Tools of the Trade

Reach Out and Touch Someone!


I bought a Steyr Scout when they became available in 1998, and I have been hunting with it. So far I have taken the rifle to Saskatchewan for whitetail deer, and to South Africa for two hunts. The most recent Africa hunt was with Danie van Graan at Engonyameni.

Based on my experience hunting with the Steyr Scout and also my Tikka scout I have developed some conclusions. My experience includes the Advanced Rifle course at GTC (Gunsite Training Center) in ’93 with my Tikka Scout, two hunts in North America and two in Southern Africa, for about 5.5 weeks total time in the hunting field and 15 animals taken. I have also taken the Steyr Scout to Saskatchewan this fall with a 1.5-5X20 Leupold scope mounted in QDW rings in the conventional position over the action.

I have enjoyed using the scout on the range and mostly in the field. It is light, handy and generally a useful rifle. The .308 Win is a balanced and efficient cartridge with a good killing capability (when used with good bullets and of course proper shot placement).

I find that the scout concept and its current implementation have flaws, and these are especially noticeable for the trophy hunter. Hunting means you are in the field from before sunrise to after sunset. Many game animals are crepuscular, in that they are active in the twilight edges of the day. And of course none of them stand around in the open waiting to be shot – as targets do. The trophy hunter is also looking for a particular class of animal, and definitely is not just shooting the first sample of whatever buck, bull or ram is hunted. The shot may have to be taken very quickly, and there might not be much margin available.

Reviewing the various write-ups and reviews, I observed that the scout concept seems to have had most of its testing on rifle ranges between the hours of 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM. It has had very little testing with low sun angles, especially with the sun in the view of the objective lens or the eye piece. Not surprisingly, the concept and the SS work well in the middle of the day.

Some animals are dark or even black. The scope on the Steyr Scout has cross hairs that can obscure too much of the target, and can get lost on the animal. You have to take this rifle to the field to get the impact, you can work around it on the range. Ranges have a lot of contrast between the targets and the background, while field shooting frequently offers a dark animal in shade and other low contrast shots. This is repairable by changing the reticle. I have been using a Trijicon AccuPoint rifle scope with their illuminated reticle, and problems I noted in the field with the scout scope could be solved with such a reticle. The Trijicon illumination system does not rely on a battery.





The Draganov SVD is an area sniper weapon system used at the squad level in the Russian Army. It was used so that direct fire can be placed on an attacking or probing element without giving away the location of the crew served weapons until the attack has been committed. It is not an overly accurate weapon and suffers greatly from barrle whip and stamped metal itis. It is a nice goly gee whiz rifle that you can mount on the wall along side of the Isreali version of it known as the Galil. Same principle and same results. Buy yourself a nice bolt gun and have fun shooting long range, or buy yourself a nice M1A, SR, or AR and have fun shooting a lot of rounds, just not as accurately as the bolt gun. Of course, since they are gas guns they are more sensitive to the elements and have to be pampered alot more than the bolt guns.








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Yugoslavian made M-76 is a 7,92 x 57 semi-auto sniper rifle. It is basically an accurized Kalashnikov, sporting a heavier and longer barrel with flash hider. Its pistol grip is more ergonomical than the plain AK-47 style and has a straight buttstock. Iron sights are permanently attached to the barrel and receiver. The magazine accepts ten rounds. On the left side of the weapon there’s a rail for mounting the optical sight, also called M-76, which has all basic characteristics of the Soviet-made PSO-1 (4 x 24).

It has a BDC, calibrated well from 100 up to 1200 meters, but aiming at anything more than about 800 m becomes very difficult due to small magnification and average quality optics. Windage is adjustable from -10 to +10 mils, in 1 mil increments. The scope has an IR detection capability and illuminated reticle. With the rifle also comes a 5 x 80 passive night vision device, which is claimed to have up to 500 m range. However, I have no experience with it.

While the weapon data shows nothing spectacular, the rifle is really a pleasure to shoot. The recoil is incredibly mild, the whole system is very rugged and will survive rough handling and still shoot well. The powerful 7,92 Mauser cartridge, known for its accuracy, has a good wind resistance and hits of a man size target up to 800 m are routine with a trained sniper.

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