Transitioning To A Blaser R8 - A Two Months / 500 Rounds Review

Tra3

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@One Day... i heartily concur on the points listed.

I’d like to hear your opinion on the safety mechanism, which was once of the top selling points for me.

I don’t like loaded guns that require the safety to be turned off (yet remained cocked) prior to unloading. I also don’t like a safety switch that can be bumped off. Competent rifle handling should cure these issues... but what if you like to take new people hunting? Or how about teaching kids?

I’ll also add that a very light gun isn’t necessarily more accurate. When I leave the truck, tent or cabin on a mountain hunt in the Fall/winter I am fully kitted out with nearly 30 lbs of clothing, boots, rifle, water, backpack, knife, headlamps, etc. 1-2 lbs is not noticeable in a rifle. The extra rifle weight holds more steadily for an offhand shot.

Final note: I used the Blaser bipod this fall to take elk in Idaho and Montana and for a whitetail in Montana. It is light (6 Oz?) fits in my front left pocket, and can be deployed rapidly. A good Harris bipod weighs over 16 Oz and is fixed to the rifle, adding weight and causing it to be front heavy.
 

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In Germany, you are growing up with the R93 and the Blaser R8.
If you don't have one, one of your buddies has it and you can try it out and get an idea.
The R 8 is definitely one of the most popular off-the-shelf rifles, a mass produced rifle and a very successful one, even if it is expensive.
Blaser is an incredibly innovative company, the other gun makers in G slept for 100 years.

This summer I took a dear friend to our roebuck hunting ground.
He was very impressed when he noticed that he had forgotten the magazine of his R8 at the kitchen table.
And without the magazine, you can't fire a single shot with it.........................


@one day
A very nice report, Blaser is innovative, but it has not reinvented the wheel.
Nevertheless I am glad that you have so much fun with it.

in Africa I prefer a three leg stick.
When it gets wide and complicated, I always ask the tracker for his shoulder so that the elbow of my trigger hand stays still. Works dead sure.
 
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One Day...

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The second main reason why I bought a Blaser R8...

The second main reason why I bought a Blaser R8 is best illustrated by the two following pictures:

Bog Adrenaline & Blaser R8.jpg

Blaser R8 with .223 Rem barrel, Swarovski Z3 4-12x50 with Ballistic Turret, Leica laser range finder 2000 B with EHR (Equivalent Horizontal Range) output; Bog Pod Adrenaline fully adjustable shooting sticks, 6" steel plate, 300 yards shooting lane. The perfect safari training combination?

I made a mistake for my first safari. You see, I had been shooting competitively .22 LR 50 meters Olympic Rifle 3 Positions and English Match since I was in my mid 20's; I went through regimental sniper training with the French army in Germany; I have been hunting for 40+ years; I took up long distance (600 to 1,000 meters) steel plates shooting when I moved to the US 30 years ago; etc. I know how to shoot, and I do not need shooting practice to go on safari, right? WRONG!

It was not until I took my first shot in Africa that I realized I had never shot standing off the sticks. All my military training was prone on bipod; most of my .22 LR training was prone or kneeling - there is no standing stage in English Match, and only one stage standing in Rifle 3 Positions and it is off-hand; and most of my hunting involved mid to semi-long range shots leaning on something (rocks in the Alps, trees or stumps in America & Canada) or off-hand close range shots at running game in Europe. I had never practiced mid to long range shots standing off the sticks. Guess what? It showed... I was lucky that we collected all animals I shot, and using the big .340 Wby likely helped on some marginal shots, but I was not really proud of my shooting...

Since then, I have been fanatic about shooting standing off the sticks every weekend for months prior to going on safari, and this is the second main reason why I bought a Blaser R8: realistic training.

Realistic training - I have advocated on this blog shooting 5,000 rounds of .22 LR at a 6" steel plate at 150 yards with a quality, adult-size, .22 LR bolt rifle (Winchester 52, Remington 541T, Anschutz 14xx or 17xx series, Walther KKJ, CZ 452 and 457, etc.) before boarding the plane for Africa. I stand by this recommendation. Although I own both an Anschutz 1416 and a Walther KKJ, my favorite training rifle had been a heftier Winchester 52 with Zeiss glass. It approximated better the Mark V or CZ 550 I used in Africa.

