Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle in .308 | The Perfect Truck Gun?

I can already feel some of you folks out there thinking about how to best tell me in the comments that a bolt action .308 is going to get me “kilt in da streets” and that an AR or AK platform rifle is the only real choice for a truck/trunk gun. Before you hit submit on that comment please do us all a favor. Sit down, shut it and hear me out or better yet, head over to the article I wrote about the quest for the perfect truck gun package under $1200.

The Ruger Gunsite Scout with a Vortex Strike Eagle and a Magpul PMAG AICS Magazine.

U.S.A. -(Ammoland.com)- Previously I talked about how I came to the conclusion that the Ruger Gunsite Scout be the best truck gun on the planet. Maybe I am a bit of a fool and am entirely wrong, but I happen to think that a lightweight bolt action could be almost as useful as a 12 gauge shotgun for the person with survival in mind. Please keep in mind that I am not a bird hunter and am admittedly terrible with a shotgun before you roast me for that comment, I am pretty handy with a rifle though.

The Pacific Tool and Gauge bottom metal works with both PMAG and standard AICS mags.

Out Of The Box Impressions

Once the Gunsite Scout showed up at my FFL I couldn't wait to get my hands on the rifle, after all, I had been lusting after a solid truck rifle for some time and the Gunsite Scout was the perfect rifle for the job on paper. The rifle was packaged in a lackluster cardboard box like most of Ruger's long guns along with a single 10 round AICS magazine made by Accurate Mag, a set of 1″ Ruger mount rings, some spacers, and other useless junk.

Once I got back to the house with the rifle I spent some time looking over the rifle and taking in the whole package. I really liked the laminate stock on the rifle, the colors that Ruger chose for the wood come together beautifully, especially in the checkered areas. You might be wondering why I bought the wood stocked version rather than the synthetic stock that is about a pound lighter. Interestingly, the synthetic stock model won't allow the barrel to free float but the laminate stock is stiff enough to make sure that barrel doesn't contact the stock when taking that precise shot.

Ruger did a wonderful job on the checkering. Getting a solid grip on the Gunsite Scout is easy no matter if your hands are clean and dry or wet and muddy.
The Gunsite logo on the bottom of the pistol grip is a nice nod to Col. Jeff Cooper.

The bolt on the Gunsite Scout is a bit on the stiff side out of the box but once I cycled it a few hundred times it started to smooth up a bit. I was a bit on the annoyed side that Ruger hasn't given the line an update with the excellent three lug bolt from the Precision Rifle or the American rifles. The Mauser style two lug bolt gives you a 90-degree throw that I found could be a clearance issue with some scopes, the 60-70-degree throw on most of the three lug designs would likely be smoother and the bolt handle clearance wouldn't be an issue.

The Gunsite Scout features a Mauser style two lug bolt.

Ruger also fits a three position safety to the Gunsite Scout that I found to be rather good. The first position is the obvious fire position, the second prevents the rifle from being fired when the trigger is pulled, and the third locks the bolt in the closed position as well as prevents the rifle from being fired.

A three position safety on the Gunsite Scout is great for someone walking around thick underbrush.

The Ruger Gunsite Scout comes out of the box with a really nice rubber butt pad to soak up the recoil, but its hidden superpower is the spacer system that I removed and put into my bin of gun parts. Since I prefer a rather short length of pull, the spacer system allows me to take out the plastic parts that shooters normally leave on and get the right length for me. Now if you are a larger person like Hikok45 or someone that needs the additional length of pull, they do include extra spacers in the box to get the rifle to the right length.

Ruger fitted one of the nicest recoil pads I have seen to soak up the recoil.

Other features that you can enjoy right out of the box are a flash hider or brake depending on the model that you choose, a scout mount (mid-mounted pic rail), and a set of pretty solid peep sights that I took off immediately. You won't see photos of any of these parts because all of these parts were replaced as part of my effort to take the rifle to the next level.

Ruger does not include screw plugs if the Scout rail is removed.

