Savage Arms introduced its Model 11 Scout rifle, chambered in .308, in 2015. I became an owner of one of these rifles early this year, and am glad to have made it mine.
For those who don’t know, the scout rifle concept is among the legacies left by Col. Jeff Cooper: A Marine and founder of Gunsite Academy. Cooper saw the need for a portable, close and mid-range rifle suitable for home and property defense. The scout was the result. A carbine-length barrel and modest weight (7.8 pounds without accessories) make it portable. Scout rifles are designed for an optic to be mounted well forward of the normal position, providing for optimal peripheral vision in unpredictable environments.
This rifle is chambered in .308, whereas .223/5.56 are more common for the platform. Savage put other custom touches on the rifle including:
- Removable flash hider. The included flash hider is functional and attractive. The base is shaped to facilitate removal from the threaded muzzle with a common crescent wrench. Kudos to Savage for catering to suppressor owners.
- Barrel built for accuracy. The 18-inch, blued barrel is supported along its length by three ribs that run the length of the forend. This produces a floated barrel effect, a great asset to accuracy.
- Nearly match-grade trigger. Savage’s signature Accu-Trigger is present on this model. It has a safety lever akin to those found on many striker-fired handguns. The rest of the trigger press is short without being dangerous for field use, and silky-smooth. Shots break smoothly with minimal effort.
- An adjustable cheek rest. Using the provided Allen wrench, users can adjust the cheek rest for a custom fit for any adult-size shooter.
- Richly padded buttstock. There are actually three layers of rubber padding here, which can be removed to shorten length of pull. The outermost pad is quite cushy and effective at dampening recoil.
- Multiple sling studs. Studs are placed on the buttstock, as well as in the middle of and front of the stock. This further accommodates individual preference for sling attachments.
- Oversize bolt handle. The chubby, textured, conical handle makes reloading a breeze.
- Seven inches of Picatinny rail. The removable rail offers flexibility to add a magnifying scope or electronic optic.
- Great color. Black guns are handsome, but their sheen can make them less than perfect for tactical and hunting use. By making the color “natural,” Savage sure pleased this shooter by matching the rifle to the fall and winter weeds in my area.
The barrel has a 1-in-10 twist, and the overall length is 40.5 inches—short enough for five-foot, five-inch me to maneuver comfortably. Adjustable iron sights are standard, the rear being a very nice aperture style, conducive to accuracy.
The Model 11 Scout has a bolt that operates as smoothly as the trigger. There’s no graininess or wasted movement. Savage built in a buffer ring to ensure the rifle will fire properly when used with a suppressor.
Accuracy is good in general, and excellent when using match grade ammunition. Every rifle is different and may shoot some brands better than others. Groups of 1 MOA (one half inch at 50 yards) were achieved with match grade ammo, while FMJ produced groups that were fist-sized to ten inches. This test was done at 50 instead of the usual 100 yards because of the limitations of the 6x magnification scout scope I chose for it.
There are not many scout-specific scopes, made for long eye relief, on the market. After a lot of online research, I opted for the Burris brand scout scope, which so far has performed well. Scout scopes have modest magnification, i.e., 1-6x. This trait makes the gun handy in the field while simultaneously limiting long-range precision work.
The second and last issue experienced so far with the Model 11 Scout is ammo related. Extraction of empty cases worked perfectly, but loading of the next round results in a bolt override about 30 percent of the time–ONLY with the two brands of match ammo I’ve tried in the gun so far. This never happened with FMJ. For some reason the bolt simply slid right over the top round. This could be a real problem in a hunting or defense situation in which a rapid follow-up shot is needed. I plan on testing other match grade brands to see if that improves this issue.
Looks are least important, so I’ve saved that for last. Truth be told, I think this is one perfectly handsome rifle. Savage found a sweet balance of the tactical, in the form of a Picatinny rail, military front sight, and flash hider with hunting-inspired features like the checkered stock and padded buttstock. The black-and-tan color combo adds modern appeal.
With an MSRP of $818, this one-MOA shooter is a fantastic value for big game hunting, property defense, and high-power plinking. It will appeal to the shooter or hunter who likes to be mobile and enjoy quick target acquisition.