> TEOTWAWKI Blog: Discussion on Scout Rifles



Discussion on Scout Rifles

Ryan over at TSLRF brought up the question of scout (forward) mounting a scope:

'Scout Mounting' a rifle scope. Presuming we are not talking about a weapon whose unique characteristics (utilizes stripper clips, Bolt gun with strait bolt you do not want to bend, M1 Garand, pre 'AE' Winchester 30-30, etc) what is the train of though behind forward mounting a magnified optic in this fashion? Pro's? Con's? Suitable for some element of precision at intermediate ranges (out to 600m or so)?

For goodness sake do not mention that Jeff Cooper liked it as a reason to do this. Sir Edmund Hillary was a heck of a mountaineer but times have changed and so has equipment. Let's stick to practical reasons and avoid dogmatic circular thinking. 

Now, Cooper popularized a rifle with some specific criteria for the scout rifle. One of his goals (amongst others) was a do-all rifle that could engage targets from 5 yards out to several hundred, rapidly and effectively. He chose a forward mounted, low magnification (2.5x seems standard) scope offered that kind of capability.

Now, you've got to remember that this was in the day before Aimpoints, ACOGs, flip-mounted magnifiers, 1-4x scopes, piggybacked micro red dots, etc. All more modern solutions to similar problems.

Were Cooper alive and pontificating about firearms today, I'd imagine he may very well choose something entirely different than the scout rifle he built back in the day.

Now, that's not to say that scout mounting a scope or the general Cooper-esque scout rifle is without merit. I see them as having value in two scenarios:

Scenario 1: Mounting a scope on a rifle that won't support a conventional scope mount.

There are lots of old surplus bolt guns and lever actions kicking around that were never really intended to have glass on 'em. If you want to put glass on 'em, a scout set up is pretty much your only option.

A low magnification, long eye relief scope often looks more at 'home' on these older guns than a red dot sight, too.

Scenario 2: An all-purpose practical hunting rifle

A bolt or lever gun with a scout scope is most at home on a ranch or roaming the back country in search of big game.

It gets you to a group of attributes that can be very appealing to some:
  • Quick acquisition at varying ranges
  • Both eyes open shooting & better ability to engage moving targets
  • .30 cal or bigger
  • ~7 pounds with optics and handy to carry
  • Sheeple friendly
For just plain combat effectiveness, attributes like semi-auto, mag fed, ability to offer sustained fire become more important. Weight, PC appearance and so on become less important.

And, even if those attributes are appealing, there are other ways to get there. a bolt gun with a traditionally mounted 1-4x or 1-6x can do pretty much the same, plus get you more magnification for longer ranges. Or, you can throw a piggy backed micro red dot on a traditional scope. Or throw an ACOG on the sucker

Anyways, if you're big into something like backpack hunting, a scout-type bolt gun might be your thing. Many find they like the way they look, handle and that the pack enough punch to get things done.

Anyone a huge fan of scout rifles? Hate 'em with an undying passion? Let us know!