Cooper Scout Rifle Concept

A true Cooper Scout Rifle has been on my list of guns to buy since I first read about the concept, but something always came along that I “needed” more. Over at AllOutdoor, Major discusses the Scout concept …

Much has been written about Jeff Cooper’s scout rifle concept. Although no one can speak more authoritatively on the subject than the late Cooper himself, I have become a student of the concept. Unfortunately, many writers have missed the spirit of the scout rifle concept, using the traits such as the light weight, .308 chambering, and overall length as mandates instead of guidelines. A point often missed was Cooper’s more important requirement of shooter capabilities. After all if you cannot hit the target, it matters little how good the equipment is.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • M.M.D.C.

    “the four corn can gauntlet” I must do this.

    • Steve Truffer


      • M.M.D.C.

        It’s from the AllOutdoor article: “I set up four tests, varying the shooting positions and respective distances: standing at 50 yards, kneeling at 75 yards, sitting at 100 yards, and supported prone at 200 yards and 400 yards. Standing, kneeling, and sitting positions were stabilized via national match style sling, and the 200- and 400-yard supported prone position was shot with the rifle supported over my pack.

        The idea was simple: hit a large 4-inch can of corn at each distance out to the 200-yard line and then be able to ring the 400-yard 12-inch gong and do it at a pretty brisk pace. Hit a can of corn with a .308 or 7.62×39 Hornady Z-Max round, and you know it. “Corn. It’s what’s for dinner in a 20-yard radius.”- See more at:

        As Old Painless at The Box o Truth says: Shooting stuff is fun.

        • DiverEngrSL17K

          That’s a pretty good summary, M.M.D.C. — thanks!

  • Jon

    You either love scout rifles or you hate them. They are like Glocks in that way. I am a fan and own several configurations of the rifle. The thing I like best is the long eye relief scope idea to see multiple targets and once. You have less “scope tunnel vision” when using a scout rifle.

  • Clint Notestine

    “A point often missed was Cooper’s more important requirement of shooter
    capabilities. After all if you cannot hit the target, it matters little
    how good the equipment is.” Not if you get one of those fancy scopes and how is this even advice?

    • Troy Emge

      Yeah, I’m confused about how shooter skill wanders into a discussion on optimal rifle design.

  • Blake

    A paratrooper SKS with the rear sight replaced with a scope rail & pistol scope gets pretty close to the Scout concept on a budget, but deletes the necessary backup iron sights (and lacks the specified punch of the .308, both to target & shoulder).

    Personally when I was messing around with the Scout-style setup on our SKS I found that for fast target acquisition and long eye relief a low-magnification red dot sight was much better than a pistol scope, as it was way too fidgetey to get the pistol scope lined up in a hurry without it “winking” at you. But then I was using a “good enough” Simmons 4x pistol scope rather than a gazillion dollar Leupold.

    Maybe that’s why the military uses red dot sights…

  • Walter E. Kurtz

    I lost interest when the author referred to the Mini-30 as a “battle proven design”.

    • Dave

      Meh, based off of the M-14, from the Garand-father. I’d say the action and design is steeped in battle proof.

      • Troy Emge

        Based on does not make is.

        • John

          An interesting reverse-comparison of that semantic would be the AR-18. It is not a battle proven weapon, but the myriad of service rifles that based its designs on the AR-18 (G36, SA80, F2000 to name a few) are. Based off the AR-18 doesn’t make the AR-18 a battle proven weapon. Just food for thought

          • Troy Emge

            It’s too bad the AR-18 didn’t gain more traction, it’s a great weapon.

          • Robert Thorne

            AR-18 is battle proven, just ask the IRA.

    • Jess-Avery Affentranger

      The Bermuda Regiment uses Mini-14s.

      • Troy Emge

        And the Bermuda Regiment has seen a lot of action overseas with their Mini 14s I’m sure……

    • Blake

      It might not be “battle-proven” but the Mini action certainly is “redneck-proven”, which is possibly even more rigorous. The Army doesn’t leave their guns behind the seat of a pickup for years steeping in a fine combination of mud, dust, and Diet Coke spray, whereas some folks from my old neck of the woods tend to do that sort of thing… And they still “just work”. In the reliability dept. it’s comparable to a good AK.

      Obviously we take better care of our Mini-30 than that. It’s pretty much the least precise rifle in the safe, but I’d also say it’s easily the most reliable semi-auto cartridge action we own (not comparing it to shotguns, that’s apples & oranges).

  • Kilmore Group

    I love scout rifles but the ruger is a POS. the steyr is awesome but expensive. I made my own with a SMLE

    • Fred Johnson

      The Ruger isn’t a POS. The GSR is an adaptable, short over all length, detachable magazine carbine, whether you want to lump it into a “scout” category or not. Just think of the GSR as a Ruger 77 rifle with some included factory options. People just hate on it because Ruger and Gunsite got together to market a rifle named a Scout. If that hadn’t happened and Ruger just leaked it out like the Mossberg MVP, hardly anyone would say a thing.

      I’ve fired and I like the SMLE and I’ve fired and I bought the GSR. Different guns for different tastes. The Steyr? Well, that’s out of my pay range, but I’d sure like to know someone with one that let me test drive it. 🙂

      • Kilmoregroup

        The ruger is a POS because they made crap and sent it to oz. the bolt was so rough in action it was unusable. 50year old SMLE action is super slick

        • Fred Johnson

          Ahhh. A 50 year old bolt rifle with a nicely broken in action. The Ruger needs plenty of action cycling, dry firing, and live firing to break it in. I had to put in the time to smooth my GSR out, but I never had to put in the time to smooth out a WWI or WWII Mil-Surp rifle since previous shooters got to do that for me.

  • John

    If I am understanding the scout rifle correctly, the main point of the long eye relief scope was to give a more natural field of view whilst still magnifying the target.
    If that is the case, I wonder what Cooper would have thought of ACOGs and it’s Bindon Aiming Concept

    • Sarig

      A quick google search told me that means having both eyes open.

      I thought that was already quite common, it’s what I’ve been doing for quite a lot of years at least.