I can only offer input on the Mini-14; I have a Pre-Ban 182 series and loooove it. My M4's are my favorite guns to shoot, but right now the Mini is a close 2nd. I'd almost prefer it as my go-to gun, if the mags were as easy to insert as they are on the AR15 platform.
If you embrace a Mini for what it truly is - a super reliable, accuate "enough" rifle - then you'll be more than happy with it. If you pick one up expecting a tack-driver at 200yds, well...you're pretty much doomed from the start.