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

TheWhitetailNut

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A concession to classic looks, or an oversight?

I find it fascinating TOBY, that Blaser decided to put a front swivel barrel band on their Selous barrels, and I have been wondering if it is a concession to classic looks, or an oversight? Neither seem to align with Blaser's resolutely new design/new looks philosophy, nor attention to details...

Back to the basics, the only reason why front swivels are attached to a barrel band on high recoil DG rifles, is to prevent a front swivel stud from cutting into the palm web of the shooter's hand during recoil.

Blaser has addressed this with the other way to deal with the issue, which is to locate the front swivel stud at the end of the forearm, out of the way of a shooter's hand sliding forward on the forearm under severe recoil.

View attachment 381502
R8 front swivel stud located at the end of the forearm, out of the way of a shooter's hand sliding forward on the forearm under severe recoil.

A front swivel barrel band is therefore not NEEDED on a R8 barrel in this configuration.

All R8 wood stocks in non-DG calibers (R8 Jaeger, Luxus, Attache, Baroness, Intuition); all R8 Success stocks (wood and Pro synthetic); and all R8 Pro synthetic stocks come with a front swivel stud located at the end of the forearm. The lone exception seems to be the R8 Classic Sporter (see Red Leg's rifle), now discontinued.

Interestingly, it seems that there is little consistency in front swivel studs being attached, or not, to Blaser Pro Big Bore synthetic stocks (Blaser now apparently call it the R8 PH). I have personally seen R8 Pro Big Bore stocks (steel receiver, 22 mm Selous barrels channel) with and without front swivel studs... For example, BeeMaa's rifle has one.

The Kilombero and Selous wood stocks appear to consistently NOT have a front swivel stud. Since other wood stocks do have front swivel studs, it seems that only a concern for classic looks would have motivated Blaser to make the Kilombero and Selous wood stocks without a front swivel stud... As a result, one on the "Selous" type barrel (with front swivel barrel band) is needed with those... I wonder how people do when they install a non-Selous barrel (without a front swivel barrel band) on a Kilombero or Selous stock that does not have a front swivel stud... The argument that they do not for aesthetics reason is weak, because even the .300 Win Mag Selous barrel shows a 1/16th inch gap on each side in the Kilombero and Selous wood stocks, for it is only 19 mm while the stocks channel is 22 mm...

Anyway... I would not bother with a front swivel barrel band on barrels going onto a R8 stock with front swivel stud at the end of the forearm. It is not needed :)
That's not the only reason. High recoil DG rifle also have alot more steel north of the action screw (or what would be the balance point on a mere mortal turnbolt). I had the band put on because then my sling is hung 3" further forward. This will prevent the rifle from spinning off my shoulder all day. Little something I hated carrying a heavy Varmint rifle years ago and didn't wish to repeat in the heat of Africa.
 

TheWhitetailNut

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Hello Steve;

I know that it is easy to add (or remove) a front swivel stud at the end of a R8 synthetic stock, because it is easy to change the tip of a R8 synthetic stock. It only involves one bolt.

View attachment 381505

I do not know how the ebony tip is attached to a Kilombero stock. I suspect that it may be glued permanently in place with wood dowel(s), the way it is usually done.

It would be interesting to see how the ebony tip is attached on the R8 Jaeger, Luxus, Attache, Baroness and Intuition wood stocks. I would expect that a swivel stud rod is drilled fairly deep into the forearm, lengthwise, to act as a dowel for the attachment of the tip AND provide strength to the stud to avoid splitting the forearm/tip with a shallow swivel attachment.

@BeeMaa's wife has an Intuition. Maybe we can ask him to show us a picture of the forearm channel showing how the ebony tip is attached. My speculation is that there is not bolt to see, but I could be wrong...

I see no reason why a front swivel stud rod (or long screw) could not be drilled lengthwise and epoxied in place in a Kilombero forearm, but I would only have a very qualified stock-smith do that, or maybe Blaser could retrofit this for you. I suggest calling or emailing Andre Gorjup, their US Gunsmith and Technical Service Manager, at (210) 377-2527 / andrej.gorjup@blaser-group.us. Andrej is very competent and very pleasant to deal with :)



I looked into the custom barrels possibility when I bought my .300 Wby barrel. Initially I wanted a true 26" barrel (and I toyed with the concept of a 28" barrel)...

FYI, after discovering that some folks had issues with either J. Sip and Sons and/or Palehorse Zero barrels, I decided to ONLY use Blaser barrels, because loosing 1" of barrel length to the R8 barrel locking recess was not worth running the risk of getting an after market barrel that may or may not live up to my expectations as surely as a Blaser barrel would.

Maybe those issues were early teething issues and maybe both makers have things under control now... The machining (likely CNC) on TheWhitetailNut's barrel seems well done...

Considering that Blaser offers both a .416 Rem and a .458 Lott barrel, the safe path would be to go with either of these to make a R8 a .40+ rifle.

However, the Blaser $3,000+ pricing for these barrels is ridiculous in my view. It is hard to see in this anything other than Blaser taking advantage of their Safari-going customers (assumed to be wealthy I guess...). As I said before, call it misplace pride on my part...

Thank God, I did not need one of these barrels because my .40+ is a Krieghoff .470 NE double...
Some of the machining such as the fluting is spectacular, even the skip flute is exactly as I specified. PZ said Kreiger does all of that. Machining the final profile that mates into the receiver and the lockup recess (done by PZ) does have fine tool marks but you really have to be picky to see them.

I have much more shooting to do, but the barrel seems very accurate.
 

TOBY458

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I've been noticing some Pro S Safari rifles in 458 Lott on GB. They are going for $5500.00. Of course these are the rifles with the non detachable magazine. But in my view, this would be desirable in a heavy recoiling rifle meant for DG. The regular Pro Safari in the same caliber is $600.00 more. As for the non detachable magazine, I have yet to load my Professional by taking the magazine out. I always load from the top. So not sure I'd miss that feature.
 

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