Cooper’s Scout Rifle – A (Literally) Fantastic Gun

Ruger-GSR

At the end of September, the Guns & Ammo website posted a magazine article by Jeff Cooper from their 1966 issue, covering carbines. In it, Cooper evaluates – and praises highly – the then-new Remington 600 rifle, as being handy, powerful, and well-made. Two days later, the article was reposted to TFB, and one day after that another of Cooper’s articles, this time covering his “Scout Rifle” concept (which grew from his evaluation of the Remington 600 – indeed the first Scout was built on that rifle) was posted to the American Rifleman website. A week later, this morning, Chris of LuckyGunner posted some of his thoughts on Cooper’s “Scout Rifle” concept:

Who’s a Scout?

Before the Cooper followers out there get too worked up, I’m not saying the man didn’t know what he was talking about when he came up with the scout. But we have to ask whose “general purposes” this rifle is intended to meet, and what options we now have available to meet those purposes.

I think it’s a safe bet that 9 out of 10 of rifles in the U.S. today are purchased for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Personal protection against human attackers
  • Recreational/range use (including plinking, target shooting, and competition)
  • Recreational hunting (as opposed to professional hunting or survival hunting)

Those purposes aren’t what Cooper had in mind for the scout rifle. Cooper’s grand image of the user of his scout rifle doesn’t have a lifestyle that looks anything like mine, and probably doesn’t look much like yours, either. In fact, I don’t even think many people of Cooper’s generation were living that lifestyle.

Cooper was a Marine and an avid big game hunter, but most importantly, he was a romantic with lofty ideas about the lone rifleman facing the unknown. The scout seems best suited for someone who was living 100 years before Coopers time — taming the Wild West or exploring the mysteries of the African continent. It’s a rifle for someone who’s travelling long distances through uncharted territory, not knowing what dangers he will face. For Cooper, the “general purpose” rifle has to do the following:

  • Quickly kill any animal, big or small, for food or self-defense
  • Light enough to carry while navigating the wilderness for indefinite periods
  • Serve as adequate defense against human attackers in a pinch

For these purposes, considering the hardware available in the 80s, the Cooper’s scout would be a fantastic tool. But this idea of hiking through the great unknown, rifle in hand to tame the wilderness and fight off the heathens — for the vast majority of us, it’s merely a fantasy.

(emphasis mine)

Before today, I had idly considered covering Cooper’s ideal rifle, but had no real immediate intention of doing so. Reading this paragraph of Chris’s felt like having thoughts forcibly thrust from my brain onto the page, as if I was reading and writing them simultaneously. I’m sure given enough time, I might have written something very similar, but Chris did it yesterday, and probably better than I could have.

After reading this, I had a conversation in which I joked that the ideal real-world general purpose rifle was a Glock 19 – that is, after all, all the modern man is ever likely to need to survive in the concrete jungles of the American coastal megalopoleis, and heartland waystation-towns alike. The irony of the Scout Rifle is that it’s a late 20th century weapon designed for the 19th; a sort of modernist homage to the romance the post-war generations have had with Brand’s Old West, Kipling’s India, and Conrad’s Africa.

A Scout Rifle could be used for many things; that’s not in doubt. How useful is it? For most of us, I think not very.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Michael

    A rifle like this needs to be a low cost item using readily available ammo and magazines.
    How about making it in 7.62×39?
    I personally do not like the stock.

    • Roy G Bunting

      The Mossberg Patrol in 308 with a red dot or low power scope comes very close to the Cooper Ideal, minus the 3 point sling (easy to install) and the forward mounted scope rail (less easy). I hear that it’s pretty reasonably priced with readily available magazines and ammunition.

      The Scout Rifle was Cooper’s answer to “Just One Gun”. A game we’ve all played at one point or another.

      • joe schemo

        I like the mossberg patrol rifles. For me that is what the ruger scout should have been.
        Both in price and magazine. When you are able to purchse the mossberg at around $550 is great. However be able to use nato 5.56 ar mag and m14 mag is even better!!

      • JR

        Wasn’t the original need for the forward mounted scope to clear jams easily and for use of stripper clips? Seems like the SKS might be the best option. Remove the piston if you really want a bolt action. 🙂
        That said, I really want one of those Mossberg Patrol rifles.

