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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.