Why a 6” steel plate? Because aside from the Tiny Ten, anything in Africa has a bigger vital area, and hitting a 6” vital area at 150 yards requires the same skills as hitting a 12” vital area at 300 yards.

Why 150 yards? Because this is about as far as practice .22 LR will go without arcing and dispersing too much.

Why .22 LR? because 500 rounds of Thunderbolt cost the same price as 8 rounds of .300 Wby…

Blaser were smart enough to recognize the training need and they provide a .22 LR conversion kit for the R8. At $1,400 public price for just a barrel, magazine insert and bolt head, this is obviously not a .22 LR designed for kids. Clearly this is intended for adult practice. Smart!

6 inch plate at 150 yd.JPG

Full size .22 LR Winchester 52, home made tripod sticks, 6" plate, 150 yards shooting lane. Great - infinitely better than none! - but imperfect safari training combination.

Weight, ergonomics, trigger, cheek position, manual of arms, etc. - The first problem with practicing a lot with a firearm different from the one actually used for hunting, is that we unconsciously acquire muscle memories with the weight, ergonomics, trigger, cheek position, manual of arms, etc. of the trainer. These do not translate directly to the hunting rifle. This is a weakness...

Therefore, from day one, I fully intended to buy a .22 LR R8 conversion…

But I did not…

Range - The second problem with .22 LR training is that you can stretch the range to 150 yards, but not much past it. To go from 100 to 150 yards with the Remington Thunderbolt ammo, I already need to click 4.5 MOA of correction. This is true rainbow trajectory, and if there is wind all bets are off. I tried 200 yards with the .22 LR. This is not really practical.

Besides, after bricks upon bricks of .22 Thunderbolt, the 6" plate at 150 yards has become fairly easy to hit...

So... upon long and careful consideration, I decided to NOT buy the Blaser .22 LR conversion, but to buy instead, for the same price, a fourth barrel & magazine insert (and a second bolt head) in .223 Rem. This is one of the smartest decisions I made with the R8...

This added all-ranges (up to 400+ yards) training to my regimen.

Sure, .223. ammo is more expensive than .22 LR ($0.39 per shot vs. $0.06 per shot) but 1,000 rounds bulk of Federal American Eagle 55 Grain FMJ only cost $390, and $0.39 per shot is still ten times cheaper than $3.85 per shot .300 Wby. This works for me...

How does this work? - I promptly removed the short stroke bolt stop on the .223 Rem magazine insert so that I would always practice the same long stroke as required with the .300 Wby and .375 H&H magazines, and I started shooting...

Boy, did I continue to learn!

1) I completely changed my stance behind the tripod. I knew that resting the rifle on the tripod and standing behind it was good to stabilize the crosshair in the 6" plate at 150 yards. Guess what? It sure does not work at 300 yards! Instead of placing 1 tripod leg forward and standing between the two rear legs, I now place two tripod legs forward and spread my legs on each side of the rear tripod leg, and I lean heavily into the tripod - the same way you would "load the bipod" leaning forward into it with a sniper rifle. This considerably steadies the crosshair.​
2) I rediscovered the importance of EHR (Equivalent Horizontal Range). Sure, the .223 flies flat, but not all that flat. To go from 100 yards to 300 yards still requires 3.5 MOA of correction, and past 200 yards every click counts. I calibrated the Swarovski Z3 ballistic turrets to the 55 gr load and initially experienced frustration with unexplained misses at 200 to 300 yards during the first sessions. Then it re-dawned on me. I shoot at 7,000 ft. elevation. Duuuhhhh! I quickly changed the Leica laser range finder setting to calculate EHR based on atmospheric pressure (and angle of shot - although this does not apply during my training as I shoot more or less horizontally) and a 200 yards distance became a 190 yards EHR, a 300 yards distance became a 280 yards EHR, etc. The plate started to ring...​
3) The fundamentals, the fundamentals, the fundamentals !!! Proper stance, respiration control, heartbeats control, body sway control (i.e. "load the tripod"), trigger control, etc. 150 yards forgive many sins. 300 yards do not...​

The results are amazing. Earlier this week, Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I went shooting (I am lucky that where I live in Arizona this only involves a 10 minutes trail ride to my favorite secret spot on public land). At 200, 250 and 300 yards, standing off the sticks, I hit the 6" plate 83% or the time: 25 hits for 30 shots. Misses were evenly distributed between the various distances, indicating shooting form errors rather. I need to continue practicing...