        • Roy G Bunting

          Stripper clips were an added bonus, he liked the loading system of the SMLE Enfield. But the “Two eyes open, rapid snap shot” was why he wanted a forward mounted scope. Something that is a speciality of the red dot.

        • ed

          Hmm…get one of those Tapco gas tubes with the rail mounted, tap and plug the piston bore, and mount your scout scope on that…matches the Scout concept better than Ruger’s attempt. 🙂

          • Fred Johnson

            Ha! I own an SKS rifle and the Ruger. Umm, the Ruger outclasses the SKS in everyway except the semi-auto part. If you take the semi-auto out of an SKS, then what’s the point of owning an SKS? 😀

      • n0truscotsman

        “A game we’ve all played at one point or another.”

        I am just as guilty and discovered that no such thing exists and never will.

        You cannot drag race with a concrete truck while hauling lumber…

        • ed

          You haven’t been to a rural county fair for a while, have you? But if not everybody is playing by the same rules, the generalist will likely be at a disadvantage at some point along the way.

    • joe schemo

      I agree. Zastava makes a great mini mauser in 7.62×39. However gunsmith maybe required to mount a scout type forward scout mount.

    • Tierlieb

      Have a look at the CZ 527 in 7.62×39. Beautiful bolt-action mauser. Awesome classic rifle.

      Never bought one, though, because a good AK costs just as much.

    • CZ 527 Carbine.
      Makes a great Scout rifle, just doesn’t have a forward scope mount – which isn’t a Scout Requirement. Vortex Viper 2-7 BDC scope is a great optic for it.

  • JR

    Really? Glock 19? How about any reliable semi-automatic handgun in 9mm or greater.
    Cooper’s Scout has become a bit of cultish talisman for some, in my opinion.

    • Of which the Glock 19 is an example, I’m sure you’ll agree.

      • JR

        Sigh…point missed entirely, but yes it is an example.

        • Loosen Up

          JR, I think you’re the one who missed the point. Sure, he could have said “any reliable semi-automatic handgun in 9mm or greater” and been more precise. But choosing a defining example of such a gun was much more succinct, and it better suited his sense of style (at the risk of irking pedants among his readership).

          • Anonymoose

            Glock 19s are the most common handgun in North America, but if you look at police stocks you’re just as likely to find 17s, 22s, and 23s and others (SIG claims to have 40% of the market, iirc, then you have S&W, Beretta, FN, Walther, HK, various 1911s and even some revolvers). The 19 has the ability to use mags from the full-size models and change to .40S&W or .357SIG fairly easily (if that’s all you can find), which is a real boon if you do have to rely on scavenged parts/mags/ammo during SHTF. For a modern general-purpose SHTF load-out, I would get a Gen4 Glock 19, a MechTech CCU upper (or another carbine conversion for the aforementioned Glock; alternatively, you could get a SUB2000), and then have a good bolt-action .308 in the truck for when you need to reach out longer and/or hit harder. I wouldn’t follow the scout concept 100% for the .308, though. I’d stick with a regular scope mount and a 20″ barrel, but keep the ghost ring sights JIC.

            I absolutely hate Glocks, by the way.

  • joe schemo

    I agree with the article, that is the scout rifle is really a fantasy concept more than anything else.
    There is not a single thing that i can think of that a scout rifle can do that my scar 17 or even a zastava m77 cant do, and both have the advantage of not having to “throw the bolt” so to speak for the next shot.
    however that didnt stop me from converting my t53 mosin. K98 mauser and old smelly into scout rifles and enjoying shooting them at the range and take them hunting.

  • Gregor

    “It’s a rifle for someone who’s travelling long distances through
    uncharted territory, not knowing what dangers he will face.”

    So Jeff Cooper pretty much nailed the scenario of the post-apocalyptic survivor.

    • joe schemo

      I would take a semi auto in 308.
      Hell i take a ak47 over a “scout” rifle if i am in that situation.

      • Secundius

        @ joe schemo.

        It comes in .308Win.

        • MAUSERMAN

          @Secundius
          He knows that.
          The point is he would take a “SEMI AUTO” .308 anyday over a GSR in .308.
          Not to mention i agree, SCAR 17 is actually more accurate VS a RUGER GSR.

    • n0truscotsman

      and in every post apocalyptic scenario that has happened, i.e. rural argentina or kosovo, those who traveled long distances through uncharted territory alone were the first to die.

