Best Scout Rifles: Our Top Picks

by Travis Pike

February 29, 2024

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As a firearms enthusiast, I’m amazed at how versatile some guns are. The scout rifle is one such firearm that catches the eye, not just for its looks but for its versatility and adaptability in different situations.

Jeff Cooper’s impact on firearms was significant, notably with his introduction of the scout rifle concept in the early 1980s, emphasizing it as a multi-purpose firearm.

The scout rifle is not a completely new invention but a mix of ideas and add-ons that make it special. Today, let’s delve into the best scout rifles and I’ll review them in detail.

What Is A Scout Rifle?

The Scout Rifle, conceptualized by Mr. Cooper, is a versatile firearm designed for various tasks. It uses a compact action with a 90-degree rotation and a Mauser claw extractor. It typically uses powerful cartridges like .308 or 7mm-08, but can also use modern ones like 6.5 Creedmoor.

The rifle should achieve a 2 MOA group and have a smooth, 3-pound trigger. It can have an optional long eye relief scope and simple, robust iron sights. The magazine, whether fixed or removable, should be durable. If fixed, it can be loaded with stripper clips. A two-point sling is preferred for carrying and aiming.

The scout rifle is lighter and shorter than most, with a max unloaded weight of 6.6 pounds and a loaded weight of 7.7 pounds. Its length should be 39 inches or less. This design makes the scout rifle adaptable and ready to evolve with the changing needs of shooters and the capabilities of firearms.

How I Chose the Best Scout Rifles

With over a decade of shooting and hunting experience, I’ve put a variety of scout rifles to the test to find the best performers. Quality is paramount to me, so I sought suggestions from various fellow shooters in the community for rifles known for exceptional performance. After careful evaluation, I’ve compiled a list of top-performing scout rifles.

These selections, based on my experience and input from shooting companions, promise excellent shooting experiences. However, rifle preferences vary, and what suits me might not be ideal for everyone. I’ve ranked these rifles based on personal experiences, but the ultimate choice rests with you. Here are my top picks for the best scout rifles.

Best Scout Rifles

Best Scout Rifles

Steyr Scout
  • Designed With Coopers Input
  • Light and Compact
  • Integrated Bipod and Spare Mag Holder
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Ruger Scout
  • Lightweight and Compact
  • Adjustable Length of Pull
  • Includes Iron Sights and Scout mount
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M1A1 Scout 
  • Semi-Auto Action
  • Detachable Magazines
  • National Match Sights and Trigger
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Browning BLR Takedown 
  • Lever Action Rifle
  • Break Down Design
  • Built-In Iron Sights
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Mossberg MVP Scout 
  • Affordable American Made Option
  • Plug and Play Option with Included Optic
  • Utilizes AR magazines
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Savage 110 Scout 
  • Accutrigger
  • Detachable Magazines
  • Robust Compensator
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Best Scout Rifles Specs

Before we jump into the individual reviews, lets lines these rifles up side by side and look closely into their specificiations.

RifleWeightLengthCapacityCaliber
Steyr Scout6.6 pounds38.6 inches5 to 10 rounds308 - 7mm-08
Ruger Scout6.2 pounds38.5 inches10308
M1A1 Scout8.5 pounds40.33 inches5 to 20308 Win
Browning BLR Takedown6.5 pounds40 inches4308, 7mm-08, 6.5 Creedmoor
Mossberg MVP Scout7 pounds37.5 inches5 to 20308 Win
Savage 110 Scout7.72 pounds38.5 inches5 or 10308 and 450 Bushmaster

Best Scout Rifles Reviews

We’re going to unpack each of these rifles below, the pros and cons, the price and our take on each rifle.

1. Steyr Scout

Steyr Scout

Steyr Scout

Extraordinarily versatile Scout Rifle. It’s very lightweight, thanks to its aluminum receiver housing, hammer forged fluted barrel and extensive use of polymers.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value C

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 11 Reviews

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Steyr Scout Specs

  • Weight 6.6 pounds
  • Length 38.6 inches
  • Capacity 5 to 10 rounds
  • Caliber 308, 7mm-08

Steyr Scout Review

The Steyr Scout stands out as nearly perfect for a scout rifle. Weighing only 6.6 pounds, it’s incredibly lightweight and convenient. This rifle comes in 308 and 7mm-08 and also packs numerous features that make it one of the best scout rifles out there. 

