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

Philip Glass

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They can be cycled slowly and quietly if required

On the point of the 'safety catch'

It is a first class idea and the rifle is certainly unable to fire when the safety (or rather cocking slide) is all the way back

However it takes a bit of effort to slide the safety into the firing position as you are in effect loading the firing pin spring.

When I first got my R8 - about 3 years ago - I made the mistake (only once !) of anchoring my trigger finger around the trigger to help with the force required from the thumb.

Don't do It !

The rifle fires instantly the safety lever is forward if your finger is on the trigger - !! of course !!

Having my trigger finger anywhere near the trigger is not something I'd dream of doing with a standard safety, but on this occasion I was looking to help the thumb when encountering considerable resistance of the safety slide
I had a PH in Namibia tell me he had a few R8 owners have AD when taking the safety off. I can see how it can happen but I am so conditioned to keep my finger away from the trigger until ready to fire it’s never happened to me.
It is nice to have a gun that is very safe to keep loaded while in the field.
 

Philip Glass

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How many hunters out there do not realize that they can buy today a complete R8 rifle in any caliber up to .375 H&H for $3,300?



Currently (December 2020), Bob, the best price in the US for a complete "standard" barrel R8 Professional rifle in any caliber up to .375 H&H is with Cove Creek Outfitters for $3,300.

View attachment 377619

Notwithstanding some dealers who have $4,000+ stickers on a "standard" barrel R8 Professional, the typical pricing with most dealers in the US is around $3,700.

View attachment 377625

I personally ordered my R8 for $2,999 from Cove Creek in August and experienced great service.

Additional "standard" barrels in any caliber up to .375 H&H typically sell for $1,100 to $1,200.

View attachment 377620

View attachment 377626

Barrel prices essentially double for "semi weight" or fluted barrels, and triple for "safari" barrels.

Down Under?

Today's Australian dollar exchange is US $0.74, therefore, assuming similar distribution profit margins (?) a complete R8 Professional should start in the AUD 4,500 - 5,000 range; a second "standard" barrel should start around AUD 1,500; and a Blaser scope mount should start around AUD 600.

The scope(s) can come from the donor rifle(s) you will never use again and you will resell after you have your R8 :)

It looks like the prices you have for scope mounts (AUD 870) and barrels (AUD 1,800), Bob, are a bit higher than what most dealers charge in the US, but a "standard" barrel R8 Professional complete rifle for AUD 8,000+ (almost US $6,000) is surprising. It seems worth double checking...

R8 prices have a way to take off to ridiculous heights as soon as you depart from the "standard" barrel Professional rifle. The example that dissuaded me from buying initially was the steel receiver R8 Professional: it is ~3 times, or ~$3,000, more expensive than the alloy receiver R8 Professional !?!?!? As I wrote at the time: steel must be pretty expensive in Germany!

View attachment 377622

View attachment 377623


It could very well be, Bob, that you are looking at a steel receiver stock, which you do not need unless you desire an additional 1 lbs. of weight.

You may actually be in the shoes I was, Bob:
--- I was not a buyer for a US $7,500 R8 .375 H&H with steel receiver and "semi weight" or "safari" barrel, but
--- I was a happy buyer for a US $3,000 R8 .375 H&H with alloy receiver and "standard" barrel once I was reliably informed that I did not need a steel receiver for any caliber from a mechanical strength perspective.

And once I was reliably informed that a R8 .375 H&H with alloy receiver, kickstop and "standard" barrel would already weigh ~10.5 lbs. with the scope I wanted to put on it (Leica 2.5-10x42), I picked up the phone to order...

Since it took me considerable research, and sorting through a number of inaccurate or incomplete websites and misinformed salesmen to get these information, I really hope that this review will help other AH members make educated decisions :)
And you can get the Pro S model for $3140 on Gunbroker maybe cheaper on Cove Creek. The Pro S does not have a detachable Mag is the difference. My son has the Pro S and I really don’t miss having a detachable Mag when using his gun.
Philip
 

Tanks

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For a lefty that has to build rifles from scratch the cost of an R8 Pro is a wash. If I wasn't so invested in my other rifles the R8 might have been tempting.
 

One Day...