Do yourself a favor, if you live East and can only shoot 100 yards regularly, get the R8 .22 LR conversion. If you live further West and can shoot 300 yards regularly, get a R8 .223 Rem barrel. This will change your life...

A couple turns on the Blaser R8 barrel Allen Key and a quick bolt and magazine insert change to install in turn the .257 Wby then the .300 Wby barrels, and 3 shots from each confirm that the 30 to 50 rounds per session 300 yards training with the .223 Rem barrel directly and flawlessly transfers to the hunting calibers. Happiness! :)
 

One Day...

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I’m astounded by the weight of your rifles. My .300 Win Mag weighs just over 8 pounds and I wish it were lighter.
By the weight of your rifle, I assume you went with the heavy profile barrel channel and barrels?

No actually I did not. I have the standard barrel channel and the standard barrels with iron sights.

Here is the data. I weighed twice, one time in metric units and one time in imperial units so that it speaks to all AH members. As expected, the conversion from grams into lbs. comes within a few decimal points of the imperial measurements because I only use 4 decimal positions for the conversion. Close enough!

I might add that this is exactly the type of data - generally missing on the web - that was critical to my hesitations. A big thank you again to dchamp and Red Leg who weighed their various R8 components to help me make my decisions...

1606947587349.png


I selected to take a steel trigger group instead of an alloy trigger group. This adds 3.4 oz.

Note that the .257 is heavier than the .300, and the .300 is heavier than the .375, because all 3 barrels have the same external profile, and therefore different wall thicknesses. The .223 is lighter because its barrel is shorter (58 cm / 22.8" vs. 65 cm / 25.6").

The Blaser R8 is barrel heavy in standard form. Even more so, I imagine, with semi weight barrels. I added the 12 oz. kickstop for 4 reasons:

1) The rifle balances perfectly WITH the 12 oz. kickstop. It does not without it.​
2) The additional 1 lbs. absorbs recoil. This may come in handy in some awkward field shooting positions.​
3) I personally shoot better rifles that have a little heft.​
4) I am utterly incapable of differentiating a 10.5 lbs. rifle from a 9.5 lbs. rifle on my shoulder.​
I reckon that you can shave 1 lbs. without the kickstop and 1/2 lbs. with a lighter scope. This would make the scoped rifle about 9 lbs. even. Too light for my taste in .300 Wby or .375 H&H, and it would loose its balance, but to each their own :)

Blaser R8 balance with kickstop installed.jpg

The Blaser R8 balances beautifully with the 12 oz. kickstop installed. It is barrel heavy without the kickstop...
 
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bowjijohn

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I shoot free hand at an 8'' and 3'' disk @ 100m using a .22LR CZ 452 every day for training and have done so for the past 3 years.

Still can't guarantee hitting the 8'' disk 5 out of 5 times and think I'm doing well hitting the 3'' twice out of 5 on average

It is tremendously valuable practice but it is not an easy discipline (at least for me)

I deliberately stand squarer than perhaps a target shooter would recommend but I do so to mimic the stance I adopt with 9.3 and 404 Jeff

I recommend regularly shooting standing with no support - most people don't do enough of it
 

MMAL

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Great setup one day. You really went all out and now I am jealous. We have for all intensive purposes the same setup. Kreighoff double, my is in 500/416 and a blaser r8. I have a kilmobero stock and a composite stock. I have the 6.5 creedmoor, 300 win and 458 Lott. I really enjoy shooting the 6.5 and was using it this thanksgiving. My 11, 17, 19 year old and I were nailing a 4x6 inch swinging plate at 200 off sticks. At one point, the four of us went 12 for 12, 3 shots each. I just have such confidence in the setup. The only negative I can state is that I had to learn to shove the bolt forward. I can be gentle with it in bench and prone shooting and inadvertently leave it open. It results in the click of the bolt but the pin not striking the primer. Otherwise it is just awesome.

