Quantcast

Questioning the Scout Rifle concept.

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Balrog, Sep 2, 2017.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. JeffG

    JeffG Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2017
    Messages:
    1,586
    Location:
    NE Wisconsin
    If you are banging down metal targets, or shooting water filled jugs, scout length scopes are fun! If you are judging trophies, or trying to sort out a specific animal in a herd, the 2x or so long eye relief scope is lacking in comparison to a regular style scope that you would normally have on a big game rifle. I spent a lot of money to put this type of scope setup on a Marlin GG, and it lacked usefulness in the woods. IMG_0147.JPG
     
    Newtosavage and chicharrones like this.
  2. taliv

    taliv Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2004
    Messages:
    25,352
    scenario == 1960

    personally, i think the "do it all" rifle depends on the terrain, and no so much on the nature of the target or whether you need to hide. mostly, east of the mississippi, an AR15 with a 1-6x or 1-8x is the way to go. West of the mississippi, I'll take my PRS competition bolt gun. out west, for the most part, i can see farther than I can shoot and the rifle is pretty much good for 20-1600 yards and I still have a pistol for 0-20. back east, trees are in the way and the low power variable AR is good from 0-800 yards which pretty much covers 99+%.

    i like scout rifles, i really do. but it's been a long time since they might have been best choice.
     
  3. mokin

    mokin Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2007
    Messages:
    1,316
    Location:
    Western Colorado
    IMG_20170902_162629114.jpg
    I like my SMLE in scout configuration. But, with a full length action and at over eight pounds, it fails Cooper's definition of a true "scout".
     
  4. jim in Anchorage

    jim in Anchorage Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2009
    Messages:
    2,849
    I thought the idea behind The forward scope was to be able to use a striper clip.
     
    everydefense, Malamute and stoky like this.
  5. Gordon
    • Contributing Member

    Gordon Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2002
    Messages:
    9,885
    Location:
    Southern Oregon
    The above SMLE really looks good to me.
    When I first saw a Scout Rifle, in 1982 I think, while attending a Gunsite class with an HK 91 and an HK 93 I first saw a real "Scout" which I had allready heard about and was a fan boy of ultra light 600 Remington .308 Carbines and had Chet Brown make me a couple since 1979 . The shooting of skeet with the 2x scope trick had been mastered by a couple of the trainers there and of course was impressive. Soooo I had Chet put a rail on the 5 pound kevlar stocked 600 he recently completed and mounted the Leupold 2x Pistol scope with heavy duplex ahead of the action and with the 6 pound combo hunted the rugged and hot Ventana Wilderness and various Monterey county deer clubs for the rest of the 80s with my Scout, which actually was far ahead of the cobbled up version I had seen at Paulden. It was a season or two before the downside of the concept started to show up : with sun behind you the forward mounted Ocular lens with no shade would flare and deny you the moment of truth ! I even tried a Russian accordian rubber extension on the scope for a season in desparartion after losing a few shots, that looked stupid and really ruined the original reason for the forward optic. I had that rifle stolen :( but every carbine I have used since has normal eye relief scopes on them, usually variable to get better target definition in some distant shots and I never looked back. I even mount most Red dots further back when possible and the newer Red Dots have addressed that problem optically and with lens shading .
     
    ECVMatt and chicharrones like this.
  6. Wisco

    Wisco member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2013
    Messages:
    1,239
    I'm not a fan of ol' Jeff, his bigotry, or the scout rifle.

    Iron sights plus scope, detachable magazine, weird sling...

    A scout-type person who can't make hits on man or game with a peep sight doesn't need a scope - he needs more practice.

    Tell me how a basic, short, bolt action in a common caliber with an internal mag and a good solid aperture sight isn't lighter, more durable, and more suited to the role of wandering around looking at people while trying not to be seen but may have the need to engage the enemy or feed oneself...good fantastical grief.