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I can't say enough good things about my Blaser R8. The only complaint I have is the recoil pad, on a heavy recoiling rifle the genuine Blaser recoil pads on the synthetic stocks are just not up to scratch IMO. I am actually having a 1" decelerator fitted to my R8 tomorrow.

As indicated in a previous post, Blaser offers a 2.5 cm (1") pad.
I find that it makes a significant difference in the sharpness of the recoil :)

R8 25 mm (1 inch) recoil pad.jpg
 

BeeMaa

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I really want a 300 H&H (too bad), 375 H&H, and a 404 Jeffery (which is probably not available either). I will probably buy a R8 Pro S in 375 H&H and add a 7x57 (not 300 H&H).


Ridgewalker and Beemaa, you are probably both right about the custom stock cost and complexity. The stocks I see on auction sites are overly expensive, sometimes more than a complete rifle.
Forgot to mention this.
There are other companies making R8 stocks.
One company is GRS and they make a few different ones.
They are not inexpensive, but quality comes at a price.

There are used R8's on GI in 375H&H.
Keep your eyes open for a deal.
With the information in this thread alone...
You should be well armed to spend wisely.
 

Jfet

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Just joined the Team Blaser with an R8 Pro Series with black stock and a .300 Win Mag barrel. I will soon be adding a .375 H & H barrel. WHOOOOOOOP!!!!
 

One Day...

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My R8 in 500 Jeffery only weighs 10.5lbs with a safari barrel, steel receiver, kick stop recoil reducer and Blaser RD17 red dot. No way it's getting anywhere near 13.5lbs even with an extremely heavy scope.

Actually it does :)

The 13.5 lbs. figures comes from BeeMaa in post #239 in the Blaser R8 for Dangerous Game thread (https://www.africahunting.com/threads/blaser-r8-for-dangerous-game.53390/page-12#post-630350)

Yeah, I just put it on a scale and I think I need to put it on a diet.
13.5# with scope, mount, sling and ammo pouch...and no ammo by the way.
The kickstop will most likely be coming out.

The two different figures are both correct, and easily understood:

1) The .416 Selous barrel has the same profile (22 mm at the muzzle) as the .500 Jeff Selous barrel, but thinner walls. I am speculating it easily weighs 200 gr (7 oz.) more.

2) It is possible Aussie_Hunter has the so-called 12 oz. kickstop - I say "so-called 12 oz." because mine actually weighs 10 oz. - and BeeMaa has the 16 oz. kickstop.

3) Obviously BeeMaa's Swarovski Z8i 1-8x24 scope & mount are much heavier than Aussie_Hunter's Blaser Red Dot & mount.

4) Assuming 7 oz. each for BeeMaa's leather sling and leather stock ammo pouch seems reasonable.

The numbers actually compute...

1606946867185.png
 
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BeeMaa

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To clear up any confusion on my FAT rifle.
This is the 416RM configuration.
1606947350727.png

1606947383729.png

1606947413251.png

Ready to hunt at 5981.5 grams (13# 1.6 oz).
I removed the buttstock shell holder...it added too much weight.
 

Red Leg

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Newby

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As indicated in a previous post, Blaser offers a 2.5 cm (1") pad.
I find that it makes a significant difference in the sharpness of the recoil :)

View attachment 377918
@One Day... That's a handy piece of info. I was unaware of the 25mm pad and last time I looked (a while ago) it didn't show on the configurator. Only the standard 15 and the 20mm.

That highlights another feature of the R8 synthetic stocks, and that is LOP options. Bare stock has, IIRC three different lengths available in 5mm increments, and we also have three different pad thicknesses, also in 5mm increments. That's a lot of choice ex factory which I don't think is offered by any other manufacturer.
 

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I had a PH in Namibia tell me he had a few R8 owners have AD when taking the safety off. I can see how it can happen but I am so conditioned to keep my finger away from the trigger until ready to fire it’s never happened to me.
It is nice to have a gun that is very safe to keep loaded while in the field.
Anyone who can do that with an R8 can do it with any rifle. Dangerous people to be around.
 

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I've been following this post with great enthusiasm. I do have a question; for all these different calibers you got, did you have to get different bolt head for each? Thank you for such in depth review. Maybe I should ask Santa for one. LOL!!!!
 

