Gun Review: Blaser R8 Ultimate in .270 Winchester

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I had to check back in my list of articles to remind myself how many Blaser firearms I have reviewed. What can I say, I’m old and forgetful. With the current review, that number stands at four, sort-of. Let me explain. The number reviewed includes an F-16 shotgun (see TTAG); the ‘sort-of’ is because the Blaser R8 rifles I have reviewed are “modular.”

The chambering for the first R8 I reviewed was .458 Lott. When Blaser asked me to review a second R8, this one chambered in .300 Winchester Magnum, I still had the .458 Lott. They sent me a second barrel, bolt face, and magazine for that chambering. So I replaced the .458 Lott components with the .300 Winchester Magnum parts and voilà…an R8 in .300 Winchester Magnum. So, maybe I should claim to have only reviewed three-and-a-half R8s.

Because of the impressive performance of the previous Blaser (pronounced “blah-zer”) firearms, I was interested in reviewing the relatively new Blaser R8 model, the R8 Ultimate (released a little over a year ago, see interview on TTAG from Dallas Safari Club). The craziness that has been 2020 delayed the receipt of the R8 Ultimate, but it finally arrived at Shooters Den about three weeks ago.

When it arrived, the German-made rifle looked like this:

Not a problem. The R8s really are dead-easy to assemble. Here we go . . .

Step 1 – Attach barrel to stock by inserting the two barrel lugs into the holes inside the stock channel . . .

then inserting the Hex Wrench sent with the rifle into the holes on the underside of the stock and tightening the bolts.

Step 2 – Slide in the trigger/magazine assembly.

Step 3 – Slide the bolt assembly into place.

Step 4 – Attach rifle scope using the Blaser Saddle Mount system. Place the pins on the right side of the scope into the insert points on barrel . . .

…and the catches into the connection points on the left side of the barrel.

Rotate the left-side connectors forward (counter clockwise) until secure.

Close the leaves to complete the mounting of the riflescope.

And, here is the fully-assembled rifle.

The R8 Ultimate is capable of chambering calibers from .22 LR to .338 Lapua with its interchangeable barrels, bolt face and magazine followers. When the folks at Blaser asked about chambering, I mentioned an upcoming hunt for a trophy whitetail on Dan Cabela’s ranch near Austin, Texas. I asked if they could send the R8 Ultimate chambered in .270 Winchester. I thought it would be great to try out Jack O’Connor’s favorite round on a whitetail.

For the range workup, I used Sig Sauer 140 grain, Elite Tipped Hunting and Hornady 140 grain, Interlock American Whitetail ammunition.

The R8 Ultimate came equipped with a Blaser 4-20×58 iC riflescope.

Cocking the R8 activates the illuminated dot of this iC (illumination control) riflescope. Opening the action turns it off.

Once cocked, placing the rifle on safe also turns off the illumination.

This feature has been available on R8 model rifles since December, 2017. However, it requires a Blaser Infinity riflescope or other iC-compatible scope. For example, the Zeiss Varipoint iC also links to this system.

Blaser’s description of their trigger states:

The desmodromic trigger mechanism guarantees your trigger will function even when iced or heavily soiled. The mechanical advantage of a simple lever will ensure success even in the harshest conditions.” And, from their FAQ page: “The R8 features an innovative Trigger designed by Blaser that does not rely on spring tension alone to be reset. It’s reset mechanically, upon cycling the bolt, thus offering the ultimate increased reliability, resistant from outside factors such as dust, low temperatures etc…

Blaser’s straight pull bolt action makes for fast reloads.

The rifle arrived with the trigger set to 900 grams or about 2 pounds of pull weight.

The Blaser R8’s magazine is positioned above the trigger group. This reduces the size of the rifle’s action and results in a shorter overall length.

You can load the R8 Ultimate’s magazine by dropping the trigger/magazine assembly. Just press the two release buttons on either side of the receiver.

Loading the magazine can be done either from above, or by simply dropping the trigger/magazine assembly using the release buttons on either side of the receiver.

The R8 Ultimate stock has a thumbhole that actually works. Not that all other thumbhole stocks I have encountered have been problematic, but some seemed to have a thumbhole more as a fashion accessory. The R8 Ultimate’s thumbhole design fitted my hand and helped stabilize the rifle whether shooting from the bench, my 4StableSticks, or the rest I used during my whitetail hunt.

