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Thread: Did you know L. James Sullivan of ArmaLite AR15 design team also designed the mini-14

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    Really Senior Member imarangemaster's Avatar
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    Did you know L. James Sullivan of ArmaLite AR15 design team also designed the mini-14

    While researching the origins of the the Ruger Mini-14 and contrasting it to the 1957 SCHV trials submission Winchester .224 Light Rifle, I found intersesting information. L. James Sullivan, who was one of the primary design engineers on Eugene Stoner's team at ArmaLite that designed the AR15 prototype that competed in the 1957 trials, was recruited by Bill Ruger after he left ArmaLite in the late 1960s. Ruger brought him in specifically to design the original Mini-14. The Mini-14 was based on the concept of the wood stocked, .223 caliber Winchester .224 Light Rifle (that Sullivan would have been familiar with during the trials with his AR15), but using rather the proven M1/M14icon system scaled down.

    Interesting interview of the man that designed both the AR15 and the Mini-14. That would drive the AR15 fanboys and Mini-haters crazy!


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    Besides the Mini 14 in 5,56mm cal there was also a larger variation of this rifle in 7,62x51mm. Early Gun Digest magazines show photos but for some reason it never got into production

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    Really Senior Member imarangemaster's Avatar
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    That was the ill fated Ruger XGI. IIRC, it suffered from the lack forged receivers. The .223/5.56 was OK with cast, but it didn't cut it with 7.62x51. I would have loved to have one of those. He also designed the Ultimax light machine gun.
    Last edited by imarangemaster; 01-12-2018 at 07:31 PM.

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    The Ultimax was way ahead of it time, years ago there were some demil Ultimax kits around.

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    Speaking of the Winchester .224 Light Rifle that spawned the Mini-14, it was Winchester's entry into the 1957 SCHV (Small Caliber High Velocity) weapons trial that gave us Stoner's AR15. The Winchester suffered from accuracy issues caused by using a too light of weight barrel (just like early Mini-14s). The round was a near duplicate of the .222 Remington Special (that became the .223), except it used a stubbier 53 grain bullet for a shorter OAL.





    Last edited by imarangemaster; 01-12-2018 at 07:47 PM.

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    Here is Jeff Cooper's 1972 review of the "New" Ruger Mini-14. It sure does look like a WInchester .224 Light Rifle, right down to the early straight 20 round magazine.




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    My 2017 production Ruger 583 Series tribute to the Winchester .224 Light Rifle. Who knows what would have happened to the Winchester if they continued to develop it?


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    222 Remington Special and 224E2 Winchester

    Photos show a 222 Remington Special and Winchester 224E2 cartridges. The Winchester 224E2 could be fired in the AR-15 also, but the 222 Remington Specila could not be fired in
    the Winchester Lightweight Rifle. These are interesting developments with the 222 Remington Special being adopted as the 5,56 or 223 Remington The Winchester is the shorter cartridge


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