Blaser R8 for Dangerous Game

BeeMaa

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I was surprised to not find a thread that had "Blaser" and "DG" in the title and that's why I started this thread.
Now onto the topic at hand.

My wife and I are on the market for a new rifle for her and she has shown an interest in the Blaser R8.
There are several other rifles in the running right now that are traditional bolt action rifles, but I'm keeping my options open.
Her caliber of choice would be 300WM and I already have a CZ550 375H&H.

If we were to go the R8 route, I would get at least a two barrel set with 300WM and 375H&H.
Potentially replacing my CZ, although at this point I would be reluctant to part with it.
So this is as much about her as it is me.
Call it consolidation, having one rifle (with a smaller case) that shoots two calibers is tempting...like the DARK SIDE.

For as long as the Mauser '98 action has been around it has been recommended for use with DG for it's reliability and toughness.
I understand CRF, double-square bridge, drop box magazine...etc.
I also get how the Blaser R8 operates outside of the "traditional" set of operating parameters.

My question is for those who have used the R8 for Dangerous Game and potential problems vs. a traditional bolt.
Would you go to Africa armed with a 375H&H Blaser R8 as your only rifle for Buffalo or other DG?
Any insight or personal experiences (positive or negative) would be appreciated.
 
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Kawshik Rahman

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I cannot comment on Blaser , but your choice of having a rifle with a magnum .375 barrel and a magnum .300 barrel is an extremely wise choice. The magnum .300 could be used for anything at longer distances that is no dangerous. The magnum .375 can be used for anything that is dangerous and shot at closer distances. My favorite clients would bring two rifles of the aforementioned calibers into India and they were always happy with the choice. If someone brings one rifle which can use both cartridges with the change of a barrel , then all is better.
Perhaps , a Blaser may not be traditional like a mauser design , but when l was young , the over - under shot-gun was also looked at with a sceptical eye , as it defied tradition. The first Japanese over under guns were ridiculed . Today , they rival ( and dare l say , sadly , overshadow ) the side by side in popularity.
If enough people use a Blaser rifle , certainly it will be the beginning of a new tradition .
Hopefully , someone with experience about the quality of Blaser guns ( first hand ) will reply soon.
 

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I’ve used my R8 with several barrels (including 375HH) in Australia and Europe. I’ve shot several Buffalo, a number of Roe, Red and Fallow deer as well as lots of Wild Boar with it. Rain, hail or shine the rifle gets used, from tropics to -30C. I’ve shot thousands of rounds through it and never a single issue. This gun is reliable, accurate (I’ve head shot several rabbits with 375 once) and has a great trigger.
 

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Great idea getting a Blaser R8, they're wonderful rifles. I have a few Blaser R8's including the 9.3x62, .416 Rem. Mag. and the .458 Lott. While I have not used the 416 & 458 on game yet and I have yet to have any feed or ejection or any other kind of problems with them on the range. One of the nice things about the combination you suggest is that they both use the same bolt and magazine insert and ammo is widely available..
I have both synthetic and wood stocks. As good as the wood stocks look I prefer shooting the synthetic stocks. The synthetic stocks are also ambidextrous . Although, Blaser does offer a stock ,the Intuition, designed specifically for women. If the .375H&H is beyond your wife's comfort level the 9.3x62 is a wonderful do all in a pinch caliber with a lot less recoil. With the combination of the .300wm & .375H&H I would stick to the std weight barrels and stocks. The Safari stocks and barrels are significantly heavier IMO and not necessary for calibers .375 and under.
 

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Talked to Euro Optic twice today.
Wife is on board as well, which is critical for an investment such as this.
Not a done deal, but I'll say I've not seen her so excited about a firearm...ever!
We will be taking a drive up in a couple of weeks to put our hands on them and get a real feel for the R8 chassis.

I’ve used my R8 with several barrels (including 375HH) in Australia and Europe. I’ve shot several Buffalo, a number of Roe, Red and Fallow deer as well as lots of Wild Boar with it. Rain, hail or shine the rifle gets used, from tropics to -30C. I’ve shot thousands of rounds through it and never a single issue. This gun is reliable, accurate (I’ve head shot several rabbits with 375 once) and has a great trigger.

Great idea getting a Blaser R8, they're wonderful rifles. I have a few Blaser R8's including the 9.3x62, .416 Rem. Mag. and the .458 Lott. While I have not used the 416 & 458 on game yet and I have yet to have any feed or ejection or any other kind of problems with them on the range. One of the nice things about the combination you suggest is that they both use the same bolt and magazine insert and ammo is widely available..
I have both synthetic and wood stocks. As good as the wood stocks look I prefer shooting the synthetic stocks. The synthetic stocks are also ambidextrous . Although, Blaser does offer a stock ,the Intuition, designed specifically for women. If the .375H&H is beyond your wife's comfort level the 9.3x62 is a wonderful do all in a pinch caliber with a lot less recoil. With the combination of the .300wm & .375H&H I would stick to the std weight barrels and stocks. The Safari stocks and barrels are significantly heavier IMO and not necessary for calibers .375 and under.

Thank you both.
That is the kind of reassurance and information I am looking for.
 
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Opposite Pole

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Talked to Euro Optic twice today.
Wife is on board as well, which is critical for an investment such as this.
Not a done deal, but I'll say I've not seen her so excited about a firearm...ever!
We will be taking a drive up in a couple of weeks to put our hands on them and get a real feel for the R8 chassis.

Enjoy! Pay attention to the trigger, it’s really good. Not target rifle light, just very crisp. Also, I’ve said this before on this forum but If you end up getting the rifle I strongly recommend getting the upgraded HIVIZ sights. The standard Blaser sights are not the best but the HiVIZ ones are pretty decent. For a DG rifle sights matter. R8 is an expensive rifle and sights upgrade is not an expensive option and the HIVIZ ones are significantly better.
 

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I have taken mine to Africa on my last two hunts. Each time, I used just the .375 configuration, and it has killed a buffalo with a single shot on both occasions and a bunch of plains game ranging from Suni to Livingstone Eland. Those shots ranged from thirty meters to just north of 250. In May of next year, it will accompany me to the Kamchatka to hunt the largest brown bear in the world in very tough conditions. In Africa, it wears a walnut classic sporter stock, and in Russia it will wear a composite one. It has the finest trigger of any production rifle, and with absolute respect for @Opposite Pole's recommendation, I think the standard sights are pretty good for follow-up of a dangerous game animal. I have a number of other rifle and caliber options for Africa, but I do not have one that offers better functionality for an international hunter.

I have fired my R8's a lot. I mean a real lot. I have never had a bobble, a jam, a failure to feed - never any issue of any type.

The folks at Europtic are great and are where I purchased all my components.
 

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I'm curious on this as well, as the idea of the R8 being the one gun battery is very appealing.

I guess a question for the PH's here...
What are you thoughts on the R8 extractor and ejector? We often hear from some of the vocal DG PH's a CRF is always preferred. An R8 is not too dissimilar from a modified 700 bolt with sako extractor. I dont want to argue quantity of materials or engineering, but rather a "sako sized" extractor and plunger ejector for DG?

Obviously the R8 is well written about and received. Though it is more similar to a sako or even a modified 700 in terms of the potential issues that PH's often want clients to avoid.
 

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Watching with interest
 

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I'm curious on this as well, as the idea of the R8 being the one gun battery is very appealing.

I guess a question for the PH's here...
What are you thoughts on the R8 extractor and ejector? We often hear from some of the vocal DG PH's a CRF is always preferred. An R8 is not too dissimilar from a modified 700 bolt with sako extractor. I dont want to argue quantity of materials or engineering, but rather a "sako sized" extractor and plunger ejector for DG?

Obviously the R8 is well written about and received. Though it is more similar to a sako or even a modified 700 in terms of the potential issues that PH's often want clients to avoid.
Two of the PH's for the safari company I went with this year speak very highly of the Blaser R8.
One of them said a client used it on an Elephant hunt and had reloaded and taken a second shot before it had a chance to hit the ground.
He had brained the Elephant on the first shot and took a heart/lung back-up shot for insurance.
The PH said that he was shocked at the speed with which the client was able to reload and put a second shot in.

I only spoke with two of the PH's so I don't know what the others may think.
 

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Two of the PH's for the safari company I went with this year speak very highly of the Blaser R8.
One of them said a client used it on an Elephant hunt and had reloaded and taken a second shot before it had a chance to hit the ground.
He had brained the Elephant on the first shot and took a heart/lung back-up shot for insurance.
The PH said that he was shocked at the speed with which the client was able to reload and put a second shot in.

I only spoke with two of the PH's so I don't know what the others may think.

There's no doubt about the speed, that's for sure. Rather that the extractor and ejector are more similar to a push fed rifle than a CRF rifle.
We often hear that CRF is the only way to go for a DG hunt, but the R8 from reviews across a few forums shows that is is a very capable client rifle. I'd also be curious if any PH's use them on DG hunts.
 

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I have looked long and hard at it, including getting a quote from EuroOptic and spending some time on the phone with them as well, and I was even about to get a used one (safari pro with .375 H&H and .300 Win barrels) but the deal fell through...

On one hand:
  • very fashionable, cool factor off the today's chart,
  • very original engineering (is this automatically a plus?),
  • very compact,
  • very light,
  • multiple barrels,
  • good trigger.
On the other hand:
  • a 7 lbs 6 oz .375 H&H standard R8 is very, very light... Too light? Yes, I know, the ergonomics are said to be so fantastic that the traditional weight vs. recoil equation is said to not apply to Blaser... How much of this is "eyes of the beholder"-centric remains an interesting question...
  • a full weight steel chassis safari pro R8 complete rifle costs $7,000. A second barrel costs $2,000. Synthetic fibers and steel pipes must be very expensive in Germany these days...
  • virtually any rifle stocked in a synthetic stock with full length metal bedding block can be assembled/disassembled at will while keeping its zero. This is not a Blaser exclusive...
  • virtually any rifle with Talley, Warne, Alaska Arms, etc. bases and/or rings can have their scope attached/removed at will while keeping its zero. Never mind rifles with integral scope base dovetailed into the action (CZ, Sako, etc.). Never mind Suhl claw mounts, etc. This is not a Blaser exclusive...
  • countless rifles have triggers every bit as good as the Blaser's. Try a Timney trigger on a Win 70, Rem 700, CZ 550, etc. As to whether the Blaser 1.9 lbs trigger might be too much of a good thing in some hunting situations, each will decide for themselves (hint: better be warm on that mountain)...
When everything is said and done:
  • if the Pelican 1700 case size/weight is the appeal, well ... keep in mind that a Win 70 or a CZ 550 barreled action disassembled from its synthetic stock fits quit nicely in that same case, just as the disassembled R8 does, and it is no more complicated to tighten two action screws on a Win 70 or CZ 550 than it is on a R8...
  • if the multiple calibers is the appeal, well ... keep in mind that that same Pelican 1700 case that takes a R8 stock and two barrels, also accepts quite comfortably a Win 70 or CZ 550 synthetic stock with aluminum bedding block, and two barreled actions...
I almost went for the $9,000 safari pro R8 package with .375 H&H and .300 mag barrels - make mine a .300 Wby, but yours can be a Win, a RUM, a Blaser, etc. they are all more or less indistinguishable in the field. In the end my Pelican 1700 ($25o) - actually, make mine a Storm IM 3100, I like its latching system better - hosts one Bell & Carlson Medalist Kevlar stock with full length aluminum bedding block ($290) and two tuned-up barreled actions CZ 550 .375 H&H - or .416 Rigby, I have both - and . 300 Wby (2 x $2,000). They are not as romantically appealing as Rigby steel, but every bit as functional and reliable (heck, Rigby used ZKK 602/CZ 550 actions for years when Mauser magnums were out of production, and Wayne at AHR or Harlan at Triple River are not exactly one-handed cripples), and I just could not find what more the $9,000 R8 package would give me over this $4,500 package. But I could see a few things it would not give me;
  • true redundancy (two barreled actions compared to one action with two barrels)...
  • true CRF, true Mauser extraction (each will identify for themselves what value these features have in their judgment)...
  • impossible to loose trigger, bolt head, and magazine system (whatever is detachable is also losable)...
  • 100% steel bottom and internals (I dropped and broke a SSG 69 "unbreakable" synthetic magazine way back when, so I do not believe in "unbreakable" synthetics anymore)...
  • capacity 5+1 compared to 3+1 (not a big deal, I know ... until you need it - which I never have ... so far)...
  • the Timney or AHR etc. triggers are just as good as the R8 trigger, and they are more adjustable...
This was not a money decision, I can afford the R8, and I am not overly concerned about the R8 action flying back in my face (although it DID happen with the R93...), it was just that in my own personal judgement, if the convenience of take-down and multiple calibers is the argument, I see numerous advantages in the option I chose that the R8 cannot duplicate, and I see nothing the R8 offers, that the option I chose does not offer ... for half the price.

To each his own, but I am personally off the R8 wagon, even though I recognize its elegance and current fashionable appeal. In the end, I speculate that buying a R8 is more an irrational appeal decision than a rational function decision, and it is just fine: by all accounts the rifle is fully capable, although maybe not providing much more than novelty over its competition.

PS: as to whether straight pull offers any advantage over a classic turn bolt action, I happen to live in Arizona, and there are a lot of beach front properties I can help folks buy if wily marketers convinced them that straight pull makes any real world difference... My money stays with "practice"...
 
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Red Leg

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I have looked long and hard at it, including getting a quote from EuroOptic and spending some time on the phone with them as well, and I was even about to get a used one (safari pro with .375 H&H and .300 Win barrels) but the deal fell through...

On one hand:
  • very fashionable, cool factor off the today's chart,
  • very original engineering (is this automatically a plus?),
  • very compact,
  • very light,
  • multiple barrels,
  • good trigger.
On the other hand:
  • a 7 lbs 6 oz .375 H&H standard R8 is very, very light... Too light? Yes, I know, the ergonomics are said to be so fantastic that the traditional weight vs. recoil equation is said to not apply to Blaser... How much of this is "eyes of the beholder"-centric remains an interesting question...
  • a full weight steel chassis safari pro R8 complete rifle costs $7,000. A second barrel costs $2,000. Synthetic fibers and steel pipes must be very expensive in Germany these days...
  • virtually any rifle stocked in a synthetic stock with full length metal bedding block can be assembled/disassembled at will while keeping its zero. This is not a Blaser exclusive...
  • virtually any rifle with Talley, Warne, Alaska Arms, etc. bases and/or rings can have their scope attached/removed at will while keeping its zero. Never mind rifles with integral scope base dovetailed into the action (CZ, Sako, etc.). Never mind Suhl claw mounts, etc. This is not a Blaser exclusive...
  • countless rifles have triggers every bit as good as the Blaser's. Try a Timney trigger on a Win 70, Rem 700, CZ 550, etc. As to whether the Blaser 1.9 lbs trigger might be too much of a good thing in some hunting situations, each will decide for themselves (hint: better be warm on that mountain)...
When everything is said and done:
  • if the Pelican 1700 case size/weight is the appeal, well ... keep in mind that a Win 70 or a CZ 550 barreled action disassembled from its synthetic stock fits quit nicely in that same case, just as the disassembled R8 does, and it is no more complicated to tighten two action screws on a Win 70 or CZ 550 than it is on a R8...
  • if the multiple calibers is the appeal, well ... keep in mind that that same Pelican 1700 case that takes a R8 stock and two barrels, also accepts quite comfortably a Win 70 or CZ 550 synthetic stock with aluminum bedding block, and two barreled actions...
I almost went for the $9,000 safari pro R8 package with .375 H&H and .300 mag barrels - make mine a .300 Wby, but yours can be a Win, a RUM, a Blaser, etc. they are all more or less indistinguishable in the field. In the end my Pelican 1700 ($25o) - actually, make mine a Storm IM 3100, I like its latching system better - hosts one Bell & Carlson Medalist Kevlar stock with full length aluminum bedding block ($290) and two tuned-up barreled actions CZ 550 .375 H&H - or .416 Rigby, I have both - and . 300 Wby (2 x $2,000). They are not as romantically appealing as Rigby steel, but every bit as functional and reliable (heck, Rigby used ZKK 602/CZ 550 actions for years when Mauser magnums were out of production, and Wayne at AHR or Harlan at Triple River are not exactly one-handed cripples), and I just could not find what more the $9,000 R8 package would give me over this $4,500 package. But I could see a few things it would not give me;
  • true redundancy (two barreled actions compared to one action with two barrels)...
  • true CRF, true Mauser extraction (each will identify for themselves what value these features have in their judgment)...
  • impossible to loose trigger, bolt head, and magazine system (whatever is detachable is also losable)...
  • 100% steel bottom and internals (I dropped and broke a SSG 69 "unbreakable" synthetic magazine way back when, so I do not believe in "unbreakable" synthetics anymore)...
  • capacity 5+1 compared to 3+1 (not a big deal, I know ... until you need it - which I never have ... so far)...
  • the Timney or AHR etc. triggers are just as good as the R8 trigger, and they are more adjustable...
This was not a money decision, I can afford the R8, and I am not overly concerned about the R8 action flying back in my face (although it DID happen with the R93...), it was just that in my own personal judgement, if the convenience of take-down and multiple calibers is the argument, I see numerous advantages in the option I chose that the R8 cannot duplicate, and I see nothing the R8 offers, that the option I chose does not offer ... for half the price.

To each his own, but I am personally off the R8 wagon, even though I recognize its elegance and current fashionable appeal. In the end, I speculate that buying a R8 is more an irrational appeal decision than a rational function decision, and it is just fine: by all accounts the rifle is fully capable, although maybe not providing much more than novelty over its competition.

PS: as to whether straight pull offers any advantage over a classic turn bolt action, I happen to live in Arizona, and there are a lot of beach front properties I can help folks buy if wily marketers convinced them that straight pull makes any real world difference... My money stays with "practice"...

What an extraordinary lengthy reply from someone who doesn’t own a R8. Have you actually even fired one? Come on now, holding one at a show doesn’t count.

I am tempted to dismiss the whole essay over just the weight comment. Anyone who knows anything about the rifles understands the resulting weight of a .375 depends on the rifle one creates. With an aluminum receiver, sporter barrel, and light weight stock like a classic sporter, one can get down to a 7.5 pound rifle before scope and ammunition or added. I absolutely love the result. It is like carrying an ‘06 all day. I find the recoil to be a non-issue. And I have fired mine in that livery a lot - and taken it after buffalo and PG. BUT, should the buyer prefer a heavier rifle, a steel receiver and semi-weight barrel creates a traditionally weighted .375. I suspect most choose those configurations. At the moment I have a steel receiver platform set up as a .300 Win Mag. It provides a very stable package for shots out there a bit. Fluted barrels, the heavier barrels of the African series like the Selous, etc can change the solution again. It is something you should really look at and understand.

I own a few rifles, and have owned a few others (around fifty in the gun room at the moment). Those rifles include stock production pieces, improved production pieces (with things like after market triggers), and full blown custom rifles. I have exactly two, with as good a trigger as my Blasers, and have never seen another production rifle out of the box with a better one. Ever.

And every rifle is a takedown? Sure. I own screwdrivers as well. It isn’t exactly the same thing.

And yes, other dismount systems exist for scopes. They do indeed work. I somehow missed the point.

I like the the multi-caliber option, but normally travel with just one. As I have noted elsewhere, I have an abhorrence to bag drags. The case I use contains rifle scope and dismounted barrel in something smaller than most suitcases.

Before getting into the real estate business, you really should try a double tap with your favorite CZ or Weatherby and the Blaser. Would it ever make a difference between loosing an animal or perhaps saving someone in a DG situation? I have no idea. I know the R93 I was using two weeks ago made the difference in taking a fallow stag. (I’m not repeating the story - you can check out the hunting report).

Yes, the Blaser is a 3+1 in .375. Of course, I can actually truly safely carry a round in the chamber with my R8, which I suppose makes it a four. How many rounds do you normally need?

But this is easy. If plastic parts offend you don’t buy the rifle. I have yet to hear of an example where something has failed - rather like the Glock. Traditionalists hated it, and Armies and police forces loved it because it was indestructible. But if that bothers you, don’t buy it.

If the cost seems unreasonable, then don’t buy it. I think it is one of the finest shooting and hunting investments that I have ever made. Moreover, it’s perceived value to me goes up every time I take one afield. But that is just the perception of someone who actually has a R8.

My purchase of a R8 is an “irrational”act ........ There is some truth to the fact that I have little patience with spread sheets, decision matrices, and detailed lists or the people who seem so fixated on them. I have indeed been served well over the years in both the military and a civilian career with a solid intuitive sense for decision making. And your point is?

There is indeed much to subjectively like about the R8 and other Blaser designs. They do indeed “feel” better than the typical production rifle. I am sure that has much to do with being willing to start with a clean sheet of paper rather than merely repeating century-old solutions.

Because they are supremely accurate, have wonderful ergonomics, and that special trigger, I believe that they inspire better shooting. I have not a shred of objective evidence to that effect, but I sense that is the case. I suspect, that is one reason they have continued to gain in popularity in spite of the grumbling of traditionalists. For that matter I am a traditionalist. I shoot English and Continental SxS shotguns, numerous quality Mauser actioned rifles, exquisite singles, etc. But the Blaser S2 opened my eyes to the notion of progress. The R8 confirmed it.

But as I say, this is easy. Based on your observations of the R8 you have concluded that it is not worth the investment, that is fine. You have the absolute right to that decision. If you even wish to believe that you are more rational than someone who invests in a Blaser, that is fine also. Give yourself a pat on the back. I would simply note that a number of other experienced and informed people obviously have concluded that there are both rational and, allow me to use the word - subjective - reasons to make a very different decision.
 
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BeeMaa

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I know @Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris is a PH in South Africa and uses an R8 in 416RM and 300WM.

I was flipping back to another thread and reading where @Red Leg and @One Day... don't exactly see eye to eye on the R8.
That statement may be a little of an understatement, but we all have our views and are entitled to them.
I appreciate you both for your honest opinions.
 
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De gustibus non est disputandum....

Both lengthy answers are great, and represent "modern' and "classic" perspective, and both valid.

My guess is, the OP will have tough choice to make. But choosing the right rifle is sweet part of problems in our hobby! (y)
 

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I know @Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris is a PH in South Africa and uses an R8 in 416RM and 300WM.

I was flipping back to another thread and reading where @Red Leg and @One Day... don't exactly see eye to eye on the R8.
That statement may be a little of an understatement, but we all have our views and are entitled to them.
I appreciate you both for your honest opinions.
To be clear - @One Day... and I do not agree on everything and probably do not actually process information the same way, but I have great respect for his opinions and contributions to our group. I also recognize that I probably took a little offense at being characterized as irrational (though I sense operations officers, software and systems engineers who worked for me nodding their heads vigorously) when One Day wasn’t being deliberately offensive. I obviously like the rifle. There are all sorts of good reasons not to own one - mostly economic. I simply feel there are very few if any actual design reasons mitigating against it.
 
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BeeMaa

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To be clear - @One Day... and I do not agree on everything and probably do not actually process information the same way, but I have great respect for his opinions and contributions to our group. I also recognize that I probably took a little offense at being characterized as irrational (though I sense operations officers, software and systems engineers who worked for me nodding their heads vigorously) when One Day wasn’t being deliberately offensive. I obviously like the rifle. There are all sorts of good reasons not to own one - mostly economic. I simply feel there are very few if any actual design reasons mitigating against it.
I completely understand how each of you process information in different ways, and I appreciate it as well.
It gives perspective and meaning to both sides, call it Yin & Yang.
I respect you both for your opinions and was hoping to get them.

Also, wanted to add that there is another thread that covers a lot of good R8 information as well...
https://www.africahunting.com/threads/blaser-r8-in-large-calibers.47795/
Interesting insights into the R8 from owners like @BigSteve57 , @Red Leg , @Tally-Ho Hunting Safaris , @dchamp and @Opposite Pole .
Thanks again.
 

BeeMaa

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De gustibus non est disputandum....

Both lengthy answers are great, and represent "modern' and "classic" perspective, and both valid.

My guess is, the OP will have tough choice to make. But choosing the right rifle is sweet part of problems in our hobby! (y)
Yes, we should all have such "problems".
It's not lost on me how fortunate my wife and I are.
We are truly grateful.

However, it's seeming more and more like my only problem will be NOT going over the deep end and sticking with just TWO barrels.
At least for now.
 

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