Ruger’s New Gunsite Scout 308 Bolt-Action Rifle


by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Dave Biggers

December 29th, 2010


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Il Ling New discussing the new Gunsite Scout Rifle in the classroom.



Ten-round detachable steel magazine.





Flash suppressor is detachable, and uses standard 5/8" threads for attaching accessories such as a sound suppressor.



Excellent soft synthetic rubber buttpad.








Gunsite raven atop flag pole.



Three weeks ago as I type this, I was sitting in a classroom at Gunsite Academy in Paulden, Arizona, along with a few other gun writers and outdoor television folks, as executives from Sturm, Ruger, and Company introduced their new Gunsite Scout rifle. The Scout rifle concept was a pet project of Jeff Cooper for many years, and the new rifle from Ruger is the culmination of years of evolution of that original Scout rifle conception. Mr. Cooper’s idea was for a short, handy, powerful, and easy to use bolt action rifle for use as a general purpose rifle. The Scout was to be handy enough and light enough to carry all day, and to be equally useful for dispatching game in the field and also to use as a fighting rifle. The Scout concept called for the rifle to have good mechanical sights, but to be adaptable to quickly mount a moderate eye relief scope of low power in front of the receiver.

There have been many custom bolt action rifles built on the Scout concept for many years, and a couple of production rifles, but about three years ago, engineers and executives at Ruger started working with the instructors at Gunsite to develop a rifle that would incorporate all of the desirable features of Cooper’s Scout rifle, along with what has been learned during the past three decades of Scout rifle development. The Gunsite instructors knew what worked well and what did not. They had seen other brands of rifles come to Gunsite that would not survive a week of intensive shooting. Going back and forth between Ruger and Gunsite personnel for many months, the rifle that we were shown at Gunsite is the result.

Ruger started with their M77 action, which uses their rugged and reliable Mauser-style massive claw extractor. That big extractor controls the cartridge from the magazine into the chamber. The M77 has a fixed-blade ejector for positive ejection. The three-position safety securely locks the bolt handle in its closed position, but also allows the cycling of the bolt with the sear still blocked for unloading the chamber. The black matte finished hammer-forged barrel measures sixteen and one-half inches in length, and the muzzle is threaded 5/8x24 TPI for attachment of flash and sound suppressors, and the rifle is supplied with a birdcage flash suppressor. The barreled action is mounted into a black laminated wood stock, which is fitted with a soft rubber butt pad, with spacers to adjust the rifle’s length of pull to accommodate shooters of different sizes, as well as for different styles and thicknesses of clothing or body armor. The stock is checkered for a secure grip, wears installed sling studs, and has a one-piece reinforced nylon magazine well and trigger guard. The pistol grip is laser-engraved with the Gunsite Raven logo, and the receiver is also marked as “Ruger Gunsite Scout” The rifle is supplied with a ten-round steel single-column magazine. The magazine release is centered, just in front of the trigger guard for easy ambidextrous use. Nice touch. The receiver is machined to accommodate the supplied steel Ruger scope rings, but also has a Picatinny rail forward of the receiver for mounting of Scout scopes or dot-style optical sights. The empty rifle weighs seven pounds, and has an overall length of 38 to 39.5 inches. The length of pull is adjustable from 12.75 to 14.25 inches, by the addition or removal of the butt pad spacers. The mechanical sights are of the protected Mini-14 style, which are rugged and reliable.

After going over the features of the Gunsite Scout rifle, we were instructed on its use by Gunsite Instructor Il Ling New, who would also serve as our chief instructor on the range with that rifle, along with other Gunsite instructors watching to give us tips on how to better handle the rifle. There were several of the rifles available for us to use, and each writer was issued one to use during the week, but were encouraged to swap rifles amongst ourselves at will. Rifles were fitted with various optics from Burris and Leupold, but I had carried along a brand new scope that Leupold had just introduced; the Mark 8 from their Leupold Tactical division.