The R8 Ultimate also comes equipped with a tool-less, adjustable stock. That’s a big plus when you’re in the field. Having pulled other stocks apart with all sorts of hex wrenches etc to adjust the length of pull, pitch and height of the recoil pad, and the comb height, I found the lever and push-button controls on the R8 Ultimate very refreshing.

Comb height adjusts with the push of a button (to left of comb in the following photographs).

The comb adjustment mechanism also has a built-in memory function based on a two-stage button. It works as follows:

  1. Push button fully in to find the correct height of the comb for your build.
  2. When ready to store the rifle, or carry it in conditions in which the comb might be damaged, push the comb all the way down.
  3. When ready to fire the rifle, push the button lightly and the comb will extend to your pre-set height.

Adjusting the height and extension of the recoil pad is also straightforward. To change the extension of the pad, you lift the lever to the left (see below) of the recoil pad and pull/push the pad to the desired length.

Closing the lever locks the recoil pad into its new setting.

Likewise, the button on the recoil pad adjusts the height the pad and thus the stock pitch. Pressing the button allows the recoil pad to slide up and down.

The R8 Ultimate’s forend is equipped with two sling mounts.

That makes it convenient for those who want to attach a sling as well as a bipod to the rifle.

Accuracy Testing

Shooting with sandbags and an Armageddon Gear Waxed Canvas Optimized Game Changer Support Bag, I fired 5-shot groups from the bench using Hornady and SIG Sauer ammunition at distances of 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards.

For my upcoming whitetail hunt, I needed to obtain the bullet trajectories. For both ammunition types they were +2″, 0″, -7″ and -20″ at 100, 200, 300, and 400 yards, respectively. I determined trajectories from the targets, rather than computer software.

To simulate field conditions, I fired 5-shot groups at 100, 200, and 300 yards from my 4StableSticksUltimate Leather, standing rest. Once again the test involved both the Hornady and SIG Sauer ammunition.

Beginning with the accuracy seen from the bench, both ammunition types, at all distances provided 1 MOA accuracy or better. The majority of the groups suggested slightly better accuracy when using the SIG Sauer ammunition.


This target shows the group fired from the bench at 200 yards.

Turning next to the results from the 4StableSticks rest, again accuracy was excellent. The SIG Sauer ammunition once more seemed to provide improved accuracy relative to the Hornady ammunition at most distances.

Even though I was unable to replicate the sub-MOA, bench results for most of the distances, the rifle + ammunition combinations still gave no larger than 3.6″ groups, even at 300 yards. In other words, the group sizes were well within the size of the heart-lung area of big-game animals.

Saddle Mount and Reproducible Zero

The last analysis I wanted to run involved the following claim by Blaser concerning their Saddle Mount scope mounting system:

Every Blaser rifle or combination gun can be fitted with an original Blaser Saddle Mount. After being zeroed in once, the rifle scope can be removed and replaced in just three steps, with no need for tools, as often as desired, with 100% return to zero.

So, I completely disassembled the rifle. Yep, I know they said to just pull the scope, but I figured I would really make it hard on the R8 and scope to live up to Blaser’s claim. I reassembled the rifle and remounted the Blaser scope and fired 5 shots using the SIG Sauer ammunition at a 100-yard target. Here is the resulting target:

So yes, once it’s zeroed, you really can disassemble the Blaser R8 Ultimate, put it back together and it will place previously sighted-in ammunition to the same point-of-impact, with the same accuracy. (Not shown is a five-shot group using the Hornady ammunition. It too reflected the same point-of-impact and accuracy as before.) That reflects real precision engineering and assembly.

Texas Whitetail

The real proof is in the trophy whitetail. I will be telling this story in much more detail in another outlet. Suffice it to say that this Texas Hill Country buck was weaving in-and-out of a cedar tree line at 190 yards.

He briefly showed a bit of shoulder and went only 15 yards after the impact of the SIG Sauer bullet. The rifle, scope, and ammunition performed flawlessly.

Specifications: Blaser R8 Ultimate in .270 Winchester

Caliber: .270 Winchester
Action Type: Blaser Straight Pull
Saddlemount: Blaser (Blaser 4-20×58 Riflescope; MSRP $4,354)
Capacity: 4 + 1
Overall Length: 40″
Barrel: Standard (without open sights)
Barrel Length: 22 1/2″
Weight: 7 lbs 8 oz (without riflescope)
Stock: Black-brown Synthetic, Tool-less, Adjustable Stock with black elastomer inlays – Available Options: Adjustable Comb and Adjustable Recoil Pad, Recoil Absorption System (Adjustable Comb and Recoil Pad on Review Rifle)
MSRP: $5,668 (about $4000 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and appearance * * * * 
I have slowly, but surely, come around to appreciating the look of synthetic and metal. Like all of Blaser’s products I have reviewed, the lines and combination of parts presents a package that is easy on the eyes. Though not a thumb-hole fan on many rifles, the Blaser design adds rather than detracts from the look of the stock and rifle.

