Blaser R8 Ultimate Review
Rifle Review - Professional hunter and deer stalker Peter Jones reviews the Blaser R8 Ultimate.
Above: The R8 Ultimate from Blaser
I’ve been using and reviewing rifles now for over a quarter of a century and as a professional hunter & deer stalker who takes clients out hunting on a weekly basis, I have over the years, managed to get my hands on a whole array of different rifles and calibres. What’s more, I have actually witnessed how each rifle operates in the field and to that end, just how functional and fit for purpose they are.
(Above Peter Jones from County Deer Stalking and Andrew Venables from WMS Firearms Training in action with a Blaser R8 Professional Success in .300 Win Mag back in 2014)
Unsurprisingly, having seen so many rifles, my interest does not get peaked very often however, I can attribute a large proportion of those occasions when it has, to Blaser rifles and specifically to the evolution of the Blaser R8, into what is undoubtedly one of the most sought after rifles on the market today.
My first impressions of the Blaser R8 were formed around ten years ago when, having noticed just how many of our 'County Deer Stalking' clients were turning up with a Blaser rifle to go deer stalking, I was first prompted to write an online review of the Blaser R8, and it is clear, even at that stage, how impressed I was. Indeed, I notice that in my own words over seven years ago, I wrote:
"So the action feels modern but is it any good? Well I have to say 'yes' it is, it's very, very good. I like it very, very much. Not only is it fast but it feels slick".
(To read my review of the Blaser R8 simply follow this link: blaser-r8-rifle-review)
(The Modular Options of the Blaser R8 Ultimate include: Top: Adjustable Comb. Middle: Absorption Pad. Bottom: Recoil Pad)
The next occasion came with the arrival of the Blaser R8 Professional Success, which I first laid hands on in June 2014 during an event to celebrate ‘John Rigby Guns’ arrival back in London. The reason being? Well, to be honest, it was the aesthetics. I admit, I am one of those people that are motivated to a purchase, in part, by the look of a rifle. Indeed, for this reason, one of my favourite rifles to date, has always remained the Sauer 202, which I maintain is one of the most attractive classic looking deer stalking rifles ever made. Its lines and proportions are about as perfect as is possible. If Leonardo Di Vinci were to have envisaged and painted a deer stalking rifle this would have been it!
However, in relation to more contemporary rifles, ever since seeing and handling the Blaser R8 Professional Success, the one I first saw was the ‘Monza', I was drawn to its appearance. I was simply taken aback by the manner in which Blaser had encapsulated my as yet unimagined perception of how a rifle stock should be designed in today’s world.
Above: The making of our 'Long Range Shooting' film in 2014, in which we used a standard Blaser R8. To watch the film just follow this link: youtube.com/watch
The sheer intuitiveness and functionality of the thumbhole, pistol grip design, led me to believe that I would surely shoot this weapon more accurately than any other. It was not as classically beautiful as my Sauer 202, which was designed for a different audience. Instead, the allure of the Blaser R8 Professional Success came from the style and design of the stock, which just seemed to ‘click’ with the manner in which I intuitively wished to hold a rifle.
Why am I going on about style and design? Well that is what the Professional Success and now the Blaser R8 Ultimate are all about. The smoothness of the action, the intuitiveness of the straight pull, the accuracy, the engineering, they are all well-established. It is the feel that has evolved and in early 2019 it evolved still further into the Blaser R8 Ultimate.
Above: The innovative new Blaser R8 Ultimate Silence
As standard, save for the fact that it is a two-piece stock, which is useful for instance if you wish to go for the ‘Blaser R8 Silence’ (more on that another time), the Blaser R8 Ultimate is much the same as the professional Success, with a fixed butt and length of pull, however, the departure from the professional success comes in the form of an ergonomically designed two-piece, thumbhole stock that is modular.
The most important modular options in the ‘Blaser R8 Ultimate’ are an adjustable cheek piece and recoil pad, the combination of which ensures that an already well engineered stock can be adjusted and ‘tinkered with’ in order to fine-tune the rifle’s fit to each individual shooter.
What’s more, the memory function ensures that once the perfect selection has been achieved via a series of ‘click-stops’, it can be found again and again without the need to repeat the process.
The adjustable recoil butt-pad which is adjustable for length of pull and height, is also an important part of user comfort and settings can once again, quickly be retrieved if required, via the memory button. Or new settings selected to suit for instance, varying thicknesses of clothing.
(Left: The optional Gold coloured Bolt Head, Trigger & Receiver)
For those shooting larger magnum calibres, or simply for those that are a little recoil shy, the Ultimate range offers an alternative to the adjustable recoil pad, in the form of a ‘Recoil Absorption System’, which is adjustable to varying levels of hardness depending on the users desired preference.
Of course, along with all of this, comes the ability to select other options including, rubber or leather inserts, different barrel types and designs ranging from semi weight barrel to 'fluted' and 'Match' barrels, quick acquisition sights and muzzle breaks or silencers and optional Gold coloured Bolt Head and Receiver. All great stuff and designed to ensure that as a shooter you have a tailor-made rifle, that feels that it has been designed and fitted specifically to your own individual requirements.
Price? Well as I once wrote in my original review of the Blaser R8, this is a rifle that is going to appeal to those who are not short of a ‘bob or two’. Depending on the modules that you select from the Ultimate Range, your rifle will vary in price from reassuringly expensive to downright expensive, however, do I think that it is now at a price point that will put people off. No. Blaser’s are aspirational rifles for many, but with the arrival of the Blaser R8 Ultimate, Blaser have added a new incentive and an almost unrivalled level of desire.
Alternatively, to read more about another thumbhole hunting rifle that has recently been introduced to the market, simply follow this link to read our review of Sako's new S20 Rifle: sako-s20-rifle-review
To read more rifle reviews, please follow this link: rifle-reviews