Your Mandarin is not used to posting so much, but our Retired Spook has written in to discuss scout rifles.
Was pleasantly surprised to see your brief discourse on scout rifles, and would like to add my $0.02 to the mix, for what it’s worth. (Probably less than $0.02.)
Ever since Col. Cooper outlined the concept, and guidelines for the scout rifle, I’d been trying to find something that I could make into a left-handed scout, but nothing quite worked. Finally, I ordered a Savage Scout from the custom shop, left handed, and in 7mm x 08, which is what the trusty Minions are all using. Finally got it, and tried really hard to wear it out in the first six months of ownership. It’s a little heavier than it should be, and just barely makes the length requirement now that I’ve trimmed an inch off the stock, but it has quickly become my favorite rifle. Accurate, reliable, easily maintained, and a real joy to shoot from field positions. (Scouts were never intended to be shot from a bench!) It’s the rifle you grab when you might need a rifle, but aren’t sure which one you might need. It doesn’t do any one thing especially well, but it does everything pretty darned good!
Couple of years ago, after letting her try my scout, my #1 Senior Minion started a campaign to have her own scout (she is, like her grandpa, a left-handed shooter) so, in order to keep her from stealing mine when I wasn’t looking, I got the stuff together and scouterized her elderly Savage M-11, to her absolute delight! Hers doesn’t make weight either, but it balances just in front of the trigger guard, is 39.7 inches long, and she is quite comfortable with both the forward mounted IER scope and the ghost ring rear sight of the irons.
We both seem to be scout rifle heretics, not using the .308 that Col. Cooper espoused (but I like the 7mm x 08 more, since it seems to offer adequate power, less recoil, and slightly better accuracy) and neither of our rifles make the 6.6 kg. max that the Col. stipulated. But we love our sorta-scouts, and plan on hunting with them as long as we can.
The concept strikes a lot of people somewhat aslant, at first, but shooting it, from field positions, will quickly make them change their minds.
At least, that’s my take on it, but I may have been at the rum again, so there’s that.
I agree that a .308 should not be the only option. You need to shoot what works for you.That brings up a more important point: the scout rifle concept is just that—a concept. Col. Cooper suggested a lot of things to a lot of people, and unfortunately his word became dogma for many. That’s a problem: a lot of shooter religiously follow Cooper, which won’t necessarily steer you wrong, but had he lived longer, he would have had a bunch more other ideas.
One thing you know about shooting, if you know anything about shooting, is how fluid it is. Not everything works for every situation, and you either adapt or lose. Cooper was, in many respects, the guy who first promoted that idea, breaking centuries of fixed rules for how you’re supposed to stand, how you’re supposed to aim, how you’re supposed to fire. As we all know, his shooting proved he was right. One imagines he would be confused if not annoyed by the millions of shooters who view his ideas as fixed and concrete. He sure didn’t think so.
When he developed the scout concept, he was reacting to the clunky rifles and assumptions of the day. As you discovered, modifications to weight, balance, scope, weld, and so forth make a major difference in accuracy and reliability. Viewing the scout rifle as a set of absolute rules makes no sense, and it would have made no sense to the Colonel, either.
So, not to repeat myself (except to say Obey Me), you need to shoot what works for you. That’s the scout concept. The Colonel would say you’re doing great.