This includes an integrated handguard that folds down into a bipod for easy resting shots. Instead of adding extra weight with a separate bipod, Steyr’s integrated system keeps things nice and light.

The Steyr Scout utilizes a detachable magazine and comes in 5 and 10-round capacities. The stock has a slot that allows you to hold an extra magazine on the rifle as well. Steyr integrated a rail section forward of the action, and it’s easy to add whatever optic you choose with little effort. Ranked first on my list of best scout rifles, this rifle captures the scout rifle essence and remains one of my top choices for a lightweight and practical firearm.

Steyr Scout Pros and Cons

  • Lightweight
  • Useful Integrated Features 
  • Expensive 

Steyr Scout Gun Deals

2. Ruger Scout

Ruger Scout

Ruger Scout

Ruger Scout featuring forward-mounted Picatinny rail, Detachable box magazine and a Free-floating, cold hammer-forged barrel results in ultra-precise rifling that provides exceptional accuracy and longevity.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 12 Reviews

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Ruger Scout Specs

  • Weight 8.5 pounds
  • Length 40.33 inches
  • Capacity 5 to 20 
  • Caliber 308 Win 

Ruger Scout Review

Ranked second on my list of the best scout rifles, the Ruger scout rifle holds a special place as perhaps my personal favorite among scout rifles. I love the wood-stocked models for their classic American rifle feel. But if you want something lighter, go for the polymer model, they’re about a pound lighter and meet the weight requirement at 6.2 pounds. The length of this rifle hits the sweet spot of 38.5 inches with a 16.5-inch threaded barrel. 

Ruger includes a flash hider, which helps with a short barrel throwing 308 or 350 Legend rounds downrange. This short, handy barrel generates considerable flash and concussion, making the reduction helpful. The ½ x 28 thread pattern makes it easy to attach different muzzle devices, ranging from compensators to suppressors. 

The rifle’s length can be adjusted to fit different shooters, from 12.75 inches to 14.25 inches. It has a forward-mounted picatinny rail for adding optics and a detachable magazine that holds five rounds. Plus, it comes with sturdy iron sights that you can adjust, so you don’t necessarily need an optic. You can read the full review of the Ruger scout rifle here.

Ruger Scout Pros and Cons

  • Iron sight equipped
  • Threaded Barrel 
  • Out of the Box Ready
  • Only polymer models meet the weight requirement

Ruger Scout Gun Deals

3. Springfield M1A1 Scout

Springfield M1A1 Scout

Springfield M1A1 Scout

The Springfield M1A1 Scout Squad combines legendary M1A1 power and reliability with the quick handling and lightning-fast sight acquisition of a scout-style rifle.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy B
  • Value C

Our Grade

B+

Reader’s Grade

B

Based on 16 Reviews

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Springfield M1A1 Scout

  • Weight 6.2 pounds
  • Length 40.33
  • Capacity 5 to 20 rounds
  • Caliber 308 Win

Springfield M1A1 Scout Review

I’m cheating on this one. Technically, it’s too long at 40.33 inches and too heavy at 8.8 pounds to meet the strict scout rifle requirements. The M1A1 gives shooters a semi-auto option, but it’s heavier and longer than what we’d usually want. It packs 308 rounds with detachable magazines ranging from 5 to 20 rounds.

The scout squad features the essential forward optics rail and comes with robust National Match iron sights, making it easy to aim and stay on target. Springfield also trimmed the barrel to a friendly 18 inches and added a compensator to fight muzzle rise, allowing you for rapid and accurate shooting.

With a very nice National Match tuned trigger, the scout squad offers a sweet and short squeeze. Despite falling short on weight and length, it ticks all the necessary boxes to be an effective scout rifle, securing the 3rd spot on my list of the best scout rifles.

