View Full Version : Jeff Cooper's Scout rifle

December 21, 2010, 10:38 PM
I remember back in the 80s reading in the gun rags about Jeff Cooper and his seemingly perennial hunt for the Scout rifle.

Did he ever get there? Did anyone actually start to manufacture a Scout rifle - to his specs?

What were the key features he finally settled on?

December 21, 2010, 11:24 PM
Steyr scout?

December 21, 2010, 11:55 PM
Following the failure of the Bren-Ten Cooper was desperate to create another Franchise
Hence the Scout Rifle and the MBR both of which followed the failure of the "Anti Priacy Rifle/Carbine" these attempts were back in the 1960-70's before the currant AR rage.
Cooper was a 1940-50's kinda guy, his go foward thinking was still at a WW2 level in the 1970's.
In the early 1970's he was just behind the curve, but by the 1980's he was in the dirt.
Cooper's mistake was to try to force the world's dynamics into a mold that was 20-30 years out of date.
Cooper never acknoladged modern production methods that made new weapon platforms possible. To Cooper the 1911 Pistol and the M1 Rifle were ultimate expression of weapon-tech. The clock stopped for him at 1941. I could almost agree with that vision except I was in Nam and saw what a few cheap Commie SAWS could do to a platoon.
In retrospect Cooper was a guy that rode coat tails. a good shot yes, a foward thinker that concidered ComBlock weapons before he laid down his words; no

December 22, 2010, 12:08 AM
Uhh, the whole point behind the Scout was to make use of "modern production methods" and technologies, to reduce weight and make a general purpose weapon.

The real problem is that Eugene Stoner got there first with a caliber the Colonel didn't like.

December 22, 2010, 12:13 AM
In retrospect Cooper was a guy that rode coat tails.


December 22, 2010, 12:18 AM
Never mistake the basic human condition for anyting more than it is; a rampant desire to gain power and gain sexual favors.

December 22, 2010, 12:23 AM
Before Cooper, folks shot pistols one handed, there were no "4 Rules" and situational awareness was "keep your eyes open" .......

..... those who say Cooper never did anything original have not read Cooper.

...... "There is little functional difference between those who can not read and those who do not."

December 22, 2010, 12:46 AM
When the 'Actuals' are Speaking
they say" Some folks were there"
Cooper never broke any boundries
His Foo was copied after the Shanghi Police who were copied by the SAS and the OSS, latter adopted by the French.
Lots of Folks were grabbing the Lime Light after the '2' especialy in DC. Many of the best op types, passed on in Greece. Leaving a huge hole in the LORE that was conviently filled by the PPL that never left the South of France. Cooper was none of either. Cooper could train you to a 1970's level,. in the 1980's but that was it.

December 22, 2010, 01:58 AM

Thank you for your insight. Unfortunately nothing has really changed in the world of guns since 1941 but marketing. Sure there is more use of plastic which started in the 60's, but nothing is fundamentally different. Humans sure aren't fundamentally different.

While that training is "antiquated" by some standard you hold, it still produced men like Carlos Hathcock, Rex Applegate, and Bull Simmons.

And until you master the basics, there is no point in trying to become an "Elite Team Fighter".

The scout rifle was meant to be a rifleman's rifle. Easy to pack and carry for long distances, capable of precision shots and still able to have a 300 meter "battlesight zero". Reasonable weight, reasonable rate of fire, reasonable "stopping power". That both Steyr and Savage have specifically put out "Scout Rifle" packages is testimony to the soundness of the concept. I've built two "psuedo-scouts" on Mauser actions myself, and they sure are handy (psuedo because I left them in 8x57).

Cooper may not be the cutting edge of tactics, but you can't get to the cutting edge of tactics without mastering the groundwork that Cooper and others established.


December 22, 2010, 02:29 AM
While I have not always agreed with Cooper on many points, he learned what he knew in the USMC, and took it to the world. Once he quit learning and started trying to teach the world, he was no longer cutting edge. However, he was well-versed in combat arts and believed what he believed, irrespective of facts. Like a lot of us! He was not perfect, but he did know how to shoot, and he taught a lot of softbodies how to shoot and gave them a little bit of warrior education. Yes, it was dated info, but compared to what many of his students knew before they went to Gunsight it was pure magic.

And yes, there were several versions of a Scout Rifle manufactured.

December 22, 2010, 03:20 AM
Back on track and not on Cooper.

Yeah, Steyr made a scout, very modernistic looking. Pricey and I think now defunct. Savage still makes a scout as well that is more conventional in appearance, but a bit heavy by Cooper standards.

Lots of shooters have made home brewed versions, and custom numbers are available.

There are length and weight numbers, but I don't have them at my fingertips.

Additional features were a 3pt or Ching sling, bipod (integral on the Steyr and some custom stocks) on board spare ammo, and the forward mounted "scout scope". And a serious caliber, .308 preferred, 7-08 likely made grade also.
Oh yeah, backup-spare ghost ring/ post sights.

The scout rifle was to be a GP number. Portable, suitably powerful with enough accuracy to go to 300 yds or so on game. I suppose it could be a combat rifle, designated marksman rifle, hunting rifle etc, but it was not to be purely one of those things. It certainly was not intended to go heads on with AK's, RPD's and Charlie.

Whether the scout does all those other things is open to discussion.
I've got a Savage scout that I like just fine.

December 22, 2010, 03:39 AM
I'm neither a Cooper hater nor do I think he walked on water -- he made real contributions to the art and science of gunfighting, but kenno is right insofar as Cooper's thinking and teaching stagnated at some point.

As far as the Scout Rifle is concerned, though, Cooper was just out of his mind and really was stuck in a timewarp. He talked about the idea in terms of something a military scout could employ, and it was real cutting edge stuff . . . for 1935 (as for originality, though, I don't know -- the format was pretty much what the Wehrmacht wanted for all its K98k's before WW2 broke out, so it wasn't exactly groundbreaking). People have subsequently tried real hard to make sense of the idea for a sporting rifle, but it has never really panned out, and Steyr's run of scout rifles didn't find much of a market.

December 22, 2010, 04:10 AM
I think the concept made more sense back when stocks were wood and every gas system was a piston; what military rifle from that period didn't weigh a long ton?

Danny Creasy
December 22, 2010, 06:24 AM
Zeroed for the same ammo as my 1911 and has no trouble knocking a Maxwell House coffee can around at 125 yards (just use the taper at the top of the bottom crosshair as a post):


Really just kiddin folks - I know this is not what the Col. had in mind. But, I can never pass up a chance to show my "funny gun" off.

December 22, 2010, 07:05 AM
I am by no means a follower of Cooper, though I hate to admit being somewhat of a secret admirer of Elmer Keith. Every word that man wrote, when I read them, I hear my father's voice. Yet it seems that Cooper was also an admirer of Keith early on but the war gave him a new perspective. Mind you, I find some other early writers to be equally interesting.

The Scout Rifle, however, is something else. While I realize it may have been his ideal and he was delighted, I'm sure, to finally own one (they didn't make money for Cooper as far as I know), it doesn't fit any of my ideals for a rifle. First of all, it's too expensive. After that, nothing else matters. But why is it that people who dream up such things always first and formost, apparently, think of it as a hunting rifle? But Cooper did hunt, I understand.

