Evolution of a Scout Rifle

Evolution of a Scout Rifle

The Ruger Scout Rifle and Select Quotes by Jeff Cooper

The prototype of the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle was described in the essay “The Scout Rifle Idea” by Jeff Cooper in the 1984 edition of the Gun Digest annual.

The prototype of the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle was described in the essay “The Scout Rifle Idea” in the 1984 edition of the Gun Digest annual. The renowned gun writer Jeff Cooper put forth his rationale for the scout rifle and the technical details underpinning the concept. He passed away in 2006 and five years later his vision was realized through collaboration between Ruger and the Gunsite Academy.

In his essay, Cooper quoted the army definition of a scout: “A scout is a man trained in the use of ground and cover, movement from cover to cover, rifle marksmanship, map reading, observation, and accurately reporting the results of his observation.”

He expanded the definition further as the rifle must be the perfect shooting tool in the world of the scout:

“This term also was an honorific, for obviously a scout was a very high type of soldier — an active, intelligent, trustworthy, courageous, skillful athlete. He acted alone, not as a member of a team. By choice he did not fight, but he had to be an expert at the hit-and-run art of single combat. By choice he did not shoot, but if forced to shoot he shot quickly, carefully, and as little as possible. “One round, one hit — and then vanish!” — that was his motto. He did not need an assault rifle. He needed a scout rifle.”

The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle - does it live up to Jeff Cooper's standards?
The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle – does it live up to Jeff Cooper's standards?

Select Jeff Cooper Quotes on the Scout Rifle

 Cooper: “There are all sorts of plastics, but the best sort can produce a stock that is both lighter and stronger than wood. Fine wood is prohibitive in price and common wood is no prettier than plastic, so plastic would seem to be the wave of the future.”

Living Ready Magazine: Ruger deviated here and put a black laminate stock on the Scout even though synthetic stocks are popular. It is prettier than the proposed plastic and it is tougher and more resistant to moisture than wooden stocks. A fair trade-off.

Cooper: “Detachable box magazines are, except for the Mannlicher, of reduced capacity, and experimental modifications taking the 20-round M-14 magazine are awfully clumsy with the big box in place. At this time nobody except Mannlicher offers point protection for reserve rounds in the magazine.”

Living Ready Magazine: Magazine design and quality have come a long way since Cooper wrote this. The Scout has a push-forward Mini-14-style magazine release. There are 3, 5, and 10-round magazines available.

Cooper: “The scout rifle now evolving will be a bolt gun, as the semi-autos are overly long, heavy, and bulky, and the volume of fire they afford is of little consequence to a true scout.”

Living Ready Magazine: The bolt action is one-piece stainless steel with a Mauser-typer extractor and three-position safety.

This article is an excerpt from the new Winter 2012 issue of Living Ready Magazine.


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  1. I own a scout. The gun out of the box does not work ! The #2 round I fired struck in the chamber . The first 30 rounds I fired would not eject right , bolt does not work correctly . bolt will not cycle . Sent gun back to ruger AND IT CAME BACK AS BAD AS THE FIRST TIME ! NOW IT HAS GONE BACK 3 TIMES .Called Gunsite academy and talked to a gunsmith there” quote” they are aware of all failures of this gun ! please call them to confirm my statement. this gun is not safe it is not any good the design is false . my name is mike day and I would be happy to tell anyone about this junk gun and “ RUGERS” poor customer service !!!! my email is info@getoffroad.us


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