Springfield M1A1 Pros and Cons

  • Semi-Auto
  • National Match Trigger
  • Built-in irons
  • Long and Heavy

Springfield M1A1 Scout Gun Deals

4. Browning BLR Takedown

Browning BLR Takedown

Browning BLR Takedown

The design of the BLR features an aircraftgrade alloy receiver glasssmooth rack and pinion system and multilug rotating bolt that handles many of the most popular magnum cartridges.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value C

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

B-

Based on 5 Reviews

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Browning BLR Takedown Specs

  • Weight 6.5 pounds
  • Length 40 inches
  • Capacity 4 rounds
  • Caliber Caliber – 308, 7mm-08, 6.5 Creedmoor

Browning BLR Takedown Review

The Browning BLR Take Down wasn’t an intentional scout rifle. Browning wanted to create a lever-action rifle that could be easily broken down and carried. The problem with this design is that the barrel indexing can sometimes shift. So, mount a scope on the barrel to make sure it stays accurate after you take the gun apart and put it back together.

Unlike other lever guns, the BLR features a removable magazine, allowing it to use spitzer rifle rounds like the 308 Winchester. The BLR Lightweight Stainless Takedown meets the weight requirement but is just an inch longer than the standard 39 inches.

Built-in peep iron sights allow you to make the most out of a 308 round, and the barrel is tapped for a forward scout scope mount. As a lever gun, it offers you the reliability of a bolt action with a rapid-fire rate. Taking the 4th spot on my list of best scout rifles, the BLR is one of the only lever guns that can be called a scout rifle. 

Browning BLR Takedown Pros and Cons

  • Rapid action lever gun
  • Takedown for compact travel
  • Robust iron sights
  • Expensive
  • A Hair long

Browning BLR Takedown Gun Deals

5. Mossberg MVP Scout

Mossberg MVP Scout Rifle

Mossberg MVP Scout

The MVP series are robust bolt action rifles from an American company we all know and love.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

C+

Based on 8 Reviews

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Mossberg MVP Scout Specs

  • Weight 7 pounds
  • Length 37.5 inches
  • Capacity 5 to 20 rounds
  • Caliber 308 Win

Mossberg MVP Scout Review

Scout rifles can get pricey. Even the Ruger is on the expensive side. But, the Mossberg MVP scout rifle gives you that scout rifle feel without costing a fortune. It’s part of the robust MVP series from a well-known American company.

The MVP scout meets the length requirement of 37.5 inches but slightly exceeds the weight limit of 7 pounds. This extra weight comes from the bull barrel, a feature not commonly found on scout rifles. However, it does allow for more accurate and sustained firing. Mossberg’s scout utilizes a detachable box magazine, and guess what? They utilized AR 10 magazines, which are cheap and commonly available.

The Scout is complete with a robust set of iron sights and a very long optic rail. Mossberg even throws in an option with a Vortex 2-7X long eye relief optic for a little extra cost. Coming in at 5th place on my list of best scout rifles, it’s the only plug-and-play option I’ve found for the scout rifle concept.

Mossberg MVP Scout Pros and Cons

  • Affordable
  • Utilizes Common AR type magazines
  • Out of the Box Ready
  • Heavier than Scout rifle requirement

Mossberg MVP Scout Gun Deals

6. Savage 110 Scout

Savage 110 Scout

Savage 110 Scout

When the stakes are high settle for nothing less than the precision and adaptability of the Savage 110. The 110 provides the accuracy and function of a custom rifle-right out of the box.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 9 Reviews

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Savage 110 Scout Specs

  • Weight 7.72 pounds
  • Length 38.5 inches
  • Capacity 5 or 10 rounds
  • Caliber 308 and 450 Bushmaster

Savage 110 Scout Review

The Savage 110 Scout is another that doesn’t quite meet the weight requirements. It’s a little heavy at 7.72 pounds but does meet the length requirement at 38.5 inches. Although a tad heavy, some of the weight can be blamed on the built-in optic mount, robust iron sights, and the big ole compensator designed for recoil reduction.

Available in 308 Winchester, Savage also offers the 450 Bushmaster for those interested in a straight-line cartridge, especially for hunting in states with restrictions on bottleneck rounds. The 110 Scout uses a Magpul AICS magazine, holding ten rounds for 308 and five for 450 Bushmaster. 

The large big reduces the gun’s recoil, although it increases muzzle flash and noise slightly. Adding optics is simple with the forward-mounted scope rail, and the built-in iron sights are a great addition. It features one of the best stock rifle triggers on the market in the form of the Accu-Trigger. This rifle secures the final, 6th spot on my list of best scout rifles.

