Review: Ruger American/Robar Scout Rifle

Review: Ruger American/Robar Scout Rifle

It seems like a long time ago: The year was 2009 and we were meeting to discuss the possibility of making a Gunsite branded Ruger Scout Rifle. Our intent was to make an affordable and versatile general-purpose rifle that would have wide appeal, roughly based upon Jeff Cooper’s scout rifle vision. We were a little restricted in what was possible because Ruger wasn’t making composite stocks at the time and they only had the M77 bolt action. As it was, the rifle Ruger designed and brought to market in less than a year was a huge success and remains a popular product even today. I have three of them and they are terrific rifles.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/rifleshooter/content/photos/Ruger-Robar-Scout-Rifle-1.jpg

In 2010 Ruger launched the American Rifle series, an inexpensive, highly accurate bolt-action rifle in a composite stock. I immediately saw the potential for turning one of these into a scout rifle but there were some drawbacks. The initial rotary magazines were a bit troublesome and only held four rounds and the composite stocks, while light in weight had a fair amount of flex to them. I really liked the tang safety and the smooth push feed action but figuring out how to mount a long or intermediate eye relief scout scope was problematic. Still, as I tested and wrote about a number of these rifles I was amazed by their accuracy and always had the idea of making one into a scout in the back of my mind.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/rifleshooter/content/photos/Ruger-Robar-Scout-Rifle-2.jpg

The breakthrough came in 2017 when I was shown a prototype of a new model American Rifle in .308 caliber with a redesigned and stiffened stock that accepts the AI style box magazines used in the Ruger Scout and available from Magpul and Ruger in 3, 5 and 10 round sizes. This, I thought, could be the basis for a lightweight, economy scout rifle. In 2018 I received one of these rifles for testing and, as usual, it was extremely accurate right out of the box. Firing five, 3 shot groups at 100 yards with four different kinds of ammunition the overall average was .8” with a best group of .31”. Part of the reasons these rifles are so accurate is due to the very crisp and precise Ruger Marksman trigger and another has to do with the free floated, cold hammer forged barrels.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/rifleshooter/content/photos/Ruger-Robar-Scout-Rifle-3.jpg

I knew some folks were working out scout rails for the American Rifles, among them Andy Larsson who owns Skinner Sights. In fact, acting on a suggestion first made by Jeff Cooper, Andy Larsson made a rail with a front sight built in more than 10 years ago. I asked my friend and fellow Gunsite Rangemaster, Freddie Blish at ROBAR in Phoenix to see if he was interested in the project. Fortunately, he was, and in short order Ruger had shipped him a rifle with a threaded 18” barrel to work on. Using Andy Larsson’s rear sight and an idea they figured out for placing an AR-15 sight in the front of the rail the back-up iron sight issue was resolved rather neatly. The rear sight is a ghost ring style with screw-in inserts and is adjustable for windage and elevation; the front sight adjusts for elevation as well. The finished product is very well executed and the rail matches so nicely it looks like it grew out of the barrel.


//content.osgnetworks.tv/rifleshooter/content/photos/Ruger-Robar-Scout-Rifle-4.jpg

Scout fans are always interested in weight so I weighed the bare rifle with an empty magazine and came up with 6 pounds, 6 ounces. After mounting an intermediate eye relief Leupold 1.5-5 VX-R Firedot scope in a set of Leupold low 30mm rings the rifle’s weight came in at 7 pounds 7 ounces. I’m getting ahead of myself and need to back up and tell you about preparing the rifle before mounting the scope. I’ve found it pays to go over a rifle and make sure everything is snugged up. Checking the rail I found the four bolts securing it were tight and the rail was rock solid. Next, I confirmed the barrel was free-floated, and lastly, following the instructions in the manual, I torqued the front and rear stock bolts. This is a little tricky as the rear stock bolt is beneath the magazine release. If you follow the directions removing the release to gain access to the bolt is easy and Ruger has thoughtfully provided a jig (that square piece of plastic you find in the box) for re-assembly. After adding a Rhodesian sling from Andy’s Leather, the best and fastest rifle sling you can use in my opinion, I was ready to hit the ranges at Gunsite and do some testing.


//content.osgnetworks.tv/rifleshooter/content/photos/Ruger-Robar-Scout-Rifle-5.jpg

Scout rifles aren’t meant for life on the bench rest. They come into their own when afield, where their handling characteristics and ability to quickly deliver a decisive first round hit can be appreciated. In fact, Jeff Cooper so insisted on practical rifle training and shooting from field positions that he refused to allow bench rests at Gunsite during his tenure. Nevertheless, I put in two range sessions on the bench to see what this rifle could do. I tested 7 different .308 loads, ranging from light to heavy hunting and match ammunition. I chronographed some of the loads using a Lab Radar Doppler chronograph and found they averaged 100-150 feet per second slower than published velocities for each load. Next, I fired five 3 shot groups with each load.


