Ruger Scout Rifle

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Today from Karl we have some pictures of the Scout Rifle from Ruger ( ugh ). Karl seems to be a fan of the rifle and concept. And I’m sure from that last sentence you have deduced that I am not. Jeff Cooper was big on the idea of the Scout Rifle. The idea of a light handy bolt action rifle in a round like the service rifle .308 Win with a low powered optic mounted far forward. There is a lot of tender feelings and romance around the idea of the scout rifle and the concept. Just like there is for the M14…

I have read all of Cooper’s books and much of what he had to say on the scout rifle and I honestly can’t imagine it having a real use in modern times. Or really it being anything special back when he first dreamed it up. Scouting for game? Maybe. A hostile environment full of men trying to kill you? Stupid if you have other choices.

When the Steyr Scout hit the shelves I played around with it and was not impressed. I have handled Ruger’s take on the idea and was even less impressed. But hey, that’s just like my opinion man. Maybe you love the things. If so enjoy.

17 COMMENTS

  1. Mrs B has a Ruger Scout in chambered in .223 Rem. Same stock as Karl’s.

    I love the thing. Why? Because it’s her favorite gun to shoot by far, so she is more willing to go to the range with it than, say, an AR, and more range time together is good. Also, her lady friends also seem to really like it, as do new shooters … to the point where a range day with the Mrs has resulted in a new gun owner or two this past year.

    I think it has something to do with the scope placement as well as caliber. Being that far forward, there’s no “OMG it’s gonna hit my eye!” reaction when the scope moves a little closer under recoil. Which, in .223, isn’t that large anyway.

    All of this is a non issue in the first place if you’re holding the rifle properly. But, new shooters don’t have all that internalized yet.

      • And that’s why they make different kinds of rifles.

        I’m not a huge fan of Mrs B’s Ruger Scout as far as shooting or carrying it goes. I prefer my AR. But she really likes it, so I love it for what it encourages her to do, not what it does for me. Make sense?

        • that laminated stock I think is a major problem. If they lost that weight it would be a much handier gun. something like the model 7 youth would be make more sense

  2. from the interwebz:

    Tyler Durden says:

    July 16, 2017 at 2:36 pm

    This is going to be a very long post which will not be well received by those who have pastures stocked with sacred Scout Rifle and Jeff Cooper cows. Bottom line up front: the Scout Rifle abjectly fails its primary mission as defined and created by Jeff Cooper both in concept and reality.

    I’m very familiar with the Scout Rifle concept beginning in 1988 when I took API 250 from Jeff Cooper. Following the shoot off and the awarding of class certificates we were all invited to the Sconce, Coopers home for home baked cookies and orange juice. Inside Coopers walk in gun vault located in his basement he described and talked at length about the Scout Rifle ( as well as numerous other subjects). From his lips he described the primary purpose of the Scout Rifle (SR) was a rifle utilized by a lone military scout performing reconnaissance in front of friendly lines. The scouts primary purpose was not to engage in combat but to gather information. If he should have to fire his first shot must be, quick, accurate, and decisive. The secondary role for the SR was as an all-purpose rifle. In both cases the only rifle Cooper considered as fit for this mission was a bolt action. Period. This is the first fact about the SR you need to understand.

    Now, at the time I was just a Special Forces qualified captain on a battalion staff in a special forces group and the most significant thing I had done in the Army (other than graduating from the Q Course) was to break my leg on my thirteenth parachute jump. I hadn’t done nor experienced much. At the time Coopers concept of the SR didn’t strike me as sound nor practical however I couldn’t articulate why.

    Time passed and several years later I took an API 260 shotgun course at Gunsite and following the end of class we were again invited to the Sconce and again Cooper discussed the SR. The raison d etre’ for the SR remained unchanged: it was a bolt action rifle which was the primary arm for a lone military scout and secondarily a jack of all trades outdoors gun.

