The Ruger Gunsite Scout (GSR) has been out for 6 years now. There are lots of good reviews out on it. What follows isn’t so much a review but just a few observations about the gun that I own. My own GSR is a stainless steel 18-inch barrel with a laminate stock.
The late great Colonel Jeff Cooper defined the concept of the scout rifle as ” one gun to own if you only have one.” He also warned, “Beware the man with one gun, for he probably knows how to use it.” There has been controversy about the concept of one gun for all purposes along with the concerns whether it is very good at anything in specific.
The 18″ barrel qualifies it as a carbine. it’s short lightweight and effective with the .308 chambering. It’s light weight with the ghost ring adjustable rear aperture sight and a non-glare, protected blade front sight allows for quick make ready aiming. When equipped with a low powered forward mounted scope, a fast aim with both eyes opened is easily accomplished. The gun comes with an Accurate-Mag 10 round steel box magazine. The big magazine is conspicuous and awkward looking. It is, however, functional. and trouble free. I purchased two extra plastic magazines a 10 Round Ruger and a 5 round Magpul Pmag. Neither are as obtrusive.
The GSR is a good shooter, I can shoot within a 3-inch circle. ( 1.5 moa) a better shooter would be able to tighten it up a bit. I use the forward mounted Leupold FX II 2.5X28 mounted forward of the receiver. The scope is bright and sharp at 2.5 magnification. The scope is mounted using a see through mount which allows the usage of the ghost ring sights if I choose. Choices are good. The rifle is soft shooting for a .308, the butt has a soft foam butt pad, There are also three spacers that can be installed in the butt to adjust the pull to the shooter.
While the concept of a Cooper defined scout rifle might be considered obsolete by some shooters and may consider the light weight AR15s a better choice as the ” one gun to own if you only have one.” The RGS excels on certain properties. The .308 round is devastating and is capable of bringing down just about any large game in North America. The bolt action is simple, reliable and practically failproof. While a magazine exchange is quick and easy, rounds can be singly loaded into the chamber because of the large open receiver..
This rifle now has 3 Mags. The original Mag is a 10 rounder,. It is black and simple looking. It’s about 5″ long and extends 3 1/4″ below the stock. Ruger is pretty proud of them. They can be bought for around $50.00 dollars. They are rugged and will probably last the life of the gun.
I also have a 10 round Ruger polymer mag, These are a little shorter, 4″ in length and extend 2.5″ below the stock. It looks less cumbersome and it will be less likely to interfere while shooting prone. The magazine has a dust cover which can protect the rounds and magazine from collecting debris while carried in a pocket. The lips of the magazine are thin and somewhat flexible. This allows top loading of the magazine from the open chamber. The next best thing to using stripper clips. Ruger warns that loading a mag this way should be done sparingly because it could cause excess wear on the thin lips. There are reports of uncapped magazines unloading rounds after the mags have been sitting a while. Using the cap will prevent this from happening. Despite the thin lips the magazines are well made, and I prefer them over the steel mags even though they cost about half as much as the steel ones, I think they are a better magazine
The third magazine for the scout is a 5 round Pmag. It’s a little bit shorter (3 1/4″) than the 10 round polymer Ruger It only extends about 1 3/4″ below the stock. This makes for more comfortable carrying, through brush while hunting without snagging, The 5 rounder is actually a 6 rounder, There is a tab on the underside of the follower that can be cut off to enable 6th round loading I found these at a couple dollars more at $27.00. A ten round version is two dollars more.
Overall I prefer the plastic mags over the supplied steel ones. Not only are they cheaper, they are smaller and quieter. They aren’t as loose in the magwell as the steel mags. Three round mags are available, they will install flush with the stock, and might be more suitable for hunters. I don’t believe I will bother with them. I will likely purchase several more, but I don’t have a clear preference of either polymer mag and will increase my stocks of both 5 and 10 rounder. All the same, though I will continue using my overpriced original equipment steel mag. It works and will probably last as long as the scout will.
The trigger on the scout is pretty good, not quite like breaking a glass rod but it is positive with about a 6 lb pull. The bolt action is a little stiff and initially, had a raspy feel to it. It smoothed out after a while but the bolt likes to be operated with authority. A very thin coat of lube helps too. When the bolt is pulled back firmly the casing will be ejected with full authority. If one pulls back on it a little gently one can remove the brass by hand for reloading.
My stainless GSR came with a flash suppressor installed. It also came with a stainless thread protector. I removed the flash suppressor, and installed the thread protector, resulting in the gun being about 2″ shorter. I haven’t shot it under darkened conditions yet, but I will reinstall the suppressor if it is a problem shooting.
Part of the Cooper definition of a scout rifle is a low powered forward mounted optic. I chose the Leupold FX II 2.5X28 mounted forward of the receiver.on the GSRs Picatinny rail. The forward mount is controversial, some people like it others hate it. I like it. I think that the people that don’t like it don’t like it cause they are used to the closer mounted scopes, don’t value or have issues with the two eyes opened concept. I like it because for me it is fast to get on sight and target. It has the added benefit of keeping the receiver clear. The problem is the line of sight using the high see through mounts can cause the shooter to get a chin weld over a much prefered cheek weld while aiming and shooting
The Scout concept is about one gun for all purposes. I don’t know if there is any such thing. There are some things the GSR excels in others that it isn’t going to be the right equipment.
I think the GSR would be a poor choice for (sub)urban home defense. The .308 is powerful and will over penetrate most walls. An AR, Shotgun or handgun could be a better choice.
The GSR is not a weapon of war nor a zombie killer It’s a bolty after all.
It’s not a 1000yd Sniper rifle.
The .308 ammo is just too expensive to be much of a plinker.
There are some things that it excels at though:
The light weight makes it a great brush gun. It’s short and light and this makes the GSR an easy carry. The safety isn’t just a simple trigger block, but a combination trigger and firing pin block. A forward mounted scope allows very fast to shoulder aim and shoot.
The GSR is an ideal deer stand rifle, its great for close quarters and the .308 is sufficiently powerful to take down any deer or hog for at least 300 yards are less.
A ranch or truck gun, Its compact size doesn’t require much room to maneuver, and its a very rugged reliable gun and can handle being knocked about.