Have fun.
 

One Day...

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Two more things I did to optimize my R8...

In addition to adding the kickstop to achieve "between the hands" balance, I did two more things to optimize my R8...

Steel checkered bolt knob - I found that the plastic knob is a little too smooth and can be slippery. I upgraded to the steel checkered bolt knob. After a few hundred rounds of practice, I find it money well spent.

R8 steel checkered bolt handle knob.jpg



2.5 cm / 1" recoil pad - I wanted the length of pull to be slightly longer. I exchanged the standard 1.5 cm recoil pad for the 2.5 cm / 1" recoil pad. An added benefit is that it reduces noticeably the sharpness of the .300 Wby recoil.

R8 25 mm (1 inch) recoil pad.jpg


I recommend both of these :)
 
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One Day...

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Two outstanding design features of the Blaser R8...

Safety / cocking / decocking mechanism -
I was unfortunate to witness a few accidental discharges in the military and at the shooting range. Nobody was hurt, but these were scary. I also happen to know someone who was involved in an accidental discharge in Africa, that resulted in a fatality. A push feed rifle was handled by a group of people with live rounds being used to check a feeding issue. Unbeknownst to the rifle owner, in the process of checking the feed someone pushed a cartridge into the chamber and left it there. It was not picked up by the bolt extractor as the bolt was moved back & forth because the bolt was not closed on it and the extractor never engaged the groove. In the heat of the discussion the rifle changed hands several times before its owner checked visually that there was no ammo in the magazine, closed the bolt, and put the rifle back on the rear seat of the Toyota cruiser. The next time the rifle was taken off the vehicle, the person who took it touched the trigger when grabbing the rifle. The rifle fired. One woman died.

Of course, a long list of gun safety violations happened in succession in this sad true story, but the bottom line is that: had the rifle been a true CRF action, the bolt could not have been closed on top of the cartridge in the chamber (the main reason why I favor CRF over PF); and, had the rifle been a Blaser R8, the uncocked rifle could not have fired.

I always dry fire a rifle with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction after unloading it or handling it, and I ask my PH to witness and confirm the "click" of the dry firing, for his comfort as well as mine. I have also decided a long time ago NEVER to carry a loaded rifle when hunting, and to only chamber a round during the final approach when a shot is imminent. Following up wounded DG is obviously the only exception to that rule...

The Blaser R8 is as close to full-proof as possible, when it comes to safety and preventing accidental discharge. It automatically decocks when the trigger group/magazine is removed for loading; it does NOT automatically cock when a cartridge is loaded in the chamber; and it is physically impossible for the rifle to fire until it is manually cocked. In addition, the cocking piece requires enough physical effort so that cocking cannot be accomplished accidentally under virtually any scenario, and decocking the rifle on a live round in the chamber renders the rifle inert again.

Conversely, once manually cocked the R8 remains cocked when the rifle is repeated, thereby eliminating the weakness of the Blaser S2 that requires manual recocking after each reload.

I consider the R8 safety / cocking / decocking mechanism to be an immense improvement over traditional action-mounted, sear-blocking safeties that can allow the firing pin to jump the sear in a hard fall; and also as a significant improvement over bolt-mounted, firing pin-blocking safeties (a.k.a. Mauser "flag" safety or Winchester 3 positions safety) that still operate with the firing pin resting at the end of a fully compressed spring.

To owners of a Blaser S2 double rifle, and to people like me who favor the Krieghoff Classic Big Five double rifle, the Blaser R8 offers the additional great benefit of an identical "manual of arms" (i.e. identical manipulations in order to get the rifle to fire). This can be really useful in stressful situations when the conscious mind shuts down and the body reverts to the unconscious reflexes acquired during training...

Blaser R8 safety - cocking - decocking mechanism.jpg

The Blaser R8 safety / cocking / decocking mechanism: an immense improvement over traditional action-mounted, sear-blocking safeties that can allow the firing pin to jump the sear in a hard fall; and also a significant improvement over bolt-mounted, firing pin-blocking safeties (a.k.a. Winchester 3 positions safety) that still operate with the firing pin resting at the end of a fully compressed spring.