Taking The Gunsite Scout To The Next Level

While the Gunsite Scout is a really solid rifle out of the box, I wanted something slightly more refined. That meant identifying the areas that I wanted to see improvements in as well as finding the necessary parts. The first order of business was to take care of the plastic magwell and trigger guard that Ruger fitted to the rifle. I found that Pacific Tool and Gauge makes a decent option for those looking to move to a metal unit, but it did require a touch of fitting to get it installed. Once the PTG bottom metal was installed the mags had less wobble than they did with the factory plastic unit and the mags slid freely without issue instead of being a bit sticky like before.

If you need a lower profile magazine, Accurate Mag makes one, three, five, and ten round mags in the AICS pattern. The 5 round mag just barely clears the PTG bottom metal.

A really solid sling was a must when I was putting the rifle together, the only option that made sense was the excellent Andy's Leather Rhodesian Scout Sling. It gives you the same ability that the traditional Ching Sling offers but only uses one sling stud in the forearm. The Galco Scout sling was an option as well, but something about the handcrafted slings from Andy's Leather really caught my attention. I settled on a 1.25″ wide leather sling that had been dyed in the Walnut color and brass hardware.

Andy's Leather Rhodesian Scout Sling is a perfect companion for the Gunsite Scout.

This is the part of the review that I fully expect someone in the comments to scream about. I didn't put a scout scope on the scout rifle. Instead, I fitted a Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6 in some Leupold medium rings for the Ruger mounting system. What you are left with is a fast handling rifle that is almost as quick as a red dot as well as the ability to crank up the magnification to 6 power for longer range targets.

The Stike Eagle has been reviewed extensively so I won't get too deep into things other than to say that the little bump on the magnification ring when set at 1 power gets in the way of my thumb when operating the bolt. I would recommend that anyone trying to duplicate my build look at the Strike Eagle 1-8 instead for the smooth magnification ring.

The Vortex Strike Eagle 1-6 in a pair of Leupold rings take the Gunsite Scout to the next level.

I wanted to be able to use my suppressor on the Gunsite Scout so replacing the included flash hider on this model with a Silencerco ASR Brake that accepts my Omega .30 caliber suppressor. Thankfully the barrel is threaded for 5/8×24 and I had a brake on hand, for whatever reason, I hate buying muzzle devices.

I find myself shooting the Gunsite Scout unsuppressed more often than with the Silencerco Omega, so the brake is a nice touch and makes the .308 recoil incredibly manageable. I included a GIF of me shooting at a 4″ wide popper at 100 yards with a quick follow up shot, it feels a lot like shooting a 7.62×39 or a .223 scout rifle without a brake.

The Silencerco ASR brake not only tames recoil, but it also allows me to mount my Silencerco Omega suppressor.
Ruger Gunsite Scout Recoil GIF hosted on FirearmRack.com

Range Time

My first order of business was to get the rifle zeroed. Pay no attention to the rings that are on the rifle, I mistakenly ordered equal height rings when the rifle requires offset height rings to accommodate the stepped receiver on the Gunsite Scout. Even with the incorrect rings, I was able to get the rifle to shoot incredibly well with some of the 168-grain match loads I had on hand. In particular, it seemed to really like the Armscor brand of HPBT and shot a sub-MOA shot group at 50 yards that measured in at .443″ (that works out to .846 MOA for those that want that hard number) but that was not a typical result. The Federal Gold Medal Match 168-grain loads and the PPU 168-grain that will be most common in the Gunsite Scout due to availability and price shot on average just under 2 MOA at 50 yards.

While 2 MOA from factory ammo might not be ideal, it is fine for the type of use that I imagine a rifle like the Gunsite Scout will get.

The trigger that Ruger fitted to the Gunsite Scout is a bit on the heavy and creepy side but I found it to be totally serviceable when shooting at both steel targets and paper from the bench. I will probably change it out for a Timney trigger at some point when it is in the budget to squeeze just a bit more accuracy out of the rifle.

