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

BeeMaa

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Come on now. The benefits of CRF actions have been extolled for decades and is one of the reasons you do not see many Remington 700 actions in Africa. That has nothing to do with the R8 not being popular.

There are just much better options in regards to cost compared to R8s in bolt guns in big bore calibers. Also, some of the calibers preferred by PHs does not seem to be available either.
This sounds like something that would be said to an up and coming PH..."There are just much better options in regards to cost compared to R8s in bolt guns in big bore calibers." Along with "The benefits of CRF actions have been extolled for decades and is one of the reasons you do not see many Remington 700 actions in Africa."

Thank you for validating my point.
 

WAB

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My point WAB, my entire point, and my only point, is that the "tapping the bolt out of battery" can happen with ANY rifle fully cocked and off safe. Hence, making it a R8 issue is pretty silly... or ignorant ;)

Factually, since the R8 has only one "safe & locked" position, while many other rifles have a "safe & unlocked" position (whether 2 positions safety, or 3 position safety), it is factual that it is possible to "tap open" the bolt on many rifles on safe, while it is not possible with the R8 :)

All rifles mentioned have their fan, and have proven themselves time and again, but they can all be made to malfunction if the bolt is partially opened when cocked and off safe :)

The one difference however, in this specific discussion of out of battery firing pin release, is that the R8 firing pin cannot be misadjusted by a misguided user or bubbah "gunsmith". This objectively removes one potential cause for catastrophic failure, all other rifles characteristics and qualities remaining unchanged :)

Ah, I’ve got you now. I prefer 3 position safeties but carry them in the safe and locked position. My preference stems from being able to load and unload with the safety on and the bolt unlocked. Not a big deal and in no way something that would sway me away from an R8.
 

Challer

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Argument or the truth .
The R8 action has design problems (the actions are machined to to close of tolerances) the actions are prone to jam up with sand . Not ideal for DG hunting.
I was pretty excited when the R8 was introduced a while back .I thought I wanted one. After all the safety issues with the Blaser R93 I remained a cautious bystander regarding the R8.

Kinda doubt a PH in one of the top DG concessions sits around fabricating stories about Blaser R8’s. The PH simply shared the story with me and he was obviously pretty shaken up because a client using a Blaser R8 jammed up because it had sand in it during a elephant hunt after shots had been fired by the hunter. The PH said it was not the first time he had a client with a R8 that would not feed due to sand in the action.

The topic was using the Blaser R8 on DG .
Its a totally different subject using the Blaser R8 on a Elk hunt where you bring a extra rifle barrel to shoot squirrels. The R8’s have a reputation for being accurate and unless you are in the high desert during a windstorm or your rifle accidentally gets sand in the action while you are crawling , or being exposed to the elements your rifle probably works great.

Only about 10 different people even responded to this, not a big story. I was told only a little over 100,000 Blaser R8’s have been sold. Was pretty sure some one would get themselves all worked up .This thread got started after I read enough the past 60 days from a self proclaimed internet expert. This self proclaimed expert is a expert on everything just ask him. He comments on almost every post.
Lots of good information is shared on this website at times, there are the self proclaimed experts that detract from it.
lf you think the Blaser R8 does not have a issue with the action jamming no problem it’s America and your life. If you are not already a Blaser R8 fanboy you may enjoy chatting with several DG PH’s. Most any rifle functions most of the time it’s the time the rifle doesn’t function as intended when the pucker factor goes up.
I really don’t care if you think the Blaser R8 in Dangerous Game Calibers is the best rifle made . I am never buying one so that leaves more for you. In the meantime I will use my CRF Mausers and Model 70’s made up by several of top rifle builders we have here in the USA.
Peace and Out
NWT
You asked the question simply to cause trouble. If you truly don't care, you would not have started this thread. Tell us your DG gun - and be prepared to learn how they have failed people.

Now, you say you KNOW the design is flawed because tolerances are too close. Without facts or any citations to support you. And you don't own one so you have no experience with the R8.

Please cite the YT or written accounts of R8s jamming.
 

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This sounds like something that would be said to an up and coming PH..."There are just much better options in regards to cost compared to R8s in bolt guns in big bore calibers." Along with "The benefits of CRF actions have been extolled for decades and is one of the reasons you do not see many Remington 700 actions in Africa."

Thank you for validating my point.

You think an apprentice PH making maybe $200-$300/month can afford an R8? Heck, many guys in the US can not afford an R8 once you get to the big bore (and no, .375 is medium bore) calibers. I just checked gunbroker and a R8 Safari Pro in .416RM with steel receiver is $9,500. That is before whatever import taxes etc. kick in for an African country.

