The Ruger Mini-14 is based on the successful World War 2-era M1 "Garand" infantry service rifle. In fact, most of the inner workings of the Mini-14 are mechanically identical to its predecessor with the exception that the base Mini-14 model is chambered for .223 Remington / 5.56mm which reduces recoil and provides the weapon some inherent accuracy qualities. The line is a popular one for maker Sturm, Ruger & Company and has been spawned in many variants based on the same design. The series was introduced in 1973.
In its various forms, the Mini-14 semi-automatic rifle can be fed from a 5-, 10-, 20- or 30-round magazine. The rear aperture is adjustable and the weapon continues to be produced with the Garand-style breech-bolt locking system. That system refers to a fixed-piston gas system with a self-cleaning moving gas cylinder.
The lightweight Mini-14 automatic rifle is not regarded as less of a rifle when compared to the celebrated M1 Garand, as the Mini-14 has itself earned a solid reputation among gun enthusiasts and several security agencies for its inherent reliability and effectiveness. Later production models have been fitted with a new hardwood stock and buttpad similar to those found on conventional rifles while other forms also support an adjustable stock.
In Hollywood, the Ruger Mini-14 was a regular on the short-lived action series, The A-Team, where the four heroes seems to always rely on the rifle during combat scenes. In reality, the Mini-14 was selected due to its reliability when firing blank cartridges.
In reality, the rifle was used in the 1986 FBI Miami Shootout (April 11th, 1986) gun battle involving two robbery suspects and FBI agents. The weapon highlighted the need for agents to carry (or have access to) more powerful weapons. The Mini-14 was also used in the 2011 Norway Attacks which left 77 dead.
The AC-556 is a select-fire version of the Mini-14.