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6 Top Scout Rifles

Scout rifles were lightweight and short, making them easy to carry and fast to shoot in defensive scenarios. A forward-mounted scope made them ideal for light or big-game hunting depending on the model. Here are six options that generally embrace the Scout concept.

6 Top Scout Rifles

Jeff Cooper’s Scout rifle concept embraced a short, light, fast-handling rifle with open sights and a forward-mounted scope.

The Scout rifle is attributed to Jeff Cooper. He didn’t invent the rifle but saw how certain existing short-action rifles such as the Model 94 Winchester and Remington 600 could be measurably improved with a few simple additions to become a rifle highly useful for defensive use and hunting. His concepts generally revolved around the .308/7.62x51 NATO for defense/light hunting and the .350 Remington Magnum for big game. Rifle weight would be around seven pounds and the gun would be short, around 40 inches, so it was easy to carry and fast to shoot. An intermediate eye-relief scope would be mounted forward of the receiver for quick, accurate fire. 

While he primarily focused on bolt-action rifles, his concept was fluid, and open to other rifles. The following gun, presented from least expensive to most expensive, are options that generally embrace the Scout concept.

1. Mossberg MVP Scout Rifle Combo

6 Top Scout Rifles
The Mossberg MVP Scout Combo is chambered to 7.62 NATO and has a unique bolt design that feeds from popular semiauto mags. As a combo, it comes with a Vortex scope.

On the less expensive end, the Mossberg Scout has several unique features to recommend it. Chambered in 7.62mm NATO, the rifle is designed with Mossberg’s Dual-Push bolt that works with both M1A and AR-10 style magazines. A 10-shot magazine is provided. The 16.25-inch medium bull barrel has a removable A2-style flash suppressor, and a thread cap is provided. The combo version (it’s also available as just a rifle) comes with a Vortex Crossfire II Scout scope The iron sights consist of an unprotected fiber-optic front sight paired with a rail-mounted ghost ring rear. The Picatinny rail runs from the back of the receiver ending out on the barrel. Other key features include an oversized tactical bolt handle, pillar-bedded stock, and 11-inch Picatinny rail with two side-mounted rails. Weight is only 7 pounds. $804,

2. Savage 110 Scout

6 Top Scout Rifles
The Savage 110 Scout incorporates the AccuFit system to customize the stock for shooter fit, and it’s available in .223, .308 and .450 Bushmaster.

The Savage 110 Scout incorporates the AccuFit stock system that allows the shooter to easily customize the length of pull and comb height for a personalized fit, something very beneficial when using an optic. The flat dark earth stock is fitted with black “soft grip” panels on the fore-end and pistol grip surfaces. Also standard is the user-adjustable AccuTrigger, which offers a crisp, clean pull. The 16.5-inch matte-black button-rifled carbon steel barrel is fitted with a muzzle brake and ends with a protected front sight. Calibers include .223, .308 or .450 Bushmaster. For the latter, the magazine is a five-shot Magpul AICS-style detachable box magazine; the others hold 10 rounds. Weight is 7.7 pounds in .308. $889,

3. Ruger Scout Rifle

6 Top Scout Rifles
Ruger’s Scout Rifle meets Cooper’s idea to a T: aperture rear sight, protected wing sight up front and an optics rail allowing a forward-mounted scope.

The Ruger Scout Rifle now spans a wide range of calibers and options that would doubtless make Jeff Cooper proud. In basic trim, the Scout in .308 is 38.5 inches overall with a 16.1-inch barrel, iron peep sights protected by wings, a Picatinny rail forward of the receiver, adjustable length of pull on a laminated stock and a 10-shot detachable magazine. Receiver and barrel are given a matte black finish. If the .308 or .350 Legend don’t offer enough steam, the Scout is also available in .450 Bushmaster. Stainless and left-hand versions are available. starts at $1,359,

4. Marlin 1895 SBL

6 Top Scout Rifles
Cooper would’ve liked the Marlin 1895 SBL in .45-70—light, fast-handling and powerful with great sight options.

Jeff Cooper toyed with lever actions before settling on the turnbolt for his Scout concept, so it’d be a shame to leave them out. Marlin is now owned by Ruger, and the new 1895 SBL has just been announced. The beauty of the Marlin design is side ejection and side feed—allowing any manner of optic/iron sighting to be mounted along the top of the action. It features a black/grey laminate stock and stainless steel barrel and action. The 19-inch barrel is threaded for muzzle devices. The large loop lever gets an extra polishing step so it’s easy on the hands when working the action. The rifle features an adjustable ghost ring rear mounted on a Picatinny rail with plenty of real estate to mount a Scout-style scope. The front sight incorporates both tritium and fiber optics for good visibility in any lighting condition. Weight is 7.3 pounds, and overall length is 37.25 inches, right in the Scout wheelhouse. And the rifle holds six rounds of the.45-70 cartridge, in a modern design that can handle stout loads. $1,399,

5. Steyr Scout

6 Top Scout Rifles
The Steyr Scout was originally closely based on Cooper’s concepts, and while it no longer has iron sights it still meets many of his criteria and offers an array of chamberings.

Steyr Mannlicher produced the first factory rifle in Cooper’s concept, and still produces the rifle today albeit slight different from the original concept. Today’s Steyr Scout still sports a light weight of 6.6 pounds, short overall length of 38.6 inches with its 19-inch barrel. The stock has a space for a spare five-round magazine. A fold-away bipod up front that keeps the stock profile sleek and clean, and it’s highly beneficial for use in a saddle scabbard or jumping in and out of a truck. The stocks may be had in a variety of colors or camo options. An optional conversion kit allows the use of 10-shot mags. Iron sights are no longer present, and calibers in the cold-hammer-forged barrels include .223, .243, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 and .308 Winchester. $1,749,

6. Springfield Armory M1A Scout Squad

6 Top Scout Rifles
While not light, the Springfield M1A Scout Squad has solid sights and a forward optics rail, and in addition to its detachable box magazine it can also be charged with stripper clips.

While the Scout rifle is normally considered a bolt-action rifle proposition, I think Cooper would’ve been disposed to accept some semiautomatic designs as well. The Springfield Armory M1A fills the bill with the .308/7.62x51 NATO chambering. One aspect he would like is the military aperture 0.0690" rear sight and National Match front blade. A Picatinny rail is mounted forward of the receiver. The 18-inch barrel with muzzle brake is a little longer than most, but overall length is still only 40.33 inches and 37 inches without the brake. The two-stage trigger is Springfield’s match-grade model. The synthetic-stock version weighs 8.5 pounds, heavier than Cooper would’ve liked, but it offers a 10-round detachable box magazine as well as a clip slot atop the action that allows you to recharge the rifle without a mag change. Clip loading is a forgotten feature that can be very useful since you can carry 100 rounds in clips more easily than in box magazines. A heavier, and more expensive, walnut-stocked version is also available. $1,883,

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