Getting the Best Scope for Your Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle

Ruger-Gunsite-Scout-Rifle

If you’re looking at a scout rifle (or have already purchased one), you may be realizing that it can actually be difficult to find scopes that will work with it. 

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be complicated to find a good scope for your Ruger Gunsite Scout or another scout rifle, and we’ve prepared a list of our recommendations for the best scope options for scout rifles.

These recommendations are specifically about the Ruger Gunsite Scout, which is the upgraded model from the Ruger M77, but should mount just fine on most scout rifle designs. We’ll go over the different specifications as well as discuss how the scopes operate in the real world. 

But first, we’ll go over everything you should think about when looking at getting a scope for a scout rifle.

Things to Consider When Shopping for a Scout Scope

The Scout Rifle Concept

Ok, so calling it a ‘concept’ may not be as accurate as ‘a basic set of design features geared towards fulfilling a specific purpose’, but it’s definitely faster. Scout rifles are designed to be short, light, and easy to maneuver.

Scout rifles were first designed based on the advocacy of Jeff Cooper, who, as a marine and firearms instructor, had strong opinions about rifles, and wrote an article in the 1980s that described what he would consider to be the perfect rifle for versatility. 

He explained that it should balance light weight, maneuverability, and stopping power. The Steyr Scout was the first model released.

Steyr Scout

He outlined a number of constraints for his perfect scout rifle, but here are the highlights relevant to optics:

  • A short barrel and the accuracy to hit a person-sized target at 450 yards.
  • A forward-mounted scope to keep the action clear for the use of stripper clips.
  • Being able to shoot with both eyes open.
  • The mounted optic should not interfere with the back-up rear sight and front sight.
  • A powerful enough round to provide stopping power at maximum accurate distance.

Scout rifles are also usually bolt action, have a flash hider or muzzle brake, and a sling for easy carry. The Ruger GSR is equipped with a ghost ring rear sight, can have a cheek pad added, and makes a great truck gun.

Scout Scopes

These design constraints make it so that, for the most part, you won’t get a lot of magnification out of a scout scope. The need for an extended eye relief scope along with needing to keep the action clear means that you can’t have physically long scopes and you simply can’t have as much magnification.

With a few exceptions, you’ll mostly see variable magnification scout scopes top out at about 7x. To keep the maneuverability and light weight, most scopes designed for use on scout rifles will try to be as light as possible. 

One of the purposes of scout rifles is to be slung over a shoulder and carried over long distances, so every pound matters.

The Ruger Gunsite Scout is chambered in .308 Winchester, as are most scout rifles. The ones that aren’t are chambered in something similar like a 6.5mm Creedmoor

The Ruger Gunsite Scout also comes in .350 legend. All of these rounds have some recoil to them, and being smaller and lighter rifles, the recoil will be more noticeable than with a standard-size rifle.

This means that your scope needs to be able to handle the punch without losing zero or taking damage. Scout scopes will be specifically rated to this higher level of recoil and be able to withstand it.

PRODUCT

DETAILS

Products

BEST FOR SIGHTING

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28 

  • Diameter: 28mm
  • Magnification: 1.5-4x
  • Length: 11.2 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Burris Scout Riflescope 2-7x32mm 

Burris Scout Riflescope 2-7x32mm 

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 9.7 in
BEST FOR DURABILITY

BSA 2-7x32 Edge Series Pistol Scope

BSA 2-7x32 Edge Series Pistol Scope

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 12 in
BEST FOR CLEAR IMAGE

UTG Long Eye Relief 2-7x44mm Scout

UTG Long Eye Relief 2-7x44mm Scout 

  • Diameter: 44mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 11.5 in
BEST FOR ACCURACY

Sig Sauer Romeo5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight

Sig Sauer Romeo5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight

  • Diameter: 20mm
  • Magnification: 1x
  • Length: 4.72 in 
BEST FOR WEATHER

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Scout 

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Scout 

  • Diameter: 32mm
  • Magnification: 2-7x
  • Length: 10.5 in
BEST FOR LONG RANGE

Nikon Buckmasters 4-12x40mm

Nikon Buckmasters 4-12x40mm

  • Diameter: 40mm
  • Magnification: 4-12x
  • Length: 22 in

What About Handgun Scopes?

The need for long eye relief (LER scope) makes for some interesting crossover between handgun scopes and scout scopes.

