A “Russkie” Scout?

Russian Chambering Is As American As It Gets!

Fresh from a Gunsite media event hosted by Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged Holsters and Andy Larsson of Skinner Sights pumped me up, rejuvenating the 12-year-old voice in my head. You know the one, we all have it! Over time the “voice” never changes but we’re shocked seeing our dad’s face staring back at us from the mirror. Where’d the baby-faced kid with cow-licked hair go?

Part of the charm of the Ruger American Ranch rifle is its accuracy with
just about every type of ammo. The Simply Rugged Alaskan sling and
polymer bolt knob are welcome additions for a fast-handling rifle.

Scouts Rule

Besides being introduced to all kinds of cool products, part of the event — and my favorite — included using the Scrambler and Military Crest shooting trails designed specifically for Jeff Cooper’s Scout Rifle concept. I borrowed Matt Olivier’s Scout rifle, which he recently bought from Ed Head. I was honored using this rifle on the same courses Ed had walked hundreds (thousands?) of times before.

Regardless, I wanted a Scout Rifle built just like Ed’s/Matt’s rifle, only in 7.62×39 caliber. The main reason being I already had one. I’d earlier written about the Russian-chambered rifle using cast bullet loads. The rifle was like all Ruger American rifles I’ve shot — extremely accurate from the factor — but its coolness factor and versatility would go up substantially converted into Scout Rifle guise.

Ammo is still relatively cheap during these trying times, and besides, I handload for it using my cast hollow-point loads. The conversion process is relatively easy. Most of the fixins can be had from Andy Larsson’s Skinner Sights. They make a Scout Rail just for the Ruger American series requiring drill/tapping two holes in the barrel — that’s it.

Friend Ken Kelly of Mag-na-port did the honors as my needs for the holes coincided with our yearly visit consisting of the best damn chili and fried perch at the Adair bar. Adding the rail accomplishes two things. First, it adds iron sights to the bare Ruger American barrel in the form of a rear peep-sight and M4 A2 front sight.

Secondly, the rail allows forward mounting of a long-eye-relief scope, the most iconic trait of a Scout Rifle. The forward-mounted scope provides a wide field of view while looking through the scope with both eyes open. It also allows easier loading of the magazine with the scope forward of the magazine.

Tank’s Ruger American Ranch rifle in its previous stock, factory form.

The Scope

Andy Larsson had an older fixed 2.75x Burris Scout scope mounted on his Scout rifle. It was perfect to my way of thinking. Compact, its overall length was 9.2″ and weight a scant 7 oz. Main tube is 1″ and a generous 8.5-14″ eye relief provides convenient mounting options. I used lightweight no-name rigs to mount the scope.

You’d think a fixed 2.75x power scope would limit you for longer shots. It doesn’t. For the type of shooting the Scout rifle is designed for, it has more than you’ll ever need. Hitting steel silhouette targets from over 100–400 meters is not difficult while contorting yourself amongst the scrub juniper or resting your rifle on one of the gnarly limbs when shooting from the different stations on Military Crest Trail.

I added an oversized bolt knob to provide more leverage and positive grip when working the action. A drop of oil makes slipping on the polymer knob easier while protecting the knob from rust. I ordered a few from Amazon for around $10 each.

Lastly, I added a Simply Rugged Alaskan sling to the rifle for a simple, lightweight means of carrying the rifle, while aiding accuracy when wrapped around your arm.

Turning the American Ranch rifle into a Scout clone is a simple conversion
anyone can do to end with a light, fast easy-to-carry rifle chock-full of versatility.

Factory & Homegrown Fodder

I had two brands of ammo on hand. First was Hornady’s 123-grain SST ammo. Velocity runs around 2,350 FPS and accuracy was extremely good with 50-yard groups running under an inch with the 2.75x Scout scope. The second was Belom ammo from Serbia. It is 123-grain FMJ also running around 2,350 FPS. It shot as well as Hornady’s load. Both factories use boxer-primed brass so handloads are possible with the empties — something important for these dire times.

For a handload, I used an MP Molds 132-grain HPGC slug sized to 0.311″ seated over 22.0 grains of AA 1680 and Winchester LR primers. Velocity runs just over 2,100 FPS from my rifle. Three shots easily shoot under an inch at 50 yards.

These 50-yard targets show the accuracy potential of the
Ruger Ranch Rifle fitted with a 2.75x Scout Scope.

Ranch Rifle/ Russian Dressing?

Here’s a rugged Ruger Scout Rifle chambered in a cartridge made famous by the Russians. Since the Ruger American Ranch rifle is economically priced, I’m not afraid of shooting steel-cased ammo in it. I know from previous experience it shoots this ammo accurately, too! Converting your Ruger American to Scout Rifle form is a fun, economical project you can do — and it’s easy too!


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