What exactly is a scout rifle? That’s a tricky question, and the answer depends on who you ask. Not content to describe it as a general, all-purpose rifle, American Hunter contributor Richard Mann spent almost five years researching the scout rifle as defined by Col. Jeff Cooper during the 1980s and refined until his death in 2006. Detailed analysis of the elements Cooper said a scout rifle should possess, gleaned by poring over hundreds of published and personal references he made to the concept, form the basis for The Scout Rifle Study.
The book is much more than an overview of Cooper’s articles, notes, letters and other writings, however. Mann reviews several rifles currently in production that meet (or come close to) the specifications set forth for the scout, and shares the results of a practical head-to-head evaluation that tests accuracy, speed, handiness and reliability. The author reveals what he and other participants learned about these rifles and their accessories during a 2016 conference at Gunsite Academy that, much like Cooper, he organized. Of particular interest to hunters, Mann documents the performance of several scout rifles fielded by him and nine others during a safari in South Africa.
In essence, Mann weighs the worth of the scout rifle—for defensive purposes, survival and hunting—in modern terms. The title is fitting, as the book is an exhaustive and enlightening examination of a firearm type that’s commonly misunderstood (Mann calls it an enigma), as well as a survey that provides real-world, objective data on the scout rifle’s supposed benefits. Whether you’re a scout-rifle aficionado or simply curious about the concept, the book will teach you about its past, show you its present application and leave you pondering its future.