By Jeff Johnston, FE Hunting & Shooting Editor
For years I’ve envied Blaser’s R8 rifle for its fast, straight-pull bolt design. But starting at $4,000 and going up to $15K, it just seemed like too damn much money for a bolt-action rifle when I’ve got scores of accurate $700 Savages, Remingtons and Winchesters in my safe. The Blaser just felt like a bit of a novelty to me—something for those to whom money is no object.
But since using several Blasers extensively and witnessing nightmares unfold at airports the world over, I’ve about come to the reality that it’s stupid for me not to buy one. Hell, I’m thinking about selling six of my bolt guns to buy one Blaser R8 with a three barrel set.
Why? Several reasons: It’s consistently the most accurate hunting gun in my safe. The one I’m testing now in 6.5 CM is a half-minute rifle. The damn things are just lasers. And with a three-barrel set—I prefer a .243, a .300 Win. Mag. and a .416 Rem. Mag, I can literally hunt anything with it. They even make a .22 LR. How cool is that?
Its cocking mechanism makes it the safest bolt gun in the business, while also being the fastest, and its scope mount system is designed by Germans as only Germans can do it. I’ve tested it and the gun returns to zero every time even after it’s disassembled and the scope removed.
But the best thing about the rifle? It breaks down in seconds via one simple hand tool, into four simple parts that all fit in an inconspicuous tennis racket–plus-sized case. This is invaluable for air travel, where obvious gun cases stick out like sore thumbs and invite scrutiny by customs, police and thieves alike.
On several occasions after flights got canceled–as they invariably do these days–and when I’ve had to make last minute decisions while standing on the curb at airports, I’ve had taxis pull up that simply can’t fit a standard 5-foot rifle case in the trunk. It’s like traveling with an albatross, even as you try to lug in through the airport and to a hotel to sort things out.
To hell with all that noise. I hunt enough to warrant buying a Blaser.
Starting at $4,000
Pros: incredibly accurate, compact for travel, switch barrel system, fast straight bolt pull, cocking safety device for safe round-in-chamber hunting
Cons: expensive, as most precision tools are