The Ruger Gunsite Scout on a Harris BRM-S bipod to see how accurate the rifle shoots.

Would I Buy It Again?

I am not entirely sure if I would buy the Ruger Gunsite Scout again if I needed another rifle like this one. After I was all done with the modifications to the rifle I probably spent more money on it than I would have liked bringing the spend far closer to the cost of a Styer Scout rifle or even having a gunsmith shorten a Remington 700 with a 5r barrel and fitting a detachable bottom metal to the rifle.

In all, I am pretty happy with how the rifle turned out in spite of my reservations. I think that the shooter that will really appreciate the Ruger Gunsite Scout is likely the person that wants a turn key rifle that checks all the scout rifle boxes. Someone like myself who wants to tinker with everything they get is going to spend money getting the rifle to where they want it and something like a custom Remington 700 is probably a better option.


About Patrick R.Patrick Roberts

Patrick is a firearms enthusiast that values the quest for not only the best possible gear setup, but also pragmatic ways to improve his shooting skills across a wide range of disciplines. He values truthful, honest information above all else and had committed to cutting through marketing fluff to deliver the truth. You can find the rest of his work on FirearmRack.com as well as on the YouTube channel Firearm Rack or Instagram at @thepatrickroberts.

  • 20 thoughts on “Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle in .308 | The Perfect Truck Gun?

    1. Thanks for the amazing write up. I just purchased a Scout rifle. What tool is used for the buttstock adjustments?

    2. I purchased a Gun site scout Rifle (stainless, 18.7 inch barrel, Left-handed) as a Ranch Rifle for the same reason. Mine also has a Fantastic trigger. I would say its actually perfect. It breaks at about 3 pounds, has a very slight take up, and a clean, crisp, break. Mine shot dead center at 100 yards out of the box with the Iron sights. I’m getting around 1 to 1.5 inch groups at 100 yards, consistently. I’ve put about 200 rounds through it.
      I’ve carried mine around a 1500 Acre Ranch in South Texas for two years now and I’m pretty happy with it. I’ve shot probably 15 or 20 pigs and a few deer with the scout. My only complaints about the rifle is, it needs a side mounted sling, the Magazine jabs you in the kidney as you walk with it, also if you mount a wicked light for hunting pigs at night to the forward mounted rail with a 45 degree off set, it changes your point of impact about 8 inches right and 4 inches high at 100 yards. Of course I found all this out the hard way.
      I chose the scout rifle over a 308 AR because of cost, simplicity for repair and cleaning , and most important weight, but Honestly after using it for two years. I wish I would have saved my money, sucked up the extra 1 to 2 pounds, and bought a 308 AR. The free float tube on the AR gives you the ability to mount a light up front without a change of POI, easily attached side mounted sling, on the fly adjustable length of pull (important for shots out of your truck, thick winter clothing, confined ground blind etc.) affordable magazines, and quick follow-up shots on pigs. I am literally at war with pigs here in Texas I get in “Pig firefights” with Platoon size elements of pigs here on a Quarterly basis.
      You can look at the scout in two ways. A rifle that’s ok at everything or doesn’t excel in anything. I’ve had a hard time narrowing mine down into its true purpose here on the Ranch so I’ve recently decided to just turn it into a very good suppressed close to medium range big game hunting rifle. I think that is the scout’s true niche. A hard hitting brush gun that can stretch it’s legs past 300 yards and capable of taking down possibly dangerous game.
      I recently purchased a very nice 1-6 Trijicon mil-dot reticle for the scout (Merry Christmas to me), so I can take it out to 6 or 7 hundred yards for fun, hunt deer, and track pigs in the thick Texas brush. A forward mounted scope would have been a logical choice in 1985, but today with all our modern optic’s a 1-6 or 1-8 takes better advantage of the 308 Cartridge and gives you more flexibility that I think Col. Cooper envisioned. I’m a cattle/goat Rancher, I worked as a Canoe guide in Minnesota, a backpacking guide in New Mexico, I served in Iraq with the Marine Corps (Fallujah 2007) and Afghanistan (Kandahar province 2011) with the U.S. Army both as an Infantryman, I don’t want to give myself a good cookie, I just feel like my background gives me a little bit more credibility.