    I'll take a basic rifle over a scout any day for the scenarios the scout is said to do well - and it's mostly to do with weight, ergonomics and durability.
     
    pauli, JeffG and qwert65 like this.
  7. stoky

    stoky Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,733
    Location:
    Wyomin!
    Or lets you top off an magazine, without removing it.
    & gives you easy access to the receiver, that you'll be grateful for, later or sooner. It also facilitates keeping both eyes open and having a good field of view around the target. And it's quick, no getting "lost in the scope". It's not without trade offs though. Having the sun at your back (where you want it) sucks.................especially if you don't have a good hat. ;)
     
    chicharrones likes this.
  8. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2010
    Messages:
    6,501
    Location:
    Galveston Bay is an Hour Away ©
    As my age advances and my eyesight has worsened, I do wonder if Mr. Cooper and some of his contemporaries resorted to the forward scope to make up for poor vision while not losing the ability to use a receiver mounted aperture.

    Up until a few years ago, I'd agree with you on using only an aperture sight. However, it sure is nice to have a focused reticle that a scope of any eye relief can provide. Honestly, what I'd prefer to a scout scope these days would be a 2x or 3x prismatic red dot so that I can focus the dot for my eyes. For whatever reason, prismatic red dots seem to be made only for AR height mounting and not for bolt action rifle mounting.
     
    Gordon, JeffG and stoky like this.
  9. Wisco

    Wisco member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2013
    Messages:
    1,239
    I hadn't thought of that. With modern optics, you can still keep it lightweight.
     
  10. stoky

    stoky Member

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2005
    Messages:
    1,733
    Location:
    Wyomin!
    agree
    I'd rather have a blind magazine, or (better yet), a flush fit box.
     
    chicharrones and adcoch1 like this.
  11. Kendal Black

    Kendal Black Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,648
    I've been moderately interested in the scout rifle concept for decades--probably since Cooper began promoting it. I see a well-executed scout type rifle as indeed a jack of all trades, and master of none, but that can be a positive attribute if you don't know just what you might need to shoot.

    And, no, I can't think of a single scenario in which a rifle specialized for some exact and particular purpose would not do better than a scout--at that particular job. A rifle for thousand-yard bullseyes does not look like a scout. Neither does a PDW.

    For me, the scout rifle was merely a point of departure for my own thoughts and preferences. The sun behind you has already been mentioned as the bane of forward-mounted optics. I agree, and prefer the sight mounted aft. Before the scout scope, Cooper had already explained how to rapidly find your target in a conventional scope of low power. Point your rifle at the target and then look into the glass.

    Optics mounts that permit a return-to-zero mounting of a spare optic, already sighted in, are reasonable substitutes for backup iron sights. If you like irons, nothing wrong with that. I like them less with each passing year.

    The use of a 'speed sling' is good. A couple of my rifles have three mount points for sling swivels. I like the CW system of looping up because it is simple--nearly impossible to foul up when you are in a hurry; you'd need to miss the hole with your arm entirely.

    Another thought that has occurred to me pertains to the scout's use as a self-defense rifle. I do not think it would have occurred to Cooper that a bolt action was actually unsuitable for fighting. He was an old time Marine, WWII service. IIRC, the Corps did not switch from the Springfield 1903 to the M1 Garand until WWII was well underway. He would have known all about the Springfield and what a fellow could accomplish with it.
     
    444 likes this.
  12. Macchina

    Macchina Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    910
    I loved the idea of a Scout rifle as a walking around deer good. Needed to be light, fast to bring on target, quick to fire a follow-up shot, and quiet enough to shoot without ear pro. The last criteria led me to pistol-caliber carbines. 44 Magnum is surprisingly quiet from a rifle.

    I topped this 44 Magnum JM 1894 with a Leopold FX-II Scout Scope in quick detach mounts with XS backup peep sights. This'll good really showed me how much faster a Scout Scope is to bring on target: it's amazing. I have 10 rounds and the whole setup comes in at about 7.5 lbs loaded.