Ergonomics * * * * *
The R8’s stock adjustments mean the rifle can be perfectly adapted to virtually any shooter. The ability to make those adjustments quickly in the field without tools is a huge plus.

Reliability * * * * *
Not a single misfeed, magazine issue, or linking issue between the iC riflescope and the action during all of the range work and the hunt. Also, the ‘memory’ setting on the comb worked as advertised. Finally, as shown by the ‘Saddle Mount’ analysis, I can confirm the claim that you can remove a zeroed riflescope and remount it and obtain the same point-of-impact and accuracy.

Accuracy * * * * *
The Blaser R8 Ultimate was accurate with two very different types of ammunition. It was accurate from the bench (all MOA or better), the 4StableSticks standing rest, and, finally, using a field rest to take a whitetail buck at approximately 200 yards.

Overall * * * * * 
The R8 Ultimate is a remarkably well thought-out hunting rifle. With its caliber interchangeability, it’s an accurate, well-balanced and very easy to shoot game-taking machine. At that price some will argue whether it’s the ultimate hunting rifle, but it’s darn close.


Mike Arnold writes for a number of outlets; you can find links to other articles here.

[All photos courtesy of Mike Arnold.]


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        • “Thumbhole stock…not CA compliant, so not allowed here.”

          Whoa, not even bolt action?

        • Whoops again. You’re right. CA law specifies “semi auto, centerfire” rifles. Bolt actions are okay.

          My bad.

      • You think this is steep? You should see what they cost with very high grade and beautifully finished French or Turkish walnut. The simple woods start at about $6K, and the high end stuff easily tops $20K-$40K.

        • The only people who pay that kinda money for a bolt action is in heavily restricted markets where you can’t own real guns. Same idea with $75,000 U/O shotguns in the UK. If they could own magazine fed MSRs, nobody would be spending car money on a shotgun or bolt action. A good Tikka T3x is as far as you need to go with a hunting bolt action.

        • The hilarious part is that, while high-end blanks cost many times what cheap wood does, the difference is literally a few hundred dollars.

    • I wish TTAG would start listing the MSRPs right at the top so I could decide whether or not I care to scroll through the article. Sometimes it’s best just to not know (or care) how the other half lives.

      • I don’t disagree, but it’s a minor thing IMO. New knowledge is welcomed and review was well written.

        However if I want to look at firearms I’m never going to afford I cruise Gun Broker’s collectibles and filter High-to-low price.

    • “Interesting but out of my price range” is a good summary for most of my online viewing habits. ;^

      But Seriously Folks, I enjoy watching Web and TV reviews on lots of things I could never afford, like Bugatti supercars and luxury submarines. Just because I’ll never own something doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate good engineering and fine performance.

  1. If I had that money to spend on a rifle it would be better served on a Sauer 404 or higher end CZ model with real wood and steel vs this synthetic tinker toy. Guess there’s something for everyone, at least it wasn’t another AR review.

      • I have seen this superior German technology at my range before. It is rare for these modern German firearm technology to complete a course in our telescopic sight matches. The course is not difficult. Sighting shots (4-6) in 5 minutes. Then two 10 round single-snap courses (20 scoring rounds in total). 1890s technology has no difficulty in the same course.

  2. How in the world does it cycle with the scope mounted like that…is the bolt more or less a straight pull? Also, with the scope mounted how would you load the magazine from the top? Remove the trigger to drop the magazine, no thanks. I’d have to see it in action but it looks like a solution vying for a problem to solve.

  3. I just ordered a Tikka based on current politics and prices are only going to go up from here in 2021.

    Can’t even predict how a rifle like this Blaser will increase price wise.

    Out of my league.

      • 6.5CM

        1-8 twist, 24″ heavy barrel.

        Decided that if I was ever going to move into the 6.5 world I had better do it now. I mean who knows what kind of fresh hell 2021 is going to bring for POTG.

      • Quite a screen name you’ve chosen for yourself. Better hope it’s not easily traceable to your real identity.

        John Brown

        • “…Better hope it’s not easily traceable to your real identity….”