Barrel and scope mounts - Traditional rifles feature a barrel that is screwed into an action, and the action is bolted onto the stock. What this means is that during recoil the barrel pushes onto the action, and the action must be rigid enough to not bend between the barrel thread and the action screws. In practice, the action actually flexes minutely during recoil. This is the reason why the thumb cut in the left action wall of the Mauser K98 military action was removed in the Mauser magnum M98 commercial action; why short actions are used whenever possible on high precision rifles; and why benchrest actions do not have a magazine well cut in the bottom of the action.

Because the Blaser R8 does not actually have an action - the bolt locks directly inside the barrel, an outstanding feature of the R8 is that the barrel itself - not the action - is attached to the stock. There is nothing to flex...

How much does this feature contribute to the R8 accuracy, I do not know, but contribute it does...

Similarly, because the scope mount is attached to the barrel - not the action - the scope mount is not summited to flex forces as when the action of a traditional rifle flexes under recoil.

How much does this feature contribute to the R8 accuracy and scope QD repeatability, I do not know, but contribute it does...

Blaser R8 barrel and scope mounts mount.jpg

The Blaser R8 barrel attaches directly to the stock - not to an action. The R8 scope mount attaches directly to the barrel - not to an action. This removes from the accuracy and QD repeatability equations the action flexing under recoil. Clever...
 
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One Day...

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One thing has me curious. When I pick up an R8 I immediately try to lift the bolt handle. I know I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer and I feel that I would have trouble switching between turn bolt and straight pull. Do you find this to be an issue?
...
So I was converted in about 10 rounds of live fire.
...
It is a lot like using double triggers. After a remarkably short time, you don't even consciously realize which you are using.

In truth, when I was shooting side by side the R8 and CZ 550 to compare ergonomics and recoil, it was deliberate shooting and I did not focus on anything else. I do not think I had bolt handling confusion, but I simply do not remember...

Now after 500 rounds, I am in the same situation as I am with other different manual or arms: my body instinctively knows how to load an M1 .30 carbine, an M4 carbine, a turn bolt or the R8 just by grabbing the rifle. No conscious thought is involved :)

This is similar to my left foot and left hand knowing how to shift gear without me thinking when I get on the BMW R1200 GSA or K1300 S bikes, and I have never tried to shift gear the same way when I seat in the Ford F150 in Arizona or when I drive a manual shift Toyota Cruiser in Africa.
 

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@One Day... i heartily concur on the points listed.

I’d like to hear your opinion on the safety mechanism, which was once of the top selling points for me.

I don’t like loaded guns that require the safety to be turned off (yet remained cocked) prior to unloading. I also don’t like a safety switch that can be bumped off. Competent rifle handling should cure these issues... but what if you like to take new people hunting? Or how about teaching kids?

I’ll also add that a very light gun isn’t necessarily more accurate. When I leave the truck, tent or cabin on a mountain hunt in the Fall/winter I am fully kitted out with nearly 30 lbs of clothing, boots, rifle, water, backpack, knife, headlamps, etc. 1-2 lbs is not noticeable in a rifle. The extra rifle weight holds more steadily for an offhand shot.

Final note: I used the Blaser bipod this fall to take elk in Idaho and Montana and for a whitetail in Montana. It is light (6 Oz?) fits in my front left pocket, and can be deployed rapidly. A good Harris bipod weighs over 16 Oz and is fixed to the rifle, adding weight and causing it to be front heavy.
You're 100% not going to bump a blaser safety off, as it's the cocking mechanism too. Its east to manipulate when you intend to, but almost impossible to do on accident.

As far as having to actuate it to move the bolt, a gun should always be pointed in a safe direction with finger off the trigger. Unloading it isnt going to be done in a rush. However, if you needed the peace of mind than simply pull out the trigger/magazine assembly before turning the safety off to work the bolt and remove the chambered round
 

One Day...

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A Blaser R8 might not be for you if...

