Gunfight Friday: Marlin Scout Gun vs. Ruger Ranch Rifle

Pigs are the new zombies. I think that’s the rationale behind the two rifles in today’s fight. One is an old standby that will be ready when the pigs or anything else hit the fan. The other, a dream gun project, is, perhaps, a solution in search of a problem—but one of the problems it could definitely solve would be a pig attack. Both are chambered for standby cartridges, as rifles of this type should be. One is a .223/5.56, which you should be able to find anywhere these days, the other is a .30-30, which is definitely mainstream, although not perhaps as widely available as the .223/5.56.

Doug’s Marlin Scout Rifle

This is one my longstanding dreams! It’s a rifle built from the imagination of a 10-year-old boy, who's now in the body of a 55-year-old man finally able to afford these visions. Over all the years, I've read about scout rifles. Most are all the same, so I wanted something that wasn't just another .308 with a peep sight and a rail.

I started to develop a new scout rifle on a lever-action platform. I argued with myself about the caliber. I considered a handgun cartridge like the 44 magnum; a heavy caliber like the .45-70; something in the middle like .35 Remington; or the ubiquitous .30-30. One of the things I liked about the original scout concept was that it was a rifle chambered for an available, capable round. So the .30-30 won the argument. What about the rifle? The winner was the Marlin 336. Then I searched for the right components to fit my vision. I chose Boyd's XX Walnut with a Limbsaver pad, a Wild West rear peep sight, and a long rail. I chose a Burris EER scope and a Burris quick-release mount. I took the rifle and parts to a local gunsmith to have it finished in a matte-black ceramic. I think the rifle came out better in real life then it did when I imagined it.

Jhjimbo’s Ranch Rifle

Here is the Ruger Mini-14 Ranch Rifle I purchased in 1990. The Mini-14 is a terrific action designed after the Garand and the M-1Carbine. It is .223/5.56 and has the 1:7 rifling twist. The scope is a steel tube Weaver 1x4.5 with post and cross hair. Although I have the fast-twist barrel, I really like the 52-grain Sierra BTHP Match bullet and Hodgdon Bl-C(2) as the powder for the Mini-14. This is one of my favorite rifles, as I have shot groundhogs and coyotes with it and if the pigs start coming in my area I will be ready for them, too. My Mini-14’s accuracy is fantastic. I have shot five shot groups where three of the shots could be covered by a quarter.

Homemade scout rifle or the venerable Mini 14? You decide. Vote and comment below, and keep the gun pictures coming to fsgunnuts@gmail.com.

Which rifle do you like more?

Doug’s Marlin Scout Rifle

Jhjimbo’s Ranch Rifle