Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle in .223 Remington … A missed opportunity?

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

Ruger has announced that their Scout Rifle is now also available chambered in 5.56mm / .223 Remington. Before you ask, no, it does not accept AR-15 magazines. It takes proprietary magazines that are 10 rounds in capacity.

The .223 Ruger Scout is almost identical to the original Ruger Scout chambered in .308 Win. The only major differences are that it is 1″ shorter (the barrel itself is 0.4″ at 16.1″, with the same 1:8″ RH twist) and, strangely enough 0.1 lb heavier (maybe that is a typo or rounding error). The price is the same with a MSRP of $1,039 for the black matte model.

Like the .308 Win. model, it will be available with a matte black finish or a matte stainless finish. The barrel is threaded so you can easily replace the muzzle brake with a suppressor (or remove it altogether if, like me, you prefer not to have muzzle devices on small caliber bolt action rifles).

I think it is fair to say Ruger missed a huge opportunity. A scout-style rifle that used a common magazine along with the ever popular AR-15 would make it a must-have survivalist/backup rifle. They could have followed it up with a version chambered in 7.62x39mm that took AK magazines for a trifecta of bolt-action backup rifles. The 10 round .308 Win. magazine for the .308 Win. version of the scouts costs $74.95. Now you know why they want to sell you proprietary magazines: there is a lot of money to be made, with the steel magazine costing about 7.5% of the cost of the rifle itself, and likely costing just a few dollars to manufacture. If they allowed you to use an AR-15 magazine, Magpul would have profited a few dollars instead instead of the tens of dollars of profit they are making with each magazine sold.

The press release is below …

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE-RGR) is proud to announce that the Ruger® Gunsite Scout Rifle is now chambered in 5.56 NATO. This newest version of the Gunsite Scout Rifle features a hybrid chamber that shoots both 5.56 NATO and .223 Rem. accurately and safely. The rifle weighs approximately 7.1 lbs., features a 16.1″, 1/2-28 threaded barrel with a 1:8 twist rate, offers controlled round feed and is shipped with a 10-round detachable box magazine.

“This is a natural extension of the Gunsite Scout Rifle line,” said Gunsite Instructor Ed Head, one of the contributors to the original Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle design. “Being chambered in a lower cost, universally available caliber, and with the Ruger reputation for reliability and accuracy, this is another serious rifle for those serious about rifles,” he added.

The cold hammer-forged, medium contour, alloy steel barrel and receiver feature a matte black oxide finish. The 1/2-28 threaded barrel comes with a Ruger flash suppressor, which can be removed in order to attach other threaded barrel accessories. The rifle’s trigger guard and magazine well are formed of glass-reinforced nylon. The magazine release is a push-forward Mini-14® paddle just ahead of the trigger guard.

A Mini-14-style protected, non-glare, post front sight and receiver-mounted, adjustable, ghost ring rear sight offer out-of-the-box usability. A forward-mounted Picatinny rail offers options in mounting an assortment of optics such as scout scopes from Burris® and Leupold® which allow “both eyes open” fast target acquisition. The rifle also features Ruger M77® integral scope mounts and comes with Ruger scope rings for conventional scope mounting.

The weather resistant black laminate stock, with “Gunsite Scout Rifle” engraved on the grip cap contains sling swivel studs and a checkered grip and forearm. A soft rubber recoil pad with three 1/2″ spacers allows the length of pull to be adjusted and properly sized for different shooters or to give the shooter the proper fit with outerwear or defensive gear of varying thickness.

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Chase Buchanan Chase Buchanan on Sep 12, 2014

    It really isn't the worst thing ever that it won't take AR-15 magazines. Sure it'd be great if the gun used such a ubiquitous magazine, but it isn't the easiest thing to make a stagger-feeding bolt-action rifle, and besides, an AR-type magazine release isn't exactly the best one ever invented, especially for a bolt gun.

    Now, that doesn't mean it's not silly that the magazines will cost so much. Maybe there's some reason that Ruger charges so much for them, but I'd like to know what it is. And why on Earth wouldn't they use a lighter barrel blank?

  • Kefefs Kefefs on Sep 12, 2014

    Neither magazines for the Scout rifles are proprietary. The .308 uses AI magazines, and the 5.56mm uses Accurate-Mags. Yes, both are pricey, but neither are Ruger's proprietary design. They both existed before and Ruger just chose them.

    Knowing this makes the magazine choice even more mind-boggling as Ruger doesn't have a monopoly on their sale.

    Edit: Oh, also for anyone wondering, the 5.56 Accurate-Mags are $70 retail.