Review: Savage Arms Scout Bolt-Action Rifle

5


A few weeks ago we looked at the subject of one rifle, one answer for rifle shooting problems.

The rifle I elected to choose was the Savage Scout in .308 Winchester. After decades of shooting, I find no better answer.

Based on reliability, accuracy and power, the 10-shot bolt-action .308 is simply at the top of the heap. While there are other choices, this is mine.

A lever-action rifle with its tubular magazine just doesn’t seem in the same class with this rifle, although some will make do and do quite well.

A self-loading sporting gun isn’t as reliable. A .308 AR-type, such as the Springfield SAINT is extremely reliable, but much more expensive.

The Savage Scout looks better the more I compare the rifle to anything else.

Savage Scout Bolt-Action Rifle
The Savage Scout is a powerful, reliable and fast-handling rifle.

Key Features

Let’s look at some of the better features of the rifle. I have owned several Savage rifles from .223 and .25-06 to .300 Winchester Magnum.

Considering the power of the cartridge, this rifle kicks but little. This is due, I believe, to a very efficient muzzle brake.

The brake does its job and does so without ear-splitting muzzle blast.

The barrel is threaded and you may screw on your choice of brake, but I find the factory job more than useful.

A well-designed recoil pad also helps tame recoil. 

Muzzle Brake
A well-designed muzzle brake keeps recoil under control. 

Iron Sights

The rifle features a good set of iron sights, essential for a working rifle to be used at moderate range.

For home defense or area defense, there is nothing better than well-designed aperture sights.

It isn’t out of the question to get into a fight with a mountain lion or a bear in some of the places I like to camp out, and the .308 is the tool for this job.

A short, handy lever-action may do the job, but then, the .308 is capable of reaching out to 200 yards or more if need be.

A 200-pound animal at 200 yards is within the reach of the .308 if you can shoot. The stock is well-designed and fits most shooters well.

The rifle is supplied with stock spacers to adjust the fit. The barrel is free-floated.

I suppose some improvement in accuracy may be realized with judicious bedding of the stock, but I don’t need anything further and there is only so much accuracy you may coax from a carbine this weight.

If the rifle was a dog in accuracy I would try, but with the rifles level of demonstrable accuracy I am not motivated to perform this chore. 

Red Dot Sight on Rifle
A TRUGLO red-dot sight and XS back-up sights were tested and found good.

Magazines

The rifle features the proven Savage 11 action. The safety allows loading the rifle with the safety on.

The bolt-action is a short throw with plenty of leverage. This is a smooth action. Feed quality isn’t in question.

The rifle is fitted with the adjustable AccuTrigger. The trigger breaks clean and offers excellent control.

The rifle is supplied with a single 10-round magazine.

The detachable magazine offers excellent utility and the magazine is well-made and offers excellent feed reliability.

I put up a spare magazine with the rifle because I should.

10 rounds of .308 would be a lot of shooting in a defensive situation and if you are shooting game, it is long gone after the first couple of shots.

10 rounds is good to have. The stock is supplied with a cheek riser. It gets in the way when using iron sights so I removed it.

It is easily removable and adjustable. The cheek riser is a must-have for optics, but not for iron sights.

The bold front post and adjustable rear aperture are excellent for shooting chores from 10 to 100 yards.

The rifle may put three rounds into 1.8 inches, excellent for an iron-sighted carbine. 

Savage Scout magazine
A combination of a reliable action and a 10-round detachable magazine are good features of the Savage Scout. 

Accuracy

For the most part, I have fired the rifle at 50 to 75 yards, concentrating on fast shooting and what is called the “snap shop,” getting slung up with the rifle sling and then getting a hit.

At 100 yards, the supplied sights are useful.

Much past 100 yards, the front post will subtend the target and make accurate shooting much more difficult.

If you wish to mount a rifle scope, a high eye-relief type is useful. I experimented with the TRUGLO Omnia 6 1x6x24 scope.

With the scope cranked down to 1X and with both eyes open, the rifle is fast on target, very fast.

But this isn’t what the excellent Omnia 6 was designed to do. With standard Savage rings and bases it would be another story.

By removing the aperture sights and rail, you may bring the rifle up to standard optic-mounting configuration.

I also mounted the TRUGLO micro red dot. This is a brilliantly fast combination.

Keep both eyes open and get the sight on target and you have a hit! Finally, I added the XS sights back-up sight.

If you are using an optic, these sights are ideal for down and dirty close-range work.

My examples — and they are adjustable to an extent — were set for 20 yards.

A panther invading the camp or an unwanted nighttime caller will be addressed easily by these sights. 

Hornady .308 Win Cartridges and Box
Hornady offers a number of excellent loads in .308 Winchester caliber. 

Load Selection

Ammunition selection isn’t difficult, as there is a wide range of ammunition available.

At present, I have a good supply of the Hornady ELD Match in 168-grain. This is a fine all-around loading I enjoy using.

I have also used a wide variety of handloads. An interesting and surprisingly accurate loading is the Sierra 220-grain MATCHKING.

While I don’t really need a load for larger bears, I like to experiment and had these loads on hand.

Conclusion: Savage Arms Scout

The Scout rifle may be pushed into many roles and excels at most. It is that type of gun. 

What do you think of the Savage Scout? Let us know in the comments below!



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