SOON after the Steyr Scout was introduced, I evaluated it in this column. I liked it, especially as a rifle to carry in my truck for a wide array of tasks. But there were some things I felt might be improved.
For one, I thought the 2.5X28mm Leupold Scout Scope, though of high quality, limited the range at which the rifle could be fired with precision. I also found that the butter knife bolt handle so familiar on classic Steyr rifles was a little hard to manipulate. After a while, I also concluded that I would prefer a larger magazine capacity than that of the standard five-round magazine. Later I discovered the Steyr Scout Tactical rifle, which took ten-round magazines, had a bolt handle with a large ball, and allowed mounting a more powerful scope in the conventional position rather than the typical Scout forward mounting position.
A couple of months ago, I decided to revisit the Steyr Scout Tactical for evaluation as a preparedness rifle. Plus there is a new Leupold Scout Scope that I think makes the Steyr much more versatile. Like the original Steyr Scout, the Scout Tactical features a compact size and handiness, spare magazine carrier in the stock, flip-up BUIS, versatile sling mounting points, and forward Scout scope mounting. Let me comment on that last feature.
On the Scout Tactical, I like the standard scope mounting, but for a Scout Rifle that may be used for self-defense or hunting, I like the forward mount, which allows scanning the area with peripheral vision or by moving the head slightly, while retaining the sight picture or quickly re-acquiring it. By the way, though the Scout is offered in other calibers, I chose one in .308.
I also like the Scout Tactical’s color choices, including Black, Green and Mud. I have the Mud version. I like the fact that I can carry 20 rounds—one mag seated in the rifle and one in the stock— without any need for mag pouches.
As did my early Scout, the Scout Tactical retains the two-position magazine catch. When inserted to the first position, the magazine does not allow a round to be fed from the magazine into the chamber. In this position, single rounds may be fed directly into the chamber by hand. Should more rounds be needed quickly, the magazine may be pushed all the way home.
The magazine release is part of the magazine, allowing the magazine to be removed when the release is pressed from both sides. This is a good system, as it is difficult to dump a magazine by accident.
Various aspects of the Scout’s stock enhance its usefulness. The flat forearm not only offers a comfortable grip for offhand shooting, but also allows use of an improvised rest. Spacers at the butt permit the rifle’s length to be tailored to the shooter so it is handy and comfortable to shoot. An integral bipod also offers an aid to accurate shooting.
I also like the Scout’s roller safety. Located atop the receiver, it may be easily operated by the thumb of the shooting hand. When the safety is rolled to the fire position, a red dot shows. When in the safe position, a white dot shows, and when in safe with the bolt and trigger locked, a white lever shows.
As an additional safety to prevent the safety being moved inadvertently, the lever must be depressed before the safety can be rolled to fire. It’s a quick system to operate, and very safe. An indicator pin also protrudes, so it may be easily seen or felt to show the rifle is cocked.
As mentioned earlier, I felt that the Scout needed a more versatile scope, and Leupold has fulfilled that need. The Leupold 1.5-5X33 VX-R Scout Scope offers the long eye relief of the earlier fixed-power Scout scopes but gives the options of 1.5X for CQC or 5X for longer range shooting.
In addition, the Duplex reticle with FireDot offers an illuminated red dot for quick target acquisition in low light, and Duplex crosshairs for precise aiming. I use the FireDot sometimes even in bright light to give a precise aiming point at the center of the crosshairs, but others may not.
In any case, on 1.5X with the red dot, engagement of multiple targets is fast and precise. Two-thirds of the Duplex reticle use thick crosshairs, while the one-third at the aiming point is thinner. This helps lead the eye to the target at longer ranges.
All the other touches to be expected from Leupold, including indexmatched lens coatings for brightness and DiamondCoat coatings for increased light transmission, are present as well. The scope is waterproof. Adjustments for elevation and windage are in 1/4 MOA increments. I think it is the perfect scope for the Scout Rifle.
One other accessory I consider important for the Scout Rifle is a good sling. Various slings work well, but traditionally the Ching Sling has been used with the Scout. A three-point sling, for which the Scout has mounting points, the Ching is designed to stabilize the shooting position, and carries the rifle comfortably as well. I use a Ching Sling from Andy’s Leather Shop. Andy is very experienced with the Scout Rifle and makes an excellent sling for it.
Every Steyr bolt-action rifle I own or have owned shot really well. Admittedly, many of those have been in the SSG line of sniping rifles, but my Scout Tactical shoots quite well too. In the specs often cited for Scout Rifles in general, accuracy should be at least two MOA. To test this with my new Scout, I chose Black Hills 168-grain Match ammunition, which has proven very accurate in dozens of rifle tests.
The Steyr Scout Tactical easily met the two MOA criteria. At 100 yards, the best group was .75 inch for three shots, with 1.25 to 1.50 being more typical. At 200 yards, I fired five shots into 2.5 inches.
The Steyr Scout Tactical and latest Leupold Scout Scope make a great combination. An argument could be made that the .308 Scout with tenround magazine kit could serve as the only rifle one needs.
It’s not perfect for self-defense but could certainly do in an attacker near or far. In .308 it could take any game in North America. It would probably be most applicable to someone who lives in a rural or, at least, suburban area as opposed to an urban area.
Mine is in my truck right now. At times I may replace it with a .308 AR, but I am very happy with the Steyr Scout Tactical.