Skip to main content

Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle Review

Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle Review

I've never really been a disciple of Col. Cooper's scout rifle concept: a short, handy bolt-action with a forward-mounted optic, chambered in an authoritative cartridge, fed from a detachable magazine. For a fighting gun like the Ruger Gunsite Scout, I like short and quick but prefer the wide field of view of an optic mounted close to my eye.

Plus, while I understand that the forward-mounted scout scope offers better access to the top of the receiver, who really uses stripper clips with a bolt action these days?

But the Ruger Gunsite Scout, chambered in 5.56 NATO, may make me a convert. The design engineers at Ruger and their partners at Gunsite thought out every element of the Ruger Gunsite Scout to perfection.


For starters, the sights are really nice. The front is a stout winged post on a base that sleeves the barrel—it's all one piece—and the blade is just slender enough for fine shooting. The rear is a sturdy aperture, adjustable for windage and elevation and also winged for protection.


Crushing my argument against the limitations of a forward-mounted scope is that the rear sight is easily removed, and Ruger's well-known scope ring base cuts are machined into the action—enabling users to mount a scope either forward or rearward, whatever they prefer.

The forward optic base is a solid 6.1-inch section of 1913 Picatinny rail secured to the barrel by two burly screws front and back. It's ideally located for use with an extended eye relief scope or a non-magnified reflex-type optic.

Ruger GunSite Scout Rifle Rear Sight
The Ruger Gunsite Scout's rear sight is a sturdy, wing-protected unit, paired with an equally tough wing-protected blade front. The rear can be removed for traditional scope mounting.

Interestingly, the bottom "metal" is glass-reinforced nylon. It houses a steel 10-round magazine made by Accurate-Mag. From what I can tell, the new 5.56 version uses the same magazine as the .308 version but is fit with an internal polymer that sleeves it down to .223 size. Scuttlebutt on the Internet is that Ruger should have found a way to use AR-15 magazines, and I must admit I agree. They would be cheaper, lighter and much smaller than the adapted magazine

But it's not nearly that simple, as Ruger's Mark Gurney points out. "The entire action would have to be completely replaced with an all-new design. The Mauser-style controlled-round feed and big claw extractor would almost certainly be gone," he told RifleShooter.


As it is, the steel Accurate-Mag is surely more durable and precisely made than an AR-15 mag. It's released via a Mini-14 type catch just forward of the trigger guard.

Ruger GunSite Scout Rifle Forward Optic Sight
One of the key features of the scout concept is a forward-mounted optic, and the Gunsite Scout accommodates that with a six-inch rail section.

The trigger is nice and crisp but a bit heavy. The one on my Ruger Gunsite Scout measured four pounds, 10 ounces on a Lyman trigger gauge. On a carbine meant for defense, a trigger on the heavy side is considered appropriate by many, although I like my triggers lighter. The safety is a three-position wing type, and it locks the bolt in place in the rear-most position. When engaged, it also blocks the firing pin from falling, which I prefer to safeties that block only the trigger.

A Mauser-type latch allows the bolt to be withdrawn to the rear for cleaning. The bolt is a one-piece design sporting a strong, 0.4-inch-wide, non-rotating claw extractor. It's a proper controlled-round mechanism, appropriate on a carbine where reliability is paramount.


The 16.1-inch barrel has a 1:8 twist, which offers stability and forgiving accuracy over a broad range of projectile weights. As you'll see on the accompanying chart, the Ruger Gunsite Scout performed well with bullets weighing from 40 to 75 grains.

review-gunsite-ruger-scout-4
While many would have liked the rifle to accept AR-15 mags, that's not possible with the Hawkeye's controlled-round-feed action. The gun takes steel Accurate-Mags.

Ruger's flash suppressor is a simple, effective muzzle device. Two flat surfaces allow easy removal for replacement or a suppressor, and the stainless version of the carbine comes with a muzzle thread protector.

The gray laminate stock is tough and impervious to the elements. And because gun fit is critical to the scout rifle concept, the included spacers allow you to change the length of pull. Sling swivel studs come included fore and aft, and very nice checkering at the wrist and fore-end provides grip.