( https://www.gunbroker.com/item/912336632 )

The cost trumps everything else really. Without getting into the CRF debate.
 

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Roller

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Hey, honest question upcoming . Firstly, I have nothing against anyone's choice of a hunting implement. You can hunt dangerous game with a spear or club ( as our species have for centuries) for all I care , and for the record I have never owned an R8. The context of the question involves client vs professional hard use. The majority of us client hunters show up with our relatively lightly used and pampered firearms for a week or 2 in Africa or elsewhere to hunt and go home. Meanwhile , a professional hunter's guns get substantially more use and abuse on average. For R8 owners, do you think a R8 is proven as durable, able to function dirty, and in general as "idiot proof" reliable as a similar quality bolt gun? If so, on what do you base your assertion?
 

Tanks

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... The majority of us client hunters show up with our relatively lightly used and pampered firearms for a week or 2 in Africa or elsewhere to hunt and go home. Meanwhile , a professional hunter's guns get substantially more use and abuse on average...

Actually, I was discussing usage with my PH on a recent hunt. He said he fires maybe 30-40 rounds out of his .500 per year. Which makes sense for a retail price of $600 per box of factory ammo in Zimbabwe.

Their guns get carried and get exposed to elements much more, but do not get fired as often as guns of someone getting prepared for a hunt. He was taking care of his rifle though, wiping the sweat and fingerprints off the barrel and making sure the stock was clean as well on a regular basis.
 

One Day...

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I always smile when I come across the assertion that "abuse" always comes along with "use", and with "PH".

I can assure anyone reading that there are many PHs who own beautiful classic rifles, including very expensive Holland & Holland, Gibbs, Rigby, Westley Richard, Heym, etc. that have been in daily use for decades, and that are being carefully taken care of, and are in pristine condition.

Certainly, there are PHs, and clients, who could not care less about their rifles and optics, and trash them, but how people take care of their equipment is not a matter of stereotype but of personality :)

Regarding the issue of dirt/sand etc.

It seems some folks have the misunderstanding that an African safari is akin to trench warfare with people rolling on the floor, crawling in the dirt, and bivouacking in foxholes. This is hardly the case... As to the R8 operation in such condition, I will simply say that an R8 will operate under conditions that would make closing any double rifle reasonably on face completely impossible... 'nough said? ;)

The dirt & sand thing pops up routinely along the decades every time a rifle with less wobbling than a surplus K98 appears. Heard it in the days about the Sauer 90, the Mauser 66, the Steyr Mannlicher, etc. The bottom line is that even a two world wars proven Mauser 98 can be made to jam, and that under real life conditions it is the very rare hunting rifle indeed that cannot deliver satisfactory field performance in Africa or elsewhere.

This being said, if we stopped discussing endlessly all the hypotheticals, we would not have much to write about on the wonderful internet, and those of us who actually own said rifles and hunt DG would not be able to benefit from all those well intended concerns :)
 
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Hunting Hitman

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I’m going to put my toe in the water and say the R8 is a great rifle. Not the most affordable one though to be sure. Owning all forms of the above mentioned I would have zero issues taking one on safari nor would I be concerned if my PH had one as his carry backup rifle.
 

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You think an apprentice PH making maybe $200-$300/month can afford an R8? Heck, many guys in the US can not afford an R8 once you get to the big bore (and no, .375 is medium bore) calibers. I just checked gunbroker and a R8 Safari Pro in .416RM with steel receiver is $9,500. That is before whatever import taxes etc. kick in for an African country.

( https://www.gunbroker.com/item/912336632 )

The cost trumps everything else really. Without getting into the CRF debate.
I just did a quick tally of my Pro R8. .30-06 barrel, .375 barrel, extra bolt (magnum) , .416 Ruger barrel and VXIII scope and mount, less than $7000. total. All components new. No reason to spend over $9K on just one set-up unless you just want all the extras.
A P.H. will spend the money they need to for the most important tools they use every day. Optics and guns, next a vehicle. I think it is more about what's available and necessary. Changeable barrels and take-down are not very important to a P.H.
 

Roller

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I always smile when I come across the assertion that "abuse" always comes along with "use", and with "PH".

I can assure anyone reading that there are many PHs who own beautiful classic rifles, including very expensive Holland & Holland, Gibbs, Rigby, Westley Richard, etc. that have been in daily use for decades and that are being carefully taken care of, and are in pristine condition.

Certainly, there are PHs, and clients, who could not care less about their rifles and optics, and trash them, but how people take care of their equipment is not a matter of stereotype but of personality :)
I always smile when I come across the assertion that "abuse" always comes along with "use", and with "PH".

