JOHN MARKWELL

We went to Gunsite in March of 1984 for a 250 class. Since we had to be in Vegas a week after the class ended we arranged to spend an extra week on the ranch working off part of our course fee. This allowed us to spend considerable time shooting, as well as working, and was our first direct exposure to the Scout Rifle concept. We spent time with Louis Awerbuck and Russ Showers as well as Robbie Barkman who was instructing for Col. Cooper and running the Gunsmithy at the time. We shot some every day, both handgun and rifle.

We went about our day armed, as required by the Colonel, and the old Toyota Land Cruiser always contained a rifle of some sort, usually either an M1 or a scout. We even got wrapped up in one of the infamous “wood cutter drills” one day. We shot a goodly amount of rifle and most fascinating to me was the shooting of clay birds with the scout rifles of the day (I was not able to hit any by the way). Upon returning home we had Robbie build us the rifle in the accompanying photos.

The gun is really pretty simple; an early Ruger 308 RL with a tang safety. The mount for the forward positioned telescope is a modified Leupold. It is anchored to the receiver by a large screw and properly aligned for height with a custom spacer block out on the barrel. The scope is the old original Leupold M8-2X handgun scope with its extended eye relief. The rifle has had a trigger job and the trigger breaks cleanly at precisely 4 pounds. The rifle is extremely nimble and fast on target. At the time this rifle was done up the Scout concept was still in its infancy but the Ruger RL met Cooper’s recommended weight even if it was a bit longer.

Another off-shoot of the Scout concept was the close cover hunting carbine shown. It is a 444 Marlin. Modified by the Gunsite Gunsmithy around 1987 it has been shortened in both barrel and butt length and ghost ring sights have been added. The lever has been forged out to allow for a gloved hand and the trigger tuned. The Scout scope is in Warne detachable rings and returns to zero every time it’s re-attached. It is one hog killin’ machine!

The Original Scout Rifle