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I've been following this post with great enthusiasm. I do have a question; for all these different calibers you got, did you have to get different bolt head for each? Thank you for such in depth review. Maybe I should ask Santa for one. LOL!!!!
The calibers are broken into groups.
Each group requires it's own bolt head.
Everything I have is in the "MA" group except the 22lr.
So I shoot 300WM, 375H&H and 416RM with the same bolt head.
It's also why I'd choose the 257WBY as my sub 30 caliber rifle.
1606959079402.png
 

One Day...

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The review... Part 4 - the R8 mechanical complexity...

There is no arguing, the Blaser R8 bolt carrier and trigger mechanisms are far more mechanically complex than those of a Mauser 98 :ROFLMAO:

R8 bolt carrier.jpg

The Blaser R8 bolt carrier and locking mechanism is far more mechanically complex than the Mauser 98 bolt

R8 bolt carrier cut-out.JPG

Blaser R8 bolt carrier and locking mechanism. Complex...

And the trigger mechanism is entirely different. Blaser describes it as a "desmodromic trigger mechanism that guarantees that the trigger will function even when iced or heavily soiled."

I knew what this meant because my Ducati Monster 1000 S bike had desmodromic valves. In general terms a desmodromic mechanical system is a system where parts movements are caused by other camming parts. For example, desmodromic valves are classically opened by a cam, but they are NOT closed by a spring. Rather, they are also closed by a cam. Applied to a trigger, this means that the trigger engagement with the sear is not caused by a spring, but by a series of camming parts.

R8 trigger compartment.jpg

Blaser R8 desmodromic trigger compartment

R8 Desmodromic trigger.JPG

Blaser R8 desmodromic trigger mechanism. No spring...

A desmodromic trigger mechanism indeed makes it virtually impossible for ice or gunk to prevent the trigger from engaging the sear, and it dispenses trigger weight adjustment from relying on a spring that will ultimately weaken with age, or can harden with cold temperatures.

Good? Bad? or Indifferent?

A few thoughts come to mind:

Factually, the R8 has a great and very consistent trigger. How much of that is owed to the desmodromic design, I do not know. Conceptually, desmodromic action is indeed more repeatable and more reliable than spring action (hence the use in Ducati race bikes engines), I get that, but I am also on record stating that a well adjusted Timney trigger, or similar, is every bit as good as a R8 trigger. Would the spring on a Timney trigger weaken in 100 or 200 years? likely; could it break in -100 degree temperature? possibly; but I will admit that this does not overly bother me...

Conversely, the R8 locking and triggering mechanisms certainly involve a lot more and a lot smaller parts than those - essentially the same - of a Mauser, Winchester, Remington, Sako, etc. A part of me is tempted to find fault with this, and a part of me is tempted to say "so what?"

This reminds me of the same type of discussion in the long distance Adventure motorcycling world (cross Alaska off road, cross Rocky Mountains off road, cross Western deserts off road, etc.) between proponents of zero electronics bikes supposedly easily fixable on the trail, and proponents of modern bikes with which admittedly the only tool worth carrying is a credit card...

After riding from Kalispell, Montana, to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, mostly off road, including the famous Dalton Highway prominently featured in the TV series Ice Road Truckers; crossing Death Valley; crisscrossing the Rockies repeatedly; and visiting every National Park and National Monument West of the Mississippi on a BMW 1200 GSA - with my wife on her BMW GS 800 - on which the only thing I could possibly do in the field is patch a puncture or change of lightbulb, I am personally at peace with reliable modern designs and technologies.

Would I prefer a Mauser 98 for a 3 years foot safari across uncharted 1800's Africa? Yes, probably. Am I concerned with the Blaser R8 mechanical complexity for a 3 weeks hunt in modern Africa after testing its reliability weekly for months on end before going? No...

I've been following this post with great enthusiasm. I do have a question; for all these different calibers you got, did you have to get different bolt head for each? Thank you for such in depth review. Maybe I should ask Santa for one. LOL!!!!

