long eye relief and it’s super lightweight (only 14.3 oz). 

Highly recommended if you’re engaging critters at short to medium range distances (100-300 yards).


If you’re building your Mini-14 to obliterate critters at long range distances (300+ yards), then the Leupold VX-3i is your eyes.

It has great FOV (field of view) at low power and enough magnification for long range shots. The glass is clear, it’s very lightweight (only 12.6 oz), and the Duplex reticle — which is my favorite hunting reticle — is easy to use. 

I’ve used this optic in almost every hunting environment (thick brush to open country) and it has never let me down. My choice for long-range hunting. 


Best Red Dot Under $200
Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight - 4 MOA Red/Green Dot with Vortex Hat
1,341 Reviews
Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight - 4 MOA Red/Green Dot with Vortex Hat
  • The Strikefire II Red/Green Dot is a rugged, reliable red dot sight that is at home in a variety of shooting applications. It allows the shooter to operate between two dot colors and ten brightness...
  • Fully multi-coated lenses provide a clean and bright, unobscured point of view. Unlimited eye relief allows for rapid target acquisition.
  • The single-piece chasis is compact and lightweight but still delivers shockproof performance withstanding both recoil and impact. Nitrogen purging and o-ring seals ensure fogproof and waterproof...

The only downside to Aimpoint is the price, and that’s where the Strikefire II takes the crown. 

At around $200, it has great glass, a bright reticle and tank-like durability. The only downside to this scope is it’s relatively large and heavy (7.2 oz) — especially for the Mini 14. 

Compare that to the 1.6 oz Burris Fastfire III and you’d see why that’s my go-to home defense optic. But not everyone can afford it, so the Strikefire II is a great alternative.


Best Budget Red Dot
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x20mm, Black
11,205 Reviews
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x20mm, Black
  • Matte black featuring a 3 MOA Dot reticle with 11 brightness settings; Mounts easily on most picatinny rails and is compatible with pistols, shotguns, rifles and muzzleloaders
  • Waterproof construction: O ring sealed optics stay dry inside, even when totally immersed in water. Parallax - 50
  • Shockproof construction: Built to withstand bumps, bangs, drops and the rough and tumble environment of the field

Speaking of affordability, if you can’t afford the Fastfire III or the Strikefire II, your next best option is the Bushnell TRS-25. 

Just like the Strikefire II, it’s quite bulky. However, it’s much lighter (3.7 oz) and it has clear glass, adjustable brightness settings, and tough durability. 

My go-to recommendation if you’re a beginner on a budget.

Why should you trust me? 

I’ve used them all.

Leupold scopes, Burris scopes, Vortex scopes — you name it.

I’ve shot over hundreds of rounds through each of these scopes. In that time, I’ve come to realize how a good scope felt…and how a bad scope felt.

Through this lens of experience, I write this guide. It compiles my hundreds of hours of shooting experience, research, and personal testing into one guide.

The result?

A definitive list of the best mini 14 scopes on the market.

For reference, I bought each of these scopes from my own pocket money. I paid the same price as everyone else.

No discounts were given. No manufacturer compensated me in any way (nor do I accept any). In fact, I don’t accept advertising on my site.

What you’re about to read are my personal, honest reviews of each mini 14 scope and red dot. That means I show you everything — from the good to the bad with each product.

My hope is this list helps you find your next Mini 14 scope as it has for me.

Read Before You Buy

This guide is designed to save you money.

Most people just buy whatever the ‘best scope’ a reviewer recommends. That’s a bad idea.

For one reason:

You have different needs than the reviewer. 

What needs? Well, that’s what we’ll figure out in just a moment. 

Without furtherado, here’s everything you need to know to choose the best Mini 14 optic for your needs.

The ‘Scaled Down M14’

The Mini 14 is a scaled down M14 rifle. It’s the preferred weapon of the A-Team. 

The A-Team Mini 14

It performs similarly to an AR-15 without the drama.

Speaking of, I’ve got a list of the best AR-15 Scopes and Optics if you’re on the hunt for them.

In fact, in gun-restricted California, many citizens covertly use the Mini 14 as a replacement for the restricted AR-15. 

It’s no wonder why:

The Mini 14 is chambered in the same 5.56 ammunition. It can hit 150 yards without a sight (with >1 MOA). With the best scope for Mini 14, it can easily hit targets up to 350 yards and over. 

That’s super cool. But let’s be honest:

You likely won’t shoot that far out. If you are, you’ll probably want to opt for a longer range gun instead.

Otherwise, here are the top 3…

Mini 14 Shooting Distances

With the .223 (or 5.56 NATO) ammo, here’s the average ranges: 

  • Close Range: <100 yards
  • Medium Range: Between 100 – 350 yards
  • Long Range: 350+ yards 

Don’t make this complicated. Simply choose a range and move forward. 

But how about the people that use more than one range? I’ll cover that in the conclusion. For now, choose your Mini 14 shooting range and let’s move onto choosing…

The Best Magnification for Mini 14 Scopes

This is the part that 95% of newbies mess up. 

Truth be told:

This is the part I screwed up, too. You see, most reviewers recommend either too much magnification or too little. 

The result? We buy the wrong amount. 

So to save you from my costly mistake, I outlined the three different magnifications ranges. Let’s quickly go over them:

Close Range (<100 yards)

The Mini 14 does well in close-range encounters.

Most people use it for self-defense, plinking or small game hunting. If that’s your use, then you’ll need a:

  • Magnification: 1 – 4X power

Or you can go with a Mini 14 red dot if you’re engaging in CQB. Alternatively, the best 1-6x scopes will do wonders for your firearm.

Also:

I’ve got buddies on the range that prefer pistols. If you feel the same way, read my guide on the best AR pistol sights or the best red dots for pistols.

On that note: If you’ve been seeing blurred lines or starburst when using your red dot, I recommend looking at my list of the best red dots for astigmatism.

Medium Range (100 – 350 yards)

This is what the Mini 14 is popular for: 

Varmint Hunting. 

Mini 14 Varmint Hunting

Most ranchers use their Mini 14s to protect their land from pesty varmints like wild dogs, rabbits and coyotes. 

If that’s your use, then here’s the magnification you’ll need:

  • Magnification: Between 2 – 9X power

Alternatively, the best holographic sights are great options. Either way, you’ll scare the varmints away for good.

Long Range (350+ yards)

The Mini 14 simply isn’t designed for this range.

But if you must use this range (or you like to practice), here’s the best Mini 14 long range magnification: 

  • Magnification: 10X and up

That said, here’s…

The Bottom Line On Mini-14 Magnification

If your goal is to buy a good Mini 14 scope, then read this section.