Choosing a handgun scope is a riskier proposition, since you have no guarantee that the optic will be able to withstand the recoil, and the eye relief may be even longer than you can shoot comfortably with.

That said, we have a handgun scope as one of our recommendations here and they have the potential to be a great solution. 

Can Regular Scopes Be Used on Scout Rifles?

Generally, no. The eye relief on “normal” scopes is simply not long enough to work on a scout rifle. If you already have a scope that you want to use, you can always take it to your local gun store and ask the experts there about your specific configuration, but generally, your eye relief will be between 2 inches and 4 inches too short.

If you happen to have a scope with a really long tube and you mount it as far back as it will go, I suppose it may be possible to get within the eye relief and shoot comfortably, but you’d be obstructing the action, defeating one of the key advantages of using a scout rifle.

Can You Use Red Dots on Scout Rifles?

Yes. Red dots have unlimited eye relief and will work just fine on most scout rifles, although it does depend on the mounting rail that the rifle has on it. 

The Ruger comes with a Picatinny rail, which will work out-of-the-box with virtually every red dot on the market, but the same is not true of all scout rifles.

If the scout rifle you have comes with a Picatinny or Weaver rail, or you can install one on it, then you should be able to find a red dot that will work with your scout. In fact, we’ve included a red dot on our list of recommendations if you’re looking for something with no magnification.

Can You Use a Prism Scope on a Scout Rifle?

Most prism scopes, while they have the right magnification range, will have too short of eye relief to work well on a scout rifle. If you’re able to find one with at least 6 inches of eye relief you might be able to make it work.

Alrighty, let’s get into our recommendations for the best scope for Ruger Gunsite Scout!

We wanted to cover a wide range of magnification and configuration options as well as price points, so you’ll see some budget options, some more premium, and some longer-range as well as shorter-range scopes.

1. Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28 Rifle Scope

ruger gunsite scout scope

Leupold has a great reputation industry and their Scout version of their popular VX-Freedom line is just as worthy of that reputation as the rest of their models. 

Leupold holds their scopes to exacting standards and rigorous testing before being approved for release, and the VX-Freedom Scout has been designed for use on a scout rifle.

The eye relief on the Leupold is actually much shorter than most of the recommendations on this list. A couple of things to consider here and the first is how far the ocular lens extends past the tube (which is a 1-inch tube, by the way). 

This means that if you mount the scope farther back on the rail on your Ruger, the ocular lens will be as much as an inch or two closer than another scope would be.

The second thing to consider is the Ruger itself. The Ruger Scout rifle comes with a rail already mounted, and it’s relatively close to the action, which means you shouldn’t need as much eye relief as on some other scout rifles, and target acquisition should be very quick.

Leupold VX Freedom Scout Reticle

Leupold is known for their optical quality and durability. Their scopes don’t lose zero, don’t get damaged by recoil, and have phenomenal low-light performance thanks to their proprietary Twilight Light Management System. 

However, Leupold’s aren’t perfect and there are legitimate flaws to be found with this scope when paired with a scout scope.

First is that there is no illumination on the duplex reticle. This is common with Leupold scopes, but a rifle that is designed to be a “catch-all” rifle that can be used effectively in almost any situation, having no illumination on the reticle can limit it in some situations. 

Second is that the adjustments are .25 MOA, which would make sense on a 3-9x scope or similar, but on a scope that maxes out at 4x, .5 MOA adjustments would make the process go faster and give results so close as to make no difference. 

Granted, if you are shooting out to 200 yards and beyond, the .25 MOA may be nice, but it would take an awful lot of practice to get to where your accuracy is limited by the click value instead of anything else.

Overall, the Leupold is a fantastic option as long as the price tag isn’t a turn-off.

Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28

The price of Leupold VX-Freedom Scout 1.5-4x28  varies, so check the latest price at

2. Burris Scout Riflescope 2-7x32mm Rifle Scope

ruger scout rifle scope

With a slightly larger objective lens diameter and greater magnification range, this is a great alternative to the Leupold. While not cheap, the Burris Scout scope also brings the quality you would expect from a premium scope. 

Burris is a well-known scope manufacturer and has a reputation for solid optics and a good warranty.

The Burris Scout rifle scope has 9.2-12 inches of eye relief, which makes it a great fit for scout rifles. It comes with their Ballistic Plex reticle, which (despite the fancy name), is basically just a bullet drop compensator (BDC reticle), albeit a good one. 

