Despite being quite old, the scout rifle concept originally developed by Jeff Cooper is still hot. Ruger’s versions are reportedly selling well and now Savage Arms has joined in with its own Model 11 Scout Rifle offering. Like all Savage rifles, the already-frequently-backordered Model 11 Scout Rifle delivers a lot of value and accuracy paired with Savage magazine compatibility and a proven design. For a $818 MSRP, customers now have available an affordable scout rifle about $300 less than the competing Ruger model.
The Cooper Scout Rifle Concept
The late great Jeff Cooper was quoted as saying, “The natural habitat of the general-purpose rifle is the field, the forest, the desert, and the mountain -– not the shooting shed with its bench rest. To be really useful a rifle must be as short, light, and quick to use as is technically compatible with adequate power and useful accuracy. What matters is not what the equipment can do, but rather what it will do in the hands of its operator under field, rather than laboratory, conditions.”
Cooper’s influenced Steyr Scout Rifle was offered in 223/5.56, 243, 7mm-08, 376 Steyr, and 308/7.62×51 NATO. The rifle weighed in at only 6.6 pounds without an optic and was only 38.6” long. By today’s standards, it was quite light and had a number of forward-thinking features such as spare mag in the buttstock, forward-mounted optic, and integrated bipod.
Most people have diluted Cooper’s concept to a magazine-fed 308 Winchester bolt action rifle with a length around 40 inches and a weight below 8 pounds and which allows for a forward-mounted optic and iron backup sights. That noted, any Scout Rifle student knows that an individual’s “scout rifle” can look much different, depending on the shooter’s needs.
Savage’s Take on Scout Rifles
I am going to jump in with both feet and make many comparisons between the Savage and Ruger offerings, because after all, buyers will do the same on the showroom floor. The Savage Arms Model 11 Scout rifle adheres closely to the original design intent of a scout rifle as outlined by Cooper, but does have a few welcome departures. The Savage Scout Rifle shared many great features with the Ruger including adjustable stock pull length, magazine-fed action, free-floated barrel, dual sling studs, a forward optic mounting rail, and iron sights.
That is where the similarities end and value starts to tip over to the side of the Savage.
The Savage Scout rifle arrives with an exceptional peep sight of significantly higher quality than the included Ruger peep sight. The same can be said for the Savage Accutrigger which is arguably as good as most entry level aftermarket…