Col. Jeff Cooper, the Father of the Modern Pistol Technique, admitted readily that the point of a handgun was to fight your way to a rifle. Most of us these days don’t think that way. Most folks in his time didn’t think that way either. Please don’t mistake me; I am not talking about just those in law enforcement or a similar vocation. I’m talking about the every-man. If you have the ability to safely transport a good fighting rifle in your trunk, why wouldn’t you? If it is safe and secure, what is a downside? True, if you want it to work for you, you can’t just throw it back there and forget about it, but pulling it out to clean it up won’t kill you. Not having it might. Though some play this game of life by seeing what they can get away with, I prefer to find out how prepared I can be. I am not a “prepper” to the point of not knowing where my hopefully normal life will lead me the following day and I don’t have a bunker filled with MREs to run to, but I do have some spare water bottles, granola bars, and first aid goods in the trunk of the family car. So when it seems to apply to the situations I plan on finding myself in, I add a good, agile sporting rifle to the mix.
Ruger has produced a rifle dubbed the Gunsite Scout Rifle. It is a variation of the classic M77. With an overall length of 39” it’s pretty easy to maneuver, and the ten round box magazine is a handy upgrade from an M77’s standard internal setup. It employs a Mauser style claw extractor, that, whatever your taste, cannot be ignored. I am not a fan of three position safeties, but that’s a personal preference.
The crisp iron sights aid the accuracy, and a picatinny rail is on board should you desire optical aid. This rifle is clearly capable of meeting the good Colonel’s requirement of reaching 300 meters and dropping 800-plus pound game, caliber depending of course. Adjustable length of pull ensures a proper fit, and in my experience Ruger is a high-quality, workhorse of a firearm. I’ve had an M77 in .308 for over a decade, and it will shoot just as good as could be desired.
It seems to be that the crux of the issue with this rifle isn’t really the rifle. It’s the always accompanying question, “Would this be Jeff Cooper’s rifle”? Some of the criteria he laid out were that it be magazine fed bolt action. And now we shall step into JB’s feeble mind and see what reasoning can be forced onto these pages…
I am incredibly lazy. So much so that I have almost no original ideas. I like to pour through the works and practices of smart folks, and then piece together bits that work for my desired overall goal. So, with great respect, here is where I would have to part ways with Col. Cooper and his thought process.
When we’re talking broad ANYTHING, it’s with the assumption that a specialty item would do various specific tasks better, but not all of us can have a full gun safe, or toolbox, or garage, or whatever. .30-06 is a cartridge capable of taking any game in North America, and it probably almost has. That doesn’t mean I’d pick it for both moose and squirrel given the option.
When I think of myself in a position that will require agility, accuracy, dependability, and capacity, it is very hard for me to ignore a simple AK-47. I have a couple of them, and while they were originally acquired because I didn’t know how long I’d be able to legally get ‘em, I have become more and more impressed with their versatility. To some, this may have been obvious. That doesn’t surprise me. I like being stubborn. Shooting AK’s that weren’t left over from the Cold War pleasantly surprised me. There are manufactures out there that can get you anything you want for them, and they’re easy to clean and work on. 7.62×39 is a proven round, and deer really don’t like them.
When I am asked what I think someone’s first rifle should be, I ask him or her what he or she thinks about AK-47s. I was a hard sell, and I expect nothing less within the circles I abide in. We can talk more about AK’s latter.
Please don’t misunderstand me. The Ruger Gunsite is a fine firearm. If you already have a home defense rifle you feel can protect your home in a Katrina-like aftershock, you will not be disappointed with purchasing one. The Gunsite Scout Rifle can do many things, and all of them well. My humble and presumably incorrect opinion would be, however, that if you’re looking for a jack-of-all-trades rifle, don’t assume that the manual bolt will work itself as fast as a semi’s, or that the 10 rounder will hold more rounds than just that. Do the research into your own expectations, think about it and pray about it, and you may be surprised.