    In September 1993 I took a Gunsite 270 rifle class. Cooper sold Gunsite to Rich Jee the year before and part of the sales agreement stipulated Cooper would maintain a presence in the classes i.e. a lecture or range time to ease in the transition. Cooper may not have always been right but he always was Cooper. To that end there are numerous stories and rumors of what happened next but Jee and Cooper had a massive and epic falling out which resulted in Cooper being banned from Gunsite (save for his house). All of this happened a short time before I arrived for 270. Too bad, I would have loved to see Cooper’s reaction to my weapon during the rifle class.

    To wit, I took a bone stock 50.00 FN FAL for the rifle class and every other student brought a bolt action; most being custom made Scout Rifles. Some of the more notable students in the class were Bill Jeans, Peter Kokalis, and Gabe Suarez. I use this analogy with regard to how my FAL performed in the class: the cheapest production Stihl chainsaw will cut more wood than the most lovingly hand crafted expensive ax. On the last day my FAL easily out shot every other rifle and I quickly won the shoot off. Impressed, Gabe Suarez told me, “If I ever take 270 again I’m bringing my M1A.” At least two (and probably more) of my classmates were far better shots than I (neither of which were Peter Kokalis) however they were handicapped by their obsolete equipment, which brings up the second fact about an SR: a semi-auto rifle can always fire as slow as a Scout Rifle, but a Scout Rifle can never fire as fast as a semi-auto rifle.

    I do not take personal credit for my performance in 270. If I had been armed like the rest of the class with an obsolete, glitzy, LER, bolt action, custom Scout Rifle, which I must add was the politically correct rifle to use at Gunsite, I would have been just another mediocre shot in the crowd. The FAL did it-not me.

    People miss. In the real world most of your shots will be misses not matter how much you wish otherwise. Why do you think when you go to a public shooting range that has range benches almost everybody shoots their rifles from the bench? Because most rifle owners suck at firing from the standing, kneeling, sitting, or prone positions. People want gratification and shooting from a bench makes them believe they are good shots.

    After the shoot-off we were told on the down low that Cooper had invited us to the Sconce as was the custom. Shortly after we assembled in his vault Cooper asked, “So who won the shoot off”. I was standing in the back and said nothing. A pregnant pause hung in the air and when it was obvious I wasn’t going to speak somebody said, “Tyler did.”

    “Where’s Tyler?” asked Cooper.
    I raised my hand, “Over here.”
    “What rifle did you use?”
    I looked him in the eye and proudly stated, “An FAL.”
    Gawd, you shoulda seen Coopers expression, he looked like he was weaned on a sour dill pickle.

    Cooper again waxed eloquent about the SR, same message, same mission, same bolt action however since last I attended a Gunsite class I had the First Gulf War under my belt and subsequent to that commanded a Special Forces “A” Team. With a modicum of experience I now realized his views regarding the Scout Rifle weren’t just wrong, they were stubbornly naive. However through his force of personality, erudite writing style, and legions of acolytes he was able to convince many the emperor actually was wearing clothes provided he was armed with a Scout Rifle.

    To truly understand the Scout Rifle you have to understand the man who conceived it. Jeff Cooper flat out hated semi-automatic rifles. Yes, you can find several quotes from him to the contrary but the overwhelming amount of his words and actions leave no doubt of his disdain for self-loading rifles. He has stated in his “Cooper Commentaries” several times that a man in the standing position who is an experience bolt gun guy can fire the weapon only slightly slower than a self-loader to the point the difference in speed is not a consideration. Apparently Cooper never considered there are other positions than offhand in which one cannot fire a bolt gun rapidly at all. In his book “The Art of the Rifle” he does not even mention semi-auto rifles nor do any of the pictures depict anybody with a semi-auto.

    At Gunsite there were two arroyo’s cutting through it: one called the “Donga” and the other the “Vlei”. Each was a zig zagging jagged cut in the ground with sharp turns and numerous blind corners. The student would enter the downstream end of these arroyo’s and then proceed towards the head of the arroyo engaging hostile Pepper Poppers. Along the way poppers could/would be emplaced above you are at a distance. This course of fire were designed by Cooper.

