It was used by Burt Gummer in the Tremors franchise.
The Mini-14 was first introduced in 1974 by Ruger. The name Mini-14 is derived from the military M14 rifle implying a miniature version of the M14. Ruger used the M14 as a model for the new rifle while incorporating numerous innovations and cost-saving engineering changes. The Mini-14 proved popular with small-game hunters, ranchers, law enforcement, security personnel and target shooters. Designed by L. James Sullivan and William B. Ruger, the rifle employs an investment cast, heat-treated receiver and a version of the M1/M14 rifle locking mechanism with a self-cleaning, fixed-piston gas system. The rifle is available in stainless or blued finish with hardwood, synthetic, or laminated stocks and an 18.5-inch (470 mm) barrel. Target models are currently available only in .223 Remington and are not chambered to fire the 5.56x45mm NATO round. They feature a 22-inch (560 mm) heavy barrel and either a laminated wood or Hogue overmolded synthetic stock. Most Mini-14s have a classic sporter appearance, in contrast to comparable autoloading rifles such as the AK-47 and AR-15. However Ruger now offers some Mini-14 rifles in a black ATI adjustable folding stock with a pistol grip. While the magazines of the Mini-14 resemble M16-style STANAG magazines, the two designs are not interchangeable. Initial rifles were produced with a complex, exposed bolt hold open device with no button for manual engagement. Stocks were somewhat angular and heat shields were made of wood. These rifles, with serial number prefixes before 181, were tooled and redesigned with a new stock, new bolt hold-open mechanism, and other small changes.
In 2003, Ruger again overhauled the design and the production process to improve accuracy and update the styling while at the same time reducing production costs. The new models, marketed as Ranch Rifles, are based on the previous Ranch models, with integral scope bases. In 2005, the new ranch rifles carried serial numbers beginning with 580. These rifles are sometimes referred to as 580 series ranch rifles. These new models use a modified gas system designed to reduce barrel vibration, and new iron sights. At an unspecified time in 2007 to 2008, Ruger added a heavier tapered barrel to the Mini series. The heavier barrel had an overall larger diameter with the barrel visibly becoming thicker in the final inches as the barrel approaches the gas block from the muzzle. These changes combined with tighter tolerances result in greater potential accuracy. The new mini-14 rifles are arguably capable of shooting under 2 MOA (Minute of angle) accuracy. The "target model" Mini-14 supposedly can shoot under 1 MOA.