I did at least have a chance to examine one. It was a work of art, as it should be at that price (But so are all Colts). It didn't seem to me to have any of the qualities of a modern military arm, though Cooper was excited when he found a photo of a man armed with one in the civil war in Yugoslavia. But you say his thinking was 1940? Well, he suggested having a magazine cut-off, which makes his thinking more like 1898.

Let me digress here for a minute and talk about the scope.

The Germans apparently came up with the idea of a forward mounted, low power telescopic sight. It was used on rifles that their infantry squad designated marksman (our term; don't know what they called them) by the time the MP-44 had arrived on the scene. It wasn't intended as a sniper's weapon. That called for a more traditional setup with a more powerful scope. It is interesting that no one else ever tried that arrangement until telescopic sights became more common, which is a recent thing, and even so they are not forward mounted. In the 1950s these low-power scopes somehow showed up in magazine advertisements. I don't know if many used them on rifles, no doubt some did, but some handgunners with a progressive and experimental nature started using them on their revolvers. I expect Cooper was aware of all this and merely put one and one together.

Overall, I'd have to say it wasn't a bad idea and if you look around, everything has a scope anymore. I wonder what Cooper thought about the current trend in the army to use scopes on lowly infantry rifles, if he was ever aware of it. No doubt Keith would have wanted one himself on his .30-06 (his idea of a little rifle) but for anyone else, he would have insisted on your being able to make hits at 500 yards (not meters) with iron sights before you were allowed to use a scope. If nothing else, he had high standards.

I cannot fault any of his ideas about handguns and I think a Colt .45 automatic is perfectly wonderful, yet I don't have one. My .45 auto is half plastic, half metal and all Ruger. I mean to pick up another Colt if I can ever scrape up the money but it is scarce on the ground at the moment.

I see no point to anyone's color coded scales, especially the government's.

If I were to buy another rifle, it wouldn't be a Steyr Scout. But now that it's come up, I'll spend the next two weeks thinking about it, once I quit thinking about that Seecamp.

Art Eatman
December 22, 2010, 08:46 AM
There are walk-through courses of fire at Gunsite, using rifles on various targets over a few hundred yards of trail. One's score is a function of hits and time.

Those who are proficient in the use of Scout rifles score higher than those who use other sorts of rifles. Target acquisition time is faster.

I've always found that results count more than opinions...

December 22, 2010, 09:26 AM
Most of my opinions are based on my own experiences, though my experiences are necessarily limited. Most experiences are either out of my price range or my age group. All the same, I'll be spending the next two weeks thinking about it, like I said.

Black Frog
December 22, 2010, 09:38 AM
how about the Ruger Frontier?

Can be used with scout forward mount, or conventional scope mount over the receiver.


I have one in 358 and in 7mm-08. 16.5" barrel, carries like a bb gun. A handier more compact package, I doubt you'll find.

December 22, 2010, 10:06 AM
Scout scopes made sense when fast reloading meant stripper or on-bloc clip. Both don't work well with over-the-action scopes. I've seen arguments the scout scope gives you a full field of view without having to reposition to shoot, but unless your enemy pops up in that very narrow angle that your gun happens to be pointing at the time advantage seems minimal.

December 22, 2010, 10:18 AM
Whoa - didn't mean to stir up a pro-Cooper, anti-Copper debate.

Thanks for the thoughts on the rifle though.:rolleyes:

December 22, 2010, 10:35 AM
I'm neither pro- nor anti-. What would be the point? He's dead now anyway.

I had never heard of some of the things mentioned earlier, like an anti-piracy rifle, which would have been ahead of its time, I imagine, in a manner of speaking. Judging from his writings, he sounded a little hard in some of his views, yet it still sounded like he had a sense of humor. I rather liked some of the names he came up with for some of his rifles. Still, it was all just his own opinion, although many other embraced the idea.

While he mentioned both stripper clips and magazine cut-offs, the Scout Rifle as it appeared actually used a detachable magazine and it had, I'm pretty sure (this is all strictly from memory) it had a provision for an extra magazine in the buttstock. Likewise, I think it had a folding bipod, something I don't recall anyone making much of a deal about, not like the sling, anyway.

If he was of an earlier era, as some of us living today are, there were others in the past who would not have entirely agreed on everything about the scout rifle (that is, The Scout Rifle) as he envisioned it. For one thing, lightness is usually desirable but sometimes not. The irony here is that, while he may have thought of his creation as the ultimate, others might see it as a compromise. Naturally everything is to some extent and the difference is in what one finds important. One person's essential feature is another person's unnecessary extra and maybe even a headache. Whatever else you might have thought of it, it would have to be something to be proud to possess. Cooper was.

December 22, 2010, 10:49 AM
Ike666, you are right. You asked about the rifle and the discussion was about Cooper for the most part. I have been 'mod slapped' for lesser transgressions.
Actually, I have often wondered why most scopes require almost eyeball touching lens eye relief. An intermediate eye relief scope or a variable eye relief makes much more sense, IMHO. A heavy recoiling rifle can do damage to the eye or face.
I never heard of the Ruger Frontier. Will have to do some research on it if still made.

Black Frog
December 22, 2010, 10:58 AM
I never heard of the Ruger Frontier. Will have to do some research on it if still made.

They quit making it last year I believe. Some still floating around on GunBroker though....

The gun came with the forward rib mounted on the barrel, and also came with a weaver rail that mounts forward on the barrel too. And ruger includes rings with their rifles as well.

here's some info on the Frontier:


44 AMP
December 22, 2010, 12:48 PM
The concept was a good one, but the execution, by those few who have made them only used part of Cooper's ideas.

The Scout rifle was to be in a "serious" caliber, .308 Win intended as commonality with GI ammo, one meter long and 2kg in weight (or are close as could be achieved), the mag cutoff, onboard ammo, ching sling, integeral bipod, ghost ring sights and a forward mounted low power scope (if used) were part of it. Some makers adopted some features, others, used others, nobody put them all together, so far.

And for good reason, the Scout rifle was an excellent arm for a military scout, except for the fact that by the time Cooper was writing about the idea, nobody's military was using scouts in a way that Cooper's rifle would have been a significant benefit.

Makers of scout rifles are making sporting arms (because the military has no interest in buying them), and so, only those features that appeal most to the civilian buying public are used.

Cooper may not have been right on everything, but he wasn't wrong about everything, either. I always liked his writing, he pulled no punches about his opinions.

Most of the people who complain about how flawed Cooper's scout rifle concept is don't really understand the original intent. They focus on how it isn't suitable for military scouts (today), doesn't hold enough ammo, etc.

The Scout (in Cooper's ideal) didn't fight. A suitable combat rifle wasn't needed. If a scout gets in a firefight, he screwed up. Some kind of rifle was needed, because everybody screws up, and/or sometimes the other guys just get lucky. The scout rifle was meant to be able to dis-engage with, if necessary, not to fight it out.

No autoloader rifle (and remember the era when the concept was formed) could make size and weight (or even close) and fire a cartridge of the power level desired. And since firepower was not a concern, a bolt gun was the best option. The scout rifle was intended to be carried a lot, and used only a little. But since when it was used, it needed to be a good as it could be, the caliber and sights were important. Again, remember the era, and the basic concept, that a single well delivered shot (or two) was better than a fusilade of firepower, for a scout.