Otherwise, you’ll end up burning your money away on the wrong amount of magnification. And from experience, that’s an expensive mistake. 

So again, review this Mini 14 guide again before you purchase your Mini scope. It’ll help you buy the best rifle scope for the money.

Speaking of which, you still might have one last question on your mind: 

What if I combine ranges like short and medium range?” 

If you do, then get a variable powered scope. These scopes can change magnification. Good news, most of the Mini 14 scopes on this list are variable powered scopes. 

With all that said, I now think you’re ready for the Mini 14 scopes list below. Let’s begin!

The 7 Best Scopes for Mini 14

If you’re pressed on time, here’s a quick list of the best Mini 14 Scopes:

  1. Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20: Best Overall
  2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32: Best for Hunting
  3. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40: Best for Long Range Hunting
  4. Burris Fastfire III: Best for Home Defense
  5. Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight: Best Red Dot Sight Under $200
  6. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25: Best Budget Red Dot Sight

1. Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20: Best Overall

The Leupold VX-Freedom is a high-quality optic in a small package.

Best Overall
Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20mm Riflescope, Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish
103 Reviews
Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20mm Riflescope, Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish
  • Repeatable 1/4 MOA precision finger clicks offer intuitive, simple adjustment over a lifetime of dependable use
  • Complete waterproof and fogproof integrity: ready for a lifetime in the field, in all conditions
  • Crafted from 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum

In fact, whether you set it up for hunting or self-defense, it’s the best scope around to use with the Ruger Mini 14.

Want to know why? Let’s find out.


Glass Clarity & Reticle

The sight picture on the VX-Freedom is crisp and clear.

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20 sight (2)

Colors come through clearly, and I haven’t seen any hint of distortion or blurriness. 

Plus, the Freedom has excellent light transmission, even in low-light conditions. This is because of Leupold’s patented Twilight Light Management System, which combines with the lens multi-coating to provide a bright image even in the failing light of dusk or dawn.

Since you never know when danger will strike, being able to use this scope in low-light conditions makes it a great choice for a defense gun optic. It’s also great for hunting, since prey animals tend to be the most active when the lighting is the worst!

Now, on to the reticle.

The VX-Freedom uses a Duplex reticle.

The posts are nice and thin, but still bold enough for my aging eyes to pick them up with no problems.

I really like the simple duplex reticle because it’s nice and precise, and it also doesn’t obscure my targets in any way. 

This is great for hunting because it means I can always clearly see my prey. Plus, a simple reticle like the duplex is perfect on a defense optic where it’s just as important to properly identify your target as it is to set up a good shot.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

Eye relief for this optic ranges from 3.74 to 4.17 inches.

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20 scope (2)

On my Mini 14, I have mine set right at 3.75 inches. This is plenty of room to avoid scope bite, even on high caliber rifles, and the eye box is pretty generous.

Speaking of high caliber rifles, if you own a .30-06 rifle, check out my best 30-06 scope guide.


Durability

Even though it only weighs 9.6 ounces, this scope is built like a tank!

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20 scope

The VX-Freedom is machined from  6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum, so you know it’s strong despite its low weight.

The whole thing is completely waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. Plus, the lenses themselves are scratch resistant, thanks to their special coating.

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20 scope (3)

Durability features like this are important in a defense optic, because you want to be sure that the scope is going to do its job no matter what you throw at it. The VX-Freedom passes the toughness test with flying colors.

And that low weight? It makes for a more comfortable shooting experience, and on a long hunt, comfort is king!


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The knobs on this scope are reliable and easy to use.

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20 scope

They hand adjust at a rate of ¼ MOA with nice, solid clicks. I can even feel the clicks through a glove.

At ¼ MOA, you can get a really precise zero.

And, speaking of zeroing, thanks to the hand adjustable turrets, I was zeroed in with just two groupings of three shots each.

Even better? I’ve put thousands of rounds through my Mini 14 with this optic attached, and it’s maintained its zero through it all.


Magnification & Parallax

The VX-Freedom gives you variable 1.5x and 4x magnification.

Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20 sight (3)

I say and instead of through because with this optic, you go from 1.5x to 4x with just one click on the zoom dial.

I really like this feature. With it, I can go from scanning the area or observing a target to setting up a precision shot in an instant. This is great for both hunting and self-defense.

Parallax is factory-set, and with only two magnification settings, you don’t need to worry about adjusting it. I haven’t noticed any parallax issues with mine at all.


Mounting & Accessories

Unfortunately, the Leupold VX-Freedom doesn’t include any accessories.

For mounting, I decided to go with the 1″ Monstrum Slim Profile Cantilever Scope Mount.

Monstrum Slim Profile Series Offset Cantilever Picatinny Scope Mount | 1 inch Diameter
  • Dual ring scope mount for mounting standard 1 inch tube rifle scopes
  • Slim profile design offers the weight of lightweight scope rings with the added rigidity and convenience of a one piece mount
  • Mounts to any flat top Picatinny rail equipped rifle

Be sure to go with the 1 inch size, and you should be able to mount your scope onto any picatinny rail. It was easy to install on my Mini-14 and fits perfectly with the VX-Freedom.

I also went ahead and snagged some Leupold Alumina Flip Covers so my lenses remain clean and protected when not in use.

20mm for the Objective Lens…

Sale
Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover - 20mm
48 Reviews
Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover - 20mm
  • Model #59030 - Alumina flip back lens cover in size 20mm

…and Standard for the Eyepiece:

Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover Standard Ep 59055
218 Reviews
Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover Standard Ep 59055
  • Model #59055 - Alumina flip back lens cover kit in standard EP

Summary

All in all, the Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20 is a fantastic rifle scope that packs a lot of quality features into a small, lightweight tube.

It’s got:

  • Clear glass
  • Duplex reticle
  • Excellent light transmission
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and shockproof
  • 1.5-4x variable magnification with 1-click zoom

And if all that wasn’t enough, the whole thing is covered under Leupold’s Lifetime Guarantee. 

So whether you’re looking to kit your Mini 14 out for home defense, hunting or both, you can’t go wrong with the Leupold Freedom-VX 1.5-4×20.

Best Overall
Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20mm Riflescope, Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish
103 Reviews
Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4x20mm Riflescope, Duplex Reticle, Matte Finish
  • Repeatable 1/4 MOA precision finger clicks offer intuitive, simple adjustment over a lifetime of dependable use
  • Complete waterproof and fogproof integrity: ready for a lifetime in the field, in all conditions
  • Crafted from 6061-T6 aircraft quality aluminum

2. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32: Best for Hunting

If you use your Mini 14 for hunting between 100 – 300 yards (on average), then get a Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32. 

