Best Scout Rifles – Top 8 Best Scout Rifle Reviews

Exactly what is a scout rifle in tersm of its place among other rifle types in use today? For the most part the dsign is not new as many would tend to believe and even write.

Back during WWII in the jungles of New Guinea the Australian Army was carrying these rifle during jungle close quarters warfare. Later in my day after the war we carried them in the deep black willow swamps of Northern Minnesota for whitetail. The 303 British round was perfect as a meat getting system at the time. Later Mauser’s in 7mm as cavalry rifles began to show up for sale on the open market and like the 303 Enfield jungle carbine these also wee picked up by yours truly and taken into the deer woods as well.

Today the Scout rifle is an off shoot of those early developments, for the most part all of them look a good deal alike save for the brand and action system tied to barrels that range from 308 Winchester through 450 Bushmaster.

Scout rifles are compact, carry open sights, but are set up with tactical rails (Picatinny) so as to accommodate lights, night vision systems, magnifiers and anything else the shooters want to haul into the field on the back of his or her rifle.

These rifles are a step under the standard full length bolt action rifle and are best suited for hunting thick cover or when fast shooting as in hog hunting is required at close range. Bolt actions were selected as the primary operating action option here because the design is fail safe to a greater degree then autoloaders, and also stronger, thereby allowing for larger cartridge types to be used. However, that stated, the standard scout rifle is in most cases chambered in 308 Winchester / 7.62 NATO.

The following are some examples of current Scout rifles available on the open market today. 

Author and Mini 14

Best Scout Rifle Reviews

1. Ruger Scout Rifle

Ruger, a leader in all American built and designed rifles today carries their models of the Scout Rifle. I have indicated  plural here because this company offer’s several different models with blued steel, bright stainless steel, composite stocks of several different colors and patterns.

In all cases however the Ruger Scout rifle retains receiver sights, scope mounts cut into the receiver of the Ruger standard design and also offers the tactical rail for mounting any type of toys the shooter desires.

Ruger makes use of a free floating barrel with an accurate barrel install that will deliver good accuracy to extended ranges.

The Ruger Scout Rifle uses a front sight blade ( iron sights ) that is protected and a rear sight that is fully adjustable. These are secondary to using glass sights on top of the receiver ( scopes. ) The magazine is a box quick release type and wil hold 10 rounds. The barrel is 16.10 inches long and the over all length of the rifle is 38.50 “. The real carry weight is 7 pounds. ( Dry )

The barrel retains a flash suppressor and can be switched out with the aid of an adapter for a suppressor system as well.  The rate of barrel twist is 1” in 10” RH and this is ideal for use with the 308 Winchester among others.


In Scout rifles Mossberg offers a nice bolt gun that like the design suggest will take on a wide varity of tasks. I own the Mossberg bolt action Scout rifle and I can say that after running it for about four years to date and using it as a test gun, backup rifle and pig shooter in night hunting operations that this is a class act gunning system.

Mossberg offers the rifle in a strong no frills polymer stock, makes use of a good workable recoil pad, mounts short weaver style rails right and left on the forward side of the stock, then tacks on the almost standard Picatinny rail system for the heavy hitting night scopes, magnifying units ahead of the primary sight, and a  bird cage flash hider, that can be removed so as to add a suppressor by way of an attached adapter ring.

I have screwed down about everything on my Scout rifle as I run special night scopes with massive forward bell systems, and also test red dots as in those produced by TRUGLO, a company that is always willing to put their product up to the test front and center.  Currently my rifle has a rough but effective comb elevation attachment taped to the stock, and elevated AR-16 style high increase block locked onto the Picatinny rail. Why? Big glass under test that won’t clear the barrel prior to lick down.

My rifle is short, compact in the pickup truck, easy to haul anyplace in the side by side CanAm and uses a dependable 10 round detachable box magazine.

The 308 round I chamber in the Scout has industry tested for articles and my field hunting Federal, Black Hills, Sig, and Winchester 308 cartridges by the number over the past several years. The rifle was used to 400 yards on steel when making a study of wind drift issue with varied bullet shapes and grain weights in the 308 Winchester round.  With more space and time this list could go on for a very long time as the little riflle is just that solid a product.

Priced at a retail MSRP of $623.00, this rifle is a darn good deal for your buck. Barrel length is 16.25 inches, mag capacity 10+1, barrel twist rate 1.10 inches, Color Matte Blue, and stock material synthetic Black.

The total carry length of the rifle is 37.5 inches, and  caliber as standard 308 Winchester, 7.62 NATO.

Front sight TRUGO protected housing, rear sight receiver typ. All rails receiver and barrel elements solid steel CNC constructed to military standards. How to I know this? Because I have visited the place where these rifles are built, some of witch is classified at this pint in time. 

3. Howa Scout

Here we have a Scout rifle based on the solid Howa 1500 action that feeds bullets to accurate barrels in all of the Howa rifle line. Howa builds Weatherby Back Country rifles, or at least has and I own one that is a 500 yard tack driver in 257 Weatherby Magnum.

ION terms of using the Howa action on a Scout rifle you can’t do much better in my opinion.  These rifles mount a williams one piece rail and peep sight ( quality units, ) and make use of a Hogue piller bedded stock with recoil pad.

The rifle has a William fiber optic hooded front sight, A2 flash hider ( bird cage, ) and a twostage HACT trigger.  The bolt on this rifle is one piece forgeted with double locking lugs. These are well made for boxed off the shelf rifles and will shoot sub MOA all day long according to the several I have tested here at Ballistics Research & Development.