When you have a squad or a platoon for back-up, when your job is to hold ground, or take theirs, carrying a weapon with a large ammo capacity makes good sense. When your job is to sneak and see, its just extra dead weight. Drawing attention with suppressive firepower (particularly when you don't have the resources to keep it up) is a very BAD idea. Not having a rifle that will do that means you won't be tempted. Today, we think about "well, I need the firepower, in case I have to keep their heads down" alot more than they used to. In combat, we have learned the value of suppressive firepower, but the scout rifle wasn't intended for combat.

A superbly designed tool is a superbly designed tool. The fact that we choose not to have a use for it detracts nothing from the design.

A good sword is a good sword. The fact that nobody carries one today doesn't make it a bad sword, just a good tool that we no longer have a common use for.

December 22, 2010, 01:03 PM
^^ Very well written, 44 AMP.

December 22, 2010, 01:14 PM
Scout scopes made sense when fast reloading meant stripper or on-bloc clip. Both don't work well with over-the-action scopes.

Agreed and most people forget this. It's the sole reason the scope is mounted that far forward. The rifle was designed to fire "easily-obtained" military ammo and be recharged rapidly with a stripper clip. This was from the days of bolt-guns with blind box magazines.

How many rifles do you see today with stripper clip guides? Outside a C&R collection or a high power match (many Match Rifle class shooters still have Model 70s and 700s with milled in or bolt on clip guides) I haven't seen very many.

In fact, a lot of bolt guns now have detachable box magazines. Savage's Model 10 FCM scout did. Many Savage hunting rifles do. AICS systems are available.

I would argue that unless you're using a Model 1894 Winchester, a scout scope is an obsolete idea and people are purchasing them for looks, forgetting the original purpose.

December 22, 2010, 01:38 PM
I find that I am quicker on target with the scout set-up, and don't get "lost in the scope" ..... peripheral vision is maintained.

December 22, 2010, 01:47 PM
The scout is a No. 5 Jungle Carbine with a little less pork and a forward scope. But the Jungle Carbine was out dated for battlefield work a half century ago. My main issue is that some still think they can sell em for 1000's of dollars. The scout seem's like it's more suited for a policework than anything else. Not a low rate of fire, not a high rate either. Not for multiple targets but for a seelct few. Not sniper accurate but not a dog either with it optics. I can imagine the LAPD would of liked to of had a few in their trunks about the time the Hollywood shootout happened. Cooper either hit the mark too late for it might of been a great idea in WWII or he missed the mark entirely. All IMO of coarse.

December 29, 2010, 05:24 AM
I like the Scout rifle concept enough that in 2000 when a cheap 7.62mm NATO K98 action and barrel in good condition came my way I built one. It works for me and the process was a lot of fun. I'm not a soldier nor a weapon carrying policeman, and I built it secure in the knowledge that the money spent would not be an investment.
I still have it, it is one of my favourites and I hope to hunt with it one day. I read a lot of Cooper and thought some of his ideas made sense. I once wrote to him about a comment he made which seemed to me one sided and he sent me a very civil reply.
I did not understand his thinking as to why a single man in indian country would be best served by a low capacity bolt action if he was compromised. It seems to me that if one has to move fast and shoot their way out of trouble, one would be best served by some thing at least semi automatic, light weight with light weight ammunition, and possibly a grenade launcher as well. But as I say, not being a soldier I am happy to be corrected by anyone who is.
But with regard to this point, other posters here take the view that his thinking was relevant to pre WWII, which makes some sense.
Reading these forums, the forward mounted low powered scope seems to be becoming popular with those with surplus rifles who want to improve their rifles perfomance, but not change the rifles as issued spec. I have a 7.92mm K.98 with an excellent S&K mount and a cheap Nikko LER scope that works very well.
Cooper did write, sometimes quite condescendingly about the Scout rifle being the best thing since sliced bread, which it isn't, though he did say that specialist applications are best served by specialist rifles. For some applications the Scout rifle, I believe, is a good choice.

Art Eatman
December 29, 2010, 10:03 AM
Aside from weaponry, a scout's main deal is to see yet not be seen. A scout does sneaky-snaking, solo. Much like a still-hunting deer hunter. This isn't common in today's world of group-think. Scouting is not the same as patrolling.

So, if somehow discovered by mischance, a quick aimed shot or two and then practice being elsewhere at a high rate of speed. And, after all, SHTF and all that stuff is nothing but a variant on guerilla-style fighting.

I don't see Cooper's ideas as solely pre-WW II. They're going on right now, worldwide, albeit not with scout rifles.

December 29, 2010, 10:16 AM
Here is another factory scout http://savagearms.com/firearms/model/10FCM%20SCOUT

I understand the idea. If you read Coopers criteria he was very flexible in his concept. Most folks think it must have a forward scope mount. Cooper was actually of the opinion that optics were optional and an iron sighted rifle was just fine. He has stated that a standard levergun in 30-30 was pretty close to his concept.

For me personally I find that a low powered scope mounted conventionally is just as fast as the scout scope. I shoot all scopes with both eyes open anyway. A conventionally mounted scope in QD mounts with back up irons would work just fine in my opinion.

December 29, 2010, 10:37 AM
As a philosopher and patriot, I revere Jeff Cooper. However I agree totally with Kenno's first post.

December 29, 2010, 10:56 AM
I always thought this was a sound concept, and if the price/availablilty of the Steyr Scout were more in my range I would have one. I held one at a gun show many years ago and it seemed like a compact and light weight package that could deliver .308 quickly out to respectable ranges and still be 'handy'. I think the 'quickly' part was the most important part to Cooper.

December 29, 2010, 12:17 PM
I had a nice shooting M48 in 8mm and I wanted to build an inexpensive hunting rifle so I built a nice scout clone using the M48 mauser, Byods (one of their "specials") stock and Burris scout scope mounted where the rear sight was.

It doesn't meet Cooper's criteria and I don't prefer the scout over a normal bolt gun, but it does make a nice foul weather or loaner gun.

It works and was also alot cheaper than drilling and tapping the receiver for a regular scope mount.

Sharpsdressed Man
December 29, 2010, 12:23 PM
The scout rifle was a concept, defined by parameters set up by Cooper after studying what a man afield might want or need in a light, handy, powerful rifle that would be sturdy and accurate enough for defense or general hunting. As stated, it wasn't to be a full blown battle rifle, capable of stopping the Chinese, etc. He set the length at one meter, and the weight at 3 kilos. I have watched the progress of such, and I have seen few, if ANY rifles that meet the criteria set down. Steyr doesn't make the weight with a scope. To meet the specs, the rifle has to INCLUDE the optics, sling, etc, and make the 6.6 lbs. There have been some featherweight hunting rifles that MIGHT carry a scout scope and be under 3 kilos, but I have not held one. As far as I am concerned, the makers still need to push the envelope, and give us a titanium rifle with all the goods, and make weight. Sure, a .308 at 3K is going to kick, but the joy of packing such a rifle would more than make up for the few shots in the field and temporary shoulder bruising.

December 29, 2010, 02:46 PM

Come on over to the Scout Forum! http://www.scoutrifle.org !


December 29, 2010, 03:29 PM
A Scout rifle is one of my long-term projects. It started years ago when I was able to do a lot more shooting than I can now.

The rifle: Remington Model 7, 20", stainless/synthetic.
IER Leupold on a Burris Scout mount.
Ching sling setup.
Butt cuff for ammo.

Doesn't make weight, but when I eventually get the Kevlar stock, it will.
No magazine cut-off, but no production rifle offers that anyway.
No backup irons yet.
No bipod, and no plans for one.