Here’s why…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass is clear.

Take a look:

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Clear Glass

In my opinion, it’s comparable to the Leupold VX-1 glass.

Here’s a comparison between the two (at 7X FOV):

Leupold VX-1 2-7x33 vs Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 at 7 FOV

As you can see, the Crossfire II’s image cleaner and sharper.

The crosshair on the Corssfire II is better, too. It’s a dead-hold BDC reticle.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Dead Hold BDC Reticle

In case you don’t know, BDC is great for longer-range shots.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

The 3.9 inches of eye relief is generous.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 at 2x Magnification

However, the eyebox becomes a bit tight at the highest magnification (7X). It also gets some edge distortion at the max magnification.


Durability

The scope’s water, fog, and shock proof. 

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32

It weighs only a light 14.3 ounces. This gives you more room for accessories. 


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The capped and finger adjustable turrets make for easy adjustments.

Vortex Crossfire II 2-7x32 Audible Turrets

Put another way:

No tools are required (like the Nikon P-223). Just remove the turret caps and adjust accordingly.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 MOA Click

I like how the turrets are easily resettable. Once sighted in, you can set the turrets to zero. 

However, I don’t like how the windage and elevation knobs do not have a precise ‘click’ sound like the Nikon P-223. 

Don’t get me wrong:

The clicks are audible. But not as precise as the Nikon P-223.


Parallax & Magnification

The 2-7X magnification is great for short-to-medium range. 

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Capped Turrets

At 2X, parallax can be a problem, but at higher magnifications the scope remains clear and parallax-free.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Magnification Ring

Speaking of magnification, the magnification knob is real smooth and easy to turn.


Mounting & Rings

I mounted the scope using the 1” ruger-supplied rings with no problems.

Alternatively, you can purchase Vortex Hunter Riflescope 1 inch – Medium Rings. Either way works.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Mount

To protect the scope lens, get some Vortex Defender Flip Caps (sizes are E-10 & O-32). They’re a bit expensive but worth every penny.

Vortex Optics Defender Flip Cap Set - Eyepiece E-10 (41.5-46mm) & Objective Lens Cover O-32 (38-41 mm)
86 Reviews
Vortex Optics Defender Flip Cap Set - Eyepiece E-10 (41.5-46mm) & Objective Lens Cover O-32 (38-41 mm)
  • Virtually indestructible, the Defender flip caps are the most versatile and durable on the market, these are the last flip caps you'll ever need. Made in the USA.
  • A stainless steel spring flips the Eyepiece into multiple stop positions: vertical, 45 degrees and 90 degrees. The vertical position is for inserting your dope disk in to have easy access to while...
  • The E-10 fits all Vortex Riflescopes EXCEPT the 1-inch tube Viper model VPR-M-01BDC, VPR-M-04BDC and VPR-M-03BDC. Outside diameter: 41.5-46 mm | 1.6-1.8 inches

Why? They protect your investment in the long-term.

Vortex-Defender-Caps

If those caps are a bit expensive for you, the Butler Creek Covers are a good alternative (Eyepiece size: 18) (Objective size: 27).

Sale
Butler Creek Flip-Open Eyepiece Scope Cover, Size 18 (1.7-Inch, 43.2mm), Black
272 Reviews
Butler Creek Flip-Open Eyepiece Scope Cover, Size 18 (1.7-Inch, 43.2mm), Black
  • Truly ambidextrous, silent spring hinges won't spook game
  • Instant action lids pop open at the touch of a thumb
  • Performs from- 40 to 120 Degrees F, weighs less than an ounce

Summary

If you hunt short to medium range, then go for the Vortex Crossfire II.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Review

It has:

  • Clear glass 
  • BDC reticle
  • Generous Eye Relief 
  • Vortex’s VIP lifetime warranty
  • Lightweight Build (only 14.3 oz)
  • Short-to-medium range magnification

This is honestly the best vortex scope for Mini 14 and the best scope for 17 HMR. It’s got all you need without any added unnecessary features.

Best for Hunting
Sale
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle
651 Reviews
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Rimfire, Second Focal Plane, 1-inch Tube Riflescope - V-Plex Reticle
  • The 2-7x32 Crossfire II Rimfire riflescope is one of many configurations in the Crossfire II line. The V-Plex reticle is a popular all-purpose hunting reticle intended for a variety of hunting...
  • With long eye relief and an ultra-forgiving eye box, you'll be able to quickly get a sight picture and acquire your target. The fast focus eyepiece allows quick and easy reticle focusing.
  • Anti-reflective, fully multi-coated lenses provide bright and clear views for the user.

3. Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40: Best for Long Range Hunting

There are a lot of options when it comes to long range hunting scopes for your Ruger Mini 14.

But after having tested nearly all of them, I’m here to tell you that one stands out above the rest: The Leupold VX-3i.

It’s powerful, accurate, and versatile.

Keep reading to find out why the Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40 is the best rifle scope for long range hunting with a Mini 14.


Glass Clarity & Reticle

First things first: the glass on this scope is incredible.

The image is crisp and clear, thanks to the DiamondCoat lens coatings on the surfaces of the glass. Using this scope, I can clearly pick my target out even in thick brush.

Leupold VX3i glass

Plus, the Twilight Max light management system used by Leupold in the XV-3i allows for a very bright image, even in situations with poor lighting. This is a great feature to have on a hunting scope, since prey animals tend to be the most active when the light is the worst!

And now, on to the reticle.

The VX-3i uses a simple duplex reticle.

Leupold-VX-3i-3.5-10x40-reticle

The posts are nice and thin, but still bold enough to be easily seen by my aging eyes.

I prefer duplex reticles for almost all situations because holdover and ranging lines tend to get in the way of what I’m targeting. With a duplex, all I have to focus on is my crosshairs and my target.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

Eye relief on this scope is a whopping 3.6-4.4 inches!

Leupold VX3i eye relief

Since I like to run my Mini 14 “scout style,” I have mine mounted out at 4.4 inches. At this distance, I definitely have to maintain a solid cheek weld to stay in the eyebox. But, if anything, this forces me to use good shooting technique when I’m hunting, so I can’t really complain about it.

Speaking of scout, I’ve published a review on the best scout scopes on the market. 


Durability

The Leupold VX-3i is made of 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum, so it’s both strong and lightweight.

Leupold VX3i mounts

The scope is completely waterproof, fogproof, and shock-resistant. And that DiamondCoat lens coating I mentioned earlier? It also protects your lenses from scratches and dust.

You never know what kind of terrain or weather conditions you might run into on a long hunt. The VX-3i can handle it all.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The turrets on this scope are easy to use and precise.

