Ruger’s New Scout Rifle Has Problems

Ruger’s New Scout Rifle Has Problems

Charlie Gao


It just isn’t worth it.

Key point: All in all, it’s hard to see a niche in which the Ruger Scout fits.

Ruger calls its Scout Rifle “the one rifle to have if you could only have one.” While this is clearly marketing, does this statement have any merit?

Not really. While the Ruger Scout Rifle is a decent choice for purists specifically for a Jeff Cooper-style bolt-action “Scout Rifle,” the utility of such a rifle for most shooters is questionable when modern semi-automatics are getting lighter and cheaper. It also faces stiff competition from other scout-style rifles by other manufacturers as well as cheaper bolt-actions in the Ruger catalog.

While Jeff Cooper originally drew up the criteria for a scout rifle in the 1980s, the idea was to have a “do everything” rifle that was still light enough to carry on extended patrols and accurate enough to shoot out to extended range. Cooper also specified that the caliber should be 7.62x51mm or 7mm-08. At the time, precision semi-automatic rifles in those calibers were still incredibly heavy: the 1980s-era PSG-1 weighs a hefty 15 lbs. As such, Cooper thought a bolt action rifle would be best to keep weight down to around 7 lbs.

The scout rifle concept also included a forward-mounted long eye relief low-power scope for precision shots. The forward mounting was to shift the point of balance forwards and to encourage both eyes open shooting, which allows for rapid reacquisition of the sight picture in rapid fire.

However, in recent years, both of these paradigms have been reversed. The popularity of the AR-15 revolutionized scope design, with modern Low Power Variable Optics designed for ARs proving to be incredibly fast and accurate without the learning curve of a forward-mounted scope.

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