Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle Review [2021]: A Well-Rounded Rifle

by Justin Fields

January 9, 2021

2 comments

4.5
(16)

Ruger’s Gunsite Scout Rifle made a lot of waves when first introduced. Though a handful of other production scout-style rifles existed, none managed to capture the imagination quite like the Ruger.

Gunsite Scout Specs

  • Stock Black Laminate
  • Caliber 308 Win
  • Sights Protected Blade (Front), Adjustable Rear
  • Capacity 10
  • Length (Barrel) 16.10’’
  • Length (Overall) 37-38.5″

Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle Background

The Scout Rifle concept is the brainchild of Colonel Jeff Cooper. The late Col. Cooper was literally a legend in his own time: a WWII veteran, prolific author, and the father of modern defensive pistolcraft.

He founded what became the iconic Gunsite Training Center, and at least to some extent, the very idea of combative firearms training as we know it today.

Suffice to say, when The Colonel spoke, people listened.

Cooper’s scout rifle concept seems purpose-built to appeal to me.

It was intended to be a general-purpose rifle for a military scout – from engaging at distance to fighting relatively close, to hunting large game, the scout rifle was expected to do it all.

The most prominent of Cooper’s specifications were:

  • .308 Winchester (or 7mm-08 where .308 is prohibited by law),
  • Bolt action,
  • Magazine fed, ideally with detachable magazines or fed from stripper clips,
  • Under 1 meter (39”) in length and 3 – 3.5 kg (6.6 to 7.7 lbs) in weight
  • Forward-mounted, lower power scope, ideally with “reserve” ghost-ring, iron sights

Cooper had quite a few other criteria and I won’t cover them all, but the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle (stylized as the “GSR”) meets most of them…and adds a twist or two of its own. The Gunsite Scout is a bolt action, .308 rifle fed from a detachable box magazine. It has an extended eye relief scope mount, well-executed ghost ring sights, and a few other things we’ll go over.

Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle Features

1 Intermediate Eye Relief Scope Mount

Reversible for traditional scope mounting.

2 Detachable, Accuracy International-pattern Magazines

Holds up to 10 rounds.

3 Flash Suppressor

Nice feature to have coupled with the protected military-style sights.

4 Great Stock

Laminate stock with removable, ½” spacers for optimized length of pull.

Ruger Gunsite Scout – Our Take

The Gunsite Scout is extremely feature-rich. I have an awful lot to say about this rifle, so I may quickly exceed my word limit. Let’s begin at the muzzle.

As you have doubtlessly noticed, the Gunsite Scout has a flash hider or muzzle break, depending on which version you purchase. Though some sneer at it, I love the flash hider for both the aesthetic it brings to the rifle, and the fact that this rifle has served in the past as my only defensive rifle. Having fired .308s, indoors, at close range I can appreciate a flash hider.

Right behind the flash hider is the front sight. For a kid that grew up on the M16A2, I’m right at home with this front sight post, which is protected by military style ears. Moving back along the 16.5-inch, free-floated barrel you’ll notice that it is graduated with two distinct step-downs. The barrel gets noticeably thicker under the rail section (where it supports the rail), then widens substantially again at the chamber area.

The short section of Picatinny rail on the rear third of the barrel is for mounting a Scout-style optic like the Burris Scout Scope shown here. Typical of its class it has only 2.75x fixed magnification, a heavy reticle that prefers speed over precision, and can be shot with both eyes open. The receiver is cut accept scope mounts directly over the action should you prefer a “regular” scope.

The action is a Ruger Model 77 bolt action with a controlled-feed extractor (again, as specified by Col. Cooper). The bolt handle is slightly oversized. The safety has three positions, the forward-most of which is fire. The middle position is “SAFE” and the rearmost position is safe, with the bolt locked and prevented from cycling.

The magazine-fed action is perhaps the single most visually arresting feature on this rifle, unaccustomed as we are to seeing bolt guns with big, box magazines. The gun comes with a single mag: a metal, AICS-pattern, 10-rounder. I have found it works well but replacements are nearly $100. Ruger also sells a polymer magazine that is quite a bit cheaper at around $40, but I admit I’ve been less than impressed with it.

Though I have yet to try one personally the AICS-pattern PMAG from Magpul gets rave reviews from the Ruger. The magazine is released by a lever on the front of the trigger guard. Mags lock in the front, then rock in, similar to an AK magazine. Three- and five-round magazines are also available for hunting in areas where capacity is limited

Although a synthetic stock would have been a perfectly reasonably choice, Ruger chose to equip the Gunsite Scout with a laminated stock. It is a very attractive stock and I’m glad they chose to go that way, even though it may have added a few ounces. The stock has adjustable length of pull in 1/2-inch increments via butt spacers. Ruger includes three of these spacers with the Scout.

Shooting the Gunsite Scout is an absolute pleasure. The gun is solid enough to make recoil easily manageable, but is short and light enough to handle really well. Shooting with irons is fun, but I chose to equip this gun with a traditional scout-style IER scope from Burris.