They hand adjust with nice, solid clicks at a rate of ¼ MOA per click.

Leupold VX3i elevation and windage

I love that the turrets are hand adjustable. If I need to make any adjustments mid-hunt, I can do it easily without worrying about whether or not I brought the right tools along.

Plus, at a rate of ¼ MOA per click, I was able to dial in a very precise zero. And after dozens of hunts, the zero has held true.


Magnification

Here’s the best thing about the Leupold VX-3i: the magnification range.

You get variable 3.5 to 10x zoom. This covers all my needs, from short to mid to long range hunting. 

Leupold VX3i magnification dial

That level of versatility can’t be beat. You never know what distance your prey will show itself at, and with the ability to quickly zoom from 3.5 to 10x, the VX-3i can put a bead on a target at just about any range you might need.


Mounting & Rings

Unfortunately, this scope does not include any rings or mounts.

I decided to go with the Leupold BackCountry Scope Mount, size T3x Medium 1”.

They fit the scope perfectly and don’t add much weight to my Mini 14.

It does ship with a bikini-style scope cover, but I wanted some flip caps to keep my glass as protected as possible. So I bought Leupold’s Alumina Flip Cover kit that fits the VX-3i perfectly.

Leupold Alumina Flip Back Lens Cover Kit - 40mm & Standard EP
  • Model #62990 - Alumina flip back lens cover kit in size 40mm and standard EP

Summary

The Leupold VX-3i is a fantastic hunting scope that packs a lot of quality into a 1” tube.

It’s got:

  • Duplex reticle
  • Crystal clear glass
  • Hand adjustable turrets
  • Versatile 3.5-10x magnification
  • Waterproof, shockproof, and fogproof
  • Twilight Max Light Management System

And if all that wasn’t enough, the whole thing is covered under Leupold’s Lifetime Guarantee. 

So whether you plan to hunt with your Mini 14 at short range, long range or anything in between, you can’t go wrong with the Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40.


Best Red Dot Sights for Mini 14

Scopes are for long range. Red dots are for close range

If you use your Mini 14 for close-range applications (home defense, plinking, etc.), then you need a red dot. It acquires targets faster, lighter weight, and cheaper.

Here are the best red dot sights for the Mini 14 on the market now…

4. Burris Fastfire III: Best for Home Defense 

I’d classify the Burris Fastfire III as the ‘smart alternative to Trijicon’.

Why?

Because it performs like a Trijicon, but at a FRACTION of the price.

Let me explain…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

The glass is very nice and super easy to see through.

Burris Fastfire III Glass

In addition, the view is crisp and slightly larger than the Trijicon RMR

Trijicon RMR vs Burris Fastfire III

There are two options for the reticle: 3 MOA or 8 MOA.

Definitely go with the 3 MOA if you’re using a rifle…

…and an 8 MOA dot if using a handgun or shotgun. (By the way, I’ve got a list of the best shotgun sights if you’re looking for one.)

The reticle itself is round and sharp. If you wear glasses, have astigmatism or old eyes, you’re good to go — the reticle will still appear bright and sharp.


Durability

The sight feels durable and tough, yet INSANELY lightweight — only 0.9 ounces.

Burris Fastfire III Sight

It’s also completely waterproof. 


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The dials are a bit small and require a tool to adjust.

Burris Fastfire III Included Accessories

(Small screwdriver is included with purchase)

However, the adjustments are very easy to make (1 MOA per click) and are precisely marked.

After firing roughly 6 rounds, I was able to hit the bullseye at 25 yards.


Mounting & Rings

I mounted the Fastfire III on a GG&G low profile mount.

Sale
G&G GGG-1382BD Mini -14 Ranch Rifle Mil-STD-1913X 40mm Mount - Silver
24 Reviews
G&G GGG-1382BD Mini -14 Ranch Rifle Mil-STD-1913X 40mm Mount - Silver
  • Will fit all Mini-14 and mini-30 ranch rifle models
  • No gunsmithing Required
  • MIL-STD-1913 dovetail rail offers a low profile mounting platform for Red dot optics or conventional scope and ring combinations

Installation was quick and simple. 

After mounting it to my Mini 14 and zeroing at 25 yards, it’s been able to firmly hold zero after shooting over 150 rounds.  


Battery

Battery life is really good.

Supposedly, the battery life can last up to 5 years but… 

…I haven’t had the sight for that long to attest to that statement ?

However, the statement checks out. 

It has an auto-turnoff function after 8 hours, similar to the Vortex Strikefire II. 

In addition, there’s an AWESOME auto-brightness feature that adjusts based on your lighting conditions. 

Burris Fastfire III Red Dot

For example: 

I can walk around the house with different lighting conditions and it’ll automatically adjust to a comfortable brightness level. 

Cool, right?

And if that wasn’t enough to love, listen how plain and simple the controls are: 

Only ONE button to cycle through 4 settings (off/on and 3 brightness settings). 

But an ending note: the sight’s battery may last for a long time but you should buy a spare of CR1632 batteries —  just in case you need to swap out batteries.

Energizer CR1632 3V Lithium Coin Battery (5 Count (Pack of 1))
10,692 Reviews
Energizer CR1632 3V Lithium Coin Battery (5 Count (Pack of 1))
  • Energizer CR1632 Lithium Coin Battery (Pack of 5 Batteries)
  • Cell size: 1632; IEC: CR1632; Type: Lithium Coin; Volt: 3 Replacement for: DL1632

Summary

If you’re looking for an insanelylightweight sight that is reliable for home defense, go for the Burris Fastfire III.

It’s much cheaper than Aimpoint and Trijicon while at the same time carrying similar quality. It’s got nice glass, doesn’t feel cheap, simple to use and extremely lightweight.

And to top it all off: 

You’re fully backed by Burris Forever Warranty. So if anything ever happens to the sight, Burris has you covered.   

Best for Home Defense
Burris 300234 Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount 3 MOA Sight (Black)
1,806 Reviews
Burris 300234 Fastfire III with Picatinny Mount 3 MOA Sight (Black)
  • PINPOINT ACCURACY: The FastFire III puts an unmistakable red dot at the point of impact within your field of view, giving you an immediate advantage in speed and accuracy.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT OPTICS: With lightweight construction and durable design, the FastFire III can be used as a primary sight or paired on top of an existing sight.
  • VERSATILITY DEFINED: Rely on the automatic brightness sensor to adjust to match the environmental conditions or choose one of the three manual brightness settings.

5. Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight: Best Red Dot Sight Under $200

The Vortex Strikefire II is the best red dot sight under $200.

Why?

Because it comes with a free Vortex hat.

(Just kidding). 

