The scout rifle is one of the most versatile firearm configurations ever developed. It is light enough to carry anywhere, powerful enough to hunt any reasonable target, and acceptably precise. The best scout rifle will also have some recoil compensation to balance out the gun’s low weight, and have a rugged design that can survive outright abuse. Scout rifles are fairly popular, so there are a lot of them on the market. We looked at the options and narrowed them down to ten great rifles based on their value, how comfortable they are to fire, and their general performance.
10. Winchester Model 70 Featherweight Compact
|Caliber||22-250 Rem/.243 Win/7mm-08 Rem/.308 Win|
The Model 70 Featherweight Compact from Winchester was designed for small shooters, and it stands out for its good ergonomics for those users. It also has a good recoil pad, making this a very comfortable gun to operate. The gun has a rigid design that pairs with a free-floating barrel to offer fairly good accuracy. The downside is the gun’s ammo capacity, which is lower than that of most scout rifles. It is a great choice for people who aren’t worried about ammo capacity, but others can easily find one with twice the shots.
9. Steyr Elite .308
The Elite .308 from Steyr is a tactical version of the classic scout rifle. It is large enough to fall outside the design’s original specifications, but it still fills the same role. The version has an adjustable cheek piece for improved ergonomics and an extended Picatinny rail to make sure it can hold any accessory. The controls are fairly large and easy to operate, which makes this a good choice for use in stressful situations. It is a strong choice for people that want a tactical design, but people who are concerned about its size should consider a more traditional design.
8. CZ 527 Carbine
CZ produces the 527 carbine, which is an ideal choice for newer shooters. It has simple open sights that are adequate for hunting and work well for teaching new shooters to aim properly. The recoil is low despite the gun’s lightweight, so the gun is not intimidating to fire. It is also economical to fire because it does well with steel-cased ammunition. Consider using this model if you are new to shooting, or if you want to use affordable ammo without the reduced power of a smaller caliber. You can check here more hunting rifle brands.
7. Springfield Armory M1A Scout Squad
Springfield Armory produces the Scout Squad rifle, which is a compromise between a traditional scout design and a battle rifle. It weighs more than most scout rifles, but the rifle is still short and easy to maneuver. The weight helps to keep recoil under control, as does the rifle’s muzzle brake. This model offers excellent accuracy out of the box, but it can take additional optics to deal with specialized scenarios. This is an expensive rifle, which is its main downside, but it will work well for people who want to make a big investment.
6. Mossberg MVP Scout
The MVP Scout rifle from Mossberg is a tactical scout rifle, with a short barrel and room for accessories. It is one of the easiest to operate due to a large bolt handle and an excellent trigger. The recoil pad is reasonably effective and the gun’s design cuts down on muzzle flip, so it is fairly easy and comfortable to operate this gun quickly. Consider using it if you like adding extra accessories and are used to tactical designs.
5. Savage 110 Scout
|Caliber||.223 Rem/.308 Win/.338 Federal/.450 Bushmaster|
The 110 Scout from Savage is a little bit heavier than the average scout rifle, but it compensates with the AccuTrigger. That system makes it easy to adjust the gun’s trigger pull to improve comfort and accuracy. The gun’s stock is also excellent, with a high level of rigidity and a structure that essentially makes it part of the gun’s action. That makes it the best scout rifle for people who can handle a little extra weight on their gun. For easy transport, you might also want to check out our best rife cases recommendations.
4. Ruger 77/357
The 77/357 from Ruger is a great rifle for people with revolvers because it can share ammunition with many of them. That makes the logistics of shooting much easier and can save money by making it easier to buy bulk ammo. The rifle itself benefits from fairly low recoil and a respectable, but not excessive, level of stopping power. The magazine is removable, but it sits flush with the gun when it is in position, so it will not snag on anything when carried. This is the best scout rifle for many pistol shooters, but it remains a decent choice for most others.
3. Steyr Scout RFR
|Caliber||.17 HMR/.22 LR/.22 WMR|
The Scout RFR is a specialized version of Steyr’s original model. This gun is chambered for much smaller calibers than most scout rifles, which changes its role. It will struggle to deal with large game, but it is better for taking small game and it is much cheaper to use it for target shooting. This model comes with a decent recoil pad, which combines with the gun’s light calibers to make it the best scout rifle for people who struggle with recoil. They should consider it, as should target shooters, but many hunters will want a gun with more power.
2. Ruger Scout Rifle
|Caliber||.308 Win/5.56 NATO/.450 Bushmaster|
The Ruger Scout Rifle is a relatively new design. It stands out for its good stock sights, which can easily be combined with a scope if desired. The barrel includes a flash suppressor that can help to preserve the shooter’s night vision when shooting in the dark. The stock includes a buttpad that makes recoil a little more comfortable and includes spacers to adjust the ergonomics for different shooters. That makes this the best scout rifle for shared use within a family or another group.
1. Steyr Scout
|Caliber||.223 Rem/.224 Win/7mm-08 Rem/.308 Win|
The Steyr Scout was the first on the market, and it remains the best scout rifle for most shooters. The stock is compact, but it still features an integrated bipod that makes it easy to get a stable shooting platform in most environments. It also has five attachment points that enable it to accept a sling on either side. The weapon features three safety settings, and it is more secure than the average rifle. Those features make this a great choice for any shooter that is willing to invest in the weapon.
Making The Right Choice
The scout rifle blends a lightweight design with power and accuracy to create one of the best all-purpose rifle styles. Each variant adds new strengths and weaknesses to the core design, so it is important to examine all of them in detail before picking out the best scout rifle for your needs. If you find a good one that we missed, please mention it in the comments so others can take a look.