I can assure anyone reading that there are many PHs who own beautiful classic rifles, including very expensive Holland & Holland, Gibbs, Rigby, Westley Richard, etc. that have been in daily use for decades and that are being carefully taken care of, and are in pristine condition.

Certainly, there are PHs, and clients, who could not care less about their rifles and optics, and trash them, but how people take care of their equipment is not a matter of stereotype but of personality :)On in I know have nicer guns in the safe than I have. But the question boils down to do you believe that an R8 is a
One in particular that I know has much nicer guns in his safe than I have (including some fine, collectable firearms) , but his "camp guns" are of common provenance and remain in pretty hard use (including being loaned to clients). The germane question remains unanswered: do you beleive that the R8 is proven as durable, able to function dirty, and in general as "idiot proof" reliable as a similar quality bolt gun? If so, on what do you base your assertion?

Edit:Just read your essay above. I take that as a "no" :)
 
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Inline6

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All this has me wanting an R8.

One in particular that I know has much nicer guns in his safe than I have (including some fine, collectable firearms) , but his "camp guns" are of common provenance and remain in pretty hard use (including being loaned to clients). The germane question remains unanswered: do you beleive that the R8 is proven as durable, able to function dirty, and in general as "idiot proof" reliable as a similar quality bolt gun? If so, on what do you base your assertion?

I do not have an R8, I will just say everything can fail. It will fail faster if not taken care of correctly.

I was in a class a long time ago, we were in the field shooting off of berms. Wind to our back, sand was rolling into everyone's actions. 3 guns did not go down out of 20. 2 were the instructors (AI) and 1 was a DPMS gasser. Every else including my custom built rifle on a custom action that was DLC coated. I pulled the bolt wiped everything off and got back after it. I took note of that, talked to the people that guns did not go down on. Turns out they were running a dry lube. So all the fine grit was not sticking to the important parts. A good amount of people do not take the time to realize the environment in which they will operate in and how to mitigate the problems that will arise if the do not think their choices through.

Just a thought
 

One Day...

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Owning to this day Mauser 98, Mauser 66, Sauer 90, Steyr M52, Steyr Mannlicher Luxus, Winchester 70, Remington 700, Sako L61R "Finnbear", CZ 550, several doubles, etc. and having seen deployed G3, FAL, MAS 49/56, M14, M16, AK47, etc. I am honestly comfortable that the R8 is as reliable, and in many respects more idiot-proof than many of the above.

I base this assertion on owning all the above, and having used them from Europe to America, from Alaska to Africa, from Alpine mountains to Arizona deserts to Newfoundland snow, for 40 years.

Admittedly, I am part of the guys who never wipe their binocular lenses with the cuff of their shirt; who clean their rifle daily in the field, whether they have shot it or not; who do not throw them on the floor when taking a rest; etc. so I may not be your average grunt out there...

In 40 years I have witnessed or experienced myself a fair number of malfunctions (failure to load, failure to extract, failure to eject, detachable magazine loss, magazine plate going "bombs away", stuck case, etc.) and a number of mechanical failures (broken firing pin, screwed-on mechanical sights or scope base coming loose on high recoil DG rifles, loose bedding, broken wooden stock, warped stock pushing the barrel sideways, etc.) so there are a lot of things I check on a rifle before I take it afield.

I have also learned a few tricks along the way such as drying the rifle before field use to avoid oil freezing a bolt shut; excess grease hardening in a spring and slowing a firing pin strike, or preventing a spring loaded plunger ejector from operating; excess oil catching sand, dust and firing residues; etc. etc.

All I can say is that I own 3 R8 (my alloy receiver one, my steel receiver one, and my wife's shortened stock alloy receiver one) with 6 barrels, and I have now over 2,000 rounds on R8 in .223 Rem (many of those .223 for training), .270 Win, 9.3x62, .257 Wby, .300 Wby, .375 H&H, and I have yet to experience an issue. This is what I base my assertion on :)

The only imperfections I personally identify in the R8 are:

1) I would prefer that the magazine latches on each side would be beefier/deeper, but I have not experienced any actual issue, and the fact that the magazine can be locked in place alleviates any field use concern in that regard.

2) My wife has experienced a "Blaser click" when learning to use her rifle. She handled it too gently. When new, the action must be moved forward briskly, just like the slide on a pistol must be let to fly forward to achieve proper battery lock. I concur with Red Leg that this is an operator training issue, just like loading from the makrolon Steyr SSG69 rotary magazine requires significantly more force than loading from a single stack steel Sauer 90 magazine. Do not ride the slide when loading an auto pistol. Close a new R8 action briskly when loading.