    The odd thing is that when I went down the Vlei and Donga in 250 and 260 there were many times when I engaged multiple targets. However in the 270 rifle class, there were no multiple targets to shoot in the Vlei and Donga, only single targets. The reason for that was if a bolt gun student was forced to engage multiple targets the shortcomings of weapon would be readily apparent.
    Here’s how much Cooper loathed semi-automatic rifles. At Gunsite the “E ticket”, that is an Expert diploma, was the highest ranking diploma you could receive in a course and much coveted. After that was “Marksman First Class” and then “Marksman”. I don’t recall if there was something below marksman but if so who cares? A good friend of mine who was a Viet Nam vet, former Marine (like Cooper), police SWAT sergeant, AND a longtime Gunsite instructor took an API 270 class as a student with his favorite rifle, a para FN FAL. Not only did he earn the highest score of the class in the marksmanship test, he also won the shoot off. So what diploma did Cooper give him? A marksmanship first class. Two of his fellow student which he bested received expert diplomas. Why? Because they used bolt rifles and he did not.

    After spending a bit of time running the roads in Iraq and on a PSD team I am of the opinion this concept of a lone soldier roaming in front of the FEBA with a SR is utterly moronic. Cooper’s ideas of rifle craft are rooted in mythic nonsense from the 19th century. On the Gunsite List I once challenged anybody if they could name one soldier or marine in the last 30 years who ever willingly went on a solo scouting mission in enemy territory. Nobody could, however I note this was before Bowe Bergdahl’ antics in Afghanistan. If any officer gave an order commanding a soldier to go in front of the wire alone on a scouting mission he would have been told “F**K YOU SIR!” If that same officer ordered a troop to go on a solo mission with nothing but a Scout Rifle he’d face a mutiny.

    When I was in SF I couldn’t tell you how many times after mentioning in passing to another SF guy or SEAL I’d been to Gunsite and the first thing out of their mouth was, “What the hell is Cooper talking about with this Scout Rifle shit?” I was first asked this by my company commander when I was in 5th SFG. Shaking my head I replied, “I dunno Sir, don’t make a lick of sense to me………”

    Now, to really raise peoples ire, in my opinion Cooper did not really understand the concept of the modern rifle and by “modern rifle” I mean starting with the M-1 Garand. For Chrissakes one of his favorite rifles was the 30/40 Krag! The Scout Rifle is useless in trying to gain fire superiority if you are ambushed. Yes, I know in a perfect world of Ninja Scout Rifle shooters you never will be ambushed. If one needs to put a lot of bullets into a vehicle or aircraft to stop it you can’t with a Scout Rifle. Again I know the Ninja’s armed with SR’s will only need ONE perfect bullet. If I need to blast a lot of rounds through a wall to take out an enemy I can’t with a Scout. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know an expert rifleman with a Scout Rifle can just walk through those walls. If one gets wounded in an arm at least with a semi-auto you can keep firing until the magazine is empty. Oh, wait-that’s an invalid point as Scout Rifle guys are bulletproof.

    Yet again I say, “If your damn Scout Rifle was so good my FAL never should have won the shoot off against it at Gunsite!”

    I believe Coopers hatred of semi-auto’s was rooted in the belief he considered himself a patrician and as such certain skills and knowledge must separate elites from the lower classes. Elites such as himself were possessed of remarkable rifle craft skills and abilities best utilized by the precision tool of the bolt action rifle. People in classes and stations on lower rungs in his mind did possess the necessary mental skills and disciplines required to be proper riflemen. Cooper distrusted the masses (which is most of America) and often contemptuously labeled our present time as “The Era of the Common Man”.

