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

375Fox

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For those of you who are worried that the R8 will fail to cycle when used in a dusty environment, it's quite simple. Pull the bolt from the receiver. Take your shirt tail and wipe out the recesses in the receiver that the bolt rails ride in. Then repeat the process on the bolt rails themselves. Replace bolt and voila! Problem solved.
I was one of the doubters on this thread. I ended up sending a lot of PMs and ultimately decided to buy one. Some of the abuse they’ve been put through by others is impressive. My long back ordered scope is finally at gun shop, so I’ll get to shoot it myself soon.
 

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One of the PHs I've hunted with in Africa uses an R8 exclusively. None of the PHs in Africa I've hunted with have expressed any concern about me using an R8 and almost all except for the very young PHs are familiar with the Blaser system. In the US, far fewer seem to be familiar with Blaser.

I love the R8 "system" and have used it for virtually of my hunting in recent years. Accurate, reliable, comfortable, customizable.
 
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I know an Alaska guide who has one. Same guide also had a client short - shuck one and lose an animal as a result. Not the fault of the firearm.

All I personally know about them is that when I look for left handed rifles on Gunjoker I have to filter out the Blasers as they are everywhere on there. Must be something good about them.
 

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Full Disclosure- I read only a couple of the first responses, became bored, and then skipped to the end/last one to give my opinion.

One response was "Someone built a better mousetrap but the old ones still get results." I agree!
As you may know, my main deer rifle is a 68 year old .308 that has never let me down. Do not need to replace it.

Unlike some, buying new guns and playing with them is not my hobby- Hunting is my hobby & guns are one of the tools. Same for cars and women. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
 

Aaron N

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Full Disclosure- I read only a couple of the first responses, became bored, and then skipped to the end/last one to give my opinion.

One response was "Someone built a better mousetrap but the old ones still get results." I agree!
As you may know, my main deer rifle is a 68 year old .308 that has never let me down. Do not need to replace it.

Unlike some, buying new guns and playing with them is not my hobby- Hunting is my hobby & guns are one of the tools. Same for cars and women. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
So what you’re saying, is that you see no need to buy another gun once you have one that works? Regardless if it’s a Blaser, Rigby, pre-war Mauser, or an original 1886 50-110?
 

Aaron N

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Full Disclosure- I read only a couple of the first responses, became bored, and then skipped to the end/last one to give my opinion.

One response was "Someone built a better mousetrap but the old ones still get results." I agree!
As you may know, my main deer rifle is a 68 year old .308 that has never let me down. Do not need to replace it.

Unlike some, buying new guns and playing with them is not my hobby- Hunting is my hobby & guns are one of the tools. Same for cars and women. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

I just realized that this isn’t the Blaser for DG thread, so now your comment seems more relevant!

I agree, if I had a rifle that I had trusted for the last ten years to save mine, and my clients hide, then you would have to pry it from my cold dead hands before I switched.
 

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Aaron, Actually have many that work.
Already have 1886 45-90 that has taken ele, cape buff, bison leopard, etc. It will also shoot 45-70 ammo. Do not need a 50-110.
Also no interest in Blaser, Mauser( my .308 is pre 64 M70), Rigby as have two big bore DR and other lesser bore rifles. No gaps in armory. BB guns (for barn rats) and others for squirrels up through ele.
That is a Winchester 1895 .405 WCF leaning on the Cape Buff it just killed.

You mentioned being an original? Many of my guns were used when purchased by me, but all were/are good shooters (or they went on down the road). Critters appear not to be able to determine if they were shot with an new rifle or a collectors item.
 

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Aaron, Actually have many that work.
Already have 1886 45-90 that has taken ele, cape buff, bison leopard, etc. It will also shoot 45-70 ammo. Do not need a 50-110.
Also no interest in Blaser, Mauser( my .308 is pre 64 M70), Rigby as have two big bore DR and other lesser bore rifles. No gaps in armory. BB guns (for barn rats) and others for squirrels up through ele.
That is a Winchester 1895 .405 WCF leaning on the Cape Buff it just killed.