On a slow quite feed the bolt can fail to be pushed all the way into battery. That is operator head space not a design flaw.
 
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Tanks

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I just did a quick tally of my Pro R8. .30-06 barrel, .375 barrel, extra bolt (magnum) , .416 Ruger barrel and VXIII scope and mount, less than $7000. total. All components new. No reason to spend over $9K on just one set-up unless you just want all the extras.
A P.H. will spend the money they need to for the most important tools they use every day. Optics and guns, next a vehicle. I think it is more about what's available and necessary. Changeable barrels and take-down are not very important to a P.H.
First of all .416 Ruger is not offered by Blaser. So, one has to go to .416 RM or .458 Lott which require the more expensive Safari contour receiver. Extra in this case is having a viable caliber offering from Blaser.

1633392297086.png
 

K-man

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First of all .416 Ruger is not offered by Blaser. So, one has to go to .416 RM or .458 Lott which require the more expensive Safari contour receiver. Extra in this case is having a viable caliber offering from Blaser.

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R.M.C.

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I would think anyone that can afford an R8 wouldn't be a Alaskan bear guide. Not trying to knock the profession, its just worth pointing out a guy could buy several good "guide guns" for the price of one R8 .
I bet just about any bear guide or ph would take one as a tip lol
 

Tanks

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@K-man A cheap third party barrel made by a now defunct company is not a viable option for PHs or really anyone that wants a big bore R8. As I said in the post you quoted .416 Ruger is NOT offered by Blaser. Your picture makes my point ;).

Again, if wanting a new Blaser R8 in a big bore caliber one has to pay $9K+. One might find some components cheaper from places like EuroOptic etc. occasionally but that is not an option for someone not willing to wait for those deals.
 
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K-man

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My intent is not to derail this thread discussing the pricing of R8's. My point was to show you did not NEED to spend $9500 unless you want to. I looked at the gunbroker listing you used as a reference. It is the only one over $9K of over 12 listings, including several Luxus and Jaeger. Many listings for $5500 to $6500 for .416 caliber. Apologies if any offense occurred and I will not take offense at a reference of my sub-moa fluted barrel with hooded front sight as "cheap" Thanks for the lively discussion.
 

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... I will not take offense at a reference of my sub-moa fluted barrel with hooded front sight as "cheap" Thanks for the lively discussion.
Cheap as in pricing. I looked at that company's site in the past before they went under.

I had picked that one because it has the steel receiver to go with the "safari" barrel. I would think the extra weight would be needed. Then, again I have never schlepped an R8 with a steel receiver on a safari.
 
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sureshot375

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I thought this thread was about why PHs do not use a R8?

I can only speak for my wife and mine choices of DG backup rifles.

My #1 choice pre-war George Gibbs double. Caliber .470
My #2 choice pre-war single square bridge Rigby .416R

Wife #1 choice .450-400 88b Heym (hopes to have a .470N Heym someday)
Wife #2 choice .404J CZ550, with red dot

Loaners
.375 H&H M-70 Swarovski scoped (Leopard-Hippo-Croc)
.404J CZ Red dot (Buff-elephant)
.404J Jefferies Mauser (Buff-elephant)
.404J Pre-War single square bridge Mauser-Rigby (Buff-elephant)

If a visiting hunter wishes to use a R8 we have no problem, I hope it works well for him or her.

Now that the CZ550 is no longer being made aspiring PHs will have to make other choices. If the R8 happens to be their choice, maybe then after years of use in the worse possible conditions we will know "is this the right rifle for a PH?"
Do wife #1 and wife #2 know about each other? This seems like it could be a dangerous arrangement.
 

BeeMaa

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You think an apprentice PH making maybe $200-$300/month can afford an R8? Heck, many guys in the US can not afford an R8 once you get to the big bore (and no, .375 is medium bore) calibers. I just checked gunbroker and a R8 Safari Pro in .416RM with steel receiver is $9,500. That is before whatever import taxes etc. kick in for an African country.

( https://www.gunbroker.com/item/912336632 )

The cost trumps everything else really. Without getting into the CRF debate.
I get it, they aren’t cheap. And I’m not busting your chops over a young PH not being able to afford one.

Closer to the truth would be that the CRF is what has been passed down from generation to generation. The R8 hasn’t been around long enough to have the influence the M98 has, let alone be handed down.

CRF M98 is what is available, affordable and equal to the task of DG hunting. But that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been technical advancements that have closed the gap with other rifle actions. Without poking the CRF/PF bear too much, a rifle action can be reliable, suitable for DG PH work and not be CRF.

Now going against what your Father, Grandfather and fellow young PH’s have and using a R8…that is the peer pressure that I’m talking about.
 

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