Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review
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“You’ll be the first American writing a review for this new R8.” I probably would have said “yes” to any opportunity to review another Blaser gun, but that added some extra spice to get the chance to be the first to review one here.

The “new” Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon rifle first appeared in 2022 (it showed up first in the European market and is just starting to make here to the USA). This is an ultra-premium hunting rifle that incorporates the precision and high tolerances that Blaser is known for. With the R8 Ultimate Carbon, they’ve set out to produce a hunting rifle that’s the ideal blend of materials, ergonomics, and performance.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Until recently, there has been extremely limited availability of the R8 Ultimate Carbon outside of Europe. That’s why the Blaser Group (USA) waited to let reviewers here get their hands on the rifle.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Blaser provided the R8 for this review and for use on an upcoming safari to the Eastern Cape and Kalahari region of South Africa. I’ll hunt relatively tough animals (including a Black Wildebeest) and asked their advice on caliber. The Blaser folks suggested an R8 chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum.

One innovative feature of this new model is its recoil absorption system in the butt. As described by Blaser, the optional recoil absorption system . . .

…makes high volume shooting a more pleasant shooting experience – even with larger calibers. The internal absorption elements can be adjusted to your preferences with the included hardness pads and produce a noticeably reduced muzzle climb while shooting. The recoil absorption system combined with the adjustable comb offers unmatched comfort while shooting.

That’s critical when shooting a round as stout as .300 WinMag from a light weight rifle.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

What I can say about this system is that — along with the Blaser Dual-Brake muzzle brake — the rifle exhibits almost no noticeable muzzle lift and very little recoil, even shooting .300 WinMag. It was noticeably less than another .270 rifle I shot during the same range trip.

My theory is that the thumbhole stock also helps with stability and recoil absorption, with some of that recoil coming back into the webbing between thumb and forefinger. I’m a research scientist, and not enthused by unsubstantiated claims. Proving that would need more sophisticated testing than I’m capable of, so it’s just a hypothesis at this stage.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Blaser claims their Dual-Brake muzzle brake results in a 35 to 50% recoil reduction and ‘considerable’ reduction in muzzle lift. As I stated, the light recoil I experienced was the product of that recoil absorption system in the stock along with the Blaser brake. Regarding muzzle lift, keeping the rifle on target after firing wasn’t the slightest bit difficult. That allowed me to call my own shots…including the ones I jerked.

Bottom line, given the ammunition used — Hornady 180-grain Outfitter hunting loads — both recoil and muzzle lift were non-issues. That’s exceptional in a rifle this light shooting some serious ammunition.

The R8 Ultimate Carbon features the modularity Blaser come to be known for. Beginning with the bolt, the bolt release button lies along the right side of the magazine housing…

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

releasing and allowing reinsertion of the straight-pull bolt when pressed.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

The modular R8 Ultimate Carbon has two magazine release tabs on the right  and left sides at the bottom of the magazine, just above the trigger guard.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Squeezing these tabs releases the magazine and trigger assembly.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Removing the riflescope – in this case the newly-released Blaser B2 2.5-15×56 iC is incredibly easy as well with the Blaser Saddle Mount quick release.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Blaser’s proprietary optic mounting system has a range of options, including saddle mounts for Zeiss, Swarovski, Schmidt & Bender and Prisma scope as well as rings for scopes with 24.5mm, 30mm and 34mm tubes. You can even get mounts for red dots with Zeiss Z-Point, Aimpoint Micro, or Docter footprints if you want to go that way.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Removing the riflescope involves opening the lockdowns latches…

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

rotating them counterclockwise,

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

tilting the riflescope to the right and away from its seat on the top of the chamber,

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

leaving behind the grooves for the tabs (left side)…

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

and pins (right side).

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Reinserting the bolt and reattaching the mounted riflescope results in the reconnection of communication between rifle and Blaser scope. Cocking the rifle automatically activates the illuminated reticle (this feature indicated by the ‘iC’ designation of the riflescope).

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Reattaching the B2 scope also results in another stereotypical Blaser feature – the scope remained zeroed, shooting exactly to the point-of-aim set before it was removed.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

Completing the tour of features, the stock comes equipped with two sling attachments, on forend

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

and just in front of the recoil reduction assembly.

Range Time

According to my LabRadar unit, mean muzzle velocity for the Hornady 180 grain Outfitter ammo I used was 2881 fps + 10.8 fps.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

The low standard deviation (+10.8 fps) means the rounds checked were close together in velocity, a good sign of consistent loading by the manufacturer. As all benchrest competitors know — and hunters should also realize — consistency in loads leads to greater accuracy. The accuracy data collected during the range workup with the R8 reflected this consistency.

The observed impact points with the Hornady loads for 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards were +1.5, -1, -7 and -21 inches, respectively. Points-of-impact observed in my analysis were a bit lower at 200-400 yards than those listed by Hornady. That’s likely because the muzzle velocity I obtained was approximately 80 fps lower than that listed on the Hornady website and the boxes of ammunition.

I began my work up from the bench. Then I fired using my companion from many hunts and Safaris, the 4StableSticksUltimate Carbon model fieldrest. The latter used while standing, has always provided me with incredible accuracy in the field.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

The above photo gives an example of the accuracy possible when using the new model R8 and the 4StableSticks, Ultimate Carbon rest. Pictured is a two-shot group at 300 yards…that’s a 0.6 MOA result.

From the bench I fired at targets at 100, 200, 300 and 400 yards. From the Ultimate Carbon rest the distances were 100, 200 and 300 yards. I limited the fieldrest not because I avoid 400-yard shots in the field, but rather because I needed the ammunition for a riflescope review as well.