    With a lever action I have nothing to loose in the field and a MUCH more snag free package than an AR. I frankly can't stand carrying an AR: it's awkward in the hand where a lever action feels like your carrying designed to be carried. It's smooth, svelte, and makes awesome noises when you move anything on it.

    Screenshot_20170902-212017~2.png
     
  13. Malamute

    Malamute Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    3,166
    Location:
    Rocky Mts
    I have mixed feelings about the idea. Or I should say the name. A scout isnt rifle aith a forward mounted scope, or necessarily any scope. It was one aspect, not a defining aspect or even required.

    He once wrote of people asking what he suggested if they didnt have the money to build or buy a "proper" scout, his answer was buy a Ruger ulta-light in 308, buy a fixed, regular 4x scope on it and shoot it a lot. I will note he did not say get a cheap, clunky surplus rifle that has nowhere near ideal weight or handling characteristics (is there such a thing as an actual mosin scout?) and put a forward mounted scope on it with an awkward, poorly designed scope base and call it a scout. Its more about light, handy, fast handling than anything to do with a forward mounted scope, or even having scope. That gets us back to the current common concept of practical rifle, which gets quite a bit of discussion among some rifle users and fans. The "scout" features or technicalities are basically dispensed with, the concept is light, accurate, very handy and user friendly, and beyond that, is fairly open to interpretation so long as caliber meets the users needs.

    I never warmed up to the forward mounted scope. Any scope, if properly mounted for the individual user, should throw up to the shoulder and have the crosshair right where you were looking, like it magically appeared. If you have to hunt around for it, youre doing it wrong, basically in how its mounted, and how the gun is stocked. Many did great work on straight away clays in the air with the forward mounted scope. Thats the sort of thing to be motivated by and aspire to. Hitting running small game shouldnt be an issue either if the scope in mounted properly.

    I still have aspirations of a medium length and weight bolt gun with medium power standard scope. Ive stalled out in progress due to a life changing injury, but my perceived ideal will be a common bolt action hunting rifle with a slightly shorter than normal barrel, but not as short as seems the fashion today. 20" seems a workable balance point. 2-7 Leupold, mid-20s caliber (6mm-260-ish) when not playing tag with the bears on the mountain. Mild enough to shoot without banging up my bum shoulder and back. I'm a big fan of fixed magazines with drop-able floor plates, like Ruger 77s and many sporter bolt guns have. 20" should be short enough to carry comfortably and not be a huge nuisance getting in and out of vehicles and banging around in thick brush. The Ruger Compact Magnum, which they also made in 308, is about perfect to me as a general purpose rifle. In 260 it would be as close to perfect as I could think of. I'm not a huge fan of ARs or self loaders, they fun to shoot at distance, but are bulky compared to good bolt sporters. Fine if anyone else wants to carry one around, I have and just dont care to any more than necessary. Fun range guns or plinkers to me. I hardly ever participate in end of world or societal breakdown events any more, so am happy to use a bolt gun as a woods gun and knock around rifle.

    I like good irons as backups. One of the ideas of having the irons on and ready to go on the older scout ideas was the problems with the scopes of the day. Cooper wrote that in nearly very rifle class they had at least one scope failure of some sort, sometimes more than one. Scopes, and variable scopes have improved over time. Having the reticle etched onto the glass is a step up, hard to break the crosshairs when so done. One can have a spare scope ringed up, and zeroed for a spare, which isnt a bad idea for a hunting trip. I still like having decent irons. One can claim they can shoot as well with irons as a scope, but thats hard to do in poor light and at things that blend in with their background. In my yard, Ive many times messed with irons and scopes, and long after irons become totally impossible to even see, I can still easily see with a scope at deer or other things. I also recall letting shots go by with irons that I absolutely knew was a simple shot with a scope. If irons suit one, great, I like the odds stacked in my favor s much as possible depending on the guns intent. For the broadest practical use, glass really makes a difference. Good quality glass is also money well spent. Shoot with it enough on targets, varmints, small game and whatnot, and you get a pretty good feel for what you can do. Knowing you can make a shot at 300 yards on prairie dog sized target is a good feeling. Dinging the 600 yard or farther steel plates is also tons of tun and instills good rifle craft.