This reminds me of Jeff Foxworthy's "You Might Be a Redneck If…", but truly a Blaser R8 might not be for you if:
  • You cannot think of Africa without conjuring visions of Kenya or Tanganyika bush tented camp; 3 months full bag safari; a full battery consisting of an original Mannlicher Schoenauer 6.5x54 or maybe an original Mauser Oberndorf 7x57 "light"; an original Westley Richards .318, or maybe an original Holland & Holland .300 (after all, you ARE a modern man) "medium"; an original Holland & Holland .375 or may an original Rigby .416 "medium heavy"; and an original Rigby .450 #2 double "heavy", although a Holland & Holland .465 would do.
  • You believe that firearm design evolution ended toward the end of the 19th century when Anson & Deeley designed their boxlock in 1875, Bissel and Rigby their rising bite in 1879, Greener its ejector in 1880, Holland & Holland their Paradox in 1885, and of course Paul Mauser perfected its masterpiece in 1898.
  • "Classic" is the only criteria you use when evaluating African hunting hardware, practices, culture, etc.
  • The romantic appeal of re-creating your very own "Out of Africa" experience is the driving force behind your safari planning.

I guess than in such case, the R8 is definitely not for you, but I suspect that you also recoil with horror when someone mentions:
  • laser range finder;
  • Barnes, Swift, Peregrine, etc. or even Nosler bullets;
  • any propellant other than cordite (although you still have a soft spot for black powder 4 bore);
  • anything motorized other than Land Rover Series I;
  • Malarone (but you are a modern man, and you embrace Penicillin);
  • binoculars using coated lenses;
  • scopes using internal adjustments;
  • synthetic stocks - God forbid!
  • GoreTex, Fleece, PrimeFlex and other such fabrics, or PrimaLoft insulation;
  • camouflaged hunting clothes;
  • jet passenger airplanes that fly non-stop from USA to Africa;
  • etc.

Out of Africa.JPG

A Blaser R8 might not be for you if this is your vision of an African safari...

If such is the case... and you are wealthy, and you accept modern production, only Mauser, Rigby and a very few others can truly do. If you insist on classic pieces, the choice is a little more open with a number of British golden era rifles exchanging hands at prices that make any high grade R8 look dirt cheap.

If such is the case... and you are NOT wealthy, I continue to think that an AHR upgraded and tuned up CZ 550 is probably the best value for a traditional and affordable genuine Mauser system magnum length DG rifle.

As to the other paraphernalia (modern bullets; modern optics; modern opto-electronics; modern clothing; etc.) they can easily be eschewed.

Things get a little more complicated regarding "classic" Africa, because it essentially does not exist anymore, and there is not much safari (original Swahili meaning: journey) in a modern South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana or Zimbabwe hunt, although there is still a small market in Tanzania for nostalgic outings, but they will cost you dearly...
:A Camping:

As to me... I was on the big Mauser system magnum length romantic bandwagon myself, until I finally came to grip with the fact that I will never "have a farm in Africa" :cry: and that my kit choices (laser range finder, TTSX and TSX bullets, optics, clothing, etc.), and the hunts I can afford ("hunts" not "safaris"), belied my rifle nostalgia :unsure:.

It was a hard page to turn, but after I finally turned it and buried Denys Finch Hatton, there was no going back... although for the time being I still intend to keep my .470 NE double rifle :ROFLMAO:
 
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Ridgewalker

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Excellent info and analysis from your perspective! Thanks!
I have fired a Blaser R8 a few times and find a few potential issues.
One if you have arthritic hands or possibly carpal tunnel or other issues that affect your thumb (skier’s floppy thumb), you may have a problem cocking/decocking the Blaser action.
Another, I like light rifles to hunt the mountains of Colorado. Blasers are by no means a light mountain rifle by today’s standards.
If you’re a blued steel and walnut fan, I doubt you will find the same warm feeling with any Stainless steel and synthetic rifle or Blaser.
Speaking of synthetic, Blaser’s are injection molded polymers and not even hand layed Kevlar or fiberglass.
Looking at a Blaser comparing it to a typical bolt action rifle it appears there are substantially more parts. Most are injection molded plastic. How long these will last compared to steel, who knows. The trigger control is removed to load ammo into it and the magazine. How long and how many times will the “ clips” hold up?
Another issue is Blasers only hold 3 rounds in the magazine. Most traditional rifles hold 4 or 5 rounds. I don’t believe I’ve ever fired 3 rounds at a single animal, but just thought I’d mention that so no one expects the same as their current traditional rifle.

