General-purpose .308 light rifle


September 4, 2011, 01:55 PM
Here are some ideas for an economical light utility rifle for range practice, hunting, SHTF, almost any situation:

--.308 Winchester
--16-20" barrel
--4+1 or larger magazine capacity
--under 8 lbs weight, ideally under 7 lbs
--fixed, preferably aperture, sights standard or readily available
--QD scope mount to allow use use of backup iron sights standard or readily available
--minute of deer accuracy at 300 yards, say <2 MOA
--under $700 internet price without optics, ideally under $500

Yes, I know that there are many milsurp carbines in other calibers that fit the bill, or get pretty close, but I am looking for .308 in particular.

Anything come to mind?



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September 4, 2011, 02:03 PM
That describes a 'scout rifle' pretty well. I think Bud's has a used Savage scout for sale right, now ~$550 IIRC. There's also the new Ruger scout. A savage edge might work for you since they're cheap as heck, but they've got no irons.

September 4, 2011, 02:04 PM
Except for the .308 part sounds like you want A Marlin 30-30. You could do up A nice one for less than you are looking to spend. Rifle, Scope and mount, Sights.

September 4, 2011, 02:07 PM
Spanish FR8 Not really so much on the scope part, but the Irons are so awesome you won't need one.

September 4, 2011, 02:16 PM
You are describing the Ruger Scout rifle. The MSRP is about a $1000 but the street price is about $800, so just a bit more than your target.

Derek Zeanah
September 4, 2011, 02:20 PM
I don't own one yet, but I'm really starting to dig the Savage .308 line. Especially the trigger. This one in particular ( keeps catching my eye, available new online for ~ $700.

September 4, 2011, 03:52 PM
There's an M1A Scout that looks pretty nice. Comes in black and OD synthic stock too.

September 4, 2011, 04:52 PM
There's an M1A Scout that looks pretty nice. Comes in black and OD synthic stock too.

Nice rifle, but about $700 or more over his budget.


September 4, 2011, 05:05 PM
marlin x7s 308 rifle,ss,synthetic,22 bbl

September 4, 2011, 06:14 PM
Thanks, all, for the suggestions, but none so far seems quite right. Here are a few of them:

Ruger M77 Hawkeye Compact ( is an option, but no sights.

Ruger M77 Hawkeye Compact Magnum ( goes from 16" to 20" barrel and adds open sights, but busts the budget.

Howard/Hogue Ranchland Compact Rifle ( is appealing, and I like the one-piece scope mount, but again, no sights.

September 4, 2011, 06:27 PM
I take it your not particularly taken with the scout concept?
Personally id go with a savage ultralite (and thats probably the next rifle i buy), or the scout. The rugers are nice, but not my cup of tea.
If you like the compact you could always have a barrel band front sight installed and im sure an aperture could be stuck on there as well as the scope. Price would be up around 700 or so before scoping id think.

September 4, 2011, 06:30 PM
Most states have a mag limit for deer hunting, usually 10.

September 4, 2011, 09:37 PM
Here in Maine, 'big' game.. 5rd max. Same with most birds.

September 4, 2011, 10:00 PM
Savage Edge or Stevens 200. MY $.02

September 4, 2011, 10:34 PM
I saw that Ruger Gunsight Scout for the first time about a week ago and I am in love (L-U-S-T). However, for the OP's requirements, any old used Remington 700 ADL should do.

September 4, 2011, 10:39 PM
If you can give up the open sights idea, Walmart has a Savage Model 10 in .308 with the accu trigger and a cheap scope, for under $400. IMO it's the best buy out there. I'd expect sub moa groups right out of the box. That said, if you have to have the open sights, you can spend a little more and get one of the other Savages with open sights. The Savages are the way to go imo.

September 4, 2011, 10:53 PM
look into the howa ranchland rifle. They are pretty darn accurate and you could possibly have a gunsmith install sights on one. Another option is savage scout rifle and lastly a remington 7600.

September 4, 2011, 10:54 PM
General thoughts....

Have been bitten by the scout rifle bug in the past and having both owned and used them in the field including a Steyr Scout, I have to conclude that they do nothing that a conventional rifle can't do better.

As much as I like Ruger, their Gunsite Scout rifle is hideous. If you were looking for a handy rifle to fight in the trenches of WWI, it may have had some use, otherwise not so much.

I personally see no advantage to having both iron sights and a scope. One or the other, not both.

The old Remington Mohawk 600 is an ideal candidate for a short 308 w/sights or scope

My hunting rifle is a 1980s era Winchester 70 w/20" bbl, 308 w/2-7x Leopold scope. It is light, simple, accurate, fast handling and has taken game from 40 to 400 yards. I've carried for 25 years. I've not found anything better.

September 4, 2011, 10:55 PM
I have a Rem 7400. It is light, reliable and accurate out to a couple hundred yards. However, it does lose accuracy as the barrel heats up. Otherwise, i like it in the woods or in a stand.

September 4, 2011, 11:10 PM
I swear by the Remington 700 in 30-06 as the Deer Killah X-treme.

Its little brother in .308 would be good.

September 4, 2011, 11:15 PM
Like are you trying to build a scout rifle?

September 4, 2011, 11:20 PM
winchester 70 and x bolts both come in those flavors, with the exception of barrel length...
but if the rifle makes weight why would you want a short barrel (shorter sight radius)?