    Cooper believed that cultural, political, technological, economic forces were all being driven in support of and pursuant to the masses i.e. “the common man”. In his mind deference to the mediocrity of the masses instead of excellence (which was the milieu of the patricians and elites), had denigrated the more high-brow pursuits of art, literature, consumerism, film, music, culture, and yes, even rifle craft. Therefore the lower classes were not pursuing excellence of marksmanship with semi-auto firearms but rather firepower. If these lower classes used rifles such as semi-autos which made them more effective the elites were challenged. As an aside Cooper had nothing but contempt for the AK-47 the ultimate weapon of the masses.

    Strangely, as a rabid 1911 advocate, Cooper never saw the inconsistency of his beliefs’. That is the .45 ACP 1911 handgun was to the semi-auto rifle, what the .45 Long Colt Single Action Army was to the bolt action rifle. My point is that applying Coopers same logic regarding rifles to pistols he should have been against carrying a 1911 automatic pistol. If you correctly and accurately place your first bullet you don’t need a second follow up, but if you do need one a single action can be cocked very quickly-even faster than a bolt can be worked.

    What? You say that when an adversary is close even the briefest amounts of delays can cost you your life? Well-if you had been situational aware utilizing the proper Cooper color code this would not be an issue. Also the standard Single Action is more accurate than a 1911 therefore why carry a less accurate pistol? So what if you only have six rounds? Just as there were no multiple targets on the Vlei or Donga to prove the deficiencies in bolt actions, I don’t have to address this issue other than by saying there are enough rounds to enable a skilled Patrician to kill six opponents. Cooper himself didn’t bring a 1911 .45 Automatic with him to the Pacific in WWII………..he brought a .45 Single Action Army. If these arguments appear obtuse and closed minded, well, they are exactly the kinds of rationales I’ve heard Cooper address issues with.

    When the Steyr Scout came out there were some readily apparent problems with the rifle which Cooper brushed aside. For instance as a universal rifle the Steyr didn’t care for military ammunition. Half the time the firing pin wouldn’t strike the hard military primers with enough to detonate them. When the rifle was adjusted to impart more force to the firing pin the trigger pull became much heavier. Coopers remedy was basically don’t use military ammo. When it was pointed out that the 19 inch barrel of a Scout creates a large muzzle flash (read fireball) which would reveal your position to the enemy and that just maybe it should have a flash hider, Cooper dismissed this flaw, “If you hit your target with the first shot you don’t need to worry about revealing your position.” That statement alone should cause people to wonder just how much time Cooper spent in the field and question his tactical prowess.

    All during this time Cooper still clung to the belief the SR was a combat weapon first and foremost. Then came the War in Kosovo during the summer of 1999. When a Kosovo Liberation Army rebel armed with a Scout rifle had his photo taken Cooper was ecstatic. FINALLY some fighting man had validated his Scout Rifle concept! Hallelujah, praise Jesus! However that validation was at best spurious. Just because one or two guys in a combat zone carries a chrome plated Klingon Disrupter, Uday Hussein’s personal gold plated Tabuk assault rifle, or a much vaunted Steyr Scout Rifle doesn’t mean a damn thing. Having spent a good part of time of my life in some dangerous areas of the world I saw irregular forces armed with all manner of goofy shit. I swear during my first year in Iraq it seemed like half the Iraqi Police had removed the stocks from their AK’s and I knew guys who went out in the Red Zone armed with nothing more than a Tariq pistol, Glock 19, Czech Skorpian, or nothing at all.

    Now here’s a little tidbit that has been kept quiet for quite some time. This is for all you Scout Rifle lovers who say the SR was never intended to be a combat rifle.

    In September of 1999 Cooper gave a lecture at the Soldier Of Fortune convention in Las Vegas of which the topic was “The Scout Rifle in Combat”. On a table next to him he had his Scout Rifle. After the lecture was over people were crowding around the table and handling the rifle when “WHAM!” Somehow a .308 round found its way into the chamber of the Scout Rifle and when a bystander pulled the trigger a bullet went into the ceiling. My point here is not to lay fault at Coopers feet for an ND, (he didn’t bust the cap) but rather to emphasize the subject of his lecture.

