Reminder: A Bolt Action is a Great Survival Gun Option
Dr. John Woods 09.14.15
It sounds like heresy to say it, but an AR- or AK-pattern rifle isn’t for every prepper or survivalist. Some people don’t have the time, resources, or inclination to get proper training on a modern military weapons platform. Maybe they’re not really gun people but they’d like a general-purpose rifle to keep around “just in case.” Or maybe they live somewhere that makes access to the AR or AK difficult.
The reaction in most prepper forums when someone like this shows up and asks for SHTF gun recommendations is for the hardcore crowd to not-so-kindly suggest that they just need to get “serious” about prepping to commit to acquiring and learning the AR or AK, or move to a state or country with better gun laws, and so on. But there is a spectrum of preparedness, and it’s perfectly okay to be someone who wants just a little extra insurance vs. someone who has gone all-out to build a doomsday bunker.
For the “I want something to keep around ‘just in case'” crowd, the bolt action rifle is a perfectly serviceable all-purpose firearm that can be successfully operated and maintained with a minimum of practice. The bolt action is easy to learn, and the weapon manipulation skills are easy to retain. A good bolt action works extremely well for hunting and can be pressed into service for self-defense, as well.
The classic bolt action rifle choice is probably the Remington 700 platform. It’s the Mossberg 500/590 or Remington 970 of the rifle world. We love the Remington 700, but if you’re looking for something that was designed from the ground up as a “if you could only have one gun” rifle, then the Ruger Gunsite Scout is a great option.
If you have not read anything by the late gun guru Jeff Cooper, the initiator of the Scout Rifle concept back in the 1980’s, then this is a chance to read up. Cooper founded the American Pistol Institute later to become the Gunsite Academy to train pistol shooting skills. Jeff was a huge proponent of the 1911 in .45ACP and how to defensively shoot it. He also conceived and designed the long defunct Bren Ten, 10mm pistol used by Sonny Crocket on Miami Vice. Cooper’s idea of the ideal defensive rifle has been basically embodied by the Ruger Scout Rifle.
The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle is a bolt rifle chambered for the .308 Winchester. It is magazine fed (3-5-10 rounds) and comes with a “Ghost Ring” open rear iron sight and a wing protected front sight. The barrel is fitted with a section of Picatinny rail to mount a forward long-eye relief type scope if desired in the true scout rifle design configuration.
The stock is an attractive silver-grey laminate with a sealed finish along with a good rubber butt pad. Sling studs are installed front and rear. It has a 16.5 inch barrel with flash suppressor. It is 39.5 inches in length and weighs 7 pounds empty. It is now offered in 5.56 as well.