Scout scopes - what am I missing??

Discussion in 'Rifle Country' started by Spinner, Sep 14, 2005.

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  1. Spinner

    Spinner Member

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    Maybe I'm not fashionable, or maybe I'm not up on the latest technology, but I have to ask about the fascination with "Scout Rifles" with a scope mounted halfway along the barrel (or at least forward of the receiver).

    Scopes have a limited range of eye relief and I would have thought that a conventional scope mounted that far from the shooter would produce a wide ring of black, a tiny field of view in the centre with a reticle superimposed upon it and be hugely susceptible to parallax errors.

    Now I can understand why you might want a "scout scope" mount if you have a milsurp bolt action rifle so you don't have problems with the bolt fouling on the scope or so you can still use stripper clips or whatever. Some rifles fling spent brass straight up and mounting a scope on top of the receiver wouldn't be feasible (or would at least pose difficulties) but the majority of rifles don't necessitate a "scout scope" mounting. Bolts can be bent and most other challenges can be overcome in order to get the optics working properly. Even a Winchester 94 AE can have a scope mounted on the receiver.

    I am absolutely stumped as to why someone would go to the trouble of mounting a scope "scout style" on a Marlin 1894, for instance, when the action is a true side eject and the receiver is drilled and tapped for scope mounts already (both features are often listed as advantages over the Win 94).

    If the scope is mounted on the receiver it is roughly at the centre of balance so while it might add weight to the rifle it isn't changing the way the rifle handles significantly. Mounting the scope further from the point of balance is more likely to change the handling of the rifle, possibly making it muzzle heavy and about as quick and handy as a railroad tie. I thought that would be counter to the scout rifle concept.

    I like a scope to be mounted as low as possible with enough eye relief to avoid the scope from smacking my eyebrow under recoil. The scope needs to be positioned so that when I bring the rifle to my shoulder while looking at the target I am immediately looking straight through the scope at the target. The rifle "fits" and "points" like a shotgun and I don't have to hunt around to find the scope and then find the target and there's little opportunity for parallax error. I find that around 1 to 1.5" of eye relief is about right and a set of low scope mounts (as long as the objective bell is clear of the barrel). I cannot imagine that having 6-8" of eye relief is going to make it easy to find the scope or target quickly.

    So what am I missing here? What do scout scope mounts offer that is significantly better than a receiver mount??

    Spinner
     
  2. rbernie
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    rbernie Contributing Member

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    A scout scope will have the eye relief tailored for the viewing distance. In sum, a scout rifle will give you better balance for offhand shooting and enhance your situational awareness (since your vision isn't completely obscured by the scope). The rifle just 'shoulders' like it has iron sights, only magnified.

    Until I recently came into a 'pre-scouted' Marlin, I didn't 'get it' either. Now I'm sold.
     
  3. SpookyPistolero

    SpookyPistolero Member

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    I have a strong emfatuation with them and think they're just super. You really would need to try one before making a judgment on the setup. While I'm sure they're not for everyone, they do have advantages. The biggest involves the speed at which you can pick up your target. When the rifle is shouldered, both eyes remain open, and you're simply where your crosshairs are without having to feel around for eye relief (like I do on a standard eye relief scope). I think you'd find it even more like a shotgun than your standard eye relief scope.

    Probably as important is the fact that you can keep an uninterrupted field of view. You can still see all of your environment instead of just the field of view the normal scope might offer.

    When done right, the scope is still mounted quite close to the bore, so that is not an issue. The balance has never been a problem for me at all, and often it feels a bit better to me.

    Give it a try!

    Oh, PS - Just noticed where you said it would be hard to put a standard eye relief scope at a forward location. The scout scope is actually a low power, long eye relief scope specially designed for that location, like a pistol scope.
     
  4. SamlautRanger

    SamlautRanger member

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    Scout Scopes are special designs. Leupold and Burris make scout scope both at about 2.5x power. Also aimpoint red dot, acog reflexs, eotech at 1x power also work well. Aimpoint also makes a 2x power red dot. The advantage is that you can easily and quickly bring the rifle up and find your target. Can easily keep both eyes open. Also, you still have a wide range of view. After me using one on my Marlin 30-30, I am sold. Hard to go back to traditional scopes for me. Plus don't have to worry about getting "Scope Eye" on recoil or the scope interfering with rifles action. Now Scout Scopes at only 2.5x are not as powerful as traditional scopes, but I rarely ever take a shot past 200 meters, so they work great.
     
  5. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    What does a scout scope have over a TA11 ACOG?
     