The safety of the rifle is a three position system and the stock is set with a pair of sling swivel studs.  As a  Scout design this rifle carries a complete Cerakote tactical gray finish on the barrel and action. The floorplate on the rifle is steel.

4. Steyr Scout Rifle

Moving up in name brands and possible quality, however that is yet to be determined Steyr. The Austrian rifle builder offers a Scout rife model that is a bit different in terms of basic design but meets the original Jeff Cooper ( designers) standards.

I shoot Steyer rifles as applied to my 50 BMG field work. I have always found them to be perfection in terms of materials and workmanship.

These rifles weighs in a 6.6 pounds with an overall length of 39.4 inches. As a 308 Winchester chambering the light rifle kicks a bit but it is a joy to carry in timber or rough country back trails.

Steyr actions are top end in precision and quality and this rifle is no exception. The Scout rilfe retains a 19 inch fluted hammer forged barrel and as chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor holds 5+1 in a flush magazine.

The rifle carries an adjustable trigger that rages from 2 through 3 pounds regarding let off. The stock on the rifle is polymer with an integral bipod system, and length of pull spacers. The rifle comes in a hard side case and muzzle thread protector. Two five round magazines are also included with the rifle.

5. Savage Scout Rifle

Based on the Savage 110 action the Scout rifle offered by this company is flexable in that it is offered in several different chamber sizes that range from the 308 Winchester 338 Federal, 450 Bushmaster to the .223 Remington round.

I would suggest careful shopping for this rifle as things may have changed due to new ownership of Savage Arms. As of this writing already several line rifles have been eliminated from the product inventory.

The Savege Scout rifle is built on the 110 reciever which is one of the most accurate over the counter rifle actions built today. At one point while covering the late great 600 yard bench rest shoots for The Varmint Hunter Magazine Savage 110 actions were popping up on bench rest rail rifles and drilling almost single holes to some unbelievable ranges.

The bottom line is that these rifles will shoot.  I have several Savage rifles in  my test inventory here at Ballistics Research & Development that are not going anyplace but down range.

This rifle has an overall length of 27.5 inches to 38.5 inches, retains a weight of 7.72 pounds dray, uses a barrel with a twist rate of 1-10 inch, and carries a box magazine that holds 10 rounds.

The Accutrigger is adjustable but out of the box they tend to perform well. Currently it is the most copied trigger in the world by many firearms brand companies. Adjustable trigger pull from 2 through 6 pounds.

This rifle is stocked on a single unit conventional piece of furniture, and points well in terms of balance, then at the same time will hold up under stressed field conditions .

6. CVA Scout

Here we have a branded “ Scout Rifle” that is quite far off the Jeff Cooper design mark. This rifle is chambered in several offerings that range from 44 Remington Magnum to 450 Bushmaster and point in between. 

The rifle is a single shot rifle which completely departs over 100%  from the traditional Scout rifles.  The 20″ barrel ( compact model ) is threaded and capped for a suppressor I would assume, the open hammer retains an extension so as to be used around a scope sight that stands out over the rear of the receiver. The rifle is a break open design which makes it very simple to operate and quite safe to use as well. New shooters take note of that last comment.

I will abbreviate this coverage due to the rifle NOT being a Scout rifle, but in name only. In truth the rifle should have been named “Path finder”, or something on that order.

7. Springfield Armory  M1A Scout 

Other rifles that may not be the original Jeff Cooper design but are real Scout rifle systems include the following. Springfield Armory  M1A Scout Squad rifle in 7.62 Nato, mounting an 18” barrel, MA Grand action ( basic, ) carries an overall barrel length of 40.33 inches ( TANKER MODEL OR APC CUT DOWN ) and stocked in synthetic or walnut. The sights on the M1A Scout are receiver rear and open post front with a Picatinny rail running  full the length of the rifles receiever for additional sighting applications,

Action Semi-auto M1 type, magazine capacity 10+1

8. Ruger Mini 14

Secondly a rifle that is not named “ Scout” but sure meets many of the requirements is the grand old “Ranch Rifle” by Ruger or so named years ago, now being the Mini 14 or Mini 30 carbines. These short fast handling rifles are light weight, carry magazine capacity’s of 10, 15, 20, or 30 rounds, can mount scopes and retain fast receiver and post open sights.

Action type on the Mini 14 is basically the M1A military rifles design  and when in military production Ruger Firearms took a look and decided to down size that vary action and adapt it to both .223 Remington ( 5.56 MATO,) or 7.62X39 Russian Short. Currently the rifle is also offered in the newer American developed 300 AAC Blackout.

I have owned, shot and used commercialy this rifle in both Russian Short and .223 Rem for over 25 years to date. Pigs, deer, coyote, and anything that gets in its way have come down hard with the Mini 14’s solid delivery system employed afield. This is my favorite Scout rifle in spades.

At this time i’m rebuilding a brand new Mimi 14 into a custom stainless steel and walnut side folder using the same stocks as provided by Sampson Manufacturing under license by Ruger brand. This new build will be the same as the rifles selling on the collector market for $2000. and up.

Current cost complete using a new rifle by Ruger in stainless steel and the custom order Sampson stock About $900.00

I have been writing firearms and outdoor material of over 50 years to date. I have hunted across the world including Russia and a great deal of time professional hunting in Australia. I currently live in the American west and hunt all across the Black Hills of South Dakota, and the Big Horn mountains. I have specialized much of my work as a load developer in shotguns and rifles. I have run a small company that builds suppressor barrels of my design, and load tests for writing purposes and consulting. My commercial names include Ballistics Research & Development / Metro Gun Systems.TM. Web site

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