Oh I just checked and I guess neither of those come with iron sights in 308.

Sorry.... (I would delete this reply but edit is only option)

September 4, 2011, 11:28 PM

I went cheap with an Ishapore 2A1. This isn't mine but close enough, the only real difference is this one lacks the XS Sight Systems Scout ( scope mount and the FAL flash hider on mine. ('Cause ya never know when you might need a bayonet with a bolt action.)

September 5, 2011, 12:07 AM
After working with the Ruger .308 Compact Magnum, I decided it had to stay.
I was looking for a GP .308 boltgun that wasn't too long & had iron sights, it only needed a front sight replacement & a better recoil pad.

I find I don't shoot an aperture as well as I used to, the Williams notch coupled with an XS white stripe front gives me a very clear sight picture.

I was initially interested in the Ruger Scout, till I got to analyzing the features individually.

In my case, not saying my opinion is valid for anybody else, the flash hider is a wash.
Having experimented with Scout configurations, I've moved beyond the forward scope mount. If I have a scope, I want it to give me more visibility & distance (to see, not just aim) than I get from a Scout scope.
For this particular rifle's anticipated uses, I didn't want glass at all. Slim & relatively trim for the rifle scabbard on my ATV was the goal, glass adds bulk.

Aperture, as mentioned, wasn't necessarily a plus for me.

I strongly dislike a protruding magazine at the natural carry balance point. I would have gone with the 5-rounder for that reason, and in doing that I saw no worthwhile advantage over the normal fixed-mag capacity of the Hawkeye CM. I would not have carried spare mags for quick reloads, and having had a magazine drop out of a boltgun before in the middle of things, I wasn't interested in risking losing it & rendering the rifle a single shot in the wilds.

The stock was nice, but not a deal maker. The overall Scout length wasn't appreciably shorter than the CM.
I usually replace factory pads anyway, so....

And, I prefer the CM's steel triggerguard over the Scout's plastic. :)

September 5, 2011, 06:08 AM
sorry I didn't see your criteria : sights. Just focused on price, and the accuracy you wanted

September 5, 2011, 06:39 AM
Thanks, all, for the the suggestions. In response to a couple of similar comments, what I have in mind is certainly not very different from a scout rifle, but since definitions vary one what exactly that means, I am not calling it that. In this case, I don't need stripper clip loading or a magazine capacity greater than 4+1--I have several WWII surplus bolt-action and semi-auto battle rifles in other calibers.

What I am really looking for here is a lightweight, compact carbine with good fixed sights for flexibility and to backup the scope. For me that means a QD mount or maybe see-through rings, though with the latter the scope might be too high for comfort. A scout scope mount is an option, but I have no strong feelings either way.

September 5, 2011, 07:46 AM

September 5, 2011, 09:32 AM
I had a bolt action in mind, though I am not opposed to a semi-auto. Still, the DPMS is not quite "under $700 internet price without optics, ideally under $500." I did consider a Saiga .308 a rough-and-ready companion to a more accurate bolt gun. Maybe a Vepr? But both seem hard to find and the sights are nothing to write home about.

I also considered a Remington 750 semi-auto .308 carbine but they are not cheap and I am not sure I can get both a receiver sight and a scope to work at the same time.

Maybe I am going about this wrong. Perhaps there is an extended, one-piece Picatinny rail for one of these bolt guns that would allow both a compact scope and a pair of flip-up sights like one a compact AR-15 carbine?

September 5, 2011, 10:06 AM
I'd recommend an Ar10 type with a mild 1-4x scope or even a simple Eotech XPS2/Aimpoint H1.

Or a Savage FP10 with any decent 3-9x scope.

September 5, 2011, 12:20 PM
Thanks. Savage makes great guns but to my knowledge none of their designs quite meets my needs. Their less expensive models have long barrels and no sights, and their shorter-barrel models are generally much too expensive (that McMillan stock model above lists for $1,400!). The Savage 10 FCM Scout comes close, but the sights seem unprotected and it's just plain homely as rifles go. In the end, I will likely go with a straight light carbine like the Ruger and Howa already mentioned, Remington Model Seven or even the beautiful Savage Model 11 Lightweight Hunter and do without the back up sights. Still, I was hoping someone would come up with an option I hadn't thought of.

September 5, 2011, 12:28 PM
No.5 Mark1 Jungle Carbine. "Its not inaccurate, you just need to get closer!"

September 5, 2011, 12:42 PM
Not to be critical, but the whole backup irons thing is military derived. A hunting gun needs a permanently attached scope, variable power, that sits LOW for good shooting ergonomics.

If you get a light 2x7x28 or something, you can crank it down to 2 power, and shoot something ten feet away, just aim a little high. If you get a good scope on a hunting rifle, and you don't abuse the rifle, the scope will never have problems.

Plus returning to zero on a detachable scope is hard. About the only people, in my non-all encompassing experience, that do it right are the Germans. Perhaps some US military mounts do it right.

One problem people have is wanting one gun to do it all. It gets a lot easier if you say, well, I'll just back the scope off, and I'm not fighting zombie hordes, so I don't need irons. Then you can get a good set of low rings that will let you set up a scope right, and you're in business.

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