Jokes aside, the real reason lies down below. Keep reading…

Glass Clarity & Reticle

Vortex never disappoints with delivering quality glass.

And the Strikefire II is no exception. It’s crystal clear and bright.

Strikefire II Red Dot

Moving past the glass, we’re met with a 4-MOA red/green dot. 

Now we’re talking! A red dot sight with the option to switch from red to green illuminated dot.

You might be wondering:

What’s so special about having two different color dots?

As you know, the red dot is a standard among almost all sights, but having the option to instantly switch to green dot is great if you’re shooting in bright conditions. 

Strikefire II Green Dot

Why?

Because for some people, green is more visible than red in bright conditions.

So let’s say you’re shooting on a sunny day, the green dot will be easier to see than the red dot.

Also, it’s SUPER easy to change the dot color — just hold the down arrow for 5 seconds…

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot

…and done:

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Green Dot

I also like the 10 variable illumination settings since it allows me to adjust the brightness to the exact level based on my environment.

For example: 

If I’m shooting at noon — when the Texas scorching sun is at its worst — I’d crank the brightness up a bit. Alternatively, if I’m shooting when the moon is at its peak, I’d lower the brightness. 

Also:

The Strikefire II is compatible with the best night vision scopes. That means you can use your night vision accessories with the sight. Pretty neat, huh?

Also, if you’re interested, check out my best night vision scope for the AR-15.


Eye Relief & Eye Box

Eye relief is unlimited.

In other words:

You can sight in real quick. Furthermore, you can mount the sight further towards the muzzle or back towards your eye…

Vortex Optics Strikefire II Unlimited Eye Relief

…which is handy if you have other accessories on your rail (like night vision, lights or iron sights).


Durability

The sight feels solid, well-made and durable.

Strikefire II Finger Durable Build

After all, it’s a 30mm aluminum alloy chassis. The sight doesn’t plan on breaking anytime soon. 

It’s also completely waterproof and fogproof, due to the nitrogen purged and O-ring sealed interior.


Elevation & Windage Knobs

The turrets are very easy to use and audible.

What’s even better is how the caps that cover the turrets can also be used to make adjustments.

Strikefire II Turrets

Which means…

…I don’t have to take off the turret caps and use a flat head screwdriver to adjust to the dials. Instead, all I have to do is simply turn the caps and that’s it! 

Strikefire II Finger Adjustable Turrets

It’s a small thing that speaks volumes. 


Mounting & Rings

I used a GG&G 1913 rail…

Sale
GG&G Mini-14 Rnch Rfle 1913 SCP Rail, Black
352 Reviews
GG&G Mini-14 Rnch Rfle 1913 SCP Rail, Black
  • No gunsmithing required.
  • Places the optic forward for long eye relief and quick target acquisition.
  • Rail machined on the bottom for unimpeded cartridge ejection.

…along with Medium Weaver 6 Hole Rings.

Sale
Weaver 6-Hole 1-Inch Medium Picatinny Rings
66 Reviews
Weaver 6-Hole 1-Inch Medium Picatinny Rings
  • Hunting scopes rings
  • Picatinny Spec Crossbolt
  • Six screws for extra security and clamping pressure

Had no issues with installation and sighting in was a breeze.

In addition, the scope held zero well. In fact, I haven’t reset zero to this day. 

The Strikefire also comes with an offset cantilever mount and flip caps which are actually easy to open/close. 


Battery

The battery life on the Strikefire II lasts for months (awesome!) but…

Strikefire II Battery Life

…it’s nowhere near as long as an Aimpoint PRO (a couple of years). 

(But again, it doesn’t have the price tag of the Aimpoint PRO). 

In my opinion, that’s doesn’t matter as the CR2 batteries are dirt cheap and you can easily stock up on a few spare batteries in your range bag. 

Strikefire II Finger CR2 Batteries

And for those of you who forget to turn off the sight after use (like myself), the Strikefire II comes with a 12-hour auto shutdown feature. Nice!

This feature is LEGIT because I have a tendency of forgetting to power off the sight when I’m done. 


Other Features

Another neat feature that I like is how the sight ‘remembers’ the last dot brightness intensity I used last.

How about an example?

If I shoot at the range today with a dot intensity of 6, then the next time I use the sight, the intensity will still be at 6.

And as an added bonus, the Strikefire II comes with a free vortex hat (yay!).

It was a cool hat…until my dog ate it ?


Summary

It’s Vortex we’re talking here folks. 

It’s $200 less than an Aimpoint with comparable quality:

Clear glass, crisp and bright reticle, illumination settings and it’s DUMB EASY to use.

And if you ever have any problems with the sight, your purchase is 100% covered by Vortex’s Lifetime warranty. So, what are you waiting for? Give the Vortex Strikefire II a spin. (It also comes with a dope hat!)

Best Red Dot Under $200
Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight - 4 MOA Red/Green Dot with Vortex Hat
1,341 Reviews
Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot Sight - 4 MOA Red/Green Dot with Vortex Hat
  • The Strikefire II Red/Green Dot is a rugged, reliable red dot sight that is at home in a variety of shooting applications. It allows the shooter to operate between two dot colors and ten brightness...
  • Fully multi-coated lenses provide a clean and bright, unobscured point of view. Unlimited eye relief allows for rapid target acquisition.
  • The single-piece chasis is compact and lightweight but still delivers shockproof performance withstanding both recoil and impact. Nitrogen purging and o-ring seals ensure fogproof and waterproof...

6. Bushnell Trophy TRS-25: Best Budget Red Dot Sight

If you’re looking to spare an arm and a leg, go for the Bushnell TRS-25.

It’s INSANELY cheap (under $60) and performs like red dot sights in the $100 – $200 range.

Honestly, I’d say the TRS-25 is one of the best red dot sights under $100 on the market right now.

Seriously. It’s that good.

It’s compact, lightweight and reliable.

The glass is clear and the reticle is somewhat sharp (though not as crisp as a Strikefire II or Aimpoint Pro). 

If you’re interested, read my full TRS-25 review. Or you could check it out on Amazon:

Best Budget Red Dot
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x20mm, Black
11,205 Reviews
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25 Red Dot Sight Riflescope, 1x20mm, Black
  • Matte black featuring a 3 MOA Dot reticle with 11 brightness settings; Mounts easily on most picatinny rails and is compatible with pistols, shotguns, rifles and muzzleloaders
  • Waterproof construction: O ring sealed optics stay dry inside, even when totally immersed in water. Parallax - 50
  • Shockproof construction: Built to withstand bumps, bangs, drops and the rough and tumble environment of the field

Best Mini 14 Scope Mounts

Not every Mini 14 mount fits every Mini 14 rifle. In fact, choosing the best scope rings for your rifle is based on the model you have:

Older Mini 14 (183 series, etc.) or a newer one (580 series, etc.). That said, here are the best Mini 14 scope mounts on the market.

