CHAPTER 8: The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle and the Resurgence

Since the introduction of the Steyr Scout Rifle in 1997 it seemed Cooper’s dream of a production Scout Rifle had been fulfilled. His comments about the Steyr left little to speculation as to what he thought the Scout Rifle should be. One of Cooper’s legacies is the Scout Rifle concept and the ultimate manifestation of that legacy was the Steyr Scout Rifle.

The only other notable attempt by a major manufacturer to offer a commercial Scout Rifle was by Savage. The original Savage Scout Rifle – the Model 10FCM – was built on their popular model 10 action. At about 6.7 pounds it was light but suffered from some durability issues. And too, the Savage just was not good enough for some who were infatuated with the Scout Rifle concept. Many kept trying to find their own answer. The Steyr was still expensive by modern sporting rifle standards and the search for the affordable Scout Rifle continued, with shooters building their own pseudo Scout Rifles. In 2003 Bob Cashner’s book, The Poor Man’s Scout Rifle, became a reasonably popular source for those interested in that endeavor.

There was an imagined if not real gap in the market and Ruger decided to take a chance. To do that they went to about the only legitimized source left. Given Ruger’s physical location in Prescott, Arizona they’ve had a good working relationship with Gunsite Academy, which is located just down the road in Paulden. The experienced staff at Gunsite and the fine shooting facilities on hand have and to continue to serve as a test bed/proving ground for Ruger.

Gunsite Academy Advanced Scout Rifle Course graduate Nick Rukavina running a Ruger GSR on the range at Gunsite.

According to the NRA’s American Rifleman Associate Editor Brian Sheetz, Ruger Product Manager Mark Gurney and Ruger Media Relations Director Ken Jorgensen, “…met with Gunsite Range Master Ed Head in Arizona to discuss the project. They returned to New Hampshire to iron out the details and create a list of potential features. They later revisited Arizona where both Head and Gunsite owner Owen “Buz” Mills provided key input on the project.” Ruger’s Roy Melcher, whose list of contributions to Ruger includes the Security-Six revolver series, the original Mini-14, and the 77/22 bolt-action rifle, was handed the project.