I've been using this rifle on and off for several years, and I have to say that I'm sold on the concept. Don't agree with everything Cooper had to say, but I have a hard time finding fault with this.

December 29, 2010, 03:47 PM
Levers like the Savages and Sako came close, .243 would fit the bill for me. Light recoil equates light rifle being easy to shoot, inherent accuracy and flat ballistics equate to foolproof holdovers at farther distances.

A flat shooting Sako lever makes a great time/distance course choice as well, light with fast target acquisition.

December 29, 2010, 05:57 PM
I can tell you from firsthand experience that the all of the so-called advantages of the scout rifle are lost on a lefty. Once you have to reach across the receiver to operate the action or load the magazine it doesn't matter where the scope is located or if it has iron sights.

I bought a Savage, but sold it in favor of a Tikka T3 in a LH action. I liked the iron sights, but hated everything else about the Savage. It was very accurate but the ergonomics were terrible for me.

A question to one of the posters above: Why make a Scout rifle in a non-military caliber? Part of the concept was to capitalize on readily available ammo...there's no 7mm/08 on the urban battlefield!

December 29, 2010, 06:42 PM
Well, first of all, the Scout concept was designed to be a General Purpose rifle, and only coincidentally a military tool. Cooper's standard Scouts were all in .308, that's true, but he had a few "Super Scouts" that were in .350 Rem Mag... And he didn't even like belted cases.

Maybe more to the point, if I'm ever involved in an "urban battlefield" environment, I'll have something instead of (or in addition to) the Scout.

I built this with an ultimate intended purpose of being a mountain sheep rifle, should I ever get the opportunity, and a 7mm cartridge seemed like just the ticket.

Also, in "To Ride, Shoot Straight, And Speak The Truth", the Colonel devotes a long chapter to the Scout Rifle, and specifically mentions the 7mm-08 as a perfectly suitable cartridge for the weapon. I'll try to quote him from memory.."and the 7mm-08 has even better ballistics, if that matters..."

In addition, I was working a trade for the rifle, base and rings, and scope with a dealer who unfortunately had no .308s in stock. Had Cooper not spoken of the cartridge, I probably would have waited, but I'm frankly not disappointed that it worked out the way it did. I like it a lot.

December 29, 2010, 07:37 PM
Just today I got an e-mail from Ruger. They are making a new Scout rifle.
Laminated stock, muzzle break, iron sights and a base for a forward mounted scope. It takes five and 10 round box magazines. I don't like the quoted price but do like the way the rifle looks.

I figured on buying a Frontier to use as a scout, but didn't get to it before they were discontinued. (A bad case of .41 Magnum fever helped with that.)

December 29, 2010, 08:02 PM
Got the same Ruger e-mail as ACP230. Rifle looked kinda like a bolt action Mini-14 to me. But it is a .308. Looks like it would be a good truck gun.

December 30, 2010, 12:13 AM
I do not think Mr Cooper was at all addressing a rifle for the modern uniformed military.And,a bolt rifle is not so stone age yesterday for the military scout/sniper.
Perhaps he had a vision of difficult times to come.
Its a versatile general purpose rifle for a person who has to go a long time with nothing but what he/she can carry.Enough power for a bear or moose,or foe.300 yds is a practical capability.
If all you have is 43 rds,a stripper clip might be handy,but steel 20 rounders?
Actually,Rugers new pkg,the box might sell,but its weight and a clunky projection.
I have used 2.5x scout scopes.They are fast!Two eyes open,heads up,shotgun fast.
They allow the strong,safe,foolproof military bolt safety that allows easy bolt disassemby.And,it is very handy to not have a scope at the balance point of a rifle.The hand wraps around the rifle much better.
I'm thinking I'd match a 50 year old Jeff Cooper with a scout and a 1911,a Fairbairn and a canteen,maybe some 6x32 binoculars against 99% of the folks on this forum .
Experience counts.He had a high Darwin factor

Art Eatman
December 30, 2010, 01:17 AM
My very conventional 700 Ti in 7mm08, with a Leupold 3x9, ammo and sling, weighs 6.5 pounds.

A long-eye-relief scope would reduce the weight a tad. The barrel could be cut back to make the one-meter length. The stock could be shortened a bit without hurting the "average fella's" length of pull.

The only thing I see that's different about the scout concept, really, is the forward mount on the scope. My L579 Sako carbine meets the weight (7 pounds) and length, for all that I have a 2x7 scope conventionally mounted.

But to repeat: In shoot and scoot competitions at Gunsite, Scout users invariably beat out folks with conventional systems.

December 30, 2010, 01:45 AM
I did not understand his thinking as to why a single man in indian country would be best served by a low capacity bolt action if he was compromised. It seems to me that if one has to move fast and shoot their way out of trouble, one would be best served by some thing at least semi automatic, light weight with light weight ammunition, and possibly a grenade launcher as well.

For actual scouting done with WW2 era technology, an individual or small group (solo scouting isn't done in the military as a pretty constant rule) would have been better served by M1 carbines fitted with x2.5 power LER scopes.

It's possibly worth noting that when they put three man Jedburgh teams into France pre-D Day (about as all alone out there in the wind as people got) they were armed with 1911s and M1 carbines for self defense and shooting and scooting. Admittedly the scout rifle wasn't an option, but built to Cooper's exact specs it still would not have been considered desirable for the role he envisioned for it by the military.

December 30, 2010, 02:12 AM
We're putting optics on everything these days, to include handguns. And low magnification, long eye relief dot scopes are now the rage and accepted as a desirable accessory on a combat rifle. When Cooper came up w/ his "scout scope" concept, there were no compact, reliable dot scopes. An intermediate, low mag conventional scope was the only option. Again now we scope everything. Thirty plus years ago, Cooper was leaning that way.

I don't think the system was to be used in excessively long range shots. The scout scope is an improvement over a peep/ghost ring. It draws a bit of light, eliminates the "focus on the front sight' mantra necessary to run a peep well, and aids slightly in target/aiming point ID. It gives up nothing in speed.

It is not the equal of a 3-9x, or even a fixed 4 for precision work. It certainly is not a varminter/sniper. But it is way ahead of an aperture/peep and I believe that is all Cooper was trying to improve on.

Cooper insisted you had to shoot one to fully realize its perks. There is a bit to that. They are fast. The reticle appears in your field of view, you paste it on target and press. It is precise enough, but not so engrossing that you get hung up with attempting to split hairs w/ your shot. Put it where you need it and shoot.

I've got a German #1 in mine, and it is a big crude reticle, especially to all of us accustomed to duplexes/crosshairs. But that tapered post acts like a giant front sight. There is no missing it, even under VERY bad light. And yet, at 100, you can perch a clay pigeon on top of it and break them routinely. At least I used to could. You won't win a benchrest/smallest group competition w/ it, but that is not what its for.

December 30, 2010, 04:39 AM
Why make a Scout rifle in a non-military caliber? Part of the concept was to capitalize on readily available ammo...there's no 7mm/08 on the urban battlefield!

In some countries it is illegal to own ammunition in "military" chamberings. So no 308 or 223, but 7mm-08 and 222 is OK.

December 30, 2010, 12:56 PM
Cooper himself stated that no rifle currently in production had every single feature that the Scout Commission deemed desirable. He had several based on Remington actions (no controlled feed), at least one based on the Ruger Ultralight, and a few whose origin I don't know.
Some of the specs were admittedly sort of random, but they served as guidelines and goals for the most part, rather than hard-and-fast rules.

