Before SHOT Show, I finally got the chance to take my Ruger Scout Rifle to the range and do some shooting. Not much, but enough to get a feel for the gun. The rifle is currently set up with the bipod and a Trijicon RMR as the optic. With the RMR, hits on a man-sized target out to 100 yards are easy, although I will need to get the rifle out and sight it in a bit better. I didn’t feel like doing a proper sighting session in four inches of snow.
What I like
Felt recoil was minimal. The gun has a huge recoil pad which does a great job of soaking up .308 recoil, and it’s also kind of heavy – over 8 pounds when loaded. It’s not like shooting a 5 pound super lightweight .308 that beats you up, the gun is built in typical Ruger fashion to be tough.
I like the trigger as well. I am not a “rifle person” so I don’t complain about this or that feature when it comes to rifle triggers, I just want it to be light enough that I’m not going to struggle when I pull it. I don’t with the Ruger Scout Rifle, and the trigger breaks clean enough that I have no one to blame for misses other than me.
What I don’t like
Did I mention that it’s heavy? While I enjoy the pleasant recoil from shooting an 8 pound .308, I don’t think I’d want to carry this thing around for 8 or 9 hours without a really good sling. The magazines are marginally annoying to load, and I do wish every time I pick it up that they’d used FAL mags instead of AI mags.
One operational note that’s not a pro or a con – you cannot baby the bolt on this rifle and expect it to extract. It’s not a $2,000 sniper rifle where you can gently tease the bolt back and cartridges will flop demurely into your hand like Marilyn Monroe on a plush sofa. You have to pull that bolt back with authority and let it know who’s boss. Then it will send spent brass spinning merrily across the snow, to bury itself in white powder like Scarface’s nose.
I still don’t know what this gun is for, but I don’t care. It’s too heavy for an all day hunt, and for a DMR/home defense rifle I’d probably rather have Ruger’s new SR-762. But I like it, rather a lot. There is something satisfying about a bolt gun in the same way that driving a car with a manual transmission is satisfying. It feels right to press a clutch and change gears, and in the same way it feels good to operate the bolt vigorously while shooting. When you drive a sporty car with a manual, you can’t but help feel a little bit like a racecar driver. When you shoot a bolt gun rapidly, you feel like the ghost of Jeff Cooper is watching over you and smiling.
I’d love to see a head to head comparison between this and the Mossberg MVP in .308 (bit then I’m great at spending other people’s money).
I like the comparison between bolt guns and manual transmissions. Sure an auto does almost everything a bolt gun can, and usually faster and with less recoil. There’s something about manual and bolt guns that is just fun to do.
Huh, and to think I used an FNAR heavy for the past three hunting seasons. Good thing it’s not one of those heavy Scout rifles!
P.S. The FNAR is a heavy SOB that I carry because I’m too cheap to own two .308 rifles…
You complain it’s too heavy but yet you throw a pound or so of bipod on it? If you’re that concerned about weight get the 5 round polymer mags and ditch the bipod for a ching or loop sling and learn to loop up when you’re prone.
It came with the bipod on it, and the bipod is an important part of the scout rifle concept.
I guess that depends on whose version of the concept you’re referring to. Though they integrated bipods into the Steyr version of the scout, I don’t recall any of Col. Cooper’s writings mentioning their use. I am under the impression that a scout was to be a light, short, and generally ‘handy’ rifle that was easy to maneuver in the field and shoot in any position. quickly. An external bipod is a hindrance in any position but prone or off a bench, and in the case of prone, the proper use of a looped sling can nearly duplicate the results of a bipod. If you like your bipod by all means use the heck out of it, but as for my bipod it will stay on the Rem. 700VS where it belongs.
Col Cooper did not go the route of the bipod; it is contrary to the purpose of the rifle and only adds excess weight. The Ruger, without optics, weighs in at 7 lbs +. Cooper did not mandate that optical sights were mandatory, of course, so the Ruger, sans optics, is close to the spec. Weight is not a minor issue; ask any professional cyclist, hiker, or mountain climber how much a few ounces is worth in the big picture. The .308 portends reduced total ammo in carry or cutting weight somewhere else. It has been many a year since my time in the military, but with an infantryman carrying 70 lbs on average one must either continue to count on 19-years-old males who can hump the pre-light weight version of a mortar base plate or the receiver of a .50 caliber machine gun, and consider 70 lbs the norm. In my day any man who could hump the 50 BMG receiver for a forced march was likely to get another stripe and the respect of his peers. The other day I picked up a 50-lb bag of rice and was reminded of what the true value total weight really is. Any benefit of recoil reduction gained by a heavier rifle will cost dearly on total gear weight.
This rifle can serve well as a ranch or truck gun, a hunting rifle or for defending home and hearth. As a law enforcement rifle it might serve as anything from a patrol rifle to a sniper rifle, when equipped with the right optics. I don’t see the military dropping automatic rifles in favor of a bolt-action infantry carbine, but I also don’t see the armed citizen as needing a .308 semi-auto battle rifle (Don’t send hate mail, I said needing, not wanting. It is also great for those who don’t live in “Free America,” like poor editor Sammy stuck in Kalifornia.) Absent the exceedingly unlikely event of, as my friend Michael Bane puts it, the zombie apocalypse, there is nothing you can do with a semi-auto .308 you can’t do with a bolt-action Scout. You’ll save money buying a Scout and can invest the savings in a plentiful supply of ammunition. Try it, I bet you’ll like it.
Has this just not reinvented the SMLE?
Comments are closed.