Fast forward 40 years to today and I have a few rifles; a couple of AR-15 clones (including my homemade AR), the two Garands I just wrote about getting, and a few others. I've noticed that while the crowds at gun shows tend to gather at the long rows of pistols, I have a thing for rifles. A nicely figured walnut stock will always stop me.
So it was with some interest (and drooling) that I first encountered references to the Scout rifle concept from Jeff Cooper. I saw that Sturm Ruger has introduced one, the commemorative "Gunsite Scout" (pictured above), Steyr makes one, and Savage offers one in choice of .308 or 7.62x39 (the AK-47 round). There's a handful of attributes that vary around a bit, but these seem to be the big ones:
- Carbine length barrel of 16" to 17"
- Overall length of under 40 inches
- A weight of 6 1/2 pounds or less
- Either iron sights, or low-power, forward mounted optics to allow the operator to sight around the optics if needed
- A potent cartridge that's effective out to 500 yards: .308 Winchester or 7.62x51 NATO.
Last July, I reported on coming across a nice deal on an older (apparently 1984) Remington 700 in .30-06. As it turns out, there isn't one thing on that list of scout rifle attributes that my Remmy has. It's 42 1/2 inches long, the barrel is 23", and it weighs 8 pounds with my scope on it.
The way I see it, my options are pretty much to just replace the stock, or rebuild it. If I were to put a new barrel on it, to drop it down to 16 1/2", and put a new stock on it, the only thing that remains from the original is the trigger group and bolt. I suppose it's possible to saw off the end of the barrel, but I don't have a gun smith's lathe to re-crown the barrel.
I know I get some pretty sharp gun guys drop by here, so what do you think? If it were you, what would you do? Just put a new stock on it, or rebuild it? If you put a new barrel on it, would you change over to .308? If the answer is completely rebuild it, I sure don't want to get close to the $750 or $800 street price for the Ruger Scout. The Savage shows up on Bud's Gun Shop for $503, which is a low bar to get under.