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

MS 9x56

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First of all I have no dog in this fight, second I have never laid eyes on a Blaser R 8. What I can offer is a gun enthusiast and life long hunters input. In over 40 years of perusing gun shops all over the USA and being a member of several gun clubs over the years, I have not seen, handled or met a shooter who owned an R 8. Maybe I ain't high brow enough or maybe I am not Blazers target customer. Honestly I don't even know what they cost. Maybe the problem is there is just not much information disseminated to Joe average hunter. I have looked at many calibers suitable for dangerous game and own a number of medium bore rifles, but honestly never considered Blazer just because I have never been exposed to any information about them. I own a Mannlicher Schoenhauer model 1905 in 9x56 MS built in 1921 that I dreamed of for over 30 years before acquiring. Why? Because there was a lot of information and literature about them. I also own a CZ 550 FS in 9.3x62 that I dream of taking to Africa one day soon. Why ? Because they were available and I could handle them in local gun shops. Blazer R8 never heard of, never seen one. Honestly how do you expect to sell a product no matter how good, if it is not accessible. Just one hunters opinion.
 

mdwest

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Your typical US gun shop that largely caters to the US “deer hunting” and/or “tactical” crowd isn’t where you’re going to find a blaser... you’re either going to have to seek out higher end shops that specifically cater to international hunters or go online or go to one of the big annual shows like DSC or SCI...

They are far more common and far more sought out in Europe than in the US... you’ll be hard pressed to find a German or Austrian or Russian hunter that doesn’t know what they are... most likely they have handled them.. or actually own them..

But your typical Mississippi or Michigan born and bred hunter that pretty well stays in the US to hunt... not so much...

Blaser doesn’t mass produce the R8.. so they aren’t really worried about accessibility to the masses... on the low end they are $3.5k rifles... on the high end an R8 can approach double rifle prices of some popular makers..

you aren’t going to see many Hyem doubles on the rack at your typical American gun shop or find a whole lot of American hunters that haven’t hunted Europe and/or Africa that know much about Hyem... the same goes for blaser...

That said, you aren’t going to find many Ruger guide guns in a gun shop in Hanover either.. or many German hunters that know much about them..
 

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I have never seen a Blaser in a gun shop either. The first time I handled one was at SCI in 2017, which also happened to be my first big hunting show I attended. I had read about them and wanted to see how it worked. When I handled an R8 the first time I was sold on the idea of getting one. But it seemed expensive, so I didn’t. Sox or seven rifle purchases later, and two more conventions, and I finally committed. I could have easily bought a pair of R8’s for the cost of the other rifles, but now I have a better understanding of different rifle function and a better appreciation for the R8.
This is not to say that other rifles are bad or flawed, it is just a different system that I prefer. My Kimbers are tremendously accurate and they are an excellent rifle too.
 

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9F91DC3A-932F-4969-AD6D-8BC75FFB5C6C.jpeg


And for a little brevity: when you forget your scope caps in 2020 and a snow squall blows through.
 

mark-hunter

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Tikka and Blaser, what a match!!! (y)
 

BigSteve57

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First of all I have no dog in this fight, second I have never laid eyes on a Blaser R 8. What I can offer is a gun enthusiast and life long hunters input. In over 40 years of perusing gun shops all over the USA and being a member of several gun clubs over the years, I have not seen, handled or met a shooter who owned an R 8. Maybe I ain't high brow enough or maybe I am not Blazers target customer. Honestly I don't even know what they cost. Maybe the problem is there is just not much information disseminated to Joe average hunter. I have looked at many calibers suitable for dangerous game and own a number of medium bore rifles, but honestly never considered Blazer just because I have never been exposed to any information about them. I own a Mannlicher Schoenhauer model 1905 in 9x56 MS built in 1921 that I dreamed of for over 30 years before acquiring. Why? Because there was a lot of information and literature about them. I also own a CZ 550 FS in 9.3x62 that I dream of taking to Africa one day soon. Why ? Because they were available and I could handle them in local gun shops. Blazer R8 never heard of, never seen one. Honestly how do you expect to sell a product no matter how good, if it is not accessible. Just one hunters opinion.
Blasers share a problem with other higher-end products: they're not sold at Walmart.
But somehow the people that want them seem to find them.
I'd guess that is similar to when you are shopping for a Lamborghini. :LOL:

I heard about Blasers online and saw them at the 2012 NRA show in St Louis where Blaser, Sauer, Mauser and Merkel all had big well staffed booths. After a lengthy demonstration/tutorial of the system by the Blaser guys I was sold. There were two dealers here in Maryland at the time that carried them: Bart's and Hendershot's. Bart's, out of business for a couple of years*, is where I ordered mine and I had a 6 week wait. Hendershot's had them is stock if I recall correctly but they were too far to travel just for a short look and I was sold by what I saw at the NRA show anyway.