          I’ve had the same screen name since I started reading/posting at TTAG. No one has really questioned it before, but I did add an avatar picture last night.

          Manse Jolly is/was a local hero in the county I live in so I’m not seeing any issues.

          Why would anyone care who I am?

        • So by association, you think it’s ok to go on killing folks after the cessation of hostilities by your superior officers? At the very least, that’s insubordination, at worst, murder.

          Moreover, this man’s actions were not part of an insurgency by a local group of resistance fighters who were reluctant to surrender. He went on a one man revenge killing spree against occupying Union soldiers after all of his brothers died, five in combat and one by suicide. Most likely none of those soldiers had anything directly to do with his brother’s deaths.

          Yes, I am a “damn Yankee”, and Manse was a murderous psychopath. All the more reason the “Lost and Noble Cause” myth should be buried forever.

        • Damn, looks like you struck a nerve with IB, lol. The only wrong thing Jolly did was not killing more boys in blue.

          Funny how axe-murdering an innocent family in Kansas and committing war crimes against civilians is ok but fighting enemy combatants occupying your home isn’t

        • I feel exactly the same way about Union soldiers who committed atrocities. Or soldiers from any army who committed atrocities. Or terrorists. Killing in war is unfortunately necessary, but we should never glorify unsanctioned killing, nor should we punish people who did not commit the original crime.

          Even in a revolution, there should be a chain of command. Otherwise lots of innocent people get hurt for no military gain when soldiers run amok.

          I have a feeling that this particular choice of an avatar intends to glorify a regime that thought it was OK to own people, so I take particular exception to that.

  4. As former secretaries of defense, we hold a common view of the solemn obligations of the U.S. armed forces and the Defense Department. Each of us swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. We did not swear it to an individual or a party.

    American elections and the peaceful transfers of power that result are hallmarks of our democracy. With one singular and tragic exception that cost the lives of more Americans than all of our other wars combined, the United States has had an unbroken record of such transitions since 1789, including in times of partisan strife, war, epidemics and economic depression. This year should be no exception.

    Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived.

    As senior Defense Department leaders have noted, “there’s no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election.” Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory. Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic.

    Transitions, which all of us have experienced, are a crucial part of the successful transfer of power. They often occur at times of international uncertainty about U.S. national security policy and posture. They can be a moment when the nation is vulnerable to actions by adversaries seeking to take advantage of the situation.

    Given these factors, particularly at a time when U.S. forces are engaged in active operations around the world, it is all the more imperative that the transition at the Defense Department be carried out fully, cooperatively and transparently. Acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller and his subordinates — political appointees, officers and civil servants — are each bound by oath, law and precedent to facilitate the entry into office of the incoming administration, and to do so wholeheartedly. They must also refrain from any political actions that undermine the results of the election or hinder the success of the new team.

    We call upon them, in the strongest terms, to do as so many generations of Americans have done before them. This final action is in keeping with the highest traditions and professionalism of the U.S. armed forces, and the history of democratic transition in our great country.

    Former US Secretary of Defense:
    Dick Cheney, March 21, 1989 – January 20, 1993
    William Perry, February 3, 1994 – January 23, 1997
    William Cohen, January 24, 1997 – January 20, 2001
    Donald Rumsfeld, January 20, 2001 – December 18, 2006
    Robert Gates, December 18, 2006 – June 30, 2011
    Leon Panetta, July 1, 2011 – February 26, 2013
    Chuck Hagel, February 27, 2013 – February 17, 2015
    Ashton Carter, February 17, 2015 – January 20, 2017
    James Mattis, January 20, 2017 – January 1, 2019
    Mark Esper, July 23, 2019 – November 9, 2020

    • Seriously!?

      Your post has what to do with what, if anything, involving this article?

      Just reeks of 49ers troll posts. Cpt. copy and paste who doesn’t own a firearm.

        • “…The time for questioning the results has passed..”

          Never going to happen, the result will be questioned until the sun goes nova.

          ..and I ain’t listening to anything Rumsfeld says…EVER!

          and stop posting under Debbie W.s name.

    • In reply to the person posting as DJT:

      Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts.

      The courts have almost totally (if not entirely) avoided/evaded election questions/disputes — even blatantly obvious election violations such as states which changed their voting practices in crystal clear violation of their own state laws and/or state constitutions, not to mention in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

      Our nation’s 2020 election stinks to high heaven.

