My favorite rifle scabbard for protection is the Guardian Rifle Scabbard. We designed this scabbard to completely enclose a scoped hunting rifle. The butt of your rifle is not exposed to the elements and snow or pine needles will not collect on your rifle and scope when you pull it out. The Guardian is designed to be versatile. The flap can be zipped shut, buckled shut or even left open for easy access to your rifle. If you have a longer barrel or a larger scope, this is a great scabbard as it is large enough to accommodate barrels up to 30” and scopes up to 56mm. The scabbard is easy care, with a durable nylon cover and slick nylon liner.
For low maintenance in a traditional smaller style, there are also many open-ended rifle scabbards available in heavy nylon. These are made in the classic style that offers protection to the majority of your rifle, while the butt remains uncovered. Some of these, like the TrailMax Rifle Scabbard, are designed with a flap over the end and others are simply a slide-in style. The flap offers more security for your equipment, but it is a little more work to get to your rifle in a hurry. The slide-in style offers easy access to your weapon, but doesn’t offer much for keeping snow and debris off your equipment or your equipment in the scabbard, for that matter. But the choice is yours depending upon your needs.
If you like a truly classic look, you can choose a Leather Rifle Scabbard. I recommend that you consider the following when choosing a leather rifle scabbard.
- Quality of leather. Is it durable, well-oiled leather?
- Shape of the scabbard. Is it designed to fit your rifle? Is it designed for a scope? Is it pre-molded so you don’t have to force your rifle into it?
- Features. Does it have a protective lining for your scope? Many scabbards are lined with sheepskin; I prefer that only the scope area is lined, as once fleece is wet, that moisture stays within contact of the rifle barrel and is very difficult to dry. Does it have a flap or any additional protection for your rifle? Are the straps long enough to attach to your saddle the way you like?
Remember that leather requires more care than synthetic materials and you will want to clean and treat your rifle scabbard regularly to keep it in top condition. Leather scabbards can also be heavier. This can be a deciding factor if weight is an issue for you.