Even before we answer that, you need to ask. What is that one rifle you could get if you had a choice of one gun?
This will be a difficult question for gun lovers that have a collection of guns. This is where scout rifles come into play to fill the uses of all different forms of guns.
So, What Exactly is a Scout Rifle?
Scout rifles are general purpose guns defined and promoted by a recognized gun expert the late Lt. Col Jeff Cooper.
It is a type of gun designed with excruciating details to fit a wide spectrum of uses. It is the one rifle you would have if you had a choice of just one gun.
Cooper promoted the idea of a scout rifle in the 1980s, but the only way to get such type of gun was to custom make one. He set out a specific vision that any scout rifle should meet. A few gun companies set out to offer rifles branded scout rifles trying to meet the set-out features explained by Cooper.
Few scout rifles are accepted to being close to the real scout rifle envisioned by Cooper. One such example that came close to the real scout rifle is the Steyr Mannlicher Scout, the Ruger Gunsite Scout, and the Savage Scout.
The Cooper Checklist Criteria for a Scout Rifle
There is no single conical list of the criteria with the checklist evolving over the years. There is too much into scout adherence that it is hard to find a single scout gun that meets all the criteria. However, based on the criteria in Cooper’s book,’ The Art of the Rifle,’ you will end up with a checklist similar to this:
- The rifle had to bolt action rifle with a smooth operation. There was no manufacturer or model preferred. There were no semi-automatic rifles disallowed but then it is hard for them to meet the weight requirement.
- The rifle had to weigh 6.6 pounds but can go as heavy as 7.7 pounds when you add the sling and scope. The rifle was intended for use on long distances hence the allowance for a sling. The extra weight can be taken by scout scopes, but this also means scope selection for a scout rifle is crucial to meet with the scout criteria. The ideal scout scope needs to be low-mounted, low-powered, long-eye relief and one placed forward for action. Such a scope could allow the shooter to have both eyes open to be aware and alert of the immediate surroundings. The scope is mounted with stripper clips and a quick single-round loading.
- The rifle has to be a meter long or less. Shorter barrel rifles of 18-20 inches are quite common today showing the greater contribution of Cooper’s attributes.
- The caliber should be able to take down any threat of up to 1000lbs with just a single shot. The preferred caliber is the .308 Winchester. However, bigger calibers can be used if more power is needed. You can also use the .243 caliber is you’re a frail shooter.
- The accuracy also had to be 2MOA or even better. This accuracy is measured with three shots groups at under 4-inches in a distance of 200 yards.
- The rifle must also support a quick sling loop
Reasons to Own a Scout Rifle
These rifles offer you speed and reliability which were the two main concerns of Cooper. The rifle reloads faster with stripper clips allowing you to take down any danger fast. The ejection of empty cases is also effortless.
The rifle scope requirements also ensured the user had excellent situational awareness and the peripheral vision was not affected. This is a rifle that will suit any person without looking at specific requirements. It is an ideal choice for newbies not sure what to buy. It is a lightweight gun that can be carried on your back with ease. The rifle length is well measured not to touch the grasses and shrubs when walking in the wild.
Overall, a scout rifle will offer you limitless possibilities whether outdoors or indoors.