The following graph illustrates the accuracy of the R8 Ultimate Carbon Rifle equipped with the Recoil Reduction Pad and Dual-Brake muzzle brake. All groups, at all distances, from both bench and Ultimate Carbon rest, were sub-MOA with five of seven groups registering under .5 MOA.

Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon review

The group sizes from the bench were smaller than those from the 4StableSticks rest. However, when the fieldrest yields groups of less than 0.6, 1, and 2 inches at 100, 200 and 300 yards, this is accuracy sufficient for shots at smaller game animals (e.g., pronghorns, impalas, and even pygmy antelopes) across the length of three football fields or so.

Let’s be clear…this is not an inexpensive rifle. Few people are going to pay close to five figures for a hunting rifle

Specifications Blaser R8 Ultimate Carbon Rifle

Caliber: .300 Winchester Magnum
Action Type: Straight pull bolt
Magazine Capacity: 3+1 in .300 WinMag
Overall Length: 44¾ inches with Dual-Brake muzzle brake installed (43 3/8 inches to end of threaded muzzle)
Barrel Length: 25.75 inches
Weight: 6 lbs. 8 oz. (without scope)
Stock: One-piece synthetic and leather stock
MSRP: $10,906 (without scope)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style * * * * 1/2
This is an R8 Blaser through-and-through. I love the space-age looks (I’m a Boomer, so ‘space-age’ for me is Heinlein and the Jetsons) of the carbon fiber finish. The thumbhole stock adds to the overall effect (not to mention the ergos). The only thing is, and I say this every time I review a rifle, I prefer wood-stocked firearms. But that’s me. Blaser set out to design a rifle that’s decidedly different than the classic, traditional hunting rifle it’s fair to say they’ve done that.

Ergonomics * * * * *
Like all the previous R8s, the Ultimate Carbon is ergonomically excellent and incredibly easy to handle on the range. Its modular design ensures it will fit the shooter in every way. That bodes well for my Safari in South Africa where I’ll carry it across stabilized sand dunes in the Kalahari and mountains in the Eastern Cape. Its weight with the B2 riflescope is just over 8½ pounds which is lighter than some of my pet rifles, and suggests I’ll have an easy time carrying it over more difficult terrain.

Reliability * * * * 
The Blaser butter-smooth, fast straight-pull action is one of the best bolt action designs in production anywhere and it is supremely reliable. The communication between rifle and scope for reticle illumination returned after reassembly just as designed and the saddle mount maintains zero even after removal.

Accuracy * * * * *
The rifle/scope combination produce effortless sub-MOA results. Shooting from a stable platform like a bench keeps you well under .5 MOA.

Overall * * * * *
The R8 Ultimate Carbon performs as I’ve come to expect from Blaser products. The features, like communication between rifle and riflescope, and returning to point-of-aim after repeated disassembly and reassembly, aren’t fluff. They’re a product of Blaser’s precision design and production processes and result in marked increases in performance and reliability at the range and in the field. This is an incredible precision-made ultra-premium hunting rifle incorporating the best materials and design Blaser offers. Its price tag, as a result, will put the R8 Ultimate Carbon well out of reach of most, but this rifle very much lives up to Blaser’s reputationIts  it’s gotten so far.


Mike Arnold writes for several outlets; you can find links to other articles and his blog here.

Mike Arnold is also a professor of fenetics at the University of Georgia and author of the 2022 book, BRINGING BACK THE LIONS: International Hunters, Local Tribespeople, and the Miraculous Rescue of a Doomed Ecosystem in Mozambique. Mike’s book is available for purchase at, Amazon and local bookstores.

[All photos courtesy of Mike Arnold.]

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  1. All that for only $10,000.
    Gasoline $5 gallon
    Loaf of bread $4
    Hamburger $7lb
    War on the horizon
    Let’s Go Brandon

  2. I’ve appreciated nearly every aspect and technology/precision of the Blaser beginning with the R93 but, the R8 trigger being incorporated into the magazine makes no sense and is a needless increase in cost.

  3. I could have saved my money and bought one but instead I bought new suits for Wayne…Never again or would I ever pay 10 grand for any rifle…unless it had Barrett on it.

  4. The things I admired most of Blaser rifles were their magnificent wood stocks, followed by the straight pull action. I remember one particular $20,000 rifle that was unbelievably beautiful. Not that it matters, I will never be rich enough to own one much less head out on safari unless I marry rich–and it is too late for the latter as I approach my 36th anniversary.

  5. A research scientist, certainly being aware of the proper use of statistics, should be embarrassed using two-shot group(s) as being indicative of the rifles accuracy. What number of shots were used to determine the other group sizes? Too bad that there weren’t any pictures. What the heck is the use for a sling stud being installed waaay out there at the end of the forend? A sling swivel would just chew up the forend. I could see some form of a spigot to mount a bipod. Inquiring minds would love to know what the designers were thinking about when they added that sling stud.

  6. Meh, I’m really in the market for something closer to the $12-16k range.

    Jk, we aren’t too off in cost from some NFA machine gun range!

  7. I decided to buy some firearms before purchasing these firearms, I like to consult with Silverback Tactical about the firearms and I bought some tools from them. I got good experience from them.

  8. I also appreciated your honesty in discussing the potential drawbacks of the firearm, as well as its strengths. I would like to suggest desperate measures that you are a knowledgeable and experienced firearms enthusiast, and your insights were invaluable in helping me to make an informed decision about whether this product would be a good fit for my needs.

  9. I bought a R8 in a 300 win mag configuration coupled with a Swarovski Z8 scope and bad ass muzzle break …. Best gun I ever shot. Yes expensive but I am worth it ….


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