It’s a small and lightweight scope; only 9.7 inches long and weighing only 13 ounces.

Burris scopes come with their Hi-Lume multicoating, which I don’t know much about, but it seems to work very well to maintain the right amount of light transmission for as long into dusk as possible.

Ballistic Plex Reticle

The Scout Riflescope is well-engineered to withstand significant recoil with a 1-piece outer tube and an internal spring-tension system to assist the scope in holding zero even under extreme recoil.

Getting all the way up to 7x really allows you to maximize the capabilities of a scout rifle. Most often you won’t be attempting 400-450 yard shots, but if you are, it will be a lot easier with 7x magnification than with none at all or even 4x. 

Several of our recommendations go up to 7x, and that’s exactly the reason why. Can you make shots at 400-450 yards with a 4x magnification?

Yes, but assuming you’re not shooting just for bragging rights, wouldn’t you rather have a 7x magnification that still allows you to shoot with both eyes open and at a comfortable distance? 

Most of us would prefer that. Granted, most of us aren’t going to be trying to make 400-450 yard shots with our scout rifle, and in that case, you might prefer the Leupold.

Burris Scout Riflescope 2-7x32mm

The price of Burris Scout Riflescope 2-7x32mm  varies, so check the latest price at

3. BSA 2-7x32 Edge Series Pistol Scope

best scope for ruger gunsite scout

As promised, we are including a handgun scope on our recommended list. BSA doesn’t have household name status in the scope world yet, but they actually make some great optics and are generally well-reviewed. 

There really aren’t a whole lot of differences between a pistol scope and a scout scope, but the two main concerns you’ll have are the same as with any other: eye relief and recoil.

I have never personally put a BSA 2-7x32mm on a scout rifle and seen how it handles the recoil, but plenty of reviewers have shared their stories of it doing just fine on the scout rifles they’ve mounted it to, so it should be fine, though I would be a little concerned about its longevity, especially with frequent use.

Of course, the price tag is enough lower than the Leupold and the Burris to make you think it might be worth the risk. First consider the other issue: eye relief.

BSA 2-7x32 Edge Series Pistol Scope

Where the Leupold has short enough eye relief as to be a bit of a concern, the BSA has eye relief that may be too long. It’s very generous and goes from 12 inches to 20 inches. Target acquisition may be a bit slower.

For a scout scope, it’s highly unlikely you would ever need to have your eye 20 inches away from the ocular lens, but 12 inches is a more reasonable proposition and should be doable. 

If your natural shooting position is more hunched in and as close as possible to the scope, then the BSA is probably not the scope for you.

The adjustment clicks are .25 MOA, which fits with the 7x range but may be a bit tedious at the shorter end of the magnification. Light transmission is good but not up to the same level as the Burris and the Leupold. 

We’re not ranking these scopes against each other, but if we were, the BSA would be a contender for the best value for money.

BSA 2-7x32 Edge Series Pistol Scope

The price of BSA 2-7x32 Edge Series Pistol Scope varies, so check the latest price at

4. UTG Long Eye Relief 2-7x44mm Scout Rifle Scope

ruger scout scope

Yep, a third option at exactly the same magnification, and in a middle-of-the-road price point between the Leupold/Burris side of the spectrum and the BSA side.

UTG has a good reputation for making solid glass, and their LER 2-7x44mm is no exception. It may not be as premium as the Leupold and the Burris, but has a few features that even they lack.

First is the objective lens diameter. On a scout rifle, a 44mm objective lens can actually be a con as much as a pro. Scout rifles are compact, small, and lightweight, and you may have to purchase taller scope rings to get the UTG high enough from the rifle to mount properly. 

Even with that, though, the improved brightness that should come with a larger objective lens will be worth it to most shooters.

UTG Long Eye Relief 2-7x44mm Scout Rifle Scope

Second is that it has an illuminated reticle, which is a great feature for a scout scope. However, it’s also a great case study into why it’s the first scope on this list to offer illumination: added weight.

Electronics and batteries are heavy, and the UTG comes in at a robust 25.4 ounces of weight, which is noticeably heavier than any of the other scopes we’ve talked about.

With a forward-mounted scope, weight is a big deal. If you’re a larger-than-average person, you will probably be just fine using the UTG on the Ruger Gunsite Scout, but if you’re an average or smaller person, the extra weight may affect your ability to shoot accurately and for long periods if you’re holding up the rifle without a bipod.