Whine, whine, whine! I’ll quit whining once I’ve sold enough of my traditional rifles to get a Blaser. The selling point for me is how well it packs! Keep an eye out for when I start selling my SS and synthetic rifles!!!
 

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I’ve enjoyed reading this review as well, very detailed and thorough. I have rented R8s on roe buck hunts and have really liked the rifles during those hunts. But Ridgewalker in his post above me brought up my main issue in ever buying one. I can’t accept the magazine and trigger being a single unit as a good design. Removing and reinserting the trigger assembly can only lead to problems. If I should damage the clip in any of my other rifles I still have one shot, if I damage the clip in a blaser I can’t pull the trigger.
 

Philip Glass

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No actually I did not. I have the standard barrel channel and the standard barrels with iron sights.

Here is the data. I weighed twice, one time in metric units and one time in imperial units so that it speaks to all AH members. As expected, the conversion from grams into lbs. comes within a few decimal points of the imperial measurements because I only use 4 decimal positions for the conversion. Close enough!

I might add that this is exactly the type of data - generally missing on the web - that was critical to my hesitations. A big thank you again to dchamp and Red Leg who weighed their various R8 components to help me make my decisions...

View attachment 377375

I selected to take a steel trigger group instead of an alloy trigger group. This adds 3.4 oz.

Note that the .257 is heavier than the .300, and the .300 is heavier than the .375, because all 3 barrels have the same external profile, and therefore different wall thicknesses. The .223 is lighter because its barrel is shorter (58 cm / 22.8" vs. 65 cm / 25.6").

The Blaser R8 is barrel heavy in standard form. Even more so, I imagine, with semi weight barrels. I added the 16 oz. kickstop for 4 reasons:

1) The rifle balances perfectly WITH the 16 oz. kickstop. It does not without it.​
2) The additional 1 lbs. absorbs recoil. This may come in handy in some awkward field shooting positions.​
3) I personally shoot better rifles that have a little heft.​
4) I am utterly incapable of differentiating a 10.5 lbs. rifle from a 9.5 lbs. rifle on my shoulder.​
I reckon that you can shave 1 lbs. without the kickstop and 1/2 lbs. with a lighter scope. This would make the scoped rifle about 9 lbs. even. Too light for my taste in .300 Wby or .375 H&H, and it would loose its balance, but to each their own :)

View attachment 377374
The Blaser R8 balances beautifully with the 16 oz. kickstop installed. It is barrel heavy without the kickstop...
I enjoy my R8 but I wish it was lighter. That is my only complaint. Shoots good though and I took 4 coyotes with it today! 6.5 PRC with a thunder Beast Ultra 5 suppressor.
Thanks for your write up on your new R8.
Philip
 

Tra3

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You're 100% not going to bump a blaser safety off, as it's the cocking mechanism too. Its east to manipulate when you intend to, but almost impossible to do on accident.

As far as having to actuate it to move the bolt, a gun should always be pointed in a safe direction with finger off the trigger. Unloading it isnt going to be done in a rush. However, if you needed the peace of mind than simply pull out the trigger/magazine assembly before turning the safety off to work the bolt and remove the chambered round
I’m not sure if I explained myself well: When the R8 safety is on, you don’t need to take it off safe to remove the chambered round, a slight push of the safety (but not enough to cock it) and the action will open. It is a better design than having to put a rifle to the fire position to remove the round.
 

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First, Oneday thank you for the kind words.

Excellent info and analysis from your perspective! Thanks!
I have fired a Blaser R8 a few times and find a few potential issues.
One if you have arthritic hands or possibly carpal tunnel or other issues that affect your thumb (skier’s floppy thumb), you may have a problem cocking/decocking the Blaser action.
Another, I like light rifles to hunt the mountains of Colorado. Blasers are by no means a light mountain rifle by today’s standards.
If you’re a blued steel and walnut fan, I doubt you will find the same warm feeling with any Stainless steel and synthetic rifle or Blaser.
Speaking of synthetic, Blaser’s are injection molded polymers and not even hand layed Kevlar or fiberglass.
Looking at a Blaser comparing it to a typical bolt action rifle it appears there are substantially more parts. Most are injection molded plastic. How long these will last compared to steel, who knows. The trigger control is removed to load ammo into it and the magazine. How long and how many times will the “ clips” hold up?
Another issue is Blasers only hold 3 rounds in the magazine. Most traditional rifles hold 4 or 5 rounds. I don’t believe I’ve ever fired 3 rounds at a single animal, but just thought I’d mention that so no one expects the same as their current traditional rifle.