*I just checked Blaser's website for US dealers and they still list Bart's as an active dealer. It turns out that there is a website for Bart's that appears active - something I did not know.
 

bowjijohn

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Blaser is a highly sofficiticated piece of firearms engineering

Clearly not a Walmart's product - but then, quite honestly, nor is African hunting

You are, or tend to be, a 'self selecting' bunch of adventurous, high achieving people for whom the standard Walmart product is unlikely to be the pinnacle of aspiration

I'd love an ''English best'' rifle or double but for as long as my rear end points downward I'm not likely to achieve it

I do, however appreciate Mausers and, more recently, Blaser products

I do understand that 'talking about gear' fills the empty spaces between expeditions but quite honestly most top end rifles, cartridges and calibres (med and heavy) suffice

What say you all??
 

BigSteve57

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Blaser is a highly sofficiticated piece of firearms engineering

Clearly not a Walmart's product - but then, quite honestly, nor is African hunting

You are, or tend to be, a 'self selecting' bunch of adventurous, high achieving people for whom the standard Walmart product is unlikely to be the pinnacle of aspiration

I'd love an ''English best'' rifle or double but for as long as my rear end points downward I'm not likely to achieve it

I do, however appreciate Mausers and, more recently, Blaser products

I do understand that 'talking about gear' fills the empty spaces between expeditions but quite honestly most top end rifles, cartridges and calibres (med and heavy) suffice

What say you all??
Agree 100%. We took a Blaser R8 and an "ordinary" Browning Bolt Action rifle with us to Africa and on other hunting trips. Both rifles performed spectacularly, in mine and my wife's hands.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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View attachment 379534

And for a little brevity: when you forget your scope caps in 2020 and a snow squall blows through.

I'm not really a Blaser guy for reasons I'll keep to myself. I've no intention of insulting anyone who is. If you like it, have at it.

But I'll say this. The above two rifles are about $3000 difference in cost. And I'll bet the Tikka shoots as accurately as the Blaser and while it may be an "old" turn bolt, the action is likely just as smooth if not as quick as the Blaser.
 

Tanks

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...

But I'll say this. The above two rifles are about $3000 difference in cost. And I'll bet the Tikka shoots as accurately as the Blaser and while it may be an "old" turn bolt, the action is likely just as smooth if not as quick as the Blaser.

I think it depends on what people want, not necessarily the cost. A Jeep will get you to the mall ;) just as well as a Mercedes G-Wagon but some like and want the more expensive car.

Compared to the cost of the Safaris outside of game farms the cost of the firearms is not that significant anyway unless one is buying six figure bespoke firearms from the UK.

If people just went for the least expensive option on everything then the world would be a very boring place.
 

PHOENIX PHIL

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I think it depends on what people want, not necessarily the cost. A Jeep will get you to the mall ;) just as well as a Mercedes G-Wagon but some like and want the more expensive car.

Compared to the cost of the Safaris outside of game farms the cost of the firearms is not that significant anyway unless one is buying six figure bespoke firearms from the UK.

If people just went for the least expensive option on everything then the world would be a very boring place.

Really not advocating one way or the other. And I don't want cheap just because it's cheap. A few years back a friend was buying a rifle for his son. He called me and wanted advice. He was super hot for a Remington that he could get at WalMart. I cringed and advised greatly against it. Not so much because it was a Remington, but because it was a Remington being sold at WalMart. Perhaps a conspiracy theory, but I believe many goods sold at WalMart are cheapened so that they can be sold to them at the prices they demand and still make a profit.

My advice was to buy a Tikka which I think would've run him all of about $50 more. My confidence level in them was very high due to my own results owning them. He ignored my advice and bought the Remington. After Christmas we went to the range together with his son to fire the first rounds. After the first shot, his son opened the bolt and no brass came out. We had to get a cleaning rod and pop it out. Second shot was a repeat of the first and so was the third. It had to be repaired and I believe what little he saved he ended up paying in shipping or pretty close to it to have sent back to Remington.

The same friend now owns the .300WM I was the original owner of. It's a Tikka. I only sold it because in the end I love my M70's and wanted a Super Grade. And the T3 lite is a bit lively in .300WM.

