Just got back from the NRA 2011 Convention in Pittsburgh and had a great time. Just wanted to report that for me, the hit of the show were 2 rifles from Ruger, the Mini 14 Ranch Rifle and the new Gunsite Scout bolt action. The Mini 14 comes in Nato 5.56mm / .223 Rem, and in 6.8 SPC. While the Scout comes in .308 Winchester with a 5 and 10 Mag clip. What I liked about the Mini 14 was the open sites. Quick, easy acquisition, easy targeting. It also had a great feel and balance. I asked the reps what the thought the main difference was between the two rifles and they felt that the Gunsite would just be better at longer range and accuracy. The Gunsite is bolt action with a Picatinny Rail system, flash suppressor and recoil pad. It also felt good in the hand. I’m not sure what, if any, advantage the Mini 14 has over an AR style weapon, but it just feels better in the hands and easier to snap shoot.
The Gunsite Scout begs for a 1 -3 power scope and looks naked without one. The bolt requires deliberation. The Mini reminds me of the WWII Carbine in size and has a Garand Style action, except it is lighter with it’s hardwood or polymer stocks, weighing in between 6.75 to 7 lbs.
If I were starting fresh and in the market for a general purpose rifle for hunting and possible self defense, I’d take a look at the Gunsite Scout for both purposes. If I were thinking about close quarter combat, the Mini 14 would be easy to swing about, aim and fire. – Jefferis Peterson