• Savage Arms New Model 11 Scout Rifle in .308 Winchester

    Scout rifles were first defined and promoted by Jeff Cooper back in the early 1980ís as a new class of general-purpose rifles. Such rifles are based around a bolt-action rifle chambered in .308 Winchester (7.62x51mm), are less than a meter in length, weigh less than three kilograms (6.6-lbs), come with iron sights, are fitted with a practical sling (such as Ching slings) for shooting and carrying, and are capable of hitting a human size targets out to 450 meters without scopes. Typically Scout rifles employ forward-mounted low-power long eye relief scope or iron sights to afford easy access to the top of the rifle action for rapid reloading. Although the Steyr Scout is the only rifle Jeff Cooper has been personally involved with, companies such as Ruger, Savage Arms, and others now manufacture scout rifles that roughly match Cooperís specifications.

    For 2015 Savage Arms re-entered the Scout rifle market with their all new Model 11 Scout. Savage has offered a Scout model in their line-up on and off for the past 15 years or so, but all were pretty much based on a standard 10/110 platforum with a standard capacity (3-4 round) detachable magazine and the same basic synthetic stock found on the old Hunter and Package series of rifles. The only thing that really differentiated the previous Scout models was its forward mounted scope rail.

    That is no longer the case as the new Model 11 Scout offers several features and options that you wonít find on the standard Savage rifles. Four things really stand out when you look at this new Scout compared to the older models: the barrel, the magazine, the stock and the trigger.

    The barrel is an 18Ē chrome-moly unit featuring a heavy sporter contour that is threaded 5/8x24 at the muzzle to accept the included four-port muzzle break or a suppressor. The muzzle brake is of such a design that it is not much larger in diameter than the barrel itself so it doesnít look out of place or like an afterthought as some factory brakes do. The front sight is a pinned on barrel band type featuring a non-adjustable blade and a protective wing on either side similar to many military-style sights.

    The magazine is an all-new 10-round unit that uses the same blued metal housing as Savageís other detachable magazines that is mated to a new extended polymer bottom to provide the additional capacity. The magazine rocks into place rear to front and locks into the bottom metal housing with minimal free-play. The magazine release lever is located in front of the magazine and is easily manipulated to remove the magazine.

    The stock on the new Model 11 Scout is Savageís highly acclaimed AccuStock. The Accustock is an injection molded polymer piece that benefits from a 3D billet aluminum skeleton to improve rigidity and provide rock solid bedding for the barreled action. For the Scout model Savage has added an additional sling swivel stud up front for use with a Ching Sling or to allow use of both a bipod and sling at the same time.

    If that wasnít enough, Savage has equipped the Model 11 Scout with an adjustable polymer cheek piece that can be adjusted up or down to ensure a proper cheek weld when shooting with both open sights and optics. Going one step further, Savage has also provided a means to adjust the length-of-pull (LOP) on the Model 11 Scout by means of a removable spacer system so you can tailor the rifle to fit your body and/or your shooting style. Length-of-pull is variable from 13 to 14 inches in ľ-inch increments. Last but not least, Savage uses their very effective P.A.D. unit on the new Scout which has proven time and time again to do an excellent job of lessening felt recoil.

    The Scout also naturally features Savageís award winning AccuTrigger which allows the pull weight to be adjusted anywhere from 2.5 to 6 pounds per your personal preference. The central blade in the trigger also acts as a secondary safety device in that if not depressed it will not allow the sear to release the firing pin and thus greatly reduces the chance of an accidental discharge should the rifle be dropped.

    Weighing in at 7.8-pounds itís a little on the heavy side for a scout rifle, but you really donít feel that weight in the hands as it is a very well balanced package. Overall length with all three LOP spacers in place and the muzzle brake installed is 40.5-inches, which is a little longer than the prescribed one meter for a Scout type.

    Other features of note on the new Model 11 Scout include a Williams adjustable rear peep sight that mounts to the rear receiver bridge providing a longer sight radius. The included forward mounted scope rail mounts to the barrel and the front receiver bridge. Additionally, the bolt handle design is unique to this model (I have yet to see it offered on any other models).

    The rifle I received for review came pre-fitted with a Weaver Classic K 4x28mm scope with Dual-X reticle, but retail models will not include the scope. MSRP for the Model 11 Scout Rifle is $794.