Reliability with the gun is excellent, once you get the hang of it. I have found that you have to run the bolt with some authority to get the gun to cycle. If you try to gingerly push the bolt forward it’s going to hang up. Run the bolt and it’ll feed just fine, and extraction has never been an issue.

Accuracy out of the Scout is pretty good. I will admit that the very heavy reticle of the Scout scope somewhat limits precision accuracy. I can maintain useable accuracy out to a couple hundred yards but tiny groups are difficult to print. As is so often the case, the Scout’s range is really only limited by the shooter behind it.

The group shown here was fired in what I felt was a more appropriate manner for the Scout: from an unsupported kneeling position at 100 yards. Still not terribly impressive, I know. I’ve got some work to do in order to let this rifle live up to Cooper’s dictum of 2 MOA (~4”) at 200 yards.

One question that comes up a lot when talking about the Scout is, “what is it good for?” and that’s a fair question. These days bolt guns are largely limited to either the precision rifle scene, or Fudds who take them hunting. I contend there is still room for the Scout wherever you want to employ it.

In the past decade I have lived in two “assault weapon”-restricted states. I was able to take my Scout rifle to both when I moved, while all my cool-guy guns stayed in storage. Would I feel under-gunned with the Scout rifle? Though I’m still looking for a suitable way to mount a light…no way! Bear defense? Check. Home defense? Check. Restricted state acceptable? Check. Hunting? Check. Though it may no longer be Instagram-worthy the Scout can still be the do-it-all rifle.

Ruger Scout Pros and Cons

  • Fast handling, easy to carry
  • Fast, “snap” shooting with both eyes open
  • Detachable box magazine makes reloading fast and easy
  • Truly an all-purpose rifle
  • Bolt requires some break-in to smooth out.

Report Card

Reliability

The harder you run the bolt, the better she seems to function.

A
Accuracy

Though limited by the duplex reticle of the Scout scope I have little doubt about the Scout’s inherent accuracy.

B
Shootability

Comfortable, fast-handling shooter from 3 to 300.

A+
Ergonomics

Excellent. Checkering where it needs to be, controls where they need to be, points well, handles well.

A+
Value

At around $1,000 for the model shown here it’s fair money for a solid gun.

B

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by Justin Fields

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Ruger Gunsite Scout Starter Pack

So, you’ve decided to go ahead and purchase a Ruger Gunsite Scout. Good choice. But do you have everything you’re going to need in order to really get started? Here’s our list of recommended pickups to start getting the most out of your newest toy.

Ruger Gunsite Scout Deals

Guns can get to be a bit hard to find and expensive these days. So, that’s we’ve gone ahead and located some of the sweeter deals available for the Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle. 

Disclaimer: These are prices at the time of writing. Prices and availability may be subject to change.

Ruger Gunsite Gun Deals

Upgrades and Accessories for the Ruger Gunsite Scout

What’s better than picking up a new gun? Customizing it and tricking it out of course! And there’s a bunch of different stuff you can do with this rifle. These are the upgrades that I’d go along with:

Best Accessories for the Ruger Gunsite Scout

AccessoryDetailsCheck Price
Uncle Mike's Tri-Lock Swivels
  • Cheap
  • Sturdy and Tough
  • Threaded Sleeve and Spring Loaded Plunger Swivel Lock
Check Price
Warne Quick-Detach Scope Rings
  • Quick Release to Drop in a Hurry
  • Great for Hunting Purposes
  • Inexpensive, yet Quality
Check Price
Leupold FX-II Scout 2.5x28mm
  • Twilight Light Management System
  • Great Scope for Inside 200 yds
  • Bomb-Proof (Come on...It's a Leupold.)
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your Ruger Gunsite Scout

Let’s face it. 308 Win isn’t the cheapest stuff around. And it’s going to behoove you to search for a couple different ammo types in order to prevent your Ruger Scout from shooting through all your hard earned cash. Here are our recommendations for training and working ammunition.

Range Rounds

American Eagle 110 GR FMJ Ammo

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Gritr Sports $1.04

Working Ammunition

Sierra GameChanger 165 GR TGK

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $1.57

How to Care for Your Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle

Knowing how to care for your rifle is a huge part of actually owning it. And if you’re good to the Ruger Scout, it’ll be good to you for many years to come. PCBullets does a pretty great job in showing you how to do just that in this great video.

Important Links and Manuals for the Ruger Scout Rifle

Want some more info on the Ruger Scout Rifle? Check out these handy links to get started.

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About Justin Fields

Justin is a former MARSOC Marine, former government contractor, former special operations instructor, current student of paramedicine, author of digital security books, and blogger at SwiftSilentDeadly.com. Justin prides himself on being a generalist with a heavy emphasis in firearms and their employment.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I would suggest a visit to scout rifle.org
    There is much to be learned there.

    You can also follow my chronology of the 2016 Gunsite Scout Rifle Conference at the listed site above.

    Richard Mann also wrote a very informative book about the subject.

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