The Ruger Mini-14 is a very reliable rifle, but I think you will find that the consensus is that it is a very inaccurate rifle. There are numerous far better (read accurate) rifles for varmint hunting.
The Ranch rifle will not shoot with any good bolt gun accuracy wise and if you get it even close you will have dumped so much money and time into it that you may as well just start with a bolt gun. Bolt guns will also give you a much wider choice in calibers. That's the tip of the iceberg.
Depends on which varmints you hunt. If it's refrigerator or old-television varmints at the local dump, a Mini would be fun. But for small things at any kind of distance, a bolt action is what you'd want.
I had a Ranch rifle, very reliable, very in-accurate, depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to make accurate shots, go with a good AR-15 of some type, or a bolt gun. I traded my Ranch rifle for a Bushmaster and paid extra $, but well worth it.
I don't disagree with any of the earlier answers concerning inaccuracy of the 223 ranch rifle. But you asked about "varmint hunting" and that is a very broad area to cover. The ranch rifle seems to be a useable tool, carry along in the truck or on the 4-wheeler for use at short distances. Kind of a modern-day application of the old Model 94 Winchester, it was just meant to be a handy tool. My complaint about the Mini is the same as the other brass belchers -- they spit the brass away and it takes awhile to find it (yes, I reload). I've used my ranch rifle for close work (night calling, etc.), but wouldn't expect to rely on it much farther than I can throw a rock. And yep, at night the muzzle flash is spectacular.
I sold my old mini due to inaccuracy, but have recently acquired one of the new 580 series rifles. It is much better accuracy wise (2.5 inch five-shot 100 yard groups with cheap WW white box hollow points), but still not up to bolt gun standards. Would I want it for my only varmint rifle? No. But I have other accurate rifles and find my stainless mini a perfect truck/farm/security gun. It is totally reliable and very handy. My old mini took several 'incidental' coyotes and my new one did last Monday night. When I need accuracy at a distance, my Sako goes along. Also, I find the mini much more 'farmer friendly' that an AR would be. I need them for places to hunt.
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