Again if you like the Blaser or any other high end rifle, have at it. But you don't need to go to the high end to get a perfectly functional and accurate rifle.
 

MS 9x56

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I don' t know anyone who would confuse Wal-Mart with a gun shop. Now you all have piqued my interest. I am going to have to do some research and see if there is a dealer in my area.
 

wesheltonj

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I think it depends on what people want, not necessarily the cost. A Jeep will get you to the mall ;) just as well as a Mercedes G-Wagon but some like and want the more expensive car. . .

Not actually the best analogy. Unless the Jeep dealer service department is at the mall. Sorry to Jeep owners, I just could not resist.
 

Tra3

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I'm not really a Blaser guy for reasons I'll keep to myself. I've no intention of insulting anyone who is. If you like it, have at it.

But I'll say this. The above two rifles are about $3000 difference in cost. And I'll bet the Tikka shoots as accurately as the Blaser and while it may be an "old" turn bolt, the action is likely just as smooth if not as quick as the Blaser.
I would agree that the two rifles are comparable in accuracy. (From what I’ve seen thus far.) Tikka makes a nice rifle and the action is smooth in that gun. It is most definitely not as fast as the Blaser. And with the Tikka you don’t want to leave a round in the chamber, the safety can be bumped off.
 

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My hunting buddy had a Blaser R93, with barrels in .300 Win. Mag. and .375 H&H Mag. I liked the rifle's aesthetics and barrel interchangeability, but did not find the handling superior to my Winchester Model 70's - one in .375 H&H Mag. and the other in .338 Win. Mag. Both controlled-round feed. He used it during two safaris we went to in South Africa. Prior to our first trip, we both developed loads for our respective rifles and found the level of precision was the same. When it came time to actually putting them to use, no rifle performed better than the others. The only thing I noticed was that my buddy put a lot of effort into keeping the rifle from being scratched or dinged - understandable, considering he spent big bucks on it. I also know a guy who owns an R8 in 300 Win. Mag. and the only place that rifle is ever taken to is the rifle range.

In my humble opinion, the weapons anyone owns are a matter of personal preference. A friend of mine uses a CZ bolt rifle in 6.5mm Swedish because he does not believe in spending big bucks on a hunting rifle, but also owns a $20 K Perazzi shotgun. Go figure. Any good quality rifle in the hands of a CAPABLE shooter will perform satisfactorily. If some people prefer and can afford Blaser R8s, more power to them.
 

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I'm not really a Blaser guy for reasons I'll keep to myself. I've no intention of insulting anyone who is. If you like it, have at it.

But I'll say this. The above two rifles are about $3000 difference in cost. And I'll bet the Tikka shoots as accurately as the Blaser and while it may be an "old" turn bolt, the action is likely just as smooth if not as quick as the Blaser.
Tikka makes a very fine rifle.
Right up to the point that you want to hunt DG.
I know current calibers for Tikka top out at 338WM.
Not sure if they were offered in magnum action lengths.
Anyone know?
 

samu

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Tikka makes a very fine rifle.
Right up to the point that you want to hunt DG.
I know current calibers for Tikka top out at 338WM.
Not sure if they were offered in magnum action lengths.
Anyone know?
Current Tikka T3x is made only with one frame and three different sizes are accomplished by changing the length of the bolt stop and filling up the rear of the magazine. I never measured but I guess it tops out somewhere around 85 mm COL. It does come in 9,3x62 though
 

John Telford

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So an interesting fact is that there are probably more Blaser R8 rifles in Botswana as a percentage per capita than anywhere else in the world ! Why? Well the gun laws in Botswana are such that with one license you can own up to five barrels per stock! I have never really considered the R8 simply because I have much faith and trust in my hunting platform which I have used for the the last 30 years ie the venerable ZKK / CZ rifles. I probably speak for many other PH’s who entered the industry before the R8 was even conceptualised when I say “ why fix it if it ain’t bust “! If I was just starting out and money was not an issue I would consider the Blaser. My neighbor has four calibers on this system and from the hunts that we have done together it has impressed me thus I can only speak highly of this rifle. Perhaps in years to come vintage Blaser R8 rifles will be the rage !
 

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Yip great idea for Botswana. If I can get back in there I would also opt for a multi barrel rifle.
R8 is very atractive as it has 500 Jeff my favorate bolt caliber....pity it does not take shotgun....

I may however opt for a multi barrel double such as double 500 NE, double 9.3x74R and then either 7x57R/20ga combination or 20ga/20ga. Expensive idea but should get the job done....
 

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