    3. Clever editing in the looped video. I was watching for him to drop the hammer on an empty chamber to see if he would flinch , but they edited that out.

    4. Truck Gun……think about that. why do you need it? varmint’s, deer, coyote, bear, or two legged idiots right? this gun will be tossed around in the truck a thousand times before you will actually need to use it. Common sense says to keep it simple, short rifle, no scope, open sights, inexpensive to shoot, accurate. Lever action is all that. That easy fellas & that is best two-cents anyone can give you.

      1. @john Beyer, I agree with everything you have written, here, except your first line. I try not to question others’ perceived need for any particular firearm. That would be like questioning my lovely wife’s need for another pair of shoes. That is up to them to decide.
        Oh, and my favorite truck rifle is a Smith 686.

    5. A great scout rifle! But a “truck gun?” Unless you’re going to be hunting from the truck, and don’t value it for personal defense– maybe. But I’d take my more compact Ruger Mini-14 in .223 with 20 or 30 round mags anyday as a truck gun or ranch gun.

    6. I am making this commit before I read your article.
      I have a GunSite scout rifle in 308, I purchased it when they first came out.
      Great rifle for more then just a truck gun, also the perfect Scout Rifle as Cooper was looking for.
      It is great for hunting just about any game found in the States.

    7. Ok i own a left hand stainless in .308 and i have a greta trigger right out of the box, no more then 4 pounds with a light crisp break. I also put a nixon 4-9 40mm scope and i can plant 1″ or less groups from a benchrest at 100 yards all day long. So either i got the best gunsight scout ever made or the tesyed rifles are sub standard. Everyone who shoots it comments on the light trigger and the accuracy, what gives?

      1. You may have a good one but I have the BEST! Shot a 0.3″, 3 shot group with 150 gr handloads. This is with the synthetic stock. I bought the rifle with the wood stock but found it too heavy for my elk hunt. Accuracy was great with the wood.stock as well…0.7″ group with 147 gr mlisurp. I have it set up with a vortex 3-9×40 scope.
        Downside…stock trigger sucked. Replaced with a Damon traister. This is my go to elk rifle now…168 gr. Barnes TSX loads. Accurate, light and weatherproof.

        I love this rifle!

    8. Patrick I had one of these as well, purchased with the same use in mind . Mine was a left handed version and it shot very well. My biggest negative point is the fixed extractor which impedes cleaning. A part that requires removal to use a bore guide. So I would much rather still have my DS arms FAL with the 16 inch barrel. I was able to hit with it at 600 meters. It is also now gone. So for me a semi automatic 308 platform that allows optics mounting would be the answer. Thanks for the article.

    9. It’s a nice rifle and a nice review, but unless you live in an area of very open terrain I can’t see a great advantage over a classic lever gun for the truck. The latter could easily be in there for a lot less $ too.

    10. The real value in the Gunsite Ruger is that you only need that one mag. You can continuously top the rifle off while in the field and you can do it prone without taking your eyes off downrange and exposing yourself. In the event that one would be required to fight as a “scout” you would always be outnumbered and probably outgunned, thus you’ll only be able to “shoot and scoot”. With an automatic weapon you would (very quickly) be out of mags and you won’t have time to look around for them. The bolt action scout would still be fully functional after you harvest a few targets then vaporize out of that area.
      Last, other’s posting about a different caliber are misled. One belt of 7.62 Nato would supply you for awhile. The .308 is the only rational choice as you won’t find any of those other calibers after you run out (remember , you’ll run out quick) and the .308 will cleanly kill anything but Africa’s Big 5.