      • joe schemo

        Unless you are rick grimes…….
        We all know you just need a revolver in .44 mag and no reloads.

  • SD3

    That’s it. You convinced me. Selling all the guns & Ammo. Blowing the proceeds on titties & beer.

    • ed

      Better option (IMO): Guns and Ammo and Titties and Beer.

  • Coldhammer

    I have to agree, for most of us, reality will not match the ‘lone survivor walking the wastelands’ scenario that Cooper’s Scout concept seems to be tailored for. People who have lived through real life ‘apocolyptic-type’ scenarios seem to indicate that carrying a long gun can be very disadvantageous, and only serve to make you a target. Having all of these SHTF type firearms myself, I have come to the same conclusion that you have. If I could take only one, it would be my G19. Concealable, reliable, almost maintains itself, with sufficient capacity to deal with a close in threat, of which most encounters would likely be. Of course, I don’t live in Alaska or Montana. If I did, my calculus would probably be different.

    • Coldhammer

      …and don’t get me wrong. There are some scenarios and geographies that would certainly fit having a simple, reliable boltie – that can take game and defend one’s self in a pinch. And certainly some scenarios where I’d love to have my AK for sure… But there is a LOT of merit to the stealthy, lightweight, minimalist, ‘grey-man’ approach of having only a concealable Pistol of 9mm caliber – and being able to use it well… in close, where most engagements are likely to occur.

  • ClintTorres

    My scout rifle would be a SBR in 6.5 grendel built as light as possible.

    • Shouldnt a scout rifle use fairly commonly available ammunition like 5.56, 7.62, .308 etc? 6.5mm grendel seems like it would be a bit hard to find quickly if you were in a bit of a bind.

  • John Dickson

    Sorry, disagree with the article and all the commenters. I did in fact purchase the Ruger Scout. I am a lefty. I happen to like bolt actions. Yes, I have, over time, acquired rifles in all the favorite flavors. End result? This is in fact suited for every purpose. Lighter and quicker than most hunting rifles. Rigged out, it comes in about 60% the weight of a decent AR-10. Self defense? Go ahead with your little 55 grain, .223. I will take the 150 grain any day. Yes, I own pistols, yes a AR-15. If I had to pick out only one gun? This is it.

  • Blake

    Personally, I like the “scout” concepts a lot, but not so much the execution:

    – “long eye relief scope so that you have a wide field of view & quick reticle acquisition”

    Personally I find LER scopes/pistol scopes to be really hard to line up & make useful in a hurry at the eye relief distances at which they’re designed to be used, and they’re more expensive & have smaller exit pupils vs. normal scopes. Don’t get me wrong, I like some extra eye relief in a scope, but 5″ or so is plenty. As far as the wide field of view for target acquisition, just leave both eyes open until you’re ready to shoot.

    But yes, please mount the scope in such a way that it does not interfere at all with ejection or loading.

    – “Enough oompf to take down anything”

    On the east coast of the US anyway, heavier 7.62×39, 30-30, or .243 Win loads are sufficient for any likely encounter, as are 44 mag rifle loads at shorter ranges. If you live in Alaska, by all means carry a full-power rifle caliber (& become proficient at handling the recoil).

    – “>= 10rnd mag capacity, light handy rifle with a 16″ bbl”

    yes please, on all counts

    – “bolt action for simplicity & reliability”

    No thanks, I’ll take a levergun or autoloader any day of the week. I really like being able to reload without having to take my eye away from the scope, and it’s pretty hard to do that on a bolt gun without tons of practice. Followup shots with a bolt gun are comparatively slow as well. A good well maintained autoloader or levergun feeds just as reliably as a bolt gun. Regardless of choice of action, learn what makes your rifle jam & practice clearing it quickly & safely.

  • James Kachman

    This is just my opinion, but I’m willing to throw it out there.

    If SHTF, it is the man who avoids combat, and who engages in combat as lopsidedly as possible if he has to fight that survives.

    This rifle will not help you avoid combat any more than any other longarm. This rifle does not present overwhelming firepower, especially compared to other longarms.

    What does help a man avoid combat is a group to be a part, to cooperate with. If him and his neighbors help each other, then there’s much less reason to fight. One man with a rifle is almost always going to be outfought by several men with rifles unless some drastic force multiplier is present.