You mentioned being an original? Many of my guns were used when purchased by me, but all were/are good shooters (or they went on down the road). Critters appear not to be able to determine if they were shot with an new rifle or a collectors item.
If you read my second reply, you’ll see that I thought I was in a different thread, and couldn’t figure out any context in which your reply was relevant. I apologize
 

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I like simple. Give me a Win 70 bolt in 375HH and a couple good handloads and I'm set. I fail to see the need for a whole case full of barrels, bolts and other clutter. Just more to stroke the ego and go wrong. After all, you can use only one at a time and with the correct handload, voila. And look at the expense.
 

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I like simple. Give me a Win 70 bolt in 375HH and a couple good handloads and I'm set. I fail to see the need for a whole case full of barrels, bolts and other clutter. Just more to stroke the ego and go wrong. After all, you can use only one at a time and with the correct handload, voila. And look at the expense.
Funny that no one would question the expense of a PH with Rigby, Heym or Kreighoff rifle, but when the the rifle in question is a Blaser R8 that cost half as much as any of those...all of a sudden cost is an issue.
 

Tanks

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Funny that no one would question the expense of a PH with Rigby, Heym or Kreighoff rifle, but when the the rifle in question is a Blaser R8 that cost half as much as any of those...all of a sudden cost is an issue.
I have a feeling that the people complaining about the cost of Blasers will also complain about the cost of the brands you mentioned.

The R8 Professional is reasonably priced. Now, the cost of wood stock of Blasers is outrageous regardless. There should be no reason for a 10-15K upcharge for a Blaser with a nice wood stock.
 

BeeMaa

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I have a feeling that the people complaining about the cost of Blasers will also complain about the cost of the brands you mentioned.

The R8 Professional is reasonably priced. Now, the cost of wood stock of Blasers is outrageous regardless. There should be no reason for a 10-15K upcharge for a Blaser with a nice wood stock.
The cost is the cost and it's a relative to what the buyer finds value in. Complaining about what others have spent, or gasping at the thought of how much ANY rifle cost, has had no appreciable affect in curbing the price of such firearms. People buy what rifle they want for reasons they need not explain to others. Perception of value is in the eye of the money holder and item seller. It doesn't have to make sense to anyone else.
 

Tanks

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I have a feeling due to proprietary design Blaser is charging what the market would bear for wood stocks. The custom Turkish walnut stock on my B&M rifle cost me $3,700 (blank was $1,500) including hand checkering and ebony ends etc., etc.. I'd have no issues paying a similar amount of an upgrade charge for similar quality of stock. Paying an extra $15K for a basic factory stock, not so much.

For comparison, I ordered a Heym 88B SxS double rifle some months ago. I wanted a nice Turkish walnut stock for it as well. I paid $750 for a Turkish walnut blank and sent it to Heym along with the order. Now, regular stock manufacturing was already built into the cost so it was just using my blank instead of theirs to produce my rifle. Hopefully I will see it in a month or two.
 

One Day...

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I like simple. Give me a Win 70 bolt in 375HH and a couple good handloads and I'm set. I fail to see the need for a whole case full of barrels, bolts and other clutter. Just more to stroke the ego and go wrong. After all, you can use only one at a time and with the correct handload, voila. And look at the expense.

This is the tried and true perspective of the one-rifle-safari (regardless of rifle brand). It works, but like all compromises, it is ... a compromise.

Among the various African animals, I particularly love to hunt Vaal Rhebok - the African Mountain Goat or Chamois of sorts; Kudu; and Buffalo. When I go to the Eastern Cape in South Africa, I typically have all 3 in the package.

Would the .375 H&H work for all three of these? Yes. Is it ideal for any of the three? No.

--- For Vaal Rhebok mountain hunting and often distant shots on a small animal in the Stormberg, Winterberg, etc., a fast .25/.26 (my own choice is .257 Wby) is a far better option.

