Monday, January 3, 2011

A Scout is Back

I'd get this!  I'd get TWO!!!.  I wonder if it's in a lefty model...  Finally a decent but not too expensive bolt action rifle I can use and love.  I've been intrigued enough with the Scout concept since I learned of its existence, via Jeff Cooper.

Wait.  No lefty listed.  Phooey.  Ruger is still only into me for the .22.   And I doubt that will change.

Review for those new to the concept...  Cooper pushed to design a rifle that would be of almost universal utility.  He had 'big' conferences of riflemen to get the details down, but I think his influence was the most telling.  He wanted something that was a short stroke major caliber bolt action gun able to take any game in North America.  The ammo had to be nearly universally available in North America or elsewhere, which is why .308/7.62x51 was selected.  It had to be light, short, handy, and the long eye-relief scope was necessary for better vision, but not geared toward 800 yard shots.  And it would have iron sights for backup.  It had to be magazine fed.  He wanted a Ching Sling to be used with it.  When not hunting it could be used by a smallish cadre of competent riflemen to keep nearly any army or armed band at bay, as though he lived in South Africa during the Boer wars. 

So this was the perfect rifle for him, on any application he wanted it for in this country.  If he was going to Africa on safari he'd take it for the smaller game and use something in the .4xx for bigger critters.  In an emergency on his Arizona ranch when the narco-gangs or rogue ATF agents he crazily thought would come for him (heh, less outlandish now than in 1995 for those narco-gangs...) he'd use his 1911 to fight his way to where the Scout rifle was, and then run out the back door with it to take to the hills.

Steyr actually MADE this Scout rifle for him and he loved it.  It was commercially available but a bit pricey and never took off as well as he'd thought it should.  Cooper did also lament that the Steyr never came in a left hand model for the 15% of us that need it.  A big strike against it was the north of $2500 price tag, last I checked.  (I could be wrong.  I also thought they no longer produced it.)  This Ruger is south of a grand, msrp, so, yay.  And it looks like Ruger tried to stick to the specs rather than just offer a complet kluge of a bolty that happens to have scope mount forward of the receiver for a scout scope.

The influence on me?  Well it made me aware of the scout scope.  It's essentially a pistol scopt on a rifle.  And I love how it works.  Loved it so much I mounted one on a Garand (though I made no permanent changes to that rifle so I can convert it back with no one the wiser).  My thought was I could use the Garand for hunting at that point, but concerns about proper hunting ammo in a Navy Garand makes me hesitate to take it afield.

If you ever get a chance to try a rifle with a scout scope on it, do so.  Heck, Breda liked mine when she got to try it.  I don't know if she'd want her own because I'd bet Breda prefers playing with stuff that can better reach out to 800 yards.  I know Burruss and Leupold make a scout scope. 

But I am sold on the scout idea, pretty much.  Certainly for the bolt action hunting application.  Once some maker comes out with a lefty.

I have no bolt action rifle and have always considered that a hole in my collection.  Oh sure, I have a Springfield '03 and a .22, but both are righties and I don't want to much up the .30-06 by tapping a scope to it.  THAT would be an irreversible alteration and offends my historical artifiact sensibilities.


ZerCool said...

Yup, everyone should have a bolt gun. Actually, two, at least. A .22 and a centerfire in your preferred midbore.

I'll quibble a little bit here... the scout scope is *technically* an "intermediate eye relief". A pistol scope's eye relief is usually in the 18-20" range, a standard rifle scope around 3", and an intermediate - as in scout-mount - around 10". Of course, these numbers are all pulled out of my rough guestimation.

The Ruger is a pretty rifle, but I'm betting the laminate stock adds a fair bit of unnecessary weight. Ditching that in favor of a fiber/composite stock would probably shave a fair bit.

As to left-handed... Savage makes all their rifles in a left-hand action. Considering the bottom-shelf pricing and top-shelf accuracy, I'm betting you could put yourself in a left-hand Model 10 or 11 (Say an 11 FLNS, MSRP $609), pay a smith to cut and recrown the barrel, and get a scout-mount on there... and still be on par with the price of the Ruger. Food for thought.

bluesun said...

I want one so bad it hurts...

Anonymous said...

Why this and not a Springfield Scout rifle? If not shooting to 800 then a semi would be better for the 2 legged opponents I would think.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

I have an M1A, Anon.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

What I don't have is a lightweight bolty.

Anonymous said...

Uh, ZerCool,

Medium Sized Jake

ZerCool said...

Jake - Alright then! Their "browse models" tree is such a pain in the ass that it's not even funny, and I missed that one.

Boat Guy said...

I once owned a Steyr Scout for the "bargain" price of $1800. I like the concept and would commend the Savage version to you for consideration.
The Steyr did not work for me; the "Safe Bolt System" is unduly complicated and it's difficult to perform routine disassembly and maintenance. Because Cooper was adamantly opposed to a flash hider, there was none; thus the scope would "white out" from the muzzle flash using MilSpec ammo.
As I've said to others, I like the Scout rifle "concept". I've yet to see it work in practice - though the M1A "Scout" shows some promise.