The .257 Wby, .300 Wby and .375 H&H are all using the parent .375 H&H case, so they share the same bolt head. The .233 Rem uses a different bolt head :)
 
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Ed Lally

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Excellent thread. I also have a safe and a half full of "favorite" rifles obtained and filtered through over the past 55 years. I purchased an R8 about 5 years ago and have slowly added barrels so that I now have .22-250 through .458 Lott covered, each barrel with a dedicated scope. I have started divesting my "favorite" rifles to my heirs just to clean out my overcrowded safe. I find the R8, in Professional and Safari configurations, more pleasurable to shoot and hunt with than the many other rifles I have "loved" for decade's. For practice, I purchased a Browning T-bolt in .22 WMR with a heavy laminated stock. Close to the same weight and the same straight pull action as the R8. While hunting, I enjoy having the same "feel" and trigger without regard to caliber. The only rifle I use now, outside of my R8 system, is my Krieghoff .470 NE. If you have a safe full of "favorite" rifles, I suggest that you sell several and make the switch to an R8 system. You will not be disappointed.
 

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As indicated in a previous post, Blaser offers a 2.5 cm (1") pad.
I find that it makes a significant difference in the sharpness of the recoil :)

View attachment 377918
I was more referring to the actually pad material rather than thickness, it's definitely not comparable to the performance of a decelerator or kick eez.
 

MMAL

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One-day thank you for the excellent job. One thing no one has mentioned is the blaser atzi trigger mechanism. As one day has mentioned the whole trigger/magazine comes out. The atzi trigger is the same but it has a two setting changed by moving a simple switch. A hunting setting that keeps the trigger pull at @1.5 pounds. But by simple moving the switch to the match setting the trigger pull drops to .5 pounds. I do not have this trigger but I will tell you one of the top three things I love about my r8 is the consistent, no creep, crisp, repeatable trigger. I can only imagine what the match trigger is like.
 

One Day...

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To clear up any confusion on my FAT rifle.
This is the 416RM configuration.
1607018606206.png

Thank you for the data BeeMaa. This is very interesting, and it would be fascinating if you could weigh separately your 416 barrel and your kickstop.

I am willing to bet that you will have the same experience I had: I ordered my R8 with a 16 oz. kickstop, but when I weighed my kickstop, it actually weighs 10 oz. This was unexpected because Blaser does not have a 10 oz. kickstop but offers a 12 oz. and a 16 oz. I suspect that the "12 oz. kickstop" actually weighs 10 oz. and that there was a bit of confusion when the kickstop was installed in my rifle...

Here is mine:

R8 12 oz. kickstop.jpg


I discovered this because the math did not compute for my rifle using 16 oz., just as it does not compute for your rifle: it should be at about 5 kg / 11 lbs. with a 16 oz. kickstop and it is only at 4.8 kg / 10.6 lbs. The difference in the two kickstops makes up for the difference (although I am speculating the weight of the .416 barrel because I do not have one to weigh).

1607017486756.png


I spoke to Cove Creek about this and they have no explanation... I also spoke to Blaser USA, but they are temporarily unable to verify because they are entirely out of stock on kickstops...

In essence this does not have a tremendous real world implication for me because my rifle with "standard" barrels balances well with the "12 oz." kickstop that actually weighs 10 oz. in the stock.

But for those who have "semi weight" or "safari" barrels, the 6 additional oz. in the stock are probably needed to balance the rifle, owing to a heavier barrel.

And in any case, those of us who have a professional life based on understanding data, like the math to compute ;)
 
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Ridgewalker

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OK...”truth in posting”...as mentioned before in a couple of posts, I suffer from the desire to experiment. Reading posts in the past about Blaser’s and having a friend who owns one in 308, I had to get one even before I could afford it. The opportunity arose when I realized I was not going to be returning to Africa in 2020. Thus I had the funds To purchase one.
I haven’t fired half the rounds through mine that One Day... has, but will be getting there.
In July I ordered an R8 with 223, 6.5 Creedmoor, 30-06 and 375 H&H barrels. As did Pascal the 223 will be used for mostly practice. The 6.5 CM for predators, deer, maybe hogs and as a backup for my granddaughter’s 7mm-08 when I take her out. The 30-06 (I have a passion for the cartridge!) I probably should have gotten a 300 WM or Bee for my PG round in Africa, but I just have so many great loads for the 30-06. It will do 90% of what the magnums will do. (just 50 yards closer).

Field failures don’t worry me because (unless I am backpacking in) I always take a spare rifle. In Africa, the PHes always have spare rifles for hire.

There, I’ve spilled the beans! I really wanted to have a good evaluation of it before I committed to a report, but One day... has done such a complete analysis, so no need for me to say any more. Excellent report sir!
 

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