  6. KaceCoyote

    KaceCoyote Member

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    A wider field of view, when you have an ACOG mounted close just because of the fact theres a horn shaped black thing that close to your face cuts down on your peripheral vision. With the scope mounted foreward the rifle can be at shoulder, with both eyes open and only alittle of your vision obscured. I obtain a cheekweld quicker too myself, though I dont know -why-..
     
  7. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    To be precise, it would cut down on one's center vision, not peripheral, since you're keeping both eyes open... And then there's BAC and quick sight picture acquisition due to the bright reticle...
     
  8. rbernie
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    rbernie Contributing Member

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    This was the benefit that I found most compelling, though I am also at a loss to explain why this would be so. It just seems to be faster..
     
  9. El Tejon

    El Tejon Member

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    Jeff Cooper detailed the advantages: optical sight does not interfere with loading, allows a quicker mount for the snap shot a vital skill in using rifles, facilitates keeping both eyes open when shooting allowing better vision and great field of vision, can allow a closer mount of the optical sight to the bore line, lack of "scope ribbon" over the eye from improper crowding.

    "To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth"

    The Scout Scope is a clear example of allowing software to control hardware. Some may not understand, but once they become educated they grasp the advantages.
     
  10. Preacherman

    Preacherman Member

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    I use both conventional, over-the-action scopes and Scout scopes. I find they offer different advantages in different situations.

    For quick-reaction shots at short to medium range (say, out to 200 yards), the Scout scope is unexcelled. You keep both eyes open, and as you look at your target, bring the rifle to your shoulder. The crosshairs always fall within your range of vision, and very little "adjustment" is needed to get off a snap shot with great accuracy. I have four rifles equipped with Scout scopes, two in .308 Win. and two in .30-30, and for brush work they're superb.

    For low light work, and over longer ranges, the over-the-action scopes are much superior to Scout scopes. They gather light better, offer greater magnification, and are usually better adaptable to those with vision problems (e.g. wearing spectacles, needing adjustments, etc.). They also "wash out" less at sunrise and sunset when looking near the sun - a Scout scope can be almost unusable when the sun is nearly directly ahead or behind the shooter.

    For general-purpose use, I really like Scout scopes. For more specialized applications, I really like conventional scopes. You pays your money and takes your choice.

    (BTW, the low-power Scout scope is not bad at longer ranges. I did the General Purpose Rifle course at Thunder Ranch with a Steyr Scout rifle in .308 Win., using the Leupold 2.5x Scout scope. I had no trouble scoring consistent hits at 300 yards, and was one of only two shooters in the class to clear the Jungle Walk reaction shoot, firing at targets out to about 200 yards range, with all-first-round hits.)
     
  11. Onslaught

    Onslaught Member

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    More versatile mounting options ;) I can't imagine a bolt-action with a TA11 mounted to it (2" eye relief + .308 bolt-gun = [​IMG] )

    About 15 years ago, I saw an M1 Carbine in a gunshop with a "Mono-Mount" that placed a low powered pistol scope (since back then, there was no "scout" scope) out over the Carbine's handguard. I'd never seen such a thing, so I asked to see it. I'll be darned if I didn't get the hang of it immediately, and just LOVE the set-up. The dealer was BIG on M1 Carbines, and had put it together to shoot at a local match to advertise his war babies... I didn't compete with it, but i did get to shoot it, and again, I REALLY "got it".

    I must admit though, I don't have a scout scope on any rifle I own, and I do have an ACOG on one of my ARs... But if I had a conventional type rifle for hunting close to medium range, I might consider a scout scope.
     
  12. JustsayMo

    JustsayMo Member

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    I'm another scout scope user. A Marlin 336 I purchased came with a Leverscout mount on it so I purchased a Leupold Scout scope to give it a try.

    http://www.grovestreet.com/jsp/onepic.jsp?id=1057734

    I've had traditionally mounted scopes on leveraction guns and while the accuracy is improved the handling of the gun is dimished. Manipulating the hammer is more difficult and requires a hammer spur to do it safely. The scope is much higher when traditionally mounted. The balance moves back toward the receiver.

    With the Scout Scope setup the scope is mounted much lower. The scout scope does not interfere with manipulation of the hammer. The balance point on my 336 with 20" barrel is at the rear of the forarm, my hand stays on the wood and not corroding with sweat or freezing to the metal. It also allows mounting of backup receiver sights that are easily accessed with the quick release low mount scope rings should the scope become unuseable for whatever reason.