    Most of us dont carry rifles around all that regularly. For hunting within season and occasional use, the differences in a little weight and size probably dont matter that much. If you do carry one around much on a regular basis, then the little things start to matter a bit more. Winchester 94s are very handy to carry. Having a bolt gun thats similarly handy is part of the goal of the scout or practical rifle, without the range and accuracy limitations inherent in most lever carbines compared to scoped bolt guns.
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2017
    pauli likes this.
  14. Mosin Bubba

    Mosin Bubba Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2012
    Messages:
    1,314
    I've always thought that the scout rifle is a solution looking for a problem.

    There's all these detailed specs for it (should have iron sights, should take stripper clips, etc), but what does it do? Is it just a lightweight bolt action? A gun to go woods bumming? Something meant for military service? I've heard people call it a "general purpose rifle", but that always felt like a cop out to me - why go to all these lengths to define something that's intended for no specific use?

    I personally don't see any use in pursuing it as a concept. You always grab a rifle for a reason, so why bother with a jack of all trades? Just use a gun that's built for what you intend to do.
     
  15. PapaG

    PapaG Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2010
    Messages:
    3,497
    Location:
    Il
    I have my own version of scout rifle, a Ruger Frontier in 308. I tried the front mounted ler scope and just couldn't hack it (probably due to sixty or so years of open sights and conventional scopes. It doesn't have a detachable mag but is short, light, and accurate. I added 1/2" of recoil pad spacer.
    Just wish I could use it for deer here in Madigan's Republik of IL.
     
    chicharrones and Malamute like this.
  16. Malamute

    Malamute Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    3,166
    Location:
    Rocky Mts
    Reading up on the topic would reveal answers to many of these questions. Its not simply a woods bumming gun, (not that thats a bad thing) as much as a good all around rifle, capable of doing many things fairly well. All of those things, potential defensive rifle, hunting rifle, full time carry rifle for some. If it doesnt suit you, then it doesnt suit you. The concept is more than you wish to acknowledge. Some see the utility right away, some dont. I'm speaking in more general/practical rifle terms than specifically scout terms, but the intended use isnt much different. Some like a rifle for every use, some like rifles that do a lot pretty well. Finding the balance of size, power/range/accuracy is what the original idea was about. The specifications werent strictly Coopers idea dreamed up out of thin air, as many seem to suppose, it was the result of a series of conferences of rifle enthusiasts. Cooper was the person that put the concept on paper so to speak and made ti known and somewhat popular. There were reasons for the particular parts of the idea, thats what my comment about reading up on it would answer many of your questions or comments. I'm by no means an adherent to the purist idea of scouts, but think the term is widely mis-used and misunderstood.
     
    stoky likes this.
  17. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2016
    Messages:
    7,330
    The weight requirement is more than a trivial challenge when developing a "scout rifle." Of course, an aspect of a scout rifle, under the Cooper consideration, is form - and most semiautomatic rifles are much more bulky than a bolt gun. So many of these have pistol grips protruding under the belly, a form factor far less sleek as a swept grip bolt rifle.

    No handgun competes with a rifle for field use. As one who has prescribed to the use of specialty and sporting handguns for over 25yrs, it's an irrefutable fact no handgun will truly compete with a rifle for field use - in terms of speed to stabilize on target and delivery of precise killing shots.

    Again, a bolt action will be lighter and less bulky than semiautos for portage and deployment.

    A traditional, scope-over-receiver bolt gun can be just as fast to deploy on target as a Scout rifle. The major difference is the portion of the field obscured by the optic. Cooper wanted to be able to see more of the field, and only zoom in on the object which deserved a bullet - which is a worthy pursuit, however, in application, none of us really get into a gunfight with a bolt action, and even if that might be a part of our reality, we're generally not forced to do so with the same rifle we'd use to fill the stew pot.