One absolute in the thinking was the ability to fire a full power rifle cartridge. This, combined with the state of the art in the 1980s, pretty much eliminated semi-auto actions based solely on weight. He wasn't opposed to semis, but they couldn't make the 3 KG. To quote Cooper,

"If a semi-automatic action were made which was sufficiently compact and otherwise acceptable,it should certainly be considered, but at this time there is no such action available. The whole concept of great rapidity of fire has been weighed and found, not exactly wanting, but somewhat inconsequential... The primary purpose of a rifle is a first shot hit,...[and] (s)emi-automatic fire does not assure this."

I won't quote the whole page, nor the part of the next chapter where he reinforces (or at least explains) some of his conclusions, but to me, they are mostly sound.

For those who dismiss the Scout concept, I would encourage you to actually pick up a copy of his book and read it. Try to avoid your preconceived notions and keep an open mind, it might be enlightening, and it's definitely though-provoking.

I've read a lot of things where people said, "Well, Cooper said this, and it's BS."
As often as not, he didn't actually say those things, but somebody read somebody else's take on what he said, and drew the wrong conclusions.

Shawn Thompson
December 31, 2010, 10:13 AM
When Jeff Cooper first began he was taking what was out there and what guys were already doing, evaluating it and using what he felt worked best in his opinion. Was it his own in most cases? No. But he molded and messaged it into a system that he could teach.

His defining fault was departing from the pragmatic approach to firearms training that launched him into the mainstream and became so dogmatic that he could never evolve. So, was he stuck in the past, refusing to accept change? Absolutely.

Whether or not Cooper deserves the credit for concepts that may not have been his own, or the criticism for being stuck in the past and refusing to adapt to an evolving industry, he does deserve credit for one thing. He built the concept of the modern firearms academy that still effects the way we teach, learn and train to this day.

Shawn Thompson
December 31, 2010, 10:23 AM
As a side note: I use forward mounted Aimpoints on my AR's. That configuration works brilliantly for me. Stole the idea from a dear friend who I am positive stole it from somebody else - didn't really much care who should get the credit for the idea, just that it was effective.

January 1, 2011, 12:23 PM
As to one person's comment about the Scout Rifle (that is, THE Scout Rifle), I see it as conventional anyway. It is merely a combination of features that makes it and there is nothing new about any of the individual features. True, the specs are somewhat arbitrary but I take them to be either starting points or goals. But each characteristic has a good side and a bad side.

While a common caliber may be desirable, I think it is false to think that when times are bad enough to need the thing, any cartridge will be readily available. But I imagine all of you right-thinking people already have that possibility covered.

Over the years different writers have addressed weight in a rifle and clearly there are divergent opinions on the subject. Cooper wanted a lightweight rifle but insisted on having probably one of the heavier pistols in common use, the Colt Government Model. But I'm rarely consistent in my thinking, so why should he have been. However, I'd like to go along with his idea of stripper clips.

Military ammunition still comes in stripper clips, even when it's intended to be loaded into detachable magazines. But in addition to ease in reloading the rifle, usually, if good clips are used, it makes what I call "ammunition management" easy. While that isn't an issue with detachable magazines, for most rifles, you're stuck with handling loose cartridges. And while it is true that some commercial hunting rifles have detachable magazines, it isn't necessarily possible to load them without removing them from the rifle. A CZ bolt action in some calibers has a detachable five round magazine that must be removed to reload without a lot of effort and they simply aren't the slick magazines like military rifles ordinarily have, at least not in my experience. But if a bolt action is either acceptable or preferable, then that doesn't matter anyway.

Ironically, doesn't Gunsite have a course in "Urban Carbine?"

January 2, 2011, 02:05 PM
I'm no hater of Cooper, in fact, I loved the old man.

He was perhaps the gun writer with the most wit that I ever read. He made me laugh, his sarcasm was epic.

But, I think that the whole "scout rifle" concept is a gimmick. One posted here that scout shooters do "better" than others trained on other platforms. Is it that gunsite sets up their courses to the benefit of their "type" of rifle? I dunno. Perhaps a scout rifle allows quick aquisition, but so does a red dot sight.

The SF team I work with don't use scout rifles. They use sniper rifles or SCAR rifles (with regularly attached scopes) for long range and red dot M4s for close range. Now, these guys carry whatever the hell they want. If the scout rifle was of ANY benefit, they would have one, or four or a dozen. In 5 years in theater, I've never seen not one - military or civilian. Bottom line up front: folks who trust their lives to weapons don't ever (ever) carry these "scout" guns.

January 2, 2011, 02:53 PM
For those who dismiss the Scout concept, I would encourage you to actually pick up a copy of his book and read it. Try to avoid your preconceived notions and keep an open mind, it might be enlightening, and it's definitely though-provoking.

"book"? As if he only wrote one? He was a prolific writer, and as Ticonderoga noted, "his sarcasm was epic". Read them all, if you can....... because, after all, "there is little fundamental difference between those who can not read and those who do not". ....... if nothing else, Cooper's writings and a dictionary will certainly expand your vocabulary.


The SF team I work with don't use scout rifles.

....... they work as a team, do they not? Each team member has a role, one best filled by something other than a GP rifle. For the individual, specialization compromises utility. ..... even so, the guys with the M-4s use low power optics ..... and shoot with both eyes open to preserve periperal vision, no?

Cooper's teachings were maybe not completely new material, but he was the first one to put it all together into a teachable system, and teach it on a large scale outside of a military setting. Though the techniques he taught and equipment he suggested are not the be-all and end-all of skill at arms, much of it is still relevant today.... The color codes/ combat mindset, The 4 Rules, front sight-press, etc ........ those are irrelevant because he espoused them 40 years ago? I think not.

bottom rung
January 2, 2011, 03:47 PM
For most of us in this day and age, the scout rifle concept makes perfect sense as a survival rifle. The scout rifle concept and thoughts behind it would be well applied to those who prescribe to the survivalist's way of thinking. We have all read the threads were somebody is explaining their home defense tactics where they wax eloquent on the need for high capacity magazines and such. In reality, Cooper's scout soldier may be dated in a military sense, but the concept is still very much applicable to the civillian in troubled times. The civillian in this case, would need to maintain a low profile, yet still have the means to defend himself and BREAK away from the fight. The scout rifle allows for this. It really isn't that dated. It is just underestimated.

As for the rifles, the Steyr is way out of my price range.

The Ruger looks interesting and I can't wait to see one.

For many civillians a lever action will fill the role of the scout rifle just fine.

I am a civillian.

January 2, 2011, 04:38 PM
Jimbob86 wrote:

....... they work as a team, do they not? Each team member has a role, one best filled by something other than a GP rifle. For the individual, specialization compromises utility. .....

Not necessarily, a few of the guys go out "alone." Perhaps for hiking, maybe scouting, perhaps for bravado, but none of them would be foolish enough to take a bolt action rifle. They carry a .308 SCAR and a grenade launcher (one of those 14" inch jobs).

Seriously, NO ONE in a combat enviornment would trade an M1A1 for this folley "scout" rifle. As posted earlier, Cooper was "selling" something, he "created" a need for a rifle that has no place other than as a curio (and soon to be relic)...

May 27, 2011, 11:27 AM
I know this thread is a little over 5 months old, but a couple of points caught my eye.

