This, True Believers, is the Ruger Gunsite Scout rifle, a short, handy ten-shot .308 carbine based on the very solid Ruger 77 MkII action. The rifle’s dry weight is 7 pounds even, making it a nice handy piece that should be a good shooter. We are well familiar with the action; Mrs. Animal has a Model 77 MkII Compact in .260 Remington that she is very fond of, and middle kid Muffin shoots a full-size 77 in .30-06. The 77 MkII is a stout action; sometimes they are a bit rough, but they stand up very well to rough conditions, and Model 77 rifles tend towards pretty good accuracy.
The Scout Rifle concept is the brainchild of retired Marine Colonel Jeff Cooper while he was working with the Gunsite Training Center. Colonel Cooper advocated the concept thusly: “…a general-purpose rifle is a conveniently portable, individually operated firearm, capable of striking a single decisive blow, on a live target of up to 200 kilos in weight, at any distance at which the operator can shoot with the precision necessary to place a shot in a vital area of the target.“ Steyr-Mannlicher produced the first commercial Scout rifle, but the Steyr-Mannlicher arm had the two disadvantages of being 1) expensive, and 2) ugly. I like Ruger’s version a lot better.
Colonel Cooper, by the way, is better-known for his writing on handgun shooting techniques, gun safety, and combat preparedness. He favored the 1911 pistol, (an advocacy strongly shared by loyal sidekick Rat) and stated the five conditions of that worthy arm as follows:
- Condition Four: Chamber empty, no magazine, hammer down.
- Condition Three: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.
- Condition Two: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down.
- Condition One: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on.
- Condition Zero: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.
- White – Unaware and unprepared. If attacked in Condition White, the only thing that may save you is the inadequacy or ineptitude of your attacker. When confronted by something nasty, your reaction will probably be “Oh my God! This can’t be happening to me.”
- Yellow – Relaxed alert. No specific threat situation. Your mindset is that “today could be the day I may have to defend myself”. You are simply aware that the world is a potentially unfriendly place and that you are prepared to defend yourself, if necessary. You use your eyes and ears, and realize that “I may have to shoot today”. You don’t have to be armed in this state, but if you are armed you should be in Condition Yellow. You should always be in Yellow whenever you are in unfamiliar surroundings or among people you don’t know. You can remain in Yellow for long periods, as long as you are able to “Watch your six.” (In aviation 12 o’clock refers to the direction in front of the aircraft’s nose. Six o’clock is the blind spot behind the pilot). In Yellow, you are “taking in” surrounding information in a relaxed but alert manner, like a continuous 360 degree radar sweep. As Cooper put it, “I might have to shoot.”
- Orange – Specific alert. Something is not quite right and has your attention. Your radar has picked up a specific alert. You shift your primary focus to determine if there is a threat (but you do not drop your six). Your mindset shifts to “I may have to shoot that person today”, focusing on the specific target which has caused the escalation in alert status. In Condition Orange, you set a mental trigger: “If that person does “X”, I will need to stop them”. Your pistol usually remains holstered in this state. Staying in Orange can be a bit of a mental strain, but you can stay in it for as long as you need to. If the threat proves to be nothing, you shift back to Condition Yellow.
- Red – Condition Red is fight. Your mental trigger (established back in Condition Orange) has been tripped. “If “X” happens I will shoot that person.”
An interesting fellow, Colonel Cooper. Marine, combat veteran, competitive shooter, author and unquestionably a Manly Man. He was an innovator and master guntwist with pistol and rifle, and his thoughts on martial crafts involving firearms are well worth reading.