    Scout rifles are neat and they are cool, but they've been proven wanting as a concept time and time again.

    I'm prone to believe Cooper, in 2017, would favor a red dot, either non-magnified or only slightly so, on his scout rifles, as conceptually, they'd be a more relevant optic for his application.

    Where this type of rifle can shine is shots on running game and rapidly engaging multiple targets at short to moderate ranges. As a hunter, there's really not much reason to shoot running game, certainly no reason to plan to do so on a regular basis, and a receiver mounted optic really doesn't hinder the ability to deliver these shots anyway - assuredly not hinder as much as a forward mounted optic hinders precision for non-running shots. If I'm snap shooting multiple targets, I'd rather be running an AR-10 so I can stay on the trigger and maintain contact with both hands to help stabilize the rifle better to engage targets more quickly and accurately.

    I've done the scout thing a few times over the last couple decades, personally, I'm not impressed enough by the concept to stick with it.
     
    pauli, Kendal Black and Malamute like this.
  18. kBob

    kBob Member

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2006
    Messages:
    5,547
    Location:
    North Central Florida
    Folks overlook that Cooper also wrote about a light short semi auto rifle for scouts in a cartridge such as the .44 Auto Mag.

    While I was taking a rifle class with Major EJ Land I met one of Land's buddies that was a long time Force/Fleet recon vet. He told me of a young officer that insisted on having his scouts spend hours on hand to hand combat until the old gunny pointed out that if it came to down to hand to hand they had all REALLY done something awful with the dog as it were.

    Keep in mind that Cooper was a WWII and Korea era Marine. A scout was actually a Scout/Sniper and had to be able to do both, sometimes VERY different jobs. Even in Vietnam the vast majority of sniper shots were 325 yards or less. Cooper's scout rifle could easily do that. Remember that in Cooper's day "service rifle" meant an M-1 Garand. A later Day scout rifle would weigh less and be more compact.

    Colonel Cooper gets trashed for a lot these days.....a lot of times for what people THINK he was thinking. I know that towards the end he spent a good bit of time trying to comeup with a way to keep a five to ten shot rifle loaded. He was looking at things like Krag Magazines and the magazine of the Johnson semi auto military rifle and trying to come up with a way to top off his hunting rifles without opening the bolt. He was looking for ways to have extra ammo on the rifle so that one could load what one shot as he taught with shotguns with on board ammo. Never seen any of that written up.

    One of the highest compliments I ever received was not intended as such. In one of Mas Ayoob's classes I was in he went over his preferred forms but when the buzzer went off I reverted to preclass form and made my shots well placed and on time and as my slide locked back Mas "whispered" in my ear, "Very Cooper of you."

    -kBob
     
    Crowman, chicharrones, stoky and 2 others like this.
  19. jmr40

    jmr40 Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2007
    Messages:
    12,824
    Location:
    Georgia
    People get too caught up on details. Even Coopers ideal scout rifle evolved over the years and if he were still alive he would have continued to evolve his rifle. There are some basics, the rifle isn't designed as a fighting gun. It is an all around hunting and survival rifle that could be pressed into a SD role if necessary. It should have enough power to cleanly take game up to 200 kg, (about 450 lbs). And with trajectory and accuracy for longer shots. He felt 308 was ideal, with 7-08 in use where military cartridges were banned. But he had no issue with other calibers at times recommending 243 in areas where there were no 200kg animals. Or even much larger calibers such as 376 Styer in areas where truly large dangerous game were a threat.

    The rifle should be light and compact. That is easier to do with a bolt gun, but if you read his writings he had no problems accepting other actions if they were close enough to his specs. He chose a forward mounted scope only because he preferred military Mauser rifles and fast reloading via stripper clips. With newer designs and detachable box magazines there is no reason to handicap yourself with a forward mounted scope. A low powered scope mounted conventionally does everything better and I have no doubts that if Cooper were alive today that is one change he would make, or at least concede were an option. Iron sights just get in the way. In all of my years I've never had a scope fail, but I've had irons do it twice.