--- For Kudu also often distant shooting on a midsize animal in the endless open hills of the Great Karoo, a fast .30 (my own choice is .300 Wby) is a far better option.

--- For Buffalo up close in dense bush about anywhere, a 40+ or .45+ (my own choice is .470 NE double but a .416 or .458 barrel would do nicely too) is a far better option.

Of course, for Eland, Lion, Leopard, or surgical-precision back up to a .45+ double on Elephant, Buffalo, Hippo on land, etc. a .375 (my own choice is .375 H&H) is indeed a great option.

Herein lies the appeal of the R8 multi barrels solution. In my case, the .257 Wby, .300 Wby and .375 H&H barrels use the same bolt head, there is no clutter I can think of, and I indeed use them one at a time but it is great to be able to swap barrels between the Vaal Rhebok day(s), the Kudu day(s), the Buffalo day(s), etc. I do not know whether it strokes my ego, but it sure stokes my hunting pleasure.

Regarding expense, I bought one full R8 Pro with standard barrel for $2,999 with two additional barrels for $1,099 each for a total of $5,197 in September 2020. Three Win 70 would have cost 3 x $1,400 = $4,200, except that I can take a Blaser R8 and 3 barrels easily to Africa in a <62" linear and <50 lbs. case, but I cannot take 3 Winchester 70 without it becoming a major hassle. Overweight & oversize airline fees ~$100 per flight (3 each way in my case) almost pay for the differential Win 70 to Blaser R8 on one trip alone, and lugging a 75" to 85" linear and 60 to 70 lbs. 3 rifles case through miles of airport parking and terminals change in Phoenix, New York or Atlanta is not much fun anymore...

Simple is great, and as I often say: to each our own, but thinking that a choice to go with Blaser is an ego issue is mistaken... We do not all want the same hunts, or have the same rationales, and a strong rationale for the R8 there is ;)

Africa is too far, too expensive, and too seldom, for me to compromise much anymore, especially when the savings are not overwhelming :)
 
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Tanks

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Regarding expense, I bought one full R8 Pro with standard barrel for $2.999 in September 2020, with two additional barrels for $1,099 each for a total of $5,197

They must have had quite an increase since the beginning of the year as R8 Pro with standard barrel starts at $3,500 now. Barrels seems to have an increase as well.
 

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They must have had quite an increase since the beginning of the year as R8 Pro with standard barrel starts at $3,500 now. Barrels seems to have an increase as well.
I spoke to a dealer in Arizona who told me that Blaser did a price increase across the board at the beginning of 2021.
 

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The OP asked a loaded question but as a bear guide, I guess I will finally respond.

In the spring of 2019, I worked in SE AK for another guide doing coastal brown bear hunts based off of luxury yachts. Before we started hunting, I was tasked with cleaning the camp guns and getting them sighted. One of the rifles was a Blaser R8 .375. I had handled Blasers before that were brought to my camps in CO by hunters but I had not worked on them before.

I found the R8 to be a great rifle and easy to disassemble and clean. The QD scope system returned to zero each time. I liked the trigger. The hunters I guided from the Netherlands and Mexico had no problems with it. As for me, I am a bit old fashioned and prefer the looks and mechanics of a traditional bolt Mauser type action with CRF. I also almost never sell rifles so switching to the Blaser system doesn’t make sense for me. I enjoy having a rifle that is built for a specific use, not an all-around use. For example, I bought an AHR upgraded synthetic stocked, barrel shortened CZ .375 from @BeeMaa for a brown bear camp gun and I also own an Interarms Model X .375 with a long barrel for bigger or longer range PG. For my personal bear stopper and DG rifle, I use an AHR upgraded.458 Lott and I love that it holds five in the magazine. That said, I would have no problem carrying an R8 as a bear guide now that I have shot and handled one.
 

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BeeMaa said "
Funny that no one would question the expense of a PH with Rigby, Heym or Kreighoff rifle, but when the the rifle in question is a Blaser R8 that cost half as much as any of those...all of a sudden cost is an issue."