The illumination is pretty cool, though. UTG has RGB illumination that allows you to choose from 36 different colors for your reticle. 

UTG Long Eye Relief 2-7x44mm Scout

The price of UTG Long Eye Relief 2-7x44mm Scout varies, so check the latest price at

5. Sig Sauer Romeo5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight

scope for ruger gunsite scout

Ok, so putting a red dot on your Ruger Gunsite Scout doesn’t technically follow the letter of the law about what a “scout rifle” is, because part of the criteria is a low-powered optic generally between 2-4x magnification, but still fits with the spirit of the law, especially if you choose the Sig Sauer Romeo5.

It’s important to know that the Romeo5 has a number of different models that you can choose from, and you want to make sure that the one you order is in fact the one that you want.

The Romeo5 has 3 different reticle designs: the basic 2 MOA red dot, the red dot plus a 65 MOA circle, and a green dot plus triangle holds.

Each reticle type also comes with different optical coating options, but there really isn’t a significant difference between the options. 

Sig Sauer Romeo5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight Reticle

With unlimited eye relief, you can be as close to or far from the scope as your comfort and the rifle allow, and with no parallax, you’ll have lightning-fast target acquisition and easily shoot with both eyes open.

Plus, it comes with a scope mount that will go right onto the Picatinny rail of the GSR out of the box.

The obvious drawback here is the lack of magnification, and that’s a real problem. Even 2x is handy for shooting accurately at every distance, and only highly-practiced shooters in ideal conditions can make shots without magnification at 200 yards and beyond.

The Romeo5 is really only going to be the best option if you know you’re never going to need to shoot beyond 100 yards.

Again, yes it’s possible to shoot accurately beyond that without magnification, but it’s much easier to accomplish with some magnification, even if it’s only 2x or 3x. So we’re not saying the Romeo5 is a bad choice for that type of shooting, just that it’s not the best choice for that type of shooting.

Sig Sauer Romeo Red Dot Sight

The price of Sig Sauer Romeo5 1x20mm Red Dot Sight varies, so check the latest price at

6. Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32 Scout Riflescope

gunsite scout scope

If you’ve been around optics for any amount of time, Vortex is another brand you have no doubt heard of, and probably heard a lot of good things. That is indeed why it is on our list here. 

Another 2-7x32 option may be redundant, but each brand brings its own reticle and scope designs and it's common for a shooter to prefer one brand’s way of doing things over another.

Eye relief here is virtually identical to the UTG, at a range of about 9.5-11 inches. The eye box is wide enough to shoot with both eyes open and the magnification range and objective lens diameter are right within what you’d expect for a scope designed for scout rifles. Adjustment clicks are .25 MOA and, like most of the options on the list, the reticle is not illuminated.

The Vortex is heavier than some of the other scopes like the Leupold, Burris, and BSA, weighing in at 1.4 pounds, which is almost as much as the UTG, but without the benefits of an illuminated reticle. Keep in mind, though, that the Vortex is noticeably more affordable than the UTG.

Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32

The price of Vortex Optics Crossfire II 2-7x32  varies, so check the latest price at

If you want to know more about vortex scopes, then must check out our guide on best Vortex scopes.

Honorable Mention: Nikon Buckmasters 4-12x40mm

ruger gunsite scout scope options

Nikon no longer makes optics, but with plenty of high-quality used Nikons still in circulation, it is worth mentioning the Nikon Buckmasters 4-12x40mm if you are looking for something with a little bit longer of a magnification range.

If you have a lead on a Nikon Buckmasters and are willing to take a gamble on a used scope then it should work well on your Ruger Gunsite Scout. Buying used is always a gamble, though, and we would recommend buying new whenever possible.

Nikon Buckmasters 4-12x40mm

The price of Nikon Buckmasters 4-12x40mm varies, so check the latest price at

You may want to know about Nikon buckmaster II, Here is the detailed Nikon buckmaster II review along with its alternatives.

Final Thoughts

As usual, the “perfect” scout scope for every situation doesn’t exist, and you’ll want to choose the best fit for what you’re using your scout rifle for. 

If you’ll be shooting at close to mid-range, then the Leupold or even the Romeo5 may be great fits. If you’re shooting at distance, then one of the other options may be better.

Are there any scopes we should have included on this list? Do you have any personal experience with any of these scopes? Let us know in the comments!

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