Consumer Information

Review: Savage Arms Scout Bolt-Action Rifle

Savage Scout with rifle scope

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.


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. 


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!

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (7)

  1. My wife bought a savage scout rifle for me 3 years ago for my birthday. I’ve since traded that rifle for another style of 308 and Ive regretted that trade ever since. they are now extremely hard to come by in my neck ‘o the woods up here in Canada, the good news is after an almost exhaustive search, I found one and put it on hold for purchase tomorrow morning. I won’t be letting this one go anytime soon. I love everything about the rifle except that Muzzle break. I’ll be replacing that sonnest with a birdcage flash hider.

  2. Hi Bob,
    Thanks for the article above. I also enjoyed this rifle. I was curious is the required eye relief was a concern in picking your optics. I have been reluctant to put glass on mine as most are not made for the scope forward or “scout” configuration.

    Did the TRUGLO Omnia 6 1x6x24 scope mentioned have enough eye relief or did you need to modify anything?


  3. I agree 100%, except: I hate muzzlebrakes because of the noise. Also, when travelling with a superb trunk gun such as this, there are cities that don’t allow 10 round mags (very few) and/or muzzle devices. I would prefer backup sights that cowitness with the red dot, which would be difficult, I think, with this particular rifle. In lieu of the muzzle brake, if recoil is a problem, I would opt for another caliber (6.5?). I am fond of .243 with 100gr bullets (not quite as effective as 6.5 or .308 but almost zero recoil). Just my 2cts. Great article.

  4. The scout rifle came out of the scout sniper rifle used by US Marine Scout Snipers, some of the first people to have the job title and MOS as a “sniper.” These scout rifles are based more or less on the specs of the infamous Jeff Cooper. The light stock, low power variable optic forward mounted with a wide diopter. Short action .308 Winchester (7.62 x 51 mm NATO.) This round was chosen for training and even combat use. Read any memoir of active or retired military snipers and you will find that the actual common range of engagement and combat was at 800 yards or less. A 175 gr .308 Win at 600 yards will knock down a 200 pound target. Many combat shots were even closer than 600 yards. And before the common acceptance of semi-auto rifles for snipers (such as the SR-25), this was the essential combat rifle. Suitable for actual snipers with assigned targets and also designated marksmen providing overwatch on missions (like Gunney Swagger in “The Shooter” at the beginning of the movie.)

    A scout rifle is not often used for 1,000 yard shots but it can do it because .308 Winchester will go that far. That being said, it’s greatest accuracy, like any relatively light rifle (less than 10 pounds) is 800 yards. So, it is also perfect for most deer hunting where shots are usually less than 300 yards and a huge majority at less than 100 yards.

    It was designed with the idea of being a light rifle that makes a big bang with magnified optics that get you within 1 inch of point of aim at 100 yards. Standard mission might have you HALO into a zone. Then you sneak into FFP (final firing position.) Take one, maybe two shots. Then you need to back out and run to the EP (extraction point.) So, being a short rifle, it is less likely to catch on tree branches and can easily insert into a drag bag.

    So, no problem at all for whitetail deer hunting and feral hog hunting.

  5. A very convincing article concerning your choice of a Savage Scout. I prefer the Ruger Scout for the same reasons you justify your pick. Six to one is a half dozen to another. Either one is a fine investment.

  6. I can understand Mr. Mortenson’s frustration with rifle manufacturers going to the “AR” design with some of their product offerings. However there are still plenty of the traditional Carbine or long rifle bolt action or semi automatic rifles to choose from from almost any manufacturer.. I am really impressed with Savage and their offering of this carbine for rifle enthusiasts who want a lighter carbine for mountain camping or hunting that has the versatility for many different optics or someone like myself that may just be in the market for a less expensive .308 that has the look and feel of an AR carbine but is a bolt action. And with the way our new progressively “woke” anti gun Washington cabal and media are pushing for ever more restrictions, this type of rifle/carbine might be all that will be available for any of us 2nd amendment supporters.
    I am going to look into buying one of these carbines and try it out next fall for the Wisconsin deer season.

  7. All I’m going to say is, I wish rifle companies would go back to making rifles that actually look like a rifle. Don’t we have enough of these zipped up goofy looking stocked (Rifles) on the market today. Go back to what made these companies made their living on till this AR hype took over the (RIFLE) business.

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