Cooper didn't receive any royalties from the sales of Scout rifles. He did mention the possibility once, and apparently the idea made the Austrians upset. So I would hardly say that the Scout concept was an income-driven idea.

As for the rifle being made to fulfill a military function...you've missed the point. It's not FOR Scouts, it's NAMED the Scout. The characteristics that Cooper desired in this rifle were fitting to a scout of yore, but not designed for them. I think he still saw the arm as one that would be used for hunting primarily and anything else that may come up as well.

May 27, 2011, 12:06 PM
Interested, what is the "anti piracy rifle" idea?

Art Eatman
May 27, 2011, 04:34 PM
A buddy of mine bought one. He'd put some 200 rounds through it before I showed up for a visit. Forward mount Leupold scope.

Quite easy to hit steel at 100 and 200 yards in a "semi-offhand" casual rest style. Superb recoil pad. Adequate trigger, but IMO some TLC is needed.

I personally don't like a protruding mag in a rifle that I'm going to use for hunting. I like to carry a rifle at the balance point, on occasion. But that's just me, and it ain't my money. :)

The mag spring is a bit too stiff for easy loading of the final three or four rounds. I didn't check the mag for disassembling, but springs can be lightened.

All in all, it should prove out to be an excellent truck gun, and just fine for hunting.

Part of Cooper's scout deal was that a scout is not supposed to get in fire fights. Sneaky snake. Go look, find out, report back. A fire fight is mission failure, since nobody is supposed to know a scout drifted through an area in his snooping. Cooper also disliked shooting game beyond 300 yards, speaking of stalking closer when at all possible.

Dave R
May 27, 2011, 06:00 PM
There are walk-through courses of fire at Gunsite, using rifles on various targets over a few hundred yards of trail. One's score is a function of hits and time.

Those who are proficient in the use of Scout rifles score higher than those who use other sorts of rifles. Target acquisition time is faster.

I've always found that results count more than opinions...I'm curious if any others of us have hunted with a scout style rifle? I have, and I believe Jimbob has, too.

Let me echo one of Art's comments. Target acquisition time is faster.

My humble opinion is that a scout-style scope is the fastest-acquiring optic there is. Faster than a red dot (or maybe equal.) Certainly faster than traditional irons, and much faster than a traditional scope.

And much better than a red-dot, because you have enough magnification to increase precision and long range ability. And you keep both eyes open, so you have better awareness, periphery, etc.

I think its the best hunting optic available, unless you're shooting beyond 300 yards.

Lawyer Daggit
May 27, 2011, 07:18 PM
I wish the ruger had a 20 inch barrel- which i consider optimal for a 308- 16 inches or the 18 on the aussie model which does not have a flash hider is too short IMHO.

I have a pre 64 94 30-30 fitted with a LER works well and hits well at AK type ranges.

I know Geoff Cooper did not like lever scouts, poodle scouts or other deviations from the theme but I think that was because the man was something of a purist who was not keen on the evolution of his concept by others.

May 27, 2011, 08:45 PM
Don't roll your eyes too hard jimbob - Coopers early career basically consisted of deriding Rex Applegate in order to push his own 'front sight' method.

I can understand the scout rifle in the context of 70's technology... But they never became popular until recently. A low magnification LER conventional scope makes no sense in an era of electronic and tritium powered optics. There are also far more options now for an accurate magazine fed rifle than back then, so the concept of a modified bolt gun makes no sense either.

IMO, a well thought out AR trumps the scout rifle concept. A low profile AR upper with a lite contour barrel, low profile backup sights, a compact electronic / tritium optic, and 10 or 20 round mag barely weighs 7 lbs. Hell, Bushmasters Carbon 15 series rifles weight less than 5lbs sans optic.

There is your handy, compact, lightweight, accurate, 300 yard carbine.

May 27, 2011, 08:50 PM
Never much cared for the LER scope on the Scout but more and more my favorite hunting rifles are beginning to resemble the Scout in other respects.
Cooper? Whether you agreed or disagreed with him you could still learn from him, still can. The list of folks who can shoot, teach and write as well as he could will probably fit on the back of a business card. JMHO, of course.

Art Eatman
May 27, 2011, 10:31 PM
Mr.trooper, I have no gripe against the M16/AR-15 in general. My present AR is my fifth one, over thirty or so years. But as I think back on what's probably well beyond 2,000 miles of walking-hunting during these last forty-plus years, the last thing I'd ever have is a rifle I could not carry at the balance point.

I have no problem with the Scout concept. I am not impressed, overall, with the execution of the concept by the three factory efforts.

Purely my hunter's opinion, and I'll include survivalist and truck-gun usage, the Ruger should have a near-flush magazine available, and they should have had a barrel length out to the end of the flash-hider but no flash-hider.

Again, just my opinion, but I think the mag and the flash-hider are merely marketing ploys aimed at the EBR folks. I don't blame Ruger for that, since they are in business to sell guns and make a profit...

May 30, 2011, 02:45 AM
Purely my hunter's opinion, and I'll include survivalist and truck-gun usage, the Ruger should have a near-flush magazine available, and they should have had a barrel length out to the end of the flash-hider but no flash-hider.

Again, just my opinion, but I think the mag and the flash-hider are merely marketing ploys aimed at the EBR folks. I don't blame Ruger for that, since they are in business to sell guns and make a profit...

Bingo. They should have made it lighter too, which wouldn't have been difficult.

As much as I dislike the long magazine and the flash hider in terms of function, there's no question they've been effective as sales tools during the current tactical fad. I just wish they hadn't named the resulting gun "The Gunsite Scout Rifle".

May 30, 2011, 04:01 PM
Is it just me, or do the Ruger Scout Rifles look terribly like the old Enfield jungle carbines?


May 30, 2011, 04:23 PM
Part of Cooper's scout deal was that a scout is not supposed to get in fire fights. Sneaky snake. Go look, find out, report back. A fire fight is mission failure, since nobody is supposed to know a scout drifted through an area in his snooping.

Then if Murphy never shows up, the scout doesn't need a rifle at all.

The problem, militarily, with the scout rifle concept, is that it's a fairweather friend only suited for when everything goes right. When things go pear shaped a low mag capacity bolt gun isn't acceptable to break contact with a larger force.

May 30, 2011, 04:43 PM
I wonder if Ruger had called it a "General Purpose Rifle" instead of a "Scout Rifle", would it have gotten as much criticism? Clearly, it gives riflemen things that have been misssing from bolt action rifles for decades: quality iron sights, adjustable stock, option to mount a scope two different ways, flash hider, and short barrel.

The drive towards the perfect hunting rifle has left the modern bolt action a sad shadow of the Springfields, Mausers, and Endfields that defined a true general purpose rifle.

May 30, 2011, 04:43 PM
Just curious, but would we even be having this conversation if it hadn't been called the "scout" rifle? What if it had been called a "Multi-purpose" rifle or a "Utility rifle" or a "does-enough-of-everything-to-cover-your-bases" rifle?

Perhaps Cooper's legacy is not Gunsite, his writings, his lessons, or anything tactical, but rather his ability to keep people arguing for years after his death.

Oh, and I really like the idea of the scout/multi-purpose/utility rifle, cause it does everything I need and nothing I don't. :D

Lawyer Daggit
May 31, 2011, 05:14 PM
I disagree with the statement that the LER scope makes no sense in an era of tritium and dot sights.

