A hunting trip to the far Canadian north is in the offing and a cherished dream will soon become a reality. Hunting buddies are full of well-intentioned suggestions that revolve almost exclusively around which caliber to use. But what is really important when one wants to hunt successfully on distant shores?

Many hunters return proud and satisfied from their voyage. Others have only a bitter aftertaste due to disappointing failure. Professional hunters and guides on every continent can attest that sometimes the hunter does not allow for enough time and sometimes the weather does not cooperate. There are also times when the hunter loses his nerve, especially when it comes to stalking dangerous game. Most often, though, it is the hunter’s lack of familiarity with a seldom-used large bore rifle, whether borrowed or his own. 

That is exactly the reason why many outfitters instruct the hunter to bring the rifle he favors most when hunting at home if he asks which rifle in which caliber he should use.

This does not apply, of course, when hunting Cape buffalo or other large game, which is why this problem can only be mitigated under certain circumstances. We do not want to go so far as to say that the .30-06, for example, is the universal solution to the caliber question. For moose, grizzly or African oryx, it is truly the lowest-powered cartridge with which one can still responsibly hunt. There is not much satisfaction in using it at home if you shoot many roe deer for their meat, either. It seems to us that it is too much of a stretch for the same cartridge that you use on small roe deer to also be used on the moose of the Far North. Using a .30-06 on either a roe fawn of barely 9 kilos (20 lb) or on a 500 kg (1100 lb) moose certainly works but is far from an ideal solution! This brings us back to our dilemma that, because of its caliber, the most used and trusted rifle might not be appropriate for hunting overseas. Luckily, there is a very practical solution: A rifle with interchangeable barrels in calibers suited for both purposes! Many hunters are aware of this enormous advantage but shy away from using it to their benefit for fear that their trusty rifle will not shoot to point of aim after switching barrels.

With the Blaser R8, these reservations are completely groundless since it differs from its competitors in one major way. Thanks to the ingenious Blaser saddle mount, the scope is mounted directly on the barrel rather than on the receiver ring. More specifically, the scope is mounted directly over the chamber so that the barrel is allowed to swing freely without being influenced by the scope or mount. Scope and barrel form a unit to ensure consistent hits similar to those achieved with scoped break-action rifles and combination guns. This is also an attractive solution from the standpoint of cost. If, for example, a rifle chambered in 6.5x55 gets a conversion barrel in 9.3x62, a second bolt head will not be necessary since both are members of the family of standard cartridges and therefore have the same head diameter.

Even if a magnum caliber has been chosen for the extra R8 barrel, it is not necessary to also buy a complete bolt assembly. The quickly replaceable bolt head can simply be switched out for the appropriate size.

Even a second scope is not absolutely necessary. Even though it may not be practical for daylight hunting overseas to bring the large scope you might normally use at home, it is still possible to make do with only one scope. Thanks to adjustment screws built into the Blaser saddle mount, the scope can be mounted in seconds with the aid of a screwdriver. After it has been sighted in, the new zero can be marked on the turret dials so that test firing is not necessary after changing barrel and scope.

A few yearlings and weak does are already in the bag. Now you can attend to the old bucks from the tree stand as well as stalk these otherwise invisible phantoms in the high forest and new growth during the rut. It is suddenly a different kind of hunting, the kind filled with pure suspense. These are the days when the hunter’s thoughts begin to focus on his coming trip to a distant part of the earth. In about one month it will be autumn in northern British Columbia and the dream of taking an old capital bear in the Canadian wilderness will soon come to fruition.

It is a good feeling to chase the buck with the same gun that will be accompanying you to Canada. Every deer that you shoot increases your trust in your own weapon – the feeling comes over you that you can do no wrong with it. When the time comes and the chosen grizzly finally stops within shooting range, you will react as instinctively as you have all summer in your own woodlot. After all, you are carrying your trusted rifle which is a perfect shooter in every way – just with another barrel in another caliber.

Blaser – Blog – R8 Laufwechsel

About the Author

Gunther Stoschek

Gunther Stoschek has been hunting since his 16th birthday. This is one of the reasons he attaches more value to being outdoors and experiencing nature – and not just whether or not a hunt has ended successfully. “Maybe it does sound like a paradox at first, but without this respect and love for nature, one cannot be a good hunter”, says Gunther Stoschek. When asked why… “If you hunt, you need to understand nature as a whole”, adds the Blaser Creative Director. It makes him happy that this philosophy is shared by so many at Blaser; as well as by the majority of hunters in the hunting community. Gunther Stoschek jagt seitdem er 16 Jahre alt ist. Vielleicht auch deshalb misst er dem Naturerlebnis heute häufig mehr Bedeutung bei, als dem erfolgreichen Abschluss einer Pirsch oder eines Ansitzes. „Es klingt vielleicht paradox, aber ohne Liebe und Respekt für das Wild, kann man kein guter Jäger sein“, sagt Gunther Stoschek. Warum? „Beim Jagen geht es vielmehr darum, die Natur als Ganzes zu verstehen“, ergänzt der Blaser Creative Director, der sich freut, dass diese Philosophie bei Blaser – als auch der Mehrheit der Jäger – gelebt wird.

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