The Mark 8 scope combines everything that Leupold has learned in over six decades of scope building. The Mark 8 is built to be a multi-purpose tactical scope, suitable for use in the tight quarters of a building, and still enabling accurate shot placement at several hundred yards. The Mark 8 has a reticle that is designed to be useful as a range estimator, and also as an aid to accurate wind and distance aiming adjustment. The dials are set to adjust the shooter’s elevation at extended range, and to easily dial back to zero. The astounding feature of this scope is its wide magnification adjustment range. Most scope can crank up or down in multiples of three, such as a 3 to 9 or 4 to 12, but this new Leupold adjusts from a low of 1.1 for shooting with both eyes open at close range, and it will adjust up in magnification all the way to eight power for long range accurate shot placement. The Mark 8 uses a front focal plane reticle, and the center of the reticle can also be illuminated to varying degrees as the lighting dictates.

Getting the Mark 8 mounted atop the Ruger receiver required some quick thinking and engineering. No one makes 34mm rings that are Ruger compatible, at least to my knowledge. I was able to find a set of Ruger to Weaver adaptors, but Dave Biggers at XS Sight Systems came through with a better idea. XS machined a long Picatinny rail to run atop the Ruger receiver and extend in front of the receiver to also accommodate a forward-mounted Scout scope or dot sight. Perfect! Next, I had to get a set of 34mm Picatinny compatible rings, and Warne came through for me, having them in stock. I had used Warne quick-detach rings many times in one inch and 30mm size, but did not know that they also make a 34mm set. The Warne rings perfectly secured the Mark 8 scope, but could be quickly removed, if needed.

Getting out on the range, we fired the Scout rifles from as close as twenty-five yards out to three hundred over two days, firing from standing, sitting, kneeling, and prone positions, depending upon the favored position of each shooter. I personally preferred the standing, kneeling, and prone positions, as my left broken ankle does not allow any semblance of comfort in the sitting position, especially getting into and out of it. Anyway, the Ruger Gunsite Scout rifles proved up to the task. I shoot a rifle from my left shoulder, but have become accustomed to working a right-handed bolt gun, and had no problems doing so with the Gunsite Scout. The bolt worked smoothly and quickly, and on the line, one of the Rangemasters pointed out to me that my empty brass was sailing out of the ejection port with enough force to be hitting a shooter five positions to my right! That is positive ejection.

The Scout rifle handled beautifully, and proved to be accurate on steel at long range. I have not yet been able to do any benchrest shooting at paper for accuracy testing, but will update this review when a test rifle arrives here at Headquarters, hopefully soon.

The Gunsite Scout rifle is, at this time, the apex in the evolution of the Scout rifle concept, and it sells at a price that is much more affordable to most of us, when compared to having such a rifle built. MSRP, as of this writing, is $999 US. The Ruger Gunsite Scout is a well-thought design, and fulfils Col. Cooper’s vision of an affordable, reliable, rugged, and accurate 308 bolt action rifle for fighting, hunting, and recreation.

Check out the Gunsite Scout rifle online at

For the location of a Ruger dealer near you, click on the DEALER LOCATOR at

To order the Scout rifle online, go to

For a look at the extensive line of quality Leupold optics, go to

To order an XS sight rail, go to The rail is brand new, so if you don’t find it on their website, give XS a call at 888-744-4880.

For a closer look at the excellent Warne scope rings, go to

For more information on Gunsite Academy and the training that they offer, go to

Click Here for Michael Bane's interview "The Rebirth of the Scout Rifle.

Jeff Quinn


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Click pictures for a larger version.


XS Sight Systems' long rail mount allows for mounting optics atop the receiver or farther out over the barrel.



Leupold Mark 8 Tactical 1.1 to 8 power illuminated scope, mounted on the XS rail in Warne 34mm quick-detachable rings.



David Biggers of XS Sight Systems shoots the Gunsite Scout Rifle with Leupold Mark 8 scope.



Mark Gurney of Sturm, Ruger shoots the Gunsite Scout Rifle with Leupold Mark 8 scope.



Shooters on the line at Gunsite, with the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifles.