Blaser R8 - Why do African PH’s and Alaskan Bear Guides Choose Not To Use Blaser R8’s?

NWT

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Why do the PH’s who are hunting DG and the great bears chose not to use the Blaser R8’s?
I am not talking about the outfitters who run the high fence concessions in SA in a semi controlled environment, but the
the PH’s hunting wild Africa as in Tanzania or the great bear guides in Alaska.
If the Blaser R8 was the technological mechanical break through some think it is, why wouldn’t the people who hunt for a living
not use the Blaser R8?
Many PH’s will not put in print their true feelings in writing about the R8, as they do not want to offend their clients who are spending
a large sum of money to hunt with them, and their $10K Blaser R8.
Sure the Blaser R8 fits in a attaché case and lots of marketing dollars has been spent on advertising to convince the flock, but does that make it a DGR? I am not a fanboy.
 

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Some of the advantages of the R8 are interchangeable barrels and the breakdown into a very small case for travel. Most of the P.H.'s I know need a quick "stopping" rifle, usually a double. They don't need a followup shot on an impala or Kudu, so no real advantage for them to have a second gun. I do know several P.H's that own Blasers for a second gun or camp gun. Have you owned a Blaser r8 or actually fired one? Seems most of the non-Blaser crowd haven't actually fired one yet.
 

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@NWT
You sound like a person of great experience.
What have your experiences been with the Blaser R8?
 

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One PH is on record here saying they use it, almost exclusively. Another PH here stated that he wouldn't, but has no qualms about a client using one.

It certainly seems more advantageous for the traveling sportsman. Typically the used R8s I've seen on the various sites after communication with the sellers are being sold by people whom no longer travel as much, or hunting less and dont need those features at that price tag.

I have shot R8s on a few occassions, and find them to be a nice package albeit as a premium for one FCG. Though, I still am considering one for my travels as its convenience cant be overlooked.

However, I would also like to hear from more of the DG guides in various counties if they use, or would use them. Hopefully this doesnt turn into a bash one another thread...
 

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I have used R8s more than a few times. They are nice rifles but I don’t see them withstanding abuse of being used as a walking/climbing stick, not being cleaned, dust, etc. I’m sure that’s part of reason they aren’t used. Also a dangerous game PH or bear guide in Alaska probably isn’t too interested in anything other than a stopping round.
 

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My guess is the #1 reason is the same reason most arent toting around Rigby made guns or Merkel doubles..

There arent a whole lot of wealthy African PH's or NA bear guides out there.. The R8 is likely outside their financial means..

There is a reason CZ's are incredibly popular among African PH's... and its not their reputation for reliability out of the box.. Its because they are affordable hard use tools that are practical for guys that make working mans wages... Same goes for the popularity of Winchester, Kimber, Ruger, etc. among bear guides...

Outfitters can make a very nice living if they run/manage a successful lodge...

I've met a few hundred PH's at this point.. and a handful of Alaskan and Wyoming bear guides.. While they are all living the dream.. none of them have the sort of disposable income to invest in an R8..

Most I know that have really nice gear (swaro optics and binos, custom knives, etc..) were gifted those items by happy clients.. they didnt buy those items either... they simply cant afford them..

Thats not to say theyre outside the reach of all PH's... there are certainly some guys that have been in the business a long time, that have saved their money, etc.. and have managed to hoarde enough cash to pick up a nice double or a london bolt gun..

But its not like the guys that do that sort of work for a living do it for the money... the ones that have "expensive" guns are the exception, not the rule...
 
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You won't find many PHs that carry a double rifle with a manual cocking safety system.
Goes too slow for you in case of emergency ,so said one PH to me

"There is a reason CZ's are incredibly popular among African PH's"

yes,the reason is: in Africa is no money.
 

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Pretty much sums up exactly what I was going to say.

You won't find many PHs that carry a double rifle with a manual cocking safety system.
Goes too slow for you in case of emergency ,so one PH to me
With respect to doubles, I know four who carry Krieghoff doubles (two use .500's, one a .470, and one a 500-416) and a fifth who carries a Blaser S2 (not sure the cal). All have a slide cocking mechanism.
 

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No doubt pricing would be a factor.
Do we need an $8000 dollar rifle to hunt? Maybe not but it’s nice if you can afford it, we all appreciate nice things.
I have seen Zastava rifles at $800 so a Blaser at ten times the price may not be necessary to get the job done.
If a PH is a gun enthusiast and can afford nice rifles they may be reserved for personal use not general DG backup.
Are they more reliable or more suitable? Surely they are reliable and suitable. Someone built a better mousetrap but the old ones still get results.
 

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I love hunting rifles. I spend enough time at the gun club to have shot about every type of hunting rifle used today. My discussion is primarily directed at some of the newer hunters who are trying to get informed opinions and experiences. There are many DGR options available used and new. Remember the Colt Sauer , Omega, sexy guns but lacking in functionality. I have fired R93’s and R8’s. I don’t have to own a Blaser to like or dislike it. I find the design (straight pull back) awkward , the safety and magazine box of the R8’s a Albatross. Mainly I would be extremely concerned of the too tight of tolerance inside the action. I have witnessed problems with Blaser R8’s not feeding , safeties not being able to be engaged without extreme force, and another that turned out to be a firing pin problem. Three rifles with problems is not a sample, but I rarely see Blaser R8’s at the range. I believe Blaser has sold about 100,000 R8’s .
PH’s see it all. If a PH who has been hunting elephants , lion, buffalo and leopard for twenty + years tells me “glad you didn’t bring an R8 with you” they (actions) jam up when the wind blows the sand and grit around here! I will tend to take his experiences and advice over the person who has done a few trips and claims himself a self confessed internet expert.
PH’s are not using Blaser‘s for a DGR. The comments about the “PH does not use a Blaser but he has taken clients who use Blasers” is not really logical. That’s the PH’s job to take you hunting. The PH is not going to tell you , you can not use a certain brand of rifle as long as it is legal. The PH will not have a Blaser but probably a Jeffrey Magnum Mauser in 500 Jeffrey that he has 100% confidence in.
Anyone considering purchasing a new to them DGR would be well advised to talk to several PH’s and ask for their advice and experiences regarding DGR rifles rather than hearing it from the internet experts .
I also am not a fan of Remington Model 700’s or the .378 Weatherby cartridge. Everyone is entitled to their own . I don’t always drink the Kool-Aid.
 

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Maybe you know some PH’s that recommend the Blaser R8’s for their clients DGR rifle?
NWT
 

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Maybe you know some PH’s that recommend the Blaser R8’s for their clients DGR rifle?
NWT
No I don't know either way. But I'm not making any assertions either. I would love to hear from a bunch of PH's why they would or not recommend the R8. I have my own opinion drawn from the only PH I ever talked to about it and the ranch owners on whose land we hunted. But it's hardly a representative sample. The Africa PH's opinion was that he'd love to have a few R8's but that they were simply too costly. I've gotten that from a few other PH's here in the USA. The Africa PH was also shocked that an American would have a German rifle. I was shocked that he was shocked LOL as I never gave it much thought.

My guess is that it's a situation just like high end cars like Mercedes, Ferrari, Lexus etc... It's simply a matter of price and perceived value.
 

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I do not know if I qualify , because I am not a professional hunter . But I have been partaking in plenty of Problem Animal Control work , ever since 1972 . And I have been hunting dangerous game for the last 48 years , under the appointment of our local forest departments .

I personally prefer a .458 Winchester Magnum , which is built on a Winchester Enfield Model 1917 action . I have the utmost confidence in this rifle , ever since I first purchased it in 1977 and it has seen more than four decades of use on dangerous game . That said , I HAVE hunted with a Blaser R-8 on enough occasions to form a fairly experienced opinion on them . I used one variant in .338 Winchester Magnum to hunt my largest Himalayan ibex ( to date ) . I have also hunted American black bear with a variant in .30-06 Springfield .

While I have not hunted anything more dangerous than a black bear with a Blaser R-8 , I would not hesitate for a moment to hunt marauding Royal Bengal tigers or rogue Asiatic jungle elephants or Gaur with one of these excellent rifles . Especially a variant in .458 Lott . I simply do not purchase one , because I am sentimentally attached to my .458 Winchester Magnum ( which leaves absolutely nothing to be desired ) .

Traditional , these rifles are not . But what they are , is :
- Accurate
- Dependable
- User friendly
- Versatile ( on account of the option for spare barrels )

Yes . It is not a control round feed actioned rifle . But they extract very reliably and smoothly , and ( in my view ) that is the only thing which should matter .
 
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Red Leg

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I love hunting rifles. I spend enough time at the gun club to have shot about every type of hunting rifle used today. My discussion is primarily directed at some of the newer hunters who are trying to get informed opinions and experiences. There are many DGR options available used and new. Remember the Colt Sauer , Omega, sexy guns but lacking in functionality. I have fired R93’s and R8’s. I don’t have to own a Blaser to like or dislike it. I find the design (straight pull back) awkward , the safety and magazine box of the R8’s a Albatross. Mainly I would be extremely concerned of the too tight of tolerance inside the action. I have witnessed problems with Blaser R8’s not feeding , safeties not being able to be engaged without extreme force, and another that turned out to be a firing pin problem. Three rifles with problems is not a sample, but I rarely see Blaser R8’s at the range. I believe Blaser has sold about 100,000 R8’s .
PH’s see it all. If a PH who has been hunting elephants , lion, buffalo and leopard for twenty + years tells me “glad you didn’t bring an R8 with you” they (actions) jam up when the wind blows the sand and grit around here! I will tend to take his experiences and advice over the person who has done a few trips and claims himself a self confessed internet expert.
PH’s are not using Blaser‘s for a DGR. The comments about the “PH does not use a Blaser but he has taken clients who use Blasers” is not really logical. That’s the PH’s job to take you hunting. The PH is not going to tell you , you can not use a certain brand of rifle as long as it is legal. The PH will not have a Blaser but probably a Jeffrey Magnum Mauser in 500 Jeffrey that he has 100% confidence in.
Anyone considering purchasing a new to them DGR would be well advised to talk to several PH’s and ask for their advice and experiences regarding DGR rifles rather than hearing it from the internet experts .
I also am not a fan of Remington Model 700’s or the .378 Weatherby cartridge. Everyone is entitled to their own . I don’t always drink the Kool-Aid.
I certainly respect the opinion of someone who doesn't drink the Kool-Aid. Of course when someone says something like that you are implying anyone who chooses otherwise does. Normally, I wouldn't waste my time responding to such rudeness. However, one must acknowledge the experience of someone who has actually seen a Blaser R8 at a range - even fired one. After all, I only own three - or six - depending whether we are talking actions or barrels. And I have only used them on game in Europe, the United States, Canada, and now three hunts in Africa. One will be accompanying me to the Kamchatka in May for brown bear (if covid permits).

I have other "African" rifles. Two other .375's built on mauser actions, a magnificent .404 built on a highly modified CZ action, and doubles in .470, .375, and 500-416. One of the other .375's and one of the doubles (a Blaser S2) have been to Africa with me and taken DG. I love and trust them all (well not one built on a Belgium Browning action - the bolt release design is abysmal and actually will fail in dust - a CRF mauser - imagine that). I began using the R8 four years ago, and have not brought another rifle to Africa since then. As I say, I have other options. In fact, I may take the .470 (a Birmingham A&D boxlock) for my next buffalo - but not because it is a "better" choice - merely a more nostalgic one. And I will take my Rigby to Zambia in August simply because my friend there loves them as much as I do.

But my first choice is now the R8. It is simply superior to other options in the gunroom. It is superbly accurate with whatever it is fed. It has a magnificent, dependable trigger. The action functions with utter and complete reliability - I have never had one jam. In fact, I have never heard of one jamming - but then again, I haven't been to your range. A old friend is sponsored by Blaser, and he has by now taken 25-30 buffalo, several elephant, and hundreds of PG with his various R8's. Never a bobble. The ergonomics are superb and mine are equipped with excellent open sights. The dismountable mounts work exactly as advertised time after time after time. The only rifles I own offering a faster aimed second shot is a double - maybe.

To have such certain opinions, I have no doubt you must have vast African experience. But I suspect I know as many PH's as most. The majority are currently using an out of the box CZ that, if they are lucky, functions as advertised. When they behave, they are robust useful rifles that are above all, affordable. Those that have been at the business a while and can afford a finer rifle tend, if they hunt DG, to graduate to a double or a custom bolt action. The K-gun seems the most popular among those I know. With respect to the R8, my friends and acquaintances in the business have mainly been intrigued by the rifle.

To me, international transportability is very important. I hate schlepping an ounce or cubic inch more than I need to. My outfitters and PH's seem to appreciate it as well. Nothing but a double compares to a R8 in such functionality and no double offers the broad range of use on safari (though my Blaser S2 nearly does).

Based upon a lot of personal field experience and the experience of others with broad field experience, I have concluded it is a superb choice for any game in Africa or anywhere else.

I noticed in the other threat that you didn't have the time or inclination to read Kevin's article. You might want to take a few minutes to work your way through one of our colleagues' review of his experiences with the R8. It is rather more technical than anecdotal.

 
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BeeMaa

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Anyone considering purchasing a new to them DGR would be well advised to talk to several PH’s and ask for their advice and experiences regarding DGR rifles rather than hearing it from the internet experts .
I also am not a fan of Remington Model 700’s or the .378 Weatherby cartridge. Everyone is entitled to their own . I don’t always drink the Kool-Aid.
A stopping rifle in caliber 470NE or above isn't necessary for a client hunting DG.
A PH doesn't need a 6x or 8x power scope on a rifle to stop a charge.

The job of a PH and the job of a client are not the same.
As such, it isn't necessary for them to carry the same tools.
Instead, a client may be looking for nostalgia...like a Rigby.
Or hunting with one of the most advanced firearms of the day...like an R8.

You may not always drink the Kool-Aid.
But that doesn't mean you have to spill it on everyone else.
Lots of choices out there to make everyone happy.
 

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Red Leg ,
Rudeness, Really? maybe you are the internet expert I am speaking of.
Owning a bunch of guns that have no history and sound like they have never been used does not make one a expert. Again , rattling off a bunch of names of the various rifles you possess does not make you a expert, more of a gun collector. RL, you are also the one who started the conversation on how hard it is for you to travel with two rifles. How can you have so much experience with your rifles when your hunts are short and you only take one rifle?

I am fortunate to be able to hunt more than most and I do have friends that hunt more than me. None of them have any desire to hunt DG with a Blaser R8.

So why do the real experts, the PH’s not use the Blaser R8’s in .416 or .458’s for back up work? Many or most PH’s use bolt guns. Just saying , some of the young hunters and new hunters just getting into the game might want to do their own research and not believe what the internet experts tell you. I have not heard one PH recommend a Blaser R8 for a true free range DG safari. I have had PH’s recommend Mauser’s and the many variants with true CRF , never a recommendation on a Blaser R8’s. Talk to your PH maybe you will be able to form your own opinion
 

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Red Leg ,
Rudeness, Really? maybe you are the internet expert I am speaking of.
Owning a bunch of guns that have no history and sound like they have never been used does not make one a expert. Again , rattling off a bunch of names of the various rifles you possess does not make you a expert, more of a gun collector. RL, you are also the one who started the conversation on how hard it is for you to travel with two rifles. How can you have so much experience with your rifles when your hunts are short and you only take one rifle?

I am fortunate to be able to hunt more than most and I do have friends that hunt more than me. None of them have any desire to hunt DG with a Blaser R8.

So why do the real experts, the PH’s not use the Blaser R8’s in .416 or .458’s for back up work? Many or most PH’s use bolt guns. Just saying , some of the young hunters and new hunters just getting into the game might want to do their own research and not believe what the internet experts tell you. I have not heard one PH recommend a Blaser R8 for a true free range DG safari. I have had PH’s recommend Mauser’s and the many variants with true CRF , never a recommendation on a Blaser R8’s. Talk to your PH maybe you will be able to form your own opinion
The late “ Ganyana “ / Don Heath ( towards the end of his life ) was a very outspoken advocate of the Blaser R-8 in .500 Jeffery , as a dangerous game backup rifle . This gentleman man used to be an assessor for the professional hunting examinations in Zimbabwe .

Here is Cornie Coetzee ( a professional hunter ) who rescued his client from a charging African lion , by using a Blaser R-8 .

Any rifle which can accomplish these results during such a high stress situation , definitely gets a “ yes “ from me .
 
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Red Leg

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Red Leg ,
Rudeness, Really? maybe you are the internet expert I am speaking of.
Owning a bunch of guns that have no history and sound like they have never been used does not make one a expert. Again , rattling off a bunch of names of the various rifles you possess does not make you a expert, more of a gun collector. RL, you are also the one who started the conversation on how hard it is for you to travel with two rifles. How can you have so much experience with your rifles when your hunts are short and you only take one rifle?

I am fortunate to be able to hunt more than most and I do have friends that hunt more than me. None of them have any desire to hunt DG with a Blaser R8.

So why do the real experts, the PH’s not use the Blaser R8’s in .416 or .458’s for back up work? Many or most PH’s use bolt guns. Just saying , some of the young hunters and new hunters just getting into the game might want to do their own research and not believe what the internet experts tell you. I have not heard one PH recommend a Blaser R8 for a true free range DG safari. I have had PH’s recommend Mauser’s and the many variants with true CRF , never a recommendation on a Blaser R8’s. Talk to your PH maybe you will be able to form your own opinion
Interesting. I guess you missed it. I formed my own opinion of the R8 based on my fairly extensive personal experience with the rifle. In places like - well - Africa - hunting DG with the rifle. Not by asking what other people thought - like .... well ..... you? You should try it as a learning technique. I am fortunate to be able to compare it to a number of other rifles that I own - in the field - not the gun room.

I love every rifle I own and each works or I wouldn’t own it. Currently, the most effective rifle I own is the R8. I readily admit that is only an opinion, but it is at least an informed one.
 
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