In Defense of Reason

There are still some doubters when it comes to silencers, not just amongst public officials of many jurisdictions but also in our own ranks. But, since there is no alternative for protecting the hearing of both man and dog, reason shall prevail.

Many hunters who have a long or intense history of hunting game with firearms now struggle with hearing problems. That remains unchanged despite the fact that, in recent years, hearing protection has become standard equipment not only at the shooting range but in the field as well. But, especially in the field, there are situations where hearing protection is counterproductive or there is simply no time to put it on. Dog handlers who always have their beloved four-legged friends by their sides struggle with an entirely different and arguably more serious problem, namely that exposure to muzzle blast is almost intolerable for unprotected dog ears. This alone should be reason enough to permit the general use of silencers. In fact, the use of silencers while hunting is revolutionary for a host of reasons beyond the reduction of shooting noise for shooters and dogs, not least of which is that recoil is reduced by an enormous amount – much more than with conventional muzzle brakes. Even when shooting powerful big game cartridges, the felt recoil of suppressed rifles is comparable to that of ordinary varmint rifles. This provides an entirely novel shooting experience. The difference is so pronounced that one is far less likely to develop a flinch with a silencer. The resulting reliably high hit probability and better accuracy makes the job of any hunter much easier.

Blaser offers three different solutions for the hunters: Brand-new is the R8 Silence. The silencer is integrated into the barrel so that it appears to be all of a piece. Yet the overall length, weight and balance are the same as an ordinary rifle without a silencer. Naturally, the silencer component can be unscrewed quickly and without tools. The rifle’s integral silencer is hardly discernable to the layman. And thanks to the so-called bull-barrel effect of integrating the silencer assembly with the barrel – and the resulting weight distribution over its entire length – both the R8 Silence and R8 Success Silence retain the first-class balance and familiar huntability that set every R8 model apart.

Since customer demands on their hunting weapons vary, Blaser offers in addition to the R8 Silence two different silencer models. For the hunter who wants his rifle as short as possible, the Blaser Over-Barrel Silencer is the top choice. It has an over-barrel design, which means that it slides over about 8 centimeters (3.1 in) of the barrel before being screwed on. This model does not accommodate the use of open sights. The second model is the Blaser On-Barrel Silencer, which is screwed on ahead of the front sight ramp. Thanks to its very slender profile, iron sights can be used with the Blaser On-Barrel Silencer attached – a great advantage when trailing wounded game with a dog. 

Tip: The appropriate barrel threads for both Blaser silencer models can be cut retroactively. Having this work done is also a good opportunity for shortening the barrel a few centimeters. For most rifles, a barrel length of 52 cm (20.5 in) is a very good choice. It can, of course, be shorter, especially in .308 Win., which is particularly suitable for use in barrels as short as 42 cm (16.5 in). Even at this length, velocity loss remains within acceptable limits; velocity and energy are entirely sufficient at normal hunting distances.

Blaser – Blog – In Defense of Reason
Blaser – Blog – In Defense of Reason
R8 Silence (left), Blaser On-Barrel Silencer (right above), Blaser Over-Barrel Silencer (right below).

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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