After mounting a light, compact 1.5-4.5x20 Nikon Monarch, I took the Ruger Gunsite Scout to the range with six different loads. My test protocol was to fire three three-shot groups in rapid succession, which tested the carbine's ability to hold point of impact and maintain tight groups as the barrel heated.

ruger-scout-review-gunsite-5

The Ruger Gunsite Scout put half the loads in sub-m.o.a. groups, and two of the other three into sub-1.5 m.o.a. groups. The second and third groups—fired briskly as the barrel heated—showed no discernible point of impact change or loosening of group size.

I also ran some informal drills with the Ruger Gunsite Scout and found it balances nicely and points well. Reliability was stellar. The controlled-feed action fed smoothly, extracted cleanly and generally showed its thoroughbred ancestry. The late Col. Cooper may have just earned another disciple to his scout rifle concept.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Rifle Review

Mossberg Patriot Predator 6.5 PRC Rifle Review

RifleShooter Magazine editor Scott Rupp breaks down all the features of the Mossberg Patriot Predator rifle chambered in 6.5 PRC.

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.

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.

Steyr Arms Announces Sniper Rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor

Steyr Arms Announces Sniper Rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor

Scott O'Brien from Steyr Arms sat down with Michael Bane at SHOT Show 2018 to take a look at Steyr's new tactical heavy barrel sniper rifle in 6.5mm Creedmoor.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

The author takes stock of rimfire rifles he's known and loved..22 Memory Lane Ammo

.22 Memory Lane

J. Scott Rupp - January 04, 2019

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

The Hi-Point 10mm carbine, technically the 1095 TS, sports a 17.5-inch barrel, is 32 inches long and weighs seven pounds empty. Review: Hi-Point 1095 TS 10mm Carbine Semi-Auto

Review: Hi-Point 1095 TS 10mm Carbine

James Tarr - April 04, 2019

The Hi-Point 10mm carbine, technically the 1095 TS, sports a 17.5-inch barrel, is 32 inches...

The handloading question: With large availability factory ammo on the market, why bother with reloading? Craig Boddington offers a few answers.Reloading Ammo – Why? Reloading

Reloading Ammo – Why?

Craig Boddington - March 26, 2019

The handloading question: With large availability factory ammo on the market, why bother with...

Craig Boddington takes a look five great military cartridges, all more than a century old, that continue to solider on. 5 Great Military Rifle Cartridges Ammo

5 Great Military Rifle Cartridges

Craig Boddington - August 07, 2020

Craig Boddington takes a look five great military cartridges, all more than a century old,...

See More Trending Articles

More Bolt-Action

Production of the second-generation Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan began in July 2019, and the rifle is nearly identical to the earlier rifle of the same name.Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan Bolt-Action Rifle Review Reviews

Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan Bolt-Action Rifle Review

Layne Simpson - June 23, 2020

Production of the second-generation Ruger Hawkeye Alaskan began in July 2019, and the rifle is...

Benelli introduces the Lupo bolt action, and it's a new breed of hunting rifle.Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle Review Reviews

Benelli Lupo Bolt-Action Rifle Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - June 16, 2020

Benelli introduces the Lupo bolt action, and it's a new breed of hunting rifle.

Not too big, not too small, the new Ruger Long-Range Hunter gives you reach in a portable package.Ruger M77 Hawkeye Long-Range Hunter Review Reviews

Ruger M77 Hawkeye Long-Range Hunter Review

Layne Simpson - April 15, 2020

Not too big, not too small, the new Ruger Long-Range Hunter gives you reach in a portable...

The Christensen Arms lightweight Mesa Titanium Edition bolt-action hunting rifle is a peak performer.Christensen Arms Mesa Titanium Edition Rifle Review Reviews

Christensen Arms Mesa Titanium Edition Rifle Review

Brad Fitzpatrick - August 14, 2020

The Christensen Arms lightweight Mesa Titanium Edition bolt-action hunting rifle is a peak...

See More Bolt-Action

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the RifleShooter App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All RifleShooter subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now