Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle Review
Part 5 - Range Testing
May 22, 2011

Ruger Gunsite Review

Based on everything I have shown you so far in the other parts of this review, you should have a pretty good idea on the details of the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, but the real test of any firearm is how it actually functions at the range and in the field.  For range testing, I wanted to evaluate a couple of optic configurations, traditional and scout.


Traditional (Standard) Scope Configuration

For my traditional scope configuration, I mounted a U.S. Optics ST-6 Fixed 6X Power Scope on the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle.  I selected this scope to show a configuration for those wanting slightly more optical magnification and a traditional style scope configuration and this high quality rugged scope may be well suited for the role of this rifle.  The ST-6 also gave me more optical magnification for my accuracy testing of this rifle.  While at the range, I got several complements on the appearance of this shooting platform.  The U.S. Optics ST-6 is a 30mm tube scope and I contacted Ruger and they swapped out my 1" rings for 30mm rings.  Ruger was out of stock on one of matte blue finished rings and so I had them send me a set of the standard blued rings.  Overall, I think the standard blued rings still match the look of the rifle.

Figure 1
Ruger Gunsite Review

Figure 2
Ruger Gunsite Review

I selected four different types of ammo for range testing this scope configuration.

  1. Wolf .308 WIN 150 gr FMJ - for sighting in and to give me a good idea on what to expect from a value line of ammo
  2. Hornady Match .308 WIN 155 gr A-MAX (#8095PM) - for checking accuracy with a high quality 155 gr ammo
  3. Hornady Match .308 WIN 168 gr BTHP (8097) - for checking accuracy with a high quality 168 gr ammo
  4. Hornady Custom .308 WIN 150 gr BTSP (#8091) - for evaluating a potential hunting ammo

Figure 3
Ruger Gunsite Review

While at the range, I made all shots from a bench configuration as shown below using a Caldwell Rock BR Front Rest and Caldwell Medium High Rear Bag.

Figure 4
Ruger Gunsite Review

I felt optimistic so I visually bore sighted the rifle and scope at 100 yards and the target below shows my first two shots in the upper left 3 & 4 rings.  After making a couple of windage and elevation adjustments, I started shooting 5 shot groups.  The target below on the left shows my four 5-shot groups using the Wolf 150 gr FMJ and four 5-shot groups using the Hornady 155 gr A-MAX.  I continued to shoot on other targets (not shown) and shot four 5-shot groups of the Hornady 168 gr BTHP and 150 gr BTSP.

Figure 5
Ruger Gunsite Review

The table below shows my results for each of these types of ammunition.  As you can see the Hornady Match ammo averaged just under 1.50 MOA.  These results are consistent with a review of the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle in the May 2011edition of American Rifleman where the author was able to shoot an average of 1.52 MOA from thirty 5-shot groups of various match and competition ammo.  The Wolf and Hornady BTSP averaged just over 2.50 MOA.

Table 1 - Group Size in Inches
Ammunition Smallest Largest Average
  Wolf .308 WIN 150 gr FMJ 2.30 2.75 2.52
  Hornady Match .308 WIN 155 gr A-MAX 1.10 1.92 1.47
  Hornady Match .308 WIN 168 gr BTHP 1.10 2.15 1.46
  Hornady Custom .308 WIN 150 gr BTSP 2.38 3.07 2.51
Notes: Four consecutive 5-shot groups at 105 yards with average values adjusted to a 100 yard equivalent.

Figure 6                                                                     Figure 7
Ruger Gunsite Review   Ruger Gunsite Review

Clearly the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle is 1.5 MOA capable and this accuracy easily meets the intended role for this rifle.  If you are planning to hunt with this rifle, I would suggest doing your own evaluation of a couple of other types/brands of hunting ammo to see if the 2.5 MOA can be improved.  My gut feeling is that with a little effort, you can either find an off the shelf ammunition or reload ammunition to achieve less than 2 MOA with a bullet suitable for hunting.


Scout Scope Configuration

For my scout scope configuration, I mounted a Burris 2.75x Scout Scope (Item # 200269) on the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle using a set of Burris Signature ZEE Rings (Weaver Style Medium Matte Black Item # 420521) .  You can see detailed reviews of the scope and rings by going to these links; Burris Scout Scope Review and Burris Signature ZEE Rings Review.  This combination of forward mounted low power optics along with the light weight scope and rings is precisely what Jeff Cooper envisioned for a scout rifle.  The next set of photos should give you a good idea on the look of the rifle with the rings and scope installed.

Figure 8
Ruger Gunsite Review

Figure 9
Ruger Gunsite Review

Figure 10
Ruger Gunsite Review

Figure 11
Ruger Gunsite Review

Figure 12
Ruger Gunsite Review

Figure 13
Ruger Gunsite Review

My goal for range testing this scope configuration was not focused on accuracy, but instead focused on getting a feel for using a long eye relief forward mounted scope along with forming an idea on the quickness of target acquisition using this type of scope.  I performed my evaluation in two phases.  The first phase was a backyard evaluation where I picked out a random aim point (pine cone, leaves, bush, ball, etc.) and quickly shouldered the rifle, aimed and pulled the trigger (unloaded and on safety).  I'm sure that at this point I have simulated this aiming exercise hundreds of times.  In the beginning, it took time to get used to the forward mounted scope.  Some of this "getting used to" is the same thing you go through with any new rifle/scope combination (length of pull, scope height, and cheek weld).  The other portion that you must get used to is the eye relief on the scope because a long eye relief scope doesn't give you the same feel for scope proximity as a standard scope (distance from eye to eye piece which becomes your front to back cheek weld location).  After spending some time training my muscle movements and locating the perfect cheek weld position, I felt very good about my quick target acquisition capability.  Now what I REALLY liked was the clear field of view you get from a forward mounted extended eye relief scope.  Just by cutting your eyes slightly while maintaining your cheek weld, you are able to keep up with any action that may be taking place outside of the field of view of the scope.  This is basically getting the benefit of shooting iron sights coupled with shooting a scope (some magnification and no front/rear sight alignment necessary).

For my next phase, I headed to the range to zero the scope and then perform my same shooting exercise while making real shots.  I felt optimistic so I visually bore sighted the rifle at 100 yards by removing the bolt and looking through the barrel and aligning the scope.  This put me within 4" of zero on my first shot and I made the remaining adjustments.  Once zeroed, I finished shooting up a box of shells from the bench.  Afterwards, I made my remaining shots (about another box) from a standing position and focused on quick shot placement.  There was very little difference from this exercise versus the one done in my back yard except actually sending a bullet down range.  As before, I was pleased with the clear field of view.

Figure 14
Ruger Gunsite Review

 

Iron Sights

The last thing I wanted to do at the range was adjust the iron sights (probably should have been the first thing).  I had already gotten the iron sights close while checking out the rifle before my scopes arrived, but I was rushed at the range and didn't have a proper setup for bench shooting for the evaluation.  It seems I needed to adjust the rear sight nearly all the way to the right and to the bottom.  Even with this adjustment, I was still shooting about 5" high at 100 yards.  I discussed this with the Ruger engineer and he indicated that this is not an issue that they are seeing on this rifle and suggested me send the rifle in for them to take a look at it.

I did send the rifle in for service and I received the rifle back in two weeks.  It was the same serial number and I believe the same barrel.  I have studied the rifle closely and could not identify what Ruger did to the rifle to correct the issue, but the sights are perfect now.  I'm able to adjust the sights for a 100 yard zero and still have adjustment travel in all directions for the rear sight.  If you are having the same problem with your rifle, don't hesitate sending it in and giving Ruger the chance to make it right.

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