    The Scout rifle mentality is flawed, and dangerous. Use the best rifles you can, team up with your mates, avoid violence, and fight like a dirty bastard if you’ve got to fight.

    Just 2 cents from a guy who prefers semi-auto’s.

  • Mikenz

    I love my Scouts ( I have a Ruger and Savage 308s). They are fun nice handling rifles and I wouldn;t complain if that was all I had. They are very much a rifle trying to be everything however and I get that. If I could only have one rifle I’d probably be pretty happy if it was my Ruger Scout. Having said that I have let’s euphemistically say a truck load of rifles of which I love abut 90% of.
    I am a Rifle slut OK!

  • MatKep

    The ‘scout’ concept as a bolt gun is outdated. The modern day do-anything rifle is a quality .308 carbine with a 1-4x. This shouldn’t even be a debate.

    • I agree plus their is a lot of technology available now that Cooper never had access to, not commercially viable at the time. Let’s say night vision, NV had changed and evolved drastically and become smaller and more available, and much more effective. The same for thermals, modern thermal optics let people own the night, against game and any real chance of attackers. I still like the concept but an updating it does need. For example a VCOG is better scope for a carbine, it has adjustable power from 1 to 6, http://goo.gl/RSRc9J and a thermal option like the THOR http://goo.gl/QUWhQb

    • SM

      I would say it’s old, but not outdated. A bolt action firearm is just as effective today as it was 100 years ago. Are there better options out there for general use? Yes. But the bolt action rifle has it’s place. Especially if price is concerned. For the price of a quality .308 carbine (something I’d like to own some day) you could pick up a used .308 hunting rifle and a bunch of ammo.

      I’d say the bolt action is the every-mans rifle. Cheap and simple.

  • Phil

    My Ruger GSR is my favorite all-around rifle. I agree with points from both the author and Col. Cooper: the Svout rifle does everything I need in a rifle, which isn’t that much on a day-to-day basis. It’s compact and handy, accurate and easy to employ quickly. It’s a rifle that points like a shotgun and hits like a tire iron in a back alley. It has a huge range of sighting options. It eats a huge variety of ammunition without being picky and puts them exactly where I need them, when I need them there.

    Mine wears a Leupold FX-II 2.5x scout scope and GI web sling. It took my first whitetail deer ever and will be taken along in my attempt to take my first elk ever. It will be my hunting companion for many years to come.

    It is, for me, the perfect hunting and hiking rifle. Your mileage may vary.

    • Phil

      And this includes several AR-15s of lengths varying from 7.5-18″, a SCAR-17, AKM-type rifles, several .22s of various makes, Remington 700s in .308, and Savage F-TR.

      If something hairy and tasty needs killing, I reach for my Scout Rifle.

  • Jeff

    I thought Cooper advocated his ‘Scout’ Rifle to be charger loading capable.

    • Fred Johnson

      That’s based off old military rifles. Commercial based rifles never really followed the stripper clip loading “ideal”. Whether “Scout” type or not.

      • ed

        Then they’re not really “Scout” rifles. Clip-spotting was one of Cooper’s requirements, helping to keep up the rate of fire without having to lug around a bunch of expensive,proprietary mags. Leave the mag in the rifle to protect the feed lips, and load ammo quickly from compact “stripper clips” that don’t have to include a separate follower or spring. I believe this also influenced the forward mounting of the scope, to get it out of the way of the port.

        • Fred Johnson

          So, mil-surps with stripper clip guides in the receivers are the only thing a Scout may be made from?

          The article in the blog post mentions “stripper loading”, yet Scout I, II, III, IV, and V are built (or would be built) with commercial rifle actions.

          http://www.americanrifleman.org/article.php?id=38634&cat=3&sub=11&q=1

          • ed

            Nope, a Scout could be built from a commercial action with stripper clip guides. But if you’re going to call it a Scout, it needs to fit the definition.