1. GG&G Mini-14 Ranch Rifle 1913 SCP Rail Mount: Best Mount for Newer Mini 14s

This is the only GG&G Mini-14 scope mount review you’ll ever have to read.

Best for Newer Mini 14
Sale
GG&G Mini-14 Rnch Rfle 1913 SCP Rail, Black
352 Reviews
GG&G Mini-14 Rnch Rfle 1913 SCP Rail, Black
  • No gunsmithing required.
  • Places the optic forward for long eye relief and quick target acquisition.
  • Rail machined on the bottom for unimpeded cartridge ejection.

The reason?

I actually bought this mount, attached it to my Ruger Mini 14 rifle and fired over 100 rounds through it. 

The result?

Keep reading to find out…


Mount Quality

The GG&G rail is rock solid. 

The screws are well-built, the mating between the rail is A-grade and the rail is sturdy. 

Afterall, it’s crafted from 6061-T6 aircraft grade aluminum and hard coated with a non-reflective matte black — Mil-Spec approved. 

The mount won’t break. But what about…


Installation

Super easy.

I’ve been able to install the mount within 5 minutes of receiving the product. (And I’m no mounting expert). 

The best part?

You do not need a gunsmith, specialized tools or Lock-Tight. Simply tighten two screws with the supplied Allen wrench and you’re good to go.

After 3 minutes of effortless installation, I took it out to the range for…


Testing

I’ve fired hundreds of rounds (over the span of a couple days) and the Mini 14 scope mount did not move…at all.

(Neither did the scope’s zero)

I had no problems with ejected casing pinging off the scope turrets. In fact, the GG&G rail mount has a relief cut in it to allow for smooth ejection without hitting the rail.

To sweeten the pot, you don’t have to remove your rear iron sight. 

At this point, the mount sounds good. But we’re left with one burning question…


Will the GG&G 1913 SCP Mount fit my Mini 14?

The general rule of thumb is that GG&G SCP scope mount will fit most newer versions of the Mini 14 — not the older. 

That said, the GG&G 1913 mount is compatible with the following Mini 14 rifles:

  • Mini 30 5854
  • Ruger Ranch .223
  • Mini 14 (190 Series)
  • Mini 14 tactical (583 Series)
  • Ruger 99/44 Deerfield Carbine
  • Mini 14 (Serial number starting with 187)

It will not work with the following models:

  • Mini 14 (183 Series)
  • Mini 14 (Serial number starting with 184)

If you have an older Mini 14 (like the 183 series), then refer down below to the second mount recommendation (the Amega Ranges Mini 14 Scout Mount). 


Summary

If you have a Mini 14 and looking for the best ruger Mini 14 scope mounts, I highly recommend the GG&G mount. 

It checks all the boxes:

  • Easy to install
  • Aircraft grade aluminum
  • No outside tools required
  • Long enough to mount most optics

Don’t waste your time or money on other mounts — especially the cheaper mounts on Amazon. 

If you need a solid mount for your Mini 14, this is what you’re looking for:

Best for Newer Mini 14
Sale
GG&G Mini-14 Rnch Rfle 1913 SCP Rail, Black
352 Reviews
GG&G Mini-14 Rnch Rfle 1913 SCP Rail, Black
  • No gunsmithing required.
  • Places the optic forward for long eye relief and quick target acquisition.
  • Rail machined on the bottom for unimpeded cartridge ejection.

2. Amega Ranges Mini 14 Scout Mount: Best Mount for Older Mini 14s

If you have a Mini 14 manufactured before 2007 (or the 580 series), then the Amega Ranges Mini 14 Scout mount is for you.

I’ll go more in-depth about mounting in a bit.

But for now, let’s talk…


Mount Quality

The Mini-Scount-Mount 14 is as durable as any of the other Mini 14 scope mounts on this list.

In fact:

It’s forged from the same material — 6061 aircraft grade aluminum. The material is sturdy and the hardware is solid. Moving on to…


Installation

Not too hard.

But not as easy as the GG&G mount. You’ll have to end up disassembling the front housing on the barrel.

If you don’t have any experience with mounting, here’s a video by Sunflower Outdoor Sports showing how to to install the Amega mount:

I did notice, however, there weren’t any holes on the sides of the mount. This prevented me from attaching extra accessories like a laser or flashlight.

The solution?

Buy this Tactical Light Mount Kit rail. It’s manufactured by the same folks and only costs $20. 

Tactical Light Mount Kit/Accessory Rail for Amega Mounts, Short (2.0 in)
17 Reviews
Tactical Light Mount Kit/Accessory Rail for Amega Mounts, Short (2.0 in)
  • Add an accessory rail to your Amega Scout Mounts ! These 1913 Mil-Spec Rails allow you to add a flashlight, laser or other accessories
  • Made in the USA with US materials ! 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed Real Lifetime Warranty (unless rail is modified) DIY Installation Remains solidly in place
  • The 2.0 inch rail fits all of our mounts, including smaller Mini-14 and M1 Carbine mounts The 3.95 inch rail extends past the front of the smaller mount body

Once I installed the mount (and accessory rail), I went out to the range for… 


Testing

I’ve spent 50 rounds down the range.

And the mount didn’t move an inch. Nor did my scope’s zero. The mount lived up to its claims 🙂


Will the Amega Ranges Mini 14 Scout Mount fit my Mini 14?

Here’s the straight up answer:

If you have an OLD Mini 14 (including the Ranch rifle and the AC556) that was manufactured before 2007/pre-580 series, the Amega Mini 14 mount will fit like a glove.

Best for Older Mini 14
Amega Ranges Mini 14 Scout Mount
30 Reviews
Amega Ranges Mini 14 Scout Mount
  • Made in the USA with US materials ! 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed, Real Lifetime Warranty (unless mount & clamp is modified)
  • No Modification to your rifle DIY Installation The Mount replaces the upper hand guard Remains solidly in place
  • Fits All the older Mini-14's - serial numbers starting with a 1, see the barrel photo if you are unsure of your serial number, or send us a message

However, if you have a NEWER Mini 14 (580+ series), then you’ll want to opt-in for the GG&G 1913 SCP mount.

Best for Newer Mini 14
Sale
GG&G Mini-14 Rnch Rfle 1913 SCP Rail, Black
352 Reviews
GG&G Mini-14 Rnch Rfle 1913 SCP Rail, Black
  • No gunsmithing required.
  • Places the optic forward for long eye relief and quick target acquisition.
  • Rail machined on the bottom for unimpeded cartridge ejection.

