Tag Archives: Scout Rifle

Scout Rifle Guidelines


The Scout Rifle concept isn’t a hard set of Rules that Define a Scout Rifle as a Scout.  They are really just guidelines that are flexible to fit within your needs, not someone else’s definition of what your needs are.

The Steyr Scout. The first Production "Scout" Rifle.
The Steyr Scout. The first Production “Scout” Rifle.

I had dinner with Jeff Cooper many moons ago.  We talked for a good while about the Scout Rifle as a Concept and about the Steyr Scout specifically.     He truly loved the concept… but not so much the Steyr product that bore it’s name at the time.   He indicated that it captured the concept for the most part, but was not perfect.

The Ruger Gunsite Scout. The Heir to the Empire, bearing the Gunsite seal of approval.
The Ruger Gunsite Scout. The Heir to the Empire, bearing the Gunsite seal of approval.

For example… .308. Jeff Cooper himself, who made up the concept only used .308 as an example. He did not say that it HAS to be .308. Evidence to support my assertion, he was also fond of the .376 Steyr cartridge and shot his .376 Scout rifle quite a bit.  He also had a .358 Lion Scout concept, which turned into the .376, which he called his Scout Dragoon.  All were following the Scout Concept, not a hard set of rules.  

The Savage Scout. A good alternative for a factory Scout that fits the concept just fine.
The Savage Scout. A good alternative for a factory Scout that fits the concept just fine.

The main concept of the caliber for a scout is that it’s a cartridge potent enough for your area of operation, and in a common caliber so ammo availability isn’t an issue.   .308 Win is a great option, but not the only option.  .30-30, .307 Win, 7.62x39mm… .300 BLK, and yes, even 5.56mm… pretty much any cartridge you can get your hands on that serves for 95% of your likely targets is going to work just fine for YOUR SCOUT.

You can create your own Scout based on your own needs. I think the Jeep motto works well here. It's not bought, it's built.
You can create your own Scout based on your own needs. I think the Jeep motto works well here. It’s not bought, it’s built.

The Forward Mounted Optic is also not a Requirement, but a configuration that Jeff Cooper found to work well with his Scout Concept.    But many Scouts can use a normal configuration of scope, Red Dot, or other Optical Gunsight.

In my opinion, the best Scouts can also be Lever Actions… a .30-30 or even a .45-70 makes for an IDEAL Scout platform.

What the Scout boils down to is a light, handy, jack of all trades rifle that can do most of the practical things you might need a rifle for out in the field. A General Purpose Rifle, rather than something specialized. But “General Purpose” sounds Generic and unappealing.

In my opinion, the best Scout rifles I’ve seen are actually .30-30 Lever Actions… what are called “Lever Scouts”.  They fit Cooper’s Philosophy of Use just about perfectly.  They are light, thin, handy, and potent enough.  They have a reasonable capacity, reasonably accurate, and always have and always will embody the Scout concept – arguably more than some Scout rifles which are too bulky and heavy for the intended purpose.   In fact… Take any Marlin Lever Action in .30-30 and put a decent Sling on it… and your done.  You have your Scout.

Lever Scouts > Bolt Scout.


Back on 10-09-08 I wrote the following:

“An Open Letter to All Gun Manufacturers: We are sick of the .22 Hornet. Not all of us are reloaders, and commercial .22 Hornet ammunition is expensive. Stop shoving the .22 Hornet down our throats. Yes, its a nifty cartridge, and a lot of fun – and back in the day we all had wonderfully full and colorful summers with Pa’s Hornet carbine and a pocket full of shells. But these days, at $45.00 a box, no one is shooting it a lot unless they are reloading it. In the same guns you are chambering for .22 Hornet, you could be chambering them for 5.7x28mm. This gives you the same happy fun joy, using premium ballistic tipped bullets, for the same price a box as cheap .223 FMJ loads. This means we shooters can enjoy your product a lot more, for a lot less… which means we will be buying more of your product chambered for these instead of your .22 Hornet versions. Magnum Research’s BFR in .22 Hornet would sell more if it was in 5.7x28mm. The CZ 527 in .22 Hornet would be more enjoyable in 5.7x28mm. Anything you are chambering a Hornet for, or a Fireball round for… do it in 5.7x28mm instead. Please. It’s just about the most dandy of cartridges out there that I care to buy myself, and I know a lot of guys out there that feel the same way. Forget the Hornet and embrace the 5.7x28mm. Thank you.”

Some time later I wrote to Savage, and even posted that on MadOgre, that they need to do the Model 25 Lightweight Varminter in 5.7x28mm.

They did it.

Gotta love it.  They took their time doing it, but they beat CZ to the punch.  I told CZ that they needed to do it in their 527, but they decided against it… instead they continue to push the .22 Hornet.  With the cost of ammo going up and the factory production of .22 Hornet going down; I see a lot of Hornets getting retired.  We don’t even stock a rifle in Hornet and haven’t been asked for one in years.

This however – this would sell.  This will sell once people realize what it is they can really have here.  I’m telling you, this is the IDEAL small game or fur bearing hunting kit, right here.   Top that with a little 2-7x32mm or a fixed power… Man.. that would be SWEET.

They also have something else that is also sweet as hell.  (and yes, hell can be very very sweet indeed)

The Model 10 FCM Scout.  In 7.62x39mm.  You guys remember me being quite a fan of the CZ 527 Carbine.  Scope mounting and options for that gun suck. Namely because of the bolt handle hitting the occular bell of most scopes.  That and CZ makes some seriously awful rings and their proprietary bases on the 527 limit your options drastically.  As much as I loved the gun – it had limitations.  Also the bedding wasn’t as ridged as I would have liked.  Overall, the gun was fantastic… within it’s limitations.   Savage gives you a light weight carbine, without those limitations.  I had thought about buying the Scout in .308… but 7.62x39mm… VERY tempting.   I know a lot of guys are going Gaga over the Ruger Scout.  Ruger, meet your Superior.

The only thing Savage is lacking in these Model 10 guns – and this is something Savage could fix so easily – 10 Round Magazines.  I have lost sales on Savage guns because of this.  I have had customers ready to buy – form 4473 in hand – and they walked away because of the magazine limitation.  And these are some of the best guns in the industry.   Go figure.  Savage, make us some 10 round mags!