Scout Rifle = Perfect Rifle?

It’s been almost 50 years since Col. Jeff Cooper conceptualized the scout rifle. It’s survived through a cult-like following of Cooper devotees or seriously practical, one-gun riflemen. Until now.

Those who distrust or do not like the scout rifle are mostly those who have never taken the time to get to know one. Guns can sometimes be like people; they are not fully appreciated until you spend some quality time with them.

Regardless, it’s undeniable that a scout rifle is a suitable and serviceable general-purpose utility rifle. It’s also undeniable that its popularity is on the rise. Why this retro-like interest in a rifle configuration of dubious merit?

I think it’s two-fold. To some extent I believe the preppers, with their bug-out, survival rifle mentality are drawn to the scout rifle because of what it has to offer. I also believe that Ruger’s Gunsite Scout Rifle opened the eyes of many shooters as to how practical a scout rifle can be.

For 2015 we have, depending on how you count them, five new scout rifles too choose from. Here is a brief look at each. The good news is there is now a scout rifle to fit either a beer or a champagne budget.

Mossberg MVP Scout

Mossberg’s MVP Scout Rifle is based on their MVP action, which is unique in that it feeds from AR 10 magazines. It comes with a full-length rail that will permit the mounting of either a long eye relief “scout” scope or a standard riflescope, and an aperture rear and fiber optic front sight are standard. Short sections of Picatinny rail are attached to the forend to allow for the mounting of what Cooper called a “leopard light.” Suggested retail is $ 777, but street prices should be at least $100 less.

Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle (Synthetic)

The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle (GSR) has exceeded all sales expectations. Ruger has struggled to keep up with demand. For 2015 Ruger has enhanced the GSR lineup with a synthetic stock version. The new composite stock reduces rifle weight by 0.75 pounds to 6.25 pounds. This brings the total, field-ready weight well within the limits established by COL Cooper. The suggested price is $ 1075.

Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle (.223 Rem.)

Because not everyone needs a .308 Win. and because the .223 Rem./5.56 NATO has become the most prolific centerfire rifle cartridge of all time, Ruger has introduced a version of the GSR for it. The .223 Rem. version of the GSR is available in either stainless or alloy steel and weighs a few ounces less then the .308 Win. GSR. It, like the larger caliber version, is also available in left-hand actions. Prices range from $ 1075 to $1139, depending upon finish.

Savage Scout Rifle

The new Savage Scout Rifle features a one-piece rail for long eye relief optics, the user-adjustable AccuTrigger and the AccuStock bedding system. A unique adjustable cheek piece is built into the tough synthetic stock to allow for a perfect fit. The threaded muzzle brake can be removed and replaced with a suppressor. It’s available in .308 Win. and rear aperture sight and blade front sight are standard. Suggested price: $ 794.

Steyr Scout Rifle (Rebooted)

Gunsite Academy founder, COL Jeff Cooper, once compared the Steyr Scout Rifle to a Porsche, saying not everyone can always afford the finer things. Steyr USA is working to change that perception. For 2015 the price of the Steyr Scout has been reduced by 15 percent, from $ 2099 to $ 1799. And, it will be available with either a mud (tan), green, or black stock. The grey stock will be available by special order.

Should you give a scout rifle a try? It’s kind of like a toasted peanut butter and bacon sandwich. It sounds unappealingly tempting but you just have no idea how exceptional it is until you try it—crunchiness, crust, grease and all.

To reap the full benefit of a scout rifle, you need a scout scope. Read about the best of what is currently available, as well as see more from Richard Mann.

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