Summary

Absolutely.

It’s sturdy, comes with all of the needed installation tools and is backed by lifetime warranty. 

Plus, it fits all of the older Mini-14 rifles.

That said, if you have an older Mini 14 and are in need of a Mini 14 ranch rifle optic mount, then I’d recommend going with the Amega Ranges Mini 14 Scout Mount:

Best for Older Mini 14
Amega Ranges Mini 14 Scout Mount
30 Reviews
Amega Ranges Mini 14 Scout Mount
  • Made in the USA with US materials ! 100% Satisfaction Guaranteed, Real Lifetime Warranty (unless mount & clamp is modified)
  • No Modification to your rifle DIY Installation The Mount replaces the upper hand guard Remains solidly in place
  • Fits All the older Mini-14's - serial numbers starting with a 1, see the barrel photo if you are unsure of your serial number, or send us a message

3. Nikon P-Series Riflescope Picatinny Mount: Best Versatile Mount

The Nikon P-Series picatinny mount is versatile.

Most Versatile
Nikon P-Series Riflescope Picatinny Mount for 1 Inch Tube
1,986 Reviews
Nikon P-Series Riflescope Picatinny Mount for 1 Inch Tube
  • Allows Proper Height, Eye Relief and Forward Position for Charging-Handle Access on Virtually Any Rifle
  • Strong-Yet-Lightweight Alloy Construction
  • For One Inch Tube Diameter Riflescopes, Fits flattop picatinny rails

It can fit a bunch of firearms, including:

  • Mini 14
  • M&P 15-22
  • AR platform
  • Ruger SR556
  • Lots more

Interested?

Keep reading…


Mount Quality

It’s Nikon folks.

They produce high-quality optics, binoculars, rangefinders, etc. And their P-Series picatinny mount is no different.

Crafted from lightweight alloy construction, the mount feels sturdy yet lightweight (only 6.1 ounces). 

Not too flimsy. Nor too heavy. Feels perfectly balanced.


Installation

It’s easy to install.

However, keep this in mind when installing the scope mount:

Push the mount towards the muzzle when attaching and tightening them down. The mount should be butted up against the forward point.

Still a bit confused? Here’s a quick video showing how to mount a rifle scope:

Once mounted in, it’s time for…


Testing

No problems at all.

I’ve fired over 160 rounds and the mount stayed in place. My Nikon P-223 also held zero like champ. 


Will the Nikon P-Series Mount fit my Mini 14 Rifle?

As long as your Mini 14 is equipped with MIL standard picatinny rails (like the AR-15), then it’ll fit. 

In fact:

It fit like a glove on my Mini 14 Ranch rifle.


Summary

If the GG&G mount doesn’t work for you, then get the Nikon P-Series scope mount.

(Or if you’re looking for a more versatile mount that’ll fit more than one firearm).

Here’s why. It’s:

  • Sturdy
  • Easy to install
  • Fits flattop picatinny rails
  • Allows plenty of eye relief

It’s also made in the good ol’ USA. If the P-Series scope mount sounds good to you, feel free to check out the price here:

Most Versatile
Nikon P-Series Riflescope Picatinny Mount for 1 Inch Tube
1,986 Reviews
Nikon P-Series Riflescope Picatinny Mount for 1 Inch Tube
  • Allows Proper Height, Eye Relief and Forward Position for Charging-Handle Access on Virtually Any Rifle
  • Strong-Yet-Lightweight Alloy Construction
  • For One Inch Tube Diameter Riflescopes, Fits flattop picatinny rails

And that’s it! These are literally the best scope mounts for the Mini 14.

Simply pick one based on your model and give it a go. And if it doesn’t fit your rifle for whatever reason, you could return it back to Amazon thanks to their 30-day Money Back Guarantee.

If you have any questions or concerns about Mini 14 scope mounts, let me know in the comments down below.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What scope do I need for a Mini 14?

The scope you need for your Mini 14 depends on your use. If you’re using it primarily for home defense and CQB, then get a red dot. But if you’re using your Mini 14 for varmint hunting, coyotes and prairie dogs, then get a magnified optic.

How far can a Mini 14 shoot accurately?

A Mini-14 can accurately shoot targets at around 400 yards. It may be able to shoot out further depending on your setup. For example, I managed to shoot a 10” steel target at 550 yards.

Can you put a scope on a mini 14?

Yes, you can mount a scope on a Mini 14. However, you need to get the correct rings and mount to properly mount an optic to your Mini 14 rifle.

Can you put a red dot on a mini 14?

Yes, you can mount a red dot on your Mini 14 if you have the correct mounting system. Based on your Mini 14 model, you’d either have to buy GG&G Mini-14 scope mount or an Amega Ranges.

How to mount a red dot scope on a Mini 14?

To mount the Burris Fastfire III red dot scope on your Mini 14, you’d need to buy a GG&G Mini-14 scope mount. Once you have that, all you need to do is install the mount and zero it in.


Now Its Your Turn

I hope you enjoyed my best scope for mini 14 guide. To recap, here are my favorite Mini-14 scopes based on application:

Best Ruger Mini 14 ScopeBest forPrice
Leupold VX-Freedom 1.5-4×20Overall$310
Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7×32Hunting$130
Leupold VX-3i 3.5-10×40Long Range$500
Burris Fastfire IIIHome Defense$250
Vortex Optics Strikefire II Red Dot SightRed Dot Under $200$200
Bushnell Trophy TRS-25Budget Red Dot$70

I’m always continually updating this guide as I test more scopes. For now, rest assured — these are the best mini 14 optics on the market. 

Now I want to turn it over to you: Which scope are you going to buy? 

Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.

And to all the veterans out there: I salute you. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. I really appreciate what you do!

49 thoughts on “The Best Scopes for Mini 14 in 2021 [Hand-Tested]”

    • I’m actually almost done testing out a couple of red dot sights and will update this guide ASAP. But to answer your question, I personally use the Vortex Strikefire II and had no problems with it.

      Reply
  1. Impressive guide Richard! Definitely one of the best I’ve read so far. I’ve owned a Nikon for over 3 years and definitely could say this: It’s hard to beat Nikon’s glass. I’ve got them for all of my rifles and they rock!

    Reply
    • Thank you, Andrew — I really appreciate it! Nikon is definitely one of my favorites. Thanks for commenting 🙂

      Reply
  2. DUDE…You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for a complete mini 14 guide. I absolutely LOVVVEEE how you organized each scope by its use!

    I’ve settled on the Vortex Strikefire II. Solid!!!!

