COLONEL SVERKER ULVING
My Scout Rifle is close, but no cigar, to perfection. It is, of course, handy. So is the Tikka T3 Lite and the Marlin lever actions. I am still furious that I succumbed and added unnecessary frills like the butt magazine and the bipod, thereby increasing the unloaded weight (with sling) to 3.6 kilo. The butt magazine is just annoying and it adds weight where I don’t want it. It only holds five rounds. Much better to grab a bandoleer or a box of cartridges when the balloon goes up. The bipod is nifty and a great help during zeroing, cleaning, and when the rifle and I are tired and need a rest. I’ve never used it during hunting. Instead, I always use the Ching sling and since I mostly hunt in the Swedish woods, I must almost always use sitting, kneeling, or variations thereof in our elevated hoch-sitzes.
The sling is great and it does, indeed, increase hit probability with approximately 30 percent, just like Jeff stated. When I was in charge of the Swedish sniper program (we selected the Accuracy International way back in 1990 – in 7.62×51) we put that issue to as semi scientific test and yup – the guys who used the sling hit about 30 % more. However, I don’t like the Ching sling at all when it is time to drag the animal out of the boondocks or for general carry; it’s too narrow and the very shooting-efficient middle strap is always in the way.
Besides sitting with a proper sling support, I sometimes use the snap shot. I don’t like it because I’m not very good at it, but as some other unpleasant things in life, I just have to do it once in a while. And that leads me to my greatest disappointment of the rifle; its scope. It’s an early 2.75 X Burris, as you see, and I don’t have any complaints about clarity, keeping its zero or ruggedness. Instead, I just don’t perform that well with it in those situations where it, supposedly, should excel: snap shots and running game.
At Gunsite, I had no problems with the steel plates, even at 300 meters, but I scored zero on the clay pigeons and the running stuff. I just can’t get my act together with the disparity of a clear, slightly enlarged target for my dominant right eye and the somewhat more blurred field of view for my other eye. When I’m in a hurry, I want to see the whole field of view – and the target – with the same clarity and depth. In those situations, my hit probability factor with a regular, low powered scope far surpasses those with the Scout Scope. Let me assure you, I have tried to reverse that, but the clock and the bullet holes don’t lie, I’m afraid.
And even though the exit pupil is great, the so-called eye box isn’t. I find I must position my head with the proper cheek weld to get a clear sight picture – not always possible, as you know. Even Jeff mentioned that he had a blackout during those precious seconds when he faced the lion. I experienced the same when I was trying to track a running and jumping deer. Maybe not as exciting as a lion, but a disappointment anyhow since I couldn’t get my shot off. And finally, the scope is lousy during dusk and dawn. My evil buddies always ask why I didn’t shoot this or that wild boar. Well, I just couldn’t see it.
But apart from the scope, the butt magazine, and the bipod, it’s a nifty little rifle. The action – an original Ruger 77 with that sweet combination of push feed, a huge extractor and a useable safety – is treated with NP 3 and slick as oil. The svelte Clifton stock fits me and it seems to hold up – even though the color is fading. And what is more boring than a homely, plastic stock? The caliber (.308) is excellent of course, although I have to defend its virtues in this land of 6.5 Swedes.
The final verdict is maybe this: when I had almost a religious faith in the teachings of Jeff Cooper, my Scout Rifle was the right and only rifle. Now, I still like it, but I don’t use it as much as I used to. Its limitations usually lead me to picking a conventional hunting rifle instead, with an ordinary scope (often a Leupold 2.5-8 X) in the usual place. I still put Ching slings on all my rifles though.
Would I pick my Scout Rifle as my one and only rifle, being a retired colonel (that will soon happen) and with evil foes flooding our streets, forests, and meadows? Yeah, I guess I would. The caliber is great for all kinds of targets, hit probability is high enough, and its handiness could come in handy when I have to carry lots of other survival stuff. The only other choice would be my Ruger Ranch rifle in .223, maybe great for the foes, not so great for moose.
Reference to Sverker Ulving can be found in the following Cooper Commentaries: Volume 1, No. 11, December 1993 and Volume 5, No.7, June 1997