  • Carl P

    The more I read everyone’s opinions concerning the SHTF senerio and what pistol or rifle or shotgun or multiplies of these platforms that one should consider for their “go to” firearms, I keep coming back to some basic considerations that seem to be always overlooked in these “discussions”
    Sooooo, your going to have a rifle (either .223 or .308 for this discussion) and a pistol (say a 9mm or a .40 for arguments sake) and maybe even a shotgun (12ga, 870 or 500)
    How many rounds you think is ample??? Let’s say for the rifle 12/30 round Mags plus some loose for 400 rounds. Pistol 6/16 round Mags (16rounds is just an average for the sake of this discussion) for 96 rounds plus another 100 loose/boxed. Round it to 200 Shotgun, let’s go with 100 rounds of 00 buck and Slug mix. Here’s what your going to start out carring

    .308 – 150gr FMJ, 19.05 rounds per LB, or 4.5 lbs per 100 rounds
    .223 – SS109 63gr FMJ (MilSurp), 37.21 RP/lb, 2.69 lb/ 100
    9mm – 115gr JHP, 38.1RP/lb, 2.63 lb/100
    .40 – 165grHydroShok, 28.07 RP/lb, 3.56 lb/100
    12ga – (shot/slug averages) 10 RP/lb, 9.6lb/100

    And just for grins and giggles …..
    .22LR – 36gr.PHP, 133.33 RP/lb, .75 lb/100
    7.62×39 – Steel Case 122gr FMJ, 27.59 RP/lb, 3.63 lb/100

    So…..
    400 rounds of Rifle Ammo whoul be ….
    .223 – 400 rounds / 10.76 pounds
    .308 – 400 rounds / 18.0 pounds
    And 200 rounds of pistol …
    9mm – 200 rounds / 5.56 pounds
    .40 – 200 rounds / 7.12 pounds
    And our scatter gun …
    12ga – 100 rounds / 9.96 pounds

    So if we take the heaviest rounds .308, .40 and the 12 ga we start out carrying ……
    35.08 POUNDS OF AMMO.
    Ok . . . . Now add to that 35.08 POUNDS . . . weapons, clothing, backpack, food, water, shelter, knife, flashlight, extra batteries, first aid, for 3 to 5 days?!?!?!?!?

    I think it’s time we all started looking at the comming days from a somewhat more realistic and down to earth view then what’s a good firearm for that very bad day. Won’t make a tinkers damn what you carry as long as you can use it effectively … And arnt exhausted from humping all the rest of the gear you have to depend on.
    Just wish people would think outside the box a bit more. You target does not care who makes you weapon. It only cares about how compentant and accurate you will be with it.
    I think one of my tools will be a 22LR, Ruger 22/45 UltraLite with a GemTeck Outback II Supressor attached. At a weight of 1lb, 8.8oz loaded it’s an all day carry ….

    Just some of my thoughts but someone else might find some value in this.

    • Zak B

      You forgot that weight doesn’t matter cause we’ll all be gallantly pushing our 3gun strollers into battle and those can carry a few hundred pounds of guns and ammo in addition to the hillbilly armor we’ll mount on them.

    • Evan Farley

      Agree 100%. Weight is a huge factor and I’ve already decided that the .22LR will travel no matter what. Very likely my 22/45Lite 😉

  • Don Ward

    Thanks to Hornady and their new ammo offerings, 30-30 Winchester or Marlin lever actions are the bestest “scout” gun. Light, easy to shoulder carbine which can kill any North American critter (two and four-legged). Their flat design makes them perfect to carry in a scabbard while scouting on a horse, motorcycle or four-wheeler. The Model 94 – thanks to JMB’s psychic connection with Cooper – designed the rifle with a forward scope in mind *looks around quickly*.

    • Don Ward

      Dang discus logout.

    • I agree with you. .30-30 was and still is a great cartridge. And the LEVERevolution ammunition makes it all the better. Seriously, it adds another 100 yards. I poleaxed an Elk at 200 yards with it from a 16″ Marlin.

      • Don Ward

        Good man!

  • n0truscotsman

    “It’s a rifle for someone who’s travelling long distances through uncharted territory, not knowing what dangers he will face.”

    That is idealistic fantasy more than anything, although there were a few isolated incidences where lone survivors trekked the great unknown risking great peril.

    The gun culture is very individualistic, because the very principal of having a gun is to empower the individual against the collective or groups, and firearms generally do a decent job at equalizing human beings.

    But we must avoid flawed idealism of hacking it out alone. In the past, groups who were coordinated that had common goals and ideals survived and thrived. Adventurers in Africa never hacked it out alone and to do such a thing was a death wish (I mean, holy shit, has anybody here been to africa?)

