Ruger has just released a new, compact .308 Win bolt-action rifle with iron sights and a front-mounted scope rail. Developed in conjunction with Gunsite instructor Ed Head, the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle is based on the Ruger M77 action. Designed for defensive and “tactical” use, the Scout Rifle features a 16.5″ barrel with birdcage flash suppressor (standard 5/8-24 muzzle threads allow muzzle brakes or suppressors to be installed). Rounds are fed via 5-round or 10-round AICS-sized detachable box magazines, with a Mini-14 style mag release forward of the trigger guard. Total rifle weight, without scope, is just 7.0 pounds. MSRP is $995.00 but expect the street price to be closer to $800.00.
Ruger Scout has Iron Sights and Front Picatinny Rail
The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle comes from the factory with good iron sights: a protected non-glare post front sight and receiver-mounted, adjustable ghost ring rear sight. A forward-mounted Picatinny rail can hold various optics — such as Burris or Leupold Scout Scopes which allow “both eyes open” sighting and fast target acquisition.
Laminated Stock with Adjustable LOP
The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle features a gray/black laminate stock with sling swivel studs and checkered grip and forearm. A soft rubber recoil pad, with three 1/2″ spacers, allows length of pull (LOP) to be adjusted.
The rifle’s integrated trigger guard/magazine well is glass-reinforced nylon. “Gunsite Scout Rifle” is engraved on the stock’s grip cap, and the receiver is roll-marked “Ruger Gunsite Scout”. Watch the video below to see the Ruger Scout Rifle in action.
Bane Gives Thumbs-Up
Gun Jounalist Michael Bane has shot the new Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle and he gives it high marks: “I’ve had the chance to put a lot of rounds through this rifle, both on AR platform-based courses and out to 300 yards, and IT IS SUPERB! My wish list was a gun aimed squarely at the TBD/SURVIVAL market, a gun that would deliver major caliber results for self-defense and then do double duty as an easy-to-carry hunting rifle.” Read More: The Michael Bane Blog.
Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine Redux?
When we first saw the Ruger Scout Rifle, our first thought was “that looks familiar….” Indeed, in size and intended function, the Scout Rifle is a modern version of the famous Enfield No. 5 Jungle Carbine. “Jungle Carbine” was an informal term used for the Enfield No. 5 Mk I, which was designed for fighting in the Far East and other tropical regions where a shorter, lighter rifle was needed. The No. 5 was about 100 mm shorter and two pounds lighter than the Enfield No. 4 from which it was derived. A number of “lightening cuts” were made to the receiver body, the bolt knob was drilled out, and woodwork was cut down to reduce weight. The Jungle Carbine had other useful features like a flash suppressor and a rubber buttpad to help absorb recoil.
If you found a surplus Jungle Carbine ($270-$500 on Gunbroker.com), fitted it with a forward-mounted scope rail, you could have a nice scout rifle for hundreds of dollars less than the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle ($995.00 MSRP). Granted, the Ruger offers an AICS-type detachable box magazine and some other nice features not found on the Enfield*, but the practical concept is the same.
*A reader correctly points out that the Lee Enfield No. 5 magazine is removable. Lee-Enfield magazines did open, permitting rapid unloading of the magazine without having to operate the bolt repeatedly to unload the magazine. However, the rifle was not designed like modern magazine-fed weapons, for which soldiers carry loaded magazines and discard the empties. Soldiers were instructed to leave the magazine in place and feed with stripper clips. Early models of the rifle actually had a chain holding the magazine to the rifle. There were both 5-round and 10-round magazine versions of the Lee-Enfield. Since these magazines could be removed, it is technically correct to say the Lee-Enfield had a detachable box mag. But soldiers using the weapon would not normally swap magazines in and out as with a modern-day mag-fed infantry rifle.