A tritium or dot sight becomes harder to shoot at as range increases because of the dots size- making shots over 100 - 150 yds a bit problematic because too much target is covered, whereas a 2.5 magnification LER scope is quite easy to hit with at longer range.

At one time I had a tasco dot sight on my lever scout and removed it in favour of a scope.

May 31, 2011, 05:23 PM
I like the ruger, seems these days theres needlessly light pencil barrels or huge varmint barrels, a medium profile is nice, and its a short, light (but not too light) handy carbine. Supposed to shoot nice and kick soft with the good pad. Seems like a great rifle to use, i want one with a conventional scope setup.

Lawyer Daggit
May 31, 2011, 05:35 PM
None of the articles I have read on the Ruger mention blast- which I assume to be quite bad from a short barrel. Any experiences?

May 31, 2011, 05:46 PM
Steyr has the Scout. Not sure if it is still made to Cooper's specs.

I don't see why Cooper's specs need to be followed rigidly.

An extra inch of barrel or a few more ounces doesn't make much difference, but some don't consider them true "scout rifles" unless they meet all of Cooper's requirements.

May 31, 2011, 10:13 PM
None of the articles I have read on the Ruger mention blast- which I assume to be quite bad from a short barrel. Any experiences?

seen video reviews and it seemed like they had no problem, one at a gunsite course firing inside a box and no problem.

May 31, 2011, 10:27 PM
The Scout Rifle was a marketing ploy to go along with the Main Battle Rifle neither term existed before Cooper thought them up.
The Scout Rifle is an answer to a question that was never asked.

May 31, 2011, 11:14 PM
No disrespect intended,but the folks who have the idea Mr Cooper intended for any member of our armed forces to go fight with a scout rifle....you just have it wrong.That was never the intent.There is no legitimate reason to comment whether our wily Marine Scout Sniper should go to war with a Cooper scout rifle.
It would be better to think of it in terms of a Daniel Boone longhunter rifle.A bush rifle.Another approach to a SHTF rifle.I think,unlike some of our contributors,Mr Cooper has been to places where our reality does not exist.Unlike some of our contributors,I think he did not envision Rambo-ing up ,beer gut and M1A,in the front yard ,prepared to defend the last bag of Doritos.Its a grab and run,get 35 miles from here on foot with what is in your pockets rifle.I think a lot of folks would have different dream rifles if they had to walk 3 miles from where they park the pickup to get to the range.
Given the times and places Mr Cooper expeienced,the fact he lived to an old age carries a strong element of Darwinism in the positive sense.
To the critics of Mr Cooper,please,tell us how you,yourself,have personally made a greater contribution to shooting than Mr Cooper.We all know who Mr Cooper was.I never heard of you.

June 1, 2011, 12:22 AM

Very good post, and one I mostly agree with.

The Scout Rifle should be thought of in terms of a Practical Rifle, fit for daily use and carry. Mine often rides in the truck with me, and is easy to carry on hikes while checking out other things. It would not be my choice for a battle rifle, but could serve in a pinch.

I think part of the problem is that people associate the name Scout with the military. To my knowledge it was never intended to be a military arm, but could serve the Farmer, Rancher, Homeowner, Backwoods dweller quite well in a variety of roles. Due to the Ruger's versatility I would be hard pressed to find a better rifle for the money. The sighting options alone make it worth it's price to me. Mine is wearing a traditional scope right now, but has worn an EO Tech, and will wear a Scout Scope in the future. The Iron Sights are very good too, and I shot mine that way when I first bought it.

This is a rifle that is well thought out and allows one to adapt the rifle to the mission instead of adapting the mission to the rifle. Outside of the name, Scout, I find nothing to dislike about the Ruger Gunsite Scout. I think the folks being negative about this rifle have very likely not handled and shot one, nor carried one for a few days as they go about their daily business. If they had I suspect their opinion of this rifle might change.

I am not a Cooper disciple, but I do know a smart man when I read one, and Col. Cooper was certainly that.


Art Eatman
June 1, 2011, 08:45 AM
SPUSCG, the muzzle blast seemed about like most other .243/'06/.308 critters. I was wearing HearGuards, of course.

June 1, 2011, 04:39 PM
SPUSCG, the muzzle blast seemed about like most other .243/'06/.308 critters. I was wearing HearGuards, of course.

thank you, good to hear, i want to get one. Cant wait to it shows up on the shelves.

June 1, 2011, 07:04 PM
$749 at Bud's Gunshop, not bad. I like the concept of the Scout Rifle as a non-Military arm, but fail to see what niche it fills that is not covered by my Marlin LA Rifle.

I'd be styling with am M1A flash hider on my 1895G :D

June 1, 2011, 09:03 PM
I wonder if Ruger had called it a "General Purpose Rifle" instead of a "Scout Rifle", would it have gotten as much criticism? Clearly, it gives riflemen things that have been misssing from bolt action rifles for decades: quality iron sights, adjustable stock, option to mount a scope two different ways, flash hider, and short barrel.

I guess it doesn't matter. Ruger is selling them as fast as they can make 'em. I have one, and will be hunting whitetail with it this year. I like it for what it is. . . handy, easy to carry (balances well just forward the mag), and my forward mounted Leupold Scout scope makes target acquisition a quick task.

I don't get hung up on "Scout" or military usefulness, etc. I fills a need or DESIRE that I have, and that's why I bought it.

June 1, 2011, 11:15 PM
"General purpose rifle" is how Cooper describes it in his book "To Ride, Shoot Straight...". His group of friends that made up the First Scout Rifle Conference dubbed the GP rifle a "scout" rifle. Probably sounds more romantic and adventuresome to a bunch of guys than "general purpose."

From what I can gather from his discussion of it, it is certainly not made for military combat. He says it is for the lone man, or small party that needs to take targets of opportunity be they man or beast. The primary characteristics should be easily mobile, powerful enough for 700 lbs animals (or vehicles), and able to hit on the first shot to any range the man is capable of shooting.

He mentions the idea is to NOT get into prolonged engagements with superior forces. After one or two shots you have to move quickly or you will be pinpointed. It is not suited for urban combat or defending a position. Shoot from distance and scoot.

He also mentions how several firearms embody many of these attributes but not all: lever action, Remington 600 (or probably modern Model 7). Mannlicher, etc. He specifically mentions that a detachable box magazine is not required or even necessarily desirable, but could be possibly configured to act in place of a magazine cutoff. He does mention though that his studies indicate the .308 Winchester does best in a barrel of at least 19 inches. One thing that is of paramount importance is a good trigger for accurate shooting at longer ranges.

It does seem that some of the guidelines are somewhat arbitrary or got set in concrete needlessly or through too much group think. What is magical about 3kg or one meter? Does a quarter pound more make that much difference that you should spend another $300 to trim it?
Or sacrifice optimal 19" barrel length just to fit 39" length instead of 40" or 41"? And if the intent is to be engaging targets at distance, how much more valuable/effective is a LER 2x scope in that situation as compared to a 2-7x compact scope?

I think the endeavor to define a general purpose rifle is admirable and adds to the body of knowledge of the art of the rifle. But for each one of us we have to evaluate that concept in terms of our own situation.

It seems to me that for urban or dense woods environments a lever action with red dot scope or LER scope would be a great "scout rifle" and one should not feel inadequate just because it does not score top points with the group of buddies calling themselves the Scout Rifle Conference. Likewise, a Rem Model 7 (or other lightweight short action) in .243 or .260 with a 1-4x or 2-7x compact scope is 90% there for more open terrain.