    There is no one gun that will accomplish all tasks. Many are enamored with 308 thinking it is the best, do it all cartridge and magical death ray. These same people fail to realize that human beings generally suck at hitting other humans that are rapidly moving tactically towards them, especially when their lungs are heaving and their sight picture and shooting position is far less than ideal. No thank you. Most of us would rather carry more ammunition and dont feel inadequate with 62 grains (or 75-77) in their 30 round magazines. Times have evolved.

    These are the same arguments that are made by the guys that think they will be able to fend off the hordes of marauders with their bolt action Mosin Nagants and stripper clips come SHTF/WROL: idealistic fantasy. Its almost as bad as the guys that think theyll be able to snipe the bad guys from 800 meters with their wildcat cartridges, while sitting on the mountaintop.

    Im not saying the Scout is a terrible rifle. It isn’t. They’re pretty handy, although I’ve always been preferential towards semi-automatics and have never felt underpowered with one.

  • AngryBirdman

    Basically the whole concept is nowadays just a marketing tool revolving around the mythical and fabled time, when men wore hats, hiked for hundred miles on foot ans shot grizzlys for a meal. Oh, and they joined boy scouts at 10. So the modern dudes could flung some cash and become really tough and lonesome scouts on the trail that leads from their RVs. Like you know, Frederick Burnham, Jeff Cooper or Bruce Willis. The thing is, the only battle proven, go-to-war, real deal scout rifle ever made is the daisy bb gun. Used commonly by genuine boy scouts, not some adult facsimiles.

  • So basically you’re saying that a rifle with the purpose of being actually useful is not actually useful.
    I call BS on this.
    I got to sit down with Jeff Cooper and discuss the Scout with him in some detail. I’m not going to say that he sold me on the Steyr Scout – but he did sell me on the idea of the Scout. The idea of an ultimately useful rifle isn’t a hard thing to grasp unless you have a very narrow view of things.
    If you live in a rural area like I used to – you had a rifle with you. All the time. We kept them in the trucks, sure… but they were readily accessible. If you live in a city or Suburbia – sure, maybe that really useful rifle is not as useful. It’s not like you need to sling your rifle to go get your morning coffee.
    There was a published photo back when the Steyr Scout first came to market… a group of Serbian soldiers IIRC, and one of them was clearly packing a Steyr Scout Rifle. I wonder how useful he thought that rifle was. (That photo was posted on THEFIRINGLINE.COM if anyone wants to go digging for it)
    I think the Scout Rifle is a fantastic concept as a whole. I’ve just not seen any one particular rifle really nail it though.

    • George, Cooper had a very narrow view of what a scout rifle needed to be – down to the caliber and that it had to accept stripper clips.

      If you buy a scout rifle, you’ll have a useful weapon, but pretending that it’s more useful than a bone stock Howa 1500 or an AR-15 in a legal hunting caliber is just silly.

      What can be said is that the scout rifle was clearly designed according to a very specific and narrow scenario – one might even say Cooper was indulging in a little bit of the “my gunfight” fallacy, except it was “Jeff’s survival scenario”.

      Of course scout rifles make great general purpose guns – many rifles do.

      • I had dinner with Jeff Cooper and we discussed the Scout concept at great length. This was at a Dinner one night at SHOT SHOW many years ago with the Steyr Scout was brand new. While he wanted people to buy the Steyr, the concept of the scout was a concept and not a rigid list of requirements. More of a list of suggestions for use in general, and that your individual requirements for your Scout might be different.

  • Sam Pensive

    this says …deer scout …to me.

  • Brian

    I guess to me the modern scout rifle is a .300 BLK AR or an AK variant with a red dot and a light. Optic magnifier optional. 30 round AR and AK mags are a plenty and for most purposes very reliable.

  • usmcmailman

    Sorry, a Ruger Mini-14 is the way to go !

  • Jason Wimbiscus

    I like the scout concept as good, rugged, multi-purpose utility rifle that’s especially at home on a rural homestead. It may be a jack of all trades, master of none, but sometimes, that’s what a person needs. What’s ultimately more useful, a Leatherman tool, or one really expensive Phillips head screwdriver?