This made me think - what rifles were some of my guides carrying? Cape buff DG PH - bolt action .375 H&H - no idea what make - I figured he knew what he was doing and I was right.
Previous African hunts - no Idea, never came up; one PH did carry my Ruger 77 .338 Mag while we hunted the shore of the northern Crocodile River as there were crocs and hippos in the area and we saw both.. Here in Texas - on a few occasions when hunting exotics with some DG mixed in, the PH borrowed one of my .405 or .458 rifles. One PH had to use my 1895 .405 , on a water buff hunt, but that is a long story. That rifle made short work of the water buff that I shot.
My point is that I rarely discuss the rifle carried by my guide or PH. However, they often want to handle and look over the rifles that I am carrying; especially the big bore lever guns.
 

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BeeMaa said "
Funny that no one would question the expense of a PH with Rigby, Heym or Kreighoff rifle, but when the the rifle in question is a Blaser R8 that cost half as much as any of those...all of a sudden cost is an issue."

This made me think - what rifles were some of my guides carrying? Cape buff DG PH - bolt action .375 H&H - no idea what make - I figured he knew what he was doing and I was right.
Previous African hunts - no Idea, never came up; one PH did carry my Ruger 77 .338 Mag while we hunted the shore of the northern Crocodile River as there were crocs and hippos in the area and we saw both.. Here in Texas - on a few occasions when hunting exotics with some DG mixed in, the PH borrowed one of my .405 or .458 rifles. One PH had to use my 1895 .405 , on a water buff hunt, but that is a long story. That rifle made short work of the water buff that I shot.
My point is that I rarely discuss the rifle carried by my guide or PH. However, they often want to handle and look over the rifles that I am carrying; especially the big bore lever guns.
Perhaps because they are wondering if you are going to get them killed using one on dangerous game? ;) Though more likely they just don't see them very often.

Anytime you hunt dangerous game, your PH will be carrying a rifle; almost never if hunting plains game. I have had or been in the company of 3 PH's who use K-Guns - one in .470 and the other two in .500 (all three loved them). One used a Blaser S2 in 500/416. Three used contemporary factory CZ's - one in .416, one in .458, and one in 458 Lott (one of which carried only two rounds down because of feeding problems - sound familiar?). One used a Mauser 66 in .458 (he genuinely hated the rifle). I can't remember the others.

But what is your point?

I have noted here before that were I a successful DG PH with some disposable income, I would likely own a .500 K-Gun. I am pretty sure that my upgrade would not be a Model 70 or a Model 88, but it might well be a R8.

I like simple. Give me a Win 70 bolt in 375HH and a couple good handloads and I'm set. I fail to see the need for a whole case full of barrels, bolts and other clutter. Just more to stroke the ego and go wrong. After all, you can use only one at a time and with the correct handload, voila. And look at the expense.
What I really hate is this sort of supposition - that anyone who owns such a rifle does so "more to stroke the ego," or as another suggested because a R8 owner is a "white glove" hunter. Seriously?!? Some of you really ought to get out a little more and see some of the rifles that get taken by their owners on dangerous game hunts. A basic Blaser can be pretty pedestrian in their company.

I am thrilled that a basic Winchester Model 70 in .375 does everything you require in an African rifle. It also would work for me - but it does not fulfill my requirements nearly as well as a R8. The investment to fulfill those requirements seems pretty reasonable to me and nowhere do I detect my ego playing a part in those requirements (one of which is not dragging an armored vault to and from airports, Land Cruisers, and chartered aircraft).

If that isn't important to you - great! What I don't get is the apparent resentment that such priorities are important to someone else.
 
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crs

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Resentment? That certainly does not apply to me. I just do not care what rifle others shoot.

Exception - I care what my family members shoot- not the brand or look, but the performance.

Nor do I care if the members of the opposing skeet team are all shooting Grade A Parkers - more power to them , the payoff is the fun of shooting a gun you like and can hit with.
 

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