I would like to try a Ruger Scout, but I would be more than happy and confident with a Savage Lightweight in 7mm-08. The Ruger Scout does come closest though at about the same price as other Rugers with stainless steel in a (too) compact barrel, Mauser style bolt, iron sights for backup. It is kind of ironic though that Cooper stated on of the reasons for the LER scope was to make it easy to grasp the rifle at the balance point. That long magazine messes that up. They should have stayed with the standard M77 internal mag.

I wouldn't like giving up the barrel length, and I don't see the need for a long single stack magazine, but considering all the other features in one package I could live with those. I might have just talked myself into a Ruger Scout. :)

June 2, 2011, 01:41 AM
I hunt whitetails w/ a Savage Scout a bit, say 8-10 hunts, every year for the past 10 years or so. W/o checking my notes, I can't say just when I bought the rifle.

It is pre accutrigger and has the rather clunky boxy tupperware factory stock that someday I'll change. The rifle wears a Leupold LER scope, 2.75x, in detach rings. The scope has been back to Leupold for a German #1 reticule. More on that later. The rifle has the best trigger of any factory trigger I own. No kidding. That trigger makes the rifle very shootable. The Cooper phrase about the trigger being "the connection to your target" was very apt. I am always a bit surprised at how well I do w/ the Savage Scout. Off the bench the rifle will shoot into 1.5MOA (or better) with
good loads, and plunk cheap FMJ reloads into about 2.5. MOA.

One benefit of the scout system I have not seen mentioned is the ease of working the bolt when there is no scope on top of the receiver to hinder the process.
I read somewhere about a "10 rds in two minutes at 100 yds on a 10 inch plate"any position but no rest, being a fair test of riflery and find I can do it with the Savage, or used to anyhow, pretty easily. Note that w/ its 4 round box mag, starting w/ 4+1, that involves two reloads, (4 and 1) which I do from the ammo cuff, straight into the box from the top with the bolt open.

Portability is the rifles strong suit. Much of my deer hunting involves climbing tree stands whi ch I backpack in for every hunt, and carry them back out. The walks in and out are not that long, a mile would be a long one, but its a two way tote w/the stand every time. The Savage is shorter and lighter than a full size sportI er and the difference is notable.

The scope. I noted early on that in poor light, typically in the evening, particularly looking down from a stand, onto the woods/forest floor, at a deer, I was having trouble seeing the crosshairs. I could see the deer fine, but was having trouble discerning an aiming point. I figured two options. A second scope, say a dot, with a lit reticule, or a reticule change. The reticule change was cheaper, by a lot. I'd always heard the German #1 was easy to see.
so back to Leupold it went. It came back in short order and I am not disappointed. It is VISIBLE. And oddly enough, the scope seems brighter, certainly less cluttered, since there is no fourth/middle/top vertical post. Its like having one less pane in a window. Accuracy has not suffered. You can perch a clay bird on top of the post, and break it easily at 100. I've not timed it, but it seems very fast too.

I gave up on a Ching/3pt sling and if I feel the need to loop, I use a std sling, fashioning a loop for the bicep after detaching it from the butt. Useful on the range, but I have never " looped up" on a deer. Likewise, I did not attach any sort of bipod to the rifle, saving weight and clutter.

The .308 cal is everything it should be on deer. I'm sure it'd be plenty for b' bear and hogs, even elk if loaded and applied properly tho

June 2, 2011, 06:24 AM
Since Ruger already had a Ranch Rifle, you don't suppose it could have been called a "Farm Rifle," do you? How about a "Surburban Rifle," named after the famous black SUVs the feds ride around in, driven by big guys wearing sunglasses. I know, Cooper didn't name his rifle after the IH Scout.

You may recall that Cooper specifically mentioned several rifles that he admired and which partly inspired his Scout Rifle concept. They went from the Winchester 94, the Mannlicher carbines and the No. 5 Lee-Enfield. I never had any Mannlicher but I've read they were greatly admired even though they calibers were on the light side. I have owned the others, however, and while the Model 94 carbine was a very handy thing, I'd take the No. 5 any day. It would kick, though not as much as some other rifles I was fond of, but the caliber was sufficient for an all purpose rifle. It even took a bayonet, a feature that Cooper failed to include in his Scout Rifle concept for some unexplained reason.

Aside from cost, always a consideration, his idea of a scout was more fictional than real, if you ask me, and as such, the rifle should be selling in the thousands. But alas, there is no more frontier to be tamed.

Art Eatman
June 2, 2011, 08:43 AM
BlueTrain, do you reckon that walking-hunting for deer, now, is any different than in the frontier days? And, odds are, frontier folks sat and watched for Bambi, just as hunters do now.

Granted, my opinion is that way too many folks are using more gun than is needed, and worrying about shooting at much longer distances than are commonly encountered. Nothing wrong with that, of course; whatever floats the boat. A light, handy, medium-cartridge rifle works just fine in the Lower 48. Looks to me that all Cooper did was add a slight bit of military dimension to an all-around using gun.

June 2, 2011, 09:00 AM
At the risk of straying off topic, there are indeed differences, though no doubt there are still pockets of "contemporary ancestors" living here and there around the country. Hunting styles vary a lot, too, from place to place in the country. What passes as conventional practices along the Allegheny Front wouldn't get that antelope in Oklahoma.

I'm not so sure there is really any military element to the Scout Rifle. Honestly, I hate to criticize such a fine product, either Ruger's or at three times the price, Styer's, but it isn't suitable for a miliary scout at all. It is suitable indeed for other things, however, so any military pretensions are best ignored. That's all for you younger guys anyway. I'm well past the militia age.

Is a .308 (here we'll use non-military names) a medium size cartridge? If so, it's at the upper end. A .30-30 or 7.62x39 are medium cartridges in my mind but we're already splitting hairs. While I think the Scout Rifle was produced in .223, I don't think it was made in any of the in-between calibers. Larger calibers were also produced. Fifty or a hundred years ago, someone would have came out with a new cartridge to go along with the new rifle but I guess other considerations were more important.

June 2, 2011, 11:42 AM
I'm old enough that I have seen trends in hunting rifles change over the years. In the south, where thick vegetation can be the norm, the 30/30 was king when I was a kid. Ruger's little .44 auto carbine was a hit also. Then I remember the autos becoming quiet popular, with the Remington 742 Woodmaster and the Browning BAR being the more popular autos.

Then the bolt guns became the more dominate rifle. Where I hunt now, I rarely see a 30/30, and seldom see autos. I believe you may even see a transition to the Scout type rifle for some hunters. It's a bolt gun which is familiar, accurate as other bolt guns, handy as a lever gun, available in a multitude of calibers, and the forward scope makes target acquisition in thick woods a snap.

I'll be using one this year.

And if I'm attacked by zombies while out on a deer stand...I'll be ready.:)

June 3, 2011, 02:39 PM
Just nosed around a bit looking for past member ctdonath. Doesn't look like he's been active on the board for a couple of years. However, he owns a Steyr Scout, and took it to the Long Range Rifle course at Storm Mountain. His review and critique are still posted here:


I was at the course with ctdonath, and had opportunity to shoot his Steyr. It's a very nice rifle. But I remain quite happy with my Model Seven set up with a 2-7x Leupold in the conventional location as a very adequate GP rifle.

Oh, and Cooper did think highly of one "lever scout" ... Jim West's "Co-Pilot."