Ruger Gunsite Scout QUICK REVIEW
If you have been around shooting in the last few years you are no doubt familiar with Ruger's Gunsite Scout Rifle. If you are not familiar with the 'Scout Style', navigate to the following link and have a read; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scout_rifle
'The scout rifle is a class of general-purpose rifles defined and promoted by jeff Cooper in the early 1980s' - Wikipedia
Most people however will identify the scout style by the forward mounted scope setup. Scopes used for this setup are required to have longer eye relief (for obvious reasons). Many manufactures are starting to release extended eye-relief scopes for this purpose. Scout rifle shooters in the past have also been known to use pistol scopes for this purpose. We won't go into to much detail on the 'philosophy of use' for a Scout rifle and the pro's and cons' versus a standard rifle. The characteristics are obvious and you should be able to determine if the scout style is for you or not.
Once you are familiar with the scout style of rifle, read on to our quick review of Ruger's offering in this class of rifle.
You may initially notice our model of Ruger Scout is a bit different to the current line-up of models offered by Ruger. Our Rifle is from the first models introduced by Ruger and varies only slightly with an 18 inch non-threaded barrel and no flash hider. Our rifle is chambered in 308 Winchester which was the only calibre option at the time. The current line-up of rifles come with threaded barrels and flash hiders as standard. We have also installed an XS Sight Systems Full Length Picatinny rail.
Our Ruger Scout (along with new line-up of Ruger Scouts) came with an Accuracy International compatible steel 10 round box magazine. We liked the included magazine, it was tough and durable. Just watch when shooting off the bonnet/roof of your vehicle as the steel magazine protrudes a fair way from the bottom of the rifle. The 10 round magazine also doubled as a handy mono-pod style rest. Other magazines are available including 5 round mags (pictured) and even plastic mags. Magazine release is also quick, easy and only requires one hand thanks to the small latch just below the trigger guard. Magazine lock up is tight with no rattling.
The rubber butt pad was excellent at taming some of the 308 recoil. Ruger also include plastic spacers which can be installed/removed to adjust the length of pull. This is a handy and an almost necessary feature when dealing with a rifle capable of different scope style setups. Below you can see one plastic spacer installed between the rubber butt pad and the stock. Installation/removal is again easy by simply unscrewing two bolts. The laminate stock also had a nice grey/pepper colour with aggressive checkering around the hand grip and fore end to give you a confident grip on the rifle.
The scout came standard with an adjustable rear ghost ring sight and fixed front blade sight with blades to prevent glare and protect the sight post. The sights are durable however not exactly suited for long range accuracy. We imagine most shooters would be mounting some sort of optic on this rifle. It is reassuring to know the open sights are there as a back-up, especially if you damaged your optics out in the field or on hunting trip. This is another nod to the scouts feature of being an all-round rifle.
We have installed an XS Sight Systems full-length picatinny rail to our Scout Rifle. This rail also incorporates a ghost ring sight as the factory rear sight must be removed. The obvious benefit to this rail is it gives the user more mounting options when it comes to scopes and accessories. Ruger also includes two sets of rings with the Ruger Scout rifle (30mm and 25mm). The rifle comes standard with a shorter factory rail that sits in front of the action.
The 18 inch cold hammer forged barrel including the receiver came in stainless steel with a matte silver finish. The finish has been very durable and doesn't seem to be as prone to wear and rubbing marks as other blued rifles. The short barrel certainly makes the rifle more maneuverable especially when shooting from a vehicle. The draw back is an obvious increase in noise when firing.
Shooting the Scout
Lets talk accuracy first. The Ruger Scout is an accurate rifle, you just have to find that factory or reloaded ammo that it likes best. We achieved our best grouping (.75inches at 100m) using 'Praetorian Tactical' ammo which was sold by a few retailers around Australia. We haven't seen it stocked for some time however. The projectile used was a 165gr Sierra Game King SPBT so reloaders might like to start there. We tested numerous other factory ammo around 155gr to 175gr and found the average grouping to range from 1 inch to 1.5 inches at 100m. We think this accuracy is more than acceptable for the rifles intended purpose.
We have found over the years the main complaint about the Ruger Scout is the rough action which is justified. The Ruger Scout does have a rough bolt travel but we think it adds to the rifles whole 'ruggedness' look and appeal. The rough action did not bother us or affect our shooting in any way. Ruger has this to say about their action;
'Non-rotating, Mauser-type controlled round feed extractor is the most positive case extraction system ever invented, and features a fixed blade-type ejector that positively ejects the empty cases as the bolt is moved fully rearward.' - Ruger.com
The factory trigger broke at about 5 pounds with minimal creep. We have since installed a lighter trigger spring and brought that down to 3 pounds which we feel made a good trigger great. Of note the trigger guard is made of plastic however it appears to be quite tough and durable. The long steel magazine is also going to offer some protection from bumps and knocks to the guard.
As we would expect from all modern rifles, there were no jams, mis-feeds, fails to extract or eject of any kind. This was with all ammo, FMJ, soft point, hollow point, etc. Make no mistake this is a fun rifle to shoot hard and fast, you will only be limited by how much recoil your shoulder can take and how big your wallet is. Shooting the rifle from the bench was not overly enjoyable, mainly due to recoil. Shooting in the field of course was much more comfortable. The current Scouts made by Ruger all come with a threaded barrel so the option for a brake is there. This would be an excellent rifle to shoot suppressed however if you live in our lucky country this is most likely not an option for you.
The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle lives up to the hype and promises of being a versatile all-round rifle. This is further justified by the 308 Winchester chambering, there aren't many four legged creatures on our planet that can't be taken with this fantastic and versatile round. The features included not only stay true to Jeff Cooper's 'Scout Rifle' definition, they are well thought out and useful. From the varied optic mounting choices to the stock adjustability, this is a rifle sure to fit almost all shooters and we feel there is a spot in every ones safe for a scout rifle. Other manufactures are slowly releasing scout style rifles including Mossberg and Savage. Styer have also had a scout style rifle in their line-up for quite a number of years (at over twice the price of a new Ruger Scout).
Don't be put off thinking the scout style rifle is not for you. The extra features are useful and the rifle can still be changed to mount standard eye relief optics. We enjoyed our time shooting the Ruger Scout and it now sits in the safe of one of the Buy Used Guns Team!
- Ruger tough! Well made, reliable and accurate
- Versatile - as close to a do-it-all rifle as you are going to get
- Nice trigger and useable features
- Now comes in more configurations including a 223 calibre, different stocks, finishes and barrel lengths
- Rough action
- Versatility can also be limiting - if you want a rifle purely as a long-range setup, the Ruger Scout is not for you
You can check out Ruger's current line-up of Scout Rifles at http://ruger.com/