    My first trip to the range with the new Model 11 Scout was simply to get the scope and open sights sighted in at 50-yards with some PMC 147gr FMJ loads. The scope was pretty much dead on right out of the box, and the open sights just need a little a little left windage to be spot on.

    My second trip to the range moved things out to 100 yards shooting more of the PMC ammo as well as some Hornady Superformance 165gr SST loads with the scope in place. Accuracy was ho-hum at best in the beginning while attempting to shoot 5-shot groups, with the last two shots always opening the group to over two inches. Give the barrel profile I decided to revert to shooting three-shot groups to eliminate accumulated barrel heat as a contributing factor. In doing so the Scout started producing consistent 3-shot groups measuring under one and a one-half inches, with several coming in at under 1 MOA. I then moved out to 200 yards and shot a couple of groups which held consistent with the 1.5 or better minute-of-angle (MOA) accuracy I was getting at 100 yards.

    A few days later I returned to the range for my third session with the Savage Model 11 Scout, only this time I did all of my shooting with the open sights. The groups opened up a bit at 100 yards, but most of that can be attributed to the shooter rather than the rifle as I very rarely shoot with open sights on rifles anymore. I shot a few groups at 200 yards as well which opened up to around three and a half to four inches which was in line with the groups I was shooting at 100 yards.

    Ultimate I was pleasantly surprised by the new Model 11 Scout. The last time I reviewed a .308 sporting rifle in a synthetic stock I wanted to toss it in the dumpster because it pounded the snot out of me. The stock on that particular rifle just didnít fit me, and the brick of a recoil pad did nothing to absorb any of the recoil energy. It was probably one of the worst experiences Iíve had in my fourteen years of reviewing firearms. The new Model 11 Scout is an entirely different story though as the combination of the adjustable stock, the muzzle brake, and Savageís P.A.D. recoil pad make it a real joy and pleasure to shoot.

    The adjustability of the stock works very well and allows you to setup the rifle specifically for your build and shooting style, and it only takes a few minutes to do. I would however like to see some threaded metal inserts and machine screws used for the butt pad just to make it a little more durable over the course of multiple adjustments.

    The fit and finish of all the parts was very good which I have come to expect from Savage. The parkerized finish on the metal was solid and uniform in color from end to end. The stock didnít exhibit any excessive mold lines like are common on many of todayís synthetic stocks. The action exhibited the usual heavy Savage bolt lift (timing issue), but thatís pretty much the norm and mechanically everything else worked as it should. I experienced no failures of any kind during the course of my testing.

    One thing I do like is the new bolt handle design as it offers plenty of purchase area with a good angle and curvature without being too bulbous or excessively long as many varmint/tactical bolt handles tend to be these days.

    As far as complaints go, I really only have two and theyíre pretty minor. The first has to do with the magazine as itís labeled as being able to hold ten rounds. The example I received would only hold nine properly, though a tenth could be forced in and just barely be held by the feed lips (see photo). If loaded with ten rounds, the magazine would not lock into position in the rifle with the bolt closed, and I would not trust that tenth round to stay put in a spare magazine being stored in my pocket or pack while moving about.

    My other minor issue has to do with the range of adjustment on the adjustable comb. The range was more than sufficient for use with a scope mounted on the included rail, but didnít quite go low enough when using the open sights. With the cheek piece at its lowest position I found I really had to press my cheek down hard into the stock to get a proper sight picture through the rear peep sight. The cheek piece exhibits about a 1/8Ē gap between it and the stock when at its lowest position, and thatís about what I needed to come down to get a good sight picture. Depending on your build this may or may not be an issue for you.

    So does the new Model 11 Scout fit the ďscout rifleĒ motif? I would say it definitely does, though I personally would revert to a standard 4 round magazine that fits flush with the stock and I would probably ditch the muzzle brake for the sake of my ears. All around itís a great package that handles and shoots well, and the street price is very reasonable for what youíre getting when compared to the other Scout rifle options on the market. If you want one rifle to do it all, this is the rifle you want.

    Additional Photos:

    Contact Information
    Savage Arms
    100 Springdale Road
    Westfield, MA 01085

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