    Reply
    • Thanks Mark! It did take me a couple of weeks to craft this guide…but it was worth it. And I’m glad you liked it! Let me know how the Strikefire II works out for you 🙂

      Reply
  3. What about the Leupold mark ar mod 1 6-18×40? Bought this scope about 2 years ago and hasn’t failed me since. Lens are clear and turrets are great. You should give it a shot, Richard. Either way, I agree with a lot of scopes you recommend. Redfield Revolution is definitely one of my favorite hunting scopes. Great article, I bookmarked your site.

    Reply
    • Too much magnification, especially if use the Mini 14 for plinking and varmint hunting. I’m with ya there — the Redfield Revolution (2-7×33) is a solid choice for hunting. Thanks for commenting, Rick!

      Reply
  4. Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 comes in different models (see below). Which one do you recommend?

    Riflescope V-Plex
    Scout Scope V-Plex
    Riflescope (1-Inch) BDC
    Rimfire Riflescope 1-Inch V-Plex

    Reply
    • Hey HB,

      Here’s a brief breakdown between those 4 options:

      1. V-Plex MOA Reticle – It’s a standard reticle with no hash marks, dots, etc. It’s also positioned in the SFP. Which means, the reticle’s size remains the same — regardless if magnification is changed. This is best used as an all-around hunting reticle.

      2. Scout scope V-Plex – Designed for a Scout rifle, extended eye relief is 9.45″. It’s a SFP optic that has 100 yard parallax.

      3. Riflescope (1-Inch) BDC – It’s a SFP optic, 100 yard parallax and BDC reticle which is ideal for your setup as it has hashmarks you can reference for longer shots.

      4. Rimfire Riflescope 1-Inch V-Plex – It’s a SFP optic, 50 yard parallax and ideal for a rimfire rifle as it has a simple crosshair with no hashmarks and will work best for shooting 0-50 yards.

      That said, I’d recommend getting the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Riflescope (1-Inch) BDC if you intend on shooting close-to-medium range distances.

      Reply
    • The reverse symbol I meant. The symbol used was for greater than vs less than. Just realized I used the wrong *than on my comment as well.

      Reply
    • Hey Bill, yes it does. In fact, you’ve got two options:

      If you want to use your iron sights, then you’ll need a GGG-1519. But keep in mind, the 1519 is going to be tall and you are going to shoot off your chin.

      If you don’t mind blocking iron sights, then get the GGG-1382. It’s low and works great.

      Your choice 🙂

      Reply
  5. Hi Richard and thank you for the guide! I purchased the Vortex Crossfire II 2-7×32 Dead-hold BDC based on your recommendation, however the Vortex Defender objective lens cover O-40 size you referenced did not fit this scope. I had to return it and order the O-32, which is the correct size. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Hey Craig,

      Bless your heart. My apologies for the typo — I’ve updated the post with the correct lens size.

      Have you used the Crossfire II yet? Would love to hear your thoughts on it.

      Thanks again for bringing up the corrected lens cap size! You’re awesome!

      Reply
  6. I’m curious if tube diameters on the vortex strike fire have changed because the weaver medium rings 99688 don’t fit the 501 strike fire I purchased 🙁

    Reply
  7. What are your thoughts on the Trijicon ACOG 4×32 scope dual illuminated chevron .223 ballistic reticle for an older model mini-14 for $49.35?

    Reply
    • Not sure how you’d get your hands on an ACOG for only $50 🙂 Either way, ACOGs are solid and will definitely serve you well.

      The only problem you might run into is mounting (due to eye relief and mounting height).

      Reply
    • The VMX-3T has a very short eye relief and is set up for the height of an AR.

      It’s going to sit to high on your MIni 14 and getting the proper eye relief is going to be quite difficult.

      That said, if you are looking for magnification, I would suggest going with a Strike Eagle 1-6x as it has 4″ of eye relief and would overall work better than a magnifier.

      (You can buy the Strike Eagle from Amazon or OpticsPlanet)

      Reply
    • Give it a shot, Dale! I’m sure you’ll love the P-223. And if you don’t (for whatever reason), you can always return it back to Amazon within 30 days 🙂

      Reply
  8. I bought the Nikon scope that’s listed #1 here and installed on the Mini-14 with the Ruger factory scope rings. The problem is that ejected cartridges hit the windage turret pretty forcefully after every shot, leaving pretty good gashes on the scope. Seems like the Nikon

    Reply
  9. Hello, I’m trying to figure out how to mount the Vortex StrikeFitre II on my Mini-14 and achieve absolute co-witness. The folks at Vortex are talking about a 30 mm ring and you said in this write up that you used a 1″ (40mm) set of rings.

    In any event, can I Absolut Co-Witness the Vortext StrikeFire II on a Mini-14? And if so, how?

    Reply
  10. I have a mini 14 195 series with GG&G rail. I’m looking at the Vortex Optics Strikefire 2 red dot scope. It claims unlimited eye relief and I did read your reviews saying that it could be mounted towards the muzzle further with no effect on field of vision. I’ve mounted a couple of compact red dot scopes and I can’t get my face close enough or the scope far enough back to get a complete field of vision. I have a nice Leopold 3 x 9 x 40 on the gun now but I have to remove it every time I disassemble the weapon so my question is is the strike fire gonna work for me with this GG and G scope rail?

    Reply
  11. Richard, thanks to You I’m going to install the Burris Fast Fire lll on My new Mini 14. Quick question, can You install the Fast Fire lll using the Ruger supplied rail ?

    Reply
  12. Incredible reviews! Thank you so much for this!!! It’s absolutely amazing.

    So I just bought my first rifle, a brand new mini 14 tactical.

    My military friends tell me to keep it 100% stock and only use the iron sights — since a gun range is all the action this rifle will likely ever see.
    My non-military friends and gun dealer said a red dot (Burris Fastfire III) is the way to go.
    And 1 friend said a scope (Vortex Crossfire II) would be all I need for close-to-medium range.

    I personally also liked the Vortex Strikefire II…

    If you were me what would you do?

    Reply
  13. I found a great scope for m Mini14 I have the black tactical Mini with Synthetic stock. I found a relatively in expensive Scope from S2Delta (yes the sling makers). it is a 1-4 LPVO with windage and elevation BDC with range estimator etched in the glass. the best part is it has a red illuminated reticle that includes the BDC and 5mph wind (looks like a Christmas tree). The scope is under $200 and has a life time warranty. the down side initially was the 30mm tube. contacted Ruger and since I never used the stock 1in rings they swapped them for free. Scope fit perfectly in the new rings and hasn’t lost zero once even with the Mini op rod banging away…

    Reply

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