      1. You seem focused on a military situation, but most of us don’t live there. During the Great Ammo Shortage, .308 and .223, along with .22 LR and a few others, could not be found in my area at any price, while other, older stand by’s such as .30-06, .30-30, and .270 Winchester and quite a few lesser knowns like .260 Remington, and some heavyweights like .338 Winchester, sat on full shelves, ignored by the panick buyers. People can and have “cleanly Killed” all of the Big 5 with 6.5’s and .30’s, including the .308 Winchester. “Kill” is not the same thing as “stop”, as any professional hunter would tell you. I’ve run into things in the back country that take a little more stopping than the .308 offers for my comfort. I’d rather have a bit more horsepower on tap if needed. It’s that “rather have it and not need it” thing. I guess the perfect truck gun depends on where you go in your truck.

    11. “I wanted to be able to use my suppressor on the Gunsite Scout so replacing the included flash hider on this model with a Silencerco ASR Brake that accepts my Omega .30 caliber suppressor. ”

      I like being able to use my suppressors on my various rifles as well. When I made mention of that in an alloutdoor article on a Ruger american, some wanker asked “why do you need a suppressor? Are you a poacher?”

    12. I have fired a Ruger Scout Rifle and liked it a lot. Frankly, for a truck gun, I don’t see the point in all those mods. It comes with a set of excellent iron sights, which any decent shooter should be able to use out to a good distance. Throw it in the truck, and if it’s needed it will do almost anything you ask of it.

    13. Oh joy, another article about a $1,200 truck gun that is in reality, a $2,000 truck gun!

      You’ve taken a highly usable concept, flipped it upside down, and then ended up totally disregarding with the original concept actually meant for most folks!

      This may come as a shock to you, but most people who buy truck guns out here where I live, in Wyoming, do not buy something specific like a scout model, and then tear it down and try to throw money at it to turn into something for which it was never designed!

      Doing research, a lot of research, is what average and poor folks do before they actually spend any money!

      The reason is real-world clear, we don’t have money to throw at things, so we actually try to use our brains!

      Congratulations on your $2,000 truck gun, which you will carry around in your 55 to $60,000 truck!

      1. Agreed. A pricey gun for a truck gun. Perhaps best suited for your pimped out truck in Dallas. In Montana we’ll use a less expensive rifle from our collection.

    14. Patrick, you still haven’t ben entirely clear on exactly what you expect a “truck gun” to do. That said, I have only three issues with the Ruger Gunsite Scout. First ,the calibers available are insufficient for the concept. A scout rifle is supposed to be the rifle you take with your when you have no idea what you might run into. For me, that would apply to a truck gun as well, as it’s likely to be the only one I have when things get interesting. Ruger’s version is certainly rugged and fast handling enough to get you out of a tight spot, even of the two legged variety, but it needs a cartridge that can be loaded for light and medium game, while still having ample thump on the top end to stop big, angry, things with authority. Anywhere in the world. Something like 9.3x62mm at a minimum. The new RWS 10.3x68mm Smart Magnum seems taylor made for the job. Since it’s only offered in a short action, I was seriously considering having one rebarreled to .375 Raptor, which is based on the .308, (usually) fits in AICS mags and comes close to my desired ballistics, which are different from yours. I don’t need to reach out that far. Second, the lefty models only come in stainless, while I would prefer dull blue. Third, you are right, the plastic mag well needs to go.

      I would not have mounted a scope, preferring the factory peep sights, or I would have gone with a 1-4x long eye relief scope on the rail. Being on a tighter budget than you, and having experience with leather work, I’ll make my own sling. Andy does have a blemished/seconds bargain page. I just checked the Pacific Tool & Gauge page, and you might be interested to know that they have detachable magazine bottom metal for the ruger American short action rifles. I prefer the big claw extractor and manual ejector of the Mauser design, but given the price difference between the Scout and American, that got my attention. If you would rather have the shorter bolt lift of a three lug push feed design, this would be a much less expensive option for your next rifle.

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