Ruger Gunsite Scout

Remaining true to Col. Cooper’s concept

Colonel Jeff Cooper is probably most remembered for the development of the Modern Technique of the Pistol along with the American Pistol Institute, now known as Gunsite. As a Marine, Cooper was a rifleman at heart.

Starting in the late 1960s Cooper began the concept of a “Scout Rifle” and continued to refine it until his death in 2006. Cooper envisioned it as capable of being used for self-defense, as well as hunting. If you could only have one rifle, a Scout would fill the bill.

The Vortex Viper PST is suitable for everything from close quarters to long-range shots. It offers 10 intensity
levels of illumination with off positions between each setting.

A Scout Defined

There are several online groups dedicated to the Scout rifle. They run the gamut from embracing the original concept to those interested in a short AK-type rifle. Apparently some folks think anything you can mount a forward scope on magically becomes a Scout. They point to the fact the Scout rifles continued to evolve, but I remain more of a purist

The original Scout rifle’s distinguishing features are:

• Magazine-fed bolt action. Detachable box magazine and/or stripper clip charging is desirable but not mandatory.

• Unloaded weight of 6.6 lbs. with a maximum weight of 7.7 lbs.

• Overall length of 39″ or less.

• Forward-mounted long-eye-relief telescopic sight of low magnification.

• Reserve iron sights desirable but not mandatory.

• Good trigger.

• Fitted with a practical sling (such as a Ching Sling) for shooting and carrying.

• No more power than the .308 Winchester is necessary.

• Built-in bipod is desirable but not mandatory.

• Should be able to shoot into two MOA or less at 200 yards (4″).

• Magazine capacity not to exceed five rounds.

Developed in conjunction with Gunsite, the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle (GSR) is true to Jeff Cooper’s concept. The rifle features the Gunsite name rollmarked on the receiver and engraved on the grip cap of laminate stock models.

The GSR Stock has three 1/2" spacers to adjust the length of pull to accommodate different statures,
clothing or gear, a critical feature for an “all-around” rifle!

The Details

The 16.1″ free-floated, cold hammer-forged barrel is capped with a Mini-14/SR-556 type flash suppressor. Overall length is 38.5″ with a weight of 7.1 lbs. The forward-mounted Picatinny rail allows for mounting an intermediate-eye-relief scope. Ruger’s patented integral scope mounts, machined directly on the receiver, provide a stable mounting surface for traditional over-the-receiver mounting. The gun’s iron sights consist of a ghost-ring adjustable rear aperture sight and a Mini-14 type non-glare, protected blade front sight.

The laminated wood shows a lot of grain on samples I have seen and has checkering on the forearm and pistol grip. The stock has three 1/2″ spacers to adjust the length of pull (LOP) to accommodate different statures, clothing or gear.

The bolt has a non-rotating, Mauser-type controlled round feed extractor. The bolt handle is round and smooth and measures 0.760″ at its widest point. I appreciate the aesthetics of a checkered bolt but proper technique calls for running the bolt from the shoulder after firing a shot and a smooth bolt is more practical.

The GSR uses a three-position safety, where forward is “fire.” In the center “safe” position, the bolt can be worked to load/unload but cannot be fired. In the most rearward “safe” position, the bolt is locked.

The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle used for this report is my personal rifle and set up with a Vortex Viper PST 1-6X24 scope and Galco Safari Sling.

Denny’s personal Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle set up with a Vortex Viper PST 1-6X24 scope and Galco Safari Sling.

Scope And Mags

The Vortex Viper PST is suitable close quarters to long-range shots. The reticle offers shooters highly functional, intuitive and detailed hold points, yet remains uncluttered for clear viewing. An illumination dial is located just behind the power ring and has 10 intensity levels with off positions between each setting.

The magazine used is the blued Accuracy International (AI) type and the rifle is supplied with a single 10-round magazine. Five-round magazines are available for hunting. The magazine release is a lever in front of the trigger guard. While AI magazines have become the benchmark in the industry, I have experienced the floor plate becoming disengaged and spilling the spring, follower and rounds on the ground. I have begun using the excellent Magpul PMAG 7.62 AICS short action magazines in both 5- and 10-round capacities. The polymer magazines are lighter than the steel AI mags, won’t dent or rust and are extremely rugged.

Denny’s daughter Ashleigh tagged out on a nice Arizona mule deer using the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rife.

In The Field

My grandson Austin took his first elk with the GSR and my daughter Ashleigh wanted to use it for an upcoming deer hunt. I wanted to work up a handload for her which would be effective but still soft shooting. The result was a 165-gr. Hornady SST on top of 42.0 grains of IMR 489 in Black Hills Match cases. Chrono results from a 20-round string averaged 2,495.8 fps with an extreme spread of 21 fps.

A three-round group at 100 yards measured 0.944″. I’m sure a good rifleman could do better but it’s well within minute-of-deer and I was very happy with it considering it’s a stock Scout. My daughter was successful in her hunt, taking a nice Arizona mulie with the load.

Experience has taught Denny to choose Magpul magazines (bottom) over the factory steel Accuracy International mag.

The All-Around Rifle

The GSR will also serve well as a self-defense rifle. Several years back at a local gun store, a young shooter protested, “But it can only hold a total of 10 rounds!” I asked him how many rounds he needed since it was unlikely he would be called on to defend the 38th Parallel by himself against an invading horde of screaming Chinese.

The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle will serve admirably in any role most people would find themselves, be it hunting or self-defense.

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