    I was concerned that the loss of magnification would diminish accuracy but that has not been the case. I'm finding that a wider field of view is more desireable than higher magnification. The 2.5x is plenty for the ranges I use a 30-30 and probably enough magnifcation for deer sized targets out to 300+ on rifles capable of delivering a round that far. At the range or in the field I've become a believer in the Scout Scope concept.

    The picture link below is of a 100 yard target I shot while working up loads for the leverscout. 4 of the 5 shots went into 5/8" and counting the flier the group measured 1-3/8". This is with a 45 year plain jane unmodified levergun.

    http://www.grovestreet.com/jsp/onepic.jsp?id=1057735

    The only downside I am aware of is that it takes a while to get used to the aesthetics of a scout mount.
     
  13. hillbilly

    hillbilly Member

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    Spinner wrote the following:

    " Scopes have a limited range of eye relief and I would have thought that a conventional scope mounted that far from the shooter would produce a wide ring of black, a tiny field of view in the centre with a reticle superimposed upon it and be hugely susceptible to parallax errors."


    Judging from these comments, I think it's obvious that you've never held a rifle with a scout scope on it, much less actually fired one at a target.

    Instead of making any sort of argument, I will say that you need to go actually handle such a rifle, and actually fire such a rifle at a target, and then see what you think.

    It's one of those things you don't understand until you actually try it out.

    hillbilly
     
  14. Z_Infidel

    Z_Infidel Member

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    I understand that scout scopes don't gather light as well as conventional scopes, but can someone comment on how they compare to a ghost ring / front post setup for low light situations? My guess is that a good ghost ring with a highlighted front post is better than a scout scope in low light but I haven't tried a scout scope so I'm not certain.
     
  15. fisherman66

    fisherman66 Member

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    good thread. thanks to all who have added. I want a scout for my '94 now.
     
  16. LooseGrouper

    LooseGrouper Member

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    Does anyone besides Burris or Leupold make a "scout" type IER scope? I know you get what you pay for with optics, but I'd like an inexpensive option so I could try it out before I dropped that much money.

    I've seen some relatively inexpensive pistol tubes that would sort of work, but the eye relief on those is a little too long.

    LG
     
  17. Zak Smith

    Zak Smith Moderator Emeritus

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    Just let me point out that it is 2.5", has no recoil issues on AR10's, and eye relief on the USO SN3 can be as short as 2.5" (which bolt rifle drivers have few problems with).
     
  18. Elmer

    Elmer Member

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    The medium eye relief scopes have been around a long time, and Cooper's been writing about Scout Rifles for more than 20 years. Wouldn't exactly call it "fashionable".......
     
  19. rbernie
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    rbernie Contributing Member

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    The Weaver 2x, 4x, and 2x-6x variable pistol scopes all have a very non-critical eye relief ranging from 10"-20". For starters, I mounted my Weaver 2x pistol scope on my new 'scout' marlin, and I'm pleased as punch with it. For $150, they're not a bad buy...
     
  20. waterhouse

    waterhouse Member

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    Does anyone know a good way to mount a scout scope on a browning BLR? I've got one of the AO scout mounts on my marlin and I love it, and I've always wanted to get a lever gun in .308 and set it up with a scout scope. I just use a 4x pistol scope and the eye relief is fine. Much faster on target than a regular scope.

    Don't get me wrong, I've got "regular" scopes on most of my guns, and they are much better for long range stuff or when great accuracy is needed, but for short range quick work the scout setup is very nice.
     
  21. Spinner

    Spinner Member

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    OK, so one of the most compelling and consistent arguments for scout scopes is apparently that they allow you to keep both eyes open.

    Since when was it mandatory to close one eye with any rifle sighting system? I've always shot both eyes open with iron sights and scopes. Must have missed that darn memo as well .... I swear I'm gonna fire that secretary of mine!

    BTW, as some of you surmised I have never used a scout scope set up. They look unwieldy to me but y'all swear that they're the ducks nuts .... if I find one around here I'll give it a try. In the meantime I'll stick to my receiver mounted scopes and shooting with both eyes open.

    Spinner
     
  22. Darth Ruger

    Darth Ruger Member

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    It's not mandatory, many people shoot that way with open sights and regular rifle scopes. But if you need speed for a jungle walk competition as mentioned by someone here, a tactical situation, hunting dangerous game in thick brush, or other reasons, you want both eyes open for maximum field of view, low or no magnification so you don't have two conflicting images for your brain to try to descramble, and the ability to quickly put the reticle on the target as soon as you see it. Try that with a regular high-magnification rifle scope mounted close to your eye, and you'll lose the match (competition), get shot (tactical), or be lunch (dangerous game). :D
     
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