Whine, whine, whine! I’ll quit whining once I’ve sold enough of my traditional rifles to get a Blaser. The selling point for me is how well it packs! Keep an eye out for when I start selling my SS and synthetic rifles!!!
2nd.
Ridgewalker I too have severe arthritis in both hands. The R8 is still my preferred rifle. Although I totally I understand the pain you may have operating the safety/disconnect.

The R8 also comes in a wood stock if you prefer. If you want a light mountain rifle; Blaser makes a K95 single shot that is light weight and trim with a wood stock. I am seriously considering a K95 in .257Wby and what has become one of my favorite calibers 8x68s.

I think most of the trigger group is either an alloy and/or steel, depending, with only the magazine being a polymer. I have owned Blaser R8's for several years now with year round use and have never had a problem or concern with their durability.

Blasers don't have clips but their polymer magazines do fit into the magazine wells in the trigger group assembly. Sorry but clips and magazines are a pet peeve of mine.

You can top load directly into the magazine as you can with any other bolt action rifle or if you like, you can remove the trigger group and load directly into the magazine, or you can have an extra trigger group preloaded for a somewhat quick reload.

As far as cartridge capacity; it depends on caliber. The volume of the magazine is what it is. Some hold more, some hold less.
 

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As to me... I was on the big Mauser system magnum length romantic bandwagon myself, until I finally came to grip with the fact that I will never "have a farm in Africa" :cry: and that my kit choices (laser range finder, TTSX and TSX bullets, optics, clothing, etc.), and the hunts I can afford ("hunts" not "safaris"), belied my rifle nostalgia :unsure:.
EXACTLY
 

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Obviously OneDay puts a lot of thought into his purchases. An excellent step toward avoiding "buyer remorse"

Two things come to mind from my perspective as having previously used a Blaser R93, and now an R8.

1/ Primary extraction. I see it repeatedly stated that a straight pull such as the Blaser has no camming power on extraction. I don't think this is correct. I have experienced mildly stuck cases in a couple of calibres (insufficient sizing usually, but also excessive pressure), and in each case it certainly felt as if the initial rearward movement of the bolt handle was exerting some sort of leverage prior to the bolt freeing the case, fully unlocking, and starting to move rearward. There is no reason why the rotation of the handle shaft couldn't be designed to create some mechanical advantage.
I have never attempted to pull a bolt apart (nor will I) to examine the internals and substantiate, or otherwise, my thoughts on this.

2/ Despite the benefits of the Blaser system, I am not comfortable with the Teutonic complexity of the bolt and the trigger. A look at the underside of the bolt when it is removed shows the existence of a great many complex moving parts, and the little box containing the trigger mechanism is truly a "pandora's box"
All these elements are very well designed and made, and verifiable reports of mechanical failure are all but non- existent, however "KISS" seem to not be in the German vocabulary when it comes to Blaser (and some other) firearms.

3/ And yes. OneDay, you nailed it with your observations re everthing attaching to the barrel. I have frequently explained to people who get confused by the design that there is no action. Blaser have started with a barrel and then added a rather complex breech plug (bolt), stock and scope mounting point - ALL attached to the barrel. Definitely fresh thinking on display there.
 

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Those who have never used one, but are convinced a Blaser is too complicated or too delicate or too whatever, really should try to put a few rounds down range. It is sort of like deciding to only use a S&W model 10 because a Glock must be too flimsy with all those polymer and alloy bits and pieces. I am blessed to have a lot of very fine rifles. I use them often. But when it comes to an expensive hunt involving air travel, and that first shot has to be in exactly the correct spot, it is no contest. I use my R8 because it is the best option for such a hunt.
 
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