  • Harrybelafonte

    I find such a discrepency in this concept
    1st: take any animal big or small AND protection against humans
    well the 223 have been killing people for 50years now, still wouldn’t want to hunt bear with it, especially in a defense type situation, I don’t bring my 308 when hunting bear the venerable 9.3×62 gives me more assurance!
    2d: if you are alone in the wilderness and need to hunt for protection or attack humans for protection then a proper scope seems more useful, a light sniper type rifle, not a quick acquisition type

    doesn’t see thru rings do what he wants really? or a more modern approach would be a aimpoint on an angle or ontop of the scope

  • spiff1

    The Original Jeff Cooper Scout was made by Steyr, with Col. Cooper aiding in the design and production. It was available in several calibers, from .223Rem to .308Win. It was designed as a rifleman’s tool, not a “spray and pray” as most modern military firearms are. The so called “Cooper Scout” rifles mentioned in the preceding articles are merely cut down commercial rifles and are probably good as carbines, But they are NOT Cooper Scouts…Do some research! And as far as Glock’s are concerned, if things get tough, don’t pick up your favorite jam-a-matic, get a Glock – it will survive, and so will you!!

    • Me!

      um…no. The Steyr’s were the first *commercially produced* scouts. the original, original scouts were essentially one-off franken-guns. The idea, especially back then, was radical enough that no commonly made rifle met all the criteria.

  • Me!

    We’re mostly missing the point. Scout type rifles were almost always an unattainable *concept* – a condition that Cooper frequently lamented. In fact, he mostly spoke of the many different scout prototypes in terms of how closely each approached the Scout standard.

    The real goal was a rifle that is light, handy, accurate, powerful, and fast to employ. These are sensible goals, regardless, and we shouldn’t throw the baby out with the bath water when discussing how Scout-ish a rifle is.

    One thing that Scout rifles were also to have was a cartridge that was not only “one-shot-stop” for up to 450lb animals, but also widely available. At the time, vast quantities of milsurp 7.62×51 were still around (and in many cases still issued in quantity).
    Though the 5.56 was very common at the time, it simply wasn’t powerful enough for big or dangerous game.
    So, boutique cartridges like 6.5/6.8/etc wouldn’t make the cut (He obviously never foresaw the Obamafication of the firearms market and the resulting shortages of the very cartridges desired due to their “ubiquity”).

    There was also a definite *weight* limit of 6.5 lbs (and this is actually the reason for the exclusion of semi-auto’s. None existed that were light enough).
    Another reason for the .308 was that it allowed a short action, saving almost a pound of weight vs .30-06

    I agree with several posters here that Cooper was in reality an Aimpoint man. Not too sure how he would’ve felt about the battery, though.

    And finally, I think it’s ironic that one of the closest ideals to the Scout concept is actually the pump shotgun. I think Cooper was looking for more range and accuracy, but damn if a low power scope on a shot gun doesnt come close.

  • Fruitbat44

    If it goes bang when you pull the trigger, and it will hit what your aiming at, well it’s a good gun.
    But . . .
    The Scout Rifle does strike me as a ‘Jack of All Trades Master of None’ sort of weapon. If you’ve got time to pack a rifle, you’ve got time to pick one best suited for the job.
    Yet . . .
    It’s a nice idea.

  • ed

    Hmm…I just noticed the rear of the scope seems to be hanging over the ejection port, potentially hampering loading/ejection. But maybe that’s just the angle, or my eyes.

  • If its a SHTF rifle you have to have the best calibre sight etc to suit. You can build a great homage rifle and I think Ruger have but the concept of the scout rifle has to update with the technology of the day to overcome the challenges of the day.

    For Example is the calibre 300BO for 90% of applications and for the other 10% that maybe hunting applications, stalk!

    Is a semi auto the most reliable action I still think that the answer to that is no so its still a bolt rifle or is a bolt rifle more reliable than a pump? They are better bolts? Whats the fastest and best to clear a misfire?

    The best sights for a shorter range rifle maybe a Reddot and zoom not a scope?.

    The best way to mount all your gear is to have it covered in rails. to make it good for work i urban environments and tight quarters its needs a retractable buttstock.

    So in terms of a scout rifle I dont think the old definition cuts it. Id call it more of a ranger rifle than a scout and as a Ranger rifle it could be well suited but once again I question optics against what is now available.

    The scout rifle to me in todays terms needs re-definition and Cnl Cooper who had they right idea for the technology of his generation, may he have many a rifle built to his legacy….