After all the shooting was done I got out the calipers and measured group sizes. Rather than give you a lengthy list of data that really doesn’t tell what you might experience I would generalize by saying the rifle, with this low powered scope and my old eyes shot very well. The smallest group I recorded was .47” and the largest was 1.62”. The overall average for all groups measured was 0.995”.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/rifleshooter/content/photos/Ruger-Robar-Scout-Rifle-6.jpg

If you’re interested in a scout rail for your Ruger American rifle the rail and rear sight can be ordered direct from Andy Larsson at Skinner Sights. I understand he will also soon have a similar rail and sight setup for Tika rifles. If you would care to send your rifle in to have a scout rail installed – there is some drilling and tapping involved – you can have Robar in Phoenix do the work. I believe they will soon be offering this as a package as well that will include a proper Rhodesian sling from Andy’s Leather.

I’m not an inventor, more like an instigator. I’m happy to have had a hand in getting this project going and think it would be really neat if Ruger jumped on board. My plans for this rifle include running the many field courses at Gunsite and using it to teach. Scout rifles are welcome in the Gunsite 270 Rifle Class so come see us and bring your scout rifle.


For more information:

www.ruger.com

www.skinnersights.com


www.robarguns.com

www.andysleather.com

www.gunsite.com

Recommended for You

The author takes stock of rimfire rifles he's known and loved. Ammo

.22 Memory Lane

J. Scott Rupp - January 04, 2019

The author takes stock of rimfire rifles he's known and loved.

For decades, things were quiet on the .22 centerfire front. Starting in 2017, shooters were offered not one but two hot new centerfire .22 cartridges. First out of the gate was the .22 Nosler, followed by the Federal .224 Valkrie. Ammo

.22 Nosler vs .224 Valkyrie

Brad Fitzpatrick - May 02, 2019

For decades, things were quiet on the .22 centerfire front. Starting in 2017, shooters were...

Ruger introduced .300 PRC and 6.5 PRC chamberings for the Ruger Precision Rifle. Bolt-Action

Ruger Precision Rifle Now Chambered in .300 PRC and 6.5 PRC

Rifleshooter Digital Staff - April 27, 2019

Ruger introduced .300 PRC and 6.5 PRC chamberings for the Ruger Precision Rifle.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense

Delta 5 - Daniel Defense's New Precision Bolt Action Rifle

Those looking to explore precision rifle shooting without going broke will be well served by Daniel Defense's new Delta 5.

Gun Clips with Joe Mantegna - BULLPUPS

Gun Clips with Joe Mantegna - BULLPUPS

Joe Mantegna talks about the origins of Bullpups.

RS Sako Finnlight II

RS Sako Finnlight II

The new Sako Finnlight II sports an innovative stock and Cerakote metal paired with the terrific 85 action.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories

For decades, things were quiet on the .22 centerfire front. Starting in 2017, shooters were offered not one but two hot new centerfire .22 cartridges. First out of the gate was the .22 Nosler, followed by the Federal .224 Valkrie. Ammo

.22 Nosler vs .224 Valkyrie

Brad Fitzpatrick - May 02, 2019

For decades, things were quiet on the .22 centerfire front. Starting in 2017, shooters were...

On June 2, 2014, Anschutz announced the start of a subsidiary branch in the United States. Industry

Anschutz Establishes U.S. Branch, Separates from Steyr

RifleShooter Online Staff - June 10, 2014

On June 2, 2014, Anschutz announced the start of a subsidiary branch in the United States.

Thompson/Center Arms rimfire rifles are available with Traditional Hardwood and Flat Dark Earth Black Grit finishes. Rimfire

Thompson/Center Arms Adds Stock Options to Rimfire Line

Rifle Shooter Digital Staff - April 16, 2019

Thompson/Center Arms rimfire rifles are available with Traditional Hardwood and Flat Dark...

See More Stories

More Bolt-Action

Ruger realized some hunters want some pizzazz with their rifle and created the Go Wild version of the Ruger American. Reviews

Ruger American: Go Wild IM Brush Pattern

J. Scott Rupp - July 10, 2019

Ruger realized some hunters want some pizzazz with their rifle and created the Go Wild version...

Thompson/Center and S&W's Performance Center team up to build an entry-level long-range chassis rifle. Bolt-Action

Review: Performance Center-Thompson/Center LRR

Alfredo Rico - April 09, 2019

Thompson/Center and S&W's Performance Center team up to build an entry-level long-range...

The new Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range is a well-built, accurate rifle for distance work. Reviews

Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range Review

Layne Simpson - August 12, 2019

The new Browning X-Bolt Max Long Range is a well-built, accurate rifle for distance work.

See More Bolt-Action

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.