Savage 110 Scout Pros and Cons

  • Awesome Trigger
  • Recoil Reducing Compensator
  • Smooth Action
  • A little heavy 

Savage 110 Scout Gun Deals

Best Scout Rifles Buyers Guide – Our Thoughts

Having reviewed the six rifles on our list, let’s now look at some important factors to consider when choosing a scout rifle.

Purpose – Decide the intended use of your scout rifle, be it hunting, competitive shooting, or tactical applications. Knowing this helps narrow down your options.

Accuracy – Look for a scout rifle with excellent accuracy. A reliable rifle should consistently deliver tight groups at various distances. Consider factors like barrel length, twist rate, and overall build quality, which can significantly impact accuracy.

Caliber – Scout rifles come in different calibers such as .308 Winchester, .223 Remington, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .30-06 Springfield. Each caliber offers distinct ballistic traits. Choose a caliber that suits your intended use and shooting preferences.

Optic – Pick an optic with a long eye relief for your scout rifle. Look for a lightweight scope with 2-3x magnification, like the Burris 2.75x20mm or Leupold VX-1 1.5-4x scopes.

Red Dot – Get a red dot sight such as the Aimpoint T-2 or SIG Romeo5. They help you aim accurately up to 200 yards. Look for a 2 MOA dot for easy target spotting.

Sling – Choose a modern sling like the Blue Force Gear Vickers sling. It adjusts easily and supports accurate shooting. It’s durable, preferred by the U.S. Marine Corps.

Light – Add a small, powerful light for low-light situations. The Rein Micro is strong and has a long range. Or consider the Streamlight ProTac HL-X or Surefire M600 for a budget-friendly option.

Scouting 

Scout rifles are the concept that won’t go away. I think it’s fair to say we have more Scout rifles now than ever before. This cool, do anything rifle concept provides a versatile platform for the adventurous type, for the rural lifestyle, and for the folks that want to spice up a bolt-action rifle. Scout rifles are all kinds of cool and extremely versatile rifles. To me, they make the plain old bolt action a lot of fun. 

What’s your experience with the Scout rifle? Love it? Hate? Have you read the Art of the Rifle by Jeff Cooper? Let us know what you think below. 

FOR FIRST TIME GUN BUYERS

If this is your first rifle or perhaps just your first Scout Rifle, then there are definitely some things you should also consider so as to not only get the most out of your gun, but keep it safe and those around you.

  • Gun Cleaning Kit: Responsibly owning a rifle also includes knowing how to care for it. And that means breaking it down, cleaning it, and reassembly. You’ll need to ensure you pick up a top notch cleaning kit so you can ensure you get all the gunk out of places gunk doesn’t need to be. We recommend the Gloryfire Universal Cleaning Kit.
  • Shooting Glasses: If you’ve never shot a gun before, then you may not be aware of reasons why you’d need safety glasses. But all it takes is one piece of hot brass in your eye and you could be looking at serious injury. Check out our article on the Best Shooting Glasses to determine the right fit for you.
  • Hearing Protection: It’s pretty obvious, but…guns go bang. And it doesn’t take much to start causing hearing damage. Protect your ears and hearing by picking up some premium ear pro. There’s many different great options available too. Find out the best for you in our Best Shooting Hearing Protection review.
  • Storage: Finally, if you’re going to be a safe gun owner, you’re going to want to properly store your rifle. Head over to our review on the Barska Biometric Rifle Cabinet for a great storage option.

Accessories and Upgrades

Blue Force Gear Vickers Sling
  • Molded Acetal Adjuster
  • Attached with TriGlide
  • Made in the US
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REIN Micro Weapon Light
  • Powerful and Durable
  • Lightweight
  • Shockproof
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SureFire M600DF Scout LED Light
  • Budget Option
  • TIR lens shapes versatile beam
  • Tough
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Best Scout Rifles FAQs

How do iron sights work on a scout rifle?

Iron sights are physical alignment markers that help you for accurate aiming. They typically consist of a rear sight near the shooter’s eye and a front sight near the muzzle.

What is a scout scope mount?

A scout scope mount is a device that allows the attachment of a scope to a scout rifle. It gives you a stable platform for mounting optics over the receiver or farther forward.

What is an aperture rear sight?

An aperture rear sight, also known as a peep sight, is a disc with a hole in the middle. The shooter lines up the front post in the center of the rear aperture for accurate aiming.

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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