    In the ensuing years I have watched how the true origins of the Scout Rifle have been obscured, glossed over, and rewritten like Soviet history. Over time people finally acknowledged, tacitly or otherwise, that the SR as a military rifle is a dimwitted concept. As a hunting arm it does what it should. However people who never even met Cooper have told me to my face that the SR was never intended for a military role and that “Scout” was just a name-nothing more which is unmitigated BS.

    The odd thing is at times I wonder if even Cooper didn’t have some doubts and hedge his bets on whether the Scout Rifle was really valid. After I informed Cooper I used a FAL in the 270 class my eyes cast around the interior of his gun vault. On one side was a long work bench and on the wall were mounted a dozen or so long arms, most predictably of the boltish type. There was a wall dividing the room and I peeked my head through the open doorway to see what was inside. I noted this part of the vault was a storage area for boxes, and gun cases, things like that. However in the far corner, partially obscured by junk was a scoped HK-91, lonely and exiled from the “real” guns in the other room. It was the poster child the kind of rifle Cooper hated. So why did he have that HK? Why indeed……………

  3. I tinkered with the scout concept a bit. Mounted a 2x scope on my K-31 in one of the S&K mounts that replace the read sight. It worked fine but I found the rifle shot better than I could see with that arrangement so I moved to a clamp-on mount and conventional scope and stayed there.

    Also had a machinist buddy make a similar rear sight replacement mount for my M-95 Steyr straight pull and found a new home for that 2X scope. I really like that set up and have used it for better than 10 years. That might say more about the horrible iron sights on the rifle than the scout stuff.

    I always enjoyed reading Cooper’s stuff but found his manner tedious. Any time I encounter the all-knowing type who’s opinion hasn’t been changed by 20+ years of progress, I think of him.

  4. I had the chance to shoot a friend’s Steyr scout when they first came out, it was light and handy and I thought the forward mounted scope had some real advantages for snap shots.
    He had loaded up some stout handloads using 180 grain bullets, so it was not a pleasant rifle to shoot.
    My primary deer rifle at the time was a pre ’64 model 70 featherweight in .270, light, handy, more accurate and a LOT more pleasant to shoot.
    The price was about the same at the time…

  5. For a military standpoint the scout rifle makes no sense . The only defense for the concept is the shooting Chief AJ did with scout rifles.

  6. The allure of the scout rifle is that it’s different, and that’s what some people want so they can feel special. I’ve fallen victim to that kind of wishful thinking more than once, but I’ve learned that I’m a special kind of stupid, so try to temper myself when able. I do however love bolt action rifles, and disagree with the idea that they are obsolete, in a sense. You fight with the tools you have on hand, and let them dictate your tactics. For clearing rooms and modern 3/4/5 G warfare, no thank you; but if it’s all you had, a determined and smart person could wreak a lot of havoc with a well setup deer rifle, as long as he behaved appropriately – meaning behaving like a hunter, not a Ranger. In that instance, the scout rifle falls short as well, because it’s a precision weapon that’s been dressed up for CQB, so it’s doubly abominable. Give me any of the reliable, relatively modern, semi-auto military arms if whatever I’m shooting at can shoot back.

    • The scout rifle isn’t really good for anything but making a profit from Cooper devotees

      The difference is they can’t just admit they like it because the like it. Which is fine. Like the M14. If you like it because you think it’s cool, that’s fine. When people start trying to justify either and making a case for how its still useful is when I lose all my give a shit about what they ever have to say again

    • I think that’s the main problem with the scout concept:
      If you want something that shoots quickly at close range, get a shotgun.
      If you want fire superiority, get a semiautomatic (or full auto if you can swing it).
      If you want precision, get a bolt gun with a properly-mounted scope.

      If you want a compromise between all three of these positions, then I guess the scout concept is a good one. It just seems like a weird approach to a “general-purpose” rifle, in particular trying to marry the “snap shot” concept with either of the second two concepts.

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