  5. My rifle tastes tend to bend towards the traditional, but that thing has a strong ‘Steyer-AUG’ vibe about it.

    Business. Functional. Ergonomic.

    It be *sexy*.

    4 Choads up, *way* up… 🙂

      • That rifle and scope has an astronomical price tag and I would be surprised if more than a few thousand people in the U.S. would be genuinely interested in purchasing such a platform. And of that few thousand potential customers, I would be shocked if more than two or three of them would ever come across this review and posting on this website. I therefore question the general wisdom of such a thorough review and posting.

        Instead of such in-depth reviews of firearm platforms which are realistically only interesting to a handful of people, how about in-depth reviews of firearm platforms and shooting techniques which have broad application to a few million people in our nation?

        • In that I have always questioned of its the fact that If one had the money then one wouldn’t mind.
          But I wonder if that isn’t the case but more so when people have so much money they lose sight of what “value” truly is and what things SHOULD cost.

          I would like to see an honest review of a rifle such as Ruger precisions vs this one and to see if the cost is justified.
          It may be, it may not….

        • I agree it is a boutique gun but how many features on common rifles were once boutique? A review like this shows the state of the art and where it is going. I read car reviews on vehicles I could not even afford to insure but still like the reviews.

          For the record TTAG has reviewed plenty of affordable rifles and given solid recommendations to them. Deer are big animals and reside in tough environments a synthetic stocked gun with a Bushnell scope is suited just fine for hunting at reasonable differences.

  6. As I agree with everyone saying too much cash for the rifle.

    Also keep in mind this is a guy using a $10k rifle hunting world record white tails that are born and breed on a private Cabelas ranch.
    No offense to the author, it was well written and informative.

    I may see a justification in the price of a rifle like this if I were dropping such money on private hunts, especially if that was your only go to rifle that traveled to all the hunts, since you’ll likely be spending north of $250,000 in hunts for that rifle. Then it puts things into perspective.

    Would like to see more info on that straight pull and its reliability, looks finicky.
    Also a comparison to something like the Ruger Precision would be neat, just for a Joe Blow affordability vs High end comparison.

    Maybe thats better left to JW Taylor since I am sure the higher end company may not care for those results and he seems to not care what they think which is why I originally came to TTAG way back in the day to begin with, honest reviews.

  7. I’ve shot a few different R8s but they were the older, wooden stocked versions. 30 or so years back I scored a then-current R84 Ultimate rifle in .375 H & H and still shoot it occasionally when I think to get it out. It’s a lift bolt rather than straight pull but has the same features and modular design as the R8s. Mine has a set trigger that one presses forward before firing and it’s quite a nice break. The coin receiver is covered with game scenes and the wood outstanding. Years ago I was able to find a .243 bbl and bolt face, I wish I could find either a .30’06 or .300 Win Mag bbl. I’d have the proper bolt face and be in a position to shoot about anything in the world carrying around a 12’x16″x22″ “suitcase”. Accuracy with both calibers is very good and in .375 it’s very forgiving when squeezing off rounds.

    One of the schools of thought for the modular rifles was that in a more restrictive country where a person can own only 1 firearm, he/she/it can cover more bases by having additional barrel/caliber choices. In most of those countries price isn’t such a big deal because it’s primarily the elites that get to own firearms or hunt.

    There are a couple problems for me with the R84s that probably transfer to the R8s- I can’t remember. One- the position and action of the cocking mechanism makes it nearly impossible to manipulate with a scope mounted correctly, and if one doesn’t cock it for the first round it doesn’t go bang. The R8 cocker is a different shape and IIRC, slides forward rather than pivots like a “reverse hammer” on the R84s.

    Second, and this is a real problem- the R84s are nearly impossible to cycle with the rifle shouldered and looking through the scope for a follow up shot. I don’t remember how the R8s are but that’s another consideration.

    All in all, though, and along with the Blaser OU shotguns that are turning up on the trap/skeet ranges, the firearms are appealing and well-made for those who have the bucks to buy. If Perazzi and Kreighoff are out of your comfort zone, you’ll not want a Blaser, either.

  8. Interesting read I do enjoy learning about different firearms. I just can’t see spending that kind of money on a firearm even if I had it to spend. I can get the same performance out of a firearm I spent less than $300 on 40 years ago. Which leaves a whole lotta money left over for other things. I’d be willing to bet that there isn’t more than 1 or 2 people (if that) who reads this site that could/would spend that kind of money on any firearm. IMHO. But to each their own. Keep Your Powder Dry


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