    I wouldn't worry too much about trying to meet all of his criteria. Even Cooper didn't do that. Use his criteria as a guide, pick and choose the exact features you want and add others if you wish.
     
    adcoch1 and Malamute like this.
  20. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    5,238
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    US Army Ordinance Corps had "first dibs" on all M-1s; the Navy Depertment had to wait to get their allotments of M-1s before they could go to the Marines.
    Which is also why the Marines were still in M-1917 helmets in 1942 at Guadalcanal.
    History is weird that way.
     
    Kendal Black likes this.
  21. CapnMac

    CapnMac Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Messages:
    5,238
    Location:
    DFW (formerly Brazos County), Texas
    Part of this is that Coops was thinking of an ideal rifle, fo a place few of us inhabit.

    His "hunting" rifle needed to leave you situational awareness so that you were not blindsided by either dangerous game or large predators. Wher you might not have a PH being a second eset of eyes to watch where you weren't.
    At the same time, that 'hunting' rifle might be all you had in a semi-lawless place, where poachers were as likely as trans-national insurgents; and neither with any moral problems with gunning down passers-by.

    So, his solution was meant for another world for many of us. A place with very different circumstances and conditions. Most of us will have little fear that we might disturb a rhino while hunting for deer. Or that hyenas might want to carrry off our kill befre we can even dress it.

    So, it's little wonder we see it as a solution for which there is no problem.
     
  22. Kendal Black

    Kendal Black Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2011
    Messages:
    1,648
    The Tikka the Canadian Rangers recently adopted, as the C-19, is close to a scout in concept and form, though the sight rail is in back not up front, and it doesn't "make weight." It might be useful to ask why that rifle.

    It looks to me like the Rangers mainly need a survival rifle. It has to be in a NATO caliber. .223 is too small and .50 is too big.

    Could they fight a battle using the C-19 rifle? Absolutely, and I would never sell those fellows short. But they mostly carry a rifle in case they run out of meat, or the bears and wolves do. :D

    Backgrounder article: http://www.sadefensejournal.com/wp/?p=3808
     
    Crowman and chicharrones like this.
  23. Ignition Override

    Ignition Override Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2007
    Messages:
    6,287
    Location:
    The Mid-South.
    An First Officer with whom I briefly worked years ago grew up on a farm in OK.
    He sometimes shot feral pigs on horseback. I believe he said that it was a 30-30.

    Maybe a 'scout' in Brit. .303 or .308 with a scope might have been a better bet for a pig? No idea what distance.
    All I know is that a nice Jungle Carbine I own seemed about as accurate as my equally nice Enfield #4 at about 120 yards.
     
  24. armoredman

    armoredman Member

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2003
    Messages:
    17,424
    Location:
    proud to be in AZ
    Most here have seen my version, which doesn't fit the criteria either, no scope, (I like my irons), caliber too light, (7.62x39mm, but suitable for the smaller animals in our desert setting), and it breaks with tradition by having a stock with pistol grip and a spare 5 round mag in the butt...but I like it. It's light, handy, and just fun to shoot, too
    . 527 online 8 12 16 smaller.jpg
     
    everydefense, Gordon and chicharrones like this.
  25. adcoch1

    adcoch1 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2015
    Messages:
    2,223
    Location:
    Centralia Washington
    Armoredman, I think your cz is a pretty close fit for what the practical uses of a scout rifle is for. Extra ammo on the gun was one of ol Coop's focuses, so was weight, size, accuracy, and good iron sights. Also an action free from obstructions. Just cause it doesn't have a forward rail or integral bipod (everyone likes to forget that part) doesn't mean the spirit of the utility rifle isn't captured by yours. Honestly Cooper was want the OPTION for optics and primary use being iron sights... Btw, I love that cz...
     
    armoredman likes this.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice