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The Scout Rifle: What Is It? Do You Need One? Which To Choose?

Firearms fans of all types are always checking out new guns for one reason or another. The collector wants all the recognizable, limited edition, iconic and unique guns, while the practical shooter wants whichever gun precisely meets the need for a given situation.

The scout rifle is a perfect fit for both of these types of gun lovers.

Great for use in the great outdoors, the scout rifle is a reliable all-round choice for hiking, traveling through open wilderness, scouting, or hunting.

The scout rifle comes chambered in a larger caliber round to drop animals up to 1000lbs out to 450 yards. All this power is packed into a shorter-barreled, shorter-length, bolt-action rifle that is lightweight for easy and comfortable shooting.

Scout Rifle History

The first of this redefined genre was the Streyr Scout Rifle, developed by Jeff Cooper in the 1980’s.

Cooper was inspired by the “guide guns” used by iconic pioneer outdoorsmen like Maj. Frederick Russell Burman, but he wanted to update these firearms with modern materials to make them more accurate, relatable, and easier to use in the wild.

Scout Rifle Benefits

So who does a scout rifle benefit?

If you spend any time outdoors at all in activities like camping, or hiking in wide open ranges, dense forests or mountains terrain, it's always good to have a firearm to protect yourself.

Scout Rifle graphic 1

A pistol is great, but if you run into a larger animal--say a bear, wild cat, charging elk or moose--a pistol will take some time to stop the threat.

Having a large-caliber rifle that is easy to pack and carry for long periods of time, however, will be more effective protection in this environment. The scout rifle allows you to carry other gear without being overburdened. At the same time, you get the peace-of-mind knowing you can “handle business” if any wild creatures pose a threat.

Scout rifles come in calibers ranging from .223 up to .376 Styer.

For hunters, this style rifle is always great. As the name suggests, it’s perfect for getting out and scouting an area. Additionally, the high-power yet lightweightedness of this rifle makes it an especially good hunting choice for smaller-framed individuals.

Accurate up to about 450 yards, this gun more than meets the requirements for your average hunting needs.

What About Other Platforms Like The AR?

The AR is a great platform, and can accomplish as much as the scout rifle can.

If you’re looking to use an AR platform comparable to the scout rifle, think lightweight, minimal and short (i.e. you don’t need a drum mag or a 24” barrel). An AR with comparable scout rifle specs might be:

  • A .308 (AR-10) with a 14-16” barrel
  • 10-round magazine
  • lightweight handguards
  • good scope and a
  • focal length of 1-12x

The main difference between the two is that AR is a gas-powered gun, and most scout rifles are semi-auto bolt- or lever-action. You’ll have to try each platform to discover whether one suits your shooting style better over the other.

Scout Rifle Models

So what are the best options for the scout rifle today?

The original (Steyr) is always a solid choice, but there are now many other notable models on the market from various manufacturers. If you’re wanting to shop around, we’ve included a run-down on the best from top-of-the-line to a more budget friendly, and even some “classic feels” like the Marlin Lever-Action.

Here are a few options and highlights of the best scout rifles out there today:

Steyr Scout Rifle

Scout Rifle graphic 2

Savage 110 Scout Rifle

Scout Rifle graphic 3

Ruger Scout Rifle

Scout Rifle graphic 4

Marlin Model 1895 SBL (Lever Action)

Scout Rifle graphic 5

Mossburg MVP Scout

Scout Rifle graphic 6

Springfield Armory M1A Scout Squad .308

Scout Rifle graphic 7

So there you have it: the scout rifle.

Made for the outdoorsman or outdoorswoman, the collector, and the practical shooter, from beginner to expert.

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