The Blaser R8 Professional S “Off Road” Rifle
By Grant Gladson, 1-Shot Gear
Like all serious Western Hunters, I hunt rugged and demanding terrain that takes a heavy toll on my equipment. Whether it be a trip of a lifetime to Alaska or a quick outing during Colorado’s 4th rifle hunt, my weapon must be able to handle whatever nature and I throw at it. I don’t bust my ass 365 days a year to prepare myself only to lose an opporuntiy to a rifle that didn’t perform. There are two things that I keep in mind when choosing the rifle I will carry:
1. Accuracy – This goes beyond guarantees. Just because a rifle has a sub MOA or Sub ½ MOA guarantee doesn’t mean I will be able to replicate that in the field it due to trigger pull, recoil, feel of the gun, etc. This varies for everyone.
2. Durability – I don’t want to have to worry about babying anything I take. Whatever I chose to put into my pack must be able to handle the roughest conditions imaginable from weather to being dragged through scree fields.
I personally never would have heard of, or considered a Blaser R8 Professionial S Off Raod Rifle if it hadn’t been for working at a Blaser dealer in Denver, 1-Shot Gear. I spent over a year to find a quality rifle I could call mine for a lifetime. I kept returning to the R8 based on unmatched features it offers that I had never seen on a hunting rifle before.
With one receiver you can go from shooting prairie dogs with a .223 to having the knock down power of a .375 H&H. Only needing a hex-wrench, I can make the complete transition in about a minute and a half. Check out the video under the specs section of this article to watch a complete transition between a 22.250 and a 300 Win. Mag.
Removing either the quick detach mount or the barrel does NOT affect the zero once re-assembled. The first time I assembled the rifle in the field I couldn’t shake a feeling in my gut that something was going to be off. The doubt was gone after I made a clean kill on a cow elk just over 300 yards.
All metal components are blued, then finished with a Plasma Nitride coating which out performs stainless steel in corrosion resistance. By dissembling it after bouts of heavy moisture and wiping it down, I have yet to have any corrossion. This includes the all-metal bedding ensuring you will never have to re-bed your rifle down the road.
Cold hammer forged barrel
This is a common manufacturing process producing barrels that are extremely dense. Cold hammer forged barrels have a drastically longer life span than traditional barrels. During the process the bore and chamber are formed simultaneously to ensure consistent cartridge alignment.
Everything about the gun seemed top notch but it still had to fit me as a shooter. I was able to get a loner to shoot before I made my decision. The single stage trigger took a little bit to get used to. It comes pre-set at 2.2lbs from the factory (adjustable from 2-4lbs). Once I adjusted to the new style of trigger I started to produce the best groups I have personally shot. Staying between .5″ and 1″, I was very happy. That group was plenty tight enough for me in any hunting situation I encounter.
The Blaser R8 bolt head is designed for pressure and accuracy
A quick note on recoil – the factory pad can be a little light especially for the magnums. I threw a kick-ezz pad on and that made a big difference. The additional LOP this pad adds to the rifle made it fit me better than the factory pad. Due to the straight slide action you mount the scope further back than normal enabling you to run the full length of the action without hitting yourself in the face.
The flexibility this rifle gives me makes it well worth the investment. For someone looking for a quality rifle, the R8 is worth checking out. If you are in the Denver area give me a shout at 1-Shot Gear; I would be more than happy to let you try mine!
Specs on the R8 Professional S “Off Road”
Overall Length: 40.25″ Standard Calibers, 43″ Magnum Calibers
Weight: Approx. 8lbs (.300 Weatherby Mag)
Caliber Options: .223 Rem, 22-250 Rem, .270 Win, 7 Rem. Mag, .308 Win, 30-06 Springfield, .300 Win Mag are just a few (34+ different calibers available between .222 and 500 Jeffery)
*Note: If you stay within a caliber family you DO NOT need to touch the bolt head when making a caliber change. You only need to change bolt heads if you go from one caliber family to another i.e. 22-250 to a .300 Win Mag.
Video: 22.250 to 300 Win Mag
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